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Ode to a swamp

A song that sings within me

Walking along the shoreline

Or paddling gingerly through the waters

The boughs of Your cypress

Dressed in Spanish moss

Wrap me in protection

Offering contrast for my eyes

Prickled with attentive searching for brother and sister lifeforms


The alligator

Architect of habitat for all


The heron

Keeper of the balances


The anhinga

Pointing my way


The dance of the sandhill cranes


Lord Shiva appears as a turtle in a yogic balance upon a rock

Here my soul is peacefully on fire

Here is my renewal

My sustenance

My resting place

Ode to a swamp

A song that sings within me

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The Everglades Snail Kite is a hallmark of Florida wildlife. Found in central and south Florida, this magnificent bird of prey thrives in swampy, wetland habitats (Audubon Society, 2020). Unfortunately the population of this seasoned hunter has dropped at an alarming rate.

The Everglades, a vital habitat to the Snail Kite, has been significantly reduced in size due to expanding infrastructure and construction of surrounding human populations (National Park Service, 2019). Fortuitously, organizations such as the Everglades Foundation have worked tirelessly throughout the years to restore and conserve the Everglades which is home to many of Florida’s unique species. (The Everglades Foundation, 2020).

But habitat loss is not the only struggle the Everglades Snail Kite faces. Their curved beaks are adapted specifically to feed on its namesake: Florida Apple Snails, or Pomacea paludosa. While there are several species of Apple Snails currently located in Florida, Pomacea paludosa is the native species of apple snail to Florida. There is some debate over whether local populations of the Florida Apple Snail may be a separate species from Pomacea paludosa (Schad, 2018), but we will only be referring to Pomacea paludosa for the purpose of this article.

One might think that the addition of new types of apple snails to Florida would mean the expansion of food for the Everglades Snail Kite, but that does not seem to be the case. Their beaks are so specifically adapted to the smaller, curved shells of the Pomacea paludosa, that the Everglades Snail Kite cannot use its beak successfully to feed on larger species of Apple Snails that are invading Florida wetlands. This poses another problem where the larger species of invasive apple snails are outcompeting and displacing the smaller Pomacea paludosa. The Everglades Snail Kite is facing food loss in addition to habitat loss.

But all is not lost. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, located in Fort Pierce, Florida has successfully completed research on the practice of captive breeding the Florida Apple Snail with a long-term goal of finding ways to replenish wild populations of Pomacea paludosa (Garr, Amber, Helen Posch, Margaret McQuillan, Megan Davis, 2012). These practices, if safely regulated and approved, could be used to help replenish the population of the Everglades Snail Kite by providing it with more food. Regulations and controls are needed to ensure that captive populations would not introduce new bacteria, or diseases to wild populations.

The Everglades Snail Kite is not the only endangered species in Florida, but it is a wonderful example of how—when united—people have the chance to improve many environmental problems.

Audubon Society, 2020. The Everglades Snail Kite. Audubon Florida.


Schad, Morgan. 2018. The Discovery of a Forgotten Species in an Unexpected Location: Pomaceamiamiensis in Palm Beach County. Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College.

The Everglades Foundation, 2020. About. []

Garr, Amber. Helen Posch. Margaret McQuillan. Megan Davis. 2012. Development of a captive breeding program for the Florida apple snail, Pomacea paludosa: Relaxation and sex ratio recommendations.

Aquaculture. Volume 370-371, Pages 166-171.


National Park Service. 2019. Restoration of Everglades National Park. U.S. Department of the Interior.

South Florida Natural Resources Center. Everglades National Park.


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A while back our guides were exited as they found a Death Head hawk moth caterpillar, just as South-Africa went into Lockdown, needless to say they decided to keep it to see it change.

The transformation from Caterpillar to Moth is truly amazing, and a perfect example of how complex our planet and the creatures we share it with is.

The Deathshead-hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos) is the largest moth to be recorded in the British Isles, not a resedint species but it has strong migratory instincts, and migrates to the British Isles annually from Southern Europe and Africa.

(This one was found as far South as South-Africa.)

Being able to see the transformation, from this beautifully colored Caterpillar 🐛 , recorded to reach 12.5 cm ( 4.9 inches)


The moth having a wingspan of up to 15cm (5.9 inces) with a pattern that resembles the skull of a human on its thorax.

This was sure one of our highlights during our time at home during the Covid-19 Lockdown.

!!!! Our not so little moth friend was released to be free to travel the world as we all wait to travel once more !!!!

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Stud 🚨|| An Executive flight from the comfort of your home office.


Imagery courtesy of Tumelo Ramaphosa (IG)

Invest in the bold and exciting legacy of trailblazers with Founder and Hult international business school alumni Tumelo Ramaphosa.

The Virtual Gateway to Silicon Valley is an exciting social enterprise that aims to empower women in entrepreneurship by equipping them with the necessary tools to access markets that transform big ideas into game changing industry solutions.

The boot camp is facilitated by a wide array of industry experts and mavericks eager to contribute to the discovery of the next generation of African Starlets in business and trade.

The vision of this initiative is to launch a continent of founders upon the world stage, catapulting village markets to the global stock exchange. The future of block chain resides here in Africa, the home of the innovativor, kin to the firsts and resident traveller in trade.

Visit and discover more about the evolution of conservation and how Africans in block chain are fighting to keep the environment a safer place for all.

For more information on The Virtual Gateway to Silicon Valley visit flights depart for San Fran November 13th. Sign up now, first 20 entries are on the House, take the gamble and ride the biggest wave this side of the Pacific.

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Primero que nada me presento, mi nombre es Vanessa Alejandra Pérez Díaz, soy de Mérida, Yucatán, México y actualmente soy pasante de la licenciatura en biología que imparte el Instituto Tecnológico de Conkal. La línea de investigación de mi interés es la de ecología y conservación de grandes carnívoros. Mis carnívoros favoritos son los felinos en especial el puma.

El objetivo de este “blog“ es divulgar información sobre la ecología y conservación de estas y otras especies, sobre todo las especies que habitan en mi país, México; aunque de vez en cuando publicaré de otras especies que se encuentren en otros países.

Espero este pequeño “blog“ pueda crecer y llegar a mucha gente para que pueda educarse y aprender más sobre la biodiversidad que hay en México y en otros países y para que sepan lo linda que es a biología.

Amo la biología y los grandes carnívoros me encantan, aprender e investigar sobre ellos es lo que más me ha fascinado de todo.

Espero que las demás personas pueden conectarse en algún momento de sus vidas con la naturaleza, porque soy 100% creyente de aquella frase “No se puede amar lo que no se conoce y menos resperarlo“.

Siempre he creído que nosotros los humanos apestamos como especie y que si no logramos cambiar y reeducarnos, cuando queramos actuar para solucionar el enorme problema será demasiado tarde.


p.d. la imagen fue tomada de internet.

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Into the eyes of the ancient
I chance a glance
And my soul stirs
I am so alive
Because of our quiet connection
Our voiceless nods of respect
It is not the concrete world
With its packaged food
And deceitful promises
Of happiness following material prosperity
It is not the man made chair upon which I sit that gives me comfort
But the ground beneath my feet
The natural stumps and branches upon which I rest
And the gaze into the eyes of a Being
Who carries the wisdom of ages
That reminds me
Gives me a glimpse
Into what humans truly can be
If only
We would remove our egocentric blinders
Shed our illusory story of dominion
And realize that we are but passing through
Small specks of stardust
In a vast Universe of potentiality

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On October 26th 1779, Henry Thomas, who became known as Lord Cockburn was born at Cockpen, Midlothian.

Although primarily associated with Edinburgh, Lord Cockburn was also Rector of the University of Glasgow. He was a prominent Whig lawyer who wrote for the influential Edinburgh Review and was a friend of fellow University of Edinburgh alumni Francis Jeffrey and Henry Brougham (both of whom became Rectors of the University of Glasgow). He was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland in 1830 and in 1834 took his seat as a judge in the Court of Session.

His Memorials of his Time, published posthumously in 1856, brings vividly to life the personalities and politics of early Victorian Scotland. 

Cockburn Street, built in the 1850s to connect the High Street with the North British Railway’s Waverley station, is also named after him. The building at the foot of the street, formerly the “Cockburn Hotel”, bears his image in profile in a stone above the entrance. The street was briefly called Lord Cockburn Street, when the Lord was dropped I have no idea.

Cockburn had an interest in architectural conservation , particularly in Edinburgh, where several important historic buildings such as John Knox’s House and Tailors’ Hall in the Cowgate owe their continued existence to the change in attitude towards conservation which he helped bring about. The Cockburn Association (Edinburgh Civic Trust), founded in 1875, was named in his honour.

A couple of little known facts about Lord Cockburn is he successfully defended Helen McDougall, the partner of themurderers Burke and Hare. He was known for the comment, ‘Except that he murdered, Burke was a gentlemanly fellow.’
The late actor actor Russel Hunter played Cockburn in Cocky, a one-man play which was effectively a dramatization of his memoirs.

Next time you walk up Cockburn Street take a look above what is now The Tattoo booking office and you will see his head immortalised in stone, the statue is in Parliament hall, the third pic is Lord Cockburn and his family, many of you might recognise that it is by the famous pioneering photographers David Octavius Hill, and Robert Adamson

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Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti
Often the voices raised in defense of the environment are silenced or ridiculed, using apparently reasonable arguments that are merely a screen for special interests. In this shallow, short-sighted culture that we have created, bereft of a shared vision, it is foreseeable that, once certain resources have been depleted, the scene will be set for new wars, albeit under the guise of noble claims.
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