Tuesday, June 17, 2014


By Jason

I learned that poachers poison vultures, because they don't want the farmers to know that a rhino was poached.  The farmers would know because the vultures would be flying over the rhino carcass.

White Rhino, Pilanesburg South Africa
White-backed Vulture, Etosha Pan, Namibia
I learned that people think that rhino horn can be used in medicines.  In Vietnam, ENV (Education for NatureVietnam) educates people that rhino horn is the same stuff that your fingernails are made of.  So it doesn't cure anything. 

Some people think that the rhino's horn grows back.  But really, the rhinos are killed, and then the horn is taken off.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


By Jamie

In South Africa we went to a cheetah rescue center (the Ann van Dyk center).  At the rescue center we learned about cheetahs and even got to touch one!  The one we got to touch was a young male cheetah. 

Petting a cheetah!
The rescue center started a cheetah breeding program in 1971.  Before that, only 100 cubs total had been born in captivity.  They have bred 720 cubs since the breeding program was started.  They even helped get cheetahs removed from the endangered list! 

Cheetahs have an oval tail that helps them with speed.  When they're running, cheetahs actually spend most of the time in the air between strides.  The fastest cheetah recorded ran... 75 miles an hour!  The cheetah was a female one; they are faster and lighter.  Cheetahs' average speed is 37-49 miles per hour.  Cheetahs hunt every 2 or 3 days.  They have 1,600 - 2,000 spots! 

At the rescue center they have another kind of cheetah called a king cheetah.  There are 200 king cheetahs in the wild.  King cheetahs can't camouflage as well.  They thought the king cheetah was a sub-species, but at this rescue center they discovered that it was not.  It was really caused by a recessive gene.  If both parents have it, you have a chance that a king cheetah cub would be born.  
King cheetah
I loved going to the rescue center, and cheetahs are one of my favorite animals!

Cheetahs being fed at the rescue center


By Jason

Lions are the largest cat in Africa.  The only cat larger than the lion in the world, is the tiger. 

Lions breed during any time of the year.  Lions mate over many days.  There can be 1-4 (or sometimes 6) cubs in a litter. 

Lions breeding in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Lions are the only cats that form groups called "prides."  Prides have an average of 12 lions.

Lions don't have a natural predator. 

Male lions are 396-528 pounds.  Female lions are 264-396 pounds.

We also saw lions!
Female lion at Lion Park, near Johannesburg

Here are some white lions we saw.  The cause of white lions is a recessive gene.  They are a not a separate species.  Each parent has to have the recessive gene for there to be a chance of having a white lion.

Young male white lion at Lion Park

Male white lion at Lion Park

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vegetarian in India

Jamie and Jason have been doing lots of standardized testing lately, so we're catching up on posts:  here's an update from them on India.

Jamie:  In India we were vegetarian for a month. The reason we went vegetarian was that Jason challenged us to do it in PerĂº for a week, but it was hard to do in PerĂº. So we suggested to do it for a month in India because it is very easy to do there.  We decided that we could still eat some fish, because the fish is good in the south. Jason challenged us because meat is not good for the environment. (It takes more than 600 gallons of water to make one hamburger!)

It was kind of easy, but the one part that was kind of hard was not eating bacon. I ate a lot of things, like: paneer makhani; rice; naan; chapati; raita.

Jason: Being vegetarian in India was successful.  I am very proud about getting Mama, Diddy and Jamie to not eat any meat.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Seeing a tiger in India

By Jamie and Jason

We went on a safari in Ranthambhore Reserve
In Ranthambhore, India, we went on a safari and saw a tiger.  The tiger we saw on the safari was a big male tiger.  Our safari was cold because we went on it in the morning.  We went in an open-air Jeep that could hold six-seven people, plus a driver and a guide.  We found the tiger by its footprints and its roar.

Tiger footprint
The male tiger we saw
Another picture of the tiger we saw
Our open-air jeep
Here is some information about tigers:
- All tiger stripes are not the same.  No two tigers have the same pattern of stripes.
- It's not a good idea to have tigers as pets because when they get older and play with you, they could hurt you very badly.
- There are about 1700 Bengal tigers left in the wild in India.  Bengal tigers are also called Indian tigers.

Here are some more facts about tigers:
- There are 3200 tigers in the wild.  There are 8 subspecies of tigers.  3 of them are extinct.
- Male tigers can be 9 to 9 1/2 feet long.  Female tigers are about 8 1/2 feet long.
- The size and color of different species of tigers can be different based on their surroundings and climate.
- They sometimes eat leopards and bears.  They usually eat sambar deer (a type of deer found in India) and bovids (hoofed mammals like antelope and bison).
- Hungry tigers sometimes eat up to 60 pounds in one night.

Sambar deer
Spotted deer
Indian antelope
Tigers are endangered.  In some places the habitat isn't big enough to live in, and tigers need a big habitat.  They have lost habitat because people are using it for agriculture, or farming, and people living in areas that used to be forest.  People hunt their prey, so they don't have enough prey.  One more threat to tigers is that people kill the tigers and use tiger parts for traditional medicine.

Farm very close to Ranthambhore - the little covered platform is a place where farmers sometimes sleep to guard against wild animals
Countries where tigers live have formed a group, and by the year 2022, the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese lunar calendar, they want to double the number of tigers.  Their goal is to have 6,000 tigers living in the wild.

I loved seeing that tiger, and I hope that the countries that are trying to save tigers achieve their goal.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cambodia homestay

By Jamie

Here's a 3 1/2 minute video post about our homestay on the Mekong river in Cambodia.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


By Jason

There are two Angkors:  the temple, Angkor Wat, and the city, Angkor.  Around 1200, when London was only 50,000 people, the city of Angkor was 1 million people.

Khmer kings in Cambodia had the city of Angkor built, including Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm.  They took many years and thousands of people worked on them.  In the temples, there are a lot of carvings, and the carvings are very detailed and perfect.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the most special temple in the city of Angkor, and it is also the world's largest religious building.  Suryavarman II had Angkor Wat built.

Jason's drawing of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Monkeys battling demons (which the monkeys defeat) at Angkor Wat.  The demon king, which you can't see here, has ten heads.  
One of the towers at Angkor Wat.


Bayon is about 800 years old.  Bayon is a Buddhist temple, and Jayavarman VII built Bayon.  There were 54 towers, and each tower had four faces.  If you add up all the faces, you would get 216 faces.  The faces look like Avalokiteshvara, a Buddhist god.  They also look like Jayavarman VII.  There are a lot of bats in the tall towers.

Jason's drawing of Bayon
Jason, at Bayon.
All of the towers at Bayon.
Close-up of a face on one of the towers, at Bayon.

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm is also known as the Tomb Raider temple.Ta Prohm is diffrent from the other temples becuse the trees conquered the temple and you can't see most of the temple.  Ta Prohm is about 800 years old.  Jayavarman VII built Ta Prohm for his mother.

Jason's drawing of Ta Prohm
The trees conquering Ta Prohm