Monthly Archives: March 2014

Protect This! : Psittacanthus gigas

So…..

For your look into the glory that is the Wildlife of Colombia today, let me present to you : Psittacanthus gigas.

Image via Southern Illinois University

Image via Southern Illinois University

Psittacanthus gigas is a mistletoe from Colombia that was discovered by the late, great botanical explorer, Alwyn Gentry. It lives in the wild in three locations, all in the Buenaventura area. Now, this plant is very interesting for 2 points.

First, it was discovered recently. Specifically, this mistletoe was discovered and categorized in 1984, which is exceptional because so many plants were discovered generations ago, not within our lifetimes…

Second, it is a large plant. It has the largest leaves of any dicot shrub. It’s leaves are also the largest of any parasitic plant. These leaves can be up to 3′ 10″ long and a more than foot wide.

Image via Tropicos

Image via Tropicos

To help in our work protecting this environment, and other projects, visit donate.pathfindersproject.com.
To follow along with the rest of Protect This!, Visit facebook.com/pathfindersproject

Protect This! : Brown Hairy Dwarf Porcupine

So…

For your quick glimpse into the majesty that is the Colombian Ecosystem today, let me present to you to the Brown Hairy Dwarf Porcupine.

protect this

Picture via Juan Villalba-Macías

The Brown Hairy Dwarf Porcupine is one of the species listed as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, meaning this cutie is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

It lives in the wild in two locations, both western foothills of the eastern Andes, roughly 60 km northwest of Bogotá. As with many porcupines, this one is nocturnal, and eats fruit, shoots, and leaves. As it is arboreal, living in trees, the destruction of the local forest is especially devastating.

Interestingly enough, no specimens of this species were able to be captured for study between 1925 and 2001, leading researchers to believe that it had either left its known range, or died out. Luckily, they were found again in 2001, when a single porcupine was found in a fruit tree of a plantation.

To help in our work protecting this environment, and other projects, visit donate.pathfindersproject.com.
To follow along with the rest of Protect This!, Visit facebook.com/pathfindersproject

Protect This! : Cotton-Top Tamarin

So…….

For your glimpse into the beauty that is the Colombian Ecosystem today, let me present to you to the Cotton-Top Tamarin.

The Cotton Top Tamarin

Picture via Wellington Zoo

This adorable New-World primate (weighing in at less than 700 grams and 23cm from head to tail) is currently classified as Critically Endangered, and lives only in a small section of Colombia. This species only naturally occurrs in northwestern Colombia between the the Magdalena River and the Atrato River.

Since this species was found to spontaneously develop colonic adenocarcinoma, it was commonly captured and sent to biomedical research facilities. In 1976, this was banned, but roughly 40,000 individuals were captured and used for research. Between the massive losses due to research, the illegal poaching for pets, and a environment that is undergoing deforestation (currently 5% of its historic range), this cute little primate is in serious danger of becoming extinct.

This is such a shame, as the Cottom-Top Tamarin is a very lively creature. Just like me, it displays spite, altruism, cooperation, and interacts within a complicated social structure, all while being awkward in photos.

The Cotton Top Tamarin

Picture via dancallister.com

To help in our work protecting this enviroment, and other projects, visit donate.pathfindersproject.com.
To follow along with the rest of Protect This!, Visit facebook.com/pathfindersproject

Protect This! : Handley’s Slender Mouse Opossum

So…..

For todays piece of Colombian Wildlife, let me introduce you to the Handley’s Slender Mouse Opossum.

A Cute Colombian Opossum

Picture via The Zoological Society of London

This cute little Opossum (weighing in at less than 90 grams and 300mm total length) is currently classified as Critically Endangered, and lives only in a small section of Colombia. The entirety of this species is believed to live in 4 sites in a 48 km long range in central Colombian Andes. Although this species is not well studied (only 9 specimens have been studied), it is believed that this Opossum lives nocturnally, within a few meters on the ground, and eats mostly insects and fruits.

Additionally, even though this Opossum has a prehensile tail (which this author wants), it does not have the characteristic ‘Possum Pouch’, (which this author also wants).

To help in our work protecting this enviroment, and other projects, visit donate.pathfindersproject.com.
To follow along with the rest of Protect This!, Visit facebook.com/pathfindersproject

Protect This!

So….
Currently, the Pathfinders are in Minca, a town in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Colombia.
We are working with Misión Gaia, a local Non-Government Organization, to help protect biological diversity, develop low-impact environmental processes, promote awareness of conservation and responsible consumption, and encourage respect for nature.
This translates into us working on a daily basis on educating schoolchildren and adults about environmental processes and issues, and building sustainable environmental structures, such as composters, a composting latrine, permaculture gardens, and seed beds.
That being said, these projects, and our entire trip, costs money.
To raise awareness for the environmental issues in Colombia, as well as money for our trip, the pathfinders are uniting for an educational campaign “Protect This!”
We will be providing daily information about the environment issues and profiles of local wildlife, as well as photographs of the area we are trying to protect.
You can support us at donate.pathfindersproject.com. Follow us on facebook at facebook.com/pathfindersproject to learn more about this wonderful area of the world.

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