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Wed, 22 May 2019
The World for People who Think

Animals

Question

Possible culprit identified in decline of honeybees

They are among the most sensitive and hardest-working creatures in nature. Ancient navigators of the air, honeybees are guided between hive and flower by the angle and direction of the sun. Their internal clock signals the time of day a particular flower's nectar is flowing. And daily changes in the earth's magnetic cycle alert those in the darkened hive to sunrise and sunset.

A mysterious ailment, however, is causing the great pollinators to lose their way home. The disorder, called "colony collapse," has resulted in the deaths of millions of honeybees worldwide and up to half of the 2.5 million colonies in the United States.

The chief suspect, say many scientists, is the most commonly used insecticide on the planet: imidacloprid.

Question

Giant Squid Return to Southern California Waters

They live hundreds of feet below the sea. A formidable predator that can rip its prey to pieces.

The giant Humboldt squid have returned to the waters of Southern California, and they're bigger and more plentiful than ever.

Fishermen are thankful, but biologists are worried.

"I have nearly a thousand dives with these animals and I have been either tested or full out attacked about 80 percent of the time," Scott Cassell said.

Cassell has been studying the Humboldt squid for the past 13 years.

Wolf

Negev resident traps leopard who crept into his home

Negev resident Arthur Dimosh trapped a Leopard Sunday night after the feline had crept into his bedroom in Sde Boker while chasing a cat.

Dimosh awoke from the barking of his dog, to find himself face to face with a leopard. He immediately leapt on the animal, grabbed him by the neck and asked his wife to call the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA).

Officials from the NPA arrived shortly after and managed to get the leopard into a cage by first transferring him into a trash bin.

Attention

Birds, Bees, Frogs: Our vanishing helpers

But these dyings-off are happening. They're real. They can't be laughed off with glib sarcasm. No, don't panic - rather, accept these as true harbingers of profound processes in which we play an important role. If we don't heed these warnings, the dyings-off could become dyings-out.

Not to say we are the main or the only cause. But human beings and what they do are likely involved. If there's a way we can improve matters, we should - that is, unless we're prepared to do without these wonderful animals and what they give the world.

Wolf

Photographer Mauled by Yellowstone Bear

A man whose face was severely mauled by a grizzly in Yellowstone National Park is a photographer and author of books about grizzlies who also had been attacked in 1993.

The National Park Service said Jim Cole, 57, was hiking alone, off- trail in prime grizzly habitat Wednesday when he was attacked by a sow with a cub. He apparently was carrying pepper spray but whether he used it was unclear.

Cole told rangers he walked two to three miles to seek help.

Cole, of Bozeman, Mont., was in fair condition Friday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. He underwent seven hours of surgery Thursday to repair his face.

Longtime friend Rich Berman said Cole was unable to speak and was breathing through a ventilator and being fed through a tube. "He's lucky to be alive," Berman said.

Bulb

Earlier Cicada Invasion Spurred by Warmer Spring

After 17 years underground, billions of cicadas are about to descend upon the U.S. Midwest, crowding the trees and filling the air with their distinctive mating call.

But the usually punctual Brood XIII bugs are emerging about a week ahead of schedule - which has some scientists pondering how a changing climate might alter the cicadas' little-understood life cycle.

"The fact that our Aprils are warmer than they have been in the past is apparently encouraging the cicadas to emerge a week or so earlier than they have in the past," said Gene Kritsky, a biologist and cicada expert at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Padlock

Alligator Captured Near Los Angeles Lake

For months, the city's most famous reptile eluded paparazzi and faithful fans who gathered at the edge of a park lake to catch a glimpse of the celebrity alligator.

But when "Reggie" decided to come out, the gator did it in true Hollywood style: Swarmed by fans and photographers as it sunned by the water, the reptile was whisked away with a police escort as TV helicopters gave chase and broadcast live footage of the cagey critter's freeway journey to the zoo.

"We were petting him, talking to him," said City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose district includes the park. "I feel like I know him because I've invested a lot of time and energy in him."

Question

Swarm of bees forces passenger plane to land



©Reuters

A passenger plane was forced to land after flying into a swarm of British bees Thursday.

The Palmair Boeing 737, with 90 passengers on board, had to return to Bournemouth Airport in southern England shortly after take-off following an engine surge.

Comment: There have been an unusually high number of bee-related stories appearing in the media over the past few months. Here's an SOTT Focus piece which focuses on this bizarre topic:

To Bee or not to Bee


Attention

Early arrival of butterflies demonstrates impact of climate change

Britain's astounding April, the warmest on record, has produced an astounding effect in the natural world, with at least 11 species of butterfly making their earliest recorded appearances this spring in what will be seen as the most remarkable demonstration yet of the effects of climate change on Britain's wildlife.

Bomb

Indian tiger numbers far lower than thought-experts

Disappearing tigers:

©Signs of the Times
Disappearing tigers

Early results from a tiger census in India indicate the population of the endangered big cats is drastically lower than previously assumed, wildlife experts and conservationists said on Wednesday.