Friday, 24 October 2014

Malta bans animal circus acts

The Maltese government has banned all animal circus acts, domestic or wild, in Malta. It is the 28th nation to ban animal acts, and follows Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and Cyprus.

The Amendments to its Animal Welfare Act were signed into law by the President of Malta on October 21. 

Myriam Kirmond, chairperson of the Animal Rights Group in Malta, told The Dodo the victory came after years of campaigning and protesting. 

“We organised protests, met up with the Prime Minister, appeared on TV and media in general and done school educational programmes, so that the children and general public will be aware of the actual life these poor animals are living and at what cost to entertain us,” she says.

Sex-loving, meat-eating reptiles have shorter lives

October 23, 2014

University of Lincoln

The health risks and benefits of vegetarianism have long been discussed in relation to the human diet, but newly published research reveals that it’s definitely of benefit to the reptile population. That, and being less sexually active. The research team investigated how longevity of 1,014 species of scaled reptiles is influenced by key environmental characteristics and by their feeding and sexual habits.

Tiny turtles tracked on swimming frenzy

23 October 2014 Last updated at 18:26

By Jonathan Amos
Science correspondent, BBC News

Tiny tags have been used to follow the frenetic first hours in a loggerhead turtle's life.

When these reptiles emerge from their beach nests, they race down to the sea and start swimming hell for leather.

Their intention is to get as far off shore as possible, away from coastal predators and into currents that will sweep them out into the open ocean.

Now, scientists have documented this mad dash with the aid of little pingers stuck to the turtles' undersides.

These acoustic tags, just 12mm long, enabled Dr Rebecca Scott and colleagues to track the animals' progress through the water.

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the team describes the baby turtles' swimming behaviour, and the dispersal strategies that seem specific to different loggerhead populations.

Florida lizards evolve rapidly, within 15 years and 20 generations

October 23, 2014

University of Texas at Austin

Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species -- in as little as 15 years -- as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba.

Chimps found to be adapting to human neighbours

Wild chimpanzees could be learning to coexist with their human neighbours a new study suggests. Expanding land use for agriculture and other activities are increasingly encroaching on wild chimpanzee habitat and there are signs the chimps are adjusting to these habitat changes.

Researchers from Muséum national d'histoire naturelle have used camera-traps to observe chimpanzee behaviour during incursions out of the forest into maize fields in Kibale National Park, Uganda. During the 20 days of the study, a total of 14 crop-raiding events were recorded by the activation of the video-trap.

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