Rhinos are at once some of the world’s most popular animals, and some of its most critically endangered. These massive animals require plenty of space, and destruction of their habitats has put them at great risk. On top of that, poachers hunt rhinos for their ivory horns, to the point that some species of rhino are on the brink of extinction.  There are only three northern white rhinos remaining in the world, and only sixty or so Javanese rhinos.

However, all hope’s not lost—environmental scientists have been working to preserve these amazing animals, and have had some success. The southern white rhinoceros nearly went extinct, but there are now over 20,000 individuals, thanks to conservation efforts to protect them from poachers and reintroduce them to areas where they once lived. To help save the rhinoceros, check out the conservation programs sponsored by your local zoo!800px-white_rhino_2008_08

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Zigomar

Black rhinos are critically endangered, but Zoo Atlanta is working to help save them! These amazing animals are hunted for their horns (which, fun fact, are made of the same keratin as our nails and hair). Poaching, combined with habitat loss, has led rhino populations to dwindle.
However, zoos like Zoo Atlanta are fighting for endangered rhinos. On their website, you can read about their work against poaching, and you can read all about why black rhinos are special. Learning about animals is the first step to protecting them, and curiosity can inspire us to join in the fight. Check out Zoo Atlanta’s black rhino photo gallery and see for yourself why these animals are worth saving!

Check out these amazing orangutan drawings by our Zooworks winners!

If your Zoodinos fans devoured the latest issue about T. rex, they might like to learn about an even bigger predatory dinosaur: Spinosaurus!

Spinosaurus was enormous- up to 59 feet long and 21 tons. Its name means “spine lizard,” for the giant spikes along its back. Those spines are extensions of its back bones, and the longest ones were well over five feet long. It was discovered in Egypt in 1912, and it’s been fascinating both scientists and the general public ever since. One of its most remarkable traits is that it was probably divided its time between the water and dry land. Scientists think that Spinosaurus was largely aquatic because it has some features in common with water-dwelling creatures today, like its short hind legs (like a duck’s), a long snout for seeking  out prey in the water (like a crocodile’s). But in the water or on the land, you probably wouldn’t want to come across a Spinosaurus when it was hungry!

P.S. If you’re not already subscribed to Zoodinos, you can sign up here!

spinosaurus_swimming

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Bowler

Our readers must have been up all night working on these gorgeous drawings of nocturnal animals!

bird feeder.jpgWinter will be here before you know it, and that means that food will be scarce for our feathered friends. If you’d like to help out the birds in your neighborhood, check with your local nature center to see what kinds of birds travel through your area and what they eat. They can also give you tips on what NOT to feed them, like bread– it doesn’t have much nutritional value for them, and they’re better off with food like seeds.

Depending on where you live, backyard birds might be tiny brown sparrows, colorful red cardinals, long-legged cranes, or wide-eyed owls. What’s the coolest bird you’ve seen in your neighborhood?

Photo by Rennett Stowe

Cardinal.jpgIn the fall and winter, food can be scarce for lots of animals, including birds. The Nashville Zoo has tips on how you can make your yard a haven for birds in the colder months, with advice about different kinds of bird seed to put out, different kinds of feeders, and where you can place them to attract the most birds. Plus, they include a gorgeous photo gallery of the kinds of birds that you might see!

If you put up a bird feeder (or if you have one already), comment with photos of the birds you’ve seen!

Photo by USFWSmidwest

We humans are awake during the day and sleep at night, but not all animals are on the same schedule as us. Animals of all shapes and sizes, from fireflies to possums, mice to leopards, have adapted to a life after dark.

At night, it’s harder to see, so many nocturnal animals rely on their other senses or have big eyes, like owls, to help them see in low light. But despite the drawbacks, there are lots of advantages to being nocturnal too. Some animals, like lions, hunt at night, giving them an advantage over prey that sleep at night and can’t see well in the dark. On the flip side, other animals like rodents are often more active at night in order to avoid predators that could catch them during the day. For some animals, being active at night allows them to save energy on hot days– lots of desert animals sleep during the day and wake up at night when it’s cooler. Even some desert flowers only bloom at night to avoid excessive heat and sunlight!lions_at_night

Photo by Profberger

It looks like our Zooworks winners had a whole trunkful of fun making these drawings!

1024px-african_elephant_warning_raised_trunkThe latest Zoobooks animal is an old favorite: elephants! But even though they’re popular animals, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing new to learn about them. Check out these fun facts!

  1. An elephant’s trunk is both its nose and its upper lip.
  2. Elephants live in matrilineal groups, led by the oldest female.
  3. Newborn elephants weigh in around 260 pounds.
  4. Elephants are very smart animals—they’re able to recognize themselves in mirrors. That’s a skill that only a few other animals, like some dolphins and apes, have.
  5. Elephants can’t jump.
  6. An elephant’s tusks are teeth—specifically, incisors, like our “big front teeth.”
  7. When elephants swim, they use their tusks as snorkels.

Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim.

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