Morbillivirus – a common cause for Dolphin’s Death

A spate of bottlenose dolphin deaths along the Mid-Atlantic coast this summer has been linked to morbillivirus. So far, 357 dolphins have washed ashore dead or dying since July, and the number of stranded dolphins continues to rise. As many as 32 dolphins have tested positive for the virus. While officials are not ruling out other possible contributing causes such as chemical exposure, the deaths have so far only been linked to the virus. Morbillivirus is a common marine virus that affects marine mammals. It ravaged bottlenose dolphin populations in the Mid-Atlantic region in the late 1980s, killing more than 700 dolphins.

Friendly nature of dolphins could be what’s killing them.
Morbillivirus connected to deaths

A spate of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) deaths along the Mid-Atlantic coast this summer has been linked to morbillivirus, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

So far, 357 dolphins have washed ashore dead or dying since July, and the number of stranded dolphins continues to rise. As many as 32 dolphins have tested positive for the virus, according to NOAA. While officials are not ruling out other possible contributing causes such as chemical exposure, the deaths have so far only been linked to the virus.

Morbillivirus is a common marine virus that affects marine mammals. It ravaged bottlenose dolphin populations in the Mid-Atlantic region in the late 1980s, killing more than 700 dolphins. The virus — similar to canine distemper in canines and measles in humans — suppresses the immune system, leaving infected animals vulnerable to other illnesses like pneumonia. No vaccines are available, and experts say the deaths could continue into next spring, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Although not harmful to humans, NOAA officials caution beachgoers to keep a safe distance of at least 100 yards away from stranded dolphins and to avoid swimming with open cuts or scratches as secondary infections can be contagious.

Oki Islands Japan- An Amazing Sight To See

The Oki Islands Japan, located in the Sea of Japan, mark one of Japan’s six geo-parks and a pretty spectacular place to visit.  The area is a grouping of islands, both inhabited and uninhabited, that has a thriving ecosystem and dedicated members of the community working to keep it that way.As put by the Oki Islands’ website in layman’s terms, geoparks are the places that show us how the earth is put together. They are the areas that showcase the geology, ecosystems and lifestyles of those people who live on and take care of the land.

Oki Islands Japan
Oki Islands Japan

The Oki Islands, located in the Sea of Japan, mark one of Japan’s six geoparks and a pretty spectacular place to visit, even if it’s only virtual.

The area is a grouping of islands, both inhabited and uninhabited, that has a thriving ecosystem and dedicated members of the community working to keep it that way, thus being named to The Global Geoparks Network (GGN).

Don’t actually know what a geopark is? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. As put by the the Oki Islands’ website in layman’s terms, geoparks are the places that show us how the earth is put together. They are the areas that showcase the geology, ecosystems and lifestyles of those people who live on and take care of the land. Under the umbrella of UNESCO, the GGN works to “develop models of best practice and set quality standards for territories that integrate the preservation of geological heritage into strategies for regional sustainable economic development.”

There are plenty of things to do while visiting the Oki Islands Geopark. You can pick one of the four tours, like the Nishinoshima Course. This three and a half hour trip, by car, will take you from coast to coast, stopping at four must-see destinations on the island, including the bright red cliffs overlooking the sea and views of the peaceful countryside. Access to the islands is made easy from the major cities in Japan, if you’re thinking of booking a trip.

Japan isn’t the only nation with a number of spots like this, China has some pretty spectacular geoparks themselves. They can literally be found all over the world, if you’re interested.

Beach at Great Yarmouth Fun that doesn’t break the bank

Kids in their summer holidays get bored very fast. A recent survey by Nationwide Building Society showed the summer holidays cost the average parent an extra £1,000 per child. What to do here is an option for your kids if you are staying in Norfolk, England United Kingdom here you will get an indoor water park, a pier at Great Yarmouth, Slides at Vauxhall Holiday Park, clean beach at Great Yarmouth and that too in your budget. I am sure your kids are surely going to love it.

Great Yarmouth
Beach at Great Yarmouth

The school bell rings one muggy afternoon in late July and the nation’s children burst out of the school gates fizzing with excitement and energy.

Roll forward 24 hours and you’re at: “I’m bored. Mum, I’m really, really bored. Dad, I’m sooooo bored. What are we doing today?”

The problem with most of the things you could be doing that day or any day of the six-week summer holiday marathon is that they’re going to cost. Usually, a lot.

In these tough economic times thousands of families have been unable or unwilling to shell out on a big family holiday, either abroad or in Britain. But the harsh reality is that staying at home isn’t a cheap option, either. A recent survey by Nationwide Building Society showed the summer holidays cost the average parent an extra £1,000 per child. Which is where, here comes the drum roll, the self-catering holiday park comes in.

We opted for Vauxhall Holiday Park just outside Great Yarmouth, Norfolk – and everyone loved it.

It was about a 20-minute walk, five-minute drive from the town itself, close enough to be able to pop in if necessary, far enough away to feel like a self-contained holiday destination.

And despite all my efforts to encourage the kids – two, five and seven – to leave the park to “go and see things”, they weren’t having any of it.

Why visit the spot that inspired Dickens to write David Copperfield when there’s a Splash Zone? Why visit the Nelson Museum when there’s a climbing wall and paintball? Duh! It’s not unfair to say Great Yarmouth has seen better days. Daniel Defoe, who knew a fair bit about travelling, recorded it in his travel journals as “a beautiful town”. That was presumably before the 99p shops and tattoo parlours moved in and the recession drove out lots of the other local businesses.

But there are still quaint corners to be found in Great Yarmouth, and its greatest draw for holidaymakers remains its Golden Mile, lined with amusement arcades, cafes and restaurants from which its two fabulous piers jut out into the North Sea like long tentacles of fun.

For generations it has been synonymous with good old-fashioned seaside trips, and that remains the case today.

The Pleasure Beach offers endless entertainment. Entry is free but you won’t escape without shelling out a whole lot of cash on the rides. Beyond the caravan park and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk has plenty to offer. Some of these can be ­eye-wateringly expensive, although nothing is cheaper – or better – than a day on a beach with a picnic.

But in these hard-pressed times there’s much to be said for the holiday park if you can find one with enough activities to keep your kids occupied and you relaxed.

You pay your money up-front but then sit back in the knowledge that if the kids are having a good time you’re not going to be constantly shelling out on day trips and other activities.

My kids, like virtually every child at the site, were obsessed with the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, suitable for all ages and with the emphasis firmly on having fun in the water.

There were also go-karts, an outdoor multi-sports area, trampolines, outdoor and indoor play areas and a club where kids could do painting, puppet making and a host of other arty activities.

There were also organised events, from teddy bears’ picnics to dance contests. Mine weren’t old enough for it but for the too-cool-for-school 12 to 17-year-olds there was also The Hideout Club, which put on sport, music and dance.

For adults there was a gym, beauty treatment facilities, coffee shops, a good quality restaurant and a variety of evening entertainment options.

And, of course, being self-catering there was always the option of staying in your caravan, knocking up a bit of pasta then sitting outside watching the sun go down with a quiet beer for a fraction of the cost of eating out.

A holiday park offers quality, clean and comfortable accommodation and a whole range of activities for the entire family, without breaking the bank of mum and dad. So for anyone trying to beat boredom on a budget – this comes highly recommended.

Groundwater Reserves in Kenya made new Hopes

As we all know that Africa is facing clean water crises from past few years, the reason may be unpredictable rainfalls, hot temperature and poor mangement.  If we talk about Kenya, 17 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Groundwater Reserves in Kenya  have made a new hope on the faces of the people of Kenya. A large underground water reserves have been found in Turkana, one of North Kenya’s driest and poorest regions. The findings were announced at the opening of an international water security conference in Nairobi. The GRIDMAP spearheaded by UNESCO in partnership with the government of Kenya and with the financial support of the Government of Japan.

Groundwater Reserves in Kenya
Groundwater Reserves in Kenya

It has long been known that Africa has been facing a water crisis. Not only is the continent stressed because of erratic rainfall patterns, arid climates, and hot temperatures, but access to clean, safe drinking water is depriving much of the population of a basic human necessity. Specifically in Kenya, 17 million people lack access to safe drinking water. However, this all could change as an exploration of groundwater resources in northern Kenya has identified two aquifers in the Turkana and Lotikip Basins.

Aquifers are underground layers of permeable rock that contain or transmit groundwater. So in a region known for being hot and dry, this discovery is bound to bring hope and economic growth to the country.

The findings were announced at the opening of an international water security conference in Nairobi yesterday, and are the result of a groundwater mapping project, GRIDMAP (Groundwater Resources Investigation for Drought Mitigation in Africa Programme), spearheaded by UNESCO in partnership with the government of Kenya and with the financial support of the Government of Japan.

Using advanced satellite exploration technology, researchers located the underground aquifers and then confirmed their existence by drilling to see if water was actually there. And there was! While there is a need for further studies to adequately quantify the reserves and to assess the quality of the water, people are hopeful.

Announcing the findings during the opening session of the UNESCO Strategic and High-Level Meeting on Water Security and Cooperation, Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, said that the results were a critical scientific breakthrough for the country.

“The news about these water reserves comes at a time when reliable water supplies are highly needed. This newly found wealth of water opens a door to a more prosperous future for the people of Turkana and the nation as a whole. We must now work to further explore these resources responsibly and safeguard them for future generations,” she said.

“UNESCO is proud to be a part of this important finding, which clearly demonstrates how science and technology can contribute to industrialization and economic growth, and to resolving real societal issues like access to water,” said UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Gretchen Kalonji. “It is indeed in line with UNESCO’s vision for science for sustainable development and we will continue to support Africa to unlock the full potential of its invisible water wealth.”

The Government of Kenya also announced the launch of a national groundwater mapping program that would be implemented with UNESCO, which would assist governments in identifying and assessing their groundwater resources.

The Orangutan Social Network

He is the head of his group. He plans their trips. He plots the route they have to take. He then ‘shares’ it with everyone in his group about the journey and the route. The only difference is he uses his own voice instead of Facebook to share. Because he is an Orangutan, the most intelligent ape. Scientists have discovered this peculiar social sharing character or Orangutan in a recent study. They were even able to record the audio. Could an orangutan social network really exist?

A new study of 15 wild male orangutans finds that they routinely plot out their next day treks and share their plans in long calls, so females can come by or track them, and competitive males can steer clear.

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‘This guy basically thinks ahead,’ Mr van Schaik said. ‘They’re continuously updating their Google Maps so to speak. Based on that, they’re planning what to do next.’ The apes didn’t just call once, but they keep at it, calling more than 1,100 times over the 320 days. ‘This shows they are very much like us in this respect,’ Mr van Schaik said. ‘Our earliest hominid ancestor must have done the same thing.’

Scientists had seen such planning in zoos and controlled experiments, but this study provides solid evidence of travel planning in the wild, said Frans de Waal of Atlanta’s Emory University, who was not part of the study. Mr Van Schaik said he and colleagues happened upon the trip calls by accident nearly 20 years ago, first with the dominant male Arno, who they followed more than the other 14 males.

They waited to publish the results because he thought few people would believe orangutans could do such planning. But in recent years, the lab and captivity studies have all shown such planning. Based on previous studies and monitoring, Mr van Schaik figured the male lets the world know his plans so females can come to him or stay close. Some females may want to stay within earshot in case they are harassed by other males and need protection. Others can come to mate.

A book that reveals all Myths About air-travel!

Ever wondered what happens when you flush your aircraft toilet mid-air? Ever thought if you could even open the door at deadly heights? If you are not sure where to find answers to those trivial questions about aircrafts and air travel, here is a book for you. The book titled ‘Cockpit Confidential’ written by Patrick Smith explains the most frequent doubts and Myths about air-travel. This is must read for any air traveler.There has been much debate about whether the energy emitted from mobile phones can cause electronic systems on planes, and even in hospitals, to crash or malfunction.

On this subject Smith says in his book: ‘Few rules are more confounding to airline passengers than those regarding the use of cell phones and portable electronic devices. ‘Passengers should know that the restrictions pertaining to computers, iPods, and certain other devices aren’t about electronic interference. ‘The main reasons laptops need to be put away is to prevent them from becoming high-speed projectiles in the event of an impact or sudden deceleration.

1_cockpit_confidential

He continues that although cellular communication can ‘potentially’ interfere with cockpit equipment, ‘in all likelihood’ it doesn’t. He also adds that the machines and electronics in airplanes and cockpits have been designed to shield against any interference. This means the authorities are ‘erring on the better-safe-than-sorry side’ because although there have been no proven cases where a phone has ‘adversely affected the outcome of a flight’, Smith believes that ‘you never know.’

One example Smith gives is if the shielding is old or doesn’t work properly, then the protection could suffer and this could potentially lead to problems. ‘The policy is clearly stated, but obviously unenforced, and we assume the risks are minimal or else phones would be collected or inspected visually rather than relying on the honor system,’ said Smith. ‘I’d venture to guess at least half of all phones, whether inadvertently or out of laziness, are left on during flight. That’s about a million phones a day in the United States.

 

‘If indeed this was a recipe for disaster, I think we’d have more evidence by now.’ The book also tackles the subject of turbulence. Smith explained: ‘Conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane is not going to crash. Turbulence is an aggravating nuisance for everybody, including the crew, but it’s also, for lack of a better term, normal.’

Planes are engineered to handle turbulent conditions and the level of turbulence required to dislodge an engine or bend a wing spar is something even the most frequent flyer won’t experience in a lifetime of traveling.’ During the 1980s, toilets on planes used a blue liquid that pushed waster from the bowl into a storage tank.

This liquid added weight to the aircraft, which consumed more fuel, and if it leaked, frozen blocks of waste could end up falling over town and cities. On modern-day planes, such as the ones Smith flies, this toilet system has been replaced by a vacuum. When the toilet is flushed a valve opens to a sewer pipe and the waste is sucked into a tank.

 

The waste is then stored in the tank until the plane lands and ground crew vacuum it out and dispose of it. And on the subject of doors opening mid-flight, Smith stresses the point that: ‘You cannot – repeat, cannot – open the doors or emergency hatches of an airplane in flight. You can’t open them for the simple reason that cabin pressure won’t allow it. Think of an aircraft door as a drain plug, fixed in place by the interior pressure.’

Jurassic Park will remain just a fiction

For all the Jurassic park fans who are delighted with the announcement of the 4th part, here is some news you might not like to hear. The technique to re-construct an actual Dinosaur from a DNA as portrayed in the actual 1993 film and buildup a real Jurassic Park will remain just a fiction. A study to find out the possibilities of such techniques proved that with the technology that we have, we might not actually do that in any near future.

In the Spielberg movie, scientists extract dino DNA from ancient mosquitos trapped in 130-million year old amber. The year before the film was released, scientists in California claimed to have extracted fragments of DNA from an extinct species of bee
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The year before the film was released, scientists in California claimed to have extracted fragments of DNA from an extinct species of bee. But a study by the the Natural History Museum, London, found it was impossible to replicate.

Using highly-sensitive ‘next generation’ sequencing DNA techniques on insects in copal, the sub-fossilised resin precursor of amber, researchers found the 1990’s studies provided ‘false positives’ mistaken for genuine ancient DNA.

In fact they could find not detect ancient DNA in relatively young- 60 years to 10,600 years old- sub-fossilised insects and said the earlier results are thought to come from cross contamination between modern and ancient DNA.

Study co author Professor Terry Brown, who carried out the study in full forensic suits in the ancient DNA lab at the University of Manchester, said: ‘In the original 1990s studies DNA amplification was achieved by a process called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which will preferentially amplify any modern, undamaged DNA molecules that contaminate an extract of partially degraded ancient ones to give false positive results that might be mistaken for genuine ancient DNA.

‘Our approach, using “next generation” sequencing methods is ideal for ancient DNA because it provides sequences for all the DNA molecules in an extract, regardless of their length, and is less likely to give preference to contaminating modern molecules.’

Co author Dr David Penney, also from Manchester University, said: ‘Intuitively, one might imagine that the complete and rapid engulfment in resin, resulting in almost instantaneous demise, might promote the preservation of DNA in a resin entombed insect, but this appears not to be the case.

‘So, unfortunately, the Jurassic Park scenario must remain in the realms of fiction.’

Halkidiki – the best place for honeymoon

Halkidiki is a 3-pronged peninsula village in northern part of Greece. It is Voted as the world’s most romantic destination and hence the best place for honeymoon. Many local people here believe that god of love was born here. The place is full of natural beauty, far away from city’s noise. You will get white sand beaches here. The best services in the world are found here. You can eat local food as well as the food of your choice. Perfect place to spend some good quality time with your beloved. An unforgettable moment of your life.

halkidikiYou know what it’s like. You’ve been together nine months, enjoyed some fantastic weekends away and then comes the big one – your first holiday together.

That was the situation I found myself in at the start of the summer when my boyfriend Jay and I decided to take the “next step” in our blossoming relationship.

We chose Greece, named the most romantic destination in a worldwide survey. According to myth Eros, the mischievous winged god of love, was born there (so far, so good). Our base for the week was Ouranoupolis, a quaint fishing village in Halkidiki, about 75 miles from Thessaloniki Airport. The Greek translation of Ouranoupolis is Gate to Heaven. Impressive!

Luxurious

As we arrived at our hotel, Eagles Palace, our luggage was whisked away and we were welcomed on to the Kamares restaurant terrace for some cool refreshments as reception staff checked us into our luxurious room. Within seconds we knew we’d love staying there.

The five-star Eagles Palace is on its own stretch of golden beach with clear blue sea, luscious green hills and those beautiful views of the bay.

It’s just two miles from the pretty port where thousands of tourists go every year to board the ferry to Mount Athos, where women are banned from setting foot. The secluded religious retreat was favoured by Prince Charles during his relationship difficulties with Princess Diana and I prayed Jay wouldn’t want to visit for similar reasons.

We started with a visit to the hotel’s spa. Before our treatments (I enjoyed a body massage while the boyf opted for the back and neck rub) we took full advantage of the swimming pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. Our hectic lives back home seemed a million miles away.

Before our holiday Jay had told me he didn’t “just like to lie around on a beach all day”. I had panicked – most of my sunshine breaks consisted of hours lazing on the sand or by the poolside, topping up my tan and drinking lots of cocktails (well, they do say opposites attract!).

But in Ouranoupolis we found a happy medium. In fact, Jay’s active side had a positive influence on me and I went to the gym twice (more than Jay did) during our seven days. Another day we even went canoeing. I also managed to thrash him at tennis on the hotel’s court (sorry Jay, I HAD to mention it).

Jay loves to scuba dive and was delighted to find the Athos Padi Diving Centre on Eagles Palace’s beach. Sisters Katerina and Niki own the centre and offer diving trips for all levels to more than 15 different sites. They also take boat trips out for snorkelling.

While my other half was exploring under the sea, I lazed on the beach, read my chick-lit book and enjoyed a cocktail or two (I did say we found a happy medium).

On the beach near the diving centre is the Water Sports Centre of Nea Roda. You can waterski, wakeboard, windsurf and sail, paraglide or try a jetski or banana boat.

But as we had come to Ouranoupolis in search of romance, Jay and I decided to hire a small motorboat for a day. With a picnic prepared, we set sail for the island Ammouliani. Next up was the Drenia Isles, a complex of small, uninhabited islands. After lunch we swam in the clear waters before jumping back on board to travel along the shores of Mount Athos (no, Jay didn’t want to be dropped off there) before motoring back to the harbour.

Before the holiday I had started Weight Watchers after piling on the pounds in the first nine months of my relationship with Jay.

In Ouranoupolis I’m afraid the diet went out of the window. On the first couple of days I resisted the packed breakfast buffet and early evening ice creams.

But after counting up what I HAD eaten those days – and realising it was almost three times the amount I should have, I gave in and we dined like kings and queens.

Our favourite meal was in the Kamares restaurant at the hotel. The food was outstanding. I enjoyed feta cheese with sweet red pepper while Jay had scallops sautéed with corn puree and truffle cream for starters.

Next up we shared Chateaubriand from veal fillet with potato dauphinoise before finishing off with the choux pastry profiteroles stuffed with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce. Delicious.

We stayed half board at Eagles Palace for four nights and B&B for the remaining three.

On nights when dinner wasn’t included we went to the port – Eagles Palace runs free shuttle buses until 9pm – where we discovered Kritikos restaurant tucked away from the seafront.

We were welcomed by Stelios and although the restaurant was packed he managed to find a romantic table with a wonderful sea view. He was happy to chat and recommend dishes. We shared the spinach with house sauce, sautéed mushrooms, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes and the barbecued feta cheese baked with tomatoes, peppers, onion, olives and olive oil for starters. Jay then chose the house speciality – lobster spaghetti – while I ordered moussaka. We finished off with a slice of revani, traditional Greek cake, which was on the house.

As our holiday in Ouranoupolis came to an end we knew we’d chosen well. We’d been looking for romance – and had found it.

TRAVEL FILE

When to go

The Eagles Palace hotel is open from April to October.

Hot tip

Take advantage of the events put on at the Eagles Palace hotel, many of which are free. When we were there there was a wine-tasting festival. And don’t miss the hotel’s amazing walk-in wine cellar.

Get inspired

When we were staying at the hotel, a traditional Greek wedding took place on the beach. Planners were on hand to help loved-up couples get ideas to make their own big day magical.

Do try

It costs about £17 to hire a bike from the hotel for half a day to explore the area. You can order a picnic lunch basket for about £12 per person, with sandwiches, juice, water and fruit.

Book it

Seven nights including transfers after September 25 costs from £1,060 per room based on two sharing including transfers and breakfasts. A suite for a family of four costs £1,425.

EasyJet Flies from Gatwick to Thessaloniki four times a week with fares from £30.49 each way.

Tiger poaching a major problem in India

As we all know tigers are getting extinguished day by day specially in a country like India because there are many people in these countries who kill tigers to make money by selling their skin, nails and even bones for the purpose of decorations and at times for medication also. Recently 5 men and a woman, a total of 6 tiger poachers have been jailed for 3 years in southern past of India. All of them were caught red handed in Bandupur Tiger Reserve a place comes under Karnataka state in India

skins

Six notorious tiger poachers have been jailed in Southern India in what is being described as a landmark conviction. The five men and one woman were sentenced to three years each by Karnataka High Court – a sentence made more remarkable by the fact that the conviction rate for tiger poaching in the country is 0.1%.

The gang travelled the country poaching tigers and other wildlife for sale into the international market – tigers would be carved into fur, bones and organs for use as decoration, tonics and medicine.

Caught red handed in Bandupur Tiger Reserve

They were caught red-handed with lethal ‘jaw’ traps in the Bandupur Tiger Reserve, and brought to justice by the Karnataka Forest Department with specialist legal assistance from the Care for the Wild-funded Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) Wildlife Crime Enforcement Team.

Care for the Wild CEO Philip Mansbridge said: “This conviction is a landmark for tiger conservation and sends a powerful message of deterrence to wildlife criminals who aim to poach India’s tigers. Our partnership with the WTI is instrumental in a huge number of cases per year alongside de-snaring and undercover enforcement activities. The team also work with government forest staff to ensure more arrests lead to convictions, just like this one, in the future.”

Disguises

Jose Louies, WTI, said the poachers were caught after two of the gang turned informer: “The gang moved across the country in various disguises, mostly adorning the facade of street vendors, setting up camps near tiger reserves. Once the camp is set up, the men break off into small groups and infiltrate tiger habitats. These poachers are renowned for their extraordinary tracking skills, and the ease with which they locate tiger tracks and place the deadly jaw traps exactly in the path of the tigers. The operation may take them any amount of time, and as these hunters are determined, they wait inside the forest, till they get what they came for – a tiger.

“Once they manage to trap their prized possession, they spear it in the mouth, swiftly kill it and remove the skin. The body is usually buried within the forest and they come back in a few weeks to recover the bones, which are also in high demand in various illegal markets.”

Endangered Blobfish World’s Ugliest Animal

Some animals are so ugly to look at, that no on cares to preserves them, or they fail to grab the attention and die a lonely extinction. To the rescue of endangered Blobfish, gelatinous squashy looking creature has won a public vote to become the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society.

blobfish
The Blobfish: world’s ugliest animal

This gives the fish the unofficial title of world’s ugliest animal. The society began as a science-themed comedy night and devised its mascot campaign to draw attention to “aesthetically challenged” threatened species.

The winner was announced at the British Science Festival in Newcastle. The blobfish tops a list that includes the huge-nosed proboscis monkey, the similarly afflicted pig-nosed turtle, an amphibian affectionately known as a “scrotum frog” and pubic lice.

Biologist and TV presenter Simon Watt, president of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, said he hoped the campaign would draw attention to the threats facing these weird and wonderful creatures.

“Our traditional approach to conservation is egotistical,” he told BBC News.

“We only protect the animals that we relate to because they’re cute, like pandas.

“If extinction threats are as bad as they seem, then focusing just on very charismatic megafauna is completely missing the point.

“I have nothing against pandas,” he added, “but they have their supporters. These species need help.”

Mr Watt said he hoped the vote would also bring a lighter side to conservation.

“It’s the most depressing type of science to be involved with,” he said. “It’s basically working out: What died today?”

For this campaign, Mr Watt worked with comedians, each of whom created a campaign message on YouTube for their chosen creature. The society asked the public to vote for their favourite.

The blobfish eventually won by almost 10,000 votes.

The bizarre creature lives off the coast of south-eastern Australia and Tasmania, at depths of between 600 and 1,200m, where atmospheric pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level.

Its gelatinous body is just slightly more dense than water, and it spends its life “bobbing around” in the depths.

It feeds on crabs and lobsters and so suffers a significant threat from fishing trawlers. Although it is inedible itself, it gets caught up in the nets.