A life blog of nature, fashion, art and random whimsies. The title of this blog is dedicated to my favorite artist of all time, Alphonse Mucha. You can also check out my artwork at the sites below too. :)
Tibetan monks partner with conservationists to protect the snow leopard
by Jeremy Hance
Tibetan monks could be the key to safeguarding the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) from extinction, according to an innovative program by big cat NGO Panthera which is partnering with Buddhist monasteries deep in leopard territory. Listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, snow leopard populations have dropped by a fifth in the last 16 years or so. Large, beautiful, and almost never-seen, snow leopards are the apex predators of the high plateaus and mountains of central Asia, but their survival like so many big predators is in jeopardy.
Tom McCarthy the head of the Snow Leopard Program at Panthera told mongabay.com that the high-altitude predators are facing three major threats: poaching for illegal snow leopard skins, fur, and parts; decline in natural prey; and revenge killing by locals over livestock losses.
“Snow leopards share their mountain habitat with poor herding families whose lives are highly dependent on livestock,” McCarthy says. “When a snow leopard kills a sheep, goat, yak or even a young camel, it is a huge economic loss to the herder. It is hard to blame them for wanting to kill the snow leopard in retaliation.”…
(read more: MongaBay) (photo: Steve Winter/National Geo)
Aristotle (384–322 BC) reported a mysterious light, distinct from fire, emanating from decaying wood. Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) mentioned feasting on a glowing, sweet fungus found on trees in France and, in the late fifteenth century, a Dutch consul gave accounts of Indonesian peoples using fungal fruits to illuminate forest pathways. Bioluminescent fungi have intrigued generations of observers, and a handful of scientists still carry that torch of curiosity, answering questions about how and why these mushrooms glow.
Bioluminescence, light emitted by living organisms, has been verified in only 71 of the roughly 100,000 described species in the Kingdom Fungi. These 71 species belong to four distantly related lineages occurring throughout the world, with greatest abundance in the tropics. Conspicuous temperate species include: the Jack-o-Lantern mushrooms of Europe and the North America (Omphalotus illudens, O. olearius), the ghost fungus of Australia and Asia (O. nidiformis), the moon night mushroom of Japan (O. japonicus), and various species of honey mushrooms whose mycelium causes “foxfire”—the phenomenon of glowing wood noticed by Aristotle…