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Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?




Annals
Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.




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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.




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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.




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Preserving Imaginaries

A New Partnership for Con- servation: A partnership between a government, a private funding source, landowners, a conservancy organization, and Iranigami has yielded good results for a few Imaginaries, including a sighting of an Imaginary long considered extinct.

Jaguars, once found throughout the Americas, are threatened or endangered throughout most of their shrinking range. As is true for most endangered or threatened species, the jaguar’s current range also overlaps the territories of a number of Imaginaries that are equally in danger of extinction.

In the past few years, several entities concerned with the survival of the jaguar began working together to establish a conservancy easement. Among the participants was someone (name withheld) who was an Iranigami agent as a child, and has since gone into conservation as an adult. This individual contacted Iranigami to let us know about this effort, and Iranigami got involved. As a result of our involvement, the borders of one of the jaguar conservancy areas established by the partnership were expanded slightly to encompass the range of the ccoa, a severely-endangered Imaginary – although of course, the conservancy people think this expansion was only to include known jaguar country.

The ccoa is a very large cat about twice the size of a jaguar, with a grey body marked with horizontal stripes, and yellow eyes. While local folklore says the eyes of a ccoa spit hail, it actually disgorges hard pebbles formed in its gut, much like a domestic cat spits out hairballs.

The ccoa thrives in wet places, and historically has only ventured out of its damp habitats and closer to civilization during downpours. As a result, sightings of the ccoa have become associated with foul weather and crop failure, although of course the ccoa has nothing to do with either of these things.

Only five ccoas are still known to survive, all in a single area (see photo). The inclusion of the ccoa’s range in the new jaguar conservancy area means that they will be co-protected alongside their fellow cat.

I had a chance to go into this conservancy area, looking for fresh signs of the ccoa. While I didn’t see the cat itself, I did find scat and prints, confirming their presence. I also had the extreme pleasure and joy of sighting an alicanto, an enormous silver or gold bird (this one was silver), previously believed extinct. Previously, the only known habitat of the alicanto was several hundred miles away, and as the bird hadn’t been sighted anywhere in over seventy-five years, this was an exciting discovery indeed. The ability of the alicanto to leave its previous range and settle in new territory indicates that it is a more adaptable Imaginary than previously believed.

I was unable to locate their new roosting site, but did collect a feather I found on the ground to confirm the identification. Alicantos feed upon silver or gold, so this one may have found a vein high in the steep mountains that bisect the conservancy area. I did not go in search of the silver, as alicantos are also very skilled at luring those who meddle with it over the edge of a cliff.

The new jaguar conservancy project will help not only the ccoa, but also the alicanto. We are very pleased at this success, and thank the former Iranigami agent who alerted us to this opportunity. – MURCIELAGO, Iranigami Senior Field Agent, South America

 


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.