Millennium Post


What characteristics do elephants display when they want to mate?

The courtship between a male and a female elephant is short lived. They will rub their bodies on each other and even wrap trunks. The females tend to run away from the males and he will have to pursue her. This game of cat and mouse can continue for a long time before the actual mating does occur.

The male elephants will fan their ears more when they are ready to mate than at other times. This allows them to get their scent out there at a wider distance than before and to attract females that can become potential mates. The older males from 40 to 50 years of age are the most likely to breed with females. The females are ready to breed when they are about 14 years of age.

There is plenty of aggression among the males for the right to mate. The younger ones though are usually no match for the strength of the older elephants which is why they don’t get to mate until they are much older. This tends to make it harder to increase the numbers of elephants in the wild.

Are red pandas endangered species in India?

Red Pandas live in temperate climates, in deciduous and coniferous forests, usually with an understorey of bamboo and hollow trees. This makes them a key species of these forests and indicators of forest health. They are found in the Himalayan region, in parts of Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and in the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. The majority of the Indian population occur in Arunachal Pradesh.

Red Pandas are declining over much of their range due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Forests are being cleared for timber extraction, agricultural development and livestock grazing even within national parks and wildlife reserves. This has resulted in the loss of nesting trees and the bamboo understorey on which the species feed. The red panda is also hunted for its pelt, which is used to make traditional hats and clothing in China. They are also caught in the wild and kept as pets in certain parts of India and Nepal.

WWF-India is currently working to enumerate the status and distribution of red panda in the Khangchendzonga Landscape-involving the states of Sikkim and northern West Bengal. In process is the field data collection on distribution and status of red panda from Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh to identify its potential habitat in the region and enumerate the threats and pressures it faces.

How do tigers communicate?

Tigers communicate using vocal sounds, body language and marking on trees. Although they live fairly solitary lives, they do get together occasionally, and it is during these interactions that they communicate with one another. Communication helps to warn of predators or other danger, establish territory and form social bonds.

One of the ways tigers communicate is by scent. Males and females, and mother lions and cubs often rub their faces together as a way of transferring their scent to each other. Male tigers often leave their scent by urinating on objects, such as trees, which marks their territory.

Another form of communication is vocal communication. Mother tigers call their young by using soft moans to summon them. The groan is a non-threatening form of communication. When a tiger roars, it may be used as a sign of danger or as a warning to other tigers to back off. Like all cats, tigers are masters at visual communication. They use different forms of body language to communicate different emotions. For example, a defensive posture is one where a tiger will lay its ears flat and bares its teeth. A relaxed tiger will have its ears and tail in an upright position.                                                                                  
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