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Dolphin Army - National Geographic Channel - AsiaWe use first and third party cookies to improve our service, personalize your advertising and remember your website preference. A unique insight into the natural world, the environment and the amazing creatures that inhabit it. Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites. Biologically rich Southeast Asia is the top exporter of legal wildlife trade, with the U.S. Update: After this article was published, the Malaysian Parliament passed the Wildlife Conservation Act, the first major wildlife law overhaul in the country since 1972.
On September 14, 1998, a thin, bespectacled Malaysian named Wong Keng Liang walked off Japan Airlines Flight 12 at Mexico City International Airport.
To Morrison and his team, Anson Wong was the catch of a lifetime—the world's most wanted smuggler of endangered species.
During my stint in India last year, I did not journey across the Silliguri corridor to northeast India’s seven sister states. Unlike most foreigners visiting the Bengal region, I was not in search of an Indian rhino, Indian elephant or even a Bengal tiger in the wilds of South Asia. Records indicate that Assam may have supported as many as 80,000 western hoolock gibbons in the 1970’s and estimates suggest that as few as 5,000-6,000 individuals survive in the tropical and sub-tropical evergreen forests of the protected area. The region’s flora includes some broad-leafed species and coniferous species, but deciduous and scrub forest is uncommon in the sanctuary.  Mangrove forests are entirely absent.
Ron studied the foraging and nutritional ecology of hoolocks and found that similar to other gibbon species, which are also arboreal and diurnal, the hoolock is a frugivorous species.  It is in part through Ron’s field investigations that we learned just how much gibbons like figs among available foods.
Members of this primate family (Hylobatidae) are what you and I would most probably call gibbons, but as mentioned, scientists might commonly call them lesser apes.
As a taxonomic group, gibbons include, by far, the most endangered of primate species and mammals, for that matter, on Earth. The late Alan Mootnick, founder of the Gibbon Conservation Center (GCC) in Santa Clarita, California, which is outside of Los Angeles, was instrumental in taxonomic reclassification of the hoolock gibbon. The Gibbon Conservation Center currently houses a family of eastern hoolock gibbons among its resident apes. The center works with captive wildlife facilities around the world to help secure a healthy and sustainable captive gene pool. North American zoos have decided to focus conservation breeding efforts on Javan, white-handed, white-cheeked and siamang.
My colleague Ronda Schwetz, a captive primate husbandry expert and Director of the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin said she hopes her work and that of her colleagues with umbrella species in Southeast Asia, like orangutans and sun bears, “positively impacts gibbons,” which she considers undervalued and immensely charismatic. Surrounded by the six other sister states, Assam defines the Brahmaputra and Barak river valleys, an expanse of land comprised of over 30,000 square miles. Known for conservation efforts, which ultimately saved the Indian rhinoceros from extinction and as a remnant and last wild place that can call the Indian elephant home, the state of Assam has emerged as an ecotourism destination.
I toured the Gibbon Conservation Center a few weeks ago with a small party that included actress and recognized primate conservation activist Charlotte Ross.
Charlotte got an opportunity to observe Alma Rodriguez demonstrate the hand-rearing and reintroduction techniques followed by the GCC. Alma, a staff member at the GCC, was feeding the infant outside of an enclosure with both gibbon parents looking on. Impressed by the husbandry standards of the facility, Farrah said, “The exemplary care provided by the staff, speaks to the organization’s commitment to both the welfare of their individual captive residents and conservation of wild populations, as some of the gibbons at the GCC could be candidates to be reintroduced to the wild. Sadly, wild populations of hoolock gibbons require human action and intervention for their continued survival.
A declining wild population of approximately 500 individuals prompted the development of a conservation breeding centre, which was established in 2007 as part of ‘National Hoolock Gibbon Conservation and Breeding and Rehabilitation Programme’ at Biological Park, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. Note from Jay Petersen, Curator of Carnivores and Primates at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo.

Zoos strive to be educational and inspirational and to create an appreciation for wildlife and the natural world, which fosters support for conservation initiatives.
National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices. Society Field Inspection 2016: Gulf of CaliforniaDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work. Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi.
With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa. In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave.
Dingoes, though generally associated with Australia, likely originated from Southeast Asia and were introduced to Australia about 3,000 years ago. The loss of animal species is irreversible and potentially catastrophic, not to mention heartrendingly sad. Find out what National Geographic Society is doing to save animals all over the world, and learn what you can do to help. At the archaeological site called Huanbei Shang City, a young girl peeks at the excavation of the largest building ever discovered from the Shang dynasty, which ruled on China's Yellow River plain from about 1600 to 1045 b.c.
With 3000 members, meet the Dolphin Army.Fast and efficient, an ocean legion is on the move.
You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website. He was dressed in faded blue jeans, a light-blue jacket, and a T-shirt emblazoned with a white iguana head. His arrest, involving authorities in Australia,Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States, was a hard-won victory, the culmination of a half-decade-long undercover operation still widely considered the most successful international wildlife investigation ever. Ron Tilson began studying early in his career that launched his interest in the megafauna of this region and subsequent conservation efforts for the Bengal tiger.  Ron passed away last year, and it was in writing this tribute to him that I learned of his early work with hoolock gibbons. In fact, the western hoolock gibbon was ranked as one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world as recent as 2009. After all, it is closely related to humans and other hominids and yet few people could probably name how many species exist, much less provide the name of any individual species. Beside humans, the western and eastern hoolock gibbons are the only extant apes occurring as far north and west in the Eastern Hemisphere as northeast, India.
The Center is dedicated to providing sanctuary for gibbons in need of life long care and propagation of rare gibbon species. This includes participation in the American Zoo & Aquarium Association’s Species Survival Programs for the taxon.
Species like the gray or Mueller’s gibbons, which Nat Geo’s own Joel Sartore recently featured in a piece on endangered zoo animals, are being phased out of breeding programs in favor of more endangered gibbon species. Assam and the other six sister states of the region are accessed in country via the Siliguri corridor. Awadhesh Kumar and Jikom Panor from the Hoolock Gibbon Conservation Breeding Centre in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India presented a paper at The 1st International Gibbon Husbandry Conference in June of 2012. Shirley McGreal via an email correspondence about recent efforts to restock western hoolock gibbons through the help of the Sonja Wildlife Rescue Center’s HURO Program based out of the Forest Complex, Dakopgre, 794001 Tura, Meghalaya, India.
Jay coordinates all gibbon conservation breeding programs for the North American-based Association of Zoos and Aquariums. As products of the natural world, ourselves, we are enchanted with wildlife and dependent upon nature, beyond our understanding.   Despite our fascination with wildlife and nature it seems to remain our human endeavor to create an unprecedented disruption and loss of natural habitats and ecosystems.
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To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016. The Australian animals may be descendents of Asian dingoes that were introduced to the continent some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.These golden or reddish-colored canids may live alone (especially young males) or in packs of up to ten animals. But their tenure in paradise is perilously close to its end; only about 1,100 seals remain in the wild.
The structure might have been a palace, suggesting that this area once served as the Shang capital. George Morrison, lead agent for Special Operations, the elite, five-person undercover unit of the U.S. Nonetheless, I was eager to visit Assam—the centralized state in the northeast region of the country. Jane Goodall would prefer that primatologists and primate enthusiasts refrain from labeling them with what was once such commonly used nomenclature. The gibbons, almost all of which were once classified in the genus Hylobates, may not be as well known as the great apes, but they are no less charismatic. The facility currently houses approximately 40 gibbons, representing four genera and five species.
Abutting Nepal to the north and Bangladesh to the south, this strip of land, at it’s narrowest, is only 14 miles wide. Alma brought the infant to his mother, monitoring their interactions closely, allowing them to maintain their bond. The authors asserted that eastern hoolock gibbons are subjected to several anthropogenic threats, including expanding tea plantations, other agriculture activities and deforestation.
The future for the hoolock gibbons is uncertain, but efforts are clearly underway to save them. They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society. They roam great distances and communicate with wolf-like howls.Dingo hunting is opportunistic. The Chindwin River in Burma is considered a natural boundary to gene flow between the two species. Filmed over 3 years during the spectacular Sardine Run along the eastern coast of South Africa, Peter Lamberti and his team have filmed one of the fastest predators in the ocean – the Common Dolphin. Within seconds of his arrest, Anson (the name by which Wong is known to wildlife traffickers and wildlife law enforcement officers around the world) was whisked downstairs in handcuffs by Mexican federales, to be held in the country's largest prison, the infamous Reclusorio Norte. The Chindwin flows into the famous Irrawady River, which is known for the Irrawady River dolphins. Using the advanced underwater technology, we follow a small herd of female dolphins as they battle shark threats, raise their calves and journey towards the greatest feeding opportunity in the ocean. They also scavenge from humans, particularly in their Asian range.Dingoes breed only once a year. Females typically give birth to about five pups, which are not independent until six to eight months of age.
In packs, a dominant breeding female will kill the offspring of other females.Australia is home to so many of these animals that they are generally considered pests.
A famous "dingo fence" has been erected to protect grazing lands for the continent's herds of sheep. It is likely that more dingoes live in Australia today than when Europeans first arrived.Though dingoes are numerous, their pure genetic strain is gradually being compromised.

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