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X Marks the Spot: Penguins, jumbo squid and the California condor. It’s an animal-themed week at TEDx

Posted by: Emmie Le Marchand

The star attraction on the TEDx Blog this week: penguins. The site featured a post containing two moving TEDx Talks on the ooooh and ahhhh-worthy animals — one on an epic mass rescue (above) and a second (below) on a brief but inspiring encounter.

In these two talks you can see the informative and inspiring potential of a TEDx event, hundreds of which happen around the world every week. From these events, the TEDx team chose four favorite talks to showcase just a few of the ideas spreading through the TEDx community. This week, penguins aren’t the only creatures on our radar; below, watch talks on endangered and intelligent animals including Pacific wild salmon, the jumbo squid and the endangered condor.

The tenacious jumbo squid: William Gilly at TEDxStanford
Giving them the title “the wild pigs of the ocean,” William Gilly explains how the Humboldt squid is adapting to ocean fluctuations caused by climate change.  This squid can alter its diet, feed at a variety of oceanic depths, and survive anywhere from Alaska to Mexico, Gilly tells us. His prediction — as fish stocks decline, we’ll be eating more squid.

The world’s smartest animals: Mathias Osvath at TEDxLundUniversity
Many animals on Earth are members of “The Clever Club,” says Mathias Osvath at TEDxLundUniversity, including parrots, ravens, chimpanzees and dolphins. What’s interesting is that these animals are very similar in both their social and physical intelligence. Could this mean that natural selection has independently favored intelligence? As humans, we only see intelligence as something similar to us. But Osvath argues that, if extraterrestrial life exists, it is likely to involve intelligence that is nothing like our own.

Saving the last Pacific salmon runs: Guido Rahr at TEDxPortland
In this talk from TEDxPortland, Guido Rahr urges us to join the international campaign for strongholds — the protected rivers of the Pacific Rim that are part of the last great salmon runs. The wild salmon are the keystone species of the North Pacific’s rich ecosystem, Rahr tells us. These strongholds are supporting bears, eagles and whales in places from Alaska to California to Japan, but are being threatened by farming and logging along coastal rivers.

How we brought the California condor back from the brink: Michael Mace at TEDxDeExtinction
The California condor became extinct in the wild in 1987 when 22 remaining birds were taken into captivity in the San Diego Zoo. There, as Michael Mace explains, conservationists have managed a successful breeding, immunization and monitoring program to save the species from extinction. Now numbering over 200 individuals, some California condors have been successfully released into the wild with a chance to survive on their own. At TEDxDeExtinction, Mace urges us to see what species like condors, pandas and elephants are telling us about the sustainability of our surroundings. He warns that if we continue to destroy the environment we co-inhabit, we might too share their fate.