Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus).

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The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is a large bear, approximately the same size as the omnivorous Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi). A boar (adult male) weighs around 350–700 kg (770–1,540 lb),while a sow (adult female) is about half that size.

Although it is the sister species of the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals which make up most of its diet.Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time at sea. Their scientific name means “maritime bear”, and derives from this fact. Polar bears hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present.

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Polar bears roam the Arctic ice sheets and swim in that region’s coastal waters. They are very strong swimmers, and their large front paws, which they use to paddle, are slightly webbed. Some polar bears have been seen swimming hundreds of miles from land—though they probably cover most of that distance by floating on sheets of ice.

Polar bears live in one of the planet’s coldest environments and depend on a thick coat of insulated fur, which covers a warming layer of fat. Fur even grows on the bottom of their paws, which protects against cold surfaces and provides a good grip on ice. The bear’s stark white coat provides camouflage in surrounding snow and ice. But under their fur, polar bears have black skin—the better to soak in the sun’s warming rays.

These powerful predators typically prey on seals. In search of this quarry they frequent areas of shifting, cracking ice where seals may surface to breathe air. They also stalk ice edges and breathing holes. If the opportunity presents itself, polar bears will also consume carcasses, such as those of dead whales. These Arctic giants are the masters of their environment and have no natural enemies.

Females den by digging into deep snow drifts, which provide protection and insulation from the Arctic elements. They give birth in winter, usually to twins. Young cubs live with their mothers for some 28 months to learn the survival skills of the far north. Females aggressively protect their young, but receive no help from their solitary male mates. In fact, male polar bears may even kill young of their species.

Polar bears are attractive and appealing, but they are powerful predators that do not typically fear humans, which can make them dangerous. Near human settlements, they often acquire a taste for garbage, bringing bears and humans into perilous proximity.

Polar Bear Status Report

Biologists estimate there are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears. About 60% of those live in Canada. Polar bears are also found in the U.S. (Alaska), Russia, Greenland, and Norway (Svalbard).

In May 2008, the U.S listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, citing sea ice losses in the Arctic from global warming as the single biggest threat to polar bears. Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting, breeding, and in some cases, denning. In recent years, summer sea ice losses in the Arctic have been accelerating.

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group also lists sea ice losses from a warming Arctic as the biggest threat to polar bear survival. At their 2013 meeting, scientists reported that of the 19 subpopulations of polar bears:

4 are declining
5 are stable
1 is increasing
9 have insufficient data

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 Polar bear distribution map world wide.

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“Global warming is no longer a philosophical threat, no longer a future threat, no longer a threat at all. It’s our reality” ~ Bill McKibben

 

Birds of the world.

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Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we’ll soon be in trouble. ~ Roger Tory Petersonpictures-of-beautiful-birds

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The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air. ~ Wilbur Wright

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The coyote (US Canis latrans).

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The coyote (US Canis latrans), also known as the American jackal, brush wolf, or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States, and Canada. It occurs as far north as Alaska and all but the northernmost portions of Canada. Currently, 19 subspecies are recognized.

The coyote evolved in North America during the Pleistocene epoch 1.8 million years ago (mya), alongside the now extinct dire wolf. It fills roughly the same ecological niche in the Americas that is filled in Eurasia and Africa by the similarly sized canids called jackals, among which the coyote is sometimes counted. Its closest living relative is however the gray wolf, which affects coyote populations both by harsh intraguild predation and occasional interbreeding; the eastern coyote (Canis latrans var.) contains significant percentages of Canis lupus lycaon ancestry.Unlike the wolf, the coyote’s range has expanded in the wake of human civilization, and coyotes readily reproduce in metropolitan areas.

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The coyote appears often in the tales and traditions of Native Americans—usually as a very savvy and clever beast. Modern coyotes have displayed their cleverness by adapting to the changing American landscape. These members of the dog family once lived primarily in open prairies and deserts, but now roam the continent’s forests and mountains. They have even colonized cities like Los Angeles, and are now found over most of North America. Coyote populations are likely at an all-time high.

These adaptable animals will eat almost anything. They hunt rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, and even deer. They also happily dine on insects, snakes, fruit, grass, and carrion. Because they sometimes kill lambs, calves, or other livestock, as well as pets, many ranchers and farmers regard them as destructive pests.

Coyotes are formidable in the field where they enjoy keen vision and a strong sense of smell. They can run up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) an hour. In the fall and winter, they form packs for more effective hunting.

Coyotes form strong family groups. In spring, females den and give birth to litters of three to twelve pups. Both parents feed and protect their young and their territory. The pups are able to hunt on their own by the following fall.

Coyotes are smaller than wolves and are sometimes called prairie wolves or brush wolves. They communicate with a distinctive call, which at night often develops into a raucous canine chorus.

Conservation status: 
The Coyote has a wide distribution throughout North America, Mexico and into Central America. They are abundant throughout their range and are increasing in distribution as humans continue to modify the landscape. The species is very versatile, especially in their ability to exploit human modified environments.
History:
2004 – Least Concern
Did you know?

Coyotes are very good swimmers. In areas of the northeast United States, where coyotes have migrated since the 20th century, the animals have colonized the Elizabeth Islands of Massachusetts.

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The coyote (US Canis latrans) distribution map world wide.

Killing off the Coyotes.

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“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”1

In his book, Rewriting the Family Script, Roger Hillerstrom shares how “a small, Midwestern town once sponsored a coyote hunt because so many farmers were losing chickens to the predators. Fifteen hundred coyotes were killed over a single weekend.

“However, within a few months the entire community was overrun with rodents, because their natural enemy, the coyote, had been eliminated. A year after that, the rodents weren’t much of a problem, but the rattlesnakes were! Because there were so many rats and mice for them to eat, the poisonous snakes had reproduced rapidly.

“At that point, the chickens were safe, but the humans were in danger! You see, the coyotes had been an important part of the environmental system—the food chain. When one part of that system changed, other parts adapted to the new reality.”2

When we as individuals, groups, or societies and even some churches get rid of God’s Word, the Ten Commandments, and overthrow God’s standards to do as we please, and seek to throw out God himself, the seeds of our ultimate destruction are sown. God is not mocked. In time, we all reap what we have sown.

As the Apostle Paul exhorted the Christians in Corinth: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men [and women] of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”3

prayer: “Dear God, amid the ever increasing pressure in our society to get rid of anything to do with the Bible and with you, please help me to be on my guard, be strong, and stand firm in my Christian faith. And help me to so live that others, seeing Jesus in me, will want him for themselves. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. Galatians 6:7 (NKJV).
2. P. Roger Hillerstrom, Rewriting the Family Script, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Fleming H. Revell, 1995), p. 19.

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Amazing Love.

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“The Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread, and after He had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you.’ ” —1 Corinthians 11:23-24

God became a human being. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14). The Lord emptied Himself (Phil 2:7). He became like us in all things but sin (Heb 4:15). God became a human embryo, baby, toddler, little child, teenager, etc. God washed the feet of His disciples (Jn 13:5) and continues to do so today (see Heb 13:8). God emptied and humbled Himself even to death on a cross (Phil 2:8).
Then the God-Man did the unthinkable. He emptied and humbled Himself to the point that He gave us His body and blood, His soul and divinity under the appearances of bread and wine. In the Eucharist, Jesus, Who had emptied Himself of His divinity, now appears to have emptied Himself even of His humanity. When Jesus took a piece of bread and a cup of wine and said: “This is My body. This is My blood” (see 1 Cor 11:24, 25), He uttered one of the most shocking statements ever made.
Why the Incarnation? Why the Crucifixion? Why the Eucharist? “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). “God is Love” (1 Jn 4:16). Love Him.

Prayer: God, Love incarnate (1 Jn 4:16), I decide to love You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength (Lk 10:27). May I love You with all my life, as You mean “all.”
Promise: “This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the Lord, as a perpetual institution.” —Ex 12:14
Praise: “O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”

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The snow leopard (Uncia uncia)

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The snow leopard (Panthera uncia syn. Uncia uncia) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because as of 2003, the size of the global population was estimated at 4,080-6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 individuals may reproduce in the wild.

Snow leopards inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations. In other words, Snow leopards are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia—but their population is dropping.

Taxonomically, the snow leopard was classified as Uncia uncia since the early 1930s.Based on genotyping studies, the cat is considered a member of the genus Panthera since 2008. Two subspecies have been attributed, but genetic differences between the two have not been settled.

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These rare, beautiful gray leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia. They are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Snow leopards have powerful legs and are tremendous leapers, able to jump as far as 50 feet (15 meters). They use their long tails for balance and as blankets to cover sensitive body parts against the severe mountain chill.

Snow leopards prey upon the blue sheep (bharal) of Tibet and the Himalaya, as well as the mountain ibex found over most of the rest of their range. Though these powerful predators can kill animals three times their weight, they also eat smaller fare, such as marmots, hares, and game birds.

One Indian snow leopard, protected and observed in a national park, is reported to have consumed five blue sheep, nine Tibetan woolly hares, twenty-five marmots, five domestic goats, one domestic sheep, and fifteen birds in a single year.

As these numbers indicate, snow leopards sometimes have a taste for domestic animals, which has led to killings of the big cats by herders.

These endangered cats appear to be in dramatic decline because of such killings, and due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.

RETALIATORY KILLINGS
Snow leopards are often killed by local farmers because they prey on livestock such as sheep, goats, horses, and yak calves. The animals which snow leopards would typically hunt—such as the Argali sheep—are also hunted by local communities. As their natural prey becomes harder to find, snow leopards are forced to kill livestock for survival.

HABITAT FRAGMENTATION
The snow leopard habitat range continues to decline from human settlement and increased use of grazing space. This development increasingly fragments the historic range of the species.

CONSERVATION STATUS
Numerous agencies are working to conserve the snow leopard and its threatened mountain ecosystems. These include the Snow Leopard Trust, the Snow Leopard Conservancy, the Snow Leopard Network, the Cat Specialist Group and the Panthera Corporation. These groups and numerous national governments from the snow leopard’s range, nonprofits and donors from around the world recently worked together at the 10th International Snow Leopard Conference in Beijing. Their focus on research, community programs in snow leopard regions, and education programs are aimed at understanding the cat’s needs, as well as the needs of the villagers and herder communities affecting snow leopards’ lives and habitat.

POPULATION AND PROTECTED AREAS

The total wild population of the snow leopard was estimated at 4,510 to 7,350 individuals. Many of these estimates are rough and outdated.

In 1972, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the snow leopard on its Red List of Threatened Species as globally “Endangered”; the same threat category was applied in the assessment conducted in 2008.

There are also approximately 600 snow leopards in zoos around the world including at zoo d’Amnéville, France, National zoo in Washington DC and others. The snow leopard is highly elusive and an exact count is hard to come by. There are believed to be fewer than 7,000 in the wild and these numbers continue to decline. Snow leopards are symbols for the wild places they inhabit. As a top predator, their presence is an important indicator of the health of their environment.

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The snow leopard (Uncia uncia) Distribution Map world wide.

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