Russia plans urgent evacuation of arctic post as ice melts: RAWSTORY


English: Arctic Ocean, submarine features Fran...

English: Arctic Ocean, submarine features Français : Bathymétrie de l’océan arctique (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/23/russia-plans-urgent-evacuation-of-arctic-post-as-ice-melts/

 

Russia has ordered the urgent evacuation of the 16-strong crew of a drifting Arctic research station after the ice floe that hosts the floating laboratory began to disintegrate, officials said Thursday.

Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Sergei Donskoi set a three-day deadline to draft a plan to evacuate the North Pole-40 floating research station.

“The destruction of the ice has put at risk the station’s further work and life of its staff,” the ministry said in a statement.

The station is currently home to 16 personnel including oceanologists, meteorologists, engineers and a doctor.

It conducts meteorological research, monitors environmental pollution and conducts a number of tests.

If the situation is not addressed, it may also result in the loss of equipment and contaminate the environment near Canada’s economic zone where the station is currently located, the ministry added.

The floating research laboratory will be relocated to Bolshevik Island in the Russian Arctic with the help of an ice-breaker.

“The ice floe has crumbled into six pieces,” said Arkady Soshnikov, spokesman for the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

“The people are not at risk but it is not possible to work in these conditions. The ice may disintegrate so a decision has been taken to evacuate” the station, he told AFP.

The station was located at 81 degrees North and 135 degrees West as of early morning Wednesday.

Scientists point to increasing signs of global warming in the Arctic, which is being significantly affected by climate change.

The UN weather agency said this month that the Arctic’s sea ice melted at a record pace in 2012, the ninth-hottest year on record.

Vladimir Sokolov, who oversees the floating station at the Saint Petersburg-based Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, said the ice was disintegrating due to climate change.

“This has made the Arctic research significantly harder — the ice has become thinner and the weather conditions more difficult,” he told AFP.

He said it was important to continue studying the Arctic.

“The Arctic Ocean, just like the Antarctic, is the ‘refrigerator’ of the Earth. It significantly affects the climate of our planet.”

“If this ‘refrigerator’ has a glitch and we do not know about it, it leads to mistakes in forecasts and affects the quality of decision-making on entire territories.”

Russia, which has always prided itself on its exploration of the energy-rich region, established the first floating station, the North Pole-1, in 1937.

Funding for floating stations dried up after the collapse of the Soviet Union but resumed under strongman Vladimir Putin who has said Russia intends to expand its presence in the Arctic.

The first floating Arctic station of post-Soviet Russia, the North Pole-32, was put together in 2003. The crew of that station had to be rescued when the ice floe beneath it broke up in 2004.

At a meeting with the crew of the rescued North Pole-32 station, President Putin stressed the importance of the Arctic research.

“For us, for such a northern country like Russia communications in the North are very important both economically and militarily,” Putin said in 2004.

Russia alarmed its Arctic neighbours, including Canada and Norway, when it planted a flag on the ocean floor under the North Pole in 2007 in a symbolic staking of its claim over the region.

The five Arctic nations that also include Denmark and the United States are locked in a tight race to gather evidence to support their claims amid reports that global warming could leave the region ice-free by 2030.

Super Mice Performs Amazing Tricks!


 
 
Watch These Mighty Mice Perform Amazing Tricks, Be Extremely Agile and Adorable
 

Watch These Mighty Mice Perform Amazing Tricks, Be Extremely Agile and Adorable

Watch These Mighty Mice Perform Amazing Tricks, Be Extremely Agile and AdorableI love mice, they’re so cute and smart, and they’re much maligned and feared by humans even though we’re the ones who terrorize them. Anyway, let’s take a minute to appreciate how great these little ones are, and how we are all just crazy animals trying to survive on planet earth. I don’t know what I’m saying but I just watched American Tail and I’m feeling pretty vulnerable. Fievel Mousekewitz, this one’s for you! (You too, Gussie Mausheimer! You plan that rawwy, you adorable miniature fur ball!)

 

 
 

 

Rhino Wars: Documenting the Poaching Crisis in South Africa


http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0116-hance-wcff-rhino-wars.html

 

Rhino wars: documenting the poaching crisis in South Africa Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
January 16, 2013

The 3rd Annual New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WFCC.org) runs from January 30 – February 2, 2013. Ahead of the event, Mongabay.com is running a series of Q&As with filmmakers and presenters. For more interviews, please see our WCFF feed.

Anne Goddard filming white rhinos for her short film Rhino Wars. Image courtesy of Anne Goddard.
Anne Goddard filming white rhinos for her short film Rhino Wars. Photo by: Fiona Ayerst.

   

In 2012 a record 668 rhinos were slaughtered by poachers in South Africa for the horns, which are used as scientifically-debunked medicine in Asia. Rhino poaching has hit record levels worldwide over the past few years, but no where is the carnage greater than South Africa, which houses well over half of the world’s rhinos. Thus it’s no surprise that when student filmmaker, Anne Goddard, arrived in South Africa to film zebra behavior, she quickly became enthralled by the dark and tragic drama surrounding the country’s rhinos.

The result of her trip is an intense short film on South Africa’s poaching crisis, dubbed Rhino Wars, that follows an anti-poaching team on the ground–and in the middle of the night–as they attempt to safeguard one of their country’s natural treasures.

Rhino Wars is making its New York City premiere Saturday, February 2 at the 3rd Annual New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival. Ahead of its premiere, Goddard answered some questions from Mongabay.com about the film and her career. As a student filmmaker, Goddard has already received a number of accolades: including best student film for Rhino Wars in the 3rd Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in Washington D.C.

AN INTERVIEW WITH ANNE GODDARD

Wildlife ranger on an anti-poaching team. Image courtesy of Anne Goddard.
Wildlife ranger on an anti-poaching team. Image courtesy of Anne Goddard.

Mongabay.com: What is your background?

Anne Goddard: I am the writer/producer/presenter of the short film Rhino Wars. I recently graduated from Elon University with a Strategic Communications degree and am currently doing PR for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Mongabay.com: How long have you been making films? What are some other examples of your work?

Anne Goddard: This is my first attempt at filming. I did a wildlife film internship with a production company called Africa Media in Mossel Bay, South Africa this past August. It is lead by National Geographic’s shark and wildlife expert, Ryan Johnson. He taught me everything from handling a camera to editing to the ethics of wildlife filming.

Mongabay.com: Why did you choose the illegal trade in rhino horn as the topic of your film?

Anne Goddard: Even though I was aware of the issue of rhino poaching, I didn’t understand the full extent of the issue until I was in South Africa. I originally was going to do a short film on zebra behavior, but my interest changed directions when I heard the news that four rhinos had been poached within the surrounding area just in the month I was there. I talked with a couple of game reserve owners and they all said that the situation is so dire that most reserves within the area have lost their rhinos. One reserve had their rhinos in a boma under 24-hour security and both rhinos were shot and poached. At this time, we have already lost 630 rhinos in 2012 and we are standing at a rate of losing 2 rhinos every 24 hours and that number is escalating quickly. I have always wanted to get involved in wildlife film, so though this film is short and amateur at best, I am incredibly proud of it. It got me involved in rhino conservation and I feel it has helped raised awareness about this dire issue among my peers. Also, the filming experience was incredible and it definitely sparked a passion for wildlife film.

Mongabay.com: What is the plot of the film?

  Goddard in front of white rhinos. Photo by: Fiona Ayerst.
Goddard in front of white rhinos. Photo by: Fiona Ayerst.

Anne Goddard: Rhino Wars is a harshly educational short documentary on the cruel realities of rhino poaching. As a young conservationist, I travel to South Africa to join a rhino poaching patrol in their effort to protect and save these regal creatures from the hands of brutal poachers.

Mongabay.com: What was the most exciting or interesting part of making the film?

Anne Goddard: The most exciting part about this process was joining the Indalu game rangers on their nightly patrol in the bush. It was thrilling and invigorating. It was definitely a crash course in camera operation. Half of the time I was struggling to keep up with all my camera equipment, while trying to keep quiet. I also enjoyed having the incredible experience of getting to know the white rhinos on this reserve. They are such wonderful, charismatic animals.

Mongabay.com: What draws you to the natural world?

Anne Goddard: One of my favorite quotes about nature is from Anne Frank. She once said, “the best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, some where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.” There is so much you can learn from nature. I feel that nature has taught me to patient and how to be adaptable to situations. There is a lot of peace and serenity that you can find within the natural world.

Mongabay.com: What impact do you hope this film will have?

Anne Goddard: I am already so happy with the awareness I have raised about this situation just among my friends and family. People are shocked to hear the brutality of rhino poaching and the rate at which it is occurring. If this film can simply get someone to care and talk about this issue then I have considered it a success.

Mongabay.com: Is this the debut? Are you planning to show it elsewhere?

Anne Goddard: Rhino Wars first debut was at the 3rd Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in Washington D.C. on Nov. 7th. I was granted the wonderful opportunity to do a Q&A about rhino poaching with the audience and I got some great feedback. It was also the recipient of “Best Student Film” award, in which I felt incredibly honored to have received! My next plan is to enter it into the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival for next September.

Mongabay.com: How did you come to work with WCFF?

Anne Goddard: On a whim, I submitted my film for consideration for the D.C. film festival and Christopher Gervais was kind enough to accept it. It has been a real honor and privilege to have my little film be shown amongst these great documentaries.

Mongabay.com: What’s next on your agenda?

Anne Goddard: Seeing that I do not own my own camera equipment, my filming plans are on stall for right now. However, I am actively trying to pursue a career in wildlife filmmaking or wildlife conservation wherever that may lead me!

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0116-hance-wcff-rhino-wars.html#xo495IEGTO8SdS2F.99

eating animals : the consequences


 
Animals Australia

Annamaria — please take a day off. You deserve it. Take a day off from worries, from bad hair, traffic jams, and particularly, from annoying TV ads…Speaking of ads — it’s hard not to notice that Meat & Livestock Australia has hijacked Australia Day! Strewth — any visiting tourist would think that Sam Kekovich is the father of Australia and that it’s a local tradition to lob a little lamb on the barbie to prove how Australian you are! Crikey — it’s just a multimillion dollar marketing campaign to sell more lamb!

We thought Straya (‘Australia’ for our overseas friends) was all about a fair go for all; about sticking up for the undersheepdog; and above all, about looking out for our mates (four legged mates included of course).

Help us take back Australia Day in the true Aussie spirit — a day when EVERYONE deserves a day off…

This Australia Day, EVERYONE deserves a day off!

Okay, so we’re ‘taking the piss’ (a bit). But really, MLA’s campaign to urge Aussies to eat more animals should be no laughing matter. Apart from the fact that lambs are so super cute, Australians are facing a rising obesity and heart disease epidemic — conditions linked to the over consumption of animal products. Our planet’s health is suffering too. This month we sweltered through the hottest day on record — all the while our pollies conveniently ignored the fact that farming animals for food is creating more climate-warming greenhouse gasses than all of the world’s planes, trains and automobiles combined.

It’s enough to send you bonkers!

So this Australia Day, we’re calling on all true-blue Aussies to help animals, our health, and our planet — by throwing some cruelty-free tucker on the barbie. Because being Australian is more than just abbreviating all your words with the letter ‘o’. Bloody oath. It’s about taking a stand. Doing what’s right. And hosting a BBQ that will be the envy of all your neighbours. Click here and we’ll show you how!

Whatever you get up to on your day off, we wish you a happy, safe, rip-snorter of a day.

Cheers, from your mates at Animals Australia.

P.S. We need your help to spread the word that animals deserve a day off too. It’s easy. Tell your folks. Tell your mates. Share this funny video on Facebook and Twitter. Forget John Farnham — this year, YOU’RE the voice!

Animals: chimps face death like humans do (discovery.news)


 

Chimps

Chimps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://news.discovery.com/videos/animals-chimps-face-death-like-humans-do.html#mkcpgn=emnws1

Animals: Chimps Face Death Like Humans Do

Chimpanzees may confront death in a lot of the same ways we do, researchers suggest. Their findings show chimps grieving, holding bedside vigils and even having a hard time ‘letting go’ of the departed. Jorge Ribas reports.

6 Truths About Crows – Please, Take a Look Unto Austria`s Scientists, too!


Corvus moneduloides, New Caledonian Crow

Corvus moneduloides, New Caledonian Crow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 6 Scary Truths About Crows

(Video) by Judy Molland June 24, 2012 5:20 pm

What do you know about crows? Maybe you’ve heard some of the dark beliefs: that if you see a crow flapping its wings, it means a big accident is about to happen? Or that if a crow is sitting on top of a house with a red thread in its beak, you should summon the fire department, because the flames aren’t far behind? Crows have also long been associated with death in many cultures, because they often could be found feeding on animal and human remains at battlefields or cemeteries.

 On the other hand, many American Indian tribes saw the crow as a wise adviser and the spirit of wisdom and the law. At the University of Seattle, a new study by artist Angell and biologist Marzluff has brought together some surprising information on these dark creatures. From The New York Times: • Crows and ravens work together.

 A pair of ravens at the North Cascades Institute learned to “herd” crossbills down a passageway between buildings. “Elvis, a male raven would … rush the crossbills down a corridor between buildings, and his mate would intercept their progress and turn them into the glass windows. Stunned crossbills littered the ground afterward until Elvis and his mate grabbed mouthfuls to eat and cache for later dinners, ” the authors write. • Crows can tell time — if not by a watch, by other prompts. The authors write of a dozen wild crows at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo who followed a feeding ritual. Once a week (noon Friday), Humboldt penguins got a treat — live fish.

The crows learned to mass well ahead of time; they knew the routine and “beat the keepers to their posts by a few minutes” picking off the penguins’ treats. Here are a few more that may intrigue you: * Crows can use tools. Corvids, which includes crows and ravens are supposedly amongst the most intelligent of birds. The New Caledonian Crow of the South Pacific, for example, reportedly makes complicated hooked tools out of leaves and twigs to probe in hold for food and even stores the tools for later use. • Crows have emotions, such as anger and attachment. They have been known to pay their respects to the dead, visiting a fallen comrade — whether to mourn, identify their fellow flock member or evaluate the new pecking order in the flock is impossible to say. •

Crows and other corvids have amazing memories. Corvids are able to remember thousands of individual locations. The species that rely most on caches, such as nutcrackers and jays, can remember for months tens of thousands of locations where they hide seeds each year. Finally, from cracked.com: * Crows can remember your face. Researchers in Seattle performed an experiment with some crows around their college campus. They captured seven of the birds, tagged them, then let them go. And they did it all while wearing creepy skin masks, because it was funny: OK, so the scientists weren’t just playing out horror movie fantasies — they were testing whether the crows could recognize human faces or not.

 It turns out they can. To a frightening degree: Whenever the scientists walked around campus with the masks on, the crows would “scold” and dive-bomb them… because along with the ability to recognize us as individuals, the researchers also learned that crows can hold a grudge. And pretty soon, it wasn’t just the first seven crows reacting. Other birds, ones that hadn’t even been captured in the first place, started dive-bombing the scientists as well. (….) Pretty soon, every single crow on the campus knew which masks meant trouble, and wanted the guys wearing them dead.

When they didn’t wear the masks, however, the crows left them alone, because even they can’t see through disguises … yet. So now you know: do not believe Aesop’s fable about the fox and the crow, in which the fox outsmarts the crow. It’s probably not true!

 Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/6-scary-truths-about-crows-video.html#ixzz1ynQVzSTS

Please, note: in Vienna, Austria, there is a scientist, Prof. Dr. Huber,  who is searching at this field in a totally new way! He & his team are working with raven & other animals. Very interesting!

HONEYBEES: Researchers search for viruses to save honeybees


FARM NEWS

Researchers search for viruses to save honeybees
by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (SPX) Jun 21, 2012


File image.

In an effort to save the dwindling honeybee population researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas are looking to viruses to help treat one of the most destructive and widespread bee brood diseases in the United States. They report their findings at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

“Our food supply depends on the actions of millions of insects such as the common honeybee. Due to the importance of honeybees a pollinators in the agriculture of the United States and therefore the current and future food supply, honeybee health is of great concern,” says Diane Yost, a researcher on the study.

American Foulbrood Disease (AFD) is the most widespread and destructive brood disease affecting honeybees. It is caused by a bacterial pathogen, Paenibacillus larvae. Young honeybee larvae become infected when they ingest the bacterial spores in their food. Infected larvae normally die after their cells are sealed. The bacteria eventually die as well but not before producing millions of spores.

While there are some chemical treatments that can be used to hold AFD in check they must be continued indefinitely. Once the treatment is suspended the American foulbrood spores germinate successfully again leading to a disease outbreak. Because the spores can survive up to 40 years, many states require diseased hives to be burned completely.

Yost and her colleagues are researching an alternative treatment for AFD. They are focusing on using bacteriophages, viruses that infect and kill specific bacteria, to target the bacteria responsible for AFD and eventually treat the disease.

“If an effective remedy for the disease could be developed, hives that are infected with the pathogen could be treated rather than burned, which is currently the only effective treatment,” says Yost.

The researchers conducted an extensive search for phage from environmental sources including samples from desert and garden soils, beehives, flowers, compost and cosmetics containing beeswax.

Nearly 100 samples were tested for the presence of phages. A total of 31 phages were isolated and each were subsequently tested against 8 different strains of the AFD pathogen. The researchers identified 3 phages that had activity against all 8 strains of the bacteria.

“These results demonstrate that bacteriophages capable of infecting P. larvae are present in the natural environment, and these phages may represent the first step in developing a potential treatment for AFD,” says Yost.

KANGAROOS SLAUGHTER DOWN UNDER PER YEAR: 4 MILLION!


English: Glenugie Peak with Eastern Grey Kangaroos

English: Glenugie Peak with Eastern Grey Kangaroos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.takepart.com/2012/05/30/aussie-shame-kangaroo-slaughter-down-under?cmpid=tp-ptnr-hufpo

 Aussie Shame: 4 Million Kangaroos Slaughtered Down Under Per Year.With no humane standards or accountability, kangaroos often die painful, protracted deaths.

 By Jocelyn HeaneyMay 30, 2012Comment.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos are highly adaptable and the most common kangaroos encountered in Australia.

Australia’s Nine News reports that the unregulated Australian kangaroo industry involves untrained farmers and landowners slaughtering a reported 90 million—yes, 90 million!—kangaroos over the past two decades. Like harp seals, of which 300,000 are slaughtered per year in Canada, kangaroos often suffer violent prolonged deaths. A common scenario involves shooting the kangaroo mothers, ripping the baby kangaroos (“joeys”) from their pouches, and stomping on the babies’ heads. … Please,  read whole article there!

Please, note: We wrote a petition unto EU-Parliament to ban Kangaroo-Meat in the whole EU. With us in Europe meat of poor kangaroos are sold as Dog-Food, too.

The Local – Switzerland bans import of dolphins


The Local – Switzerland bans import of dolphins.

 
Photo credit: Ville Felvin (File)
Switzerland bans import of dolphins
Published: 30 May 2012 11:08 GMT+1
Updated: 30 May 2012 09:50 GMT+1
Online: http://www.thelocal.ch/3417/20120530/

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The National Council decided finally on Tuesday to ban the importation of dolphins or whales to Switzerland.
“This is a great victory,” Isabelle Chevalley, Councillor for the Green Liberals who led the campaign for the ban, told newspaper Tribune de Genève.

Currently Connyland is the only animal park in Switzerland where cetaceans are kept. Activists have been campaigning for twenty years to shut down the dolphin show there.

Chevalley managed to convince some of her right-leaning colleagues also, enabling her to bag her first parliamentary success.

Three lone dolphins remain, after the controversial deaths of two dolphins last year. The Council of States, the lower house, voted to allow the remaining dolphins to live out their days in their current home, and on Tuesday the National Council reached the same conclusion.

But the lawyers working towards the imposition of the ban have said that the goal will be to have the dolphins removed altogether.

“Today, no-one would go to see tigers locked in a concrete cage,” Chevalley told the paper.

Not all politicians agree with the dolphin ban, believing it will pave the way for the introduction of bans on other animals.

“Recently, 300 dolphins died in the Gulf of Mexico in total indifference, versus only two in recent years in Switzerland,” Oskar Freysinger for the Swiss People’s Party told the newspaper.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)