30ft dead minke whale washes up on Cleethorpes beach, UK


The 30ft minke whale washed up on Cleethorpes beach yesterday. The dead whale was found around a mile out from the Brighton slipway.
Part of Cleethorpes beach could be closed off today if a washed-up huge whale isn't taken away by the high tide.

As reported at , a 30ft minke whale washed up on Cleethorpes beach yesterday.

The dead mammal was found around a mile out from the Brighton slipway.

North East Lincolnshire Council's Beach Safety Team were called to the scene, but there was little they could do for the whale, which had already died.

The RSPCA and officers from Natural England also attended yesterday morning after a call was made at around 9am.

North East Lincolnshire Council officials are investigating.


Scientists unable to explain "really unusual" starling mass drownings in Britain

© blickwinkel/Alamy
Two starlings bathing: the songbirds are a stocky species that bathe and drink together in groups.

Behaviour could be one cause of the unusual drownings of the birds in large groups in England and Wales

Starlings have been consistently drowning in large groups in a phenomenon yet to be fully explained by scientists, according to new research led by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

In 12 separate incidents recorded between 1993 and 2013 in England and Wales, starlings were found drowned in groups of two to 80. In 10 cases, at least 10 starlings were found drowned at a time, the research published in the journal Scientific Reports on Wednesday shows.

One expert said that the mass mortalities were "really unusual", with drowning considered a rare cause of death among wild bird populations and normally only recorded as affecting individual birds.

Records since 1909 of 800,000 ringed birds from 79 species reveal that drowning was more commonly recorded as a probable cause of death in starlings than in any other species.

Post mortems revealed no evidence that underlying disease had been a factor in the incidents which all occurred during the summer and spring months and concerned juvenile birds in most cases.


Signs and Portents: Conjoined piglets born in Guigang, China

A farmer in western China who noticed two of his pig's newborn babies were sticking close together discovered the piglets were conjoined twins.

The farmer, from a village near Guigang in Guangxi province, said the sow went into labor Nov. 18 and gave birth to 20 piglets, two of which appeared to be sticking unusually close together.

The farmer, identified only as Gong, soon discovered the pigs were conjoined at their bellies.

Gong said the conjoined pigs, the first he has encountered in his years as a farmer, appear to have trouble eating and don't seem able to exercise due to the way they are joined.

The farmer said he does not expect the conjoined piglets to survive for long.


Neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for butterfly decline in the UK

© Getty
The decline of butterflies could be attributed to insect harming pesticides
Researchers say 15 species of native butterfly have shown downward population trends associated with neonicotinoid use. The chemicals - known as "neonics", for short - have been thought to harm birds, bees and other wildlife, but this is the first time there has been scientific claims they may be contributing to the decline of butterflies.

Over the past decade, once widespread butterflies have disappeared at the rate of 58 per cent across English farmland. Details of a study based on findings gathered by volunteers from across more than 1,000 UK sites as part of the long-running UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), recorded declines in species such as the small tortoiseshell, the wall butterfly and small skipper.

"Our study not only identifies a worrying link between the use of neonicotinoids and declines in butterflies, but also suggests that the strength of their impact on many species could be huge," warns ecologist Dr Andre Gilburn of the University of Stirling, who led the study.


Thousands of dying starfish mysteriously wash up on Moreton Island, Australia


A rare mass stranding of starfish on Moreton Island which left a tour guide and his group stunned
Thousands of dying starfish have mysteriously washed up on an island in what has been deemed a rare natural phenomenon.

Tour guide Rhett Ericsen-Miller stumbled upon the stranded sealife with a tour group near Tangalooma Wrecks, a fleet of shipwrecks, in southeast Queensland's Moreton Island.

The video he uploaded on Facebook has amassed nearly 20 thousand views, while scientists are unsure of exactly what caused the mass stranding.

The vision shows a long stretch of the island's shore lined with the fish, making it impossible to throw them all back into the water.

A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman told Brisbane Times it could have been caused by strong winds or a dramatic change in water temperatures.

'As far as we are aware it's a natural phenomenon, and at this stage we have no information to indicate otherwise,' she said.


Large number of dead starfish and crabs wash up on Lincolnshire beach, UK

© Ian Mann
A haul of dead starfish and crabs has been found on the beach at Ingoldmells
A haul of dead starfish, crabs and other marine life has been discovered on a Lincolnshire beach.

Ian Mann, who owns a holiday home at the Skegness Sands park discovered the dead sea creatures this morning on a stretch of beach at Ingoldmells.

He said: "It was like a killing spree.

"I was just walking my dog on the beach and I threw the ball for him when I noticed something was washed up.

"I went for a closer look and noticed all these dead starfish.

"There were some in little puddles.


Primates in peril: 50% of our closest living relatives are on the brink of extinction around the world


More than half of the world's primates are at risk of dying out due to the threat posed by habitat loss and hunting. The Hainan gibbon (pictured) is thought to be the world's most endangered primate, with just 25 of the animals left living on an isolated island in China
They are our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, yet more than half of the world's primates are facing extinction due to our destruction of the habitats where they live.

Burning and clearing of large areas of tropical forest, combined with hunting of primates for food and illegal wildlife trade, has placed many species of apes, lemurs and monkeys at risk of dying out.

These include iconic species such as the Sumatran orang-utan, Grauer's gorilla, the Northern brown howler monkey and the Hainan gibbon.

Scientists and conservation experts have now updated a report on the world's 25 most endangered primates based on the current knowledge of the animals numbers and the risks facing them.

Dr Christoph Schwitzer, a primatologist and director of conservation at Bristol Zoological Society who helped compile the list, said: 'This research highlights the extent of the danger facing many of the world's primates.


Millions of spiders infest Memphis neighborhood

© WMC Action News 5
Residents on May Street and Chelsea Avenue said their neighborhood has been infested with spiders. The eight legged problem is causing headaches for the homeowners.

Photos of the nearly half-mile long spider web show the extent of habitation by the spiders. The web looks like frost, or maybe morning dew, covering the grass across the road from several homes.

Efforts to get rid of the spiders by neighbors Frances Ward, Debra Lewis and Ida Morris are slow-moving.

"I've seen about 20 on my porch just in the last day," Morris said.

They said they want the city to step in and help get rid of them.


Dead Beaked whale found on Bridgehampton beach, New York

© Robin L. Mueller
A beaked whale was found dead on Scott Cameron Beach in Bridgehampton on Thursday afternoon. The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation is performing a necropsy Friday afternoon, and will know more about how the whale died after that.

Robin L. Mueller said he discovered the dead whale, and the foundation said it received a call on its hotline reporting the whale at about 3:30 p.m.

The foundation sent a team out on Friday and a biologist and volunteer transported the 11-foot male back to its facility, according to Rachel Bosworth, a spokeswoman for the foundation. It weighed 1,071 pounds, she said.

It wasn't immediately clear what led to the whale's demise. Blood spatter seen in the photographs is from the eye, "where seagulls unfortunately got it," Ms. Bosworth explained.


3 dead fin whales found on beach near Bella Bella, Canada

© Randy Carpenter
Three fin whales have been found dead on a beach near Bella Bella on the central coast of B.C.

The dead whales were spotted by a helicopter pilot flying over Bird Point, northwest of Bella Bella, who then notified Fishers and Oceans Canada (DFO) on Saturday.

Paul Cottrell, Pacific Marine Mammal Coordinator with the DFO, assessed the whales and says there does not appear to be any obvious cause of death.

"It is very rare and odd that you get three large whales together in one small area," says Cottrell. "We want to know why it happened, whether it is a natural event, killer whale predation or something else."

Cottrell says, to his knowledge, it has never happened in B.C. before, which is a source for concern.