African Lions“ African lion is a very large cat, with males weighing between 330 and 550 pounds and females weighing between 260 and 400 pounds. It is 8 to 10 feet long, not including the tail. Its most famous feature is its mane, which only male lions have. The mane is a yellow color when the lion is young and darkens with age. Eventually, the mane will be dark brown. The body of the African lion is well suited for hunting. It is very muscular, with back legs designed for pouncing and front legs made for grabbing and knocking down prey. It also has very strong jaws that enable it to eat the large prey that it hunts.
The lion prefers grassy plains, savannas, and semi-deserts. It is located throughout much of Africa, especially in the southeastern part of the continent.”
Meerkat“These gregarious animals are often seen in groups, and several families may live together in a large community. Squirrel-sized meerkats are mongooses famed for their upright posture. They often stand on their rear legs and gaze alertly over the southern African plains where they live. Mothers can even nurse their young while standing.
Meerkat groups utilize several different burrows and move from one to another. Each burrow is an extensive tunnel-and-room system that remains cool even under the broiling African sun. Females give birth to two to four young each year in one of the group's burrows. Fathers and siblings help to raise meerkat young, teaching them to play and forage and alerting them to the ever present danger from above. Young meerkats are so fearful of predatory birds that even airplanes will send them diving for cover.”
Kea“Above the forest line in the Southern Alps in the South Island of New Zealand are extensive areas partly covered in scrub and tussock, partly bare rocks and shingle, and mostly precipitous and difficult to traverse. This entire region is exposed to an unforgiving mountainous climate, snow and bleak winds in winter, mist and wind in summer. It is here, and in the upper margins of the beech forest, that the Kea, the world’s only mountain parrot, has evolved a level of intelligence that rivals that of the most sophisticated monkeys.”
Keas are found in South Island only, from north western Nelson and Marlborough south to Fiordland.
Brown Kiwi“The Brown Kiwi population is estimated at 25,000, of which about 8000, of these tough, stroppy, spiky feathered birds survive in the Northland region. Kiwi prefer lowland and coastal indigenous forest, but the huge changes to New Zealand's original forest cover mean the kiwi have to be adaptable. Today they live in many different types of vegetation, including exotic forests and rough farmland.
The Brown Kiwi sleeps and nests in simply constructed, one entrance burrows, it may be dug in the earth of a bank or slope, using their strong legs and claws to loosen the earth and push it out and away from the entrance. Or their day shelter may be in a hollow tree, under a log, in a rock crack or within a dense clump of vegetation.”