Amputee Turtle swims again with Rubber fins

What if Science, if it could not find a way to address out problems? When we say our problems, it includes the problems of creatures around us too. Be it a pet dog, or just a stray cat, everything needs the help of science and technology. Just like this Amputee turtle in Japan who lost his front set of flippers back in 2008. Her dream to swim again has now become to true thanks to the rubber fins that are worn around her head.

Yu lives at the Suma Aqualife Park near Kobe in Japan after her front flippers were torn off in the wild ina suspected shark attack.

While there have been various attempts to fit turtles with prosthetic limbs around the world, the aquarium believes Yu is the only turtle to enjoy swimming using her rubber limbs without any problems.

The 200-pound female turtle wears a black vest to which the rubber flippers are attached, after aquarium staff had previously tried other versions, which squeezed her stumps and caused her discomfort.

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While there have been various attempts to fit turtles with prosthetic fins around the world, the aquarium believes Yu is the only turtle to enjoy swimming using her prosthetic limbs without any problems – and she has got through 27 pairs of rubber flippers

Naoki Kamezaki, the aquarium’s curator said: ‘We have worked hard to design the vest in a way that prevents the turtle from taking it off unwittingly.’

‘It can flutter the limbs as the vest is soft.’

Yu has become a tourist attraction and is thought to be approximately 25-years-old, but she could live to over 50 years of age.

Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species that are threatened by fishing nets, ships’ propellers and warming ocean currents – as well as natural predators, including sharks, which are partial to a meal of turtle.

The sea turtles are the world’s largest hard-shelled turtle and regularly swim some 8,000 miles across oceans and back ‘home,’ using the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate vast bodies of water.

Adults have a weight of between 80 and 200kg and typically measure almost one metre long.

Unusually for threatened species they are distributed across the world, inhabiting the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

In the Atlantic Ocean, the greatest concentration of loggerhead turtles is along the southeastern coast of North America and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida is the most popular nesting site with over 67,000 nests built every year but they have been found as far north as Virginia and as far south as Brazil.

The largest Indian Ocean nesting site is Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula, which hosts around 15,000 nests, giving it the second largest nesting population of loggerheads in the world, while between 1,000 and 2,000 nests are built on the coast of Western Australia every year.

Pacific loggerheads live in temperate to tropical regions, foraging in the East China Sea and southwestern Pacific an nesting in Eastern Australia and Japan.

After nesting, females like Yu often make their homes in the East China Sea and 95 per cent of turles in the area hatch on the Japanese Islands in the Western Pacific.

The turtles are transported by the prevailing currents across the full length of the northern Pacific, one of the longest migration routes of any marine animal.

Natural beauty showcased in London

Britain’s annual photography awards “The British Wildlife Photography Awards 2013” was held in London .The event showcased  natural beauty of the great Britain and Northern Ireland with some truly magnificent photographs .

A photo of a dolphin surfing in the waves off Northern Ireland is this year’s overall winner. Titled “In the Living Room,” it was taken by photographer George Karbus, a Czech photographer who is based in Ireland.

Karbus was diving with his camera off the coast in Northern Ireland when he spotted a bottlenose dolphin. “I’ve had quite a few encounters with dolphins there before but that day I was just looking to capture some underwater rolling barrel shots when I got a present of this incredibly playful dolphin, which joined me for some underwater body surfing for a few waves and then left,” he said of the winning picture.130902104925-british-wildlife-photography-5-horizontal-gallery

“My favorite place on Earth is Ireland,” he said. “After nine years of living here I still get amazed by its coastal beauty and everything it has to offer.”

Other pictures include owl chicks peeking out of a tree hole, tiny fungi in front of massive trees, eerie underwater world inhabitants, and a deer in a housing estate.

 

The British Wildlife Photography Awards were established four years ago to recognize the talents of wildlife photographers working in Britain and raise awareness for the country’s biodiversity and habitats.

Does Animal suffer from diseases like dementia?

As we all know September is also known as world Alzheimer’s month. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for up to 80 percent of all dementia cases that lead to low mental ability decrease in daily functioning. Wild animals suffer from diseases like  dementia more as compare to pet animals as they stay in dirty places while the pet animals stay in safe environments get good veterinary care.

A couple of months ago we told you how the age of certain wild animals is determined. Since then, some of you wondered about age-related changes in those animals.

Now that it’s September, aka World Alzheimer’s Month—Alzheimer’s disease accounts for up to 80 percent of all dementia cases, in which mental abilities decline and impede daily functioning—we asked some experts: Do wild animals and domestic pets suffer from dementia or dementia-like symptoms?

The answer: yes and (probably) no.stray-dogs-lykabettos-hill

Our domestic dogs and cats, who live in safe environments and get veterinary care, can live very long lives—long enough to develop cognitive dysfunction. Little data has been collected on older animals in the wild, but while they may reach old age, if they were to develop dementia-like symptoms, they wouldn’t last very long. (Read “Animal Minds” in National Geographic magazine.)

In a research paper published earlier this year in Ageing Research Reviews, researchers found that in 334 studies, 175 animal species showed evidence of senescence, or the process of growing old.

Dementia Unlikely in Wild Animals

Study co-author Dan Nussey, of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh, said via email that some of the strongest evidence of and most in-depth studies on senescence come from wild ungulates (such as deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats) and seabirds, like the long-lived albatross.

Nussey said that wild animals can show physical deterioration like arthritis or tooth wear, and some cognitive deterioration may occur in the wild, but anything as severe as dementia or Alzheimer’s would simply not allow them to last.

“Wild animals live a tough life,” agreed David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “Even early [physical] deteriorations—like age-worn teeth or hips—make it harder for them to survive.” Additional cognitive problems would simply make them too vulnerable to survive.

Domestic Pets Susceptible

On the other hand, domestic pets tend to live in safe environments and receive regular veterinary care. That means many cats and dogs live long enough to develop cognitive dysfunction.

Jennifer Bolser, chief clinician at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Colorado, said veterinarians are seeing more cases of cognitive dysfunction syndrome, commonly called canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). (Related: “OCD Dogs, People Have Similar Brains; Is Your Dog OCD?”)

This is probably because domestic dogs are living longer, thanks to better medical and preventive care starting at a younger age and vets who are more adept at recognizing symptoms.

The most dramatic signs owners might notice are dogs “acting disoriented, walking in circles, or staring into corners or [at] the wall.”

Other symptoms include aggression, changes in sleep patterns, loss of interest in family members, and inability to control urination or defecation “in more than just an incontinent way—almost like they’re forgetting how to be house trained,” Bolser said. Cat owners might also notice their pets yowling at random times of day.

Other illnesses have to be ruled out, though, before cognitive dysfunction is definitively determined.

“Usually it’s a diagnosis by exclusion,” Bolser said. “If everything else is checking out normally,” it probably is cognitive dysfunction.

Amy Johnson, assistant professor of large animal medicine and neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, says she doesn’t know if horses are susceptible too. But she does get calls from owners of elderly horses who report changes in the animals’ behavior and ask if the horse might have Alzheimer’s.

To rule out structural brain changes or brain tumors requires medical tests such as MRIs. Most horse owners don’t want to go to the expense or run the risk of putting their animal under anesthesia, so such questions usually go unanswered.

How Can You Help Your Aging Pet?

Bolser says that although there isn’t a cure, there are ways to manage cognitive dysfunction.

“Keep the [pet’s] brain active, even at an older age,” she said. “Teaching them new tricks, getting them outside, and challenging their brains with new environmental stimuli is very important to helping the brain not deteriorate as quickly.”

Also, adding antioxidants to their diets can help with brain health. A prescription diet fortified with antioxidants, fatty acids, and L-carnitine is available, she said.

There are also some medications, the main one being selegiline, which has been used as an MAO inhibitor antidepressant in people and is also sometimes used for human Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients as well, Bolser said.

Mizejewski has some personal experience with CCD, having lost two dogs to old age. The keys to keeping them alive and healthy, he said, were regular exercise, mental stimulation, social interaction, and a good diet. (See dog pictures submitted to National Geographic.)

“There’s a pity involved when we think about our pets losing cognitive function,” he said. “But on the flip side, I think about if my dogs were wild wolves—they would have succumbed to something else long before they got to this stage of old age and dementia.

“Whether domestic or wild, every animal dies at some point. And at the end of the day, I don’t think one way of life ending is necessarily better than another.”

Melbourne – world’s most habitable city

Melbourne is awarded as the most livable city this year as well. It’s been on top from past 3 years. Indeed the ranking for top three cities remained same as they were last year. Vienna came second while Vancouver and Toronto stayed at third and fourth respectively. There was a tie between Calgary tied with Adelaide on fifth position. A total of 140 cities were surveyed under five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment & education and infrastructure. Scores in each category and sub-category are compiled and weighted to give a total out of 100. 100 mean ideal and 1 means intolerable.

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Melbourne made it three years in a row as the world’s most livable city, according to the 2013 Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Livability Survey.

The top cities and indeed much of the rankings remained similar to last year, with Australian and New Zealand cities landing five of the top 10 spots. Canadian cities made up another three of the top 10 positions.

Elsewhere in the EIU rankings, 28 cities saw changes in their rankings with negative livability changes driven by “civil unrest, with the Arab Spring, European austerity and Chinese discontent all contributing,” according to the EIU report.

Vienna came a close second while Canadian cities Vancouver and Toronto stayed at third and fourth; Calgary tied with Adelaide for fifth place.

The top spots are mostly “mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density,” said the EIU.
At the bottom of the list, due to ongoing civil conflict in Syria is Damascus — dropping 10 rankings.

A total of 140 cities were surveyed under five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Scores in each category and sub-category are compiled and weighted to give a total out of 100. 100 is considered ideal and 1 intolerable.

The report noted a few major changes. Madrid dropped five spots to 44th due to “unrest and protests,” but remains in the top tier of livability. The Slovakian capital of Bratislava moved into the top tier (a score of 80 or above), now at 63rd place in the ranking.

Tehran, Douala (Cameroon), Tripoli, Karachi, Algiers, Harare, Lagos, Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Damascus (are at the bottom of the list with conflict responsible for many of the lowest scores, the report stated.

Global Livability Survey

Top 10 most livable cities (unchanged in 2013 from 2012):

1. Melbourne, Australia, 97.5

2. Vienna, Austria, 97.4

3. Vancouver, Canada, 97.3

4. Toronto, Canada, 97.2

=5. Calgary, Canada, 96.6

=5. Adelaide, Australia, 96.6

7. Sydney, Australia, 96.1

8. Helsinki, Finland, 96.0

9. Perth, Australia, 95.9

10. Auckland, New Zealand, 95.7

The shabby online business of illegal wildlife trade

The IT revolution is one of the most important discoveries in history. With the help of internet we can we can do anything.Now internet is also a platform for the shabby online business of illegal wild life trade.  When you know the best use of this invention then sky’s the limit for you in every aspect. But some people are using this invention in a very bad way. A famous newspaper recently reported that India’s wildlife police have discovered illegal websites that are selling animal parts and rare plants. They revealed that there are nearly a thousand websites that deal with the sale and delivery of animals and animal products protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. They also revealed that most of these websites are popular shopping websites, online classified and free ad posting websites.

online illegal wildlife trade

The internet is certainly the cornerstone of modern technology and a boon for so much innovation. However, along with all its advantages, there are some serious drawbacks and one of the latest is online smuggling of wildlife. The Indian Express recently reported that India’s wildlife police have discovered illegal websites selling live endangered animals, parts and rare plants.

The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India has started to hire cyber crime specialists to track down online smugglers. A preliminary enquiry by the Indian Express revealed that there are nearly a thousand websites that deal with the sale and delivery of animals and animal products protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the global Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Initial study has revealed that most of these websites are popular shopping websites, online classified and free ad posting websites.

“What makes things truly challenging is that the new age wildlife smuggler or seller is also very tech-savvy, so there’s need to seek the services of cyber specialists. We began hiring two months ago. These specialists have found some 200 websites where specific instances of sellers marketing some endangered animals have been traced,” an officer with the Ministry of Environment & Forests said.

Additionally, many of these weblinks are hosted on proxy servers based in other countries. Therefore, there needs to be cooperation with the host countries to trace these IP addresses. Many websites also use fake IP addresses making detection of the criminals very difficult.

The online black market caters largely to foreign markets and apart from tiger skins, elephant tusks, and rhinocerous horns there are also live animals like the colourful tokay gecko, giant ladybirds, the Indian star tortoise, hill mynahs, tarantulas, sea horses, sea cucumbers, parakeets. Specific animal parts like pangolin scales, neck feathers of the grey jungle fowl, musk pods, bear bile, mongoose hair, snake skins, insects and rare plants of high medicinal value are also available to buy.

Exact data on the scale of illegal wildlife trade in the country does not exist – the ministry is still in the process of compiling a national database. However, incidents of trade of endangered species which have been detected by the WCCB follow the global trend and indicate an upswing. While 205 cases of smuggling were detected in 2009-10, the number climbed to 245 in 2010-11 and 312 in 2011-12.

Vacations may provoke you to leave your job

Everybody is aware of the fact that vacations are necessary in today’s lifestyle as the stress level everybody facing in his/her day to day life is quite high. Vacations are very good. But a latest study has brought a new fact that Vacations are bad for jobs you hate. Survey was conducted by monster.com on more than 1200 people and 70 % of people agreed on the fact that they thought of switching the job when they came back from vacation. They also agreed that vacations distracted them from their daily routine.

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A new study confirms what we’ve long suspected: Vacations are great for mental health and bad for jobs you hate.

The survey, conducted by Monster.com, found 70 percent of people are more likely to look for another job after they return from vacation. The results are based on a poll of more than 1,200 people who visited Monster’s website in the U.S. between July and August of this year.

Vacations are a great time for self assessment. They offer free time, relaxation and detachment from your day-to-day routine,” explained Mary Ellen Slayter, Career Advice Expert for Monster.com, in a press release. She continued:
These factors can significantly improve your ability to diagnose a persisting personal obstacle; they also provide the mental clarity needed to carefully consider the life changes required to remedy the source of your strife. … Returning after a vacation can be hectic and distracting, but don’t allow yourself to forget what you’ve discovered during your time off.
The findings couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. An earlier survey found U.S. workers are using fewer vacation days this year than they did last year, and still staying in touch to answer emails and check in at the office when they’re supposedly off the clock.

Lack of adequate vacations also (at least partially) explains why work stress is on the rise, in addition to other contributing factors like poor pay and increasing workloads.

Looking for an excuse for more vacation days? Here are our 20 favorites. Otherwise, see below for methods to de-stress at your desk

 

 

Effect of shrinking forests

As we all know forests are shrinking day by day, and because of shrinking forests the animals at times come towards cities, towns and villages near by. A recent incident happened in Gatlinburg Tennessee USA when a black bear was seen roaming on the streets of the city where people where shopping every body was amazed to see the black bear roaming around without any fear. People started clicking his photographs and started making his videos the video was so viral that it became world wide news very quickly.

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Shoppers in Gatlinburg, Tennessee get a surprise when a black bear trots down the street and uses a pedestrian crossing to escape to the woods.

A black bear lost in Gatlinburg, Tennessee surprised shoppers when it was spotted wandering the streets of the mountain resort.

More intrigued than frightened, passers-by can be seen filming and photographing the animal as seeks a route back to the woods.

The bear weaves in and out among shoppers on the pavement before spotting its escape route.

Making a dash for a pedestrian crossing, the animal safely crosses the road and scampers back into the wilderness.

 

US to destroy all seized ivory stocks

US has decided that they would destroy all seized ivory stocks of around 6m tons to stop the illegal trafficking in wildlife. Rising demand for ivory is leading to terrible killing of elephants in Africa and frightening remaining populations across the continent. The interior secretary, Sally Jewell, said “wildlife trafficking had doubled over the past five years into a global trade worth $10bn. Poaching of elephants had risen by a factor of eight in Tanzania.

Killing of rhinos for their horns had gone up by a factor of 50, State Department officials now openly refer to wildlife trafficking as a national security crisis”.

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U.S. wildlife authorities say they will destroy six metric tons of illegal elephant ivory seized by customs agents.

Whole tusks, carvings and other ivory material held in storage in the western state of Colorado will be crushed next month.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the rising demand for ivory is fueling the horrific slaughter of African elephants, and it threatens the remaining elephant population.

Jewell said the United States will work aggressively with global law enforcement agencies to prosecute criminals who traffic in ivory.

The ivory trade and elephant poaching continues despite a global ban on ivory in 1990.

Giant Killer Fish of water kingdom

In yet another fascinating story of archeology, scientists have discovered a fossil of a fish, that could be the water version of the giant killer T-Rex. Dating back to 85 million years, this extraordinary fossil of a Prognathodon has a special fins on the tail that could propel the animal at astonishing speeds across the ocean. With a streamlined body like a shark, this giant killer fish grows upto 17 meters in length and could weigh up to 20 tons. Definitely, this should have been the ruler of the oceans during its times.

 

Being caught in the jaws of a Prognathodon meant almost certain death, although the lizards were still vulnerable to attack themselves, with one fossil bearing the marks of a shark bite in its spine.

 

The latest and best specimen was dug up from rocks in central Jordan, with part of its soft tissue preserved, including the perfect outlines of its tail fin and flippers. A member of the mosasaur family, the marine reptile discovered measured just five feet long and was a juvenile when it died. It would have ended up six times its size had it lived.

 

This led to the idea that they were slow swimmers but the new fossil described in Nature Communications has a crescent-shaped tail fin similar to whales and extinct marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs that resembled dolphins.

 

The latest and best specimen was dug up from rocks in central Jordan, with part of its soft tissue preserved, including the perfect outlines of its tail fin and flippers, which indicates the lizard was a highly efficient swimmer

 

Dr Johan Lindgren, of Lund University in Sweden, said they were similar swimmers to sharks, ‘a finding that significantly expands our understanding of the level of aquatic adaptation achieved by these seagoing lizards.’ He described the skeleton, which is complete save for the head and part of the tail, as ‘extraordinary’.

 

Dr Lindgren said: ‘The bones are generally in a pristine condition and retain their original three-dimensional shape, although some skeletal elements were fractured or lost during the excavation of the fossil; the latter are now represented by natural moulds.

 

‘In addition, plant rootlets have penetrated and partially dissolved a string of vertebrae near the end of the tail.

 

‘The exposed elements of the pectoral girdle and rib cage are somewhat disturbed and the latter structure has suffered slight crushing; otherwise, the skeleton is in nearly perfect articulation, preserving, for example, a virtually complete, hydrofoil-like forelimb surrounded by skin impressions.’

 

The terrifying creatures could grow up to 17 metres long, weigh as much as 20 tonnes and would have spent most of the day swimming near the seabed stalking their next meal from the cover of seaweed and rocks

 

Mosasaurs breathed air, were powerful swimmers and were so well adapted to living in the warm, shallow seas prevalent during the Late Cretaceous period that they gave birth to live young, rather than return to the shore to lay eggs.

 

Dr Lindgren said: ‘The findings in the present study on Prognathodon, along with recent previous work on the streamlined body shape, keeled scales and modified limbs provide compelling evidence derived mosasaurs were hydrodynamically advanced animals capable of high efficiency swimming.

 

‘Moreover, the emerging evidence suggests aquatic adaptations evolved relatively quickly within the group, that is, within less than 10 million years.’

New variety of Eyeless Fungus Beetle discovered

Deep within the forests of Arizona, scientists found a cave. And withing the cave, was the surprise that they have never expected for. They found a species of Fungus Beetle that lived only within that single cave for decades, centuries and even millenniums. The cave was so dark, that nothing could be visible inside giving no work for our eyes. And since these beetles lived there for millenniums they have gradually given away their eyes.

“Obviously, the eyes don’t fall off in a 24-hour period,” said study co-author Jut Wynne, an ecologist at Northern Arizona University.

“With these types of animals, they’re really shedding those features … over evolutionary time. This animal likely entered caves about 200,000 years ago.”
10 New variety of Eyeless Fungus Beetle discovered

Most cave-dwelling animals subsist in an absolute or at least partially dark environment, which means eyesight is not much of an asset. And since the cave is only about 260 feet (80 meters) in length and just tall enough to crawl through, flight is not much of an advantage to a beetle, either.

So the bug traded in its outer-world traits for longer legs and extended antennae, which help it navigate in the gloom. Wynne began exploring the limestone cave in Arizona’s Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in 2005. Compared with the Grand Canyon’s many caverns, this particular grotto is rather unremarkable, he added.

“It’s a crawly cave with a low ceiling,” Wynne said. “When I first set foot in that cave in ’05, I had no idea we were going to find several new species.” (Explore an interactive of the world’s largest cave.)

The scientist set bait traps of chicken livers and sweet potatoes to attract bugs, which he then collected and froze for later examination. One of them was the newfound fungus beetle—which, as its name suggests, likes fungi.

Though the fungus beetle isn’t Wynne’s only claim to fame—he’s also discovered the state’s first cave-adapted centipede as well as a new genus of cricket—he said it’s his cutest.

“I think they’re cute little beetles,” Wynne said. “They’re a nice chestnut-brown color, and they have an elongated antennae and cute, long legs. They have a very peaceful existence if you think about it.”

The next step is to figure out how these bugs interact with other animals within the cave, which is still replete with mysteries. The bait traps have captured hundreds of animals and may lead to further discoveries.