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Thu, 01 Jun 2023
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Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Laos quake rattles Bangkok

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has struck northern Laos, shaking buildings as far away as the Thai capital Bangkok, around 800 kilometres to the south, US Geological Survey (USGS) says.

Bizarro Earth

Officials try to halt spread of beetle from US Midwest and Canada

RICHMOND, Va. - Agriculture officials are hoping to stop the eastward spread of the emerald ash borer beetle, an invasive, hard-to-control insect that has killed more than 20 million trees in the Midwest and Canada and is heading toward Virginia.

"It's not here yet but it can be transported easily in firewood, so we're asking people to buy firewood at your destination," said Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Don't take it with you."

The beetle is indigenous to eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and Korea and was initially found in southeastern Michigan in 2002, likely arriving in ash wood used in packing material. Because the insect has no native predators in North America, the infestation has continued to spread through parts of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Maryland - areas now under a federal quarantine.

Life Preserver

Flooding in West Siberia affects homes across region

NOVOSIBIRSK- Rising water levels on a West Siberian river have hit villages across the region, flooding homes and cutting off roads but causing no casualties, local emergencies officials said Wednesday.

©RIA Novosti

No Entry

Birds Dropping From Sky, Flying Into Buildings After Exposure To Smoke

Hundreds of birds from as far south as Miami are falling from the sky or flying head-first into buildings and dying after being exposed to smoke from wildfires blanketing parts of Florida, according to a report.

Veterinarians said the birds have very sensitive lungs and the toxins in the smoke are poison to them, Local 6 reported Monday.


Mass poisoning swamps marine animal rehab centers

An outbreak of toxic algae is called the worst on record; its cause is unclear. Sea lions and seabirds take a big hit.

The current outbreak of toxic algae off the Los Angeles Harbor is the most virulent on record, scientists say, so overburdening animal rehabilitation centers that some sickened sea lions are temporarily left to fend for themselves on Los Angeles County beaches.


Confused penguin strays 5,000km

A Magellanic penguin whose natural habitat is the cool climes of southern Chile has strayed thousands of miles from his home, arriving in Peru.



Beekeepers fear mystery ailment killing U.S. bees that have crossed border

Twenty-seven U.S. states have been affected, reporting losses of up to 90 per cent, and the ailment seems to be moving north, Clay said.

New Brunswick has lost about 85 per cent of its bee colonies. Ontario beekeepers have lost about one-third, and Quebec 40 per cent so far.

And nobody is sure why.


Lizards join frogs in rapid decline

The precipitous loss of amphibians in recent years has been blamed on habitat loss, global warming, fungal infections, and pesticides. Globally, all of these factors probably combine for a multiple whammy. Now, research published online April 20 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. reveals a new combo: climate change is causing some species to lose their leaf-layer habitat - and the damage is killing reptiles, too.

Steven Whitfield of Florida International University and colleagues examined 35 years' worth of data from the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. The team found that populations of frogs and common reptiles such as lizards plummeted 75% since 1970. Globally, human activities are closely linked with disappearing frogs and salamanders. One-third of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction, according to a recent estimate, in large part because humans encroach on their habitats and introduce nonnative species. But even in areas without large human influences, such as the patch of protected old-growth rainforest that the researchers studied, many species are disappearing.


Venomous Brown Widow Spiders Making Themselves Known In Louisiana

A dangerous spider is making itself known to Louisiana residents. The brown widow spider is becoming more common, according to entomologists with the LSU AgCenter.

Generally found in tropical areas, the brown widow spider is closely related to the black widow spider and is poisonous, according to LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dennis Ring.

Experts say the spider ranges in color from gray or tan to dark brown and may reach 1 inch to 1½ inches long. Like its better-known black widow cousin, the brown widow spider has a yellow-to-orange hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen. It also has black and white marks on the top of the abdomen and often has dark bands on its legs. "Its venom is more toxic than the black widow's," Ring said. "But it doesn't put out as much venom in its bite."


Murder as an act of mercy: Kangaroo cull mooted for Canberra

Thousands of kangaroos could be shot by professional shooters in and around Canberra's north after populations have been deemed to be out of control.

A Defence spokeswoman has confirmed Belconnen Naval Transmission station and the Majura Training area have a serious over-population of eastern grey kangaroos.

The 6,500 animals are facing starvation because of the drought and are causing permanent damage to the sites.

Defence has been trialing a project to reduce the fertility of local kangaroos but ecology consultants have said that will not solve the problem.