Animals play an important role in our world. People all around the world depend on animals for everything from food to friendship. They are a vital piece of the balance of nature. Green Kids help protect and preserve the habitats of all animals.
There are over 400 types of sharks in this world. They include Tiger Sharks, Whale Sharks, Hammerheads, Goblin Sharks, Mako, Blue Sharks and Great White Sharks, as some examples.
They live all over the world in oceans and in all the seas. Some sharks like warmer water while others like colder water. The largest shark in the world is the Whale Shark, which can reach up to 50 feet in length and live as long as 150 years.
There are only 4 types of sharks that are considered to be dangerous to humans, including the oceanic whitetip, bull, tiger and great white sharks. The chances of being attacked by a shark are very slim - but it can happen.
One of the big problems we have today is that people are killing sharks and taking their fins. This is called shark finning. It is a cruel practice where people take the fin and then throw the shark back into the water still alive, where he or she drowns. The sharks fins are used in a Shark Fin Soup, which is considered a delicacy by some Asian cultures.
Elephants are the largest land animal and can live up to 70 years. There are two species of elephants, the African Elephant and Asian Elephant. They have tusks made of ivory, a long nose called a trunk and large ears with great hearing. Elephants live in grassland and forested areas.
An elephant's trunk has over 100,000 muscles! Elephants can pick up anything from a small piece of fruit to a fallen tree with their trunk. Elephants drink water by sucking it up their trunk and then spraying it into their mouth. They also use their trunks to communicate, eat, smell, touch, scratch, and shower.
Female elephants live in herds and they help each other care for their babies. Young elephants are taught their manners, such as holding out their trunks to greet other elephants, by the older elephants. At 15 or 16 years old, young male (bull) elephants, leave the herd to live on their own. The young female (cow) elephants remain with the herd.
Elephants eat only plants, grass, and fruit. They can even peel their own bananas. Elephants do not like peanuts! Elephants spend most of their day getting food and water. They only sleep about 2 hours a day, staying on their feet while they rest. They also spend time swimming and visiting with other elephants.
Elephants can communicate with sounds so low that humans cannot hear them. They have also been heard to cry, squeak, trumpet, purr, growl, and rumble. They use these sounds to express their feelings such as happiness, anger, and fear.
Elephants help sustain the world they live in. They dig water holes other animals can use. When they poop, they spread seeds and fertilizer so more plants and trees can grow. When they walk through the forest or grass on their big feet, they stir up insects and mice for birds to eat. Elephants are threatened by hunters seeking their ivory tusks and also by loss of their habitat. As humans move into elephant habitat to live and farm, the elephant herds are left with fewer places for the food and water they need. This can cause conflict between the humans and the elephants. Many groups are working to stop ivory poachers and loss of habitat in order to help preserve this interesting and important animal.
Bald eagles lives near water to hunt for their favorite food - fish. They are found from Alaska down to Mexico.
The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States. The number of bald eagles drastically decreased due to pesticide use, habitat loss, and hunting, and it was placed on the endangered species list in the late 1960s. After measures were taken to protect the bald eagle and other similar species, their numbers rebounded and they were delisted in 2007.
Bald eagles can fly up to speeds of 70 mph and dive up to 99 mph.
The Bengal tiger is also called the Indian tiger. They prefer grasslands, mangrove forests, dry and wet deciduous forests and temperate forests. They live alone in large territories and hunt for food at night. Their stripes are like fingerprints - no two are alike, and they can help identify each individual tiger. Tigers live to be 10-15 years old in the wild. Their roars can be heard up to 2 miles away! Tigers are endangered due to poaching and forest destruction. They are hunted for their fur and body parts, which are used in Asian medicine. There are more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild.
There are five species of rhinos in the world today, and all are endangered or threatened in some way. Three species are found in Asia and two are located in Africa. Thousands of years ago, rhinos were found in North America and Europe.
The black rhino and the white rhino live in Africa. The black rhino is critically endangered. The white rhino is the most abundant of the rhino species, but it is still threatened.
Rhinos can live in the wild for 30-35 years. They are herbivorous (plant eaters) and are some of the largest land mammals on earth. Some people believe the horns have healing properties and eat the ground up horns.
Rhinos are endangered mostly because of poaching for their horns. Their horns are made from keratin- the same protein found in our hair and fingernails.
Grizzly bears have a hump on their shoulders and claws about two to four inches long. Grizzlies are often dark brown, but can vary from very light cream to black. The long guard hairs on their backs and shoulders often have white tips and give the bears a "grizzled" appearance. This is how they got the name "grizzly."
Grizzly bears have a better sense of smell than a hound dog and can detect food from miles away. Grizzlies eat seeds, berries, roots, grasses, fungi, deer, elk, fish, dead animals, and insects such as bees, ladybugs, and ants. In the late summer and early fall, grizzlies put on weight for winter denning. During this time period they can gain more than three pounds a day!
They are normally solitary animals but will gather together where there is plenty of food, such as at salmon streams and whitebark pine sites. When a female grizzly bear leaves her mother after 2 to 3 years, she often sets up her home range quite close to her mother’s home range. Males will most often range further, but may also remain close by.
Female grizzly bears usually have cubs when they are four or five years old. Males do not help raise the cubs. In fact, males can be a danger to the cubs, so females often avoid male grizzly bears while rearing their cubs. Litter sizes can be from 1 to 4 cubs, but are usually just 2 or 3 cubs. Newborn cubs weigh just over a pound, while a full grown male can weigh over 700 pounds. A Grizzly bear can live for 25 to 30 years.
Grizzly bears are more dangerous when they have cubs to care for, which can lead them to attack even humans while protecting their cubs. They generally do not like contact with humans, and they often disappear into woods when a human comes near them.