Posts filed under ‘Animals (Other Than Us)’

Not the Obama I Voted For


The Obama administration is reopening the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, approving seismic surveys using sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor.

Friday’s announcement is the first real step toward what could be a transformation in coastal states, creating thousands of jobs to support a new energy infrastructure. But it dismayed environmentalists and people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism.

The cannons create noise pollution in waters shared by whales, dolphins and turtles, sending sound waves many times louder than a jet engine reverberating through the deep every ten seconds for weeks at a time. Arguing that endangered species could be harmed was the environmental groups’ best hope for extending a decades-old ban against drilling off the U.S. Atlantic coast.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acknowledged that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed even as it approved opening the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida to exploration.


July 19, 2014 at 10:16 AM Leave a comment

X-Ray of a Stingray

I think this is beautiful:

X-ray of a stingray via science pron

(Image via SciencePorn on Twitter)


July 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM 1 comment

This Little Bird, the Semipalmated Sandpiper, is My New Super-Hero

Semipalmated Sandpiper Will Sweet via Wikimedia Commons

(Image Will Sweet via Wikimedia Commons)

I read this amazing, awe inspiring article the other day but am just now finding the time to put it up.  It’s one of the most incredible articles I’ve read in a long time.  It’s about a super-bird, the Semipalmated Sandpiper and after reading it I realized there is so much we don’t know about the amazing creatures who live amongst us and certainly we don’t give them the respect they deserve:

Just a few days ago, Brad Winn and Shiloh Schulte returned from Coats Island with the first two geolocators from the Semipalmated Sandpiper migration study. We were waiting breathlessly to see what mysteries would be revealed! Ron Porter, who is working on analyzing the geolocator data, downloaded and analyzed the data from the first geolocator over the weekend. He produced the map below, which reveals a remarkable odyssey for a tiny bird, the first glimpse ever into the entire migratory pathway of this species.


Analysis of the data from the geolocators is key to understanding what the tiny units have recorded during the past year. The map below shows the first ever track of an entire year in the life of a Semipalmated Sandpiper from the eastern Arctic, the group for which the decline may be particularly severe. This particular bird, a male, flew a total distance of over 10,000 miles in the past year. He also made a remarkable six day, 3,300-mile nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean from James Bay to South America, before moving on to his wintering area in Brazil.


Here are the highlights from its journey:

23 June, 2013.  The geolocator is placed on the bird by Brad Winn, a member of a Manomet shorebird science research team, at Coats Island, Nunavut, Canada.

21 July, 2013.  Arrives in James Bay, where it fattens up for its upcoming long flight to South America.

22 August, 2013.  Leaves James Bay for a six day nonstop flight to South America.

28 August, 2013.  Arrives at the Orinoco Delta, on the border of Venezuela and Guyana.

10 September, 2013.  Leaves for a relatively leisurely 11 day flight along the coast to Brazil.

21 September, 2013.  Arrives in Brazil for the winter (northern winter, but summer in Brazil).

3 May, 2014.  Leaves Brazil for a series of flights north, including stops in Cuba (May 6), Florida (May 10), Georgia (May 11), North Carolina (May 14), and Delaware Bay (May 21).

2 June, 2014.  Arrives back in James Bay for the last stopover on its return journey.

10 June, 2014.  Leaves James Bay for the final leg of its return journey.

11 June, 2014.  Arrives back at its Coats Island breeding site.

18 June, 2014.  The bird was re-captured by Brad Winn and Shiloh Schulte, its geolocator was removed, and it was released to begin its next odyssey!


It’s just stupendous what this little bird did, especially its six day nonstop, 3,300 mile flight to South America.  Think about that for a minute.  It didn’t stop to rest or to eat that whole time and it’s a little Sandpiper!

Phew.  There’s no word grandiose enough to describe how impressed I am.



July 14, 2014 at 1:36 PM 1 comment

Wondering What the Chances Are That Any of These Fish Survived

This is the lazy person’s way of ripping off taxpayers by charging to supposedly restock a lake.  I mean, what are the chances that any of these fish survived?  Look at the height the plane was flying when it shot those poor things out of the hold, er ah, “set [them] free.”

A Utah fish hatchery has come up with a novel way to restock remote lakes that’s giving a new meaning to the term “fly fishing.”

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has taken to flying several planes over hard to reach areas dropping native fish out of a compartment at the bottom of an aircraft.

Hundreds, sometimes up to 1,000 3-inch fingerlings are set free.

The fish are fed by a man named Ted Hallows, who supervises them until they’re ready to be released into the wild.

“We’re in charge of coordinating the aireal stock statewide,” Hallows said.

They don’t always make it into the water alive. A small percentage of them die.

“They kind of flutter down, so they don’t impact very hard, they flutter with the water and they do really well,” Hallows said.

Overall, fisherman and experts are happy to hear someone is keeping the state’s lakes stocked.


The person who wrote that article is so compliant.  No questions about whether dropping fish from 1,000 feet above a lake is viable.  The government says, the government says, the government says…and I report.




July 13, 2014 at 6:56 PM Leave a comment


Millions of anchovies.

From Scripps Oceanography on YouTube:

An aggregation of anchovy amassed near Scripps Pier at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego in La Jolla, Calif. on July 8, 2014. Footage from Scripps Pier and underwater by Julia Fiedler, Sean Crosby and Bonnie Ludka.

July 8, 2014 at 6:43 PM Leave a comment

Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car!

Yo, humans, get this through your head:

Leaving Pets in the Car via huhs

(Image via HSUS)

Ten minutes.

Here’s a flyer I have in my glove compartment that I put on windshields when I see animals inside cars.  Print it, make ten copies and put them in your glove compartment too.  When you see an animal in someone’s car, put the flyer on the windshield. Wait six minutes and then call your local animal control  or police if the animal’s guardian doesn’t return.




July 5, 2014 at 7:39 PM Leave a comment

A Baby Hummer!

I would love to see a baby hummer in person:

Baby Hummer

June 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM Leave a comment

You Wouldn’t Abandon Your Child, Would You?

From the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

Animals are part of the family too.  Last year the RSPCA received reports of 70,314 abandoned animals.  That’ is an increase of 58.7% since 2007.


How many animals are abandoned in the U.S.?  From the ASPCA:

Because there is no national reporting requirement for animal abuse, there is no way to track the number of abandoned animals each year. However, we do know 6-8 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year. This number includes animals abandoned on the street (found animals) and animals seized after private abandonment in homes or apartments.


June 21, 2014 at 10:50 AM Leave a comment

New Zealand Opens Dolphin Sanctuary to Oil and Gas Drilling

Silly me.  I’ve always though of New Zealand as one of the saner countries:

Maui's dolphins via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)


The Government has opened up more than 3000 square kilometres of a marine mammal sanctuary for oil and gas drilling, home to the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin.

It comes less than a week after the International Whaling Commission urged our Government to do more to save the species.

The Maui’s dolphin is the world’s rarest. It is estimated there are only 55 left.

“I think primarily once you go from exploration right through to production, you’re not jeopardising the wildlife,” says Minister of Energy and Resources Mr Bridges.

In April, the Government signed off a block offer – the biggest area ever of sea and land for oil and gas exploration.

Now official documents obtained by the Green Party reveal the Department of Conservation pointed out that this is the home of the Maui’s dolphin, known as the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

The area the Government has opened up for potential drilling overlaps 3000 square kilometres into the sanctuary, including large areas off the Taranaki coast.

“There has been petroleum exploration in that area for a long period of time,” says Mr Bridges. “I think it’s about achieving a balance.”

Last week the International Whaling Commission said it had “extreme concern” about the decline in Maui’s dolphins.


“Extreme concern?”  Ah, yeah.  Far as we know, there are only 55 adult Maui’s dolphins left on Earth.

June 18, 2014 at 8:01 AM Leave a comment

Satao, Age 50, the World’s Largest Elephant, Killed for His Ivory by Poachers in Kenya

Why hasn’t the sale of ivory been banned worldwide yet?  What’s it going to take?

Satao elephant via christianChristensen on Twitter

(Image via ChristianChristensen on Twitter.)

Satao, one of Kenya’s largest elephants, has died after being shot by poachers using poisoned arrows. Satao was one of the last surviving “great tuskers”, elephants with tusks so large they reach down to the ground.

He had been living in the Tsavo East National Park in northern Kenya but had become a target for poachers, who were using GPS and mobile phones to track him.

For 18 months, the Kenyan Wildlife Service joined forces with the Tsavo Trust to monitor Satao’s movements using aerial reconnaissance and ground personnel within his known home range.

Despite this, poachers were still able to reach him and in March, the 50-year-old elephant was shot by poachers using poisoned arrows. Vets rushed to the scene to treat him and he went on to make a surprise recovery. But in May, an elephant carcass was discovered by June Richard Moller, Executive Director of the Trust, and on Friday the Trust confirmed it was Satao, who had been killed by a poisoned arrow.  In a statement, the trust paid tribute to “the most iconic and well-loved tuskers” and mourned “a great life lost so that someone far away can have a trinket on their mantelpiece“.







June 14, 2014 at 8:50 AM 1 comment

Morning Cuteness: A Snoring Baby Duck


June 14, 2014 at 7:36 AM Leave a comment

Vintage Photos of Farmers and Their Dogs has put together a sweet, sweet collection of photos from the Library of Congress showing farmers and farm kids with their dogs, most of them herding dogs.  Check them out here.

This is my fave:

Farmers and Dogs via Modern Farmer

(Image Library of Congress via


June 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM Leave a comment

The USDA’s “Wildlife Services” Killed Two Million Animals in Fiscal 2013

Dead Fox via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

One would think the USDA’s “Wildlife Services” was involved with ah, oh, I don’t know, serving wildlife or their interests, right?

Nope.  Not in this corporatocracy.  This is what they’re doing with our tax dollars:

Wildlife Services, the highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has released new data showing that the agency killed more than 2 million native animals during the last fiscal year.

The new numbers reveal a 29 percent increase in the program’s killing, up almost a half-million animals since fiscal year 2012, despite an increase in public awareness.

Wildlife Services target animals deemed as pests by powerful special interests groups from the agribusiness, hunting and livestock sectors, according to Center for Biological Diversity.

“Wildlife Services has long been out of step with the values of Americans, and the new figures make clear it has no interest in changing,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned to reform the program last December. “These appalling new numbers show that Wildlife Services is simply thumbing its nose at the growing number of Americans demanding an end to business as usual at Wildlife Services.”


The covert killings—which includes aerial gunning, traps and exploding poison caps—has gone on for decades with little oversight and according the Center for Biological Diversity, the agency has killed more than 26 million native animals  since 1996.


Here’s a list of the dead (2013):

  • more than 320 gray wolves
  • 75,326 coyotes
  • 419 black bears
  • 866 bobcats
  • 528 river otters
  • 3,706 foxes
  • 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs (as well as destroyed more than 30,000 dens)
  • 3 golden eagles

June 10, 2014 at 2:57 PM Leave a comment

A Hummingbird, Up Close

We have hummingbirds in our yard but of course they don’t stay still long enough to look at them up close.  That’s why I love this photo.  As always, Mother Nature shows her expertise at combining colors.  Exquisite:

Hummingbird via Learn Something on Twitter

(Image via LearnSomething on Twitter)



June 8, 2014 at 6:23 PM Leave a comment

Morning Sweetness

This is a darling video of a boxer meeting a group of cows.  They’re all so sweet.  I love how mellow the boxer is and the way he lies down to signal his lack of aggression.  The cows are pretty cool too.

Too bad we humans can’t get along like this.



June 4, 2014 at 7:09 AM 1 comment

Live Cam: Bears Trying to Catch Salmon in Alaska

Here’s a fun time waster:  A live cam from of brown bears at Brooks Falls in Alaska trying to catch salmon.  Here’s a screenshot from a few minutes ago:

Brown Bears Catching Salmon via

(Image via


Again, here’s the link.



June 3, 2014 at 10:34 AM Leave a comment

Bad News for Puffin Lovers

I just set up a new category, Global Warming is Here, because I’m reading about lots of “little” things that are happening right now that add up to already-big, imho, ramifications.   I.e., the cascading decline of the Earth’s systems has begun in earnest.

Take this for example (so, so sad — way to go humans!):

The new poster child for climate change had his coming-out party in June 2012, when Petey the puffin chick first went live into thousands of homes and schools all over the world. The Puffin Cam capturing baby Petey’s every chirp had been set up on Maine’s Seal Island by Stephen Kress, “The Puffin Man,” who founded the Audubon Society’s Project Puffin in 1973.


Puffin parents dote on their single chick, sheltering it in a two-foot burrow beneath rocky ledges and bringing it piles of small fish each day. Researchers would get to watch live puffin feeding behavior for the first time, and schoolkids around the world would be falling for Petey.


But Kress soon noticed that something was wrong. Puffins dine primarily on hake and herring, two teardrop-shaped fish that have always been abundant in the Gulf of Maine. But Petey’s parents brought him mostly butterfish, which are shaped more like saucers. Kress watched Petey repeatedly pick up butterfish and try to swallow them. The video is absurd and tragic, because the butterfish is wider than the little gray fluff ball, who keeps tossing his head back, trying to choke down the fish, only to drop it, shaking with the effort. Petey tries again and again, but he never manages it. For weeks, his parents kept bringing him butterfish, and he kept struggling. Eventually, he began moving less and less. On July 20, Petey expired in front of a live audience.


Kress assumed [Petey's parents] were just unlucky. Then he checked the other 64 burrows he was tracking: Only 31 percent had successfully fledged. He saw dead chicks and piles of rotting butterfish everywhere. “That,” he says, “was the epiphany.”


Herring and hake had dramatically declined in the waters surrounding Seal Island, and by August, Kress had a pretty good idea why: The water was much too hot.


Here’s the video of poor Petey trying to swallow a butterfish.  It is 1.08 minutes long and is condensed from video of Petey’s attempt to swallow the fish over the course of — get this — three hours.

<iframe width=”430″ height=”242″ src=”//″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>





June 1, 2014 at 3:54 PM Leave a comment

Astonishing Photo of the Day

From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:  Check out the size of a hummingbird’s primary flight feather relative to a paper clip:

USFWS Humingbird feather

(Image USFWS)


Holy cow.



May 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM Leave a comment

Sheep in Australia Dying an Awful Death After Eating Toxic Weed


Sheep via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Oh man, this is so sad and so bizarre:

Hundreds of sheep in the central west of NSW have died after eating a poisonous plant and bashing their heads open “like heroin addicts”.

Plague proportions of darling pea have dealt another blow to farmers who suffered the impacts of the bushfire in Coonabarabran last January.

The endangered native pea, which usually exists in the area in small quantities, has spread wildly following the bushfire, which burnt 54,000 hectares of the Warrumbungle National Park and adjoining farms.

Stephen and Louise Knight have lost 800 sheep to the noxious plant so far on their steep, rocky property, Tannabah.


North West Local Land Services regional veterinarian Bob McKinnon said the stock became addicted to the plant and displayed erratic behaviour “similar to that of a drunk”.

“They lose weight to start with and then get staggery, the progression gets worse, they get unco-ordinated and depressed, they don’t know where their feet are and they become recumbent and die that way,” he said.

Other symptoms the affected animals display include staring eyes, head pressing, muscle tremors, walking with a paddling gait, high stepping, and dragging hind legs.

Mrs Knight said the symptoms were evident.

“They just go to a post and bang their head on it till they crack their heads open; it’s like dealing with a thousand heroin addicts,” she said.


It sounds like an awful death.  Poor things.


May 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM Leave a comment

Slide Show: Antarctica Melting

Stranded Penguins reuters

Two Adelie penguins stand atop a block of melting ice on a rocky shoreline in East Antarctica January 1, 2010. (Reuters/Pauline Askin via

See the slide show here, via Reuters.

May 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM Leave a comment

Starving Polar Bears Invade Village in Greenland

Polar Bears via

Screenshot –

I watched a video — here — this morning that touched me so much I kept it on my desktop all day.  It moved me.  It’s a 4:30 minute tale about animals and humans struggling to live in a drastically changing climatological world.Yesterday my neighbor told me she and her husband are expecting their second child in September.I’m thinking of the kids again.

May 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM Leave a comment

An Osprey Diving for Food


Osprey Diving for food via strangeAnimals

(Image via StrangeAnimals on Twitter)


May 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM Leave a comment

Rock Climbing Momma Bear and Cub

No, you will not cry at the end:

Mommas with children or cubs – don’t try this at home!

Endangered Mexican Black Bears (momma and cub) climb Santa Elena Canyon wall, March 21, 2014. I spotted them while I was kayaking and want to share with you my nature loving, rock climbing, suspenseful satisfaction.


May 2, 2014 at 3:21 PM Leave a comment

Morning Delight: A Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Burritos

What would we do without people who make videos like this?


April 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM Leave a comment

So What if All the Bees Die — We’ve Got Robobees!

Greenpeace put this video up this morning which I initially thought was sort of a sarcastic parody of what might happen if bees disappeared.  Then I realized it was for real. Instead of figuring out why real bee colonies are collapsing and preventing it, we’re developing robobees which I think is a sickening, bassackward way to run a planet.

Read more here.



April 28, 2014 at 8:18 AM 1 comment

How About a Bowl of Roundup for Breakfast?

Monsanto logo via

The last sentence here is the killer:

You probably wouldn’t knowingly eat a substance known to induce death in human cells. But that’s what millions of people are doing every day, even when they’re enjoying foods with “natural” on the label.

Norwegian scientists just published a new study that will appear in the June issue of Food Technology showing high levels of glyphosate—the active weed-killing chemical in Roundup—are turning up in genetically engineered (GE) soy. That herbicide-laced soy winds up in thousands of nonorganic packaged foods and in animal feed for livestock like pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys.

Why is this happening? Genetically engineered crops are manipulated in a way that could never occur in nature so plants like corn, soy, canola, cotton, and sugar beets can withstand high doses of glyphosate-containing herbicides that would normally kill them. The result? Roundup in food that people and farm animals eat.

As more and more weeds become resistant to glyphosate and GE technology fails, farmers spray heavier glyphosate applications—and more often. Glypshoate is systemic, meaning it’s take up inside of the plant. As nonorganic farmers crank up glyphosate use, the Environmental Protection Agency has been slowly increasing allowable levels of glyphosate in food.


So, Monsanto’s Roundup is doing a number on the planet and, here in the U.S. at least, the so-called Environmental (cough) “Protection” (cough) Agency is enabling them.

The corporations really do run the place.

What a country.

April 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM Leave a comment

Try Spending Your Whole Life in a Bus Seat

The Humane Society of the United States is running ads like this one in Washington, D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa:

Humane Society Bus Ad 4-24-14

(Image via

It says:  “Try spending your whole life in a bus seat.  Most breeding pigs in the pork industry can’t even turn around.”

Oh, and they wanted to run ads in Raleigh, N.C. but the Transit Authority there turned them down.

April 24, 2014 at 4:38 PM 2 comments

NBC to Devote Four Days of Live Coverage to the Kentucky Derby

Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will reunite to cover the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

The two former Olympic figure skaters plan to cover fashion May 2 at the Kentucky Oaks and May 3 at the Kentucky Derby. NBC will begin live coverage from Churchill Downs on April 30.


Really?  Man-oh-man.  Is this indicative of what the corporate media thinks is important or what?

What the Kentucky Derby means to me is fragile horses whose bodies can’t hold their own weight and who are bred to make money for their owners.  I can’t stand the thought of watching another horse shatter his or her leg.

Not to be Debbie Downer but yo, NBC, how about devoting  four days (or even four hours) to food banks being swamped with clients due to the “Great Recession” and people who aren’t in need being so squeezed they can’t afford to donate a can or two of food?

Aaaah!  Can you hear me screaming now?

April 22, 2014 at 6:19 PM Leave a comment

The Superman of the Shrimp World

Wow.  The peacock mantis shrimp is one amazing shrimp:

The peacock mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, is a 4- to 6-inch-long rainbow-colored crustacean with a fist-like club that accelerates underwater faster than a 22-calibur bullet. Researchers, led by Kisailus, an associate professor of chemical engineering, are interested in the club because it can strike prey thousands of times without breaking.

The force created by the impact of the mantis shrimp’s club is more than 1,000 times its own weight. It’s so powerful that Kisailus needs to keep the animal in a special aquarium in his lab so it doesn’t break the glass. Also, the acceleration of the club creates cavitation, meaning it shears the water, literally boiling it, forming cavitation bubbles that implode, yielding a secondary impact on the mantis shrimp’s prey.


Here’s a YouTube video of a peacock shrimp hunting a little crab.  The sound of his “club” beating on the crab helps illustrate why researchers had to keep “the animal in a special aquarium” so it didn’t break the glass.


I have new respect for shrimp.

April 22, 2014 at 4:35 PM Leave a comment

Sea Otters!

This is so cute:  Sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium playing with colored, frozen ice “eggs” this morning.  The “frosting” is made of ground clams.  Yummy!



April 20, 2014 at 2:52 PM Leave a comment

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