Category Archives: Animals

Dog Shaming Pictures for Your Monday Blues

Instead of cute dogs this Monday, we have a collection of the ever popular dog shaming pictures.


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Cute Dogs for Your Monday Blues

Cute dogs to cheer up the beginning of your work week…

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Federal double standard on endangered species laws?

The government fined marine biologist Nancy Black $12,000 and sentenced her to three years probation for feeding a whale in Monterey Bay.

Just last month, US Fish and Wildlife cited 26-year- old tree trimmer Ernesto Pulido for violating the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act for disturbing a nest of herons. Pulido was hired by the U.S. Postal Service to rid their parking lot in Oakland, Calif. of the birds and the droppings they left behind.

“It’s a violation of federal law,” said conservationist Lisa Owens Viani. “Nesting birds (herons) are protected under federal law.”

Viani arrived at the scene May 3 to find several adult herons circling the trees and five baby herons hiding under a postal truck. She took them to a wildlife rehabilitation center for blood work, fluids and feeding.

Pulido, who grew up in rural Mexico, visited the birds and voluntarily paid for their rehabilitation costs. Nevertheless, wildlife officials threatened to prosecute and fine him. On Thursday they relented, dropping the charges.

Avid New York City birdwatcher Lincoln Karim’s experience was even worse. Karim knows the law: To touch a protected bird– even a dead one– you need a permit. But Karim found a dead red-tailed hawk in Central Park on a Sunday. He called animal control to pick up the carcass. When no one responded, he put the bird in a plastic bag, took it home and kept it in the refrigerator so it would not get eaten by predators.

“If I left it on that lawn, it was going to be picked up and taken up by a raccoon or a dog or something,” he said.

Suspecting the bird had been poisoned, Karim turned it in Monday morning for an autopsy.

“When I handed it over, they arrested me,” he said. “It’s not nice getting handcuffed — especially when you know deep inside you’re not a criminal.”

Karim was charged with illegal possession of a raptor. Though his charges were eventually dismissed, marine biologist  Black wasn’t so lucky. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, on behalf of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, gave Black three years probation and fined her $12,000 for feeding a whale in Monterey Bay.

All three violated federal wildlife laws. Yet contrast their treatment to that of the wind industry.

Under a new Obama administration policy, wind farm operators are getting 30-year permits to kill protected species.

The new renewable energy policy gives wind farm operators 30-year permits – up from the current 5 years – to kill a specific number of protected species without threat of prosecution.

“What they are doing is ignoring the law,” said Bob Johns of the American Bird Conservancy. “The oil and gas industry for example, they have to abide by these laws. They’re not killing bald and golden eagles.  And if they are, they’re going to be prosecuted for it.”

The wind industry’s lethal impact on birds and bats is well documented. An estimated 1.4 million are killed each year by wind farms.

Why? One reason is that their blades move deceptively fast, up to 180 miles an hour. Second, raptors especially like to follow the currents in windy areas looking for field mice and rabbits below. Wind farms typically locate in the same areas and while many operators say they are doing their best to minimize bird fatalities, critics say the administration is practicing a double standard – prosecuting small cases while giving green energy a free pass.

“Now they’ve got the 30-year eagle permit get-out-of-jail-free card,” said Johns. “Nobody else is getting that. Nobody else is allowed to go out and kill eagles like this and get away with it. In California alone, wind farms out there are estimated to have killed over 3,000 golden eagles. And there hasn’t been a single prosecution out there for that.”

The wind industry says it needs the permits to obtain financing and avoid prosecution. They claim some fatalities are inevitable, but hope to mitigate the damage through location and design. In addition, if the world ever hopes to get off fossil fuels, they say wind is an important, clean alternative.

Bird supporters accept their logic, but worry about the sustainability of certain threatened and endangered species.

“President Obama’s climate plan would initiate an open-ended avian holocaust the likes we have never seen before,” wrote James Taylor, managing editor of Environment and Climate News.

He worries that a 25-fold increase in wind power, as called for by wind advocates, will decimate bird populations. Currently, the wind accounts for roughly 3 percent of the nation’s energy output from 500 wind farms operating 35,000 turbines. President Obama wants to move that to 20 percent  by 2030.

Raptors and bats, which have declined dramatically in some areas, have drawn the most attention. However, the Bureau of Land Management recently approved a draft environmental assessment for a 1,100-acre wind facility in close proximity to the condor range in southern California.

Although BLM hopes to reduce speed limits in the area to reduce road kill and monitor grazing to reduce livestock carcasses, others worry.

Rescued from the brink of extinction, there are only 450 California condors left in the world, many in the Tehachapi mountains where the Tylerhorse wind project is to be located. Condors are large birds and slow to maneuver.

“We’re not talking about pigeons or starlings here,” said Johns. “We have the California condor and the bald eagle. Both of those birds, we’ve spent tens and tens — maybe hundreds of millions of dollars to bring back.  And now we’re putting wind turbines right in habitats that they frequent.  We think it will be just a matter of time (before one dies).”


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Cute Dogs for Your Monday Blues

Cute dogs to cheer the start of your week.

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Belgian beauty loses modeling gig after her hunting pic hits the web

I personally think it was stupid for L’Oreal to sign her based on a viral picture during the FIFA World Cup and equally stupid to get rid of her as soon as she turns out to be politically incorrect.  I understand that she was talking about hunting Americans because her country faced us in the World Cup.  That was not offensive.

What she doesn’t understand is that pictures standing over the dead body of an animal you shot for fun are no longer accepted.  Even standing over animals you killed for food are not good times for a photo op.  Given Belgium’s horrible history in Africa (the first photo journalist international scandal in history.  I will post on that next.) it is even more important for a Belgie not to post going to Africa to have fun killing them.

Belgian beauty loses modeling gig after her hunting pic hits the web

Axelle Despiegelaere loreal ad.jpg

Axelle Despiegelaere appears in a video promoting L’Oréal.

The Belgium beauty that scored a L’Oreal modeling deal after her World Cup photos went viral earlier this week has been released from her contract.

The decision comes after 17-year-old Axelle Despiegelaere sparked outrage on Facebook with a picture showing her posing with a dead oryx gazelle she had hunted in Africa, The Independent reports.

The post came on the day that Belgium eliminated the United States at the World Cup. After the furor began on Facebook, Despiegelaere responded:  “Hi, I didn’t mean to offend anyone … it was a joke. Thanks for understanding.”

L’Oreal officials say that Despiegelaere will no longer be representing the company and that her contract has officially been “completed,” according to The Independent.

A spokesperson for L’Oreal said: “L’Oreal Professionnel Belgium collaborated with her on an ad hoc basis to produce a video for social media use in Belgium. The contract has now been completed.”

Click here for more from The New York Post.

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Cute Dogs for Your Monday Blues

Cute dog pictures to start your week off with some fun.

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Oldest animal-built reef discovered in Namibia

The oldest animal-built reef was discovered in southern Namibia, in a region known for its ancient sediments.Fred Bowyer

An ancient reef that once teemed with primitive sea life has been unearthed in Africa.

The reef, which dates to 548 million years ago, is the oldest animal-built reef ever found.

The coral-like creatures, dubbed Cloudina, may have built the superstructures to protect themselves from predators or to soak up the nutrients from ocean currents, said study co-author Rachel Wood, a geologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. [See Images of the Ancient Reef Fossils]


During the Ediacaran Period, which lasted from about 635 million to 542 million years ago, all life lived in the sea, and most creatures were immobile and soft-bodied, with mysterious wavy, frondlike shapes.

But in the 1970s, scientists discovered evidence of Cloudina, the earliest fossil animals to have skeletons. The pencil-shaped sea creature could grow to about 5.9 inches long. A cross-section of the tubular shape shows that it would’ve been about 0.3 inches in diameter, Wood said.

“It’s like a series of hollow ice-cream cones all stacked up,” Wood told Live Science, referring to the appearance of the Cloudina skeleton. “It might have been related to corals and anemones and jellyfish.”

Like modern-day corals, the youngest cone in the stack would have been alive, while the rest would be dead, Wood said.

But scientists knew little about how these enigmatic creatures lived.

Oldest reef

Late last year, while excavating in Namibia in a region known for Ediacaran fossils, Wood and her colleagues found evidence for a vast network of reefs built by Cloudina about 548 million years ago. Like modern-day corals, the primeval creatures excreted calcium carbonate, which cemented them to each other and helped grow the reef.

The new finds are the oldest animal-built reefs ever discovered. Previously, the oldest animal-built reefs dated to around 530 million years ago, during the Cambrian Period, when the complexity and diversity of life on Earth exploded. (Slimy bacterial communities known as stromatolites have built vast, limestone reefs for almost 3 billion years, Wood said.)

The ancient Cloudina reefs the team discovered grew in patches atop a massive stromatolite-formed reef complex that spans nearly 4.3 miles, Wood said.

“If you were snorkeling over it nearly 550 million years ago, you’d see areas of green surface, from stromatolites, and then you’d see these little patches of tubes all growing together, forming a little thicket, or mound, on the seafloor,” Wood said.

Avoiding predators?

Cloudina likely formed reefs to protect itself from predators. In China, for instance, scientists have unearthed Cloudina fossils with holes drilled in them, likely from acid secreted by a predator animal, Wood said.

Clumping together on reefs would have also brought nutrient-rich currents close to the filter feeders at a time when more life forms were competing for space and food, the authors said.

“All together it paints a picture of quite significant ecological complexity,” Wood said.

The fossils were described today June 26 in the journal Science.


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Mysterious mounds: not created by animals after all?

Mysterious mounds: not created by animals after all?

Bryan Moss and Tracey Byrne from the Seattle area stop along the walking path in the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve Dec. 29, 2013, near Littlerock, Wash.AP Photo/The Olympian, Steve Bloom

The mystery of the mounds lives on. A mere six months after researchers said computer modeling proved pocket gophers, over the course of several hundred years of scurrying and burrowing, formed the bizarre-patterned earthen “Mima mounds” in Washington state, a new team of researchers claims that plants are in fact the likely source.

These mounds—which are up to 6.5 feet tall and 55 feet wide—are found on every continent but Antarctica, and in his study, Michael Cramer of the University of Cape Town sets out to debunk the gopher theory.

He outlines a number of issues: Mima mounds appear in areas gophers don’t inhabit; some of the mounds feature rocks bigger than the 2-inches-in-diameter stones pocket gophers are believed to be able to move.

And as for the previous claim that a series of gophers developed the mounds over hundreds of years, Cramer says there’s no indication that abandoned mounds are repopulated over and over.

His theory: The mounds have formed due to what is called vegetation spatial patterning. The idea, reports LiveScience, is that plants and their roots alter how wind or water may carry soil to these patches of vegetation, thus the mounds grow bigger over time as the plants continue to trap sediment.

The vegetation could further stabilize the soil, thereby reducing erosion on the mounds while depleting the adjacent soil of water and nutrients, creating patterned dips. The researchers hope to test their theory on mounds in South Africa.

Whatever the source, the News Tribune reports that Washington state is pushing to protect its mysterious mounds: Its Department of Fish and Wildlife recently requested $3 million from the state to do so.

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Hungry, Hungry Hippos – Latest Affect of Drug Lords…

Drug Lord’s Hippos Breeding Out of Control

Pablo Escobar’s foreign beasts terrifying fisherman, eating crops

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff


Posted Jun 26, 2014 8:18 AM CDT | Updated Jun 29, 2014 11:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Colombia is facing an overpopulation issue: a famed drug lord’s herd of hippos keeps expanding. Pablo Escobar built himself a zoo in the 1980s, smuggling in a host of exotic animals, including one male and three female hippos. Now, 20 years after the drug boss’s death, the hippos have found a welcoming climate—free of the drought that helps curb herd size in Africa—and apparently an appetite for sex. Estimates say there are now between 50 and 60 hippos (in 2006, the LAT pegged their population at 16), most living in one of 12 man-made lakes at Escobar’s former ranch. But a dozen have been confirmed as having broken away and into the nearby Magdalena River, meaning there could be many more; in 2009, one hippo was located 62 miles away.

Kenya Wildlife

While hippos in Africa tend to become sexually active as early as age seven for males and nine for females, the hippos in Colombia are breeding as early as three, the BBC reports. “It’s just like this crazy wildlife experiment that we’re left with,” says a San Diego University ecologist. “Gosh! I hope this goes well.” So far, it doesn’t seem to be. The beasts are terrifying fishermen, wreaking havoc on crops, and even crushing small cows. They can’t be moved back to Africa due to the possibility they carry disease, zoos aren’t interested in the adults, a reserve with hippo-proof fences would cost about $500,000, and castration would be expensive and risky for both the vets and the creatures, who the ecologist notes are highly sensitive to sedation. So how would a biologist working in the Amazon region solve the issue? “I think they should barbecue them and eat them,” he says. He isn’t kidding.


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Cute Dogs for Your Monday Blues

Furry critter fun to start your week.


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