A Sea Turtles Holocaust Down South

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have been scratching their noggins as to how and why sea turtles have been washing-up ashore the Gulf.

Last Friday, the NMFS released a statement with some details about its investigation:

“In the past few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in turtle strandings in the northern Gulf, primarily in Mississippi. The spring time is the typical time when turtle strandings in this region begin to increase, but the sharp increases in recent days are of concern to us….NOAA Fisheries is in contact with the states of MS and LA regarding current trawl and other fishery activity that can result in turtle by catch and mortality. In addition, tests will be done for biotoxins, such as those from harmful algae blooms, which are common in the Gulf. …All causes of death, including petroleum, will be investigated when possible based on decomposition. During a necropsy, the full GI tract is examined for product or evidence of oil ingestion. Additionally, samples are taken for PAH analysis. In addition, all turtles are being carefully examined for signs of external oiling.”

A recent academic probe into dolphin deaths showed that the actual number of mortalities is most-likely 50 times that what is recovered. NOAA says recent deaths of sea turtles, (all included on the Endangered Species list) include 6 in Alabama, 10 in Louisiana, and at least 50 in Mississippi.

Re-Introducing Animals to Their Natural Home: Friendly Gesture or Playing God?

What happens to animals which have been removed from their natural habitat because of their status as endangered species?

Well, according to TheDailyGreen.com:
Gray Wolf

“Limited attempts at predator reintroduction in the United States have for the most part proven very successful. The gray wolf, extirpated by hunters in the Yellowstone region some 90 years ago, is now thriving there in the wake of a controversial reintroduction program initiated in 1995, when the National Park Service released 31 gray wolves into the park’s expansive backcountry.”

The article goes on to say that since 1995, as many as 170 gray wolves roam freely throughout the park, though the elk population, which according to the article,

“Was denuding many iconic park landscapes in the absence of its chief predator — has fallen by half, in what many environmentalists see as a win-win scenario.”

Besides for this, there have been other successful reintroduction efforts in the U.S.:

“From the lynx in Colorado to the condor in California to the Black-footed ferret on the Plains, scientists are pleased with how well reintroduced species have taken to their new surroundings. As a result, many conservationists now view the reintroduction of iconic wildlife species as key to restoring otherwise degraded natural landscapes.”

The non-profit Rewilding Institute says:

“When we kill off big cats, wolves and other wild hunters, we lose not only prominent species, but also the key ecological and evolutionary process of top-down regulation…Wolves, cougars, lynx, wolverines, grizzly and black bears, jaguars, sea otters and other top carnivores need to be restored throughout North America in ecologically effective densities in their natural ranges where suitable habitat remains or can be restored.”

Although a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) argues that:

“Reintroduction programs subject wild animals to capturing and handling, which is always stressful for them, and may eventually put them in the line of fire of farmers who are already angry about predator-reintroduction programs…when predators are reintroduced to an area where they have long been absent, prey species tend to scatter and their lives and behavior patterns are turned upside-down.”

Putin Proves That He Is A Real Tiger

In 2008 Vladimir Putin shot a five-year-old female tiger with a tranquilizer gun and helped put a transmitter around her neck. The transmitter allowed people to follow the animal’s perusing through Russia’s Far East.

siberian tigerOn Wednesday Vladimir Krever of the World Wildlife Fund said that the satellite tracking devise has been silent since mid-September; which could be due to battery failure, a broken collar or poachers.

Sadly tigers are becoming an endangered species in the far-eastern region of Russia due to factors such as poaching and the loss of habitat. Since 1997, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, their number has declined by 40%. They said that only 56 tigers have been spotted in an area of 9,000 square miles (24,000 square kilometers), which is about one-sixth of their known habitat in Russia. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates the total number remaining in the wild as 300. A similar estimate in 2005 put the number of tigers left in Siberia at 500. These numbers show that the animal could be facing extinction.

Here’s why these tigers are endangered:

Chinese poachers have begun attaching explosives covered with animal fat to tree branches. When tigers or Amur leopards swallow the bait, it explodes in their mouths. The poachers use the animals for hides and bones, prized in traditional Chinese medicine.

Another factor which plays a huge role in Russia’s disappearing wildlife is illegal deforestation in the country’s Far East.
Siberian tigers can weigh up to 600 pounds (272 kilograms) – they are also known as Ussuri, Amur or Manchurian tigers. They prey on wild boars, deer and bears.

At one time, the Siberian tigers freely roamed most of Eurasia, from the Black Sea to Central Asia – however now they are limited to the forests of Far Eastern Russian and the Chinese province of Manchuria. In china the killing of a Siberian tiger is punishable by death.

The Russian government is currently planning to hold a conference regarding the conservation of wildlife, namely the tiger.

Doggy Cloning Now Going Commercial

cloned dogsWant to get an unconventional gift for your South Korean dog-owner friend? This holiday season, swipe a DNA sample of his dog, and then get it cloned for him! You can do this now, because a South Korean biotech firm is going into the (not quite) booming dog-cloning business, looking to clone 1,000 dogs a year. In response, neighboring North Korea threatened to nuke the planet again because Kim Jong Ill had a bad hangover last weekend. That’s a joke, but it’s probably true anyway, sadly.

Well, this cloning gets a bit more useful when it’s about cloning endangered species, which the firm also plans on doing. But something still tells me this is all wrong. Comedian Paul Virzi came out all roses on the subject, saying, “When you get a dog, you know what they say, you have to be responsible. If you clone, you don’t have to be responsible. You leave the door open, he gets wacked by a van, you go to the factory, you get another one. That’s the beauty of it, so clone the dogs and keep getting them.”

We’re not at all coming out in support of leaving the door open so your dog gets run over by a van only to be cloned again. As a matter of fact, we’re against that sort of behavior. Back when Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996 (above), everybody freaked out just a bit, and for good reason. That was just an experiment. This is step number two: cloning for commercial gain.

If this develops too far, then the government eventually gets involved, usually for the purposes of improving warfare strategies, such as cloning a genetically engineered elephant invasion force that feeds off live flying small arms ammunition or something. And then humans get into the picture, and then things get real messy.

Evidence that this cloning idea isn’t so grand: The original South Korean team to clone a dog only obtained three pregnancies from more than 1,000 embryo transfers into 123 recipients. One of the three miscarried, one died soon after birth, and only one survived. (He’s the small dog on the right.) Much less successful than simple happy puppy mating rituals.

But here’s some good news. Say you have a dog that’s a really good narc. I mean he can sniff out drugs better than a Colombian drug lord. Instead of mixing his genes with some other dog, you can maintain his amazing genes by cloning and having a cloned army of doggy narcs.

Short of that, let’s close this with a nice quote illustrating understatement. “Canine cloning runs contrary to the Kennel Club’s objectives.” Phil Buckley, Kennel Club Spokesman.

Well said, Phil.

So, on second thought, maybe this isn’t such a great gift idea.

Tiny Deer and Flying Frog Discovered in the Himalayas

Small DeerAn area stretching across Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Tibet, and China is home to 350 previously unknown species discovered in the past 10 years. One of those is a 100 million year old gecko, the oldest species of gecko ever discovered, that predates the mass extinction of the dinosaurs by 35 million years.

Along with that is a tiny deer called the muntjac, 60 by 80cm tall, and weighing about 24 pounds. Biologists originally thought that it was a juvenile of a previously known species of deer, but DNA test confirmed otherwise. Don’t forget an air-gliding frog that can soar through the air, and would probably be a good protagonist for a superhero comic.

FrogProblem is, climate change is seriously threatening this place, which could be lost forever, and soon. The region is home to about 10,000 plant species, 300 mammals, almost 1,000 birds, and 270 types of fish. The region is also home to the one-horned rhino, and has the biggest population density of Bengal tigers on the planet.

The reason nobody found these species until 10 years ago is that it’s so inaccessible and mountainous that biological surveys have been impossible. There are still huge swaths of the area that haven’t been explored yet.

Satire: Cola to save the world

How could Coca Cola help our environment?

The answer is simple:

  1. Cola is black. Oil is black. Can you imagine the possibilities? Environmental terrorists could silently pollute oil reserves with coca cola, therefore making people suspicious of oil, and more likely to switch to alternative sources of energy.
  2. Cola is a very acidic liquid. We all know that if we leave a coin inside a bottle of cola, it won’t be there in the morning. I’m sure we can find tons of cool uses that take advantage of this acidic property. The best one I came up with is spraying cola above the atmosphere so it could burn away the hole in the ozone layer…
  3. Deforestation is a big problem. One of the main reasons we cut down trees is to make paper. And why do we use paper? To write down information that we can’t easily remember and store in our heads. But hey, Cola contains caffeine, and caffeine improves memory performance. If we start supplying free cola to school children, they won’t have to use notebooks anymore!
  4. And last but not least: Cola is addictive. Again, mostly because of its caffeine. If we hook up endangered animals on Cola, we could make sure they return each day to our special drinking pools, and it’d be much easier for scientists to monitor their status.

Image via http://www.raystownprimitives.com/HOME.htm

What do you think: Are there any other ways in which we could use coca cola to save the world? Or am I simply too high on cola??