Earth Changes


Lucky escape for Swedish hunters after 'dead' bear attacks

© Per Løchen/NTB scanpix
It is legal to hunt bear in Sweden between August and October.
A Swedish man has spoken about his close brush with death when a bear he believed he had killed lunged up and launched a violent attack on himself and his hunting partner on the first day of Sweden's annual cull.

Roles were reversed at the start of Sweden's annual bear hunt on Friday when two Swedish hunters had to be taken to hospital after they were attacked by their own prey.

"I had had my eye on this bear for a week and a half, because it had been walking around eating oats in this area," Per-Anders Wärme from Bollnäs in northern Sweden told regional newspaper Hela Hälsingland after the incident.

He and his friend had fired two shots at a bear just after the hunt got under way early on Friday morning. But when they walked up to the prey it turned out it was still alive.

Keen to exert his revenge, the 270-kilo beast lunged at Wärme's colleague, who fell to the ground. And as the 49-year-old tried to get hold of his rifle and rescue the other man the bear came towards him instead.


Dead baby whale found in water at Alexandra Headland, Australia


A dead whale, about 4m long, was found floating inside shark nets in front of Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club this morning.
A dead whale has been found floating on the beach side of shark nets in front of the Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club.

It was noticed about 11am by lifesavers and beach goers from the shore who then alerted authorities.

The beach was closed and surfers were cautioned for fears of possible nearby sharks.

Lifesavers believe the mammal, about 4m long, was a juvenile and it had puncture marks on its body.

The animal was towed out to deeper water.


Dead whale found in dock at Oakland Estuary

© KGO-TV/Wayne Freedman
A dead whale was found beneath a dock at the Oakland Estuary on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.
A John Beery Yachts employee found a dead whale under a dock in Alameda Wednesday morning.

The dead whale is at least 36 feet long and was found floating in the Oakland Estuary.

The U.S. Coast Guard notified the fisheries service of a stranded whale floating in the waters between Alameda and Oakland at about 4:30 a.m., according to Justin Viezbicke, the fisheries service's California stranding network coordinator.

The whale has washed in and wedged into the pilings at Berth 46 in Alameda.

Researchers arrived Wednesday afternoon to take tissue and blood samples to determine what kind of whale it is. Right now, it is hard to tell because its head remains submerged.

Arrow Down

5 sinkholes discovered in Negros Oriental, Philippines

© Philippine Star
Sinhole in Cebu. File photo
Mayor Ernesto Uy of Mabinay, Negros Oriental on Wednesday said he is awaiting the initial investigation report of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 7 on the formation of sinkholes in the last barangay of that upland municipality.

He explained that the MGB-7's investigation report would be a basis for him to determine future actions of the Mabinay local government unit regarding the sinkholes, considering that the area where they are situated is close to the proposed site for the regional centers of the newly formed Negros Island Region (NIR).

As this developed, the mayor disclosed that as of late Wednesday, he ordered the Mabinay Rescue Group to proceed to the area and monitor the sinkholes following heavy rain earlier in the day.

Last week, at least four sinkholes were found at the Malaiba riverbed with a fifth one having formed over the weekend, spurred by continuous rains and widely perceived to have been caused by what residents believed to have been an earthquake or ground shaking nearby, said Uy.

At least two tension ground cracks were also monitored to have formed around the sinkholes, he added.


Bison attacks hiker on Santa Catalina Island, California

© Jeff Gritchen
A man was hospitalized Wednesday morning after a bison attack on Catalina Island, officials said.
A man was hospitalized Wednesday morning after a bison attack on Santa Catalina Island, officials said.

Los Angeles County Fire Department officials helped Chris Baker, 43, around 8:40 a.m. after he was gored by a bison near Isthmus Pier, near the Two Harbors area.

He was airlifted by helicopter to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center about an hour after the attack, said Matt McClain, director of marketing and communications for the Catalina Island Conservancy.

Baker was on a hiking trail near Tower Peak on the isthmus side of an 8-foot fence, where two or three bison roam, McClain said.

"Every once and a while, they get through that gate," McClain said.

Cloud Precipitation

Flood waters filmed rushing into Caracas subway station in Venezuela

A resident of the Venezuelan capital captured video of water rushing into a city subway station amid heavy rains in the region.

Diana Valbuena posted a video to YouTube showing water rushing down the escalators and into a Caracas metro station Tuesday amid heavy rains in the city.

Commuters can be seen in the video sitting atop escalator rails to stay dry while the water flows.

Caracas Redditor frank_13 said the rain waters caused a sewage-bearing river to overflow, leading to water flowing into the subway station and other locations around the city.

The Reddit poster blamed "poor maintenance of the city" for failing to prevent the flooding.


Elephant kills its mahout and runs off into the jungle with tourist family still sat on its back in Thailand


The elephant 'went berserk' during a guided tour in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and killed its handler before running off into the jungle with a family-of-three from China on its back (stock image)
Thailand's use of elephants as tourist attractions has come under fire yet again after an animal killed its keeper and ran off with a family still on its back during a jungle tour in Chiang Mai.

The elephant reportedly 'went berserk', during a group ride on Wednesday, attacking and killing its rider and taking off into the jungle with three terrified Chinese tourists, police said

The Chinese family, two parents and their young child, were rescued soon after as other elephant keepers came to the rescue.

'The mahout [elephant keeper] who was killed was not familiar with the elephant. They (the tourists) are safe now,' Colonel Thawatchai Thepboon, police commander of Mae Wang district in Chiang Mai province said.

Police said the incident took place at 9.30am local time as a Chinese family of three - a father, mother and a young child - took a ride on the back of a male elephant.

Comment: See also these reports from last year: Elephant kills mahout in India

Get off my back! Elephant tramples another mahout to death in India - third killing in less than a week

Elephant gores owner to death in Kerala, India - 4th mahout from the region to die in a fortnight

Second mahout to be killed by elephant within 5 days in Kerala, India


Reunion Island volcano erupts again

The volcano on Reunion Island erupted Monday after a dramatic increase in seismic activity throughout the day. The Piton de la Fournaise captured the world's attention last month when it erupted after beach cleaners found a piece of wreckage believed to have come from a missing airliner.

On Monday night tourists flocked to good viewing spots to watch the volcano's eruption. Local residents and tourists hiked about an hour up a nearby mountain at night to watch the volcano. The volcano erupted throughout the night spewing lava, fire and red smoke for hours.

Comment: Elsewhere, there has been increased activity recently at the Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador which is spewing out huge columns of ash, as is Mexico's Colima volcano.


Dead humpback whale winched out of water near Stegna, Poland

© PAP/Piotr Wittman
The whale was winched out on Tuesday.
A 20 ton whale which was beached on the Baltic coast in northern Poland was lifted out of the water on Tuesday afternoon.

The first crane brought in on Tuesday morning turned out to be too weak to lift the dead aquatic mammal.

However, the second machine completed the task. It was no easy feat however, as gases which had accumulated inside the animal over the last couple of warm days posed a risk of the whale exploding.

Marine biologists from the station on Hel Peninsula were called out on Saturday to deal with the dead whale washed up on one of the sandbanks near the locality of Stegna, eastwards of Gdańsk.

It is suspected that this might be the humpback seen some months ago in the Gulf of Gdańsk.

The conditions in the partly shallow gulf are far too difficult for whales, and this one probably couldn't find its way out on to the open water.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods in North Korea kill 40, strands thousands; 6 inches of rain in just 3 hours

© Reuters
Residents attempt to clear flood debris from under a bridge in the city of Rajin in North Korea. Heavy rain in North Korea killed 40 people, stranded thousands in flash floods and caused "massive" damage on the weekend, the International Federation of the Red Cross and North Korean media said.
Heavy rain in North Korea killed 40 people, stranded thousands in flash floods and caused "massive" damage on the weekend, the International Federation of the Red Cross said and North Korean media said.

More than 11,000 people were forced from their homes or otherwise affected by the floods, which hit the northeastern city of Rajin, near the border with Russia and China, on Saturday and Sunday, Hler Gudjonsson, a spokesman for the Red Cross in Beijing told Reuters.

Rajin is the capital of the Rason Special Economic Zone in North Hamgyong Province.

"It rained really hard, and fast. On Saturday morning the city was flooded. Cars were wading through water like boats," a source who was in area when it flooded told Reuters.

It was not clear what impact the rain would have in a country that said in June it was suffering from its worst drought in a century. South Korea said in July some rain had fallen in the North, easing conditions.