Categories
Africa

Face to Face with the Biggest Shoebill

No, it’s not the bill you pay for your Air Jordan.

The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) or whalehead, is a very large stork-like bird. This is one I’ve come across in Uganda. In front of such a prehistoric looking creature with a wingspan of over 8 feet, you better stay low like what I did in the photo. It’s not that we should be scared of them. That’s respect.

Categories
Africa

Typical Safari Is Not Typical of Me

I just went on a decent, British colonial style safari watching the big five in Maasai Mara, Kenya.

Such a typical safari for some who’s been working with wild animals for decades. Why did I feel brand new? It’s because it’s not hands-on. My eyes had plenty to see but my hands had nothing to grab. Oh right, cameras.

Trying new things feels good. Not of my major interest but I did know how to enjoy the journey and got inspired.

I did tons of photos, though. Here’s one. More to add later.

Categories
Americas

Two Heads One Body

Siamese, conjoined and polycephaly mean the different conditions of more than a head or some parts of the body. It’s more like twins in progress but never completed. Two-headed humans are mostly identified as two persons. But for animals, it’s still under debate whether they should be considered one or two beings.

Categories
Americas Asia

Jesus Christ Lizard

There are over 10,000 extant species of reptiles. How many have you seen? There are only two lizards known to be able to run on water. This earned the renowned Basilisk of the new world the nickname “Jesus Christ lizard”.

From the old world, there’s this lesser known Sailfin Dragon that evokes even more of my interest. Its Latin name Hydrosaurus says it all. They inhabit rainforests and can run across the river like a jet boat. Firstly described almost 250 years ago but not much has been known so far. I’ve had such a privilege to be able to handle such a beautiful adult Sailfin Dragon. Life is good.

Categories
Americas Hong Kong

From Big Game Tragedy In Ohio To Legal Killings In Hong Kong

After the fire that kills 3,000 high-end top quality snakes in a reptile facility in Colorado merely a month ago, now there is another heart breaking loss in Ohio.

R.I.P. to the 50 animals killed in Ohio. 18 highly endangered Bengal tigers, 17 lions, bears, gray wolves, and more were shot to death by the Sheriff’s deputies in Zanesville, Ohio on Wednesday after the owner of an exotic farm threw their cages open and committed suicide.

The media and animal welfare organizations are all aiming at the state regulations of dangerous exotics possession but my first question was why would they have to kill them all instead of tranquilizing? It is well understood that their job is to ensure public safety and for the deputies tranquilizer darts are not as easy to practice as shooting to death like big game. Not saying it is a fault, but there were better options.

Those animals are infamously built for the ability of taking out a human, although the possibility of them killing someone is in fact very low. The tragedy in Ohio was sad but the holocaust was somehow unblamable. But right here in Hong Kong there have been many animals being killed unnecessarily. The wild animals in here considered dangerous are mostly snakes. We do have native venomous snakes in here but in fact they are way less dangerous to people than what they are known for. I have often seen tiny little snakes being smashed to death in order to “ensure public safety” but many times those were non-venomous. Another times there were issues of wild boars attacking people then authorities allowed legal hunting. They can attack but after all they are just pigs. They don’t kill people.

Most times the authorities like to tackle problems and avoid responsibilities the easiest way for them but that is definitely the worst way. In a metropolis like Hong Kong, animals would never like to attack humans until they are forced to. Killing only generates hate. Killing endangered animals is even the worst sin that no one is able to compensate.