Earth Changes


Otters across the world are threatened with extinction says new report

© Emil Barbelette
The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) has become increasingly concerned about the decline of many species of otter in different countries with many little or no government conservation support.

As recently as 2012, the Japanese Otter was officially declared extinct, and of the 13 species across the world, nine are declining in numbers.

In the IUCN Red List, five species are classed as Endangered and two as Vulnerable, meaning that they are facing a high or very high risk of extinction in the wild.

The Eurasian otter, the only species which we have in the UK, is overall classed as Near Threatened, despite recent rises in UK populations, but in Asia it is believed to be critically endangered.

Asia forms about 80 per cent of the geographical range of the Eurasian otter. In parts of China it is almost extinct and in the Changbaishan Mountain Reserve numbers went down from 1.2 million in 1975 to just 4 in 2012 - a decline of over 99 per cent.

There have been no sightings of the species since the early 1990s in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam and most of India. Even in Europe it is declining in some areas.

Coyote conflicts with pets, police and people increase in Westchester, NY

Officials in New Castle and Greenburgh have issued warnings about coyotes, and are starting to develop plans and policies to curtail them.
Police and wildlife experts in Westchester and Putnam counties say sightings of coyotes -- and increasingly aggressive conflicts -- are on the rise.

Dean Renzi, a bow hunter from Yonkers, said, "The population has definitely grown. I've seen them in just about every location I've hunted. Both Westchester and Putnam counties have large populations."

Renzi, who hunts deer for food in the area, said, "I've heard (coyote) packs howling while on (deer) stand, which is a strong indicator that numbers are flourishing. I think the population has grown, because not many people hunt, or trap for them."

A 6-year-old Rye girl was attacked in her front yard by a pair of coyotes in June 2010. She got bites on her shoulder, thigh and ear as well as scratches on her back. Her mother scared the coyotes off. The girl was treated and released from a local hospital. Two months earlier, a 10-year-old toy poodle was attacked and killed by coyotes in Rye.

Comment: Other 'rare' coyote attacks across north America (past year): Coyote attacks two residents in Groveland, MA

3 residents attacked by possibly sick coyote in Fremont, California

Brampton woman attacked by coyote, Canada

Dog killed and owner injured in coyote attack in Mississauga, Canada

Dozens of pets killed by coyotes in College Park, Florida

Coyote attacks second young girl in Rye, New York

More 'rare' urban coyote attacks on Indiana dogs

Spike in coyote attacks on animal pets in Claremont, California

Coyotes killing pets in Seal Beach, California

Woman and dogs attacked by coyote in front of her Kilworthy home, Ontario

Attacks in 2013: Colorado man fights off 3 coyotes using flashlight as weapon

Man attacked by coyotes in Washington State

Coyote shot dead after 3 attack a British Columbia woman, Canada

3-year-old Chicago boy attacked by a coyote

Girl, 2, attacked by coyote in Cypress Cemetery, California

Cloud Precipitation

Storm Rachel: 100mph gales leave 2,000 homes without power and cause travel chaos across UK

© PA/Getty Images
Bad weather has caused travel chaos with lorries queueing to board Dover ferries
Fierce Storm Rachel has left 1,950 homes without power and sparked travel chaos across the UK after a deluge of snow and torrential rain.

Gale force winds of up to 101mph blasted through Britain today as the churning low-pressure vortex - dubbed Storm Rachel - sparked commuter chaos.

But as the storm caused damage, delays, disruption and power failures, forecasters have warned the worst could still be to come.

Some 149 flood alerts and 32 flood warnings have been issued across Britain this morning, the Environment Agency confirmed.

The Met Office has also cautioned a "be aware" weather warning remains in place across the whole of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and central and southern Scotland for rain and high winds.

The highest recorded windspeed in the UK today is 101mph - reported in Great Dunsell, Cumbria while other exposed and coastal areas documented speeds of 70mph.

A Met Office spokesperson said: "After something of a lull, a further spell of very strong winds, this time from the west, is expected from late Thursday morning onwards into the evening, again with gusts of 70mph or more in places.

Spate of rare deep sea tropical fish found on Norfolk beaches, UK

© Ajay Tegala
The ocean sunfish on Blakeney Point, spotted by Ajay Tegala, coastal ranger for the National Trust on the north Norfolk coast.
Nature lovers are surprised at a spate of tropical fish sightings on the north Norfolk coast over the New Year period.

Washed up dead ocean sunfish, known as mola mola, have been spotted on Blakeney Point, Cley and Holkham and Sheringham beaches.

Identified by its distinctive fins, Mola Mola prefer water over 13C - the water around Blakeney Point is around 7C.

The last time this particular fish was spotted on Cley beach and Blakeney Point was two and three years ago, respectively.

Comment: Other recent reports of sunfish turning up where they are not usually found: Rare deep sea Ocean Sunfish found for the first time in Pakistan's waters

Deep ocean sunfish found on beach in North Queensferry, Scotland

"Rare" 300-pound warm-water Mola sunfish washes up on Washington coast

What is that thing? Giant 'fish' pulled up from Seattle's Elliott Bay

Additionally in December 2012 this same area of Norfolk was subjected to a similar event: Sunfish invasion continues as third massive marine beast washed up in Norfolk

It's difficult to decipher exactly what's going on here. Is it simply a case of cold water incursions into warmer waters killing or stunning the fish and subsequently carrying them away? Or are they casualties of something more drastic occurring in the depths of the sea? Releases of methane gas and/or toxic chemicals from the sea floor due to seismic activity for instance: Creatures from the deep signal major Earth Changes: Is anyone paying attention?

Perhaps some combination of these factors is at play?


Two people and dog attacked by fox in Brunswick, Georgia

Wildlife officials in Glynn County are issuing renewed calls for residents to get their rabies shots after two people and a dog were attacked by a possibly rabid fox Monday.

According to a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the attack happened off Glass Circle in Brunswick.

Both people are receiving treatment for rabies as a precaution. Tests are being performed on the fox, which was killed following the attack, to determine whether it was, in fact, rabid.

Lost migrating bird makes rare visit to Mankato, Minnesota

© Chad Heins.
This male varied thrush was photographed from a window in the home of Gerald and Jill Binstock of rural Rapidan.
Neighbors probably wondered what's up at Jill and Gerald Binstock's place lately.

People with binoculars - one man stood in their backyard for an hour Saturday - have been showing up outside the rural Rapidan couple's home, obviously looking for something.

Area birdwatchers have been hoping to catch sight of a rare avian visitor to Minnesota. A male varied thrush first started to show up at the Binstocks' feeders Thursday.

"I was watching for the little wanderer," said one of the birders, Chad Heins, who is a biology instructor at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.

After an hour or so, Heins got his chance to observe the bird who resembles its cousin, the American robin, but has distinct orange markings near its eyes.

Comment: See also: Cold weather movement? Southern California invaded by dozens of rare varied thrushes

Arrow Down

30-foot sinkhole opens up in Lafayette, Colorado

A massive sinkhole suddenly opened up on a street in Lafayette on Monday morning, collapsing into an old mine shaft and nearly swallowing an SUV.

The 30-foot by 15-foot hole on East Cleveland Street near Foote Avenue is between 15 and 20 feet deep and partially filled with water.

A man who lives in the area had an extremely close call when his car almost fell in early this morning.

"In the moment, my truck was almost on top of me," said Lafayette resident Aurelio Zambrano.

Zambrano's white Jeep was trapped on the edge of the massive sinkhole.


Cow jumps from moving truck in Russia

It's not every day you see a cow perform a daredevil stunt like this one.

Shocked motorists on a high-speed carriageway in Russia captured the hilarious footage of the bovine animal making its great escape from the travelling lorry.

The curious creature sticks it head out of the back of the truck before taking a tentative step onto the icy road below.

After skidding on its knees for a few metres, the cow emerges from the stunt unhurt and promptly stands up to take in its new surroundings.

While it remains unknown whether the animal was being shipped off to the abattoir, this cow wasn't taking any risks as it made a break for it.

Luckily, the vehicle behind the truck had plenty of time to stop, meaning the creature was safe and sound, despite his udderly dramatic stunt.

Comment: See also: Cow flees slaugherhouse in Pocatello, Idaho

Cloud Precipitation

Flooding in Mozambique and Malawi claims at least 40 lives

© Unknown
Flooded roads in Mozambique (file photo)

Flooding has claimed at least 40 lives in Mozambique and neighboring Malawi, where a state of emergency has been declared over almost a third of the country.

A group of 25 school children was swept away by torrents in Mozambique on Monday, and 18 others have been reported missing in the country, whose large eastern swathes have been swamped.

In the town of Mocuba in central Zambezia Province, where the Licungo River overflowed its banks, 15,000 people have lost their homes. The flooding of the river has been described as the worst since 1971.

The authorities have decreed maximum alert in the north and center of the country, warning that the rains would continue.

Malawi officials said at least 19 people died in the southeast African country, and nearly 3,900 homes had to be abandoned. Much of the country's center and western border region is under water.

The region is likely to face at least two more days of torrential rain carried by late summer storms, according to meteorologists.
Bizarro Earth

6th earthquake in 2 days rattles Connecticut

Another minor earthquake has rattled eastern Connecticut.

Boston College's Weston Observatory says the 2.1 magnitude earthquake at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday was in Plainfield. It was in the same area as five small earthquakes over five hours Monday morning.

The strongest of those was 3.1 magnitude and could be felt in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Last Thursday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.0 to 2.2 was felt in Plainfield. Homeowners reported it was strong enough to shake picture frames off the walls.

A research scientist at the Weston Observatory said such a series of small earthquakes in the Northeast is not unusual because the eastern U.S. is atop a tectonic plate affected by geological pressure.