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Apr 3 12 10:05 PM
Apr 5 12 6:52 PM
Scientists in search of ancient tusks made a startling discovery.
They uncovered the nearly perfectly preserved remains of a woolly
mammoth in northern Siberia. The juvenile mammoth is believed to be more
than 10,000 years old, but was only 3 to 4 years old when it died. It
is unlike any other mammoth that has been unearthed before.
The scientists reveal their discovery, which they named "Yuka,"
in a BBC documentary. Yuka has strawberry blond hair, unlike the dark
hair that other mammoths have been found to have. Plus, Yuka's footpads
are incredibly well preserved, but some of his bones are missing.
Scientists are trying to determine how Yuka died. They believe it's
possible that it could be due to human interaction with the animal. It's
plausible that ancient humans may have stolen the mammoth from lions.
If their theory proves correct, this will be the first relatively
complete mammoth to show evidence of human interaction.
Our next story has to do with another rare animal find, but this is more of the domestic variety.
A woman was reunited with her long-lost cat after he had been missing for more than 15 years. Poldi, as he is affectionately known, was found in the woods behind a home in Munich.
At first, the teenager who found him thought he was a stray, but an
ID tattoo behind his ear showed that he belonged to a family and had
been missing since 1996.
The ginger tomcat was malnourished and missing his front teeth, but
he was friendly and receptive to the strangers who cared for him for a
few days. When they discovered his tattoo, they took him to an animal
sanctuary to see if his name was in the database of missing animals. He
was, as was his owner's information.
When Poldi's original owner was contacted, she was dumbfounded. She
had long given up hope of finding Poldi. She says she thinks he
originally ran away because he did not get along with her other furry
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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 9:08 PM
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Jun 25 12 7:27 PM
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 9 12 12:49 AM
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Oct 10 12 10:01 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 7:22 PM
Nov 3 12 11:03 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.
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