Monthly Archives: February 2011

Animal Highjinks

 
 

 

MAMMOTH COULD BE BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE

Yes, just as polar bears are dying due to climate change or global warming, scientists are keen to breathe life into mammoths. It might be easier to clone mammoths than to work out how to stop the ice from melting.  I can only wonder where they intend to keep these mammoths once they have been reincarnated.

But then of course – we could breed them in woolly mammoth farms and eat them!

The long-extinct woolly mammoth could be brought back to life within four years after a breakthrough in cloning technology by Japanese scientists.  

Researchers have tried unsuccessfully in the past to recover nuclei in cells from the skin and muscle tissue of mammoths found frozen in permafrost, The (London) Daily Telegraph reports.

The attempts failed because the cells were too damaged by the extreme cold.

However, a technique pioneered by Dr Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology has succeeded in cloning a mouse from the cells of another, which had been frozen for 16 years.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/mammoth-could-be-brought-back-to-life/story-e6frfku0-1225988004950#ixzz1B0IC9pdi

FOX SHOOTS MAN!

Horror of horrors! I always feared that hunted animals might strike back! Ha Ha.

Well now foxes have taken up arms and are making a stand! Read more http://www.news.com.au/weird-true-freaky/fox-shoots-and-injures-hunter-escapes/story-e6frflri-1225990166308

FIGHTING COCK KILLS MAN

 
 
 

 

Oh dear, will this killing ever stop? First we have foxes shooting men and now it’s cocks stabbing men to death! It’s criminal!

Thirty-five year-old Jose Luis Ochoa died in Los Angeles after being stabbed in the right calf by a rooster strapped with cockfighting razors.

Local reports say that the incident occurred during a cockfight. Roosters are usually strapped with razor-like knives to fight each other during cockfights. To see the nasty knives which are affixed to the cocks have a look at this http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8121618-rooster-stabs-and-kills-calif-man

Why don’t I feel the vaguest bit of sorrow for him?

 
Who’d have thought that monkeys are so canny? Actually, I knew they were but here is a clever trick – and we thought that we had invented everything! Have a look at this video of monkeys teaching their children to floss their teeth.

 MAN RISKED ALL FOR DROWNING HORSE

We hear and read so much about cruelty to animals that it comes as a refreshing surprise when we read about someone who is prepared to risk their own lives for an animal. I recently wrote about a man who risked his own life to rescue a kangaroo joey in the Brisbane floods. Now here is a man who risked his life to save a horse.

An heroic rescue of a horse during last year’s floods in the Gold Coast hinterland has earned Jeffrey Moss the RSPCA’s highest award.  He joins an exclusive club, with only seven Humane Awards granted by the RSPCA since the award’s inception in 1990 Oxenford .

The Humane Award is presented for extraordinary bravery in saving the life of an animal. Mr Moss risked his own life in an attempt, ultimately unsuccessful, to save the horse on February 7 from the flood-swollen Coomera River at Oxenford.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/man-risked-all-for-drowning-horse/story-e6frfku0-1225994287822#ixzz1C12AFv19

KANGAROO RESCUE

And it’s good to see other people going out of their way to rescue animals who are at risk of drowning during the recent Queensland floods. I have previously featured the man who risked his life to save a joey whose foot was caught underwater.

ELEPHANT UNDERPASS OPENS IN KENYA

How did the elephants cross the road? They went underneath it.

Elephants this month began crossing through Africa’s first dedicated elephant underpass in Kenya. It’s a new solution to the increasing problem of animal-human conflict in Africa.

The Associated Press watched earlier this week as three young bull elephants passed through the tunnel, which was built under a major highway near Mount Kenya.

Conservationists say the tunnel connects two elephant habitats that had been cut off from each other for years by human development. They say more such solutions are needed to alleviate the problem of human development in animal areas in order to preserve Africa’s wildlife.

It’s wonderful that they have come up with this solution. Unfortunately every morning of the year, throughout Australia we see hundreds of dead kangaroos, possums, koalas, sulphur crested cockatoos and other wildlife squashed on the roads. In a couple of spots I’ve noticed roping between trees on opposite sides of the road to facilitate possum travel but generally it’s every animal for themselves. We build massive highways through their habitats and play dodgem with them every night. It’s criminal.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/elephant-underpass-opens-in-kenya/story-e6frfku0-1225996375882#ixzz1CK97lv90

GORILLA WALKS IN AN UPRIGHT STANCE

 

 

Recently we were all astounded to see a gorilla walking upright like a human.  Oh well, they can now walk like us, but are they as brilliant as humans? (I jest of course).  video.news.com.au/1769616758/Gorilla-walks-like-a-man?area=videohighlights1

CUTE ATTACK

Do you like to see animal babies? Well knock yourself out on this lot! http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2011/02/royalty-born-at-san-diego-zoo.html

AYE-AYE SIR!

They are not beautiful by any means, but no one with a kind heart could deny that the critically endangered Aye-Aye of Madagascar are unusual and well, rather loveable. At least I think so. Unfortunately they are misunderstood in Madagascar and viewed by villagers as evil due to their long finger which they use to probe for insects in the bark of trees. That, and the fact that their habitat has been destroyed, is a reason that it has become imperative to breed them in zoos if possible.

 See the baby which was born in an American zoo. http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/aye-aye/

MADAGASCAN GHOSTLY GECKO

I just love David Attenborough documentaries. Here is some of his remarkable work – this time in Madagascar where he has filmed the Ghostly Gecko hunting for its dinner at night.

As with all wildlife in Madagascar, the Ghostly Gecko is endangered because its habitat has been destroyed. So have a look at it here http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9397000/9397503.stm

Fortunately we have very good photographic equipment and hopefully we’ll be able to preserve recordings of all the animals on earth because one day that will be all we have.

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Apocalypse now?

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010%E2%80%932011_Queensland_floods

Armageddon?

Recently I wrote about birds and sealife committing suicide en mass.

This week I’d like to ponder about the extreme weather conditions that are striking the world.

In Australia we have just come out of a ten year drought. And recently, right across Australia – principally Queensland, Northern New South Wales and Victoria, we were pounded by dreadful flooding.

Lives were lost, homes destroyed and animals killed. Residents in Toowoomba reported being hit by a tremendous wall of water – an inland tsunami – as they were out driving. Just imagine this – people who were not good swimmers were drowned when their cars were carried away by flood water. So even if you religiously avoided water because you were a poor swimmer, the water found you.

And because Queenslanders and really all of Australia has enthusiastically cut down every tree in sight, the rivers were running brown with our precious top soil as nothing is holding it in place anymore. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/floods-steal-precious-topsoil–and-future-goes-down-drain-20110109-19jrq.html   This dirty water (impregnated with chemicals)  washed into the Pacific Ocean where it could kill large swathes of the Great Barrier Reef (see below). According to the World Wildlife Fund Australia, in the past many Australian rivers flowed clear even in times of flood, but modern agriculture, land clearing and poor river management techniques have turned floodwaters into torrents of mud.

And when societies exhaust their topsoil, they collapse or are forced to move. Need I mention that Cree Indian prophesy again?

In Southeast Brazil, in a mountainous region near Rio,  many hundreds of people were killed in floods and mudslides due to extremely heavy tropical rain. http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/at-least-109-dead-in-brazil-floods/story-e6frfku0-1225986834034

More than 30,000 army, navy, police and air force personnel battled to provide urgent aid to people hit by heavy flooding in Sri Lanka. A government spokesman said more than 325,000 people had been displaced by flooding.  People have died and more than a million were affected. In the centre and east, farmland was flooded and rice fields destroyed. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12152964

Last year there were catastrophic floods in Pakistan and northern India. And yet in Southern India in Kerala, the normal annual monsoon in June / July seemed to be very understated. Normally a very rainy time, the promised rains failed to materialize, with just a couple of rainy days. Unfortunately, the residents of Kerala count on this rainy season to fill their backyard wells in preparation for the extremely hot summer.

On 31st August, 2008, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. This was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina

Last week in Queensland, Australia, we experienced the wrath of Cyclone Yasi which devastated a number of townships. It was apparently a force 5 cyclone which was considered the most severe cyclone in living memory.

Meanwhile, Europe and the United States have seen the worst winter weather in many years. There were atypical snowfalls in several parts  of the Northern Hemisphere. According  to Wikipedia a persistent weather pattern brought cold moist air from the north with systems undergoing cyclogenesis from North American storms moving across the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and saw many parts of Europe experiencing heavy snowfall and record low temperatures. This led to a number of deaths, widespread transport disruption, power failures and the postponement of a number of sporting events. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_of_2009%E2%80%932010_in_Europe

So why is this happening? Is it Global  Warming? Is it climate change?

The subject of global warming is very controversial and people point to the recent extreme cold conditions in Europe and America as proof that there is no global warming – only climate change.

According to http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/What-is-Global-Warming/Global-Warming-is-Causing-Extreme-Weather.aspx  global warming is making hot days hotter, rainfall and flooding heavier, hurricanes stronger and droughts more severe.

Global warming theorists say that intensification of weather and climate extremes will be the most visible impact of global warming in our everyday lives. Powerful thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes are naturally created when warm air rises and collides with extremely cold air high in the atmosphere. The hotter the air, the faster it rises, and the stronger its clash with the cold air. So, the storms that are created are much more fierce.

The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that our globe is undergoing major climate change. They also agree that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising significantly.

I’ll keep you posted on that one as right now in the Amazon Basin an extremely serious situation is brewing. Due to a record drought, billions of trees have died in the Amazon Rainforest and scientists fear that instead of being a carbon sink (the Amazon soaks up one quarter of the world’s atmospheric carbon), it will become a carbon source – releasing its stored carbon and increasing world temperatures even more. This is now becoming reality and yet I saw a documentary made by two scientists at least ten years ago, which warned that exactly this senario was likely to occur.

According to www.global-greenhouse-warming.com Satellite images and research show that the ice caps are melting faster, our sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are changing. We are experiencing more water shortages. The deserts are expected to expand and the world will ultimately have difficulty growing enough food.

In an extremely interesting website http://www.scienceclarified.com/scitech/Global-Warming/Signs-of-a-Warming-Planet.html there is a discussion about the effects of warming on the environment and sea and animal life right across the globe.

Just this week I read that polar bears are disappearing from the north and one polar bear was recorded as having had to swim for nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 685 kilometres offshore in an effort to find a hunting ground. The swim came at a cost. The bear’s cub died and the bear lost 22% of her body weight. This is apparently the longest recorded journey for a polar bear but such trips will become necessary in the future as their hunting grounds diminish. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/polar-bear-swam-nonstop-for-nine-days-20110204-1aguu.html

Apparently the rivers in Australia aren’t dredged anymore which has significantly contributed to the risk of flooding.

My view of the flooding is that it would not have been so severe if developers hadn’t chopped down every possible tree and put concrete and a house in their place. Hence, there is no bare earth to absorb the rain fall. There is also nothing to hold the top soil down and that is causing the rivers to run brown with our earth. This scenario has never occurred in previous floods.

During the Queensland floods, a lady was on the radio saying that her family business is chopping down trees. They are closing the business down immediately because she was actually saved in the floods by a tree. She said that the message was not lost on her.

THE GREAT BARRIER GRIEF

The 2010 Marine Census told a dire story about the world’s reefs. Already, half the reefs in the Caribbean are dead and throughout the world, one quarter are kaput.

A couple of years ago our own reef, the Great Barrier Reef, was crunched by a Chinese cargo ship, taking a shortcut. This encounter killed a large segment of the reef.

But now it looks like the reef is really copping it.  The recent devastating floods in Queensland have washed off tonnes of topsoil (see the article above) and this has headed out to the Great Barrier Reef, making the sea cloudy so that sunlight can’t penetrate down to the coral. Sunlight is vital for coral growth.

Worse still, the soil is impregnated with a cocktail of chemicals washed from farms and gardens.

Of course the chemicals will kill the fish, but if not, once the coral dies, the ecosystem the reef supports, including tropical fish, will die with it.

Up to 90% of coral in badly affected areas could die. The hardest-hit reefs include those off Queensland’s Burdekin and Fitzroy rivers, and the tourist haven of Great Keppel Island.

 

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