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Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Daily Wild: Nature’s Most Incredible Creatures

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1. New York's White Deer Face Uncertain Future

White-tailed deer typically aren’t all white, but a pale-furred herd of about 200 has flourished in the confines of New York’s Seneca Army Depot.
In the wild, deer with the genetic variant that results in white fur often end up easy targets for hunters or predators, but since the Army retired the 24-square-mile base in 2000, the white deer enclosed on the premises have enjoyed the safety of the depot’s chain-link perimeter fencing.
But the Army is putting the land up for sale in December, and the future of the white deer is in question. 
According to The Associated Press, the Nature Conservancy is looking at options to preserve the largely undeveloped landscape.

2. Fur Seal Pups Feeling the Heat

A record number of emaciated northern fur seal pups have ended up stranded on California beaches this year; they were taken in and cared for by facilities such as the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.
Scientists are blaming the increased strandings on unusually warm water temperatures along the coast that have pushed the fish fur seals depend on as a food source farther offshore. 
The Marine Mammal Center has rescued 1,747 seals and sea lions so far this year—the most in its 40-year history.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

3. With the Death of San Diego’s Northern White Rhino, the Population Drops to Three

Decimated by poaching, the species finds test tube breeding to be its last hope for survival.
A northern white rhino was euthanized Sunday at its enclosure in San Diego’s Safari Park, leaving only three of the species left in the world.

Nola, a 41-year-old, 4,500-pound female, had been under veterinary care for a bacterial infection as well as age-related health problems. Her condition worsened over the weekend, according to zoo officials.

“We’re absolutely devastated by this loss, but resolved to fight even harder to end extinction,” the San Diego Zoo posted on its Facebook page.

Nola was captured in the wild and brought to a Czech zoo at around two years of age. She arrived at the San Diego Zoo in 1989.

The world’s three remaining northern white rhinos—one male and two females—live on a 700-acre preserve in Kenya, under armed guard to protect them from poachers. 

Age and poor health have rendered them incapable of reproduction.

In 1960, as many as 2,000 northern white rhinos roamed across Chad, the Central African Republic, southwestern Sudan, northeastern Zaire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and northwestern Uganda. 

By 1984, that number had dwindled to just 15 animals.  
But conservationists hold out hope that technological advancements in in vitro fertilization over the next 10 to 15 years may save the species.
Along with habitat loss, poaching—fueled by the rise in demand for rhino horn used in traditional Asian medicines—has effectively snuffed out the northern white rhino species.

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