The mustang is a breed of hardy, free-roaming horses that are believed to have descended from the horses brought by the Spanish conquistadors. It is a popular sports mascot that stands for the qualities of hardiness, grace, speed, and independence.
Prehistoric horses that lived in North America died out during the last ice age around 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. When Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, he brought with him horse breeds of Andalusian, Arabian, and Barb ancestry. Thus, began the reintroduction of horses to North America. The newly introduced Spanish horses were known for many qualities; hardiness being one of them. In fact, it was their hardiness that helped the breed survive in the wild and earn itself the title of a breed that was made to survive.
Wild horses became a common sight in both North and South America. These were the horses that were left, strayed, or stolen, which eventually became wild or feral horses. When the Native Americans learned horse riding, they started catching them. An individual Native American could own a hundred horses and the tribe could own over a thousand of these. As the nomadic tribes moved from place to place, they would lose some horses. Thus, these horses were scattered across America and multiplied freely.
Names for Mustang Horses
Mustangs are known to have many colors, including coyote duns, smokies, blues, blue roans, shining blacks, rusty browns, red roan, toasted sorrels, splotched appaloosas, cream-maned palominos, snip-nosed pintos, flea-bitten grays, black-skinned whites, etc.
- ▶ The word mustang means wild and untamed in Spanish.
- ▶ The mustang breed has roamed freely since over 300 years. This has made it into a very thrifty, independent, and hardy creatures.
- ▶ Mustangs were favorites of the Native Americans and cowboys due to their good cow sense that made them cattle working companion.
- ▶ There were about 2 million mustangs at the beginning of 20th century that came down to less than 30,000 by the end of the century.
- ▶ The law for The Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was introduced to protect mustangs.
This was some information related to the beautiful and sturdy mustang breed. With a lineage of great horses running in their blood, the mustang today is mostly used for stock work, riding, and endurance riding.
Electric Fence for Horses
Invisible fencing does not work well with horses as they are likely to get tangled in the wires that are barely visible. Wooden or concrete barriers are dangerous, because the horse might try and break them if it is determined to go out. Horses act on instincts when they panic and get themselves seriously injured.
Electric fences have been criticized for being painful to animals. Yet, one can’t deny the fact that they are very much effective in keeping animals, like horses and dogs, inside the yard, where they are safe.
Modern fences come in broader braids and colored ribbons in order to provide better visibility. They have three components …
- Electric Fence Wire: It carries the electric charge across the fence. It is the ‘active’ or hot part, and is located above the ground.
- Energizer: Energizer generates the electric charge and pushes it through the fence. This power is delivered in a series of pulses, which are transmitted per second to comply with the safety standards. Continuous pulses are not generated so as to give the horse some time to free itself from the fence.
- Ground System: It comprises metal rods that are dug inside the ground. It is the ‘inactive’ part in the assembly, which only becomes active when the circuit is completed; or in other words, whenever the animal touches the fence.
The working principle of this fence is fairly simple; the circuit completes only when the horse comes in contact with the fence and ground. The energizer and ground system have a gap between them, which prevents the circuit from completing. The horse touches the fence and the circuit is completed, allowing the charge to pass. This charge flows through the body of the horse, resulting in a mild shock. Though the shock is not very painful, it is enough to startle the animal and prevent it from coming anywhere near the fence in future.
The cost incurred on installing an electric fence will depend on the perimeter of your yard. On an average, it will cost you anywhere between 48 to 75 cents per foot. While critics call for a ban on this system citing the pain it causes to the animal, horse-keepers do vouch for the safety and effectiveness of this fencing.
Amazon River Dolphins
Why are Pink River Dolphins Endangered?
How Did the Yangtze River Dolphin Become Extinct?
✦ Furthermore, when the Chinese decided to develop the Yangtze as a waterway, the riverbed was dredged and even reinforced with concrete in some places. This, along with pollution, resulted in the loss of habitat for the Yangtze River dolphin.
✦ The construction of the Three Gorges Dam didn’t just result in the loss of habitat for the species, but also provided a boost for shipping traffic. The traffic increased over the course of time, and so did the size of ships.
✦ The increase in shipping traffic also translated into more noise pollution, as a result of which the nearly blind and disoriented baiji collided with ships, and even got caught in propellers.
- They have proportionately larger lungs.
- They can exchange more air at each breath.
- Their red blood cells can carry more oxygen.
- As they dive, only the brain, heart, and the swimming muscles receive blood (oxygen). Other processes like digestion are halted for the time being.
- They can tolerate relatively higher levels of carbon dioxide.
The biggest threat to dolphins is human activity, as they have very few enemies in their natural habitat. The Amazon, the Ganges, and the Yangtze river dolphin are critically endangered species, owing to human interference.
Dolphins belong to the family Delphinidae, which also include orcas and pilot whales―all of whom are cetacean mammals. Usually, the smaller cetaceans who have an elongated nose are referred to as ‘dolphins’; the larger specimens are called whales.
Their habitats are found all over the world, and thus what dolphins eat varies to a great extent. Being carnivores, their diet mainly comprises fish and squid, and the amount of food they consume depends upon their size.
◾ Large dolphin species like killer whales feed on marine mammals like sea lions, sea turtles, and seals.
◾ Black dolphins, also known as Chilean dolphins are relatively smaller in size, and their diet comprises small species of fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans.
◾ Bottlenose dolphins eat small fish and sometimes feed on squid, crabs, shrimp, and other small sea creatures. They make use of their tail to hunt, and like most dolphin species, prefer to hunt in groups. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins consume mullet and catfish.
◾ Indus River dolphins eat freshwater fish, such as gobies and carp.
◾ Dusky dolphins eat shrimp, squid and various fish, including anchovies.
◾ Spinner dolphins eat fish, jellyfish and krill, which is a kind of shrimp.
◾ Herding is a common style in which the dolphins hunt for food. This involves a pod working together to get a school of fish to curl up in the center, surrounded by dolphins. Then, each dolphin takes turns to quickly swallow whatever fish it can, while the others stand guard.
◾ Some species make use of their tail to hit their prey and stun it, and consume it while it remains disoriented.
◾ Food is considered to be a major motivating factor in the dolphin traveling for long distances. They migrate to an area where the water temperature is suitable, along with the availability of food.
◾ There are times when dolphins mistake plastic debris or other human waste as food. It is extremely hazardous for them, and they usually perish after choking on it.
Killer whales are actually dolphins and not whales. Long story short, the Spanish sailors used to call them ‘Matador de Ballenas‘, which can be loosely translated to killer of whales. The ‘of’ in that phrase, has since been lost in translation.
When we hear the word ‘dolphin’, what comes to mind is the endearing and highly intelligent bottlenose dolphin shown in movies and television shows. The fact though, is that there are 42 different species of dolphins, ranging from the Hector’s dolphin, which happens to be the smallest dolphin in the world, to the Orca or killer whale, which happens to be the largest of all dolphin species.
The 42 extant dolphin species are grouped into 4 types, based on various factors, including which part of the world they are found in and what type of water they inhabit. So, we have dolphins that inhabit oceans, like the famous bottlenose dolphins and killer whales, as well as ones that inhabit freshwater sources, like the Amazon river dolphin and South Asian river dolphin. While the Amazon river dolphin is a New World species, the South Asian river dolphin is an Old World species.
In short, there is a great deal of diversity when it comes to the world of these marine mammals.
Porpoises (Family Phocoenidae)
Despite all the similarities, porpoises are different from dolphins. They are smaller and have short, blunt snouts. They are often referred to as small dolphins by sailors and fishermen. The six extant species of porpoises are …
If they have not been able to emerge independently, it might have something to do with the fact that they have been overshadowed by dolphins, their popular cousins.
The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Amazon river pink dolphin, and the Indus river dolphin are on the brink of extinction, while the Yangtze river dolphin (A.K.A. Baiji) has been declared functionally extinct. River dolphins in particular are at a greater risk because of river pollution, increasing river traffic, constructions of dams, destruction of tropical rainforests, etc. Oceanic dolphins too, have a whole lot of woes of their own; noise pollution resulting from marine transportation being one of them. Various volunteer programs and organizations have dedicated themselves to the noble cause of saving these dolphins, but then, the fact that we have neglected the species for so long means it won’t be an easy task.