Earth Changes


Dog attacks double over a 2 year period in Wolverhampton, UK


Dog handler PC Keith Evans said more dogs would soon be allowed to stay at home pending a court decision.
There have been nearly 200 dog attacks in Wolverhampton in the last five years, leading to more than 100 animals seized and 65 destroyed.

Last year alone, there were 48 attacks, with 32 dogs seized and 14 put down - although this number may increase as some cases are still in the judicial system awaiting decision.

A Freedom of Information request revealed the number of dog attacks in the city has seen a sharp increase since 2011, with the figure more than doubling from 2012 when there were 23 attacks.

The number of dogs being seized and destroyed has also seen an increase over the past five years, with the number of destructions more than trebling between 2012/13 to 2013/14 as it went from seven to 26.

There were 32 dog seizures both last year and the year before.


Distressed young whale rescued from netting in Gold Coast bay, Australia


A rescue mission turned serious after rescuers attempting to free a young humpback whale from netting were paid a visit by its' friend
A seemingly straightforward rescue mission turned serious after rescuers attempting to free a young humpback whale from netting were paid a visit by its' much larger friend.

The animal was in obvious distress and had laboured movements as it dragged heavy netting in the Gold Coast Bay on Saturday morning.

The rescue undertaken by a Sea World crew took an exhausting five hours after their efforts were impeded by another larger humpback whale, which protectively breached and rolled over, forcing the boats to retreat.


A much larger whale began to violently slap the water and roll over, forcing rescue crews to back off
The creature was initially spotted by whale watchers and again by tourists, who could not believe their luck the whale remained close to their boat, 7 News reported.

They realised the animal was in extreme distress after noticing it could not lift its tail out of the water due to a heavy weight pressing down on it.


Tropical Brown booby turns up near Cape Race in Canada

© Bruce Mactavish
A brown booby, identical to this one photographed in a tropical ocean off Costa Rica, caused quite a stir among the birdwatching community when it visited Long Beach ever so briefly.

The phone call came just after supper on Aug. 4th. It was my birding buddy Ken Knowles on the line screaming out, "There's a brown booby at Long Beach."

This message conjures up different images to different people. My immediate response was "where is Long Beach?" I was so blindsided by the announcement that I had forgotten Long Beach, one of my favourite birding destinations, was located next to Cape Race on the southeast corner of the Avalon Peninsula.

Instantly arrangements were made for a group trip in Ken's car. It is a two-hour drive to Long Beach from St. John's. There were only two hours left in the day before sunset. John Wells, Chris Brown and I all knew Ken can beat any setting sun when the right bird is the target. A brown booby more than qualified for the exhilarating ride down the Southern Shore highway.

A brown booby is a seabird related to the Newfoundland gannet. It is a little smaller than a gannet but is still bigger than any gull. On stiff wings it flies and glides over tropical oceans, diving into the water for flying fish and squid. The brown booby is widespread in the Caribbean and is regular up to the Florida Keys.


Bizarre animal behaviour: Monkey drops 2-month old human infant to death in water tank, India

© Abraham Richard
Image for representation purposes only.
In a bizarre incident, a monkey picked up a two-month old baby girl from her room and dropped her to death into a water tank at Raseedpura village in Dausa district, police said today.

The girl Yogeshwari was sleeping on her bed when the monkey picked her up and ran away even as it was chased by members of her family including the baby's mother.

The monkey lost its grip and the baby fell down in a tank, they said.

She was rushed to hospital where she was declared brought dead, they said.

Raseedpura and adjoining villagers have been facing a monkey menace for long.

Source: Press Trust of India

Snowflake Cold

Old Farmer's Almanac predicts super-cold winter, snow for much U.S.

Just when you thought you had gotten over last winter, be warned: The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts it will be super cold with a slew of snow for much of the country, even in places that don't usually see too much of it, like the Pacific Northwest.

If you don't want to read about those four-letter words, there's plenty more to peruse in the folksy, annual book of household tips, trends, recipes and articles, such as animal jealousy, the history of shoes and anticipation for the biggest Supermoon in decades in November 2016.

Otherwise, look for above-normal snow and below-normal temperatures for much of New England; icy conditions in parts of the South; and frigid weather in the Midwest. The snowiest periods in the Pacific Northwest will be in mid-December, early to mid-January and mid- to late February, the almanac predicts.

"Just about everybody who gets snow will have a White Christmas in one capacity or another," editor Janice Stillman said from Dublin, New Hampshire, where the almanac is compiled. It's due out in the coming week.

The almanac says there will be above normal-rainfall in the first half of the winter in California, but then that will dry up and the drought is expected to continue. "We don't expect a whole lot of relief," Stillman said.

The weather predictions are based on a secret formula that founder Robert B. Thomas designed using solar cycles, climatology and meteorology. Forecasts emphasize how much temperature and precipitation will deviate from 30-year averages compiled by government agencies.

Comment: From 2014: Historically accurate Old Farmer's Almanac predicts 'super-cold' winter for the US this year

Control Panel

One of Japan's most active volcano shows increased activity; families evacuated as alert level raised

© Kyodo
An aerial view shows Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima, southwestern Japan.
Residents near the Sakurajima volcano on Kyushu, Japan's southernmost main island, evacuated to safer places Saturday after the government raised its alert level to 4 on a 5-point scale, indicating a major eruption could be imminent.

Level 4 is the highest ever for Sakurajima, located just 4 kilometres away from the centre of the major southern port city of Kagoshima, since the current volcanic alert system was launched in 2007.

Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear power plant, which Tuesday became the first to be rebooted under tighter safety rules adopted in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, is located just 50km from the volcano. No abnormality has been reported at the plant.

The alert was raised to 4, meaning people living in the area should prepare to evacuate, from 3, which restricts entry to the mountain area. In response, the Kagoshima city government issued an evacuation advisory for areas near the mountain, affecting 77 residents, all of whom left the areas by evening.

Many earthquakes originating from the volcano have been recorded since 7am Saturday and an increase in crustal movement was also observed, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, adding those are signs indicating magma has risen to near the volcanic vent.

Pacific Ring of Fire


Hiker attacked by black bear in Larch Hills, British Columbia


A black bear attacked a hiker in along the Skyview trail of the Larch Hills trail system on Friday morning. Conservation officers are posting signs warning people of the aggressive animal.
A Grandview Bench resident is shaken but unhurt after he fought off a bear attack with his walking stick in the Larch Hills area.

Gary Wilkinson is warning fellow hikers to stay out of the South Loop of the Larch Hills trail system after the incident which took place at approximately 8 a.m. this (Friday) morning.

"Stay off Skyview and the South Loop for sure," he said "This is a very aggressive male bear. He was not afraid, he even stalked me."

As is his usual custom, Wilkinson was taking a morning walk with Neara, his yellow Labrador retriever, when he noticed a black bear. Bears are common in the area and usually do not bother people, so Wilkinson continued on his way.

But as Neara snuffled through the bush, suddenly the bear popped out of the bushes right beside him.

"He was right there, it was obvious he had followed me," said the still shaken man.

"My dog saw the bear and put the run on him, the bear grabbed a hold of her and pinned her down. She yelped but was able to get out of the hold and took off. That's when the bear came towards me."


Waterspout spotted off Palm Beach, Florida, more expected

View from the Jupiter Inlet looking north up the Intracoastal waterway.
A waterspout was spotted off Palm Beach County's coast as a strong line of thunderstorms was tracked by the National Weather Service this morning.

The NWS issued a special marine statement at 9:30 a.m. warning mariners of storms packing wind gusts up to 37 mph and intense lightning.

Forecasters also noted that waterspouts are possible with the storm. I guess they were right about that one.

It could be another rollicking afternoon in Palm Beach County as thunderstorms similar to Thursday's are expected to make a repeat performance.

A trough of low pressure that's been stalled over Central Florida the past few days is still sticking around, triggering strong storms as it meets up with South Florida's sea breeze.

Yesterday's storms produced a waterspout over Lake Okeechobee and dumped as much as 4 inches of rain in small areas of Lake Worth and its suburbs. At one point, more than 12,000 people were without electricity in Palm Beach County.


Third whale washes up on beach this year in Maharashtra, India

© Mohan Jadhav Team iamin
The 15-feet-long bloated carcass of a whale was spotted at Alibaugh beach.
Another carcass of a whale was discovered on Thursday, drifting close to Alibaug beach in Raigad district of Maharashtra. This is the third case of a giant whale beaching on the shores, with the state government and other agencies yet to investigate the cause and formulate mitigative measures.

In the latest incident, a 15-feet-long severely decomposed body of a whale was spotted riding the waves close to Alibaug beach by local fishermen.

"The carcass was bloated with its internals spilled out and had several fish bites on it. It was highly decomposed and carried a foul stench with it, which could be sensed almost two kilometers away," local fisherman Dhananjay Kalok said.


Rare attack by Hammerhead shark on diver off San Diego coast

© Barry Peters/ Wikimedia Commons
Hammerhead shark
A diver was injured in a shark attack about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, U.S. Coast Guard officials confirmed.

The 58-year-old man was underwater Monday just after 8 a.m. when he was bitten in the right hand by a hammerhead shark, Coast Guard officials said.

The unidentified man was diving from a passenger vessel called "Peace" at the time of the attack. According to Peace Dive Boat's website, the Ventura-based boat is part of a chartered trip to the Cortes Bank, a popular diving area about 100 miles off the coast.

An EMT on board gave the man basic first aid help, but the Coast Guard's flight surgeon recommended that the patient be airlifted from the boat.