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Tue, 21 Aug 2018
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Animals

Attention

Wild elephant targets vehicles in Tamil Nadu, India

Foresters are now escorting buses.

Foresters are now escorting buses.
Jumbo menace resurfaces in newer forms

A wild elephant has begun to target vehicles and motorists in particular in the Mooparkadu village area near here. Foresters are now escorting buses.

While the wild elephant menace has almost become a regular phenomenon in this wildlife rich district of Nilgiris, it was really strange to see this one straying into Mooparkadu village limits, often hiding in bushes near the second hair-pin bend along the narrow Coonoor-Mooparkadu road and then chasing vehicles that happen to pass that area.

Comment: This is interesting in light of the fact that this same strange behavior was filmed last month in Sri Lanka:




Fish

Fisherman catch rare 16ft long giant oarfish off coast of Chile

giant oarfish
© Catalina Island Marine Institute / AFP
Fishermen seeking a species of tuna off the coast of Chile got a lot more than they bargained for when a giant 16ft long fish fell into their nets during a routine expedition.

The elongated deep-sea fish, identified as the rare giant oarfish, stunned fishermen by coming into their reach in shallow waters near the resort of Iquique in northern Chile.

Footage from the incident shows the monstrous five-meter long fish sprawled across the deck as curious fishermen surround it. In another image, an angler can be seen lying next to the dead creature.

The fish weighed somewhere between a whopping 265 to 331lb (120-150kg) according to Cavancha Caleta fishery coordinator, Rodrigo Oliva. Given its rarity, the specimen was handed over to marine researcher Miguel Araya from the Arturo Prat University for further analysis, reported La Estrella de Iquique.

Info

The humble worm may hold the secret to longer life

Flatworm
© Flickr/ Lukas Schärer, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
The regenerative abilities of the flatworm Macrostomum lignano serve as a model for how humans might regenerate tissues.
Research into the remarkable regenerative powers of worms and the insights they can give into battling diseases could help humans live longer and healthier lives.

Humans have long dreamed of finding the secret to eternal youth, but despite the benefits of better living conditions and modern medicine, time still takes its unrelenting toll on our bodies.

While people today live longer than ever before, age-related diseases such as dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions rob people of the chance of living healthy lives into old age.

But researchers have a secret weapon in the battle with the ageing process - the humble worm. Flatworms have the ability to regrow large parts of their bodies after losing them. Roundworms, meanwhile, may hold the secret to counteracting neurodegenerative scourges like Alzheimer's disease and conditions such as muscular dystrophy.

Scientists see these creatures as a rich source of potential clues about the ageing process and how we too might regenerate tissues.

In a project called MacModel, researchers are using the flatworm Macrostomum lignano, which is normally found living in the tidal sands of the Adriatic Sea, to investigate ageing mechanisms. Previous research observed that the animals had a remarkable ability to regenerate, and that the worms tended to live for longer after repeated amputation, suggesting that something about the regeneration process also rejuvenated them.

Professor Eugene Berezikov, principal investigator for MacModel and a stem cell researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and his team, tried to investigate further by severing the worms' heads to induce regeneration.

Their findings, however, appeared to contradict the earlier research - after multiple amputations, flatworms had decreased survival compared to intact worms. But there was another major difference with the earlier findings - both worms that underwent amputations and those that did not tended to live longer than the median 200-day lifespan seen in the previous research.

Many of Prof. Berezikov's worms were still alive after a whopping 740 days, including about 70% of the intact worms. This defies the tendency for small organisms to be shorter-lived, explains Prof. Berezikov.

'Macrostomum is very small, about 1 millimetre, so for it to live for more than two years makes it a huge outlier,' he said. Often, a creature of this size would be expected to live just a few weeks.

Attention

14 minke whale deaths in Canadian Maritime Provinces this year surpasses annual average

The dead minke discovered July 2 on the shores of Petit-Pokemouche Bay on the Acadian Peninsula was examined by a MARS team.
© Marine Animal Response Society
The dead minke discovered July 2 on the shores of Petit-Pokemouche Bay on the Acadian Peninsula was examined by a MARS team.
Marine Animal Response Society trying to determine 'if there's something bigger going on here'

The Marine Animal Response Society is keeping a close eye on the minke whale population in the Maritimes after at least 14 of them have been observed dead at sea or washed ashore since February.

On Thursday, a dead minke was discovered on Inkerman Beach in northern New Brunswick, but it's not yet clear if it's a new case, or one that was previously reported, said executive director Tonya Wimmer.

Normally, the region sees between five and 10 minke whale deaths per year, she said.

"So it's a little bit higher than our normal sort of average, but you know, we're only partway through the year, so I think that's part of the concern."

Attention

Elephant attacks kill 20 over 15 months in forest district in Odhisa, India

Charging elephant
© Getty
Charging elephant
A herd of elephants claimed its 12th human victim in the last six months on Monday night under Bisra forest range prompting Rourkela Forest Division to change its strategy. Rourkela Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjay Swain said the deceased Umesh Munda (40), a resident of Budikani village under Mahipani police limits, was trampled to death by a tusker.

The DFO said after the latest incident, the Forest department is mulling to install high mast lights, solar fencing and elephant proof trenches in the vulnerable villages. Rourkela Assistant Conservator of Forest D K Sahu said between April 2017 and March 2018, about 15 human deaths were reported from Rourkela Forest division.

This year, five deaths have been recorded taking the total toll due to elephant attacks to 20 in 15 months.

Comment: Also in Asia on the island nation of Sri Lanka elephants killed a total of 10 people in just a few days during June. In that same country and in the same month a video emerged of an elephant at the roadside chasing several approaching vehicles.




Attention

Dead sperm whale found on beach in Marlborough, New Zealand

How the sperm whale died is unknown.
© RICKY WILSON/STUFF
How the sperm whale died is unknown.
A sperm whale has washed ashore on a beach near Blenheim.

Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers discovered the dead whale at Marfells beach near Blenheim about 8.30am on Saturday.

A Facebook post from marine mammal charity Project Jonah said DOC rangers were quick to the scene but they were unable to assess the condition and species of the whale due to strong swells.

The next step was for the local iwi to bless the whale before deciding on a suitable burial site, the post said.

Snowflake

Global cooling: Excessive spring snowfall results in non-breeding year for shorebirds in north-east Greenland - 1 meter deep snow

The study area in NE Greenland: in mid-June 2018 the tundra surface was close to 100% covered in snow.
© Jeroen Reneerkens
The study area in NE Greenland: in mid-June 2018 the tundra surface was close to 100% covered in snow.
Jeroen Reneerkens of the University of Groningen studies breeding Sanderlings, for the first time in 2003 and since 2007 annually. He works from the Danish Zackenberg Research Station (74°28'N 20°34'W) in NE Greenland that was established in 1996, and is the research base for various experts monitoring the biotic and abiotic environment of NE Greenland.

Jeroen reports about his remarkable 2018 field season:

I study how rising temperatures may affect the reproductive success of Sanderlings in Zackenberg, NE Greenland. Due to a disproportionate degree of climate warming in the Arctic, shorebirds that migrate to the Arctic to breed are strongly suspected to be negatively affected by ongoing climate change. Niels Martin Schmidt and his team have indeed established that the summer temperatures in Zackenberg have steadily increased during the last decades.

Comment: Some additional data just to show the size and extent of the Northeast Greenland national park and how much land surface was (still is?) covered with snow:

Northeast Greenland National Park

Northeast Greenland National Park


From Wikipedia:
Northeast Greenland National Park (Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaanni nuna eqqissisimatitaq, Danish: Grønlands Nationalpark) is the world's largest national park and the largest protected land area.[1] Established in 1974 and expanded to its present size in 1988, it protects 972,000 km2 (375,000 sq mi)[2] of the interior and northeastern coast of Greenland and is bigger than all but twenty-nine countries in the world. It was the first national park to be created in the Kingdom of Denmark and remains Greenland's only national park.



Cloud Lightning

Dead baby whale found in waters off Albay, Philippines

A Bryde’s whale calf found dead in the waters off Barangay Namanday, Bacacay, Albay.
© BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES
A Bryde’s whale calf found dead in the waters off Barangay Namanday, Bacacay, Albay.
A baby whale was found dead by residents in the seawaters off a village in Bacacay town, Albay province Tuesday.

Nonie Enolva, spokesperson of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Bicol, said the female Bryde's whale calf was found off Barangay Namanday. It was 4.2 meters long and weighed about 700 kilos.

Enolva said the cause of death, based on a necropsy conducted by the BFAR, was "starvation secondary to drowning."

Attention

Dead whale found on the Acadian Peninsula, New Brunswick

Tina Casavant Robichaud discovered the carcass while walking the water's edge on Monday night.
© Tina Casavant Robichaud
Tina Casavant Robichaud discovered the carcass while walking the water's edge on Monday night.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada still trying to identify the species, but say it's not an endangered right whale

A dead whale has washed up on the shores of Petit-Pokemouche Bay on the Acadian Peninsula.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials have not identified the species yet, but it is not an endangered North Atlantic right whale, spokesperson Steve Hachey told CBC News.

They believe it "is likely" a minke whale, but decomposition is complicating the identification process, he said. Further analysis is required, he said.

Attention

Dead juvenile humpback whale found on beach in Byron Bay, Australia

National Parks and Wildlife help to remove an 8.8m juvenile humpback whale from Tallow Beach near Tallow Creek in Byron Bay after it washed ashore dead.
© Marc Stapelberg
National Parks and Wildlife help to remove an 8.8m juvenile humpback whale from Tallow Beach near Tallow Creek in Byron Bay after it washed ashore dead.
A juvenile humpback whale has been found dead on a beach in northern New South Wales.

The body of the 8.8 metre humpback was discovered early this morning, wallowing in the shallows on Tallow Beach, about two kilometres south of Cape Byron.

Marine animal rescue group ORRCA was alerted shortly before 8am, and National Parks and police arrived on scene.

National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) ranger Keely Markavino said they were in the process of figuring out the best way to remove the carcass and dispose of it elsewhere.

"The main thing to note is that it won't be disposed of at the beach because that poses its own risk, so it will be disposed of in another safe, designated area," she said.