Links to share – Conservation Edition

Welp, this is bad news:

Super tuskers are elephants whose tusks weigh more than 50 kg each (or touch the ground), they are getting preeeettty rare because ivory is worth between 1,500 and 2,000$ per kilo. We just lost another one in Tsavo not long ago:

Another story about hunting a super tusker:

There’s a very good Radiolab episode on legally hunting charismatic megafauna and its role in conservation:

In Mozambique, the elephants have evolved to become tuskless because of all the poaching, which generates a weird mix of awe and sadness in me.

How Americans think about climate change…this combines my ridiculous passion for maps with interesting data:

An excellent article on the nuanced costs and benefits of organic agriculture…and our uncertainty about them:

A night parrot was photographed in 2013… It was the first time there had been concrete evidence of one since the 1880s…and of course there’s a controversy as wealthy birders attempt to flock* to the sight*, and as less wealthy birders are excluded:

Interview with my bestie, Sam, on the first bee to be put on the endangered species list:

How aquarium trade affects reef conservation:

*Pun intended

More bee-eaters!

Bee-eaters are some of my favourite birds…they just seem so elegant and athletic in their flight. I’ve already posted about the Carmine Bee-Eaters, and they are lovely, but Kenya also had a complement of other beautiful bee-eaters, some of which I was lucky enough to photograph.

Bee Eaters
Bee Eaters
Madagascar Bee-Eaters

Bee Eaters
Blue-breasted Bee-eater

Bee Eaters
Bee Eaters
Little Bee-eater

Birds at the watering hole

There was a watering hole we liked to visit once a week to see if the elephants would come in.  And they did!  (more about that later)  I also enjoyed photographing the birds that visited the watering hole, of course!

Here are some of these birds:

Egyptian geese with goslings

Spur-winged lapwing

Marsh sandpiper

The very, very ugly Marabou stork
(and white stork)

Grey-crowned crane

White stork

Grey-headed heron

Cattle egrets and grey-headed herons
and grey-crowned cranes and white storks

Links to Share

My university made me take the Oxford comma out of the title of my PhD thesis!  I was so furious…but I wanted my degree, so I complied.  Now I’m finally vindicated!

“Four leaf clovers” are just Wood Sorrel (Oxalis), guys. Sorry to burst your bubble 😛

Fascinating article on insect migrations:

I feel like we knew this, but now we have evidence that a diverse diet is good for (bumble)bee health:

Have you ever seen a ringtail in the wild??

Doesn’t seem like there’s any science behind this (at least not in the article), but certain plants might not living next to each other due to allelopathy.  Let me know if you have a more sciencey article with these ideas:

Pollinator visitation changes the way that plants evolve on short time scales:

Eating green for St. Paddy’s Day? Eat seaweed!

Pay farmers to do the thing that makes sense? Maybe that makes sense too, but given proposed budget cuts will not happen:

Tips for photographing raptors (or really any bird) in flight:

Some beautiful high altitude birds (oh, also, why do they survive up there? but mostly pretty bird pictures)…as a sufferer of beta thalassemia, I know what it’s like to have chronically low hemoglobin haha:

Did I share this article about how much spiders eat?  Someone tried to estimate, at a global scale, the mass of food eaten by spiders each year. The comparisons are a little disingenuous as they are comparing an entire order to species (e.g. humans), but taxonomy is vertebrate biased anyway so I don’t know why I’m making this point. Spiders eat a lot, okay? I think the point of the article is mainly that spiders provide a lot of pest control services for free:

Whaaaaaat?!  This is awesome:


Love after Love, by Derek Walcott

Yes. Learn to love yourself. It is just so important….


The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

–Derek Walcott

Where in the world is SOIMF?

I’ve moved to a new place and a new job!  See if you can guess where I am based on this photographic journey of my first week.  Ten imaginary internet points for the country and 100 imaginary internet points for the city!

Obligatory cute animal
There’s a clue if you know your bees!
Sorry for the accidental selfies
Pretty river…
Dirty pretty river hahaha