Black Panthers – The Solitary Beasts Who Rules the Night

DESCRIPTION – BLACK PANTHERS

Black Panthers, rare and beautiful are related species of Leopards and Jaguars. Appearing in pitch to shady shades of black, in Asia and Africa, Black Panthers are born of Leopards whereas, in the America and UK, they are born of Jaguars. The dark appearance in Panthers is induced by Melanism, a color mutation that provides an authentic shiny black coating throughout the body. Melanism is a genetic condition constituting a superior amount of black pigmentation in the layers of skin and hair. Black Ghost of the jungles has been a common terminology provided on its versatile appearance apart from Black Jaguars and Black Leopards. These animals cannot be contained and can only be seen if they wish to be seen. No boundaries can limit these magnificent creatures from imprinting as their own.

Panthers measure up to 8 feet in length and weigh up to 250 pounds. Their reign can range across Rain Forests, Savannah, Mountains, and Deserts. Black Panthers have powerful paws and sharp claws that help in hunting reptiles, birds and a variety of mammals. The excellent eyesight and hearing put them right on top of the food chain. Black Panthers are endangered species owing to hunting, global warming, habitat loss, and pollution. Black Panthers are the masters of the dark since they hunt mostly at the night. Every available resource in the wild is utilized to hide and get closer to the prey.  They blend so well with the environment that they hardly miss their target.

These authentic species have a unique capability of leaping 20 feet high to bring down the prey. Just like any other cat family members, these confident hunters have a flexible spine that adjusts and allows them to land on four feet. Wet seasons are ideal hunting grounds for the black panther as the shadows dominate and act as cover for camouflage. Clouds during the wet season is an added advantage in constituting to the shadows. It makes even harder for the prey to spot these apex predators. During the dry season, the shadows of trees are reliable and have to be alert to keep out from the alarming screech of Macaques to warn the prey on the hunt.  These extremely good tree climbers, unlike other cats, are solitary beasts and prefer isolation. They hardly socialize and are found alone rather than at the pairing phase. This animal is capable of killing its prey with one fatal bite on the neck. This formidable predator has the ability to take down prey which is larger in size and drag it all the way up the tree.

REPRODUCTION

Black Jaguars or Leopards delivers black or spotted cubs where one among the pair is black. Incase both males and females are spotted, the female delivers spotted cubs. Black panthers are less fertile compared to their spotted relatives, hence less in existence and hard to find in the wild. The gestation period in females lasts 3 months. Once the mating phase is over, the male and female part ways. The litter consists of two to four cubs. The cubs are born with the eyes closed. The female raises the cubs and imprints until they are able to hunt on their own. Usually, it takes two to three months for the cubs to master hunting from their mother. Once the cubs attain the survival instincts, the mother part ways leading them to lead and rule a solitary life and territory within ten months. Black panthers can live up to a period of 12 – 20 years depending on the environmental conditions.

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Gyrfalcon – The Elegant Raptor of the Falcon Family

Gyrfalcons are the largest among the family of falcons. They are ranked third fastest in the bird kingdom after the Peregrine falcon and the Golden Eagle. These birds were considered royal from the medieval age and a has been a pet to the ones in power. Scientifically termed as Falco-rusticolus appears in pure white to dark brown shade, its reign spreads across the Arctic, North America, Europe, and Asia. These majestic birds of prey are commonly found in winter dominated countries (higher altitudes) since they are less font of Mediterranean climate.

Out of all, the white Gyrfalcon is the most alluring one having a snow-white appearance with grey bars on wings and tail. Grey morph is the most common plumage found among the Gyrfalcons across the regions. Gyrfalcons in pure white plumage are confined to the Arctic based on the geography. Measuring 20 -24 inches in length and weighing up to 1.3 kg, these magnificent birds can dive steeply from high altitudes. During the dive, these birds can descent at a velocity of 130 mph with great diving and combat skills adjusting their wings.

Compared to other falcons on a long-distance flight, endurance flying and flapping powered flight are the specialties of the Gyrfalcon with a velocity measuring close to about 55 mph. When it comes to level flying, with long pointed wings intact, Gyrfalcon can be even faster than the Peregrine falcon. Level flying is when these amazing birds skim across steady and clean air with an accelerated wing flapping. When in flight, on hunting, just before hooking, a bit of extra energy is forced to boost velocity and thereby an impulse to have a firm grip on the prey.

For hunting, they require open spaces. Grasslands, valleys and similar landscapes are favorite patrol grounds preferred, swooping for the kill. Having a very sharp vision, these raptors are expert bird hunters. Hoovering around the higher altitudes they wait for the perfect moment to swoop and strike the targeted smaller bird. The claws pierce the prey’s body on gripping and slam it straight to the ground. Apart from birds, they hunt on reptiles, fishes, and rodents.  Where, in the Arctic, Ptarmigans are the favorite prey by these swift skimmers.

Nesting

The nests are usually set up on the high trees and on the edge of cliffs in winter dominated Nations. The breeding phase normally ranges from April to July. The dense nests are made out of thick branches that could withstand strong winds. In a clutch, three to four eggs are a common sight. The males are comparatively smaller by three to four pounds than the female. The male hunts in the vicinity of the nest and usually target smaller birds during the time of breeding. Up to five pounds of the flesh is the normal feeding scale of the Gyrfalcon family during breeding.

Females stores the leftover after the feast and prefer feeding herself and the family on the leftover later sometime. During the winter, when there is scarcity, it has been noticed these birds feeding on the corpse left behind. For a hatchling to take its first flight and the feathers to support the body weight it takes 40 – 50 days. It takes three years for the hatchling to attain maturity and build a nest of its own. There have been scenarios where the Gyrfalcon had been found raising a family in the nests built by higher raptors. The life expectancy of Gyrfalcons is been recorded to be 12 – 13 years.

Gyrfalcon – Falconry

Falconry being a sport for thousands of years, the Gyrfalcons are active members of the group. Falconry is training raptors that are caught or imprinting on a hatchling. It takes 60 days for a raptor to be well trained by an experienced trainer. For some, falconry is a sport and for others, it is a source of earning or in another way a source of living. In certain Nations, Gyrfalcons are the saviors of farmers by protecting the crops and farmlands from crop eater birds and rodents.

The trainers along with the falcon patrols the farmlands chasing and hunting the crop hunters. Grain stores and warehouses protection from crows and sparrows have also been looked upon with falconry as an alternative. In several Nations, the Gyrfalcons for sale are available in the market where one should have a license to own this bird. The government runs inspection on the bird owners to ensure that the birds are well raised and maintained.

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