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Penguin Sweaters

Penguin Sweaters

Oil spills can have a devastating effect on marine life. After an oil spill, one of the most important jobs of rescuers is to fish out oil soaked birds and animals, clean them and rehabilitate them before releasing them into the wild again. Recently, after an oil spill in the Australian waters, environmentalists claimed that the oil slicks were threatening the existence of the little blue penguins in the south of Australia. These tiny, blue-backed penguins are barely 41 centimetres in height – half the height of the world’s biggest, and famous Emperor penguins of Antarctica....

Which Mammal lays Eggs?

Which Mammal lays Eggs?

Mammals are creatures who give birth to their young ones as opposed to other animals who lay eggs. Birds, reptiles and insects lay eggs. But as with every other rule, this one has exceptions* too. An exceptional exception The duck-billed platypus of Australia walks out of fresh waters to build its nest on the ground. But it has retained its love of water and returns to streams and ponds to eat crayfish, snails, and shrimp. The most remarkable feature in the platypus is that although it is a mammal, it lays eggs!...

An Organism that is visible from Space

An Organism that is visible from Space

The elephant is the largest land animal. The Blue whale is the largest sea animal. But however big these animals may be, they can not size up to the colonies built by tiny little sea creatures – the coral. The colonies built by corals are called coral reefs. Coral reefs can be as huge as big islands or even as big as a country! These reef-building corals are not single animals. A coral is a colony made up of many individual animals called polyps....

The Kiwi is Australian!

The Kiwi is Australian!

The Kiwi is Australian! [Illustration by Shinod AP] March 14: The kiwi bird is one of the most common symbols of New Zealand. It is also the country’s national bird. And that’s not all. It features as an insignia on New Zealand’s coat of arms as well. New Zealanders consider the kiwi their most enduring national symbol and until now, they believed that the bird did not even exist outside New Zealand....

Earthquake Rocks New Zealand

Where: Wellington, New Zealand July 16, 2009 : A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred in New Zealand’s South Island, near the city of Invercargill. No one was injured, nor was there any major damage. The region, South Westland, is almost uninhabited, and the quake was centred 35 kilometres under the sea off its coast. An earthquake of this intensity could have caused destruction on a massive scale had it struck near the heavily populated capital city of Wellington....

An invasion of toxic toads

Where: State of Queensland, Australia April 2, 2007: This is certainly not a toad you’d want to kiss. Not only will the toad not turn into a handsome prince, you may not be left alive to tell the tale. It’s as big as a small dog, has the body of a football and enough poison to kill a crocodile if it makes the mistake of having a Cane toad for lunch. It has been 70 years since the cane toad was first brought to northern Australia from South America to kill and eat the beetles that were spoiling the sugar cane crop....

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef [Illustration by Shinod A.P.] The Great Barrier Reef, which lies off the coast of Australia, is the world’s largest coral reef. It stretches 2010 kilometres along the north-east coast of Australia. Many kinds of corals grow here. Some pink, some orange, some bright blue and some yellow. It is like a great underwater garden. Bright coloured fishes and plants live around the turquoise waters of the reef....

The Fossil Tree

The Fossil Tree

December 27: Which are the oldest living trees in the world? You might think it’s those huge redwood trees, called giant sequoias, dating 4000 years. Not true. How about the Wollemi Pine? Yes, you’re getting there. But the answer is the Nightcap Oak, which was discovered recently. This oldest tree is 90 million years old. The Nightcap Oak has been identified as a living fossil. It dates back to millions of years and was thought to have died out....

Fiji Struck by Cyclone

Where: Suva, Fiji March 16, 2010 : Fiji declared a state of emergency in the northern and eastern parts of the country after they were struck by a tropical cyclone, Cyclone Tomas. The eastern Lau group of islands was the worst affected. The country’s second largest island, Vanua Levu, also sustained severe damage. Over 17,000 people left their homes and fled to evacuation shelters as the storm raged. There were reports of deaths in some places but the numbers were not known....

Pretty bird no more

Pretty bird no more

Where: London, England April 24, 2007: For 40 years, the people of London have been happy to spot in their parks a bird that seems to have made its way from the Himalayas to the capital of England. With its shocking green body, red beak, long tail and noisy screech, the rose-ringed parakeet brought a vivid splash of colour to parks in and around London. The parakeet (psittacula krameri) is native to a great belt of land stretching from Africa to the Himalayas in India....

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