Another year, and here we are again! In 2019, @KevinVar, @Vision, and I are switching it up big time and are bringing you a dual challenge that is focusing on a far more unique group of animals than before: this year, instead of focusing solely on a broad taxonomic groups such as reptiles, we’re challenging ZooChat to find animals within geographic boundaries. This year, the 2019 North American ZooChat Challenge is: island endemics! Island endemics, of course, are defined as species which are naturally only found on islands. They can be found on multiple islands, but for the purposes of this challenge only species naturally found on islands ONLY will count. To clarify, any species that is not found on the Afro-Eurasian landmass, not on the American landmass, and not on Antarctica or Australia will be fair game. To avoid disputes due to lack of information about range, taxonomy, and identification, fish and invertebrates will NOT count for this challenge. Furthermore, amphibians will not count as they are coming soon to a global ZooChat challenge near you. So, only mammals, birds, and reptiles will count for this challenge. We’ll be splitting up our lists this time around: one list for mammals, one for birds and one for reptiles. This means that you don’t have to participate in all three categories if you don’t want to, and that there is place for potentially 4 different winners; one in each of the categories, and one overall. It is similar to the subcategories I made last year, but this time it is official. Seeing a subspecies that occurs only on islands of a species that also is found on the mainland does not count for this thread. However, if you see an island species which is occasionally found on the mainland as a vagrant, this will still count. Here are a few examples which should make my meaning clear. 1.The ring-tailed lemur occurs only on Madagascar, and thus is endemic to an island, and counts for this challenge. 2.The Javan myna occurs naturally only on Java, Bali, and surrounding islands, but has been introduced to Southern Malaysia. However, its native range is still limited to islands, so it counts for this challenge. 3.The island thrush has a very wide range, but does not occur on the mainland anywhere, so it counts for this challenge. 4.The Nicobar pigeon has a very wide and mostly island-restricted range as well, but does occur on the mainland in at least one place, so does NOT count for this challenge. 5.The Sumatran tiger is a subspecies of tiger that is restricted to the island of Sumatra. However, the tiger is a species which can be found in mainland Asia. Thus, seeing a Sumatran tiger will NOT count for this challenge. 6.The Fiordland crested penguin is a species which is native to New Zealand islands, but is occasionally found as a vagrant in Australia. For the purposes of this challenge, if anyone were to see one, it would count towards their total. And before I get into the actual rules, I thought I’d mention the fun one: put all your lifer species in bold! This is a great way to track your personal growth throughout the year. Now, for the rules, with thanks to @Shorts for coming up with the initial set from which these are modified: 1. You have to actually see the animal, even if just for a second. Seeing the sign for the animal or simply visiting the collection that has it does not count. 2. Photographic proof is not required, though it of course always helps to keep track of what you’ve seen. Your word is your bond. 3. All entries must be presented in numbered list form, with scientific names included.* 4. You have to see the animal via normal public access during normal public opening hours. Behind-the-scenes tours, whether offered by the zoo commercially or by a certain individual privately, do not count, nor do keeper-for-a-day programs or anything of the sort. Basically the species has to be seen as Joe Public would, from the public area of the zoo while it is open. 5. Any severely limited opening or private collections don't count for this challenge. While some may disagree with this rule, it disadvantages others who are unable to arrange visits to such collections during those times. Facilities that may only be visited by tours are acceptable as long as the tours are offered during a large portion of the year. An example of this is Duke Lemur Center. 6. Only public zoological collections count. Animals seen at farms, exotic animal expos, or pet stores of any kind do not count. If a certain collection is confusing to you, please feel free to reply here or PM me with questions. 7. Report your progress on this thread as you go along. While you won’t lose points for not doing so, it is more competitive if each person can see how all the other participants are faring. You do not need to re-type your list every time you update, quoting the previous post is sufficient. Include the collection you saw the species at and the date you visited it. 8. Only one subspecies per species can be counted. If you do not see a pure subspecies, it is still okay to count the species. Refer to the accepted taxonomy for any subspecies questions or elevations*. 9. Similarly, refer to the accepted taxonomy for any species splits*. 10. Hybrid animals do not count. Any issues that may arise due to the taxonomy we are following will be discussed on a case-by-case basis. 11. Wild animals do not count, all species must be seen in captivity in North America under the conditions listed above. 12. Any issues with any of the above rules is open to discussion but the rules are set and any decisions made are final. 13. The winner will be the person who has seen the most species by December 31, 2019. Please be sure to have all of your entries in by this date. *For the three groups of animals we are counting, we are using three different taxonomies. For mammals, please refer to IUCN: https://www.iucnredlist.org/ For birds, please refer to IOC: https://www.worldbirdnames.org/ For reptiles, please refer to Reptile Database: http://www.reptile-database.org/ And that’s just about all! 2019 is shaping up to be a fun and competitive year, and it will be intriguing to see which continent has more species: North America or Europe! Good luck and have fun!