Bulldog Rat – It Was Very Good

Bulldog Rat
Bulldog Rat, Charles William Andrews, 1900

Bulldog Rat (Rattus nativitatis)

The Bulldog Rat lived on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The species was first described in 1886 when Captain Maclear of the British vessel, H.M.S. “Flying Fish,” formally surveyed the island. The island’s rat population (Two species) was described as “abundant” in 1887.

The Bulldog Rat was an average sized rat with a body length between 9 and 10 1/2 inches. The rat’s tail was relatively short for the species at about 6 1/2 inches but was very thick. Their head was relatively small, slender, and delicate.  The rats had very broad and strong claws on their thick, heavy feet. The rats were uniformly dark brown coats of fur.

The habitat, range, lifestyle, and food sources for the Bulldog Rat are largely unknown with the description of the species coming from one single survey, while educated guesses may be made from the gathered specimens much it just not known.

Bulldog Rat
Skull of Rattus nativitatis, Charles William Andrews, 1900

The Bulldog Rat went extinct due to epidemic disease or diseases. In 1901 when a Scientist visited the island he was unable to collect or find a single specimen even after offering cash rewards for one from the island’s human population. The disease or diseases responsible for the death of the Bulldog Rat were probably transmitted by the common Black Rat that was inadvertently introduced to Christmas Island in 1899.

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Bubal Hartebeest – It Was Very Good

Bubal Hartebeest
Bubal Hartebeest, Lewis Medland, 1895

Bubal Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus)

The Bubal Hartebeest, also known as the Bubal Antelope, was the first Hartebeest (a type of African antelope) to be named and described by Western Science. The animal was native to Africa north of the Sahara Desert in rocky areas with good vegetation.

The Bubal Hartebeest had a coat of short fur that was a uniform sandy color except for gray patches on the side of its muzzle and the tuft of its tail which was black. The Bubal Antelope was 3 1/2 feet at the shoulder and had ‘U’ shaped horns when viewed from the front. The Bubal was a social animal, described as living in herds of up to 200 animals. Its primary predator was the Barbary Lion (also extinct.)

Bubal Hartebeest

When the French conquered Algeria in 1847 entire herds of Bubal Antelopes were killed off by the colonial military. By the middle of the 1860s, the animals were restricted to the mountain ranges of northwestern Africa near and within the Sahara Desert. The animal went extinct in Tunisia in 1902, Morocco in 1925 and in Algeria around the same time. Hunting and elimination as a pest animal were the primary causes of the extinction.

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Movies Watched – Wrapping up 2016

Movies watched

This is the third year that I’ve tracked all the tv shows and movies I watched over the year. It was my best year for movies so far, but that was because I watched a movie every night in the month of October to celebrate the Halloween season. It was a fun experience, I even wrote up reviews for all of them but I don’t know if I would do it again this year. I worry there aren’t another 31 horror movies out there that I want to see.

I was looking for a theme or some overarching impulse that tied together my viewing for the year but I’m at a loss to find one. Top Gear took over the last part of the year while my re-watch (and re-read) of Harry Potter dominated the beginning.

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Bornean Rhinoceros – It Was Very Good

Bornean Rhinoceros
Bornean Rhinoceros, Tabin-Engelbert

Bornean Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni)

 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

The Bornean Rhinoceros, also known as the Eastern Sumatran rhinoceros or Eastern hairy rhinoceros, was a subspecies of the Sumatran rhinoceros. The Bornean rhino was endemic to the island of Borneo but their range was reduced severely until the entire known population was restricted to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Their habitat was the hot, humid closed canopy rainforests of the island.

The Bornean rhino was the smallest extant rhino. The weight of an adult individual ranged from 1300 to 2000 pounds, with a height of three to five feet and a body length of six to nine feet. The Bornean rhinoceros had the darkest skin of the Sumatran rhinos, and the fur of calves was much denser, but it became scarcer and darker as the animal matured. The head size was also relatively smaller. The rhinoceros had fringed ears and wrinkles around its eyes.

Bornean Rhinoceros
Tam, a captive Bornean Rhino, may be the last male of the species.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Bornean rhinoceros was common throughout its native range. The animal was driven to extinction in the wild through a combination of hunting, poaching for their horn, habitat loss, and by having a small, scattered population.

In the 1930s, overhunting by natives wiped out much of the rhino’s population. The native hunted the rhinos their horns and traded them to China. Beginning in the 1960s, large-scale logging for international consumption heavily degraded or completely cleared much of Borneo’s rainforest. In the 1990s, palm oil became a huge industry in Borneo, having an even larger effect on the Bornean rhinos.

The widespread habitat destruction and hunting of the Bornean rhinoceros led to the population being too fragmented to repopulate. Bornean rhinos are extremely elusive and solitary animals and the destruction of their habitat and the separation of breeding populations made it nearly impossible for the animals to find mates and reproduce. The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the rhino declared extinct in 2015. Three of the rhinos live in captivity.

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