Thursday, January 23, 2014

Guest Blog: Snow Monkeys by Yoko Kobayashi

Catching up on sleep
A little heaven in Jigokudani (literally, the valley of hell) in Nagano Prefecture, where the Japanese macaques known as Snow Monkeys  for their amazing life in the cold northern most habitat. They are daily visitors to the Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park) managed by a private railway company and their knowledgeable staff, including the National Geographic's Nature's Best Grand Prize winning photographer.  

These Snow monkeys are the only known group of monkeys that bathe in hot springs: Inside the Park, there is a hot spring bath reserved exclusively for them and we can see families take warmth from it while grooming each other. They sleep in trees in the woods to avoid their predators, each night at a different location, and sleep is always so precious to them. In a safe environment inside the Park, they relax in the hot bath and doze off catching up on their sleep particularly on snowy cold winter nights when the cold disturbs their sleep. 

Nagano was once a location of the Winter Olympics, and is where winter lasts nearly six months from October to April.  The park is open all year round and is located at the foot of Shiga Kogen Heights surrounded by many well-known hot spring resorts like Yudanaka, Shibu and Kanbayashi.  

All photographs were taken by Yoko Kobayashi 

 February: Young monkeys

 playing in the snow.  

At the end of September, babies born in spring are about 4 to 5 months old and mothers care for them 24 hours with utmost care. 

It is cold in December:  This veteran mother is warming herself in the hot spring while her nearly two year old child in winter coat sits on her back avoiding getting wet. 

June, during the rainy season in Japan, 
baby macaques nibble on cedar leaves while playing with her peers.  

In March, temperature starts going up a bit: A baby being groomed by his Mom. 
In June, this newborn baby is barely two months old:  Newborns start exploring their surroundings but always by their mothers' side.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Will it never end??

Pictures and entire storyThis is a picture of Carolina Snowball in 1962. She was captured for the Miami Seaquarium in August of that year off the coast of South Carolina, which subsequently became the first state to ban the capture of marine mammals in their waters.

Carolina Snowball was a huge hit at the Seaquarium until she died in 1965, but they still saw an opportunity to make a buck off her, so they stuffed her and hung her body from the ceiling, and put one of those make-a-mold machines beneath her. When I was researching Dolphin Sky in 1985, she was still hanging there. When I went this year (again for research, which is the only reason I would spend a nickel at the marine mammal hell-hole,) Carolina Snowball's body was gone. I looked online and found the entire story of her capture with amazing photos of that event and her short life at the Seaquarium.
Carolina Snowball, the entire story

Flash forward 52 years to Taiji, Japan's annual round-up and slaughter of dolphins. (See the movie The Cove if you've just arrived from some other planet.) They captured this white dolphin calf. Story below. I don't know what else to say.
Albino Dolphin calf

Taiji slaughter

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Good
Here kitty, kitty

The Bad  
 The Life of Black Rhino auctioned

The Ugly
 The Dallas Safari Club
13709 Gamma Rd 
Dallas, TX 75244
Phone: (972) 980-9800 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Still in the land of the Living

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post. The time has been spent trying to finish the novel I'm working on and get is sent off to NY. I'm close. 

A friend sent  this video. I'm always reminded of how much we credit ourselves with superior intelligence and discount the intelligence of "lesser" creatures. Try to imagine a crow's brain a hairless ape. You'll get what I mean after you watch the video.

Incredible Crows
Incredible crows