Earth Changes


Earth opening up? China's largest freshwater lake shrinks by one third in just 3 days

Lake Poyang
China's largest freshwater lake, Poyang, has shrunk by one third in the past three days due to reduced water supply from the Yangtze River and little rainfall.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, the lake's surface area was 1,490 sq km, a reduction of 679 sq km compared with 2,169 sq km on Monday, said the Jiangxi Provincial Hydrological Bureau.

The water level at Xingzi hydrological station was 11.99 meters at 4 p.m. Wednesday, 2.13 meters lower than the levels in normal years. The water level is falling by 30 cm per day.
Red Flag

California drought: 14 rural communities are now facing total water depletion

Nestled in the mountains of California, is the infamous tourist destination of Bodie. Once a thriving gold mining town, it is now an empty shell of its former self. As soon as the gold depleted in the early 20th century, the town faced decades of decline that it would never recover from.

By the early 1960′s, the last handful of residents left the town. They leaving behind an eerie scene, filled with crumbling homes and businesses amidst a desolate landscape. However, gold isn't essential to living. If the Western drought continues on its current course, then we have dozens of ghost towns to look forward to in the near future.

So far the drought in California has been relentless. Where I live in the Bay Area, we've had our first rain of the year today, if you could call it that. More like a fine mist. Normally we've gotten at least one rainy day by this time of year, but it's looking like this winter is going to be just as bad as last year.

Comment: Read more about the California drought spreading at unprecedented rate:

Eye 2

Over 100 snakes invade Saskatchewan home, Canada

Officials with a Saskatchewan wildlife center said workers and residents of a home invaded by snakes have captured 102 snakes in the house.

Megan Lawrence, director of rehabilitation at the Salthaven West Wildlife Rehabilitation, said the family first discovered garter snakes in the basement of their home near Regina.

"We got a call from a family that found some garter snakes in their basement, and as they investigated further they found a lot more. And then they started finding them in other areas of the house, like kitchens and bedrooms. So they decided then it wasn't a good idea to have them there anymore," Lawrence told CBC News.


Boy bitten by a fisher in Rehoboth backyard, Massachusetts

A 12-year-old Rehoboth boy was bitten on the leg and hand on Monday night by what animal control officers believe was a fisher cat.

Wes Brown said he was throwing a football in his backyard with his cousin when he saw an animal coming toward him.

"I couldn't exactly see it because it was at night but it looked gray and it had pointy ears," he said.

At first, Brown thought it was a cat, but then it attacked him.

Brown said the animal latched onto his leg.
He ran into the house and used the door to get the animal off.

"It kept coming in and kept coming after me so I shut the door," he said.

His parents started throwing tools at the animal to scare it away.

Cloud Precipitation

UK and Germany experience storm surge flooding after Hurricane Gonzalo

Hurricane Gonzalo, or at least what is left of it, has caused storm surges and coastal flooding in parts of northern Europe over the last few days.

Gonzalo has left a trail of destruction behind from Bermuda to Canada and on to UK and other parts of northern Europe, including Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

On Monday 20 October, Gonzalo hit Ireland and the United Kingdom with winds of 159 kph (99 mph) was reported on the Isle of Wight, according to the BBC. Around 600,000 homes were left without power at one point. Three people have been killed in the storm (1 in UK and 2 in France), and several others left injured.


Heavy autumn snow covers Mohe City, China

The heaviest autumn snow in three years blanketed Mohe City, in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, affecting local residents' daily lives and traffic flow.


Baby bear wanders into U.S. drug store

Black bear cub spotted stalking the aisles of a pharmacy in Oregon

Shoppers at an Oregon, US drug store were surprised to see a bear cub scurrying down the aisles.

Witnesses say the cub first showed up Sunday at a nearby hotel, hopped out a window and crossed the street to the Rite Aid in Ashland, a city 15 miles north of the California border.

Local media reports said that customers took photos and video until police arrived and scooped the little bear into a shopping cart.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is holding the cub until it can be moved to a rehab center or a zoo.

Demented jackal attacks devotees inside temple severely injuring 3

Indian jackal
Devotees sleeping inside the dargah Shehdana Wali got the scare of their life when a jackal entered the premises late on Wednesday and attacked three youths, injuring them severely.

The animal seemed to have gone berserk as it first bit into a youth's legs and clawed at him. As the devotees tried to save him and themselves, the jackal attacked two other youths - 19-year-old Faiz and Arif (24). The duo, along with 25-year-old Farman Ali, was admitted to the district hospital by locals.

After more than an hour of struggle, a few devotees managed to put a blanket on the animal and capture it after which they beat it up. They then took it to the Baradari police station, where cops also allegedly beat up the animal and asked locals to take it back.

The poor animal would have most likely died had it not been for the timely intervention of a team of People for Animals, which got him admitted to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute.

Comment: See also: Jackal attacks 2 children outside their house in Goa, India

Pack of jackals injure 17 villagers in Nepal


Bears kill eight within a week in Orissa state, India

Several people are reported to have been seriously injured in the bear attacks
Wild bears have killed eight villagers within a week in the eastern Indian state of Orissa causing panic among local people, forestry officials say.

A dozen others have been injured in attacks by bears from forestry in the area around Kotpad village.

Angry villagers last week chased the bears and beat one of them to death, the officials said.

They say that the bears could have turned violent following excessive consumption of intoxicating flowers.

Bear attacks elderly man in Sweden

© Reuters
A female bear and its three cubs were slaughtered in Sweden after nearly killing an elderly man.
Swedish hunters authorised to destroy female bear and its three cubs after attack on 80-year-old man.

A bear and its cubs were put down after nearly killing an 80-year-old pensioner in northern Sweden.

Hunters were authorised to slaughter the female bear after it pounced on the elderly man while he was fishing by a lake in Homnabo.

The man, who has not been named, attempted to escape when he spotted the bear, but it quickly caught up with him and threw him to the ground.

The victim wrestled with the bear but managed to escape after being bitten on his shoulder and ear. He was later taken to a local hospital in Gävle.

Comment: See also: Woman mauled by bear in northern Sweden - second attack within fortnight

Hunter mauled by bear in central Sweden