Archive for November 2012

Lemming Ice Age Speciation Article

November 29, 2012

Here is a summary of a recently published article on lemming speciation, which may have implications for larger fauna:

“A team of researchers studying the effects of ice ages on Europe’s small mammal populations has discovered that there have been several genetically distinct populations of lemmings over time. By examining DNA from fossils in cave sites in Belgium, the researchers were able to study the lemming populations during the Late Pleistocene, the era from 11 700 to around 126 000 years ago. Team member Ian Barnes of Royal Holloway University in the UK said that the researchers had originally expected to find a single species of lemming whose population had varied. Instead they found that each ice age was followed by the wholesale replacement of the previous lemming population with a new, genetically distinct population, probably from Eastern Europe or Russia, that recolonized the area. Studying the instability in the population of a small mammal that would not have been hunted by humans may help scientists understand the fates of larger animals that disappeared from Europe during the same time period. Whether megafauna species were hunted to extinction or whether environmental changes were responsible has been a matter of open debate.”

This link takes you there:

Charles Hood, Palmdale California

Cheetahs On The Edge – Director’s Cut

November 28, 2012

This National Geo film is fun Combining the resources of National Geographic and the Cincinnati Zoo, and drawing on the skills of a Hollywood action movie crew, they documented these amazing cats in a way that’s never been done before. Using a Phantom camera filming at 1200 frames per second while zooming beside a sprinting cheetah, the team captured every nuance of the cat’s movement as it reached top speeds of 60+ miles per hour.


Invitation to Join me on a Mammal extravaganza in Gujarat and Tadoba

November 27, 2012

India has always been a firm favorite of mine and I can’t tell you how exited I have been with putting together this return trip for end feb 2013. This is a twin centre trip focusing on Gujarat and Tadoba tiger reserve.

We have two people, myself included who are ready to commit to this trip (along with a couple of others who have expressed an interest) but ideally I am looking for others to join me who are willing to make a commitment soon. In particular it would really help if there were another single lady who would be  willing to share a room to avoid the single room supplement.

If any of you are interested in this trip, with the focus being primarily on Asiatic lion, wolf, leopard, striped hyena, wild ass, blackbuck etc in Gujarat and sloth bear, tigers and dhole in Tadoba, and a host of other mammal and birdlife, please let me know.

My good friend Jo Thomas (Wild About Travel) is organising the trip so we know we will be in safe hands.

The itinerary is all laid out in the attached document with prices etc. Flights are not included so will also need to be factored in.

As an added incentive, if you can book by the 15th December, you will receive £100 discount on the listed price.

I should add, I am not a tour leader, just someone who would like to open this trip up to others in order to save some costs. 🙂

The sites in Gujarat are well known to anyone who has researched a trip to that area. We will be going to the Little Rann of Kutch, for the Asiatic wild ass and myriad of birdlife, we will spend time in Gir National Park focusing on the Asiatic lion, and also Velavadar which is a great site for Indian grey wolf and striped hyena. We have chosen some very well placed accommodation. For instance, Indian grey wolf has been seen in the grounds of Blackbuck lodge in Velavader.

For me, no trip to India is complete without a chance to see Tiger! We have chosen Tadoba for this trip, which is less well known. After a lot of consideration, we settled on Tadoba as it has delivered consistently amazing tiger sightings this year (from first hand reports) and is also delivering excellent sightings of dhole and sloth bear. Leopard has also been seen fairly frequently. Tadoba is also likely to be much quieter in terms of vehicles in comparison to e.g. Bandhavgarh and Kanha. In fact, as Tiger Trails resort is situated with it’s own entrance to the park, people have reported having the park to themselves for the first hour or so- something that never happens in the other more well known parks. We will be staying at both Tiger Trails and another resort in the area to explore the different parts of the park.

Tigers Lions Hyenas and Wolves tour Feb March 2013 small group final -1


New Trip Report – Brazil

November 26, 2012

Phil Telfer has just sent through an exciting report of a trip to Brazil- 2 weeks with 30 or more species, the highlight though most undoubtedly a Giant Armadillo! As well as a Margay, Yellow and Southern Naked-tailed Armadillos, White-lipped Peccaries, Jaguar and more.

The report is linked under the “other trip reports” section at the bottom of this page.


Madagascar Mora Mora

November 26, 2012

Hi Folks,

Jon has kindly set me up with an account. So hopefully this will be the first of many posts. So a little about me. My name is Jo and I’ve been a regular contributor on Safaritalk and bird forum amongst other places. I also have my own website, which I used initially to showcase my wargames miniatures but more recently as a travel blog (though I must confess that I need to update this as well). My website

I have been lucky enough to travel a fair bit in recent years. I have a general interest in all wildlife, but particularly mammals and birds. I thought as a start I would provide the link to my most recent trip report which I am in the process of writing up “Madagascar Mora Mora“. I think you will like it, there are lots of mammals, plus a good representation of the birds and herps too. Stay tuned for further updates over the coming days..

All the best



Western Mastiff Bat site in California Desert

November 24, 2012

A single Western Mastiff Bat (Eumops perotis, aka Greater Bonneted Bat) has been roosting for several days at a ranger station in the Mojave Desert. It is very easily seen.
I received this interesting report on November 22 from Charles Hood…. if anyone visits could they let this blog know whether the animal is still there?

The single animal is roosting in the eaves of the foyer of the main entrance to Jawbone Canyon Visitor Center, at the intersection of Highway 14 and Jawbone Canyon. This is just south of Red Rock Canyon State Park, about two to two and a half hours from Los Angeles. Highway 14 turns into Highway 395, the road between Reno and L.A. that goes up the Owens Valley between Death Valley and Yosemite.

It was present as recently 22 November 2012 and has been there for at least three days. The Visitor Center is open every day of the year, so it’s easy to call and check to see if the bat is still present. The number is 760-373-1146. This is in Kern County, at the mouth of the canyon that birdwatchers know as the access point to Butterbredt Springs. The canyon itself is heavily used by off-highway vehicles but people coming and going out of the Visitor Center do not seem to concern the bat.

RFI Tunisia

November 18, 2012

Hi All!  As part of the summer planning, Tunisia keeps popping on to my head.  Keeping in mind Jon’s fantastic trip there a few years back, I would like to do a similar trip, but I am getting no response back from Becasse-Ecologie and am thinking they are no longer in operation.  Does anyone have a good contact that can assist in a trip similar to the one Jon posted here on  I am thinking the political situation had shut down the travel situation there but perhaps the country is coming back to life?  Thoughts on this would be appreciated as well.  Cheers, Coke