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Apr 13 12 9:24 AM
Apr 18 12 11:33 AM
Apr 23 12 4:07 PM
Apr 23 12 4:22 PM
May 1 12 6:20 PM
Probably ought to just take a drop and let that one go. (Clarion Content)-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
What is it with golf and alligators? You never hear about a gator
attacking, say, a basketball player, but it seems every spring we get a
story or two about golfers and gators coming together, and not for a
friendly round. Just weeks after we had the infamous battle of Caddie vs. Gator, won by the caddie, the gators very nearly had their revenge.
The scene: Florida (of course). Albert Miller, a 75-year-old golfer,
was playing the Lake Ashton Golf & Country Club in Lake Wales. And,
as golfers are wont to do, he put a shot into shallow water at the 15th
hole. He ambled over to the pond, spotted his ball, reached in to grab
it and suddenly HOLY CRAP THERE'S A GATOR LEAPING OUT OF THE WATER AND
BITING ME! (Not a direct quote.)
The gator chomped down on Miller's left knee and tried to drag him
into the water. Miller's playing partners held on to his arms, though
apparently none pulled an Elin Woods and took a golf club to the gator's
skull. Still, good news: "He let me go," Miller said. "I was three feet
from my life. He had me submerged up to my belt buckle. That was my
miracle of the month."
Think about that for a second. One moment, you're standing at the
edge of an idyllic pond; the next, you're instants away from being gator
food. Never know what the day's going to bring, do you?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured the
alligator, which was nine-feet long (!) and weighed an estimated 190
pounds. Miller required 40 stitches to close the cuts in his knee, and
faces a long and painful rehabilitation. But at least he's around to
schedule his next round.
So, yeah, next time somebody says golf's not a contact sport, invite them to play a few holes along a Florida waterway.
(Photo for illustration purposes only. That is presumably not the gator involved in this story. Presumably.)
May 5 12 1:08 PM
May 23 12 1:20 AM
Jun 15 12 12:42 PM
Jun 25 12 11:27 AM
Click image to see more of Lonesome George
Lonesome George, the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, subspecies …
Lonesome George has died, leaving the world one species poorer.
The only remaining Pinta Island tortoise and celebrated conservation
icon passed away Sunday, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a
Estimated to be more than 100 years old, the creature's cause of death remains unclear and a necropsy is planned.
Lonesome George's longtime caretaker, Fausto Llerena, found the
tortoise's remains stretched out in the "direction of his watering hole"
on Santa Cruz Island, the statement said.
Lonesome George was discovered on
Pinta Island in 1972 at a time when tortoises of his type were already
believed to be extinct. Since then, the animal had been part of the park
service's tortoise program.
Repeated efforts to breed Lonesome George failed.
"Later two females from the Espanola tortoise population (the species
most closely related to Pinta tortoises genetically) were with George
until the end," the park service said.
In honor of Lonesome George, the
park service said it was convening an international workshop in July on
management strategies for restoring tortoise populations over the next
The Galapagos Islands, situated about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off Ecuador's coast, is considered a haven for tortoises.
Jul 8 12 4:49 PM
Jul 10 12 10:44 AM
Jul 15 12 2:55 AM
Oct 10 12 2:01 PM
One-tonne pet tragically and violently ends bizarre 'father-son relationship' with farmer Marius Els
A farmer in South Africa has been killed by his pet hippopotamus, after repeated warnings that it was a wild animal that could never be tamed.
Els, 40, an army major, was bitten to death by the 1.2 tonne hippo he
christened Humphrey and tried to domesticate on a farm in Free State
Els's savaged body was found submerged in the river
where, years earlier, the hippo had been rescued from a flood. It grew
too big for the people who adopted it and was bought by Els at the age
of five months, becoming a pet on his 400-acre farm and learning to swim
Earlier this year, Els was photographed riding on
the five-year-old hippo's back. "Humphrey's like a son to me, he's just
like a human," he said. "There's a relationship between me and Humphrey
and that's what some people don't understand.
"They think you can
only have a relationship with dogs, cats and domestic animals. But I
have a relationship with the most dangerous animal in Africa."
Els's wife, Louise, a pharmacist, expressed misgivings, and the hippo
had caused trouble before. South African media reported earlier this
year that a 52-year-old man and his seven-year-old grandson spent two
hours in a tree after being chased by Humphrey while canoeing on the river that passes through the farm. Els finally tempted the hippo away with an apple while the pair were rescued by paramedics.
was also blamed for killing calves belonging to Els's business partner.
The animal also frequently broke out of its enclosure and chased
golfers at a local golf club.
Els, who also kept giraffe and
rhino, claimed the sound of his voice would lure Humphrey back home. He
regarded the hippo as "loveable" and a "gentle giant".
giant canine teeth, hippos are said to kill more people each year than
lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos combined. They can move
at speeds of up to 30mph despite weighing up to three tonnes.
Oct 29 12 11:22 AM
Nov 3 12 3:03 PM
A thriving market in east and southeast Asia in illegal wildlife products, particularly among cultures that prize the rhino horn for its magical or medicinal qualities, are driving the rhinoceroses to extinction, say experts.
China, Vietnam and Thailand are major consumers of rhino horn, fuelling the mass killing of rhinos across their ranges in India and elsewhere, they said.
Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, the world’s last major refuge of one-horned rhino, saw two massive floods this year. The flooding of the Brahmaputra river wreaked havoc in the park first during July-August and again in September.
Over 600 animals died in the first wave, and about 130 more perished in the second. But not all were drowned. Some rhinos fleeing the flood fell victims to poachers.
“As the reward for rhino horn shot up, many ex-militants have joined the ranks,” a senior official of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), requesting anonymity, let this reporter know.
“Use of automatic weapons is of particular concern, as it shows the poachers’ increasing sophistication,” he said.
A one-horned rhino stands guard against potential intruders in their main home in Kaziranga National Park. This majestic animal was once found across much of northern India but is now confined only to a few protected areas (Photo : Prabal Sarkar/ Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
Kaziranga, despite being one of the best-protected reserves in the country, faces a daunting task “because poachers are even ready to face the bullet”, Tito Joseph of the NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) says.
The 800-plus sq km Kaziranga park, is a world heritage site and is home to elephants, tigers, slow loris and swamp deer, among others.
This year, 15 rhinoceroses were killed in the Kaziranga landscape, said Joseph.
“Poachers cut the tail and ear of the rhino to prove to the buyers that the horn is genuine,” he said.
“We believe the rhino horns from recent poaching are still in the country,” the WCCB official said.
Border guards and other enforcement agencies have been alerted, he said.
Dimapur town in Nagaland is a hub of this trade, and from there rhino horns are trafficked through Myanmar out of the country.
“China and Vietnam don’t have rhinoceroses, hence they source the rhino horn from India. Traditionally, these markets depended on Africa but a new source was always welcome,” the official said.
South Africa, another major rhino range country, which earns huge revenues from wildlife tourism, has lost over 400 rhinos to poaching since January.
Despite best security measures in sanctuaries like Kruger National Park, poaching continues.
“This shows the money poachers are being offered,” said Joseph. “Rising income of the middle class in consumer countries is fuelling the rhino horn trade,” he said.
“Many of these countries do have laws to prevent the sale of wildlife articles, but their enforcement is often lax,” Joseph said.
The rhino horn is made up of calcium, melanin and keratin, the same substance as human hair and nails. Calcium deposits make the horn core stronger, and melanin protects the core from the sun’s UV rays, experts say.
But some cultures prize the rhino horn for magical qualities, while others used them as dagger handles or good luck charms.
The one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) is today found only in India and Nepal. It was exterminated from Bangladesh. India, with some 2,500 rhinoceroses, is their main home. Nepal has about 370 rhinos.
The African black and white rhinos are bigger bodied compared to their Asian counterparts, but they are equally threatened.
It is estimated that the trade in wildlife body parts is only third to arms and narcotics, a grim reminder of the threats rhinos face.
Nov 3 12 3:08 PM
Nov 3 12 3:15 PM
Nov 12 12 1:39 PM
KAZIRANGA (Assam), Nov 5: Even as efforts to finalize the national conservation and welfare plan for bears continue, three orphaned cubs under human care were moved to the forest for rehabilitation in Northeast India on Friday.The cubs were being hand-raised by IFAW-WTI (International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India) team at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga National Park in Assam and the Centre for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation (CBRC) in Pakke Tiger Reserve in the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh. They were moved to Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh to begin acclimatization to the release site for a soft-release.Ian Robinson, IFAW Animal Rescue Director, said, “Generally, these cubs are victims of people’s activities – either ill-intentioned or well-intentioned but ill-informed. Either way, we stand the risk of losing them from the wild. Our understanding of rehabilitation science is increasingly helping reduce this loss, but ideally we would have liked not to reach this situation at all.”Two of these cubs were handed over by locals of Agartala in Tripura who reportedly found them alone in the wild. After a few days at the State Zoo, the cubs were moved to CWRC for rehabilitation by the state Forest Department. The third cub was ‘rescued’ by Indian Army from a village locale at Seppa in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, and handed over to CBRC.“The cubs will now be walked in the forests daily,” said Soumya Dasgupta, IFAW-WTI wildlife biologist. “During these accompanied walks, the cubs learn the ways of the forest instinctively. They will be radio-collared and released after six months.”
The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is one of the four bear species found in India. They are distributed along the Himalayan region and Northeast Indian hills, and are threatened particularly by habitat degradation and conflict with people. There are also numerous cases of cubs being picked up by locals, after being found alone.IFAW-WTI has rehabilitated 30 orphaned or displaced bear cubs in the wild in Northeast India till date. “Many of these cubs were supposed to have been found alone by villagers during their forays into the forest to collect resources. There were also a few that were ‘rescued’ from traders,” said Sunil Kyarong, Regional Head – WTI.The other Indian bear species include the sloth bear, the brown bear and the sun bear. Bears are distributed in 26 Indian states.Over the past year, IFAW-WTI among other organizations has been assisting the Indian govt to create individual state action plans, and a national plan for the conservation and welfare of the bears. While the state plans provide specific roadmaps to the respective states, the national plan provide an overarching vision and direction.On 30th October, authorities from the bear range states met in New Delhi to finalize the national plan. The final plan will be released during the 21st International Conference on Bear Research and Management to be held in the Indian capital on Nov 26-30. The conference is being hosted by the Indian govt along with Wildlife Institute of India and WTI, with support from IFAW and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).A post-conference workshop on bear rehabilitation is being planned for the visiting international delegates. The workshop will be held in Kaziranga.
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Jan 10 13 12:54 PM
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