Posts filed under ‘Animals (Other Than Us)’
Wow, this is fascinating, 19,000 miles!
A great white shark called Lydia is set to make history. First tagged a year ago off the Florida coast, she’s on her way to becoming the first tracked white shark to cross the Atlantic.
Lydia is being monitored by the marine nonprofit Ocearch as part of its ongoing project to help researchers and scientists gather previously unattainable data on shark movement, biology and health. The 14-foot-6-inch great white has migrated more than 19,000 miles since being tagged.
The Ocearch team uses two different kinds of electronic tags, Skomal explained. One is a pop-up satellite tag that can archive data such as depth and light levels. The tag can be programmed to release from the shark and then float on the water surface to transmit data back to the scientists.
Another is a real-time satellite tag, which connects to a satellite whenever the shark comes to the surface, providing data about the shark’s movements so scientists — and the public — can follow a shark’s migration patterns over a long time. This is what Lydia has.
I can’t wait to hear more about what’s learned here.
This whole video is spectacular but my favorite part starts at 2:25 and is of a mother whale and her baby and you can just feel the love between the two of them. Very touching.
Captain Dave Anderson of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, California, at great personal risk, has recently filmed and edited a 5-minute video that contains some of the most beautiful, jaw-dropping, footage ever taken with a drone from the air of a huge mega-pod of thousands of common dolphins stampeding off Dana Point, California, three gray whales migrating together down the coast off San Clemente, California, and heartwarming close-ups hovering over a newborn Humpback whale calf snuggling and playing with its mom as an escort whale stands guard nearby, filmed recently in Maui.
I cleaned out my kitchen silverware drawer the other day. It’s pretty well organized but at the back I had about eight pounds of odds and ends of butter knives, dessert forks and long-handled spoons that I never use. Among the things I found (I’d been ignoring that area for 15 years) was this little olive fork that belonged to my grandmother:
I’m pretty sure it’s ivory. It kind of makes me sick to even touch it.
Then I remembered seeing this perfect poster for never, ever having anything to do with ivory:
A tearjerker for sure.
Hey, maybe all the rain they got in England last month caused beavers to spontaneously generate (just kidding!).
Seriously, this is great:
Wild Beavers Seen in England for First Time in Centuries
A family of wild beavers has been seen in the English countryside in the first sighting of its kind in up to 800 years, according to experts.
Three European beavers, believed to be two adults and a juvenile, were filmed together on the River Otter in east Devon as they gnawed trees, groomed themselves and played together..
Experts said the sighting was “highly significant” as it strongly suggested a small breeding population of beavers now existed outside captivity.
This would be the first time for hundreds of years that European beavers have been breeding in the wild in England. Once widespread, they were hunted to extinction in the 12th century due to their highly-valued fur, meat and medicinal properties..
In 2008, the World Wildlife Fund launched its Pandas on Tour exhibition, a collaboration with French artist Paulo Grangeon meant to highlight the plight of the endangered species, which has since traveled the world. Now, the exhibition has made its way to Taipei, where 1,600 papier-mâché pandas (and one green tree frog) line the rows of the Taiwan National Theater, each representing one of the few real-life pandas still in existence around the world.
I’m forever grateful to people who put so much effort into issues like this.
Wildlife experts cut away more than 280 feet of commercial fishing line being dragged by an endangered right whale off the Georgia coast, though some of the heavy rope had to be left tangled in the whale’s mouth, officials said Thursday.
Entanglement in commercial fishing gear and collisions with ships off the East Coast are considered the greatest threats to the right whale’s survival. Experts estimate only about 450 of the large whales remain. Each winter they migrate to the warmer waters off Georgia and Florida to give birth to their calves.
It was the first time since 2011 that a right whale snared in fishing gear has been spotted offshore in the Southeast, said Clay Georgia, a marine mammal biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He was part of the team that got close enough to the 30-foot whale to sever the three-quarters-inch fishing line using a grappling hook equipped with cutting blades.
“We feel like what we did gives the whale a fighting chance to shed the remainder of the rope on its own,” said George, who estimated the whale is still dragging about 20 feet of the rope woven with lead weights. “The real take-home message here is we can’t just go out and save and fix every whale that shows up entangled. In some cases it’s just completely impossible to disentangle that whale.”
Unfortunately about 20 feet of line remains in the poor whale’s mouth.
Christians say God created the Heaven and the Earth; that He created — everything.
They say we should love and worship all of God’s creatures. (Bravo!)
Ted Nugent says he’s a Christian.
Here’s Ted Nugent’s take on one of God’s animals:
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a live eagle cam!
This is the image from a few minutes ago:
Poor thing, but oh the instinctual drive. Impressive.
Check it out here.
It’s amazing and wonderful to see a country spend money and time dealing with something like this. We here in the U.S. can’t even get our shit together enough to teach our kids to read and write much less think about protecting drivers from deer, and vice versa.
In the meat industry, breeding cows, like most farm animals, are often perceived as mere commodities – available only to push out calf after calf until they too follow in their babies’ footsteps and are sold for slaughter.
A mother and calf rarely spend more than six months together, some even taken soon after birth.
“Calves and cows are in separate paddocks, never to touch each other again. Both will grieve, both will try to find their way back to each other, and both will suffer the trauma that you and I would suffer if we were separated from our children by force, before we are ready to let them go,” Kris continues.
A Murray Grey cow named Granny, who came to live at Signal Hill just a few months ago (a relatively new sanctuary set out on 200 acres of natural bushland near the Yass River [in Australia]), spent 15 years of her life as a breeding cow [and had 12 calves that were taken away from her].
About a week ago, caregivers noticed that Granny, a “gentle and beautiful girl,” was pregnant.
Her calf was born last Thursday, February 13. The calve’s name is Valentine, and Granny and Valentine will never be separated.
Oh my God. We humans are cruel.
Wanna read that title again?
Here’s the front page of the UK Independent tomorrow:
Every day 100 African elephants are murdered for their ivory. Unless international action is taken, they could be extinct within a decade. This newspaper’s campaign has raised a record amount in the fight against poaching. But today, as leaders from around the globe meet in London to talk about this, we need action, not words.
What a refreshing break from he-said, she-said reporting.
The Independent is taking a side, acting up and making some noise.
Watch a SeaWorld – San Diego employee bullshit her way through a brief interview about killer whales and the documentary film, Blackfish:
I draw your attention to this which is the context in which this woman is talking about though there’s no indication she knows it.
If you haven’t seen Blackfish, see it here.
Good and interesting points about the Copenhagen Zoo killing of the 18-month-old giraffe “Marius” yesterday (and butchering him in front of a bunch of kids and then feeding him to the lions (literally)). As usual, we humans have gotten ourselves into a fu*king mess.
The zoo used the baby calf to attract visitors and then slaughtered him. He was shot rather than given a painless lethal injection, just so that his flesh wouldn’t be contaminated when it was cut up in front of horrified schoolchildren and, quite literally, thrown to the lions.
As the events of this weekend illustrate, breeding animals in zoos is not a sustainable practice because of space limitations and also because the practice creates a surplus of unwanted animals. It is estimated that approximately 7,500 animals in European zoos are considered “surplus” at any one time.
Although his death is heartbreaking, it’s his birth that should have been prevented.
For everyone who genuinely cares about giraffes and all the other individuals serving life sentences in zoos, let’s hope Marius’ story is a wake-up call. Let’s avoid patronising zoos and instead donate to campaigns that actually protect animals in their native habitats.
Wow. Astounding (and what a beautiful bird):
From the United States Fish and Wildlife Service:
A Laysan albatross known as “Wisdom” – at least 63 years old – is once again busy rearing a chick on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The newly hatched chick was first seen by visitor services manager, Ann Bell, being cared for by Wisdom the morning of February 4, 2014. Wisdom is a female albatross first banded as an adult in 1956.
“As the world’s oldest known bird in the wild, Wisdom is an iconic symbol of inspiration and hope for all seabird species.” said Dan Clark, refuge manager for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. “She provides to the world valuable information about the longevity of these beautiful creatures. In the case of Wisdom, she has logged literally millions of miles over the Pacific Ocean in her lifetime to find enough fish eggs and squid to feed herself and multiple chicks, allowing us the opportunity to measure the health of our oceans which sustain albatross as well as ourselves.”
One of the greatest threats to the long term survival of Laysan albatross and black-footed albatross, whose primary nesting sites are the low islands of Papahānaumokuākea Monument is the loss of nesting habitat due to sea level rise.
The screams of delight from a male pig placed with five receptive sows led to an erroneous report of an assault last week.
A Hanson Road woman called police Jan. 27 after hearing what she believed to be a fight coming from a home separated by woods just a short distance away. The caller feared she had overheard domestic violence at the home.
“The caller reported she heard screaming,” according to an activity log provided by Maine State Police.
Trooper Thomas Bureau, accompanied by three other troopers, went to the house. Bureau spoke to the neighbor, who raises pigs.
“The homeowner stated her male pig was screaming because he was in a pen with five other female pigs in heat,” according to the police report.
Last fall, a team of researchers from Idaho’s Boise State University hiked into the mountains outside of town with backpacks full of batteries and speakers. The unusual cargo was not for a backcountry dance party, but rather for a unique experiment to determine the impact of road noise on migratory birds.
The scientists hung speakers from trees and blasted sounds of cars passing, creating a “phantom road.” They blared the road noise for four days, turned it off for four days, then repeated the cycle. The experiment took place as yellow warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets, American robins and other birds passed through on their journey south, its conclusions were striking: On the days when the road was “on,” bird abundance declined by more 25 percent, and two species, cedar waxwings and yellow warblers, avoided the area almost entirely.
In other words, the researchers found that anthropogenic noise alone can reduce the amount of stopover habitat available to migratory birds. And because 83 percent of the land area in the U.S. is within one kilometer of a road, they wrote, “it is likely that noise-sensitive species such as the yellow warbler avoid substantial areas of otherwise suitable habitat simply because they are too loud.”
I think this whole new area of study which is revealing how important microbes are to our health (or not) is just fascinating.
The human microbiome has been in the news for several years now, as researchers have begun to unravel the importance of microbes living in and on our bodies. These bacteria and other microbial critters influence human health, and the composition and combination of various species have been linked to everything from eczema to obesity.
But what about the microbes that live in our buildings—how do these species impact our health? And can we change the design of a building to make its microbial ecosystem healthier?
To find out, Green and her team, which included lead authors Steven Kembel, a former postdoctoral research now at the University of Quebec, and James Meadow, a current postdoc, surveyed bacteria living in Lillis Hall, a multi-purpose building on the University of Oregon campus.
The team worked closely with the building’s designers to understand the function of various rooms, including the connectivity (number of doors), the purpose and the number of occupants (offices with low occupancy and low diversity, for example, or classrooms with high occupancy and high turnover), the air circulation (open windows versus mechanical ventilation), and so on. They used vacuums to collect dust from 155 unique spaces in the building and extracted and sequenced the DNA of the bacteria inside the dust samples.
The researchers found 32,964 different major groups of bacteria in the building, which made up unique ecosystems depending on the type of room in which they were found. Bathrooms, for example, had very little bacterial diversity, possibly because they typically only have one door. By comparison, hallways and other areas with many entrances and exists, as well as many different people walking through during the day, had a much higher diversity.
Unsurprisingly, offices had lower diversity than classrooms, and offices next door to one another had similar profiles. And ventilation made a big difference: offices with windows had entirely different bacterial composition compared to those with mechanical ventilation.
The next step is to understand how humans contribute to this indoor microbiome, as well as how different ecosystems may influence human health.
Far in the future, Green envisions an indoor microbiome certification, which would give a grade on a building’s microbial health somewhat like the current LEED system that awards buildings for sustainability and energy efficiency. She also thinks future homeowners may be checking microbial health of a potential real estate purchase, just as people today may look up pollution levels and other environmental factors.
Isa Leshko photographs elderly animals:
I am creating these photographs in order to take an unflinching look at aging and mortality. My maternal grandmother had dementia during her later years, and now my mom has it. I am scared of developing Alzheimer’s disease and I get nervous whenever I lose my keys or forget a person’s name. Photographing geriatric animals enables me to immerse myself in my fear of growing old. I have come to realize that these images are self-portraits. Or at the very least, they are manifestations of my fears and hopes about what I will be like when I am old.
I also want my images to inspire greater empathy toward animals, particularly farm animals. It is very rare for a farm animal to actually live its full natural lifespan given that most of these animals experience brutality and death early in their lives. By depicting the beauty and dignity of these creatures in their later years, I want to encourage people to question and challenge the way farm animals are currently treated.
A friend’s rescued, 11-year-old greyhound (her “heart dog“) has but days to live as he’s dying of cancer. My next door neighbor’s 68-year-old brother died last Thursday, just as she was flying to Arizona to see him. My husband was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia in March. For some reason, the universe directed me to this video today, when I can really use it.
Thank you Isa Leshko.
Have you ever watched “Animal Planet” and had the feeling that what you were watching wasn’t, at its core, about animals? Me too.
Here’s an article Mother Jones published today about that very issue:
Which leads me to my quote of the day, even though I don’t have a quote of the day category here on ye ol’ blog:
“We’re not looking to be a natural history channel,” Animal Planet group president Marjorie Kaplan told the New York Times in 2008. “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination.” The network recently aired two documentary-style programs purporting to present evidence that mermaids are real.
I don’t look to Animal Planet to be “a natural history channel” but I do look to them to be a channel that cares about animals. Read the Mother Jones article. Not only don’t they care about animals, they’re willing to kill them in order to add drama to their shows.
I guess we should take them at their word: “We’re looking to be an entertainment destination” and here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., killing animals is entertaining. Check your local listings.
What a good way to start the week:
“The Cove” is a film that won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature film. It chronicles how Japanese fishermen drive herds of dolphins into a cove and slaughter them.
The fishermen are performing another slaughter as I write. The activist group, Sea Shepherd/Cove Watch has apparently snuck a guy with a camera onto a hill above the cove and he’s live streaming it. I don’t think I can stand to watch but bravo to the Sea Shepherd group for what their doing. This is the only way this is going to stop — if there’s mass outrage — and the only way there’s going to be mass outrage is if people see this barbaric act for themselves.
Here’s a screenshot:
Oops, I just noticed they’ve switched from livestream to DVR. Maybe they’ll switch back because a few minutes ago they announced that the head of their group would be speaking live in about ten minutes. Yep, they’re back live.
This is pretty cool:
Scientists knew that snow leopards (Panthera uncia) still survived in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan, but late last year they captured the first ever photos. Camera traps in the Gissar Nature Reserve took photos of the big cats, along with bear, lynx, ibex, wild boar, and other mammals. The camera trap program was led by biologists Bakhtiyor Aromov and Yelizaveta Protas working with Panthera, WWF’s Central Asia Program, and Uzbekistan’s Biocontrol Agency.
“With an improved understanding of [snow leopard] range and numbers we have a better chance to save them,” Tom McCarthy, the Executive Director of Panthera’s snow leopard program, said, adding that “Panthera has provided over 300 camera traps through partnerships such as this to better document the range of this elusive and endangered cat of central Asia’s mountains.”
This obviously isn’t a snow leopard but it is one of the animals caught on the camera “trap.” It’s a baby ibex in Uzbekistan’s Gissar Nature Reserve. It’s my favorite of the slide show:
Go here to see the other photos and to learn more. Again, very cool to see animals snapped without a human present and to know good humans are working to save them.
This little ibex looks so innocent.
Today, former Salon.com editor Kerry Lauerman launched a website called TheDodo.com devoted to serious coverage of animals and animal-related issues.
Check it out here, or at the link above.
It looks good!
Wow. There have got to be 10,000 ducks here:
Wow. Some of the ramifications of climate change are absolutely horrifying:
About 100,000 bats have fallen from the sky and died during a heatwave in Australia that has left the trees and earth littered with dead creatures.
In scenes likened to “an Alfred Hitchock thought bubble”, a heatwave across the north-east state of Queensland in recent days caused mass deaths of flying foxes from an estimated 25 colonies.
“It’s a horrible, cruel way to die,” a conservation worker, Louise Saunders, told The Courier Mail.
“Anything over 43 degrees [Celsius, 109F] and they just fall. We’re just picking up those that are just not coping and are humanely euthanising what we can.”
Health experts have warned residents not to touch the dead creatures amid concerns about the spread of virus or bites and scratches from bats that may still be alive. At least 16 people have been are receiving antiviral treatment after coming into close contact with a bat.
“The heatwave was basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in south-east Queensland,” a spokesman, Michael Beatty, told ABC News.
There will obviously be consequences to this. Bats eat insects. Watch. They’ll have some sort of insect invasion in six weeks. I mean, the ecology of the region could go haywire.
Check out this story from MassLive.com:
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts zoo is monitoring the health of one of its elephants closely after it was exposed to extreme cold during last week’s snowstorm.
Officials at Buttonwood Zoo in New Bedford say Ruth, a 55-year-old Asian elephant, escaped from her heated barn sometime between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Friday at the height of the storm with temperatures around zero. Someone forgot to padlock the door.
Zoo Director Keith Lovett tells The Standard-Times (http://bit.ly/1lyUI9n ) she was brought inside as soon as staff noticed and warmed with hot blankets and heaters.
The elephant is on antibiotics as a precaution and is being monitored for hypothermia and frost bite by a vet. Lovett says the effects of extreme cold can sometimes show up days later, but so far Ruth seems fine.
A couple things: One, what’s with zoo employees forgetting to padlock the door to an elephant enclosure? Yeah, everyone makes mistakes but that’s a big one. Two, notice how there’s nothing in this story, originally from the Associated Press, that tells us how long the elephant was outside? It’s datelined today so four days have gone by since the elephant left her heated barn “between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Friday.” Was she outside from then until today? We have no idea.
Seems to me the amount of time the poor elephant spent outside is ah, hello, of interest here.
Sloppy beyond belief.
WELD COUNTY, Colo. – Last month, the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program saw a record number of hawks hit by cars, specifically in one area of Weld County.
Rehabilitation coordinator Michael Tincher told 7NEWS a total of 10 birds were hit by cars. Seven of those were rough legged hawks.
Tincher drives the area routinely and said on any given day there are dozens of trucks using that corridor. While many of the species that live in the area, like the red tailed hawk have adapted, the rough legged hawks have not.
Rough legged hawks migrate south every winter from the Arctic. These hawks are not used to dense populations with heavy traffic.
“Due to their hunting style, they hunt low across the ground and they come from up above Canada, up in the Arctic low grasslands.They don’t have the same type of hazards that we have down here, like vehicular traffic.”