“I think they definitely did some clean-up before we arrived,” Fobar says of her visit. “It reminded me a lot of a regular Midwest farm, but instead of cows and chickens, it was lions, tigers, panthers, and other wildlife. It was bizarre seeing them behind wire fencing like that.”
She continues: “And, of course, we found out later that they were hiding their most sick animals from us—along with the bodies of at least 20 dead big cats.”
With Sunday’s announcement, all of this will come to an end. Fobar reports that South Africa will no longer issue permits to breed, keep, interact with, or hunt captive lions, and it’s also revoking all existing permits to breed lions. We don’t know yet what will happen to the thousands of lions living in captivity. They can’t be released into the wild because they wouldn’t know how to survive. It’s likely many will be euthanized.
Note: Our Wildlife Watch unit, funded by the National Geographic Societh, shines a light on the commercial exploitation of wildlife and other valued resources. Learn more about the Society’s support of Explorers highlighting and protecting critical species.
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|TODAY IN A MINUTE|
What we could learn from chimps: The moms dote. The sons show affection back. For decades. “About a third of adult males are essentially best friends with their mothers,” Harvard’s Rachna Reddy, co-author of a new study on chimpanzee motherhood, tells Nat Geo. See these photos of moments between animal mothers and babies.
Are city squirrels bolder? That may be the wrong question, researchers say. It’s true that some squirrels have become more accustomed to humans, but studies have shown that their willingness to respond to all threats had not lessened, Discover magazine reports.
A horse, leading others to water: Credit wild horses and donkeys with helping other species in the U.S. southwest. New research from the Mojave Desert shows the animals dig down six inches or more to create “mini-oases” to quench their thirst—and that of 50-some other types of animals. Nat Geo’s Douglas Main employed that tactic himself in an Arizona desert when he was drenched with a foul-smelling chemical from a shimmery green beetle. “Too far removed from any faucet, I had to improvise. So I dug into the dry riverbed about a foot, until I hit water, and was able to wash the scent away,” Main wrote in this story.
All ants aren’t alike: Photographer Eduard Florin Niga shows (and tells) the bountiful variety of ants throughout the world—through images of their heads. Among the species collected in a new book is the giant turtle ant, Cephalotes atratus, sometimes called “the Darth Vader of the ant world.” We’ll have more on this effort in our Photography newsletter on Saturday, but for now, see the photos!
|INSTAGRAM PHOTO OF THE DAY|
|PHOTOGRAPH BY @DOUG_GIMESYShe’s small now … but Milani, a baby greater glider, should grow to become an adult member of Australia’s largest gliding mammal species. The animals can glide more than 300 feet and change direction by 90 degrees mid-flight. Deliberate tree-cutting and bushfires have cut the habitat for the greater gliders, now listed as vulnerable to extinction. Doug Gimesy photographed Milani at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, on Australia’s east coast.|
Koalas on the run: Australia’s fires have hurt these distinctive marsupials, too
|IN A FEW WORDS|
From: Trillions of cicadas are coming to the U.S. Here’s why that’s a good thing.
|THE BIG TAKEAWAY|
|PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM AND JAMIE DUTCHERPlaying hardball: Humans wiped out nearly all the gray wolves in the United States nine decades ago. Over the past quarter-century, the species has been reintroduced to Idaho and gradually grown in number. Now state lawmakers have voted to kill 90 percent of them, citing their danger to livestock, Douglas Main reports. On Monday, a conservation group asked the U.S. government to hold back millions of dollars to Idaho if the bill is signed by the governor, the AP reports. (Pictured above, a gray wolf in a wildflower meadow.)|
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|THE LAST GLIMPSE|