Hannah: Hello, animal lovers! We hope you are having a wonderful fall, so far.
Jenna: I don’t think it would be right to go all fall without mentioning a story about leaves. A tree discovered in the Amazon in the 1980s has finally been recognized as a new tree species, called Coccoloba gigantifolia. As the tree’s specific epithet, the second part of its scientific name (“gigantifolia”), might signify, the tree has giant leaves. Each leaf can have a length of up to 8 feet. That’s right; this tree grows leaves that are larger than humans.
Hannah: That’s amazing! I can’t even imagine a leaf the size of me. In other news, I am sad to report that there are no more Sumatran rhinos left in Malaysia. The last one died earlier this week. Only approximately 80 Sumatran rhinos are left in the world, and they are all in Indonesia.
Jenna: That is absolutely heartbreaking. We need to do everything possible to protect those last rhinos.
Hannah: We also have some new this week about the humpback whale population that has skyrocketed to about 25,000. Previously, humpback whale populations hit a significant and scary lowpoint of 450 whales. It’s so wonderful to see scientific evidence that conservation efforts are having substantial, positive impacts.
Jenna: While this is a great success for humpback whales and conservationists, the work absolutely does not end here.
Hannah: You’ve got that right! And, not to mention, we should continue to support conservation efforts for other populations too.
Jenna: I’m glad you brought that up, Hannah. I was just reading about the United Kingdom’s plan to reintroduce beavers in two locations, south of England. Like the Sumatran rhinos that are now extinct in Malaysia, beavers in the UK became extinct in the 16th century due to hunting.
Hannah: Okay, help me understand here. How can animals be reintroduced into the wild if they are already extinct?
Jenna: Great question and something I should definitely clarify. In reference to both Malaysia rhinos and beavers, the species have gone extinct in a certain location, but they still exist in other locations.
Hannah: That makes sense!
Jenna: The National Trust plans to introduce Eurasian beavers into the UK. Both flood management and biodiversity enhancement are major goals of this reintroduction.
Hannah: Beavers are referred to as “natural engineers.” Their active dam building will be of great help in times of drier weather as well!
Jenna: Just another reason to keep these populations thriving!
Hannah: Exactly! To end us on a sweet note, make sure to check out the tear-jerking video of a puppy attempting to consol simba during the death of his father by rubbing its face and paws against the screen.
Jenna: *Sniff* *Sniff*
Hannah: Jenna, are you crying?
Jenna: No.. *sniff* I just.. *sniff* think my allergies are acting up again.
Hannah: Okay, if you say so! Until next week, our animal loving friends!
This week’s animal news:
Last Sumatran Rhino In Malaysia Dies from National Geographic
Humpback Whale Population Bounces Back From Near-Extinction – From Just 450, to Over 25,000 from Good News Network
Breaking! New Michigan Law Requires That Hens, Pigs & Calves Be Cage-free Beginning In 2024 from World Animal News
Cheetah Researchers Accused Of Spying Sentenced In Iran from National Geographic
This Is A Full-blown Crisis: Fighting Vulture Poisoning In Kenya from National Geographic
Dog Tries To Comfort Simba During Sad ‘Lion King’ Scene from The Dodo
Endangered red panda escapes zoo in south-east France from BBC News
World’s donkeys being ‘decimated’ by demand for Chinese medicine from The Guardian
Beavers to be reintroduced in Somerset and South Down from BBC News
Florida dog drives doughnuts in unmanned car before police rescue from The Guardian
Vegan Man Sues Burger King, Claiming It Cooks Impossible Whopper Next to Meat from The New York Times
How Not to Kill an Animal from The New York Times
Thank you to Karen Dawn from DawnWatch for being an excellent source for articles.
Photo credit to Jordan Butler from Unsplash