Canon Wildlife





Canon Wildlife

Western Tarsier

Cephalopachus bananus

Head and body length, 12.0 - 15.4 cm; tail, 18.1 - 22.4 cm

86 - 135 g

Typically found in primary and secondary forests of hilly lowlands and swampy plains


Its eyes are matched by its appetite. The western tarsier has huge eyes—a single eyeball is larger than its brain—and consumes a prodigious one-tenth of its body weight each night. the nocturnal hunter uses sound to locate large insects, arachnids or small animals and then pounces. highly adapted for leaping, it is capable of covering a distance equal to some 40 times its own head and body length in a single bound. It can also turn its head 180 degrees, like an owl. But there is danger no matter which way it turns, as the forest falls due to logging and conversion to oil palm plantations.

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Canon Wildlife

Grey Crowned Crane

Balearica regulorum

Head and body length, approx. 1 m; wingspan, 1.5 - 1.7 m

Approx. 3.5 kg

A mix of wetlands and grasslands

Estimated at 50,000 - 64,000

Living history. The grey crowned crane is one of the most ancient living members of the crane family, with primitive species dating back in fossil records to the Eocene period. It is also one of the only cranes able to perch in tress, thanks to its unusually well—developed hind toes. Monogamous couples work together to build circular platform nests and take turns incubating their eggs for as long as 31 days. But the future of these venerable birds is in doubt as they face habitat loss—primarily due to conversion for agriculture, heavy use of pesticides and changes in water management—and live-trapping for trade.

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Canon Wildlife

Mexican Prairie Dog

Cynomys mexicanus

Head and body length, 38.5 - 40 cm; tail, 8 - 11.5 cm

Males approx. 1.2 kg; females approx. 0.9 kg

Endemic to the valleys and flat areas of a small region in Mexico's northeaster plateau

Unknown; population declining

Who are the top dogs intown? In the case of the Mexican prairie dog, it is the dominant males who rule their family groups. These groups form a colony, or "town," that covers about 18 square kilometers on average. Members of this southernmost prairie dog species spend their lives in close contact, whether foraging for grasses or sharing living quarters. When a bird of prey, coyote or badger appears, a lookout posted at the burrow entrance calls out and the colony rushes to safety underground. But when it comes to the dire threat of habitat loss, there is no such simple escape: some 80% of its habitat has already disappeared.

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Canon Wildlife

Yellow-eared Parrot

Ognorhynchus icterotis

Head and body length, approx. 42cm

Approx. 285 g

Humid montane forest in the andes of Colombia

Estimated at 1,100

A very particular parrot. The yellow-eared parrot roosts and nests in one place and one place alone: the wax palm tree. with the wax palm as its home base, the boldly beautiful bird ventures out to find fruit, bark and buds to eat. A male and female form a breeding pair while a third bird, called a brood-helper, often assists the couple in feeding and caring for their chicks—an unusual behaivior among parros. While the populations had dwindled to just 81 birds by 1998, this parrot has recovered to some extent since then. But with its only suitable habitat suffering severe fragmentation, it is still in particular danger.

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Canon Wildlife

Sumatran Orangutan

Pongo abelii

Head and Body length, approx. 0.75 - 1.5 m

Males approx. 50 - 90 kg; females approx. 30 - 50 kg

Primary lowland tropical rainforest in northern Sumatra

Estimated at 7,300

Person of the forest? That's what the word "orangutan" means, and in the case of the Sumatran orangutan it seems appropriate. After all, it has been observed using tools, once thought to be the exclusive domain of humans; it uses sticks to probe for termites or extract seeds from fruits, and even passes this knowledge on the next generation. But as one of the world's slowest-breeding primates, giving birth just once every eight or nine years, it has few young. Faced with rapid population declines and the shrinking and fragmentation of its range, this extraordinary orangutan is at the risk of disappearing from the forest forever.

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Canon Wildlife

Hawaiian Coot

Fulica alai

Head and Body length, 38 - 39 cm; wingspan, approx. 65 cm

Approx 500 g

Streams, marshes, ponds and other bodies of water on the Hawaiian Islands, primarily Kauai, Oahu and Maui

Estimated at 2,000 - 4,000

Why settle for waterfront? The Hawaiian coot goes one step further, building nests directly on the water. These floating masses of vegetation are large—60 centimeters in diameter—and provide access to a menu of aquatic plants, tadpoles and small fish. Females lay four to ten eggs, which both parents incubate. They defend their nest vigorously, but if predators do destroy the nest or take their eggs the pair may simply re-nest. The coot needs to be persistent and adaptable to survive, given that so much of its habitat has been drained or otherwise altered. But facing a host of introduced predators as well as habitat loss, its home on the water is under seige.

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Canon Wildlife

Gopher Tortoise

Gopherus polyphemus

Carapace length, 20-30 cm

2-6 kg

Southeastern United States prefers habitats with well-drained, sandy soil, including longleaf pine forests

Unknown; populations declining

A born burrower. The gopher tortoise is endowed with shovel-like front feet that allow it to dig burrows up to 12 meters in length with relative ease. These underground lairs provide shelter from forest fires—but not always—waiting until the tortoise has abandoned them. In fact, these burrows are so important to the overall ecosystem that the gopher tortoise is considered a keystone species. If its habitat continues to fragment and shrink, however, its burrowing days may well be numbered.

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Canon Wildlife

Amami Rabbit

Pentalagus furnessi

Head and body length, 39.7-53 cm; tail, 2-3.5 cm

2-2.9 kg

Prefers dense forests; ranges from sea level to mountaintops

Estimated at 2,000-4,800 on Amami-ohshima Island and 120-300 on Tokuno-shima Island

Meet a true original. The Amami rabbit, found only on two isolated islands in southern Japan, has some of the most primitive characteristics found in living rabbits. Its ears, hind feet and tail are short, while its curved claws are formidably heavy and strong. It is also unusual in its method of communication, which involves both vocalizations and the beating of the ground with its hind limbs. At dusk, just before becoming active, it appears at the entrance to its burrow and sends its calls ringing throughout the valleys. But bedeviled by introduced predators and suffering from severe habitat loss, this remarkable rabbit is in danger of meeting its untimely end.

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Canon Wildlife

Araripe Manakin

Antilophia bokermanni

Head and body length, approx. 6 cm; wingspan, approx. 22 cm

Approx. 20g

The lower and middle storeys of tall, secondary growth forests, particularly where there are many vines

Estimated at 800, including 180 breeding pairs

Hidden in plain sight. The Araripe manakin somehow remained undocumented by science until 1998 despite living in a relatively well-populated area known for bird-watching. The male even broadcasts his presence with calls designed to defend his territory from rivals; his singing rings out from mid-morning to early afternoon, a time when most birds stay silent. A striking symbol of the surprises the natural world still holds, the Araripe manakin is threatened by the shrinking of its already very limited habitat due to deforestation and development. This beautiful bird, so recently found, is in danger of becoming lost forever.

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Canon Wildlife

Tana River Crested Mangabey

Cercocebus galeritus

Head and body length, 44-63 cm; tail, 40-76 cm

5.3 -10.2 kg

Gallery forest, Acacia woodland and dry forest along the lower part of Kenya's Tana River floodplain

Estimated at 1,200

Trees, please. The Tana River crested mangabey needs trees, and it finds them in the sparse patches of gallery forest growing along the only river where it lives. The social monkey spends relatively little time up in the branches, but groups scour the forest floor for food that drops from or is sheltered by the trees. These mangabey groups consist of numerous females, their offspring and up to about six adult males. However, the trees on which their precarious existence depends are falling fast due to timber extraction, agriculture, forest fires and changes to the flow of the river. As the forest disappears, can the mangabey be far behind?

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Canon Wildlife

Dark-mantled Sooty Albatross

Phoebetria fusca

Head and body length, 84-89 cm; wingspan, approx. 200 cm

Males approx. 2.7 kg; females approx. 2.4 kg

Ranges throughout South Atlantic and Indian Oceans

Estimated at 42,000

Away from it all. When breeding season rolls around, the dark-mantled sooty albatross builds its nests on nearly inaccessible ledges in some of the most rugged and least visited islands of the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. As a result of this seclusion, its life is largely shrouded in mystery. It is known, however, that the female lays but a single egg, which both parents take turns incubating. If a couple successfully raises a chick one year they will seldom breed again the following year. With a slow rate of reproduction and a perilously high rate of at sea mortality, the enigmatic seafarer is in danger of going away forever.

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Canon Wildlife

Australian Sea Lion

Neophoca cinerea

Head and body length, females 1.3-1.8 m; males 2-2.5 m

Females 61-105 kg; males up to 300 kg

Breeds on about 70 offshore islands in Western and South Australia, and at several mainland site on the coast of the Great Australian Bright

Estimated at 14,730

Nature's nonconformists. There's something about the Australian sea lion that makes it act differently than its cousins around the world. Alone among pinnipeds, it does not synchronize its breeding season; rather, females at different sites give birth at different times throughout the year. Mothers are fiercely dedicated to their young, staying with them continuously for about the first 10 days and tending them for up to three years. Males have nothing to do with raising offspring, but defend their territories with gusto. This singular species is among the rarest of its kind, and fatal fishing accidents are making it rarer still.

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Canon Wildlife

Giant Antpitta

Grallaria gigantea

Head and body length, 24-26.5 cm

204-266 g

Humid montane forest in a few small regions in the Andes Mountains of Colombia and Ecuador

Estimated at 1,000-2,500

An invisible giant? Not quite, but the giant antpitta is heard much more than it's seen. It stays out of sight in dark, dense undergrowth, where pairs go their separate ways to forage but remain within earshot of each other. In addition to its calls, the antpitta is capable of singing 60-100 notes over a span of just four to six seconds, and the male's song advertises his fitness as a mate while warding off intruders to his territory. The virtuoso singer isn't much at flying, however , and sticks near the forest floor to probe the soft earth for food. But with its habitat being eaten up by deforestation, the antpitta is in real danger of disappearing forever.

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Canon Wildlife

Amur Leopard

Panthera pardus oritentalis

Head and body length, 100-145 cm; tail, 80-85 cm

30-60 kg

Temperate deciduous forest in the southern Primorye province of Russia

Estimated at 30-35

Elusive. Enigmatic. And very nearly extinct. The Amur leopard remains something of a mystery; what we know of its life in the wild has largely been pieced together by researchers who follow it tracks in the snow. The northernmost of the leapards, it grows a long, thik coat to cope with winter temperatures as low as -30 degrees celcius. A formaidable predator, it preys mainly on deer and wild boar, though it will hunt smaller animals as well. The leapard is itself prey to poachers, however, putting terrible pressure on a population also struggling with habitat loss. And because numbers are desperately low, it wouldn't take much to push the leopard over the edge.

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Canon Wildlife

Golden-cheeked Warbler

Dendroica chrysoparia

Head and body length, approx 12 cm

8.7-12.1 g

Breeds only in the juniper-oak woodlands of central Texas; in non-breeding season, inhabits the Central American pine-oak forest region

Estimated at 9,600-32,000

Location, location, location. Only one place will do when it's time for the golden-cheeked warbler to breed: central Texas. This is where the beautiful bird locates Ashe juniper bark, which the female combines with feathers, grasses, leaves, mammal hair and spider webs to construc its open-cup nest. Males defend their breeding territory with song and chases, and will even attack invading males. They often return to the same site year after year, but they are finding fewer and fewer Ashe juniper trees standing when they do. As this vital raw material diminishes, so do the warbler's chances of building a life for the generations to follow.

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Canon Wildlife

Cuban Iguana

Cyclura nubila nubila

Head and body length, 30.5-74.5 cm; tail, 32-73 cm

1.1-8.5 kg

Arid coastal areas with xerophytic vegetation and some dry areas farther inland; needs areas of limestone for hiding and soil patches for nesting sites

Estimated at 40,000-60,000

Hurricane-proof? The Cuban iguana is well suited to weather the calamitous storms that batter the islands. It wedges itself into rock holes so it doesn't get blown out to sea, and its metabolism allows it to survive in the storm's aftermath until plants regenerate leaves, fruits and flowers. The big herbivore plays a major role in seed dispersal, contributing significantly to the health of the ecosystem. Agressively territorial, males resist intruders whenever possible, but they are powerless to fight habitat loss and disturbance. Already among the most endangered lizards in the world, this iguana is facing decidedly cloudy future.

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Canon Wildlife

Palawan Peacock-pheasant

Polyplectron napoleonis

Head and body length, 40.6-50.8 cm; tail, 16-25 cm

Males average 436 g; females average 322 g

Low-lying primary forest along Palawan Island's coastal plain and to elevations of approx 800 meters

Estimated at fewer than 10,000

Will his strut make the cut? The male Palawan peacock-pheasant certainly give it his all. He struts around the famle, holding a morsel of food bobbing up and down until she approaches, then drops the food and assumes a pose with his tail fully spread, one wing pointing up and the other touching the ground. He raises his crest and points it forward, holding his beak behind the "cape" formed by his raised neck and mantle feathers so that his eyes are exposed. The happy couple has eyes only for each other. But their future is far from secure, seriously threathened as it is by the relentless march of deforestation.

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Canon Wildlife

Western Hermann's Tortoise

Testudo hermanni hermanni

Head and body length, 11.9 - 18.3 cm

365-1,350 g

Densely wooded hillsides and gentle slopes with coarse vegetation in coastal areas of Southern France, Italy and Spain.

Uknown; populations declining

Hot or not? It's a question of considerable importance to the western Hermann's tortoise, as heat plays a key role in its life. For eight to ten days after emerging from hibernation, the tortoise ventures out during the warmest parts of the day to bask; this speeds its metabolism and inspires it to greater activity. Heat also determines the number of males or females that hatch, with hotter nest temperatures resulting in more females. When the mercury rises too high, however, it can kill the mother as she lays eggs. With human encroachment threatening to upset the delicate balance in which it lives, the tortoise is now really feeling the heat.

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Canon Wildlife

Bogota Rail

Rallus semiplumbeus

Head and body length, 25-30 cm

75-90 g

A small number of wetland and savanna areas of the Ubate-Bogota plateau, near Laguna de Tota and some of the surrounding higher altitude areas.

Estimated at 1,000-2,500

A world of water. Lakes and marsh wetlands are the ideal home for the Bogota rail, whose diet consists largely of aquatic invertebrates and insect larvae. This water-rich landscape is where it builds its elbow-shaped globular nests. And this is where monogamous couples put down roots and care for their chicks. The territorial bird will do what it can to defend its turf, but it is powerless to fight the immerse habitat loss these precious wetlands have suffered. Drainage, pollution, untreated sewage and siltation have all compromised vital lakes and wetlands, and predation by feral dogs adds to the bird's plight. Right now, the rail is in a world of trouble.

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Canon Wildlife

Sambar Deer

Rusa unicolor

Head and body length, 162-246 cm; shoulder height, 102-160 cm; tail, 25-30 cm

109-260 kg

Ranges from thorn and acid forests to deciduous and evergreen forests

Uknown; populations declining

Picky? Not at all. The sambar deer's diet encompasses many varieties of plant, over 100 in India alone. This is one key to the deer's great adaptability, allowing it to live in a wide range of habitats at varying elevations. Depending on where it is, it may stick to foraging in small family groups or congregate in numbers of up to 100. But populations have been in serious decline in recent years due to habitat loss, over-hunting and poaching. This decline is a huge problem not only for the deer, but also for the tiger that depends on it as prey. Deer eats plant; tiger eats deer. But how much longer will this natural cycle last?

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Canon Wildlife

Black Lemur

Eulemur macaco

Head and body length, 39-45 cm; tail, 51-65 cm

2-2.9 kg

Tropical moist lowland and montane forests

Estimated at 10,000-15,000

Fantastically fruitful. The black lemur's fruit-centric diet is hugely beneficial to the growth and health of its forest home. One of the most frugivorous primates in the world, the lemur spreads the seeds of 38 species of trees, and acts as the sole seed dispenser for all but four of them. It is also an important pollinating agent for certain trees. Small groups, generally led by dominant females, forage in the middle and upper canopy, constantly uttering guttural grunts to keep in contact with one another as they move through the trees. But both the lemur and the forest it nurtures are in danger as habitat loss and hunting threaten to upset their fruitful balance.

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Canon Wildlife

Darwin's Fox

Psuedalopex fulvipes

Head and body length, 48-55.7 cm; tail, 17.5-25 cm

2.9-3.3 kg

Southern temperate rainforest and coastal dunes

Estimated at fewer than 250 breeding adults

A distant, distant cousin. Darwin's fox separated from its nearest relative, the South American grey fox, at least 275,000 years ago. Today it is little known and isolated into just two sub-populations. Generally solitary, the fox does sometimes join its fellows to scavenge, and eats everything from insects to small mammals and plants. It also forms pairs during mating season, with both parents then helping raise litters of two or three pups. But faced with the smallest distribution of any known canid, habitat loss due to deforestation, and predation by domestic dogs, only about 125 breeding pairs are left on this branch of the family tree.

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Canon Wildlife

Macaroni Penguin

Eudyptes chrysolophus

Head and body length, 65-75 cm; wingspan, 70 cm

3.1-6.6 g

Found mainly in the southern Atlantic; nests on rocky slopes, often amid tussock grass

Estimated at 18,000,000-22,000,000

Clean and preened. The macaroni penguin spends a great deal of time caring for its plumage, even making trips to the sea expressly to wash off dirt and parasites. Mates preen each other, too, which helps strengthen pair bonds. Despite al this effort every year it must still replace its feathers in order to remain properly insulated and waterproof. During the molt, the penguin cant forage and, as a result, it can lose up to 40% of its body weight. Packing weight back on depends on an ample supply of marine life, which is being disrupted by commercial fishing and climate change. The question is: How much longer will the penguin preen?

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Canon Wildlife

Washne's Parotia

Parotia's wahnesi

Head and body length, 36-43 cm; wingspan, approx 41 cm

144-172 g

Mid-montane forest in a small section of the northern coastal mountain ranges of Papua New Guinea

Estimated at 2,500-10,000

All the world's a stage. The male Washnes's parotia makes the most of his starring role as he performs his "ballerina dance" for an audience of females. This courtship display takes its name from the way he positions his flank plumes around his body, resembling a tutu. He simultaneously bows and fans his tail, steps side to side, shakes his feathers, and shakes his six wire-like head plumes in a flashing, iridescent spectacle. Females, meanwhile, follow the action from a perch, sometimes fluttering or twitching their wings. But the world is getting smaller for this theatrical bird, as habitat loss steadily erodes its already limited territory.

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Canon Wildlife

Greater Bamboo Lemur

Prolemur simus

Head and body length, 40-42 cm; tail, 45-58 cm

2.2-2.5 kg

Forest patches with bamboo in the south-central portion of the eastern rainforest of Madagascar

Estimated at fewer than 160

On the menu: bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo. The greater bamboo lemur is one of the few creatures on Earth to depend on a diet of bamboo. It lives in small groups, generally of four to seven, and is active at dawn, dusk and into the night. Populations are higly fragmented, sometimes hundreds of kilometers apart, as the lemur is found only in those patches of forest where its mainstay meal still grows. These bamboo oases are besieged by deforestation due to agriculture and logging. What's more, the lemur is regularly hunted for food. Once widespread, this bamboo connoisseur is now one of the world's most endangered primates.

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Canon Wildlife

Southern Cassowary

Casuarius casuarius

Head and body length, 102-170 cm

29.2-58.5 kg

Prefers rainforests, but will also use savanna forests, mangroves and fruit plantations

Estimated at 10,000-20,000

Why fly? Able to run at speeds up to 50 kilometers per hour and swim expertly, the southern cassowary gets around very well despite being flightless . The solitary bird announces its presence with loud, deep booms that carry remarkably far through the foliage. During breeding season, females mate with one to three males, starting a new nest with each partner, who then incubates the eggs and cares for the chicks. But this cycle of life is being seriously upset by habitat fragmentation, introduced predators, collisions with vehicles, and hunting. Quick through it is, the southern cassowary cannot outdistance these deadly threats.

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Canon Wildlife

Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard

Uma inornata

Head and body length, 7-12 cm; tail, approx the same

Approx 20 g

Coachella Valley area of California, from sea level to elevations of 490 meters

Uknown; populations declining

Sandy is just dandy. The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard is perfectly at ease with the fine, blowing sand and scorching heat of its California home. Its namesake fringed toes allow it to run quickly over sand without sinking, while its jaw, eyelids, ears and nostrils are all adapted to keep sand out. Active during the day, the dune dweller simply burrows into the sand for relief when the mercury rises to extremes. This is also an effective strategy for avoiding predators. But the sand-wise lizard can't hide from habitat loss, which has been driven by development and the influx of exotic vegetation. It's precious sand is slipping away.

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Canon Wildlife

Palawan Hornbill

Anthracoceros marchei

Head and body length, 55-65 cm

601-713 g

Primary and secondary evergreen forest; also found in mangrove swamps and cultivated areas

Estimated at 2,500-10,000

The forest has a friend. The Palawan hornbill fulfills that role beautifully thanks to its dining habits. It gathers fruits in a gular pouch, then processes and spits out seed where they are able to thrive, away from the competing parent tree. Living in pairs or small groups, the hornbill nests in large trees and ranges from the undergrowth to canopy. But trees are in shorter and shorter supply these days—three islands in the hornbill's range are now largely deforested. With the forest disappearing, poaching persisting and eggs and young being captured for pets or food, the hornbill needs some friends of its own if it is to have a future

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Canon Wildlife


Hippopotamus amphibius

Body length, 300-540 cm; shoulder height, 130-165 cm; tail, 56 cm approx

655-3,200 kg

Found in most major rivers in sub-Saharan Africa; requires a permanent supply of water near large gazing areas

Estimated at 125,000-148,000

Fearsome, yes. But fragile, too. The hippopotamus is built like a tank, runs far faster than a man and defends its territory with massive, razor-sharp tusks. Yet the enormous herbivore has a sensitive side; it spends all day in the water to prevent its thin skin from drying out, and secretes an oily reddish-pink substance to protect it from sunburn. It is also the linchpin in a finely balanced wetland ecosystem: if the hippopotamus and its fertilizing dung are removed, local fish populations crash. Facing both habitat loss and poaching for meat and tusks, the hippopotamus is disappearing from its former range on a frighteningly large scale.

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Canon Wildlife

Bristle-thighed Curlew

Numenius tahitiensis

Head and body length, 40-44 cm; wingspan, 82-90 cm

300-800 g

Preferred breeding habitat is dwarf shrub tundra in Alaska; winters on tropical Pacific islands

Estimated at 3,500 breeding pairs

Alaska to Hawaii, nonstop. It's among the longest flights any bird has made, and the bristle-thighed curlew does it every year. Monogamous pairs spend the summer nesting and caring for chicks, then flock the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to feed and store up energy for the journey ahead. When the birds finally make it to island wintering grounds, their opportunistic diet changes and they employ their unique ability to use rocks and coral as tools to open the shells of albatross eggs. But another unique trait—it's the only shorebird known to become flightless when it molts—lands it in serious danger from an array of introduced predators.

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Canon Wildlife

Goitered Gazelle

Gazella subgutturosa

Head and body length, 90-126 cm; shoulder height, 56-80 cm; tail, 10-23 cm

18-40 kg

Desert and semidesert, from glassland to foothills and mountain valleys

Estimated at 80,000-90,000

Big on bellowing. The large cylinder of cartilage that bulges at the goitered gazelle's throat amplifies the male's call, used during mating season to impress females and intimidate rivals. Males also mark their turf with urine, dung and glandular secretions. Small, related groups break off from the herd at calving time, when females often give birth to twins. The mother hides her calves while grazing, moving them into a new hiding place each time they nurse. Caution is certainly warranted in a dangerous world-ever-advancing habitat loss and heavy poaching threaten to silence the goitered gazelle's voice forever.

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Canon Wildlife

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross

Thalassarche chlororhynchos

Head and body length, approx 81 cm; wingspan, approx 200 cm

1.8-2.8 kg

Breeds on Gough Island and islands in Tristan da Cunha archipelago; spends non-breeding season in ocean waters

Estimated at 21,600-35,600 breeding pairs

Born to dive. When the Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross sees fish—brought to the surface by tuna and cetaceans or thrown as scraps from fishing vessels—it dives. But his habit can lead to fatal accidents when longline fishing is involved; the bird dives after bait, ingests the hook and is pulled under. These mishaps have made life more perilous for the albatross during its long sojourns at sea. Making landfall for breeding season in late August, monogamous pairs build pedestal nests of mud and vegetation, where the female lays a single egg. But because females are more vulnerable to becoming bycatch, populations are diving now.

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Canon Wildlife

European Mink

Mustela lutreola

Head and body length, 19-21.6 cm; tail, 12-17.6 cm

450-1,005 g

Semi-aquatic; frequents small rivers with wooded banks and marsh areas

Estimated at fewer than 10,000

Thinking mink? Then think water. One of only two native European carnivore species adapted for semi-aquatic life, the European mink is rarely found more than 100 meters from water. The male breeds with females within the territory he holds, generally near a small river or marsh. All the minks take advantage of the rich variety of prey living in or around the water, the fish and frogs to crayfish and small mammals. But mink-friendly habitat is being lost or degraded at an alarming rate, and in much of what remains the European mink faces competition for food and territory with the introduced American mink. Space, and perhaps time, is running out.

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Canon Wildlife

Cobb's Wren

Troglodytes cobbi

Head and body length, 13-14 cm (5.1-5.5 inches); wingspan, 16-17 cm (6.3-7.1 inches)

17-20 g (0.6-0.7 oz)

Found on at least 53 of the 750 offshore islands of the Falkland Islands

Estimated at 9,000-16,000

Rats! Life would certainly be better without them for Cobb's wren. The little songbird builds a domed nest of grass, liberally lined with feathers from other birds, in tussac grass pedestals or cracks among beach rocks. It lays eggs between October and December, and dines year-round on crickets in the grass and invertebrates found in the dead kelp that accumulates on beaches. Living low to the ground, it slips among boulders like a mouse. But when rats arrive, they forage in the same habitat; this means trouble, as rats find the wren easy pickings. Between rats, feral cats, an loss of tussac grass to overgrazing and fire, it's a tough life indeed for Cobb's wren.

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Canon Wildlife

Cotton-top Tamarin

Saguinus oedipus

Head and body length, 22.5-24 cm

411-430 g

Endemic to northwestern Colombia; found in rainforest, deciduous forest and secondary forest

Estimated at 6,000

Share and share alike. It's a motto cotton-top tamarins embody, as they share much more than a striking white topknot and mane. They share food liberally, especially feathers with offspring and older siblings with younger ones. They divvy up guard duty, with one keeping watch while the others forage. And they work together in defending their turf with vocal and physical displays; males fluff up their hair menacingly, approach invaders and attack, while females scent-mark territory. But these cooperative creatures also share perils of habitat loss and capture for the pet trade, which are taking a heavy toll on populations.

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Canon Wildlife

Red-breasted goose

Branta ruficollis

Head and body length, 53-56 cm; wingspan, 84-87.2 cm

1.1-1.6 kg

Nesting habitat is tundra; forages for food in land cultivated for grain, pastures and natural grasslands

Estimated at 37,300

How do you outfox a fox? The red-breasted goose sometimes manages to foil its old adversary, the Arctic fox, by nesting near the peregrine falcon. The falcon repels approaching foxes, which makes a safer home for the goose. Having a bodyguard is especially useful in the summer; geese arrive at their breeding grounds in June as the snow melts, nesting in colonies of five to six pairs, and the new families are particularly vulnerable until the chicks fledge. But foxes aren't the only threat to goose; faced with hunting, habitat loss and recent reductions in winter wheat, survival has never been trickier.

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Canon Wildlife


Mandrillus leucophaeus

Head and body length, females 45-50 cm, males 61-90 cm; tail, females 5-9.4 cm, males 8.6-12.5 cm

females 7.2-20.5 kg males 19.8-45 kg

Lowland and submontane tropical rainforest.

Estimated at fewer than 10,000

Grunt, grunt, go! The alpha male gets the other drills moving two deep grunts. He will generally stay well ahead of the troop, which numbers up to 20 or so and includes related females and offspring. Is it the alpha male who bears responsibility for keeping the troop safe and for leading them to food. Spending their days in thick jungle, they forage on the ground and in trees for tidbits such as fruits, nuts, eggs and small animals. But the shrinking size of the drill's rainforest home hangs over their heads with one of the most restricted ranges of any large African monkey, deforestation and hunting are driving populations to the edge.

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Canon Wildlife

Lesser Prairie-chicken

Tympanuchus pallidicinctus

Head and body length, 38-41 cm; wingspan, approx. 63 cm

580-820 g

Sandy-soil prairie with dwarf shrub and mixed grass vegetation, along with some cropland

Estimated at 10,000-20,000

Duel by duet? It's all part of the "gobbling" dominance displays among male lesser prairie-chickens during breeding season. Rivals stand several meters apart and alternate vocalizations, often followed by an up-close face-off. They also complete by raising their magnificent pinnae. When airborne predators are around, the prairie-chicken keeps a much lower profile, staying still while gazing skyward. Sensitive to threats from above, it avoids nesting or displaying within a kilometer of tall objects that could serve as perches for predators. This is a serious complication, as its habitat is already fragmented-open space is a rare commodity.

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Canon Wildlife

Narrow-striped Mongoose

Mungotictis decemlineata

Head and body length, 25-35 cm; tail, 20-27 cm

600-700 g

Western Madagascar; prefers dry seasonal forests

Estimated at 8,400-12,050

Let it rain. Worms, insects and other tasty morsels are easy to find during the wet season, so the narrow-striped mongoose has the resources to live in groups of six to eight. Sharing a home range, they spend most of their time in the trees and sleep in tree holes at night. As food becomes more elusive with the coming of dry season, they break into smaller groups, forage more on the ground and sleep in burrows. Wet or dry, vocalizations in the form of short, repeated calls help keep the group together. But dangers threaten to tear their lives apart, from the destruction of the forest to harassment by a deadly new neighbor: domesticated dogs gone feral.

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Canon Wildlife

Peninsular Bighorn Sheep

Ovis canadensis cremnobates

Head and body length, 1.5-1.9 m; shoulder height, 81.3-91.4 cm

48-115 kg

Eastern slopes of peninsular mountain ranges in Southern California in the US and Baja California in Mexico

Estimated at fewer than 3,200

Head for the hills! That's exactly what the peninsular bighorn sheep does when a predator threatens, fleeing to higher ground where its uncanny ability to navigate rocky terrain gives it an advantage. It even gives birth to single offspring from the relative safety to steep slopes, as vantage points let the sheep spy out danger before it gets too near. The new generation is entering an increasingly uncertain world, however, facing not age-old nemeses such as mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes, but also threats brought on by human encroachment. From automobile strikes to entanglement in fences, perils are mounting.

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Canon Wildlife

Allen Cays Iguana

Cyclura cychlura inornata

Head and body length, 26.5-46 cm; tail, 34.5-59.8 cm


Northern Exuma Island chain, Bahamas; prefers areas of tropical dry forest, coastal coppice and beach strand vegetation

Estimated at fewer than 1,000

Claim a nest, get no rest. The female Allen Cays iguana needs lots of energy to bring the next generation into the world, which is why she takes longer than any lizard to reach sexual maturity-at least 12 years. She defends her nesting site with head bobs, charges and face-offs with other iguanas. Then she digs a nesting chamber, lays her eggs, and partially buries them. Hatchlings dig themselves out 80 to 85 days later. Those that survive become of some of the largest-and most endangered-lizards in the world. Constrained by its habitat and harried by human interference, including capture for pet trade, the iguana can hardly rest easy.

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Canon Wildlife

Crested Capuchin

Cebus robustus

Head and body length, 33-50 cm; tail, approx 45 cm

2.0-3.8 kg

Evergreen broadleaf rainforests and seasonal semi-deciduous forests of southeastern Brazil

Unknown, populations thought to be declining

Smart. Tough. Resourceful. And disappearing. On the surface, the crested capuchin seems well suited for survival. Robust and exceptionally intelligent, it excels at adapting to new situations. One of the most omnivorous of the New World monkeys, it has learned to take what the forest offers: everything from seeds to small mammals. And the bands of 10 to 20 lives in show considerable cooperation, with group members carrying and even suckling young other than their own. But its life is tied up in the trees, which are fast falling to farms, pastures, and plantations. Vulnerable to hunting and the pet trade in its remaining redoubts, the crested capuchin proves that in today's world even the fittest may not survive.

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Canon Wildlife

Long-beaked Echidna

Zaglossus bruijni

Head and body length, 60-100 cm

6-16 kg

Widely distributed on islands of New Guinea and Salawati, usually in areas of high rainfall.

Unknown; populations thought to be declining

Think distinct. The long-beaked echidna is one of only three species of monotremes-primitive mammals that lay leathery, shell-covered eggs. Thought it has hair and produces milk, some of its internal anatomy resembles that of birds and reptiles. Because the female lacks teats, she nurses her young through "milk patches" inside her pouch. The echidna also lacks teeth, but has unique backward-pointing spines on its tongue to grip its earthworm prey. External help keep it from becoming prey itself; when threatened, it curls its body into a prickly ball. Uncontrolled hunting remains a huge problem, however, and is making the rare creature rarer still.

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Canon Wildlife

California Channel Islands Fox

Urocyon littoralis

Head and body length, 48-50 cm; shoulder height, 12-15 cm; tail, 11-29 cm

1.3-2.8 kg

Grassland, scrub, chaparral, woodland and dune on the six largest Channel Islands

Estimated at fewer than 2,000

Some neighbors are more neighborly than others. The California Channel Islands fox avoids the golden eagle, which is always looking to make a meal of it, but welcomes the seafood-favoring bald eagle. When bald populations diminish, the fox becomes a target of the golden eagle and its populations are decimated in turn. The smallest canid in North America mates for life but, faced with the very deadly threats of predation and disease, who knows how long that life will last?

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Canon Wildlife

Yellow-eyed Leaf Frog

Agalychnis annae

Head and body length, 57-84 mm

10-20 g

With the disappearance of its preferred montane, moist and wet rainforest, it is now found in plantations and gardens

Uknown; populations declining

Wor-or-op! This single-note call-repeated every 40 seconds to several minutes-used to be a daily part of the rainforest's soundtrack. Now, with the virtual disappearance of its former forest home, the male yellow-eyed leaf frog's rainy season calls are vanishing. So far, the amphibian has found ways to survive in its new plantation and urban environments; these days, tadpoles are as likely to be found in swimming pools and garden fountains as in ponds. Being an opportunistic feeder also helps in its struggle to stay alive. Yet the very serious threats the frog faces include not only dramatic habitat loss, but also pollution and disease. Consider it a call for help.

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Canon Wildlife

Mongoose Lemur

Eulemur mongoz

Head and body length, 30-35 cm; tail, 45-48 cm

1.1-1.6 kg

Tropical dry deciduous and secondary forests in Madagascar; also found on two islands in the Comoros

Estimated at 1,000-10,000

Ladies first. That's how it works for the mongoose lemur, as the female occupies the dominant position in the hierarchy. Family groups stay close together when traveling and feeding, but first choice in food and the lead in mating go to her. Females do present a united front with males when defending their territory from other groups through displays of aggression, including vocalizations, charges and scent marking. But there are certain dangers against which even the most ferocious displays offer no defense. Chief among these life-threatening perils are habitat loss, hunting, and capture for the pet trade. Can the lemurs last?

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Canon Wildlife

Sarus Crane

Grus antigone

Head and body length , 152-156 cm; wingspan, appox. 240 cm

6-8 kg

Generally found in grasslands, flooded rice paddies, wheat fields, marshes, lakes and pools

Estimated at 15,500-20,000

Love undying? The sarus crane is a fitting symbol of happy marriage, as pairs engage in complex, coordinated unison calling and strengthen their bonds through elaborate "dance" performances. Togetherness extends to the joint incubation of their eggs. Once the young are hatched, the primary role of the male is guarding the chicks against danger. The world's tallest flying bird faces a host of threats, however, which it is powerless against. Ravaged by habitat loss, hunting, collecting of eggs and chicks, and collisions with power lines, populations have have declined dramatically. That's far from happily ever after.

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Canon Wildlife

South American Tapir

Tapirus terrestris

Head and body length, 170-200 cm; shoulder height, 77-106 cm; tail, 8 cm

200-250 kg

Most often found in river areas in moist lowland rainforests

Uknown; populations declining

This noise is nothing to sniff at. Blessed with a prehensile proboscis, the South African tapir takes full advantage of it to pick fruit, strip leaves, "snorkel" while swimming and even whistle to call for mates. The solitary herbivore often lifts its nose as though sniffing for trouble on the wind, and only breaks its cover at dawn and dusk. But this natural caution is foiled by its habit of always taking the same path to its feeding grounds, creating a trail that betrays its presence. Poaching, persistent habitat loss and fatal run-ins with vehicles on dark roads all combine to throw the tapir's survival into serious question.

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Canon Wildlife

Maroon-fronted Parrot

Rhynchopsitta terrisi

Length, 40-45 cm

392-468 g

Mature pine, pine-oak and and mixed conifer forests at altitude of 2,000-3,500 m

Less than 3,300

Actually, Polly doesn't want a cracker. The maroon-fronted parrot is content with a menu of pine seeds, agave flowers, fruits and acorns. Pines, in particular, are so vital to its diet that mating season is timed to coincide with the fruiting of these trees. The extremely social bird mates for life, laying eggs in early July and spending October, November fledging one to three chicks. It migrates seasonally, building nests in holes in steep limestone cliffs, but never strays far from the trees that sustain it. These forests, however, are being consumed by wildfires and agricultural and residential development. And as go the pines, so go the parrots.

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Canon Wildlife

Pygmy Three-toed Sloth

Bradypus pygmaeus

Length, 48.5-53 cm; tail, 4.6-6 cm

2.5-3.5 kg

In and near the red mangrove forests on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, the oldest and most remote island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago


Sloth is a virtue. It is for the pygmy three-toed sloth, anyway, as the little tree dweller's inactivity helps it escape the notice of predators. Algae that sometimes coats its fur adds another level of camouflage. The slow-as-molasses sloth can move quickly when threatened, but generally expands no more energy than is necessary to hang around all day eating leaves. Confined to one remote island that separated from Panama long ago, this smaller cousin of mainland sloths has managed to quietly survive so far, but any disruption to its habitat could have huge consequences. The hustle and bustle of development could well be the end of it.

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Canon Wildlife

Bali Startling

Leucopsar rothschildi

Length, 22-25 cm

85-90 g

Tropical moist deciduous forest in Bali Barat national Park

Estimated at fewer than 30 in the wild

Free as a bird? Hardly. The Bali startling is constantly monitored and closely guarded in an effort to keep persistent poachers from capturing the last few birds remaining in the forest. The pet trade is just one of the threats hovering over Bali's only endemic bird. The little arboreal feeder-which makes its nest in abandoned woodpecker holes-is also facing competition with the much more numerous black-winged starling and the constraints of living within an extremely restricted range. An aggressive captive breeding and release program may well be the only chance the Bali starling has left at a life freedom.

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Canon Wildlife

Hispaniolan Solenodon

Solenodon paradoxus

Head and body length, 28-39 cm, 17.5-25.5 cm

590 g - 1 kg

Wooded, and brushy areas on the island of Hispaniola; sometimes found near plantations and other agriculturally develop land.

Unknown; populations declining

A mammal in a million? One of only two surviving West Indian insectivores, the Hispaniolan solenodon is a definite oddity: not only is it separated from its nearest genus by some 76 million years, but its also one of the very few poisonous mammals. However, the sociable burrow-dweller hunts only millipedes, ground beetles, snails and the like. Its venomous bite is not enough to deter introduced cats, dogs and mongooses, which make an easy meal of it. Defenseless against both predators and deforestation-and hampered by its slow rate of reproduction-this decidedly different creature is getting rarer all the time.

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Canon Wildlife

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Geochelone gigantea

Head and body length, 90-120 cm

150-250 kg

Primary habitat is a low-lying coral atoll whose flat, rocky, terrain includes mixed scrub and shrubs

Estimated at 100,000-150,000

Change takes a toll even on an atoll. The Aldabra giant tortoise has been lucky in locale-a raised coral atoll whose extreme isolation helped a handful of tortoises escape the mass harvesting that persisted to the end of the 19th century. There, life went on, with females laying several new clutches-each holding up to 25 eggs-per year. But the young, who face the world immediately after hatching without the benefit of parental care, still find survival a challenge. Competition with introduced species, climatic fluctuations and a limited habitat show that life can be tough even in the best of locations.

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Canon Wildlife

Steller's Eider

Polysticta stelleri

Head and body length, 43-45 cm; wingspan, approx 69 cm

850-880 g

Nests in tundra in coastal areas and large river deltas; molts and winters in shallow nearshore waters and protected lagoons and bays

Estimated at 126,000-144,000 individuals

Appearances count. That's why the male Steller's eider displays striking black, white, chestnut and green plumage for much of the year-hoping to catch the eye of a receptive female. Pomp takes a holiday during late summer and fall, when breeding season ends the male reverts to an inconspicuous brown. The arctic bird's diet changes with the seasons as well: it feeds on aquatic insects and plants during breeding season, then transitions to mollusks and crustaceans. Each year, fewer and fewer eiders make an appearance in Alaska; subsistence hunting and contaminants are among the factors thought to be causing their steep population declines.

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Canon Wildlife

Orinoco Crocodile

Crocodylus intermedius

Head to tail length averages 3.2-5 m

200-380 kg

Freshwater riverine habitats in the middle and lower reaches of the Orinoco River basin and the savannas of the Llanos

Estimated at 250-1,500 non-hatchlings

Warm and cuddly they aren't. With fearsome teeth and hardly hides. Orinoco crocodiles are the very definition of tough. South America's largest predator is certainly intimidating, but there is much more to it than brawn: it lives within a complex social structure governed by dominance hierarchies, and has a repertoire of vocalizations at its command. Highly protective of their own, mothers will play bodyguard to their young for as long as three years. But the Orinoco crocodile needs more than teeth to protect it now. Rampant poaching and relentless habitat loss are finally pushing it to the brink of extinction.

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Canon Wildlife


Ovis ammon

Head and body length, 120-190 cm; shoulder height, 90-115 cm

60-189 kg

Open, grassy areas of central Asia; argali prefer rock outcrops, foothills, plateaus, valleys, gentle slopes and rolling steppes

Estimated at 10,000-50,000

Crash, boom, bam! Epic head-butting battles to determine dominance among argali rams make mating season a noisy affair. Magnificent spiral horns-which both genders possess-become tools of prowess earning the victorious male the right to mate first with more mature females, Mothers give birth to one lamb in the late spring and care for it until just prior to birthing again the next year. Fathers show little interest in family matters outside mating season. Unfortunately, the horns that come in so handy then are also prized by poachers. With humans after their horns and livestock after their gazing lands, the argali is between a rock and a hard place.

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Canon Wildlife

Guadalupe Junco

Junco insularis

Length, approx. 15 cm; wingspan 19-22 cm

15-23 g

Forests of cypress, pine and oak

Estimated at 1,000 individuals

Paradise lost? The Guadalupe junco once had the run of its island home. Cypress forests provided all the seeds and insects the little bird needed and, quite unafraid, it made nests in low-hanging branches or depressions in the ground. The good life disappeared with the introduction of new species. Insatiable goats were soon decimation the cypress and housecats-gone-wild were on the prowl. Runaway mice added to the problems. As a result, junco populations plummeted to dangerously low levels. An aggressive effort to eradicate feral goats is helping bring back plant life on the island. But will the Guadalupe junco be able to follow?

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Canon Wildlife

Spotted-tailed Quoll

Dasyurus maculatus

Head and body length, 40.5-51 cm; tail, 34-49 cm

Males 3-7 kg; females 1.6-4 kg

Sclerophyll forests, woodlands, rainforests, coastal heaths, coastal wet scrub, estuarine areas and rocky headlands

Estimated at 10,000-19,000

The shadow has sharp teeth. The spotted-tailed quoll—mainland Australia's largest marsupial carnivore—stays largely out of sight during the day, resting in hollow logs or underground dens. Darkness is its element, and it travels great distances in a single night to track down prey. Agile and strong, it makes short work of possums, rabbits and the like. Choice morsels from these nocturnal hunts go back to the den to feed the cubs during their first four to five months of life. But we may see even less of the next generation; already dangerously small and fragmented, populations are beset by habitat loss and invasive predatory species.

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Canon Wildlife

Helmet Vanga

Euryceros prevostii

Head and body length, 28-31 cm; tail, 11 cm; wingspan, 30-33 cm

approx, 97 g

Humid lowland evergreen rainforests of northeastern Madagascar

Estimated at 10,000-19,000

Meet a Madagascan mystery little is known about the helmet vanga, a bird that has managed to maintain a low profile despite a conspicuously large and bold blue beak. It passes its days in the middle of stratum of the rainforest, often mingling with mixed flocks including other species of vanga. The sole member of its genus, it keeps to a narrow range rich in the insects and other invertebrates that sustain it. One thing that is known about the helmet vanga is that it cannot survive outside primary rainforests. So it is no mystery why populations are in peril as Madagascar's forests fall prey to the demands of agriculture and timber extraction.

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Canon Wildlife

Galapagos Sea Lion

Zalophus wollebaeki

Head and body length, males 200-250 cm; females 150-200 cm

Males 200-400 kg; females 50-110 kg

Cool, fish-rich waters near the coast; on land it prefers sandy or rock flat beaches with vegetation for shade

Estimated at 14,000-16,000

Who's the biggest bully on the beach? In the case of the Galapagos sea lion, each colony has its own top bull—a dominant male who keeps busy pushing, biting and barking at invading bachelors. It's an exhausting role, which helps explain why colony leaders have an average tenure of less than a month. Life is a little less stressful in the water, where the exceptionally powerful diver makes short of fish, octopi and crustaceans. But there are things to worry about even there, including the devastating effects of El Nino and the chance that the sea lions inquisitive nature will bring it too close to humans and the potentially fatal dangers that accompany them.

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Canon Wildlife

Gee's Golden Langur

Trachypithecus geei

Head and body length, 49-72 cm; tail, 71-94 cm

9.5-12 kg

Lowland evergreen, semi-evergreen, riverine moist deciduous, sal-dominated moist deciduous and degraded forests

Estimated at 4,500-5,000

There's gold in these trees, Gee's Golden langur sports a rich pelage that flashes like gold in the sunlight. This gold appears for only part of the year, however; in the summer, its color changes to cream. The little monkeys spends nearly all its time in the trees, living peacefully in small troops and foraging for tasty leaves, seeds, fruits and flowers. But drastic deforestation has forced it to range more widely in search of sustenance, a perilous practice when it comes to cultivated areas where it is perceived as a threat to harvests. As a result, this particular kind of gold is becoming increasingly rare with each passing day.

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Canon Wildlife

Mountain Plover

Charadrius montanus

Length, 21-23.5 cm; wingspan, approx, 58 cm

90-110 g

Shortgrass prairie, grazed areas and freshly plowed fields

Estimated at 8,000-10,000

Now you see it, now you don't. By simply turning its back to an intruder and squatting down, the mountain plover is able to virtually vanish into the landscape, a faculty that has earned it the nickname "prairie ghost". The elusive bird is equally adept at advertising its presence during breeding season; one display involves flying five to then meters in the air, locking its wings and calling as it floats downward like a falling leaf. Nesting on both rangeland and cropland, the mountain plover is vulnerable to predation and agricultural practices. As a result, its vanishing act is fast becoming more than an act.

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Canon Wildlife

Malagasy Ring-tailed Mongoose

Galidia elegans

Head and body length, 32-38 cm; tail, 27-32 cm

700-900 g

Undisturbed forests in northeast and western Madagascar

Uknown; populations declining

To prey or to play—that is the question. The Malagasy ring-tailed mongoose does plenty of both. Though rather petite by mongoose standards, it is a deft hunter, taking advantage of keen senses and agility to prey on everything from reptiles and small mammals to birds and their eggs. When not out of hunting, it spends quality time playing with the other members of its small. tight-knit group. Based around a central pair, these groups sleep together in burrows that they dig themselves or find in tree hollows. But they can hardly rest easy, threatened by habitat loss and degradation on one side and competition from feral dogs and cats on the other.

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Canon Wildlife

Wild Yak

Bos grunniens

Head and body length, up to 325 cm; shoulder height, up to 200 cm

305-820 kg

Alpine tundra and cold desert regions of the Northern Tibetan plateau at altitudes of 4,000-6,000 meters

Estimated at fewer than 10,000 adults

Yak attack? More aggressive than its domesticated cousins, the wild yak is quick to charge when an intruder appears in path. In most cases though, it prefers the peaceful expedient of running away. Though it lives much of the year in the isolation of single-sex herds—protected from the elements by a marvelous skirt—like coat—massive animal must travel great distances to forage for vegetation. These trips can be hazardous, bringing the yak into contact with persistent poaches as well as livestock and the attendant risks of disease and interbreeding. As its habitual shrinks, more and greater dangers cross the wild yak's path every day.

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Canon Wildlife

African Penguin

Spheniscus demersus

Length, 60-70 cm

2.1-3.7 kg

Breeds at 24 island and three mailand sites between Hollamsbird Island, Namibia and Bird Island, South Africa

Estimated at 180,000

Sun, sand... and penguins? The African penguin has adapted to warm weather and even in some cases, the proximity of beach-loving humans. It beats the heat by confining activities to dawn and dusk and spending the hottest hours in the water. This isn't always possible when incubating eggs or caring for vulnerable young, so families take shelter from the sun in nests. Historically, these nests were burrows dug into a cap of guano built up over many generations; but these droppings are also prized by humans, mainly as fertilizer, and much has been removed. The paucity of adequate shelter, food shortages and predation are all problems for the fast-dwindling bird.

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Canon Wildlife

Galapagos Hawk

Buteo galapagoensis

Length, 50-55 cm; wingspan, 100-120 cm

769-1,661 g

Found in all habitats within its range: from shoreline to bare lava fields, scrub country, deciduous forests and mountain peaks

Estimated at 800-1000 adults

All for one and one for all. In an arrangement that is rare in the bird world, many Galapagos hawks are polyandrous: several males mate with the same female, then work together to defend the nest and provide food during the nesting period, which takes place once a year. Despite these cooperative strategies, the hawk itself is becoming increasingly rare—it is now extinct on three of the Galapagos Islands where it was once a common sight. One cause is competition for food with feral cats and other predators. Another reason for its steep population decline has been humans, who perceive the powerful raptor as a threat to their poultry and livestock.

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Canon Wildlife

Fishing Cat

Prionailurus viverrinus

Head and body length, 66-86 cm; tail, 21-23 cm

6-12 kg

Swamps, marshes, cutbow lakes, reed beds, tidal creeks, mangrove areas and less frequently, fast-moving watercourses

Estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature breeding individuals

Who says cats and water don't mix? True to its name, the fishing cat is a dedicated angler and spends most of its life around water. It thinks nothing of diving right in, in fact, when a juicy fish remains stubbornly out of paw's reach. But not all its entrees are underwater; the fishing cat will take anything from frogs and snakes to rodents and even wild pigs. Active during both night and day, it roams a home range of up to 22 square kilometers troubled by no predators other than humans. Its habitat, however, is dwindling as wetlands and marshes fall prey to settlement, draining for agriculture, clearing for timber, pollution, over-hunting and over-fishing.

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Canon Wildlife

European Ground Squirrel

Spermophilus citellus

Head and body length, 11-33 cm; tail, 3.5-7.5 cm

200-500 g

Dry grasslands throughout central and southeastern Europe

Unknown; populations declining

Thin is definitely not in. A dedicated forager, the European ground squirrel works hard to pack on all the weight it can handle. After all, it has to live off its stored body fat for six to eight months as it hibernates through the cold weather in an underground den. Mature males emerge first, in February or March, followed by females and immature males. Adults waste no time in starting a family since the young-born naked-need to grow and fatten up before their first winter rolls around. This cycle of life is under threat as agricultural development, building activity and afforestation lay claim to be the squirrel's natural grassland habitat.

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Canon Wildlife


Beatragus hunteri

Head and body length, 120-200 cm; shoulder height, 100-125 cm; tail, 30-45 cm

80-118 kg

Arid, grassy plains bound by semi-desert inland and coastal forests in Kenya and Somalia

Estimated at 500-1200

The "four-eyed antelope" needs all the eyes it can get. The hirola actually has just two: it earned its nickname because of its pronounced preorbital glands. Among the most endangered antelopes on earth, it has to keep its eyes open for threats. One of its strategies for safeguarding its young is a brief "lying up" phase, where the mother leaves her calf hiding in the grass while she forages for food. This reduces the risk that much-shower calf will be targeted if a predator gives chase. But predators aren't the only problem. Habitat loss, poaching, disease and competition with livestock all jeopardize the survival of this singular specials.

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Canon Wildlife

Waved Albatross

Phoebastria irrorata

Length 72-90 cm; wingspan approx 200 cm

Up to 5 kg

Adults nest on south Espanola Island and perhaps on Isla de la Plata; during non-breeding season they move to the waters of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian continental shelf

Estimated at 35,000

Water, water everywhere, and just one place to breed. After months at sea, the male waved albatross makes landfall at this traditional breeding ground. And waits. When the female finally arrives, a complex courtship ritual begins: both birds bow, nod, duck, rattle their bills and circle their bill tips together. The whole performance is punctuated by screams, moans, sighs and trumpeting sounds. The strong bond they form perseveres as they hatch and take turns feeding their chick. The giant bird's fishing expeditions, however, are becoming more perilous all the time as the rick grows.

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Canon Wildlife

Barbary Macaque

Macaca sylvanus

Head and body length, 45-60 cm

Males 15-17 kg; females 10-11 kg

Holm or cork oak and cedar forest—as well as more marginal scrub and cliff habitats—in Gibraltar, Algeria and Morocco

Estimated at 10,000 in the wild

The Rock endures; the macaque almost didn't. Barbary macaques are a well-loved fixture on Gibraltar. But by the 1940s the population had dwindled to nearly nothing and a dozen were imported from Africa in hopes of a comeback. Small groups of their descendants are still in Gibraltar today—making the Barbary macaque the only non-human primate to live in the wild in Europe. Adult males do their part to ensure the survival of the next generation: they carry, protect and play with infants despite not knowing which, if any, are their offspring. The question is: Will this be enough to counter today's threats of habitat loss and degeneration?

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Canon Wildlife

Northern Fur Seal

Callorhinus ursinus

Head and body length, 129-189 cm

40-230 kg

North Pacific Ocean; breeding grounds are in the Pribilofs, the Commander Islands and off the shore of California

Estimated at 8,000 on San Miguel Island, 628,000 in the Pribilofs and 442,000 at Russian rockeries

Home salty home. The northern fur seal is born to the water, after a first few days close to their mothers on land, pups dive right in. The ocean serves as a vast dining room, providing a smorgasbord of fish to feed on. It is a bedroom, too, where the marvelously buoyant seal sleeps floating on its back. Only during breeding season is land at a premium; bulls aggressively defend territories of several square meters. Vulnerable to hunters, populations suffered greatly until controls were strengthened in the early 20th century. Even with hunting largely removed from the picture today, disease and food-chain imbalances remain dire threats.

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Canon Wildlife

Key Deer

Odocoileus virginianus clavium

Shoulder height, 61-81 cm

29-57 kg

Restricted to Lower Keys at the extreme southern tip of Florida, especially National Key Deer Refuge at Big Pine Key

Estimated at 500

When is a deer too dear? Florida's Key deer is certainly well loved—it's known as a "toy" deer by many who are charmed by its small size and adorable appearance. But by feeding the deer, well-meaning humans are blunting the instincts it needs to survive in the wild. Left to its own devices, it spends up to half the day foraging from a long menu of more than 160 plant species. Bucks and does come together mostly during mating season. Unable to reproduce quickly enough to offset losses due to human disturbance, the population was down to an estimated 26 by 1945, Habitat loss and fatal run-ins with cars threaten the hard-won gains that have been made since.

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Canon Wildlife

North Island Kokako

Callaeas cinerea wilsoni

Length, 35-40 cm

180-270 g

Tall evergreen-hardwood forests on the North Island, Kapiti, Tiritiri-Matangi and Little Barrier Islands of New Zealand

Estimated at 1,700

Sing like a bird...hop like a bird? The North Island kokako excels as a singer with haunting calls that carry far across the forest. Mated for life, males and females join in complex harmonies that can last more than half an hour. This spectacular singing more than makes up for the bird's lack of aerial grace. Although it can fly for short distances, it generally hops between trees on powerful legs. With short wings and a bold blue wattle, which is pink in young birds, the kokako is a distinctive presence that has attracted the attention of introduced possums and rats. Conservation measures are helping, and the kokako's song has not been stilled yet.

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Canon Wildlife

Russian Desman

Desmana moschata

Head and body length, 18-21 cm; tail 17-20 cm

400-520 g

Small floodplain lakes on the Volga, Don and Ural river basins in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan

Fewer than 30,000

This is one nose that really comes handy. The Russian desman's prominent proboscis breaches the surface like a periscope, taking in air as the little swimmer searches for snails, aquatic insects and the occasional slow-moving fish. A streamlined head, webbed feet and dense, waterproof fur complete a package perfectly designed for life in the water. Even desman's front door is submerged; it digs dens with underwater entrances to hide from predators. But it can't hide from the illegal fishing nets that claim so many desman lives. Or from the agricultural development that has reshaped so much of its habitat.

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Canon Wildlife

Golden Takin

Budorcas taxicolor

Head and body length, 100-237 cm; shoulder height, 68-140 cm; tail, 7-12 cm

150-400 kg

Forested valleys to rock, grass-covered alpine zones at altitudes of 1,000-4,500 m in Qinling, China

Estimated at 1,200

One cough and they're off. A cough warming approaching danger is one of two primary vocalizations in the golden takin's repertoire. The other is a low below used during mating season. Males and females—both of which grown horns—travel together in small herds, browsing on bamboo, fir bank and fresh shrub branches. Salt adds important minerals to their diet, and they will spend days traveling to salt licks and days more taking in their fill. But their journeys are becoming more treacherous all the time: increasingly fragmented herds are prey to poaching as well as deforestation. Some dangers just can't be avoided with a cough.

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Canon Wildlife

Marquesan Imperial-pigeon

Ducula galeata

Length, 53-56 cm

500-590 g

Restricted to mature forest of Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia

Estimated at 100-250

Neighborhoods matter. The Marquesan imperial-pigeon has found a very fortunate one: forest patches and remote valley bottoms between volcanic ridges. This home is inaccessible enough that poachers and introduced grazers have rarely made an appearance—yet. The elusive bird has been a boon to its location, too: the tireless fruit-eater swallows seeds whole and disperses them throughout the area. But the pigeon is obliged to leave its stronghold to forage for food. And while it once had a presence on four island chains, its range has dwindled to a precarious 32 square kilometers. A few roads and there goes the neighborhood.

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Canon Wildlife


Cryptoprocta ferox

Body length, 60-80cm; tail, 60-80 cm

7-12 kg

Madagascar's forests and woodland savannahs, from sea level to elevations of 2,000 m

Estimated at fewer than 2,500

What to make of the fossa? Coming from an ancient line of carnivore predating felines and canines, it has curved retractable claws like a cat and a flat-footed walk like a bear. Other animals know enough to give it a wide berth, as Madagascar's largest native predator can kill virtually anything it encounters. Many humans, however, don't know it as well as they believe. Common opinions holds that the fossa is a savage, brazen killer. But it is actually shy and reclusive, going out of its way to avoid people. Built to pursue prey, the fossa now finds itself pursued—by human hunters and the ravages of wide-scale habitat destruction.

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Canon Wildlife

Lilford's Wall Lizard

Podarcis lilfordi

Length (from tip of nose to tip of tail) 20.4 cm-22.4cm

4-12 g

Cabrera archipelago and coastal islets of Menorca and Malorca

Uknown; populations declining

Meet a plant's best friend. Lilford wall lizard is more than a little partial to plants it consumes over 70 plant species. And plants have reason to like the lizard in return. After all, it functions as an efficient seed dispersal system. Research suggests that this particular wall lizard may even act as a pollinator, When it comes to its own progeny, the female lizard hedges its bets by laying several small clutches of one or two eggs. But this unusual reproductive strategy is not enough to assure the species' survival. Habitat loss and predation—especially by introduced animals—threaten to end a beautiful friendship.

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Canon Wildlife

Sumatran Rhinoceros

Dicerorhinus sumatrensis

Head and body length, 2-3 m; shoulder height, 1-1.5 m

600-950 kg

Dense tropical forest, both lowland and highland, in Southeast Asia

Estimated at 300

Hair today, gone tomorrow? A living link with the past, the Sumatran rhinoceros has the ability, under certain conditions, to grow a dense coat of hair like that of the long-extinct wooly rhino. The elusive browser keeps to the dense forest and treasures its solitude. Some humans, however, treasure its horns—an ingredient in traditional medicines, these horns command a high price. Rhino Protection Units are on the job, but the double whammy of poaching and habitat destruction make for a hairy situation indeed. Will the Sumatran rhinoceros survive, or follow its long-lost cousin's footsteps into extinction? Time will tell.

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Canon Wildlife

Geoffroy's Tufted-ear Marmoset

Callithrix geoffroyi

Head and body length, 18-23 cm; tail, 27-29 cm

190-350 g

Coastal secondary, lowland, evergreen and semi-deciduous forests of eastern Brazil

Uknown; populations declining

Uncommon senses meet common sense. Superbly sharp hearing allows Geoffroy's tufted-ear marmoset to communicate at pitches too high for the human ear to register. Smell comes into play as the dominant female secretes pheromones to prevent other females in the family group from ovulating. The little tree dweller is also big on common sense. When it sees a troop of army ants, for instance, it follows them; that way, it can make a meal of the insects and small animals that climb the trees to escape the ants. This makes a nice change from its usual diet of fruits and tree gum. But these trees are an uncertain home, threatened by relentless deforestation.

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Canon Wildlife

Mountain Nyala

Tragelaphus buxtoni

Head and body length, 190-260 cm; shoulder height, 90-135 cm

150-300 kg

Mainly montane woodlands, grasslands and heathlands of Ethiopia, at elevations of 2,500 to 4,300 meters

Uknown; populations declining

Victory doesn't always go to the swiftest. The mountain nyala is a living proof. When males vie for the attention of females, the competition is slow and deliberate. Three or four bulls follow a female in ritualized parallel walks until the smaller suitors give up and drift away. Evenly matched males circle one another in slow-motion, strutting dance. The sure-footed browser moves much faster when danger threatens, fleeing at speeds of around 40 kilometers an hour. But it can't outrun the persistent threats of poaching—both for meat and its magnificent spiral horns—and human encroachment on its few remaining "islands" of habitat.

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Canon Wildlife

Rockhopper Penguin

Eudyptes chrysocome

Length, 52-55 cm

2.5-3.0 kg

Tussocks of high grass in temperate, rocky areas; winter months are spent at sea

Estimated at 3.67 million pairs

Good grooming pays. Behold the rockhopper penguin, which spends a great deal of time making sure every feather is just so. Appearance counts when courting a mate: the male shakes its head and its yellow eyebrows fly into an eye-catching "halo". Once paired up, grooming becomes an important social bond between the monogamous couple. But grooming really pays off by keeping the penguin's coat waterproof, a prerequisite for spending the winter months combing the sea for squid, krill and other crustaceans. This bird covers a wide range of threats: from predators and egg poaching to commercial fishing and pollution.

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Canon Wildlife

European Bison

Bison bonasus

Head and body length, 217-300 cm; shoudler height, 134-188 cm; tail, 30-60 cm

320-920 kg

Grasslands and open woodland areas with grass

3,000, half in captivity and half in free-ranging herds

Look at that face. Now imagine it charging toward you at 60 kilometers per hour, preparing to throw a body weight of some 900 kilograms into a head-first collision. The prospect is enough to make even other European bison weak in the knees. During the August-October mating season, the brawniest bulls win mating rights by intimidating rivals. Fights are rare, but awesome to behold. Europe's largest terrestrial mammal once ranged at will throughout the continent, but by 1919 was declared extinct in the wild. A few did remain in captivity, and it is from just 12 animals that today's populations—still threatened by human disturbance—descend.

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Canon Wildlife


Nestor notabilis

Length, 46-48 cm

Females 660-970 g; males 840-1,140 g

High country mountains, wooded valleys, forest edges and alpine scrubland of New Zealand's South island

Estimated at 2,000-10,000

Bird of prey or bird of play? New Zealand's Kea is decidedly the latter. The frisky parrot will play with nearly any object: twigs, stones or whatever catches its fancy. Romping in the snow is a favorite pastime, as is socializing with other keas. The bold bird even approaches hikers with little fear but much curiosity. A quick learner, the kea is able to adapt readily to new situations. When threatened by introduced predators, for instance, it responded by moving to higher elevations. But is that enough? A number of human activities—from farming practices to waste dumping—threaten to end the kea's fun and games forever.

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Canon Wildlife

Indian Giant Squirrel

Ratufa indica

Head and body length, 34-45 cml tail, 38-49 cm

1-2.3 kg

Deciduous and mixed deciduous and moist evergreen forests of peninsular India, particularly Western Ghats mountains.

Uknown; populations declining

Super squirrel? The indian giant squirrel may not be able to fly, but its acrobatic exploits are still out of this world. When chased, it can leap as far as six meters in a single bound, using its large tall as a counterweight for balance. Its powerful claws come in handy too, allowing the squirrel to hang from branches while leaving its arms free to handle food. Truly at home in the trees—where it lives in a complex social system marked by territoriality and dominance—the squirrel builds dome-shaped nests far above the ground. But not entirely out of reach of danger. In addition to predators, it faces the human threats of poaching and deforestation.

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Canon Wildlife

Gunnison Sage-grouse

Centrocercus minimus

Length, males average 56 cm; females average 46 cm

Males 1,622-2,435 g; females 900-1,335 g (during breeding season)

Sagebrush rangelands in southwestern Colorado and extreme eastern Utah

Estimated at fewer than 3,000

May the best strut win. That's what it comes down to for the Gunnison sage-grouse during the spring mating season. With only moments to impress scrutinizing females, the male gives it everything he's got—raising and lowering his wings, showing off his crest and wagging his tail. He also uses the two large air sacs on his breast to make a seductive popping sound. Stakes are high: in this polygamous system, a small percentage of males claim the majority of mates. Females nest and raise the chicks alone. The sagebrush-rich habitat that sustains these birds is being threatened from many sides, and only a handful of fragmented populations remain.

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Canon Wildlife

Mountain Zebra

Equus zebra

Head and body length, 210-260 cm; tail, 40-55 cm; shoulder height, 116-150 cm

240-372 kg

Slopes, plateaus and mountain areas of South Africa, southwest Angola and Namibia

Estimated at 8,200

Stripes are always in style. The mountain zebra for one, couldn't live without them; stripes help it blend into the background and confuse predators as to its distance when fleeing. Stripes even discourage biting insects, as do the zebra's daily dustbaths. Small groups, usually led by a single stallion, spend half their daylight hours feeding. Grazing zebras are one of Africa's quintessential sights, but by the 1930's at least one subspecies was on the verge of disappearing due to overhunting. The main threats to the mountain zebra today are competition from livestock and agriculture—dangers its stripes can't hide it from.

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Canon Wildlife

Marsh Crocodile

Crocodylus palustris

Head to tail length averages 3.5 m

200-240 kg

Freshwater rivers, lakes, marshes and man-made bodies of water in Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka


The crocodile is the very definition of tough. Larger adult marsh crocodiles can take down prey as large as deer or buffalo. And they have developed an arsenal of survival strategies: from burrowing for shelter in the dry season to carrying hatchlings to the water in their mouths. In need, they can walk several kilometers to better habitat. In typically undaunted fashion, they are even adapting to man-made bodies of water. The toothy reptiles face many serious threats, not least of which is human's fondness for their skins. Crocodile habitat and food sources are also rapidly vanishing due to development and damming.

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Canon Wildlife

Golden-headed Lion Tamarin

Leontopithecus chrysomelas

Head and body length, 20-34 cm; tail, 32-40 cm

600-700 g

Rainforest of Brazil's eastern Atlantic coast


What do you get when you cross beauty and brains? The golden-headed lion tamarin. Its leonine mane is gorgeous, yes, but also practical—when the little monkey is threatened, the hairs stand erect to display aggression. Individuals communicate with one another via a complex repertoire of 17 vocalizations, each with a unique meaning. Active and cooperative, family groups forage in every nook and cranny with their long, clawed fingers. Living in the forest canopy, they are used to arboreal predators. More and more, however, humans are getting in their hair, destroying their habitat and capturing them for the illicit pet trade.

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Canon Wildlife

Madagascar Fish Eagle

Haliaeetus vociferoides

Length, 70-80 cm

2.0-3.5 kg

Lakes, rivers, mangroves and coastal islands of western Madagascar

Estimated at 200-250

Meet a fish's worst nightmare. The Madagascar fish eagle ranges over sheltered bays and deep open sea alike, snatching prey so adroitly from the surface that it hardly gets its feet wet. This ultimate angler is also known to pirate catches from less intimidating birds. It guards its own territory jealously, perching in high places to survey its domain. Yet ongoing studies reveal that it can be less possessive when it comes to mates: some subpopulations engage in male-female, males-female and male-females breeding strategies. Despite these uncommon measures, it is still imperiled, as is much of Madagascar's wildlife, by human disturbance.

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Canon Wildlife

Mediterranean Spur-thighed Tortoise

Testudo graeca

Head and body length averages 12-17 cm

Averages 580-1,000 g

Forests, dry open steppes and barren hillsides up to 1,700 m

Uknown; populations declining

House proud? The Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise has a right to be. Thanks to its gorgeously patterned, always-there shelter—and its ability to take in almost all moisture it needs from vegetation—it is able to weather tough semi-arid environments. This particular mobile is largely immobile much of the year. In the hot summer months the tortoise aestivates, going into a period of inactivity and lowered metabolism. In the northern part of its range it also hibernates the winter away. But being a homebody is getting more dangerous all the time as it faces habitat destruction and the threat of capture for the pet trade.

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Canon Wildlife

Three-banded Armadillo

Tolypeutes tricinctus

Head and body length, 30-40 cm; tail, 6-8 cm

1.2-2.2 kg

Tropical deciduous forests and open dry savannas of northeastern and east-central Brazil

Unknown; populations declining

Snap! The three-banded armadillo seems to be leaving gaps in its armor when it rolls into a protective ball. But poke it on the chest or abdomen and, as would-be predators have discovered the hard way, its shells snap shut like a steel trap. The only armadillo able to roll into a perfect ball, this perfect insect eater is well protected from most predators. A perfect ball provides imperfect poachers, however; they simply carry it off. Hunting and habitat loss have ravaged populations, and it is already considered extinct over some portions of its range. In the end, humans are the real chink in this armadillo's armor.

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Canon Wildlife

Visayan Wrinkled Hornbill

Aceros waldeni

length, 60-65 cm

Males, 1,100-1,200 g; females, 700-800 g

Presumed extinction on Guimaras, it now survives only on Western Visayas islands of Negros and Panay

Estimated at 120-160; populations declining

Charisma can be a curse. Look a the Visayan wrinkled hornbill, whose enormous red bill, ringing calls and resplendent coloring seem designed to draw attention. It has to go to great lengths for privacy. When the female is ready to lay eggs, she and her mate use mud to wall her into their tree-hole nest. There she stays until nestlings are ready to fly, utterly dependent on the male for food, if he runs into trouble, the whole family perishes. And troubles have multiplied in recent years, most notably hunting and the wholesale destruction of its primary forest habitat. As a result, this distinctive bird may one day be conspicuous only by its absence.

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Canon Wildlife

Black Snub-nosed Monkey

Rhinopithecus bieti

Head and body length 74-83 cm; tall 51-72 cm

Males average 15-17 kg; females average 9-12 kg

High mountain forests up to 4,500 meters in Nujang Lancang Gorge region of China

Estimated at 800-1,200

Up, up and away! The black snub-nosed monkey takes heights to extreme. Not only is it at home high in the forest canopy, but it also lives at the highest elevations of any non-human primate. While monkeys most commonly live near sea level, this striking creature ranges up to 4,500 meters higher. At such heights, lichen is its most attractive food source, a staple it supplements with leaves, grass and fruit. The highland monkey's pelt was once believed to ward off rheumatism, making it an attractive target for hunters. The biggest threat facing it today is not hunting, however, but habitat loss due to logging and general human encroachment.

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As Canon sees it, we can help make the world a better place.

Wildlife By Canon is a compilation of advertisements currently running in National Geographic magazine.

Raising awareness of endangered species is just one of the ways Canon is taking action—for the good of the planet we call home.

There are currently about 2754 animals at risk of becoming extinct because they are either few in numbers, threatened by changing environmental factors or over predation. Many nations forbid hunting of or create preserves for endangered species and also restict land developments in areas that contain endangered species.

Losing even a single species can have disastrous impacts on the rest of the ecosystem, because the effects will be felt throughout the food chain.

Governments alone cannot protect every endangered species on the planet without the help of individuals like you. By raising awareness, you too can help protect our planet.

Helpful Links:

Canon Environmental ActivitiesNational Wildlife FederationNational GeographicU.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceEarths Endangered SpeciesWorld Wildlife Fund