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Thu, 09 Dec 2021
The World for People who Think



Potty-training cows - The MooLoo holds great pootential for reducing carbon emissions

A calf enters the latrine.
A calf enters the latrine.
Cows contribute massively to global emissions because of the greenhouse gases they produce. We're not talking hot air here. It's the No. 1s and No. 2s. Which is why potty training can be part of the solution.

On farms, cows graze freely, but that also means they poo and pee freely too. Unfortunately, this waste often contaminates the soil and waterways.

On the other hand, keeping cows in barns causes their urine and faeces to combine. This releases ammonia, which leaches into the soil where microbes convert it to nitrous oxide - the third most impactful greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide.

To get around this, researchers from the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Germany, and the University of Auckland, came up with a novel solution: a potty-training program for cows.

"It's usually assumed that cattle are not capable of controlling defecation or urination," says co-author Jan Langbein from FBN.

"[But] cattle, like many other animals or farm animals, are quite clever and they can learn a lot. So why shouldn't they be able to learn how to use a toilet?"

"People's reaction is, 'crazy scientists,' but actually, the building blocks are there," says Lindsay Matthews of the University of Auckland.

"Cows have bigger urinations when they wake up in the morning, which demonstrates they have the ability to withhold urination. There's nothing in their neurophysiology that radically differentiates them from animals, such as horses, monkeys and cats, that show latrine behaviour."


6 killed by elephants in a week in Chhattisgarh, India

Two persons were killed by a wild elephant in separate incidents in Chhattisgarh''s Mahasamund district, taking the toll to six in such attacks in the state over the last one week, officials said on Monday.

The latest attacks took place late Sunday evening in two villages under Mahasamund forest circle within a span of a couple of hours, they said.

In the first incident, an elderly man, identified Raju Vishwakarma, a native of Mahasamund town, located over 50 km from the state capital Raipur, was killed by a tusker near Gaurkheda village when he was travelling along with two others on a motorcycle, Divisional Forest Officer (Mahasamund) Pankaj Rajput said.

After suddenly coming face-to-face with the elephant on the road, the man driving the two-wheeler lost control over it, following which Vishwakarma, who was riding pillion, fell from the vehicle.

Comment: Report says 3,310 people died due to wild elephant attacks in last 7 years across India - Rise in number of deaths 'alarming'


800,000 stray dog attacks in the Indian state of Kerala over past 5 years with 42 people killed

Image used for representational purposes
© Express
Image used for representational purposes
The stray dog menace was a matter of wide discussion when a 65-year-old died after being attacked by a pack while out on an evening walk last December in Kuttippuram. But even after the state government and the respective local self-governing bodies announced ambitious projects to tackle the menace, government records reveal that the number of stray dog attacks has hardly come down.

Data sourced by RTI activist Raju Vazhakkala from the health department shows that 8,09,629 incidents of stray dog attacks were reported in the state from January 2016 to July 2021. As many as 42 persons lost their lives after they were attacked by strays. This year alone, 68,765 stray dog attacks have been reported. Stray dog attacks comprise nearly 50% of all animal attack cases -- which totals 16,95,664 - reported since January 2016.


Boy mauled to death by granny's pet rottweiler in Trinidad

Mother of Amaziah Lewis 4, is comforted by a relative as she leaves K. Allen and Sons Funeral Directors, Arima on Sunday.
© Angelo Marcelle
Mother of Amaziah Lewis 4, is comforted by a relative as she leaves K. Allen and Sons Funeral Directors, Arima on Sunday.
What was supposed to be a happy visit to a house where his grandmother was housesitting in Tacarigua on Sunday took a tragic and deadly turn for the Lewis family when their youngest member Amaziah Lewis, 4, was mauled to death by the grandmother's pet rottweiler.

Police said Lewis was at the Savannah Drive, home at around 11 am when he was attacked by the dog and killed.

Residents called the police who went to the scene and shot and killed the dog.

Newsday visited the home on Sunday afternoon and spoke with Lewis' aunt Rechaeline Stewart who is also the daughter of the dog's owner who said while she was not at home at the time of the incident, she was told what happened.

Cloud Lightning

17 cattle killed by lightning bolt in Odisha, India

As many as 17 cattle were killed while the three persons grazing them had a narrow escape after a lightning strike at Sudhakhunta village under Telerai gram panchayat in Kalimela block of Malkangiri district.

Reportedly, Erma Kabasi, Shanti Kabasi, and Rama Madkami of the village were returning home from a nearby hill after grazing the cattle yesterday evening when lightning fell on them.

As a result, around 17 cattle were killed and the three fell unconscious. After regaining their senses, they rushed to the village and informed their family members and villagers about the incident.

Immediately, villagers rushed to the spot and found the cattle, including nine cows and eight bulls, dead. Four more cows were also found missing.


Birds exploit wind and uplift conditions for long flights across open ocean

Migrating birds choose routes with the best wind and uplift conditions, helping them to fly nonstop for hundreds of kilometers over the sea.
Eleonora's falcon
© Wouter Vansteelant
A dark morph Eleonora's falcon flying off Alegranza islet in the Atlantic Ocean. Despite being powerful flyers, Nourani et al. show that falcons are highly selective of supportive winds during trans-oceanic migration.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and University of Konstanz in Germany have identified how large land birds fly nonstop for hundreds of kilometers over the open ocean — without taking a break for food or rest. Using GPS tracking technology, the team monitored the global migration of five species of large land birds that complete long sea crossings. They found that all birds exploited wind and uplift to reduce energy costs during flight — even adjusting their migratory routes to benefit from the best atmospheric conditions. This is the most wide-ranging study of sea-crossing behavior yet and reveals the important role of the atmosphere in facilitating migration over the open sea for many terrestrial birds.

Flying over the open sea can be dangerous for land birds. Unlike seabirds, land birds are not able to rest or feed on water, and so sea crossings must be conducted as nonstop flights. For centuries, bird-watchers assumed that large land birds only managed short sea crossings of less than 100 kilometers and completely avoided flying over the open ocean.

However, recent advances in GPS tracking technology have overturned that assumption. Data obtained by attaching small tracking devices on wild birds has shown that many land birds fly for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers over the open seas and oceans as a regular part of their migration.

But scientists are still unraveling how land birds are able to accomplish this. Flapping is an energetically costly activity, and trying to sustain nonstop flapping flight for hundreds of kilometers would not be possible for large, heavy land birds. Some studies have suggested that birds sustain such journeys using tailwind, a horizontal wind blowing in the bird's direction of flight, which helps them save energy. Most recently, a study revealed that a single species — the osprey — used rising air thermals known as "uplift" to soar over the open sea.


Woman dies three weeks after being mauled by dog in Welsh coastal town

dog attack
An elderly woman has died three weeks after being mauled by a dog in a Welsh town.

The 72-year-old sustained severe injuries in the incident, which happened in Goodwick in Pembrokeshire on Tuesday, August 10.

The woman, who has not been named by police, was airlifted to Morriston Hospital following the attack, which involved an American bulldog that was later put down.

She received "critical care treatment" from medics on-board a Wales Air Ambulance helicopter and further treatment once she arrived at the hospital.


25-metre endangered blue whale washes ashore on beach south of Halifax, Canada

This endangered blue whale was first spotted by a Canadian Coast Guard vessel on Wednesday night, about seven nautical miles off the shore of Sambro, N.S.

This endangered blue whale was first spotted by a Canadian Coast Guard vessel on Wednesday night, about seven nautical miles off the shore of Sambro, N.S.
Conservationists are trying to determine what to do with the carcass of a 25-metre long endangered blue whale that has washed up on a beach south of Halifax.

The Marine Animal Response Society said the Canadian Coast Guard notified it the whale was adrift late Wednesday and the animal washed ashore at Crystal Crescent Beach the next morning.

MARS response specialist Andrew Reid says there are no signs of external injuries on the whale's body, so a full necropsy will be needed to determine the cause of death.

He said that this is only the third blue whale to wash up on Nova Scotian shores in the last four years.


Hundreds of dead seabirds reported up and down the length of Scotland's coast

Many of the birds have been found in a bad condition
© St Cyrus Nature Reserve
Many of the birds have been found in a bad condition
Dozens of starved birds have been found dead on a Scots beach.

Last weekend the bodies of 56 dead guillemots, two razorbills and three gannets littered St Cyrus beach in Aberdeenshire with several more emaciated birds given over to the Scottish SPCA.

Bosses at the St Cyrus nature reserve have been left baffled by the huge numbers of bodies washing up with the tide- as the animals should now be further out to sea given the time of the year.

They added that a probe would be conducted to rule out anything 'more sinister'.

Hundreds of dead birds have been reported up and down the length of the country.


Bloodbath scenes at Scots beach as 3 whales die on shoreline

Two were in the water while another was further up the beach, in huge pools of their own blood.

Bloodbath scenes unfolded at a Scots beach where three whales tragically passed away.

Upsetting images shared with the Daily Record show the three mammals, believed to be Sowerby's beaked whales, washed up on Sandhead Bay in Dumfries and Galloway on Tuesday.

Two were in the water while another was further up the beach, in huge pools of their own blood.

Local dog walkers rushed to their aid and called emergency services at around 7.30am.

But it was too late for the marine creatures, that died a short time later.