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Wed, 23 May 2018
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Animals

Butterfly

UK's butterflies have one of their worst years on record following gloomy wet summer in 2017

A grizzled skipper butterfly displays its stunning wings. It is one of the species of butterfly under threat

A grizzled skipper butterfly displays its stunning wings. It is one of the species of butterfly under threat
Two species of butterfly that were already in decline suffered their worst year on record last year as they struggled in difficult weather conditions.

Conservationists had hoped that butterfly numbers would bounce back after the summer of 2016, the fourth worst year in 42 years of records.

Many spring species emerged earlier than usual following a warm start to 2017.

Wolf

Baby boy mauled to death by family dog in Bad Koenig, Germany

canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
A seven-month-old baby has been savaged to death by his family's Staffordshire-cross dog.

The infant received huge bite wounds on his head at his home in Bad Koenig near Frankfurt.

His 23-year-old father raced him to hospital where he died hours after the Monday evening attack.

The child is the third person to die following a dangerous dog attack in Germany in the past few days.

Comment: See also: Mother and son found dead at home in Hanover, Germany after mauling by dog


Question

About 50 black kites die mysteriously in 24 hours in Bengal, India

Veterinary doctors treat sick black kites at Bengal Safari veterinary hospital in Siliguri after around 50 birds were found dead overnight and several others were found in a sick condition.
© AFP
Veterinary doctors treat sick black kites at Bengal Safari veterinary hospital in Siliguri after around 50 birds were found dead overnight and several others were found in a sick condition.
Around 50 black kites died in less than 24 hours in Siliguri, raising alarm among residents of this north Bengal city which also tops the list among Indian cities with most polluted air.

Wildlife experts and veterinary doctors suspect food poisoning may be the cause of death because these birds are scavengers. Viscera samples have been sent to Kolkata for tests.

West Bengal state tourism minister Goutam Deb visited a few places where the kites died.

Residents of the Children's Park area in ward 12 of Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) first spotted the dead birds on Friday evening.

Till Saturday afternoon, 49 dead kites were found in College Para, Tikia Para, the district court campus and bungalows of the sub-divisional officer and judges posted in Siliguri.


Comment: See also: More than 80 kites die in Tumakuru, India


Binoculars

American bittern turns up at nature reserve in Suffolk, UK

The American bittern poses for its many admirers at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Carlton Marshes nature reserve, near Lowestoft.
© Gavin Durrant
The American bittern poses for its many admirers at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Carlton Marshes nature reserve, near Lowestoft.
An American star with stripes has lured hundreds of birdwatchers to an East Anglian nature reserve - and has provided a £1million appeal to extend the site with a welcome bittern bonus.

Twitchers from many parts of Britain have been converging on Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Carlton Marshes, near Lowestoft, to see an American bittern - a species rarely seen in Britain and never before in Suffolk. Related to the great bittern for which East Anglian reedbeds are famous, the rare transatlantic visitor is distinguished by its smaller size, longer bill, greater contrast in its wing pattern and, most obviously, prominent brown neck stripes.

Attention

Dozens of geese fall from the sky into Idaho Falls parking lot during severe hailstorm

dead geese
Dozens of geese plummeted from the sky during a severe hail and thunderstorm Saturday evening.

Witnesses tell EastIdahoNews.com the birds suddenly fell into a parking lot near Yellowstone Highway and Lincoln Road in Idaho Falls around 7 p.m. It's likely they were struck by lightning.

Workers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game arrived with a truck and picked up the geese, according to witnesses.

EastIdahoNews.com is working to get more information from IDFG and will post additional details as we receive them.


Music

Scientists have found bowhead whales mating songs are as complex as jazz music

It turns out that bowhead whales - 75-tonne, thick-bodied mammals that can live two centuries and grow to be as long as a tractor-trailer - are the world's biggest songbirds

Kit M. Kovacs, Christian Lydersen/Norwegian Polar Institute via AP
In the ocean videos we've become accustomed to, the sounds of the sea are fairly simple: the whoosh of bubbles as a shark darts after a seal, the splash of a breaching dolphin, the British accent of a BBC narrator.

But for Kate Stafford and other oceanographers who have spent their careers eavesdropping on the sounds of marine animals, ocean noise is as complex and multifaceted as the sounds of a jungle.

Attention

Young gray whale that washed ashore on Whidbey Island, Washington was emaciated, researchers say

Carcass of gray whale
© Cascadia Research
Carcass of gray whale
The carcass of a 30-foot gray whale washed ashore on the west side of Whidbey Island, and an examination on Thursday showed the young female was emaciated, Cascadia Research said.

The carcass was first spotted on Tuesday.

"The whale was just under 30 feet long and determined to be emaciated, and the poor nutritional condition was likely a principal factor in its death," the Olympia-based Cascadia Research said. "The thorough examination did not reveal any indications of trauma from ship strike or signs of entanglement but a wide range of tissues were collected for examination for pathology, disease, biotoxins, and contaminants."

Attention

Dead sperm whale washes up on west coast of Newfoundland, Canada

The town of Humber Arm South will be tasked with removing this whale from the community.
© Colleen Connors/CBC
The town of Humber Arm South will be tasked with removing this whale from the community.
The carcass of a sperm whale has washed up on a beach near the town of Humber Arm South on Newfoundland's west coast.

On Thursday, the whale could be seen near Frenchman's Cove.

The carcass is swollen and guts could be seen spewing out of the water.

Because the mammal washed up within Humber Arm South's town limits, the community is responsible for disposing of the whale.

Sheeple

Death toll for Scotland's lambs sees a sharp increase after heavy snow

lambs
The death toll on Scottish sheep farms has seen a sharp increase following spells of heavy snow this winter, according to official figures.

Farming leaders said sheep farmers were facing a "war of attrition" from the weather after a severe winter followed a wet summer and autumn.

And they warned that it could affect productivity for the rest of the year.

Gary Mitchell, vice-president of NFU Scotland, said spring lambs were having a "really tough time".

Attention

Attack of the zombie raccoons! Currently on show in Youngstown, Ohio

raccoon
Police are investigating reports of "zombie-like" raccoons in northeast Ohio.

WKBN-TV reports Youngstown police have received more than a dozen calls in the past three weeks about raccoons acting strangely in the daytime.

Photographer Robert Coggeshall says he was playing with his dogs outside his home last week when one such raccoon approached them.

Coggeshall says the animal would stand on its hind legs, show its teeth and fall over backward.