Earth Changes


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

© New Indian Express
The elephant that killed its mahout being tethered to a tree at Chalingadu in Thrissur on Thursday
In yet another incident of growing unrest of elephants towards man especially during temple festival venues across the state, a mahout was trampled to death by a provoked elephant at Kaipamangalam, here, on Thursday.

This is the third such killing by captive elephants in the state in less than a week. Earlier, two people, including a mahout, were crushed to death by rampaging elephants in Alappuzha.

In the latest incident, the tusker 'Pallathu Vijayalakshmanan' turned violent and killed its mahout Sivasankaran, 64, of Poovathinkal, Kinasherry, during a temple festival at Kaipamangalam. According to police, the elephant turned violent when the man atop the elephant was trying to climb down along with the 'kolam'.

Comment: See also these similar recent reports: Second mahout to be killed by elephant within 5 days in Kerala, India

Elephant kills mahout in India

Temple mutt elephant tramples mahout to death in India


Snow covers streets and palm trees in Baljurashi, Saudi Arabia


Snow on the palm.
This video clip posted on "YouTube" shows streets, yards and homes of the province covered with snow last Friday.

Here is a collection of photos taken from social networking sites showing mountains, hills and forest covered with snow.


Snow in Saudi Arabia

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Sinkhole swallows garbage truck in Jersey City

© Unknown
Sinkholes across the US have been doing major damage.
Litter was the least concern of Jersey City residents opposed to trash in the streets when a garbage truck got stuck in a sinkhole early Wednesday morning, police said.

At 1:24 a.m., a garbage truck from Industrial Waste Management got stuck in a 4-by-2 foot sinkhole on Woodland Avenue between Lembeck and Greenville avenues, a police report says.

Comment: Also see:

Colorado city stumped by sinkhole with no broken water pipes


Snowstorm paralyzes transportation system in Oslo, Norway


Bus in Oslo.
Oslo's bus system shut down, trams weren't running, some trains stood still and Norway's gateway airport at Gardermoen, north of Oslo, finally had to close. Warnings had been issued about Thursday's snowstorm, but it proved to be more than transport systems could handle.

The blizzard that began during the night and built up during the morning had dumped more than 40 centimeters of snow on the southern coastal town of Arendal by midday. Some areas reported more than 60 centimeters and it was still coming down. Streets that did get cleared were covered with slippery snow again within minutes.

At Oslo's main airport at Gardermoen, the snow was falling so thick and fast that the airport's army of plows were out in force trying to keep the runways clear, but without much luck. "And when we have plows on the runways, planes can't land or take off," airport spokesman Joachim Wester Andersen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).


Mysterious loud bangs heard in Cornwall, UK

Mystery surrounds the cause of a series of loud bangs heard across South Devon and parts of Cornwall this afternoon.

Several startled people reported the loud booms, heard around 3pm, on social media.

The bizarre occurrence has sparked a frenzy of speculation, with conspiracy theories doing the rounds over what might have caused the strange sounds.

Many believe the bang could have been caused by a sonic boom due to jet planes speeding through the sky and breaking the sound barrier.

But whatever the cause, people described it as loud enough to shake their homes and rattle windows.

Lisa Evenden wrote on Twitter: "In Tavistock our house shook like mad & long loud boom."

Trendspot added: "There was the most enormous bang over #Tintagel at 3pm. Sonic boom at sea level?"

Another going by the name of Frankie, wrote: "Very loud over North Petherwin near Launceston too!"


Boy bitten on face by sea lion at La Jolla Cove, California


Sea lion.
A 5-year-old boy is recovering after being bit in the face by a sea lion at a San Diego beach.

Authorities say the child was on a family outing Sunday at La Jolla Cove when he tried to touch the sea lion. There have been a record number of sea lions washing up on Southern California beaches this year.

The San Diego Fire and Rescue Department says the boy suffered a "minor puncture" to his jaw.

His family took him to a local hospital for examination.

Officials advise beachgoers to stay away from the sea lions, some of which are emaciated and distressed.


Sea lions encroaching on Sacramento waterways and becoming more aggressive

© Gatito33
Sea lions are showing up on Sacramento waterways like never before—and are also showing signs of aggression.
'My grandfather said the sea lions would never come into the river. Now they're here.'

About a year ago, boat skipper Barry Canavero was fishing in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with a deckhand and several customers. People pay veteran guides like Canavero a healthy fee to catch, and mostly release, striped bass, catfish and sturgeon. That morning, a client hooked a small striped bass and reeled the fish to the side of the boat, where the deckhand lifted it from the water to remove the hook. Then, the water exploded with spray, fur, teeth and claws. A bear-sized beast seized the fish, almost biting the man's hand, and flopped back into the water with an orca-like splash and vanished.

That was the moment that Canavero lost his last shred of sympathy for the California sea lion. The big predators have always been eyed with disdain by ocean anglers, who regularly lose fish—especially salmon—to the animals. But in the past decade, California sea lions, whose numbers are booming, have become established residents of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and, increasingly, even the river itself.

Canavero, who has guided sport anglers for almost 44 years, says sea lions upstream of San Francisco Bay are becoming more numerous and more aggressive every year.

"I was in Steamboat Slough the other day, and there were six sea lions," Canavero said. "They're there every single day, and there are always two or three more where the Sacramento splits into Cache Slough."


Rhino attacks and injures forest guard despite warning shots, India


A female rhino injured a forest guard and broke the rifle he was carrying during the ongoing rhino census at Kaziranga National Park's Bagori forest range on Wednesday.

The guard, Paresh Bowri, was a mahout with the forest department. Bowri fell down from the elephant he was riding after the rhino, accompanied by a calf, chased the jumbo. The elephant took fright and tried to flee, dislodging Bowri in the process.

Bowri fired in the air, but failed to scare the rhino. It rushed at him and bit his leg. The rhino also broke the rifle in half after the weapon fell from Bowri's hand. The animal left the spot only after other forest personnel came to Bowri's rescue.

Bowri also suffered a fracture in his left arm.

"We rushed Bowri to a hospital in Jorhat. Doctors say he is out of danger," Kaziranga divisional forest officer S K Seal Sarma said.


Monkey attacks maintenance worker near North Carolina hospital

Carter the Capuchin monkey.
Police are looking for a monkey accused of attacking a maintenance worker in a North Carolina hospital parking lot.

WSOC reported that animal control officers were called to Carolinas Medical Center-University Wednesday about the report of a monkey on the loose in the parking lot.

The hospital said the maintenance worker tried to contain the Capuchin monkey in a bin until officers arrived. But the monkey alleged attacked the worker and escaped into a wooded area nearby. The monkey's owner came to the hospital to help look for the monkey, according to authorities.

In a March 2014 incident involving the monkey, police said the owner failed to produce the monkey for seizure as it was violating a city ordinance that prohibited an exotic animal in city limits.

Ornament - Blue

Plastic pollution found inside the stomachs of dead seabirds in Scotland


Examinations of deceased puffins have uncovered small plastic pellets.
Post-mortem examinations on puffins found dead on a Scottish island have found their stomachs littered with small plastic pellets used in the manufacturing industry.

Known as 'nurdles', the pellets are the raw materials used to make plastic items and are a growing cause of pollution in the world's oceans.

Accidental spills mean billions of these pellets find their way into the marine environment every year, with Scotland's seas no exception.