This Weeks Top Stories About Nature

Ah now this blog post is a pleasure to do! And easy. I just hung on to those stories this week that made me go hmmm…

In Search of Japan’s Lost Wolves is the first of a series of articles in The Japan Times about the Japanese wolf, believed to be extinct since the early 1900s for about the same reason all wolves are extinct – us. The Japan Times is in English and will let you read a few articles free, and they also have a free subscription. I must admit I have wondered, for instance, just what sort of creature Madera of Natsume’s Book of Friends might be…

Definately not a fox, certainly not a dog, Japan had wolves?

I am really looking forward to a full exploration of Japan’s wolves in myth and reality this author promises.

I’m sorry to say there seems to be a rash of mysterious wild bird deaths, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region. This article in the Smithsonian includes what we know about it so far, and what to do if you find a sick or dead bird. At least it’s good to see citizen scientists once again welcome among the “real” scientific community when something like this happens.

For some reason I find the idea of an elephant the size of a Shetland Pony to be completely enchanting. Like Shetland ponies, it seems to have come about when elephants made their way to an island. What is amazing is how quickly typically huge elephants adjusted and evolved into a smaller, more island friendly size. Wouldn’t that make the ultimate exotic pet? It would probably come down to whether or not elephants could or would bond with humans to the same extent they do other elephants – since it’s abundantly clear modern elephants have a very close and loving family and social life. It would be too cruel to deprive them of that.

There is a species of modern rhinocerous (endangered, of course) in Sumatra (see, island) that is quite small.

He’s at least as cute as a pig…

But for some reason, I don’t think they would be quite as human friendly. Maybe it’s all those African rhinos charging jeeps in old nature shows. I got to pet a rhino once!

Indian Rhinocerous, photo by Charles J. Sharp via. Wikimedia Commons

I was a zoo docent at the Oklahoma City Zoo and was lucky enough to be introduced to their Indian Rhinocerous who was in his inside enclosure having a munch and was kind enough to ignore the tiny humans reaching over the wall and patting his monsterous head. They would make a great kaiju. It was like petting an igneous rock – hard and lumpy. He was definately MUCH larger than a Shetland pony. I’m pretty sure I could have walked around on top of him and he would have thought I was one of those little cattle egrets.

I realize I’m really into animals, so I went actually looking for a good article about plants to share here. A new study has shown that even tiny little green spaces are important to our health, microbal health, and the health of the planet. No green space is too small. If you have so much as a balcony or patio and put a pot of ivy out, you’re making a positive contribution to the world.

I had great hopes this year of making my tiny corner of the desert bloom, but everything except my rose and a few hardy tomato plants has succumbed to the heat. The tomato plants won’t be setting any flowers for tomatoes – those burnt to a crisp – but I’m babying them along anyway. Of course, here in Las Vegas they pay you to get rid of your grass and water dependent vegetation and there’s plenty of good reason for that – at the same time that greenery could contribute to cooling it off a bit here. I love and bless the manager who planted all the wonderful trees, both native and shade type, in this park for all of us to enjoy. No lawns, but we do have some nice trees and shrubbery. It’s one reason I chose to live here.

And besides, they’re pretty

And to come full circle – we also live near a big chunk of land that is vacant. Now and then a few homeless camp there for a while but it isn’t to the point of being a problem. Meanwhile, it has been the source of some “WOW” moments for us. There is a small population of Desert Cottontails that you might see early in the morning. And now and then we have a bird visitor more exciting than pidgeons, like a hawk or Peregrine Falcon and once I saw a Great White Egret looking around like…wasn’t there a wetland around here? There is – a couple of preserves a few miles away. I have a special warm spot for urban wildlife who learn to live with, on, and in spite of humans.

I plugged in urban wildlife at Absolutely Free Photos and got this:

I guess it depends on where you are urban…

And we’re back to elephants!

Last but hardly least – doesn’t this make your day?


This is the last of the random blog generator subject posts. I like this so much I’m thinking of making it a regular feature – like maybe once a month or so or when I run onto something too good not to share. Tomorrow I’ll have a bit of a summarizing, wind up post and ramble all over the place before coming to any sort of conclusion about the future direction of this blog.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to find a bit of natural wonder in your day.



  1. The gait used by the deer in that video is called pronking or stotting. It can either be a kind of demonstration of fitness or a young animal playing.

    The Channel Islands pygmy mammoths were very small, about 4 feet tall at the shoulder but still weighing 15-1700 lbs. It went extinct about 10K years ago when humans showed up. There were also some small mammoths that survived on islands off Alaska and Siberia until possibly as late as 1700 years ago.

    1. So I could have had a SHAGGY toy sized elephant? Whoaaaa! I’m going to say that was a young deer just enjoying life 😀 Nothing better than that 😀

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