Eagles are majestic birds of prey of the Accipitridae family found in many areas of the world, depending on their genus. They can be found in North and South America, Australia, New Guinea and even Africa. The eagles you can find in North America are the bald eagle and the golden eagle. Bald eagles are called “bald” because of their white heads, which comes from an older meaning of the word. They can live up to 30 years in the wild and can weigh up to 17 pounds!
Furthermore, bald eagles create the biggest nests out of any bird in North America which can weigh up to 2000 pounds. They typically nest in forested areas, and tend to steer clear of populated and urban spaces.
They have been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native americans for much longer than that. The bald eagle became endangered about 40 years ago because of illegal hunting, food contamination (from DDT pesticide) and habitat degradation. Fortunately, many steps in conservation action were taken in order to redeem the situation and the bald eagle was removed from the endangered list.
The American Eagle foundation aims to inspire the global community to guard and protect the Bald Eagle and all birds of prey. Their mission is carried out through three main pillars of conservation, education and rehabilitation by engaging in non-releasable birdcare and Bald Eagle protection and advocacy. Their “adopt an eagle” program helps with food and care at their sanctuary in Tennessee and they also have a Nest Egg Fund in order to maintain AEF programs.
Fun fact: they are sponsored by Dolly Parton and Dollywood!
The AEF receives anywhere from 10 to 50 injured or sick birds per year for rehabilitation. Not only do they oversee the treatment of injured, sick and orphaned eagles but they give daily care to brooding eagles, their young and eagles being hacked for release. Experienced veterinarians are on staff, ensuring the health and successful rehabilitation of the injured birds. Additionally, the AEF has a quarantine facility for incoming raptors, a rehab facility for daily care, a flight facility for bald eagles to rebuild their flight ability after rehabilitation and a smaller flight facility for small to medium sized birds, such as owls and hawks. If an injured raptor completes its rehabilitation and is capable of being set free, it is released back into the wild close to where it was found. Conversely, those who cannot survive in the wild due to permanent injuries or trauma are given a forever home in the AEF or another raptor facility.
Gorillas are predominantly herbivorous great apes which reside mainly in the tropical forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa. They can be found in high altitude montane and bamboo forests and are one of the biggest and most powerful primates. An average mountain gorilla can weigh up to almost 400 pounds, grow as tall as 5’5 and live up to 40 years old in the wild!
Mountain gorillas live in stable family groups which consist of an average of 10 individuals and have a uni-male, multi-female social system. This means that there is usually one dominant male in relation to several females. Mountain gorillas are polygynous, with the single dominant male mating with different females. Both male and females in the groups have affiliative relationships with the infants and participate in their care.
There are barely 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world and they are listed as critically endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, disease and war. Fortunately, there are continuous efforts being made in order to protect their vulnerable populations.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has been continuing her amazing conservation work for the past 50 years and is based on a holistic model with four key parts: direct, daily protection of gorillas, scientific research on gorillas and their ecosystems, educating the next generation of scientists and conservationists in Africa and helping local people with basic needs so that these communities can thrive and work together. The gorillas in the program are not in a sanctuary, so when you symbolically adopt a gorilla through the Fossey Fund, you help ensure the gorillas’ wildness and protection for generations to come. Proceeds from adoptions support their daily gorilla protection efforts in the field in both Rwanda and nearby Democratic Republic of Congo.
More info on the efforts:
Fossey Fund tracker and researcher teams are a key aspect of gorilla conservation under the Dian Fossey fund and are responsible for about half of all the mountain gorillas in Rwanda (the other half is protected by Rwandan national park authorities).They gather information and data which helps in conservation strategies, and their physical presence in the forests helps protect gorillas from outside threats. Daily on-site activity is pivotal in attaining more effective conservation. There are also dedicated anti-poaching teams in Rwanda. They gather data and patrol specific forest areas in order to guard against illegal activities, principally poacher activity which includes snares that trap animals. Additionally, a pivotal aspect of the Fossey Fund’s work in gorilla conservation is the involvement of local communities (nearby villages, schools, government authorities and traditional land owners). Staff is hired from local communities and provided with training and education opportunities. The Fossey Fund is also responsible for providing education programs for local universities, schools and communities, as well as health and livelihood programs in order to maintain a cross-sectional conservation model which ensures that people and wildlife flourish together.
Lions are mainly found in the wild in the grasslands and savannahs of sub-saharan Africa, however there are small populations in India. Lions are one of the biggest wild cats, weighing up to 400 pounds for males and up to 280 pounds for females. Male lions grow beautiful manes, which are a sign of dominance but also protect their necks and heads from injuries. The older the lion, the darker the mane. Additionally. lions can eat up to 90 pounds of meat in a single meal, equating to a quarter of their body weight and they use their sharp tongues to scrape the meat off bones.
The lion is a social species, living in groups called “prides”. Prides usually consist of several females and either one, or a group of males protecting the group. The lionesses raise their offspring together and can give milk to any cub.
It is said that there are as little as 23000 lions left in the wild, a decrease of over 90% of their historical range. This is due to bushmeat trading, poaching for parts, and even habitat loss caused by agriculture commercialization in Africa.
Panthera’s Project Leonardo is the first conservation plan which encompasses the lion’s entire African range. It aims to protect lions in the key lion conservation landscapes that remain, which includes key african national parks and their surroundings. A pivotal aspect of the project is the construction or support of wildlife corridors which would ensure safe passage for the lions between the landscapes and national parks. Panthera had led lion survey and conservation programs in 18 countries. The program’s goal is to bring lion populations back to a minimum of 30 000 individuals by 2030. It does so by introducing tools and techniques oriented to specific lion populations and in their surrounding environment. This includes : supporting local law enforcement and invested communities in their efforts to reduce illegal hunting and trafficking, mitigating the risk of lion attacks on livestock by working with villagers to ensure they have lion-proof bomas and implement better herding and grazing patterns, encouraging policy change to ensure benefits to rural communities co-existing with wildlife and sustainably managing legal hunting. By donating to the Panthera project, you could help ensure that lion populations continue to thrive.
Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes and include over 200 species and they can be found on almost any continent in the world (except Antarctica).They are usually solitary, nocturnal creatures but there are some exceptions. The Great Horned Owl is one of the largest birds of prey in North America and is recognizable from its ear tufts which look like horns. They can fly up to 40 miles per hour and can live up to 30 years in the wild. Carnivorous and avid hunters, they have excellent night vision to catch their prey due to rod cells in their eyes.
Great Horned Owls are actually monogamous creatures and mate for life. They are also very protective, unhesitant to attack any intruder that could come near their offspring, and they actually take turns incubating the eggs! They usually don't build their own nests and tend to seek out abandoned ones to lay their eggs.
Great Horned Owls currently have stable populations, and it is important to keep it this way in the face of exponential deforestation and habitat loss. Teatow is a nonprofit nature reserve and environmental education center. It is a refuge for many species and hosts adoption programs that help support certain species. Their science and stewardship mission is to conserve their region’s biodiversity, while creating an environment for exceptional educational opportunities. They do so through habitat protection and restoration, wildlife management in order to sustain populations, research and monitoring to help plan conservation efforts, as well as regional collaboration with environmental alliances. You can support great horned owls by adopting one through TeaTown! By adopting one of Teatown’s Animal Ambassadors, you are helping provide funds that will be used to care for that animal. This includes nutritious food, well-maintained enclosures, enrichment, and veterinary care.
Foxes are small omnivorous mammals which can be found on every continent except Antarctica. There are many species in North America including the red fox. The red fox can be recognized by its long bushy white-tipped tail and beautiful rusted red-orange fur. It also has a dark muzzle, black ears and paws.
Red foxes can run up to 31 miles up an hour and can even swim. Their tails are over half their body length, and they can measure up to 22 inches. They have supersonic low-frequency hearing and incredible eyesight. Although they are adventurers, red foxes are monogamous creatures and will usually stay with the same companion all their life. They mate in the winter and the females will build a den for the pups.
Red foxes can be found in open areas in woodlands, rural and suburban neighborhoods, wetlands, and brushy fields. Although habitat loss is a cause for concern when it comes to their populations, it is the fur industry which threatens them the most as they are one of the most harvested animals for commercial fur trading. Fur trapping is not only inhumane and cruel, but it cannot even predict which animals it traps. The traps crush body parts, in order to indiscriminately capture or kill fur bearing animals who are either seen as a nuisance or needed for the commodification of their fur. One of the main traps used are snares which is a wire noose that can cause trapped animals to slowly strangle to death. There are also leghold traps, in which an animal may chew off his own paw to escape, only to die days later from the injury.
Born Free USA, a foundation aimed to protect foxes by fighting trapping and the fur trade has created an “adopt a fox” program in which you can help support their conservation and protect other fur-bearing animals from exploitation by sponsoring their campaigns and fights against fur-trapping! They do so through thorough investigative campaigns and reports to raise awareness, as well as rescue and care programs.
Horses are beautiful creatures which have adapted into most human environments. Wild horse populations, however, are becoming threatened. The tarpan was recently listed as extinct and the Przewalski's horse is now endangered. Albeit stable, domestic horse species are subject to the meat trade in Asia, Europe, and although not common knowledge, America participates in exportation. The horse meat trade is often inhumane, subjecting the horses to cruel conditions during transport or slaughter. Horses in our hands is a non-profit organization which fundraises in order to save horses at risk for slaughter, as well as lobbying for laws to make it illegal to slaughter American horses for human consumption.
Their rescue operation ensures the horses that are saved have love, medical care, training and a second chance at life in new forever homes. Additionally, donations of 1000$ and more directly save a horse from auction, as well as send two representatives to DC to lobby for the SAFE Act, which will ban horse slaughter forever..
Wolves are highly intelligent, playful and empathetic animals who are often misunderstood. A devoted and family-oriented species, they live in packs, educate their young and take care of their injured. Pack sizes can range from 3 to 20 wolves. Wolves are very active, travelling sometimes up to 12 miles (20 kilometers) in a single day. They work together to hunt for food and their diet consists of mostly large animals like deer, elk and moose.
Wolves are an extremely important part of the ecosystem as they are a keystone species. If they were to completely disappear, there would be irreparable damage to our environment. They are predators that keep the species they eat under control and thus maintain an ecosystem balance.
Unfortunately, North American wolves are losing protection and recovery efforts are being abandoned. Born Free USA is a foundation that aims to raise awareness for wolf conservation. Help them in their efforts by adopting one through their adopt-a-wolf program!