Thank you for joining us for another Marsupial Monday! This week we are learning about the most popular man-made cat species in the world, the largest species of gorilla known to man, and a tip to prevent cramping up during and after your most intense workouts.
THIS WEEK'S PARTICULARLY PECULIAR CREATURE - THE LIGER
Can only be found in captivity
A mix between a female tiger and a male lion
The first recorded liger appeared in the late 1700s
The first liger was actually an accident when a tiger and lion were kept in the same enclosure
There are no official reports of ligers found in the wild
The largest cat species in the world
Nearly double the size of the average tiger or lion
Grows up to 12 feet long
Weighs up to 1,500 pounds
Grow at alarming rates - more than a pound per day for the first 3 years
Has a shorter life span than the average tiger or lion, living up to only 20 years old
Has a loud roar more similar to a lion’s
Very agile swimmers more like tigers
Can move very quickly on land running at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour
Very social animals and are not known for being overly aggressive
Mouths can open wider than the size of the human shoulders
Has a huge appetite, eating up to 100 pounds of meat per meal
In most cases, cubs cannot be birthed naturally due to their large size requiring a C-Section
CONSERVATION CORNER - THE EASTERN LOWLAND GORILLA
Found in the lowland tropical rain forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Grows up to 5 and a half feet tall
Weighs up to 440 pounds
The largest of the gorilla species
Herbivores - eats mainly leaves and other low hanging vegetation
Distinguished from other gorilla species by their large stocky bodies and their short muzzles
Have longer teeth and stronger jaws than the Western lowland gorilla
Travel in family groups of up to 20 other gorillas
Do not breed until the age of 20 years old
Females give birth to one baby once every 4 years
Can live up to 40 years old in the wild and up to 60 years old in captivity
Population decrease of over 50% over the past 20 years
Loss of habitat
Farmland expansion and industrialization
Illegal mineral mining for gold, tin, and diamonds
Over hunting and illegal poaching for their hides and meat
Civil war ravaging the DRC
What is being done?
The sudden and drastic decrease in the eastern lowland gorilla species in the past 20 years has attracted much attention from many wildlife conservation organizations, one of which being the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). WWF has implemented many strategies to assist this endangered gorilla species. One strategy is the added efforts in monitoring the population and habitats of this species of gorilla. However, the monitoring of gorillas even in protected areas was very difficult during the years of civil unrest in the DRC. WWF has since trained Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) staff to carry out surveys of eastern lowland gorillas and to monitor gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, recording details about their biology, location and habitat in order to keep better knowledge on the progress of their efforts. Along with monitoring the gorilla population, the WWF has also worked with DRC government figures in order to expand protected areas for the animal in order to reduce the human impact through poaching, expansion, and mining in their natural environments. With these efforts and strategies in place, the eastern lowland gorilla has seen a flatline in the decrease of their population, though there has yet to be an observable increase in numbers. This may be in part to the late reproduction cycle of the gorillas and the long periods between mating. This species of gorilla is not alone on the endangered list, however, they are one of the most in need of help before the damage to the species is irreversible.
WORKOUT TIP OF THE WEEK
How to prevent muscle cramps
Any kind of physical activity that pushes the body to grow comes with the common drawback, muscle soreness and cramping both before, during, and after the workout. Though muscle cramps are more likely to exist during or after high intensity and endurance activities due to the fact that fatigued muscles are more susceptible to cramping and soreness. While muscle cramps may be unavoidable, their are ways to reduce the pain and frequency of cramps. Follow these tips before, during, and after your workouts if you often find yourself falling victim to painful cramps.
Novice athletes are more susceptible to muscles cramps because they fatigue easier and quicker than advanced athletes. If your body is not accustomed to intense situations, then it is crucial to adjust your workouts to your level and slowly increase the intensity as your body grows in strength and endurance. Perhaps trying to shorten the distances or length of times you run or decrease the amount of weight you are lifting. It is important to understand your current level of ability and to customize your workout to fit you personally while still pushing your body to its limits. Your muscles will feel better, and you will feel better as you grow and improve as an athlete.
Adjust your body to your environment
One of the more common problem that many athletes face when performing is that their body is not acclimated to the environment in which they are working. For example, if you are used to running indoors then you switch it up to an outdoor environment, many factors come into play that are often overlooked: Heat, terrain, and weather are just a few factors to consider. If your body is not accustomed to performing in high or low temperatures, then your body will not know how to react properly, usually leading to cramping. Similarly, if you are conditioned to flat terrain then you immediately attempt to run on uneven grounds, you will likely have a less than enjoyable experience. By slowly acclimating your body to perform in different environments rather than throwing yourself off the deep end, your susceptibility to cramping will decrease.
Fill your body with fluids and nutrients
Many studies show that consuming fluids and electrolytes to avoid dehydration will prevent, or at least delay, muscle cramps. The benefits of avoiding dehydration are widespread and highly beneficial. While not 100% guaranteed, by drinking more water or sports drinks and hydrating your muscles, you may experience less cramping and soreness during and after your workout. Fluids aren’t alone in the task of maintaining your body’s fluid balance, however. Consuming sodium (salt) regularly may also play a crucial role in decreasing the frequency of muscle cramps. Muscle cramps may occur when the concentration of sodium in the blood decreases and this is very common when sweating a lot. By replenishing the sodium contents within your body either with high sodium sports drinks or salty foods, your muscles will thank you in the long run.
Muscles are very important pieces to the human body and require great care to remain healthy and strong. If you commonly fall victim to cramping muscles, many different factors may be coming into play. By training your body in a way that fits you, becoming accustomed to your environment, and replenishing fluids and nutrients in your body, these are good ways to prevent poor experiences in your day to day physical activities.
Thank you for joining us for another Marsupial Monday! We hope you have a happity hoppity start to your week!
To learn more about Marsupial Athletics visit our webpage at: marsupialathletics.com