Text by LAN Lianchao
Video by LAN Lianchao & CHANG Zhuojin & SHI Xinyue & LIU Yuting
Hundreds of transparent boxes are piled up against the wall, with simulated wild environments. The residents of those cubical rooms have watched the day and night of the painting workshop, ARTTRA, for seven years.
The vivarium belongs to a painter, Herman Chan, 41, who has over 100 reptiles from about 50 species.
“Maybe you can not find a second painting workshop with so many reptiles in Hong Kong,” he says.
Chan’s pets attract people who learn painting in a way of improving their ability of observation. Reptile knowledge is a bonus for curious students.
Chan says he collects and breeds various species of reptiles on purpose. “I enjoy taking care of them technically,” he says.
The first reptile owned by Chan was a salamander when he was in the primary school. Since then he has never stopped.
Chan used to raise his reptiles at home, afraid of customers’ resistance against them. He says he hopes to stay with them more, not only the time after work.
Not until he took a chameleon to the studio did he find the charisma of his pets. Children are really into it and inspired to watch the detailed of the animal, Chan says.
Meanwhile Chan tells them chameleons change color due to the temperature, humidity or light, not the background colors thought by many people.
“The studio is a perfect combination of my hobby and job,” Chan adds. “It is an incubator for my reptiles and my painting.”
Chan Tsz Yin Andrea, 5 yrs old, Hong Kong, Arttra.
With the Frogs Are Green annual children’s art contest deadline approaching, you can see how engaged the young students are by learning about amphibians and reptiles, seeing them up close, and then expressing themselves through art. I’m thrilled that Herman’s students entered our annual contest!
GIORNATE DEL MADAGASCAR 2015 / DAYS OF MADAGASCAR 2015
The island of Marco Polo
June 12 and 13, 2015
Venice, Museum of Natural History
Isolated from Africa to many tens of millions of years, Madagascar has developed its own peculiar fauna and flora, dramatically different from that of other land masses, near and far.
Similarly colonization by man, which took place on a massive scale only for two thousand years, has seen the mix of elements Africans, Asians, Arabs and Europeans who have forged a culture of “metissage” composed of no less than 18 ethnic groups each with its particular history and traditions, have in common the basic language of Indonesian origin and the cult of the dead, called “famadihana”.
Unfortunately Madagascar is also a land of great contrasts, with widespread problems of social and economic. The days that pay special attention to aspects concerning the natural wealth and cultural diversity of this island, home to the intervention of researchers that deal with biodiversity and personnel working in health, showing how much Italy is engaged in this country.
In collaboration with the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali) of Turin and the Association “Malagasy Miray.”
Video below: Interview of Franco Andreone (herpetologist) at Andriamanero, Isalo National Park.
This video is in Italian: #madagascarexpedition2013: Betampona Rainforest
Screening of the film in English “Island of lemurs in Madagascar” by David Douglas and Drew Fellman, with narrated by Morgan Freeman and with Patricia Wright
Introduction and presentation of: Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)
Entrance to the Cinema Giorgione free until all available seats
Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Natural History Museum
10.30 Welcome and opening of the day
Gabriella Belli (Director Civic Museums Foundation of Venice)
Paola Casagrande (Director of the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Randrianantoandro Solofo Theophile (Minister Counsellor Embassy of Madagascar)
Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin)
Madagascar: stories from a biodiverse land biodiverse
Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)
Survive the next day: the lesson of lemurs
Riccardo Bononi (IRFOSS Padua)
Life, death and disease in the ancestor worship
Italian volunteers in Madagascar
Friends Amici di Jangany
The Italian volunteer in MadagascarVolontari Italiani in Madagascar
Olga del Madagascar
Culture, nature and music: songs taken from ‘album “Ma nature”
Tasting The with Malagasy vanilla
Hours 10:00 to 18:00 – Gallery of Cetaceans
Photo exhibition “Madagasikara” by Franco Andreone: throughout the day and until August 2, 2015 will be exhibited suggestive images dedicated to the nature, history and traditions of Madagascar.
Information points: voluntary associations will be on hand to talk about their experience in Madagascar
appointment until all available seats
Hours 10:30 to 12:00 and 15:30 to 17:00
Children aged 7 to 11 years
“The nature of the island”, edited by Coop. Silty
“Sounds and rhythms of Madagascar”, edited by Olga del Madagascar:
10:15, 11:30, 15:00, 16:15
For children 4 to 6 years accompanied by their parents
“The chameleon says narrates, animal stories and legends of Madagascar” by Barchetta Blu
INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS:
The day is free entry until all the places available, except for laboratories that require an admission ticket to the museum (free for residents and people born in Venice, upon presentation of a photo ID).
To book workshops call 041 2750206
The photo exhibition will be open for free only on the occasion of this day and until August 2, 2015 is required to be in possession of a ticket to the museum.
Robin Moore is a conservationist, photographer and the author of In Search of Lost Frogs (In Search of Lost Frogs).
Since gaining a PhD in biodiversity conservation, Robin has been a powerful voice for amphibian conservation.
He is a Conservation Officer with Rainforest Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Amphibian Survival Alliance, the largest global partnership for amphibian conservation.
He is a proud Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (www.ilcp.com), represented by National Geographic Creative, and recently Co-Founded Frame of Mind (www.frameofmind.org), an initiative that empowers youth around the world to connect with their natural and cultural worlds through photography and visual.
About Suzy Brandtastic interviews:
Susan Newman, an environmentalist and brand visibility designer knows how important it is to tell your “why.” Susan hosts a podcast series, live action video series and a written interview series, all featuring environmentalists, innovators, creatives and small business owners.
When was your organization founded?
Coyote Peterson Brands LLC, Swamp Monsters and Brave Wilderness were all founded in 2010. Please tell us a bit about your mission and goals
Coyote Peterson Brands was founded to develop a wide variety of film and television projects (Swamp Monsters and Brave Wilderness are the first) to be hosted by Coyote Peterson. Our goal is to use media platforms as a vehicle and outlet to help conservation messages be spread across the globe. Ultimately we hope to inspire and educate- through adventure- the next generation of explorers and conservationists.
What is your educational background and what lead to creating this organization?
I have been fascinated with nature since I was probably 4 years old. This prompted me to educate myself as much as I could about animals and outdoor/wilderness survival. I went to The Ohio State University from which I have a degree in film writing, production and directing. Post- college my team and I decided to combine filmmaking with the animal kingdom and we began developing television and film projects. What are some challenges you have faced and how did you deal with them?
There is a laundry list of challenges we face each and every day. Everything from raising funding in order to take an expedition for filming right down to surviving in the environment as we seek out the animals we hope to encounter and film.
Combining the world of filmmaking with animals and dangerous situations within environments is like a triple threat challenge. Each one has its own obstacles and we take them on one at a time in a strategic manner. We believe the key to succeeding at anything in life is nothing more than taking things one step at a time!
It is incredibly fun and rewarding work when things manage to pan out, and we always seem to find a way to make the impossible happen! I credit that to my own ambitions and to an amazing producing team, camera team and the wonderful organizations and individuals that help us when on location filming. When we do finally encounter animals that we seek in the wild…well that credit all goes to the beauty of nature and the “right place…right time” theory.
What can people do to help? Donate, and contribute to your cause? Other ideas?
Well, people can ALWAYS help. Mostly we raise independent financing for our projects but this year we will tackle some huge conservation projects for which donations would be more than appreciated! If people follow us through social media they will be able to keep up with what we are doing and we will advertise how to get involved. I also love to do public appearances and will always travel to meet new people and conservation groups. How do you reach your targeted audience?
We reach out to our audience mostly through the Internet. For us it’s all about creating interesting content, whether original or shared from others. If we can help educate and promote conservation for the planet and its animals we are doing the right thing. We find that staying consistent with our work is the best way to garner a following. Right now the CP Animal Anthology, which is a mixture of photograph collages and succinct facts, seems to keep our fans through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram entertained. As we begin to release video content we are confident our fan base will only keep growing!
Is it through your website, advertising or social media or another route?
Right now its social media, although in the future these devices will be a way to push fans and followers toward our website and internet channels. Which is most effective and why?
Most effective is probably Facebook, just because SO many people are on it multiple times a day. It also allows you to share video and photo content quickly and links to all other social media platforms comfortably. We use FB as our primary source of information sharing and combined with the iPhone it is an unstoppable force! For example, the Animal Anthology is created using nothing more than the iPhone and the Internet…animal education and conservation are right in the palms of our hands…it’s so cool to live in an age when technology allows so much creativity!
How do you keep the audience engaged over time?
It’s all about new content. However, it has to be GOOD content. If you are consistently creating quality, people will keep coming back. We aspire to really engage with our fan base and want to know what THEY want to see. Social media is a huge help with that, because it allows our audience to interact and make suggestions!
Tell us about your events around the world and some of the campaigns you have started.
As we began Coyote Peterson Brands just two years ago, we have only travelled a limited amount. Although we did go to Costa Rica to film, we find that there is much to be done in our own community, and hope that our audience adopts this message as well! Our work in Columbus, Ohio has focused on research and conservation of wetland environment. Specifically, we research Common Snapping Turtles, promote the preservation of their habitats, and educate a vast audience about these incredible and often misunderstood reptiles.
However, we are currently gearing up to start a conservation project and documentary film for Polar Bears which will be shot this fall in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Polar Bears are the largest land predator on the planet, yet they are disappearing as the sea ice they depend on for survival continues to melt away from climate change. This will be our biggest undertaking yet in the realm of conservation, and we feel one of the most important we will ever have the chance to be a part of. My team is unbelievably excited to be taking on this challenge and it will certainly be a life changing experience. What is in the works for the future?
We have so much planned it makes our heads spin! We have two web/tv series in development. Swamp Monsters sends my team and me across the eastern part of the US as we follow a trail of folklore stories, photographic evidence and scientific facts while tracking down giant snapping turtles, hoping to capture and release a new world record. Brave Wilderness is an animal adventure and conservation series that follows my team and me into remote locations as we track down and film some of the planet’s most amazing and misunderstood animals. This series will span the globe and encompass the entire animal kingdom; no animal is too big or small for these adventures! Both series are in development and begin filming this summer. Finally, Polar Ghost isour documentary on Polar Bears and their plight facing extinction in the wild. This will be a feature length documentary that we will submit to film festivals and then hopefully distribute through a network like National Geographic. So in short…2013 is going to be one crazy and adventure filled year!
What haven’t you yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
Ha ha, that’s a big one! I guess our overall goal is to have spent time on every continent, filming with as many of the world’s animals as possible and doing our absolute best to work with and promote as many conservation groups as possible. Brave Wilderness will truly be the vehicle for that goal and while I might host the series…it’s really the animals and the conservation groups that we will work with who are the “stars” of the series. Animals need help and as long as humans are on the planet they always will. It’s a long road but we can’t wait to travel it!
What else would like our readers to know?
We have a ton of incredible sponsors that believe in our vision for the future of animal entertainment and conservation and it’s because of these sponsors that we are geared to the max! People always want to know where I get all of my cool stuff, from the hat to the multi-tools, and all of them can be found on my website. The team and I feel incredibly lucky to have what we consider to be the best names in the world of animal adventure behind us!
Great video of a Frog and Toad!
Wild video of a Snapping Turtle… or two…
To learn more about Coyote Peterson Brands, visit and follow the links below:
We’re proud to feature guest blogger, Lucy Cooke, The Amphibian Avenger, who tells us about herself, what her mission is, and how we can all help.
I love frogs. I always have. As a small child I became fascinated by the miracle of metamorphosis, catching and studying tadpoles like a true proto frog geek. As an adult studying zoology at Oxford the astonishing diversity of amphibian life seemed to me to most eloquently illustrate the incredible adaptive power of evolution.
When I heard about the global amphibian crisis I was completely horrified and keen to do something about it. I discovered that most of my friends didn’t know that over a third of amphibians are going extinct or about the horrors of the Chytrid fungus. It made me aware of how little press amphibians get compared with birds and mammals so I decided that, as a writer and filmmaker, the best thing I could do would be to spread the word. So for the last few months I have been traveling around Latin America researching stories for a documentary on the crisis and writing a blog about my findings. I’ve been to some amazing places, met some inspirational characters, and discovered some truly awesome frogs. And it’s not over yet.
I started my trip by joining an expedition into the Patagonian wilderness with ZSL [Zoological Society of London] scientists to search for Darwin’s frog – the last of the gastric- or throat-brooding frogs left on the planet and the only species of animal (other than the seahorse) in which the male gets pregnant. After the eggs are fertilised the male gobbles them up and 8 weeks later he burps up baby frogs.
I was lucky enough to see and film a daddy Darwin’s frog carrying several tadpoles in his throat sack. It was one of the freakiest things I have ever seen – a mass of tadpoles wriggling in a frog’s belly – it looked like something out of the movie Alien. It gave me goose bumps to witness something so very special but sadly so very endangered. Darwin’s frog is threatened by habitat destruction and also the rampant spread of the Chytrid fungus. It would be a devastating loss to biodiversity for such an extraordinary animal to disappear off the planet.
But probably the most shocking story I have come across is that of the endangered Lake Titicaca toad, also known as the aquatic scrotum frog after its exceedingly wrinkly appearance. This monster of the deep has become the key ingredient for Peruvian backstreet Viagra. In downtown Lima I filmed juice bars where they put this toad in a blender and then drink it. A fashion which is pushing this unique amphibian to the brink of extinction.
I’ve still got Panama and Costa Rica to go and will be posting from these two countries that have already been forced to brave the first wave of Chytrid. So if you like frogs then follow my blog – I think you’ll enjoy my adventure. Frogs need champions to help raise their profile and the necessary funds to save them. So, please spread the word amongst your non-frog loving friends – it’s written not just for frog geeks and they may well learn something new and start to care about the little green guys nearly as much as me.
To follow Lucy’s adventure on her blog, click here.
For fans of Planet Earth, a new Discovery Channel series called LIFE premieres Sunday, March 21st, 8 p.m. e/p. The 11-part series, filmed in HD and narrated by Oprah Winfrey, covers reptiles and amphibians, mammals, fish, bird, insects, creatures of the deep, and primates.
Click on the picture below to see a video excerpt from (episode #2).
This waterfall toad is unable to hop away from predators. So how does it escape from a hungry snake? You’ll have to watch the video to find out how nature has compensated this toad for being hop-less. Talk about a leap of faith!