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Fri, 23 Feb 2018
The World for People who Think



Pygmy whale dies after beaching at Delray Beach, Florida

File image of a pygmy sperm whale which beached itself on Hutchinson Island in 2016.
© Inwater Research Group
File image of a pygmy sperm whale which beached itself on Hutchinson Island in 2016.
A pygmy sperm whale beached itself twice Saturday afternoon in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The whale died after the second beaching.

It came ashore on the north end of Delray Beach, just south of George Bush Boulevard, initially around 1 p.m., FWC spokeswoman Carol Lyn Parrish said.

At that point, bystanders attempted to push the whale back into the water, which is when FWC officials first responded. The whale beached itself a second time around 2 p.m., Parrish said.

Pygmy sperm whales can range from 10 to 11 feet in length and more than 700 pounds, according to NOAA Fisheries.


Beaked whale dies following stranding in Motueka, New Zealand

A Cuvier's beaked whale that stranded on Jackett Island has died.
© Bec's Greaney
A Cuvier's beaked whale that stranded on Jackett Island has died.
A stranded whale that was refloated by members of the public last week was later found dead on a Motueka beach.

​On Friday, Project Jonah and the Department of Conservation were notified of a 4-5 metre long stranded whale on Jackett Island.

Project Jonah volunteer manager Louisa Hawkes said one of its trained medics noticed a discussion about the whale stranding on the Motueka Buy and Sell Facebook page.

"It was a fantastic community effort with a sad outcome, but they should be proud of how they pulled together."

Hawkes said the whale was thought to be a Cuvier's beaked whale, which typically lived in deeper waters. Despite being the third most frequently stranded species in New Zealand, not much was known about the whale.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 17 goats at farm in Namibia

Rain is always welcome in the hot and dry Karas region, but this natural phenomenon sometimes brings with it troubles and loss to farmers and residents alike.

A strong bout of the late rains of the current season caused one such farmer, Abraham Thomas, to lose a sizeable amount of his livestock at farm Regina, situated four kilometres outside Helmeringhausen in the Bethanie district.

Lightning killed 17 of Thomas' goats at around 17h00 on Thursday.

Seventeen goats were killed on Thursday by lightning on farm Regina near Helmeringhausen in the Karas region.

Seventeen goats were killed on Thursday by lightning on farm Regina near Helmeringhausen in the Karas region.


Dead minke whale washes ashore in Nova Scotia, Canada

Jess Tudor measures the minke whale near Tiverton on Long Island, N.S. Its length suggests it was likely an adult.
© Amy Tudor
Jess Tudor measures the minke whale near Tiverton on Long Island, N.S. Its length suggests it was likely an adult.
Eight months ago, Amy Tudor was guiding a whale-watching tour off Brier Island, N.S., when an unusually playful minke approached the boat.

On Friday, she found herself looking at the remains of an adult minke whale on the shore of nearby Tiverton, Long Island, N.S.

"As I was there looking at this whale, that's all I could play in my head: was this the whale that swam around the boat? Was it the one that spy-hopped around us? It was a very mixed emotion," Tudor told CBC News.

"I love these creatures. I talk to them when I'm on the boat. I feel a connection. It was so hard to see something that I love so much deceased, but at the same time it was such a rare opportunity to be hands-on with a creature like that and to help in the overall preservation and research of the species."


Fin whale washes up dead at Caravia, Spain

fin whalw
Work got under way on Friday to remove an 18-meter (59-foot) fin whale that washed up dead on a beach near the northern Spanish town of Caravia.

Because of the whale's size, the task requires sectioning the carcass into portions.

Area residents gathered to watch the team remove the tail and loading it onto a truck for transport to facilities run by Proygrasa, a company specializing in the collection and disposal of carcasses.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 89 farm animals in South Africa

The livestock killed by lightning in Matatiele

The livestock killed by lightning in Matatiele
Sheep, goats and cattle died on the spot after being struck by lightning in an unfinished house in Zwelitsha village outside Matatiele on January 24.

It is alleged that stock ran to the house to shelter from the strong winds, rain and hailstorm.

Ward 6 councillor Skhumbuzo Vikwa said a total of 89 livestock were killed by lightning and 14 small-scale farmers are left with empty kraals.

"This thing happened for the first time in our village and many rural people depend on farming for a living," said Vikwa.

Black Cat

A controversial tale of the Cannock 'Alien Big Cats'

Big cat
If someone had said to me before I embarked upon my first quest for the truth about reports of large, unidentified cats in the woods of Cannock Chase, England that I would find myself digging into the accounts of a character known as the Lion Man and his pal, One-Eyed Nick - whose moniker made him sound like something straight out of the pages of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic 1883 story Treasure Island - I would probably have merely smiled and forgotten about it. But sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Although my fascination for the dark tales of strange creatures on the Cannock Chase began in my childhood, it wasn't until I was around nineteen or twenty that I made my first serious attempt to try and resolve the matter of Cannock's "Alien Big Cats," as they are known in the world of Forteana. I wrote letters to a few local newspapers, which were published, and which opened the doors to a few interesting stories and leads.


Elderly woman dies following dog attack in South Africa

canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
A 76-year-old woman died in hospital after being mauled by a large dog in Mpumalanga on Monday.

The woman, who had sustained numerous bite wounds, was found lying inside a home on Frank Bath Road in Middelburg.

"Paramedics assessed the woman and found that she had sustained numerous bite wounds which left her in a critical condition," said ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring.

"Treatment and advanced life support interventions were immediately initiated in an effort to stabilise her vital signs. Whilst treatment was under way, paramedics found that the patient's vital signs rapidly diminished.

Eye 2

Signs and Portents: Two-headed snake found in China

two headed snake
While two headed snakes are found in the wild, a snake has one head on each end has shocked a passerby in China.

Mr Yang discovered a 20-centimetre-long (7.9 inches) reptile as he took a walk in a park after lunch in Qingyuan, Zhejiang Province on February 1.

Footage shows it writhing its body on the ground as Mr Yang used a stick to move it around carefully.

The two heads seem to be fighting each other to control the body.

The snake was released back to nature shortly after Mr Yang took a video and shared it online, according to QingYuan News.


Report shows a sharp drop in monarch butterflies wintering in California

Goleta Butterfly Grove

Goleta Butterfly Grove
The number of monarchs wintering in California has dropped to a five-year low, despite more volunteers counting more sites in search of the orange-and-black insect that is arguably the most admired of North American butterflies, a report said on Friday.

The latest tally of 200,000 monarchs in forested groves in California's central coast has dropped from the 1.2 million counted two decades ago, indicating the number of butterflies found west of the Rocky Mountains, or the so-called western population, continues to sharply decline, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation said in a report.

"It's certainly concerning," said Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director for the Xerces Society.

Western monarchs are born on milkweed plants in such states as Arizona, Idaho, Utah and Washington before embarking on a seasonal migration to California.