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Stingrays found with tails cut off in New Zealand

Stingrays
© stuff.co.nz
Washed Up: Four eagle rays were found on Murrays Bay beach with no tails.
The sight of four eagle rays with their tails cut off has shocked beachgoers at Murrays Bay on Auckland's North Shore.

Kourtney Magasiva was walking her dog on the beach with friends just after 10am on January 14 when she saw the dead rays.

"It's terrible animal cruelty to do that to a perfectly healthy creature of the sea," she said.

Magasiva had never seen anything like it at Murrays Bay before.

"Someone's done it on purpose. I'd hate to think they're still doing it," she said.

Agnes Le Port, formerly part of the University of Auckland's marine team, now works at James Cook University in Australia and has caught stingrays and eagle rays for scientific research.

Le Port understood fishers wanting to protect themselves from the barbs but said a better option was to slice them off while leaving the rest of the tail intact.
Snowflake Cold

Fears for unique Siberian wildlife as heavy snowfall reaches depths of one metre

© Roman Kozhechev, WWF Russia
Fears for unique wildlife as heavy snowfall reaches depths of one metre.
Abnormally heavy snowfall is threatening to decimate much of Siberia's unique wildlife including the rare Amur tiger, experts have warned. Parts of the Russian Far East are covered in snow up to one metre deep, burying many animals and leaving others struggling to move or find food.

Conservationists have already noted cases of young animals dying, with fears the situation could be as bad as the 1980s when up to 90 per cent of species died, including 30 tigers. WWF Russia is demanding urgent measures to prevent a similar catastrophe, with the Amur and Moscow branches of the charity in touch with regional hunting estates to ask them to help feed animals in their areas and prevent poaching.

Pavel Fomenko, the Amur branch coordinator at WWF Russia, said: 'I remember a similar winter at the end of the 1980s, when the snow was so deep that we lost 80 per cent to 90 per cent of all ungulates. I was a part of the inspection team and it was horrifying. The whole valley of the Amba and Bikin rivers turned into a gigantic graveyard. Nearly all the roes, wild boars and Siberian stags died'.

'What happened next was even scarier as during the next winter the tigers were left without pray, and so naturally besieged villages and small towns, hunting dogs, cows and other animals. The official data for that winter shows that more than 30 tigers were killed'.
Attention

Elephant charges vehicle and punches holes in it, South Africa

With thousands of people watching a live streaming safari in the Sabi Sands in the Greater Kruger, two game rangers had a frightening encounter with a raging elephant cow on Thursday.

Charging at their open safari vehicle, the elephant effortlessly stabs her tusks into the Land Rover and pushes the vehicle at least 30cm.

The shaken guide, who later tells the camera he's "only ever" encountered an elephant charge once before, gets up close and personal with the enraged cow, as her tusk slips in a mere few centimeters from his hip.

Bizarro Earth

Catastrophic flooding continues in southern Africa, considered one of worst disasters in years

malawi floods
© AFP
The heavy rains washed away plantations, roads and destroyed power lines in Malawi
Aid agencies raced on Monday to reach tens of thousands of people displaced by catastrophic floods across southern Africa, as more heavy rain was forecast in the coming days.

More than 200 people have died in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar in one of the worst disasters to hit the region in years. Rivers have burst their banks, flooding vast areas and destroying homes, bridges and crops.

"After surveying the flooded districts from the air, we know that the scale of flooding is immense, and with the rains still falling, the water is unlikely to recede quickly," UNICEF's representative in Malawi, Mahimbo Mdoe, said in a statement.

"Stagnant water and poor sanitation can be deadly for young children, so we are in a race against time to reach displaced communities with clean water, sanitation and medical supplies."

More downpours were forecast in Malawi and Mozambique, said the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Comment: The floods have been ongoing for weeks, yet the rains show no signs of abating. Unprecedented flooding has been besieging the entire globe recently, in addition to all types of extreme weather patterns. To fully understand the reasons behind these changes, read Pierre Lescaudron's book Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.

Attention

Another humpback whale found dead on Broulee beach, Australia


South Broulee and North Head beaches were closed on Saturday after a Humpback whale washed ashore.
Two Eurobodalla beaches were closed for 24 hours over the weekend after a Humpback whale washed onto the shores of south Broulee Beach.

The dead whale was first spotted 300 metres out to see off North Head Beach, forcing lifeguards to close to beach for swimmers safety.

Around mid-day on Saturday the whale was found washed ashore on South Broulee Beach, which was then also closed.

Police attended the scene and taped off a 100-metre exclusion zone around the whale to keep onlookers away.

The whale looked as though it may have been dead for some time and had large chunks missing from its body.

Comment: See also: Sharks feed on humpback whale carcass in Batemans Bay, Australia

Attention

Man dies in camel bite attack in Bapunagar, India

A 45-year-old man on Monday died in Bapunagar after a camel bit him on his head.

The animal owner has been detained for further legal procedure, police said.

"Govind Trivedi (45) was walking near Jamunanagar slum in Bapunagar area of the city late Sunday night when a camel tied there bit him on his head. After brief treatment, the man died today," Bapunagar police station's inspector P D Parmar said. The animal's owner Lalsingh was questioned about whether the camel was suffering from any disease or if it had bitten any other person in the past, Parmar said.

Comment: See also: Camel escapes from cage and kills owner of wildlife sanctuary

Camel tramples 2 people to death at Texas farm

Cloud Precipitation

Canada: B.C. storm leaves thousands without power, triggers avalanche warnings

BC Snowstorm
© DriveBC
Avalanche warnings are in effect throughout the B.C. Interior today as the coastal storm that brought significant rainfall overnight moves inland and turns to snow.

The storm was accompanied by strong winds that left at one point left 25,000 B.C. Hydro customers without power. Vancouver Island was the hardest hit. There were also power outages in parts of the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast.

Power to many areas was restored by noon, although areas of Central and North Saanich were without power until 6 p.m. PT according to B.C. Hydro.

Environment Canada says the storm will generate another 25 mm of rain in the Fraser Valley Sunday bringing the total rainfall in the valley from the storm to about 50 mm. It says localized flooding in some areas is possible.

Heavy snow is forecast for highway passes in B.C. with the Coquihalla Highway expected to receive up to 30 cm of snow by Monday morning.
Bizarro Earth

Vancouver Island will 'rip open like a zipper' when overdue megathrust earthquake strikes, experts say

Capes Lake, Vancouver Island
© National Post, Canada
Capes Lake, Vancouver Island. The odds of another megathrust earthquake and tsunami on Vancouver Island happening within the next 50 years are about one-in-10, experts say.
Pachena Bay , B.C. - The low tide, bright sunshine and constant roar of endlessly approaching waves display the full power of the wide-open Vancouver Island shoreline at the remote beach handed down to Stella Peters and her family as a wedding dowry.

For generations, Peters and her relatives have been the keepers of Pachena Bay, the picturesque beach that scientists forecast as an epicentre for the next massive earthquake and tsunami.

The bay is also the home to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations village of Anacla, about 300 kilometres northwest of Victoria, which aboriginal oral history says was devastated when an ancient earthquake convulsed the West Coast of North America.

First Nations from Vancouver Island to northern California describe the earthquake and tsunami in similar legends and artwork involving a life-and-death struggle between a thunderbird and a whale that caused the earth to shake violently and the seas to wash away their people and homes.

When the next megathrust quake hits, residents on the west side of Vancouver Island will barely have 20 minutes to get to higher ground.
Binoculars

Another completely lost bird: Brown pelican turns up in Nebraska in winter

© Clark Grell | Lincoln Journal Star
American white pelicans — and one out-of-place brown pelican — enjoy the warm waters of the cooling pond at Gerald Gentleman power station near Sutherland.
Last Saturday, my alarm sounded at 3:45 a.m. and I rose out of bed in order to make the three-hour drive to Sutherland Reservoir to "twitch" a brown pelican.

For nonbirders, "twitching" is a British birding term meaning to chase after a previously located (usually rare) bird. Brown pelicans are typically found in coastal areas, but birds occasionally wander inland. The brown pelican I was chasing was found by Stephen J. Dinsmore and Kevin Murphy on Dec. 26. Nebraska's other seven documented sightings, as well as the vast majority of inland records from other states of brown pelicans, are during warmer months. Thus, a brown pelican in Nebraska is notable, but one in winter is crazy.

It seems most likely this particular brown pelican is from the Gulf Coast, perhaps Texas. Any part of the brown pelican's normal range is at a minimum a thousand miles from Sutherland Reservoir. It's impossible to know when this bird left its familiar coastal haunts to fly inland. The explanation for why this bird ended up at Sutherland in winter, and possibly why it is still alive, is easier to understand.

Sutherland Reservoir has a cooling pond, which receives water from the Nebraska Public Power District's nearby coal-fired Gerald Gentleman power station. The constant infusion of warm water into the cooling pond keeps the water open even during the coldest winters. This human-created environment allows several fish-eating bird species, including American white pelicans, double-crested cormorants and great blue herons, to overwinter at this site when they might otherwise migrate south to warmer climes or perish.

Comment: Recent reports of birds completely losing their way across the Northern Hemisphere: White-rumped sandpiper from Arctic North America ends up in Australia

Rare goose from northern Asia turns up in Suffolk, UK

Rare Eurasian kestrel appears in Nova Scotia, Canada

Another completely lost avian species: Couch's Kingbird flies from southern Texas to New York

Warbler that should be wintering in western Mexico turns up in Louisiana

Bean goose from Eurasia takes a wrong turn and winds up on the Oregon Coast

Four lost flamingos fly NORTH for the winter and turn up in Siberia

Wrong place, wrong time: European robin turns up thousands of miles away in China

Rare bird from Mongolia turns up in Wakefield, UK

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare bird found in Barrie, Canada

Bizarro Earth

Iceland lava field may now be the biggest in 200 years

iceland_lava_field
© Jesse Allen and Josh Stevens/ NASA Earth Observatory
The infrared images above show the Holuhraun lava flow from Sept. 6, 2014
Bigger than the island of Manhattan, the lava flow from the Holuhraun lava field in Iceland is now the largest the country has seen in more than 200 years, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.

Since August of last year, massive amounts of lava have been spewing from a fissure that erupted in Iceland's largely uninhabited Bárðarbunga volcanic system. In the past six months, the lava flow spread a total of 32 square miles, making it now the largest lava flow since the 1783 - 84 Laki eruption that wiped out 20 percent of Iceland's population.

According to the University of Iceland's Institute of Earth Sciences, the eastern part of the lava field was about 30 feet thick, and the center and western parts were about 40 feet thick.

Comment: See the volcanic activity around the world during the last year alone:



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