Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Peccary

Peccaries are medium-sized animals found in the Americas. They have a strong, superficial resemblance to pigs. Like pigs, they have a snout ending in a cartilagenous disc, and eyes that are small relative to their head. Also like pigs, they use only the middle two digits for walking, although, unlike pigs, the other toes may be altogether absent. Their stomach is non-ruminating, although it has three chambers, and is more complex than that of pigs.

Peccaries are omnivores, and will eat small animals, although their preferred food consists of roots, grass, seeds, and fruit. One of the ways to tell apart pigs and peccaries is the shape of the canine tooth, or tusk. In European pigs the tusk is long and curves around on itself, whereas in peccaries, the tusk is short and straight. The jaws and tusks of peccaries are adapted for crushing hard seeds and slicing into plant roots, and they also use their tusks for defense. The dental formula for peccaries is:

By rubbing the tusks together they can make a chattering noise that warns potential predators not to get too close. Peccaries, indeed, are aggressive enough in temperament that, unlike Eurasian pigs, they cannot be domesticated as they are likely to injure humans. Indeed in recent years in North-western Bolivia near Madidi National Park there have been reports of people being seriously injured and killed by large groups of peccaries.

Peccaries are social animals, and often form herds. Over 100 individuals have been recorded for a single herd of white-lipped peccaries, but collared and Chacoan peccaries usually form smaller groups. Such social behavior seems to have been the situation in extinct peccaries as well.

Peccaries have scent glands below each eye and another on their back, though these are believed to be rudimentary in Pecari maximus. They use the scent to mark herd territories, which range from 75 to 700 acres (2.8 km2). They also mark other herd members with these scent glands by rubbing one against another. The pungent odor allows peccaries to recognize other members of the herd, despite their myopic vision.

Click here to listen to the interview with Melbourne Zoo Keeper, Curtis Prouting.

For more information on Melbourne Zoo, please visit
Lughnasadh or Lammas comes between 31st Jan and 1st Feb in the Southern Hemisphere.

It is a hot, lazy, delicious time of the year. Bees buzz in the heat of the day, the air is still, and the force of the sun remains strong, even though its sway over the earth is slowly diminishing day by day. In the cooler nighttime, frogs and crickets keep us company. It is here, in the gloaming, when so many rituals begin.......

This is when the powerful gods of the grain harvests are honored. They are in their prime, sometimes generous, sometimes quixotic, and always aware with a bittersweet pleasure that their time will wane, as it always does, and they will die, as they always do, and yet nevertheless they will return to another delicious summer next year, as they always do, and have, and will, for this is the endlessly circling Wheel of the Year, and they ride it proudly.

Click here to listen to the interview with Lady Tamara von Forslun about Lughnasadh, in the past and it's relevance today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hale Dwoskin - Letting Go of Emotional Baggage

It’s amazing how we can let our past affect our lives….We are wary of a new partner after a past rocky relationship…we don’t go to a new job position because we were looked over last time….and our self esteem is based on how our parents spoke to us as children.

My next guest is someone who helps people deal with the past.

Hale Dwoskin, is a New York Times Best-Selling author of The Sedona Method, and co-author of the best-selling Happiness Is Free (a five-book series). He is the CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates, an organization that teaches courses based on the emotional releasing techniques originated by his mentor, Lester Levenson. Hale is an international speaker is also one of the 24 featured teachers of the book and movie phenomenon, “The Secret.”

Click here to listen to the full interview with Hale, including where he takes you through a simple Sedona Method.

Click here
to listen to the simple Sedona Method exercise.

For more information including how to email Hale to get him to come and run seminars in Australia, please visit

The Caracal Cat

The Caracal is a fiercely territorial medium-sized cat.

The Caracal is labelled as a small cat, but is amongst the heaviest of all small cats, as well as the fastest. Males typically weigh about 13-18 kg (28-40 lbs), while females are smaller. The Caracal is 65 cm in length (about two ft), plus 30 cm tail (about 1 foot). It has longer legs and a slimmer appearance than a lynx. The colour of the fur is variable: it may be wine-red, grey or sand-coloured. Melanistic (black) Caracals also occur. Young Caracals bear reddish spots on the underside; adults do not have markings except for black spots above the eyes.
The most conspicuous feature of the Caracal is elongated, tufted black ears, which also explain the origin of its name – karakulak, Turkish for "black ear". Its ears, which it uses to locate prey, are controlled by 20 different muscles.

The Caracal is distributed over Africa and western Asia. Its habitat is dry steppes and semi-deserts, but also include woodlands, savanna, and scrub forest. It is a solitary, or paired, territorial cat. The Caracal may survive without drinking for a long period — the water demand is satisfied with the body fluids of its prey.

It hunts at night (but in colder seasons also in the daytime) for rodents and hares; rarely it may even attack a gazelle, a small antelope or a young ostrich. It is a picky eater, and discards the internal organs of the mammals it catches, partially plucks the fur off hyraxes and larger kills, and avoids eating hair by shearing meat neatly from the skin. However, it will eat the feathers of small birds and is tolerant of rotten meat.

It is most well-known for its skill at hunting birds; the Caracal is able to snatch a bird in flight, sometimes more than one at a time. The Caracal can jump and climb exceptionally well, which enables it to catch hyraxes better than probably any other carnivore. Its life expectancy in the wild is 12 years, or 17 years in captivity. Since it is also surprisingly easy to tame, it has been used as a hunting cat in Iran and India.

Because it is so easily tamed, the Caracal is sometimes kept as a pet, and is said to adapt easily to living with humans. It is often viewed as vermin by farmers in Africa because it frequently climbs over fences to eat poultry such as chickens.
The Caracal is almost impossible to see in the wild, not because there are very few of them, but because it hides extremely well. Game drives in countries such as Kenya and Botswana widely encounter other animals, but a sighting of a Caracal is extremely rare.

Click here to listen to the interview with Melbourne Zoo Keeper Rebecca Jupp.

For more information on the great things happening at Melbourne Zoo, please visit

Good News! A Win For The Murray Red Gums

In a spectacular New Year’s gift to the environment, Premier Brumby announced the protection of 95,000 hectares of river red gum wetlands in Victoria including four new National Parks along the Murray, Goulburn and Ovens rivers in northern Victoria.

The commitment by the Victorian government is one of the most significant conservation decisions in the state’s history and follows years of work by The Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth and the Victorian National Parks Association.

The commitment by the Victorian government to protect 95,000 hectares of river red gum wetlands in Victoria is one of the most significant conservation decisions in the state’s history.

Key aspects of the decision include;

The declaration of four new National Parks and extensions to the Murray-Sunset and Terrick-Terrick National Parks, totaling over 95,000 hectares;

1. The new Barmah National Park will be the first in Victoria to be jointly managed with traditional owners, the Yorta Yorta people;

2. Logging will be reduced by around 70% and will cease in the new National parks;

3. Cattle grazing will be cease in the new National Parks.

The decision is based on strong scientific evidence and extensive community consultation by the Victorian Environment Assessment Commission (VEAC), who recommended the urgent need for red gum protection after studies revealed that 75% of river red gums are stressed, dead or dying.

Protecting red gum wetlands;

1. Reduces climate change – Red gum forests are huge carbon stores and protecting them from logging means less CO2 is released into the atmosphere. Red gum national parks will also improve wildlife habitat, giving them a better chance of adapting to climate change.

2. Protects habitat for threatened wildlife - Almost 300 threatened and endangered plants and animals including the Murray Cod, Squirrel Glider and Barking Owl depend on red gum forests. Migratory birds such as the Japanese Snipe and Spine-tailed Swift migrate all the way from north Asia and every year millions of waterbirds from around the world use the red gum wetlands as breeding sites;

3. Improves the health of the Murray – Protecting red gum wetlands gives relief to the stressed Murray Darling system and improves water quality by acting as giant water filters.

The Wilderness Society will now work to protect Red Gum forests on the NSW side of the Murray and urges the NSW government to follow the excellent example set by Victorian Premier John Brumby in protecting red gum forests and wetlands.

Click here to listen to the interview with Jess Abrahams from The Wilderness Society talk about the good news.

For more information please visit The Wilderness Society's website at

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Sumatran tiger, numbering fewer than 400 individuals in the wild, is found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the last stronghold for tigers in Indonesia.

Tigers were also once widespread on Bali and Java; however these two subspecies were exterminated in the 20th century. The last observation in Bali dates back to the late 1930s, and the Javan tiger was recorded for the last time during a survey in 1976. There have been no confirmed records since.
Click here to listen to the interview with Damian Lewis, Supervisor of the Rainforest Department at Melbourne Zoo about Sumatran Tigers.
For more information about all the great things happening at Melbourne Zoo visit

Should we be scared of Sharks? Or should they be scared of us?

Richard Fitzpatrick is a researcher and film maker who we've worked with very closely on our Coral Sea campaign.

Richard has a new film premiering on the 18th on Discovery Channel (Mysteries of the Shark Coast), as part of Discovery's Shark Week (18th - 24th). The film tracks to lives of lots of different sharks in the Coral Sea like tiger sharks, grey sharks and white tip reef sharks. WWF are working with Discovery Channel on Shark Week to help educate people about sharks - they're incredible creatures and shouldn't be feared.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dr. Fred Alan Wolf talks about Quantum Physics

Fred Alan Wolf is a physicist, writer, and lecturer who earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at UCLA in 1963. He continues to write, lecture throughout the world, and conduct research on the relationship of quantum physics to consciousness. He is the National Book Award Winning author of Taking the Quantum Leap. Today he takes the time to explain a bit about Quantum Physics.

Click here to listen to his interview.