Earth ChangesS


Orkney: Probe into mystery bird illness

An investigation is under way after dozens of dead and dying seabirds were found on Orkney.

The birds - greater black-backed gulls - seemed to be suffering from an illness which first made them lethargic and unable to fly, then killed them.

Bizarro Earth

Colorado: Mountain lion snatches dog from owners' bedroom

JEFFERSON COUNTY - A family was stunned when a mountain lion entered their home early Monday morning, killed one of their dogs right beside their bed, and carried it off into the night. The dog was a 12-year-old yellow lab named 'Scout.'


Fires Threaten Several Ancient Sites In Turkey

On Friday, fires threatened several sites of ancient culture in Istanbul as fire fighters backed by a dozen aircraft struggled to extinguish scattered blazes engulfing woodlands in the coastal tourism province of Antalya.

Fire fighters said up to 4,000 hectares (9,885 acres) of woodlands in Antalya could be destroyed if they are not contained. No deaths or injuries have been reported, but television images showed destroyed houses and fleeing villagers.

Antalya Forest Directorate spokesman Aydogan Turedi said flames were approaching an ancient Greek amphitheatre in Aspendos, 37 km (23 miles) from the Mediterranean resort of Side.


Ancient sea turtles jeopardized by poachers, fisheries

Sea turtles are ancient, but not primitive. Having evolved on land some 200 million years ago, they spend their entire lives at sea except to lay eggs on rugged beaches around the globe.

Leatherback turtles are the largest of the seven seafaring species and they are truly remarkable, most worthy of admiration and in need of protection.

Leatherbacks are Earth's last warm-blooded reptiles and their weight can easily exceed one ton.

Bizarro Earth

China: Death toll rises in latest Sichuan earthquake

The death toll from a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck central China's battered Sichuan province climbed to two Wednesday, with another 22 injured, local emergency officials reported. A light, 4.8-magnitude quake rattled the same area on Wednesday.

Sichuan is still recovering from a devastating 7.9-magnitude temblor in May.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of Tuesday's strong quake was about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north-northwest of Guangyuan, near Sichuan's border with neighboring Gansu province.

Cloud Lightning

US: Tropical Storm Edouard hits Texas coast

HOUSTON - Tropical Storm Edouard plowed into a wildlife refuge on the upper Texas coast early on Tuesday, bringing driving rains and peak winds near 65 mph (100 kmh) but leaving key energy installations mostly unscathed.

Edouard, the fifth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, was just shy of hurricane strength when it came ashore at the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, halfway between High Island and Sabine Pass, forecasters said.

NOAA satellite image shows Tropical Storm Edouard in the Gulf of Mexico August 4, 2008.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the storm was about 40 miles (65 km) west of Port Arthur, Texas, and about 45 miles miles (70 km) north-northeast of Galveston, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.


'Lost world' of gorillas discovered in the Congo

The discovery of a critically endangered gorilla population in the vast forests of northern Congo is a mammoth 125,000 - double that of previous estimates - should make even the most pessimistic conservation biologist smile.

Western lowlands gorillas.
Western lowlands gorillas.

The numbers of western lowland gorillas living across 47,000 square kilometres of dense forestland were thought to have plummeted from 100,000 to half that number since the 1980s.

Just last year, the threat from the deadly ebola virus and indiscriminate bushmeat hunters prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to add the apes to their critically endangered list.

The results of the census by the Wildlife Conservation Society and local government researchers were announced today at a meeting of the International Primatological Society in Edinburgh, UK.


Girl killed, four people injured in Poland storm

A 15-year-old girl died and four people were injured in a severe storm in Poland, the national rescue service said.

The girl was in a car when the vehicle was crushed by a falling tree on Monday in Legionowo, to the northeast of Warsaw. A woman and a child were injured in a similar accident in the capital.


Bigger isn't always better for spider colonies

©Alexandre Bernard
An Anelosimus eximius communal web.

Giant webs catch most food when occupied by about 500 social spiders.

For many people it's the ultimate nightmare: thousands of spiders collaborating to form a well organized society. A new study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals how colonies of one spider species grow to an enormous size, and the surprising factors that ultimately limit their expansion.

Spiders are usually thought of as lone hunters. However, a few dozen species do live cooperatively, building collective webs and sharing food-gathering and child care between them. One example is the neotropical species Anelosimus eximius, which can be found living in colonies containing thousands of individuals.

Bizarro Earth

Pakistan: Floods wreak havoc in Khyber Agency, Peshawar suburbs

Torrential rains triggered flash floods in Peshawar suburbs and the adjoining Khyber Agency on Monday, inundating large areas and killing at least 22 people. Eleven people were injured as raging torrents washed away hundreds of homes, destroyed crops over a wide area and killed livestock.

Nullah Budhni and Araban, started overflowing before dawn, washed away four bridges and caused widespread damage in Nasir Bagh, Dag Kali, Mattra, Babu Garhi, Khushal Park and Hassan Garhi.