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🎶 I'm walking in the wonder, You're the wonder in the wild, Turning wilderness to wonder - "Wonder" by Hillsong United

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📌November 23rd - Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃🍁 Yep, you guessed it, today’s topic is TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)! There are 6 subspecies of wild turkey native to North America. The one the pilgrims hunted and ate was the eastern wild turkey (M. gallopavo silvestris) which is most common in the eastern half of the United States and into Canada. Others include the Osceola or “Florida” wild turkey, the Rio Grande wild turkey (named by their geographical location😉), Merriam’s in the west, Gould’s in the south, and the Ocellated wild turkey found in the Yucatan peninsula and into Central America. Domestic turkeys are in the same “genus” (a larger group of species) as these wild turkeys. But they have 8 breeds that are recognized by the American Poultry Association with many different varieties. However you prefer to feast this holiday, give a little turkey appreciation. 👍🏼

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📌November 22nd - Humane Society Anniversary Day! On November 22, 1954, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was founded. On first glance, most people will confuse this organization with their local humane society. ✋🏼This organization is a not-for-profit animal protection group. They work nationally on the following issues and, on a larger scale, with Humane Society International. They work to combat animal fighting, puppy mills, wildlife hunting (in general), removing animals from their natural habitat to be placed on exhibit in circuses/roadside zoos/zoos/aquariums, research involving animal testing and other issues. These are not easy feats to tackle and many organizations end up in the battle for good cause. As with any issue in the animal welfare and animal rights arenas, there is controversy over the best course of action and it is dependent on the stakeholders. You can learn more about their stance on these topics at humanesociety.org. 📸: HSUS; @humanesociety

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📌November 21st - Fins up for World “Hello” Day. Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA is the world’s second largest aquarium after Marine Line Park in Singapore (opened in 2012). This was a pretty amazing greeting from one of the whale sharks and two of the manta rays! at Georgia Aquarium

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📌October 20th - International Sloth Day! — Repost from @ekpurrsico: This little "perezoso" (sloth in Spanish) is super fun to say. He is a two-toed sloth of which there are two species. There are also 3 other species of three-toed sloths. The difference in naming comes from the amount of toes on their forelimbs (notice how tricky that is because they both have 3 toes on their hindlimbs). But now you won't be fooled! Their limbs are closer to the same length, they have less vertebrae in their spines, no tails, and they have shorter necks with larger eyes compared to their two-toed cousins. Sloths, in general, rarely take the time and energy to come down out of the trees. We are told that they will often purposely fall from branches to get to the ground. @centroderescateamazonico

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📌October 19th - National Kentucky Day! Kentucky is home to 5 national parks, 30 national historic landmarks, 7 natural national landmarks and 1 World Heritage site! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Mammoth Cave became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981 (Green River 📸: Amanda Braun, National Park Foundation). It is known for the largest network of natural caves and underground passages in the world! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Under President Richard Nixon (1969-1974), the United States proposed the World Heritage Convention to the international community and was the first ratify it. Now, the American national parks (and its 23 World Heritage sites) are models continually carried out worldwide.

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📌October 18th - World Okapi Day! The okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is closely related to the giraffe. Similar to giraffes, they have relatively long necks and limbs. Unlike the giraffe, they have a unique distribution of color patterns on their bodies. They have a red-brown coloration through their trunks, yet black and white horizontal stripes on their legs. Female okapis are larger than males, but only the male okapis have small, horn-like ‘ossicones’ which are permanent bumps extending from the skull. These are similar to a deer’s ‘pedicle’ which makes them able to sprout antlers, but ossicones remain covered in skin and hair. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Okapis live in densely forested areas in the tropics and spend most of their time alone. Given this lifestyle, it is extremely hard for scientists to estimate their true population. They are found isolated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The lack of security in this region plays a large role in the lack of conservation efforts as it pertains to forest degradation, deforestation and patterns of human settlement (illegal mining, poaching, etc.) Poaching is a great concern due to okapi being a highly prized bushmeat 😥. 📸: Brookfield Zoo @brookfieldzoo

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📌October 17th - Information Overload Day! Time to hit the reset button. 😴 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📸: Unknown

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📌October 16th - National Feral Cat Day! Did you know cats can get pregnant as early as 4 months of age?! With an average gestation between 9 and 10 weeks, a queen (unspayed female) can have multiple litters per year, with each of her female kittens doing the same. The average litter size is 3-5 kittens with a range between 1 and 10 - so it can be highly variable. That is an explosion of cats roaming the streets! With exposure to these unmanaged feral cat populations, each cat coming into a veterinary clinic is recommended testing for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and preventatives for ectoparasites (fleas and ticks) and intestinal parasites. Some organizations such as @alleycatallies participate in “TNR” (Trap-Neuter-Release) programs where population control is the main objective but may also include vaccination or colony maintenance.

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📌October 15th - National Pug Day! This short-nosed breed (ie. brachycephalic breed in veterinary terms) has a long history. It is documented as early as 400 B.C. with its earliest known source in China. This breed was the pet of the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. Afterwards, it appeared in Japan, then across Europe, and eventually the Americas. Along its way, these dogs became the favorites of many royal courts. @americankennelclub ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📸’s: Unknown

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📌October 14th - International African Penguin Awareness Day! 🐧 There are 17 species of penguin worldwide, and this one may surprise you! The only part of the world inhabited by this species is the Namibian and South African coastline. Their population has declined 70% in the past 10 years due to numerous oil spills over the last 20 years, overfishing, habitat encroachment by urban development and human disruption to breeding grounds. Given that this species primary food sources come from the water, food shortages are becoming drastically more common. To preserve the population as best as possible, tiny igloos are set up along the coast as artificial nest boxes to protect their precious eggs from weathering and land predators such as genets, leopards and kelp gulls. Check out @mystic.aquarium for more info!

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📌October 13th - US Navy Birthday! ⚓️ The US Navy was officially established on October 13, 1775 making 2017 its 242nd birthday! The Navy is naturally focused near the east and west coasts - with more than 40 bases. The largest 5 include: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1️⃣Naval Station Norfolk (pictured)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2️⃣Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3️⃣Naval Air Station Jacksonville⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4️⃣Naval Base San Diego ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 5️⃣Naval Station Mayport⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📸: Christopher Stoltz, US Navy.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🐬Fun Fact: The US Navy Marine Mammal Program trains dolphins and sea lions for ship and harbor protection, mine detection and clearance, and equipment recovery!

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📌October 12th - National Vermont Day! Vermont is home to 2 national parks, 1 national heritage area, 18 national historic landmarks, 12 natural national landmark, and 20 archeological sites in its national parks! Vermont is known for maple syrup, winter sports and its ratio of cows to people - that’s right - using this ratio, Vermont has the greatest population of dairy cows in the country (they don’t actually have the greatest number; statistics are funny that way). But it gave a great start to the famous Ben and Jerry (@benandjerrys)! This photo is of the Missisquoi River in northern Vermont, which became part of the National Wild and Scenic River System in December of 2014. 📸: Dan Moriarty

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📌October 11th - National Fossil Day! In 2010, Dr. Zhijie Jack Tseng and colleagues uncovered a surprising find in the Himalayas. In a remote region known as the Zanda Basin, located in western Tibet, near the border of China and Pakistan, the oldest known fossil of a big cat skull was discovered dating back 4-6 million years. Prior to this discovery, we had only known ancestors of the large cats to date back to about 3.5 million years in Tanzania. Researchers constantly debate about the origin of the big cats - and with this discovery, the theory that big cats descended out of Central Asia (nearest to the home range of modern-day snow leopards and clouded leopards) instead of Africa becomes a larger possibility. With further technological advancement (CT in the case above), we are able to more accurately map, analyze and morphologically compare historical artifacts to modern species. 📸 pub’d - Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Tseng et. al)

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📌October 10th - Squid and Cuttlefish Day! I know, I know, two days ago we just talked about the Octopoda part of the cephalopod family. But today, the squid and cuttlefish get their chance. One thing that sets them apart is... TENTACLES! The octopus doesn’t have them, but these two groups do! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1️⃣They each have 2 tentacles along with their 8 limbs. ⠀ 2️⃣Squid also have round pupils, while cuttlefish have W-shaped pupils.👀😳⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Check out @endextinctionintl for today’s photo of the Australian Giant cuttlefish! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📸: Phuket Scuba

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📌October 9th - World Rainforest Awareness Week (Oct 8-14th)! These tables are taken from Mongabay.com (@mongabay) - an independent website dedicated to posting news regarding the environmental sciences, green statistics, energy, conservation, rainforest news and the tracking of deforestation rates by country. The Brazilian Amazon contributes approximately 2/3rds of the entire Amazon River basin, which is THE largest river by volume in the WORLD. Naturally, it supports the largest rainforest ecosystem in the world. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The upper table shows the rates of deforestation throughout Brazil from 2010-2016. Overall, deforestation has increased over the past few years (in Brazil and surrounding states) due to land clearing for cattle and subsistence farming, logging, mining, transoceanic highway projects and increased hydrocarbon development. The recent increase in the upper table is relatively minor compared to the lower table where you can see a sharp decline in the early 2000’s that has been held through the past decade. A few organizations actively supporting rainforest conservation are @rainforesttrust, @rainforestalliance, @rainforestactionnetwork, @thewcs, @nature_org, @conservationorg, @worldlandtrust, @wwf.

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📌October 8th - World Octopus Day! 🐙 The cephalopod class includes octopuses (yes I checked😂), squid, cuttlefish and nautiluses. In Latin, this class name refers to the “head” “foot” species which make up the majority of their bodies. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1️⃣Did you know the octopus has 3 hearts? Yes, two hearts work to move blood past the animals’ gills while the third maintains blood flow to the organs. This organ heart stops while the octopus swims, which explains why they crawl so often rather than swim. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2️⃣Two thirds of the octopus’ nerves are located in their arms, NOT their head. If the limbs are severed from the animal, they will continue to respond to stimuli! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Credit to @smithsonianmagazine for these fun facts!! You can also check out @fieldmuseum for the oldest known fossil of an octopus at almost 300 million years old! 👨‍🔬 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Repost from @octonation: “An octopus often favors one arm over the rest, similar to how humans are right or left-handed. Additionally, octopuses can separately move each suction stalk on their arms. The acetabulum – or small cavity – at the end of each sucker allows an octopus to attach itself to an object, such as a clam shell or crab leg. 📸: @creationscape

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📌October 7th - Inter-American Water Day - IAWD (first Saturday of October)! This day is celebrated annually to raise awareness about the importance of clean water for health and sustainable development. PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), AIDIS (Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering) and the CWWA (Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association) played a part in its conception in 1992. 🌊🌎 📸: Unknown

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📌October 6th - World Smile Day (first Friday in October)! Because you don’t need a reason to send someone a smile - especially any of these - even if it’s a #latergram. A large part of our schooling was to find a “problem”, aka things we didn’t know, create a “learning issue” and then find the answer. We called it “PBL” or problem-based learning. With a little research, can you find the dental formulas for these babies? 🙋🏻🤓😬👩🏻‍⚕️

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