Sunday, 29 November 2015

Britain's rivers becoming hotbed of crime as organised gangs steal fish on a huge scale

'Organised crime has been having it away for years undetected and under the radar'
Tom Bawden Environment Editor 

Friday 27 November 2015

Britain’s rivers are becoming a hotbed of crime as organised gangs are stealing fish on a huge scale and eastern European migrants catch pike to feed their families, a leading “fish policeman” has said.

The Angling Trust’s chief investigator Dilip Sarkar said the crime was hurting businesses, fuelling racial tension and increasing the pressure on Britain’s dwindling stocks.

“Organised crime has been having it away for years undetected and under the radar, happily getting on with it,” said Mr Sarkar, a retired policeman and lifelong angler.

But in recent years the homegrown crime syndicates, which focus on smuggling giant carp from France into the UK and selling them for a fortune, have been joined by fishing lawbreakers from eastern European countries such as Poland and Lithuania.

In some cases this is down to innocent cultural differences, he said, but in others it is intentional crime .

Tarantulas evolved blue colour 'at least eight times'

By Jonathan Webb
Science reporter, BBC News

28 November 2015 

Tarantulas have evolved almost exactly the same shade of vibrant blue at least eight separate times.

That is the conclusion of a study by US biologists, exploring how the colour is created in different tarantula species.

The hue is caused by tiny structures inside the animals' hairs, but those shapes vary across the family tree.

This suggests, the researchers say, that the striking blue is not driven by sexual selection - unlike many other bright colours in the animal kingdom.

This argument is also supported by the fact that tarantulas have poor colour vision, and do not appear to show off their hairy blue body parts during courtship.
Blue branches

Nonetheless, Bor-Kai Hsiung and his colleagues found that 40 out of 53 groupings (genera) of tarantula exhibit a very vibrant blue.

Bat immune receptors are one of a kind

Date: November 26, 2015
Source: Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB)

An international team of scientists discovered that in bats, Toll-like receptors, the first-line defense mechanism against invading pathogens, are different from other mammals. This suggests that the way bats recognize certain pathogens may be different than in other species and help explain why bats appear to suffer little from some pathogens which cause serious disease or mortality in other mammals. The study has been published in the scientific journal Molecular Ecology.

International scientists have characterized the evolutionary patterns of a specific type of immune receptors called "Toll-like receptors" (TLRs) in different bat species. They compared these with receptors of other mammals and discovered that the bat receptors show unique differences. This may have consequences for the functional recognition of specific pathogens and therefore the resistance against these pathogens, and may help explain why bats are not affected by many pathogens which are a serious challenge to many other mammalian species.

The study was conducted by an international team from the Department of Wildlife Diseases of the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin in close collaboration with the Centre for Geogenetics of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, the National Center for Research in Animal Microbiology of Mexico (CENID-INIFAP) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

100kg of ivory seized at Heathrow

More than 100 kilograms of illegal elephant tusks and other ivory items have been seized at Heathrow Airport.

The seized ivory at Heathrow Airport, which included raw elephant tusks along with carved bangles and beads, was discovered in baggage left abandoned at Terminal 4 in transit from Angola on its way to Hanover in Germany. Border Force has described the haul as one of the biggest that has been found in the UK, totalling 110kg

Phil Douglas, Director, Border Force Heathrow said: “This is one of the largest seizures of its kind made in the UK and it demonstrates the vigilance of our officers. The illicit trade in animal products like ivory is a serious contributory factor in the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species and that is why the rules around it are so strict.

“Border Force takes its role in preventing illegal wildlife trafficking very seriously and, working together with our partners in the UK and internationally, we are determined to bring it to an end.” 

The Internet Is Losing Its Mind Over Alleged Sightings Of The Legendary Goatman


This year-old video, which hails from the the Strange Mysteries Channel on YouTube, details the history of the fabled Goatman. This hybrid creature has peppered popular culture since 1957 when it was first spotted in Maryland. I guess we could call this fella a cryptid, as he is presumably half-human and half-goat, but the video’s lead-in photo plays like a jokester who likes to hit the gym and enjoys fooling folks with goat-themed cosplay.

Regardless, the creature known colloquially as “The Pope Lick Monster” has recently (and allegedly) been spotted throughout Wisconsin, Texas, and Kentucky. That’s quite a stretch for a creature who would presumably be limited in gait as “a horned man with the cloven hooves of an ungulate.” His legends hold that he also possesses the strength to tear hikers apart with ease. Perhaps Goatman also moves with the ungodly speed of Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil? Stranger things have happened.

These scattered sightings of the creature arrive not too long after the release of J. Nathan Couch’s book, Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? Couch, a Wisconsin-based ghost hunter, dug into the decades-deep history of the Goatman, who has frightened generations of teenagers who would otherwise hang freely in the woods for rampant makeout sessions. Well, maybe the Goatman did serve a purpose.

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