Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Chinese retailer removes ivory from its shelves

Ivory will be banned from the stores and concessions of Chinese retail giant Wing On, who has five stores in Hong Kong, from July 7 2014.

“[Our decision is based on] the way we work - always reviewing what we are doing and what the community wants from us,” Wing On executive director Mark Kwok Chi-yat told the Sunday Morning Post.

The news has been welcomed by environmentalists and conservationists with many posting their thanks on the company’s Facebook page

Campaign group Hong Kong for Elephants co-founder Alex Hofford said “Obviously we are delighted that Wing On has seen fit to turn its back on the dirty ivory trade by joining a growing list of stores in Hong Kong that take their corporate social responsibilities seriously.” 

The sale of ivory remains legal in Hong Kong, but buyers are not allowed to take it out of the city and conservationists are planning to target Yue Hwa Chinese Products, the last big player in the ivory trade, with a protest scheduled for May 14 at its six-storey emporium in Jordan.

Naked mole rats and the secret to longevity

April 28, 2014

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

With lifespans of up to 31 years, naked mole rats live decades longer than would be expected based on their size. By comparison, mice live at most four years. A new study links their remarkable lifespans to high levels of a quality-control protein, offering new insights on age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

How the koala retrovirus genome evolved

April 29, 2014

Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB)

Retroviruses invaded the genome of koalas with strongly pathological effects: the viruses weaken the immune defense and threaten the viability of the already reduced koala population. Scientists have now applied the technique of hybridization capture to analyze the entire genome of koala retroviruses and used museum samples to monitor its variation across 130 years.

Tiger-part adverts declining

Chinese-language online advertisements for tiger-part ornaments and tiger-based medicines appear to be in decline, according to a new report by TRAFFIC .Though tiger items are still being advertised online, there were signs that the number of times such advertisements are appearing is in decline. This appears to be a response to greater awareness of the illegality of such sales as well as the growing number of internet retail companies who have pledged a zero tolerance policy towards such illegal trade and routinely remove such advertising.

Education and advocacy work with those sites hosting a greater number of advertisements has shown positive outcomes and a clear reduction in this type of trade," states the report. "If the desire for the tiger as commodity (fake or otherwise) is to be lessened, investment in demand reduction is necessary to effect behavioural change and to reduce such trade in the long term."

18 new species of molluscs identified

April 28, 2014

Universidad de Cádiz

A researcher has reviewed, from a molecular and morphological point of view, a family of marine gastropod molluscs, the Aeolidiidae nudibranch, and discovered eighteen new species. Molluscs are invertebrates that make up one of the most numerous groups in the animal kingdom. They are everywhere, from great heights of over 3,000 meters above sea level to ocean profundities of over 5,000 meters deep, in polar and tropical waters and they tend to be common elements on coastlines around the world

Support claimed for Scottish beaver reintroduction plans

By David Miller
BBC Scotland environment correspondent

Most Scots support the reintroduction of beavers to the country, according to the findings of an opinion poll.

A five-year trial reintroduction of the species at Knapdale in Argyll is due to end next month.

It will then be up to the Scottish government to decide if beavers should have a future in Scotland. An announcement is due next year.

The YouGov poll, commissioned for the Scottish Beaver Trial, suggests 60% of Scots back the reintroduction of beavers - 5% were opposed.

Support was higher, at 74%, amongst those already aware of the issue.

Eurasian beavers taken from Norway were released at Knapdale in 2009.

European Bison to Be Released into Wild

By Megan Gannon, News Editor | April 28, 2014 10:12am ET

Bison went extinct in Europe nearly 100 years ago, but conservationists are taking small steps to bring the animals back into the wild.

Seven female bison raised in captivity in the British Isles will be reintroduced to a forest in Romania, officials with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) announced.

The creatures arrived at Vanatori Neamt Nature Park, Romania, on April 25. They will spend the next several weeks in a large enclosure to get used to their new home before being released.

More coral babies staying at home on future reefs

April 29, 2014

ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies

Increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change will soon see reefs retaining and nurturing more of their own coral larvae, leaving large reef systems less interconnected and potentially more vulnerable. "We found that at higher temperatures more coral larvae will tend to stay on their birth reef," says the lead author of the study.

Wildlife Aid provides free online resource for primary schools

Primary school children learning science will benefit from the Wildlife Aid Foundation's new online resource

The Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) has launched its Wildlife Aid Education to more than 20,000 primary schools nationwide to provide free, easy-to-access, national curriculum-based learning resources.

WAF is a respected wildlife rescue charity in the UK. From its Surrey headquarters it deals with over 20,000 wildlife incidents each year. The charity’s founder and chief executive, Simon Cowell MBE, said: “For over 30 years the Wildlife Aid Foundation has been devoted to rescuing wildlife and promoting a greater understanding of mankind's responsibilities – and opportunities – as custodians of the natural world.

“On the front line of wildlife welfare, we see daily that the pressures on wildlife and the natural environment have never been greater, and that today's school children will inherit a world with issues requiring ever more compassion, understanding and ingenuity to solve.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Mite sets new record as world's fastest land animal

April 27, 2014

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

A Southern California mite far outpaces the Australian tiger beetle, the current record-holder for running speed as measured in body lengths per second. By this measure, the mite runs 20 times faster than a cheetah and the equivalent of a person running 1300 miles per hour. The discovery is exciting not only because it sets a new world record, but also for what it reveals about the physiology of movement and the physical limitations of living structures, the researcher says.

Australia’s new marine parks are a boon for flatback turtles

The value of Australia’s newly established network of marine parks has been highlighted by an international project that used satellites to track the vulnerable flatback sea turtle.

A valuable migration corridor of more than 1,000km in length, tens of kilometres in width and tens of kilometres from the mainland, has been identified by researchers tracking 70 flatback sea turtles by satellite. Tracking devices were attached to the turtles’ soft shells using a flexible harness that detached after about 12 months. A signal depicting the turtle’s position was transmitted in real-time every 10 to 15 minutes as the turtles surfaced to breath, to a constellation of satellites known as the ‘Argos system’.

If you throw a gecko at Teflon, will he stick? University of Akron researchers found the answer

That little lizard that has become so effective selling car insurance - the gecko - can climb across glass windows and across the ceiling. You knew that, right?

GeckoThe science of that ability has intrigued researchers at the University of Akron for several years because it has so much potential for application in such areas as construction materials and medicine.
They're so intrigued, they're asking tougher questions of the 50 little lizards kept in two labs at the Auburn Science Center.

"OK, buddy, how about this one: Can you walk on Teflon?"

The answer: not very well. The popular DuPont nonstick product not only resists cheese omelets, but it also presented a significant challenge to the hairy toes of the gecko.

Shark fin banned from airline

Shark fin will no longer be transported by Philippine Airlines, the company have announced after a report showed the carrier had flown 6.8 tons of illegal products from Dubai to Hong Kong.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, a Philippine Airlines spokesperson, confirmed that the carrier would stop the shipments. "It's a total stop. We are stopping the shipment on all fronts, not just to Hong Kong," said Cielo Villaluna. "PAL takes the issue of protection and conservation of endangered marine life seriously."

The decision follows the news that the Conservation group WildLifeRisk and ocean-advocacy group Fins Attached had found 136 bags, each with 50kg of dried shark fins, "freshly arrived from Dubai" on Philippine Airlines earlier this month (April 2014).

This Adorable 'Zonkey' Is What You Get When You Cross A Zebra And A Dwarf Albino Donkey

Internet, meet Khumba.
Khumba's mother, Rayas, is a zebra, and his father, Ignacio, is a dwarf blue-eyed albino donkey. That makes Khumba a "zonkey," a rare cross between a zebra and a donkey.

The animal was born on April 21 at the Reynosa Zoo in Mexico's northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

A zoo spokesperson told NBC12 that Rayas used to visit Ignacio every afternoon. The donkey had also been known to sneak into the zoo to see her.

On The Front Lines Of Climate Change, Antarctica's Scientists And Penguins Fight For World's Attention (PHOTOS)

Last November, New Zealand outdoorsman Michael Armstrong was watching a cricket match in his local pub when he thought of penguins. A friend had told him about a program that was sending an explorer-in-training to Antarctica to study the effects of climate change, and the application was due in a few hours.

"I thought about this sort of angle where I could talk about the penguins being dressed in tuxedos and Antarctica being their ballroom, but their ballroom was under threat because of global warming and climate change," he recently told The Huffington Post.

The pitch Armstrong made and that of student filmmaker Marli Lopez-Hope were selected from 2,000 applications to participate in Air New Zealand's "No Ordinary Place, No Ordinary Assignment" program. The goal was to highlight the growing peril Earth is facing even in one of its harshest environments.

The pair went to Antarctica with National Geographic photographer Jason Edwards. Together, they spent two weeks in January living atNew Zealand's Scott Base, including three days sleeping on the Ross Ice Shelf among 40,000 breeding pairs of the Adelie penguins. Armstrong and Lopez-Hope assisted with ongoing research projects, including drilling for ice samples, tagging penguins and mapping the ice shelf.

Arrests after wild boars let loose in Maesteg burglary

Six people have been arrested after wild boars were released during a burglary at a farm in Bridgend county.
Wild boar near MaestegMore than 40 of the animals could be roaming the area after they were released from their pen following a break-in at Llangynwyd, near Maesteg, at 12:30 BST on Sunday.
Farmer Greg Davies holds a dangerous animals licence and had fencing to prevent escapes, said police.
Anyone who sees the boars is advised not approach them, but to call 101.

Floating Lab Used In Quest To Crack Genetic Code Of Mysterious Marine Life

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Researcher Leonid Moroz emerges from a dive off the Florida Keys and gleefully displays a plastic bag holding a creature that shimmers like an opal in the seawater.
This translucent animal and its similarly strange cousins are food for science. They regrow with amazing speed if they get chopped up. Some even regenerate a rudimentary brain.

"Meet the aliens of the sea," the neurobiologist at the University of Florida says with a huge grin.
They're headed for his unique floating laboratory.

Moroz is on a quest to decode the genomic blueprints of fragile marine life, like these mysterious comb jellies, in real time — on board the ship where they were caught — so he can learn which genes switch on and off as the animals perform such tasks as regeneration.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Your Next Nightmare: Venomous Snake Bites People in Their Sleep

By By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Staff WriterApril 26, 2014 8:35 AM

Unlike most venomous snakes, which tend to bite people who are either handling them or who surprise them, the large Australian mulga snake has also been found to attack people who are asleep.

In a new study that examined 27 cases of people bitten by the mulga snake, researchers found that seven of the victims were asleep when they were bitten, between midnight and 5 a.m.

Such bites were not common — most of the people in the study who were bitten had intentionally made contact with a snake. For instance, one victim was bitten while playing with a snake in the garden, and another was bitten while feeding a pet snake. 

But 10 people who were bitten had encountered a mulga snake unintentionally, and the fact that seven of these victims were bitten while sleeping "is noteworthy since it represents 70 percent of identified cases involving bites without intentional contact, and suggests that bites sustained during sleep may be more common than previously reported," the researchers wrote in their report.

US Navy to deploy combat dolphins for Black Sea military drills – report

Published time: April 21, 2014 20:21 
Edited time: April 22, 2014 10:33

American combat dolphins and sea lions will undergo a lengthy plane flight in order to participate in NATO war games in the Black Sea, a spokesman for the US Navy's marine mammals program reportedly said.

Twenty dolphins and ten sea lions will take part in the drills, which will last between one and two weeks, spokesman Tom LaPuzza said, as cited by Izvestia newspaper.

The war games are one of eight joint NATO-Ukrainian military exercises scheduled to take place this year.

During their Black Sea stay, the US dolphins will test a new anti-radar system, designed to disorientate enemy sonars. Both sea lions and dolphins will look for mines and military divers, LaPuzza said.

According to the spokesman, the exercises will be held within the framework of the marine mammals training program, which includes the protection of ships and harbors, as well as mine detection by animals.

New armor for dolphins, developed at a specialized research center at the University of Hawaii, will also be put to the test in the Black Sea, he added.

The marine mammals will be transferred from their base in San Diego, California to the Black Sea via a plane equipped with a special bath, the spokesman told the paper.

Japan kicks off first whale hunt since UN court ruling

April 26, 2014 12:28 AM

Tokyo (AFP) - A Japanese whaling fleet left port on Saturday under tight security in the first hunt since the UN's top court last month ordered Tokyo to stop killing whales in the Antarctic.

Four ships departed from the fishing town of Ayukawa in the northeast, marking this season's start to a coastal whaling programme not covered by the International Court of Justice's landmark ruling -- which found Japan's Southern Ocean expedition was a commercial activity masquerading as research.

Some observers had predicted the Japanese government would use the cover of last month's court ruling to abandon what many have long considered the facade of a scientific hunt.

But Tokyo's decision to continue whaling was likely to set off a new battle with critics who had hoped the ruling would bring an end to a slaughter that the Japanese government has embraced as part of the island nation's cultural heritage.

Some Japanese politicians have derided criticism from abroad as little more than cultural imperialism by the West, while locals in Ayukawa expressed fears the court's decision could ultimately ruin their livelihoods.

Around 10:30 am local time (0130 GMT), whistles sounded as the flotilla accompanied by a trio of coastguard patrol boats set off following a ceremony attended by about 100 local dignitaries and crew.

Genetic Mix Of Bacterial Diversity Found In One Milliliter Of Sea Water

April 25, 2014

Brett Smith for – Your Universe Online

Countless marine microbes called Prochlorococcus are the primary basis for most ocean food webs, yet microbiologists know very little about the diversity with this group of photosynthetic bacteria.

A new study, published in the journal Science, describes hundreds of subpopulations of these essential marine bacteria. An international team of researchers were able to identify the different subgroups through a comprehensive genomic analysis of microbes found in a milliliter of ocean water.

“The sheer enormity of diversity that must be in the octillion Prochlorococcus cells living in the seas is daunting to consider,” said study author Sallie Chisholm, a professor of environmental studies at MIT. “It creates a robust and stable population in the face of environmental instability.”

The study team found that the Prochlorococcus subpopulations all shared the same “genomic backbone” – a primary set of alleles connected to a few flexible genes. While the various subpopulations diverged at least a couple of million years ago, the genomic backbone is an older, slow changing component of the genome, the flexible genes inhabit parts of the genome where swapping is fairly frequent, creating a more speedy evolution.

Eating Less Red Meat, Reducing Food Waste Would Reduce Agricultural CO2 Emissions

April 27, 2014

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Reducing global red meat consumption and reducing food waste could drastically reduce the annual amount of carbon emissions from the worldwide agriculture industry, according to a new report released Friday by Climate Focus and California Environmental Associates.

The report, entitled Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change in Agriculture, entailed the review and synthesis of a vast array of different literature on agriculture and climate change (including some unpublished data). The result of that analysis was the development of 12 key strategies intended to eliminate agriculture’s climate footprint, the organizations behind the study said in a statement.

According to the report’s findings, changes to procedures in Brazil, China, the European Union and the US could have the greatest impact on global emission levels. The authors stress that the role consumption plays in producing food-related emissions is often overlooked, and that by changing diets and cutting back on food waste levels in key nations could eliminate over three gigatons of CO2 production each year.

“By reducing the climate impact of the food we eat, we can improve our health and the health of the planet,” explained study co-author and Climate Focus Director Dr. Charlotte Streck. “By making the way we produce food more efficient, farmers can reap the benefits of increased production while decreasing the environmental impacts of farming.”

“The energy and transport sectors have seen a significant growth in innovation needed to ensure the long term sustainability of the sectors. It is time that agriculture followed,” she added. “There are so many ways in which policymakers can help farmers boost productivity while mitigating climate change. We need to dispel the notion, once and for all, that productivity and sustainability can’t work hand in hand.”

Peoria Ag Lab works to control world's deadliest animal

By Steve Tarter of the Journal Star 
Posted Apr. 26, 2014 @ 10:35 pm 

Mosquitoes kill 1 million people each year, according to the World Health Organization, making it the deadliest animal in the world.

A Peoria scientist at the Ag Lab is at the forefront of a war against this killer.

Scientist Alejandro Rooney is engaged in new research efforts to battle dangerous mosquito varieties such as the Asian Tiger, yellow fever and floodwater species at the Peoria Ag Lab.

“Mosquitoes carry some nasty diseases — like dengue fever, chikungunya and West Nile Virus,” said Rooney, the research leader of the crop bioprotection unit at the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab at 1815 N. University St.

“There’s also the treehole mosquito that can spread encephalitis,” he said, adding that mosquitoes also pose a threat to livestock.

It’s enough to call off summer and pray for the return of the Polar Vortex.

Honeybees battered by brutal winter


DENNIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. - With wind gusts in excess of 30 m.p.h. buffeting him, Gary Schempp struggled to check the health of his honeybee hives. The insects, enduring another day imprisoned in their hives by the uncooperative weather, reacted to Schempp's intrusion with a few well-placed stings.

"We're having a hard time standing here," Schempp said of maintaining an upright position against the howling wind as he visited hives he has at Jalma Farms on Route 9 in Ocean View, Cape May County. "Imagine being a honeybee and trying to fly in this."

Such is the plight of the honeybee, an insect so lightweight, it takes 300 worker bees to equal an ounce.

With one-quarter of the state's honeybee colonies decimated by the brutal winter and starved by a cold spring, and almost half of the colonies killed by weather conditions coupled with a parasite infestation, the situation is getting desperate for the bees that have managed to survive.

Dead cats found hanging in NYC suburb were beaten

By JIM FITZGERALDApril 25, 2014 5:51 PM

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — About 25 dead cats found in plastic bags hanging from trees in a New York suburb were apparently killed with blows to the head at various times over the past year, an investigator said Friday.

Ernest Lungaro, director of enforcement at the Westchester County SPCA, said necropsies on three of the cats revealed blunt trauma to their skulls.

"Pretty disturbing, smashing their heads in and displaying them like that," he said. "We have found, in the past, cases where cats were poisoned, but we've never seen anything where they're killing them this violently."

Lungaro said a baseball bat, two shovels and a metal pipe were found near the scene in a wooded area just off Overlook Terrace in Yonkers, about a mile and a half north of the Bronx. He said investigators were not yet sure that those items had been used in the killings.

It also wasn't known if the killings were the work of one or more people, he said. Either way, they are disturbing because of studies that indicate a link between the killings of animals and violence against people, Lungaro said.

This Swimmer Noticed A Shark Was Following Him; The Dolphins Noticed, Too

The Huffington Post | by Emily Thomas
Posted: 04/26/2014 11:12 am EDT Updated: 04/26/2014 11:59 am EDTPrint Article

A group of dolphins apparently came to the aid of a British long-distance swimmer just in the nick of time.

Adam Walker was on a 16-mile swim in the choppy waters of New Zealand's Cook Strait on April 22 when he spotted a great white shark beneath him, Yahoo! News reports. A pod of 10 dolphins quickly surrounded him and stayed by his side until the shark swam off.

Walker posted images of his guardian dolphins on Facebook a day after the rigorous swim. "I'd like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home!!!" he wrote of his brief time with the dolphins.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Corals use multiple tricks to adapt to hotter seas

Genes and physiological acclimation contribute equally to heat resistance.
24 April 2014

The reefs of Ofu Island in American Samoa are a natural laboratory for studies of coral heat resistance.

Coral reefs face a daunting future: climate change, ocean acidification, and overfishing are projected to take a harsh toll in the coming decades. But a study published today suggests that some corals can adjust their physiology to cope with ocean warming.

A population of the table-top coral Acropora hyacinthus living in a back-reef lagoon off Ofu Island in American Samoa can acclimate to hot water temperatures — at least up to a point, researchers report today inScience1. The team teased apart the role of genetic adaptation (natural selection that occurs within a population) and physiological acclimatization (which occurs in individuals), showing that each had roughly equal roles in the corals’ heat resistance.

In the past few decades, reef-building corals have seen global declines owing to bleaching — discoloration that results when corals lose the photosynthetic algae that nourish them — caused by local warming spells.

The study suggests that “corals can buy more time to evolve the necessary adaptations by using acclimatization as a first line of response,” says Christian Voolstra, a coral reef genomicist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, who was not involved in the research. But the degree to which the findings apply to other coral species and coral reef ecosystems still needs to be determined, he adds.

Germany deploys drones to protect young deer from combine harvesters

Trial in Bavaria shows great promise in spotting fawns hiding in tall grass and alerting farmers doing spring mowing

Agence France-Presse in Berlin, Friday 25 April 2014 18.02 BST

A German wildlife rescue project is deploying small aerial drones to find young deer hiding in tall grass and protect them from being shredded by combine harvesters cutting hay in spring.

According to project spokesman Rolf Stockum, the pilot scheme has shown great promise in spotting the young animals. About 100,000 of them fall victim in Germany every year to the large agricultural machines, he said on Friday.

Five small drones fitted with combined digital and infrared sensors that can detect colour patterns and body heat were trialled in the southern state of Bavaria.

When spotted the young deer are fitted with beacons that emit radio signals so that farmers, when they later do the spring mowing, can find and avoid them as they noisily rumble across the grasslands and fields.

Three-banded panther worm debuts as new model in study of regeneration

April 24, 2014

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

The three-banded panther worm (Hofstenia miamia), a small organism with the ability to regenerate any missing body part, is being introduced to the scientific community. As a model, Hofstenia could help further our understanding of regeneration, how its mechanisms have evolved over millennia, and what limits regeneration in other animals, including humans.

Slo-Mo Whoa: Mouse Tears Off Scorpion's Head in New Video

By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer | April 25, 2014 12:09pm ET

A jaw-dropping new video shows a fuzzy little mouse as a fearsome fighter, attacking and killing a venomous scorpion in slow motion.

The new mouse-scorpion video, released on YouTube by Michigan State University, shows how the hamster-sized southern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys torridus) has evolved to withstand the painful stings of the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus). According to research conducted by Michigan State University zoologist Ashlee Rowe, the mice actually transform the venom into a painkiller.

"We don't want to try to sound too cute or anything, but it is sort of like an evolutionary martial art, where the grasshopper mice are turning the tables. They're using their opponents' strength against them," Rowe said in October.

'Tis the season: Be on the lookout for brown recluse spiders

April 24, 2014

Kansas State University Research and Extension

Warmer, spring weather has many of us getting out and becoming more active, and the brown recluse spider is no exception. Scientists shared 10 facts about the somewhat small, shy spider

How Sloths Hang Upside Down Without Getting Tired

By Megan Gannon, News Editor | April 25, 2014 03:57pm ET

Famously sluggish sloths spend most of their lives upside down. But unlike humans, these creatures don't have trouble breathing in that inverted position, because their internal organs are fixed in place, new research finds.

Three-toed sloths (Bradypus variegatus) have special "adhesions" that anchor their guts to their lower ribs, preventing their organs from pressing down on their lungs, scientists say.

Sloth organs can be heavy, especially when a lot of waste builds up in their bowels. The animals, which live in the rain forests of Central and South America, are so economical in their energy use that they only leave the trees to poop once a week. (Why bother leaving the canopy at all? A recent study found that by pooping on the forest floor, sloths help create a breeding ground for moths that live in the animals' fur; these moths in turn boost the presence of algae, a crucial part of the sloths' diet.)

India: Leopard Kills Girl, Body Recovered in Nearby Wildlife Sanctuary

By Divya Avasthy | IB Times – Mon, Apr 21, 2014

An eight-year-old girl has been mauled to death by a leopard at her house on the outskirts of a wildlife sanctuary in northern India, the Press Trust of India reported.

The girl was sleeping in the courtyard of her house when the animal attacked her. The leopard dragged her into a forest, where her body was found.

The incident happened in Katarniaghat sanctuary in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Such animal attacks are common in villages and tribal belts in and around wildlife sanctuaries acrossIndia.

A few days ago, a farmer in the western state of Maharashtra was attacked by a leopard, but he escaped with injuries to his head.

What saved the man was the leopard's involvement in a fight with a pack of dogs.

As the leopard leaped on the man, the dogs attacked the animal and it turned its attention back to the dogs.

Lost sea lion pup found in orchard 1 mile from water

UPDATED 2:57 PM PDT Apr 16, 2014

MERCED, Calif. —Workers at a Central California ranch could hardly believe their eyes when they spotted a sea lion pup hopping through an almond orchard, a mile from the San Joaquin River.

After discovering the confused animal last month at Mape's Ranch near Modesto, the ranch hands quickly got in touch with ocean wildlife officials.

A Marine Mammal Center volunteer coaxed the lost sea lion into a cage, where it promptly fell asleep.

The 36-pound sea lion, nicknamed Hoppie, is now recovering at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

Hoppie is undergoing treatment for sores and getting some much-needed nourishment in hopes of returning him to the wild.

Officials aren't sure why the sea lion left the river or hopped such a long way on the ground.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Decoded fly genome offers clues about sleeping sickness

Tsetse gene sequence adds to researchers' knowledge of the fly's biology and behaviour.
24 April 2014

An estimated 70 million people remain at risk for sleeping sickness, which is carried by the tsetse fly.

Public-health workers are one step closer to stamping out a debilitating and potentially fatal disease known as sleeping sickness following the sequence of its carrier, the tsetse fly. The 366-million-base sequence of Glossina morsitans morsitans offers clues to the insect's diet, vision and reproductive strategies, researchers say.

“This really accelerates our ability to do basic research on this fly”, says lead author Geoffrey Attardo of the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut. The work was published today in Science1.

New imaging system brings lobster-eye design down to scale

( —Scientists have long sought to emulate the fascinatingly structured compound eyes that allow lobsters to see their way along brackish seabeds. So far, it's worked only in huge X-ray devices used for astronomy.

However, a new artificial compound eye developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison harnesses the concept to use the visible light spectrum, and at a much smaller scale. Its potential application areas range from medicine to astronomy to the military.

Hongrui Jiang, the Lynn H. Matthias Professor in Engineering and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UW-Madison, announced the advance in a paper published April 24, 2014, in the journal Small. The lobster-inspired system represents a breakthrough in both optical imaging and micro-scale fabrication.

Read more at:

China hopes to take rare animals off the menu with tough jail sentences

People who knowing eat products made from 420 species classified as endangered face of up to 10 years or more in prison

Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing, Friday 25 April 2014 12.30 BST

Chinese diners who enjoy bear bile, tiger bones and pangolin meat now have a new reason to lay down their chopsticks.

China's top legislative body passed a new "interpretation" of the country's criminal law on Thursday that will allow authorities to jail people who knowingly eat products made from rare wild animals. Prison sentences for the offence range from under three years to more than a decade, the state newswire Xinhua reported.

Beijing classifies 420 species as rare or endangered, including giant pandas, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins – scaly, slow-moving anteaters which curl into balls to avoid their predators. While China already promises harsh fines and jail sentences for people who catch, kill, traffic, buy and sell the animals, it has until now remained unclear on the potential consequences for eating them.

Spain: Endangered hamster-sized deer born in zoo

By News from reports from around the world, found by BBC Monitoring
A baby Java mouse-deer - one of the smallest hoofed animals in the world - has been born at a zoo in southern Spain.

The newborn deer is "no bigger than a hamster" and weighs about 100 grams, staff at Bioparc Fuengirola tell the El Pais newspaper. Adult Java mouse-deer are rarely bigger than rabbits or weigh more than 1kg (2.2lb). They are also known to be fiercely intelligent, and the species represents wisdom in many local legends in its native Java, says The Local website.

The baby mouse-deer is the eighth to be born in Fuengirola, which is running a programme to breed the rare species. Its mother was born at the same zoo in 2007, and its father came from Zoo Lille in France last year, the Spanish zoo says. The family lives the zoo's Hidden Forest, which recreates the ruins of a temple lost in the Asian jungle.

Bioparc Fuengirola says there are currently 43 Java mouse-deer in Europe, but warns the future of the species is threatened by massive deforestation in South East Asia and the replacement of jungles with oil palm plantations.

A shocking new report highlights depth of poaching crisis

A new report from Born Free USA accuses the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Sudan, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of supporting elephant and rhino poaching, and public officials there of overlooking, and sometimes even arming, the criminals.

The report, called Ivory’s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalisation of Poaching in Africa was carried out by Born Free USA and C4ADS (an nonprofit organisation dedicated to data-driven analysis and evidence-based reporting of conflict and security issues worldwide).

Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA explains, “Our findings shine a bright light on Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, and Kenya, where poachers move across borders with near impunity, slaughter elephants with complete disregard, and use the ivory to fund violent operations across the continent. Global leaders cannot stand by while the human tragedy and poaching crisis continue.”

Squirrel found 'nesting' on sheep in Suffolk

The squirrel was found in the thick fleece on one of Elizabeth Dilworth's sheep at her Suffolk home

A baby squirrel was found "nesting" in the thick woollen fleece of a sheep in Suffolk, its owner said.

The squirrel was in the neck area of a domesticated Herdwick sheep in Capel St Mary, near Ipswich.

The sheep's owner took the squirrel kitten to the Wildlives rescue centre at Thorrington near Colchester.

Centre owner Rosie Catford said: "We've had a lot of young squirrels in, but we've never heard of anything like this."

'Something moved'

Liz Dilworth, a primary school teacher in Stratford St Mary, said she found the squirrel when she was checking the collar of her sheep Max.

"Something moved in the wool on his neck," she said.

Related Posts with Thumbnails