Creature Feature: Wild turkey

In Northern California, turkeys are a common roadblock, daily hazard, and yearly Thanksgiving staple. However, people rarely take a second to stop and appreciate these animals’ interesting behavior. There are actually two species of turkey, Meleagris gallopavo that ranges from Mexico to Canada and Meleagris ocellata that lives exclusively in the Yucatan Peninsula1. This creature…

Field Fiasco: Gibbon Tease

When working in Sabah, Malaysia, I encountered some of the most frustrating primates I’ve ever worked with. That’s really saying something, considering that I now work with the very mischievous Rhesus macaques. To this day I still remember this frustrating group of gibbons, which I called the “office group.” During my 2015 field season, I…

Ecotourism: National Parks

This week, we conclude our series on ecotourism. This time, we are featuring opportunities that are a little closer to home. Whether they know it or not, many people in the United States engage in ecotourism in their own backyards. The National Park Service, founded in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, oversees 417 areas in…

Ecotourism: Reading Monkey Faces

When traveling, it’s common to run across non-human primates—such as spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, and rhesus macaques— either in a wild or captive setting. In some tropical tourist destinations, locals will carry these animals, eager to hand them over for a quick picture and a few dollars. In other places, tourists have the opportunity…

Ecotourism: Marine Adventures

One of the most popular places to spend a vacation is by the ocean. People are drawn to the water in search of both relaxation and adventure. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are all popular water-based sports. But today we’ll discuss two big marine ecotourism activities that are a bit more adventurous and slightly less…

Sunday Sketch: Tarantula Appetite

Did you know? Tarantulas can go up to two years between meals! When food sources are scarce, tarantulas are able to slow their metabolism to conserve energy until their next meal. Sketch and fact contributed by Allison Lau Source: Philip, B. N., & Shillington, C. (2010). The effect of prey availability on metabolism and activity…

Creature Feature: Pangolins

The pangolin is an incredibly fascinating animal that you might not have ever heard of. Classified in the order Pholidota and most closely related to the Carnivora, these mammals are found in Asia and Africa, although they are extremely threatened across their range. Pangolins hold a depressing world record: they account for 20% of sales…

Field Fiasco Friday: Rain

“Rain” is what my host said as I flew out of my room at 5:30 in the morning, squealing, covered in bugs. He stood there with an unlit cigarette in the corner of his mouth, wearing nothing but a sarong, a traditional Malaysian wrap. All he did was shrug and walk off, leaving me to…

Ecotourism: What Is It?

Let’s talk ecotourism. First, what is it? Ecotourism is defined as travel to natural areas that involves some level of conservation or education1. For the next month, we’ll be highlighting its pros and cons across a variety of countries and environments. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably participated in some form of ecotourism….

The True Magic of the Yeti

Whether you’ve seen him in the movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or glimpsed him as you flew by on the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland, you’ve likely heard of this week’s creature: the Abominable Snowman (otherwise known as the Yeti). Much like Rudolph, this fictional character has become a central figure in holiday celebrations in the…