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Wed, 28 Sep 2016
The World for People who Think



Four farmers mauled by sloth bear in Maharashtra, India

© Manpreet Romana
Sloth bears are found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan but shrinking habitats and rampant poaching have reduced their numbers
At least four people have been mauled by a female sloth bear in Ashti range of Wardha. The attacks have been taking place since last two months.

All the attacks were on farmers and took place mostly when they were working in the farms. Forest officials informed that in the initial two attacks, farmers sustained serious injuries and were shifted to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). The last attack happened about three days back. Officials said that so far, there have been no deaths.

The same female bear is being sighted regularly with two cubs on the fringes of Manikawada and Moi villages. "Maximum attacks took place on the boundary of farms and forest. While patrolling their farms, farmers mistook the bear as wild boar or some other animal and tried to chase it away. The mother bear instinctively attacked to protect its cubs," officials said.

Comment: Reports of other sloth bear attacks this year: Sloth bear kills 3 before being shot dead in India

Pack of sloth bears attack and injure 3 in Chandrapur, India

Farmer survives 3 hour bear attack in Karnataka, India

Heart - Black

Second European bison found decapitated at Spanish wildlife reserve

© Alamy
European bison
Spanish authorities are investigating the death of a second European bison, which was found decapitated just days after staff discovered the headless body of the herd's dominant male.

The death of the bison was similar to that of Sauron, the 660kg (1,455lb) male whose decapitated body was found nearly a week earlier at the reserve.

A spokesman for the central government's representative in the eastern Valencia region where the private Valdeserrillas reserve is located said the animal had been decapitated after death. "Either it died of a natural death, or it was poisoned before being decapitated by an axe," he said.

The European bison, the continent's largest wild land mammal, once roamed across most of the continent but it was severely hunted until it finally became extinct in the wild in 1927, according to the WorldWildlife Fund.

Neither of the dead animals had any bullet wounds, and reserve spokesman Rodolfo Navarro told AFP earlier this week he thought that Sauron might have been poisoned and decapitated by hunters who wanted its head as "a trophy".

Comment: European bison 'Sauron' poisoned, decapitated at wildlife reserve in Spain


Shark attack leaves teenager with severe injuries in Ballina, Australia

A 17-year-old surfer has "severe lacerations" after being attacked by a shark while surfing with friends in Ballina, Australia.

Cooper Allen was on the first day of the spring holiday when the attack happened at the New South Wales beach.

The shark tore into his hip and thigh, narrowly missing a major artery.

Teeth marks on the board suggest it was a great white between 2.5 and 3 metres in length, local police said.

However, Mr Allen's injuries could have been far worse had the shark not bitten into his surfboard first before sinking its teeth into his leg.


Police release name of child killed in probable dog attack in Topeka, Kansas

Topeka Police say a 2-year-old child who was found dead Saturday was the victim of an animal attack.

Officers responded to the 800 block of SE Carnahan around 8 p.m. on a report of a missing child. A woman had called 911 after she woke up and could not find a little girl who lived in the home.

Lt. Bryan Wheeles said in a news release that police arrived and met with the reporting parties for a search of the immediate area.

The child was found dead in the yard.

Topeka Police Department Spokeswoman Amy McCarter stated in a news release Monday that the child has been identified as Piper Dunbar.


Massive fish kill on Siesta Beach, Florida

The weather is perfect for a beach day, but the water far from it.

"It's our first time coming to Siesta Key," said beachgoer Robert Carney. I heard a lot about it, wanted to come check it out, and we found out first hand unfortunately, they get red tide."

A walk on the beaches of North Longboat Key, and it becomes clear where red tide gets its name. The water a deep rusty color and thousands of dead fish line the shore. At Siesta Beach, it's a similar scene with birds picking away at what's left behind.

Florida Fish and Wildlife's latest report identifies those two beaches as having the highest levels of red tide, which is an algae bloom that produces toxic chemicals. For humans, it causes respiratory irritation, but for marine organisms and some birds, it's often deadly.

"This is the worst I've ever seen," said Justin Matthews of Matthews Wildlife Rescue. He's already rescued several birds effected by the red tide.

Comment: See also: Thousands of dead fish wash up on Longboat Key, Florida


Horses can communicate with their owners, say scientists

© Getty
23 out of 23 horses were able to learn to tell their trainer whether or not they needed a rug to wear.
Horses can be trained to communicate with humans to express their feelings and opinions, scientists have discovered.

Past research has confirmed that some species of animals, including apes and dolphins, can learn to communicate preferences by pointing at symbols, much like humans.

Contrary to previous expert opinions, it is now believed that horses are intelligent enough to tell their riders whether or not they want to wear a rug.

Using slices of carrot as an incentive, scientists from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute worked with a horse trainer to teach 23 horses of various breeds how to signal if they were too hot or too cold.

First, each horse was trained to approach a board hung on a fence and touch it with its muzzle.

The horses were then shown how to tell the difference between different symbols marked on the board to indicate the notion of "blanket on" (a horizontal bar), "blanket off" (a vertical bar) and no change (blank).

Finally, each horse was taught to associate a particular action with each symbol.

Hot and cold temperature challenges were performed in order to help learning and determine the animals' level of understanding.

Although the speed of learning varied, by the end of the two-week training scheme all 23 horses were able to go up to the board and indicate whether they wanted a rug to be put on or taken off.

Eye 2

Alligator attacks airboat on Saint Johns River, Florida

Angry gator takes a bite of man's airboat
Some Brevard County, Florida, boaters came face to face with an angry alligator Wednesday night.

John Morgan and Jeff Dixon said that they were on an airboat on the Saint Johns River, when they encountered the gator.

The nearly 11-foot gator, which was blocking their path on the river, suddenly lunged at the boat and clamped down on it.

The boaters quickly accelerated and were able to get away from the gator.

The boaters said that the gator survived the confrontation, but it was still angry when they left.


Ship sails into port with dead whale stuck to bow in Lisbon, Portugal; second such incident locally within a month

© LT Rene Torres, USCGR
Pullmantur Monarch strikes a whale

The carcass of a dead whale stuck to the front of a cruise ship that docked in Lisbon on Monday was removed from the ship on Tuesday morning.

The dead whale was removed from the ship at around 10am and towed to a location where it could be properly disposed of.

It is the second such incident to happen in Lisbon's docks in recent times.

On 28 August another whale was killed after colliding with a cargo ship that later also docked in Alcântara with the carcass still stuck to it.


Man mauled by brown bear on Admiralty Island, Alaska

A 57-year-old Kentucky man is recovering from injuries suffered when he was mauled by a bear on Alaska's Admiralty Island.

Alaska State Troopers say Douglas Adkins of Jenkins was injured as he hiked Thursday night with a big game hunting guide on the southeast Alaska island.

Adkins and the guide at about 8:30 p.m. were returning to a beach south of Angoon using headlamps to illuminate their way.

They startled a bear and it attacked. The attack stopped after a short period.


36 dead gulls found at park in Portland, Maine

Juvenile herring gull
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is asking the public to report any dead birds they may find in the Portland area.

They say over the past three weeks, 36 dead juvenile herring gulls have been found at Deering Oaks Park.

Three of these gulls were sent to be tested at the National Wildlife Disease Lab in Wisconsin and the results of these tests are expected in the next 7-10 days.

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife say herring gulls are the only type of dead birds found at the park even though there are many other species there.

Portland's Parks Director though says Deering Oaks is still a safe place to visit.