Archive | May 2016

RYOT | The Huffington Post Ivory Burn

http://ryot.huffingtonpost.com/ivory-burn/

Austin Peck, PhD (Biology) and film director writes about the tragic decline of the African elephant at the hands of man, and how we have choices to make. Empathy and action are key to saving Africa’s wilderness.

“Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, for example, is an entire ecosystem the size of Michigan that is itself on the chopping block because it no longer earns money from tourism. Just out of sight from the empty lodge verandas, the bushland is already quickly and quietly becoming grazing land for tens of thousands of cattle owned by businessmen from the capital city. New railways and gas pipelines, funded primarily by China, block elephant migration routes. While unbridled development of the region gallops forward, elephants are increasingly pushed into oblivion, and it is still the black face of the impoverished poacher who is most commonly blamed for the wholesale annihilation of the wild. These are the kinds of choices we make, and the stories those choices require.”

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A Bombshell in the World of Rhinos

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160429-rhinos-horn-trade-swaziland-south-africa-cites/

“Swaziland shocks the global conservation community with a bid to sell rhino horn to Asia.”

This would be a disaster. The ban on international trade in rhino horn is probably the only thing standing between rhino survival and their extinction at the ignorant hands of those who happily put profit before life and, most certainly, before the conservation of a species.

Why baby turtles work together to dig themselves out of a nest | New Scientist

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2088892-why-baby-turtles-work-together-to-dig-themselves-out-of-a-nest/

“We knew of this group-digging behaviour, called social facilitation, for a long time, but the reasons for teamwork were unclear. Possible explanations included speeding up nest escape or helping the turtles emerge together to swamp awaiting predators on the beach.

But Mohd Uzair Rusli, a biologist at the University of Malaysia Terengganu in Kuala Terengganu wondered if it could also help individual hatchlings cut down on energy use while trying to leave their nest. This is a major undertaking for the tiny hatchlings, taking several days, with the only source of energy being the yolk that remains when they hatch.”

Frontiers | Quantification of Overnight Movement of Birch (Betula pendula) Branches and Foliage with Short Interval Terrestrial Laser Scanning | Plant Biophysics and Modeling

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpls.2016.00222/full

Interesting new research into circadian rhythms in trees which seems to confirm that trees sleep.

[However, they could have got the Latin name for Betula correct in the original paper.]

BBC News – India’s dying mother

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-aad46fca-734a-45f9-8721-61404cc12a39

A fascinating piece on the river Ganges in India and the varying ways in which it has become one of the most polluted rivers on the planet. Leather tanneries are a prime cause of carcinogens and rotting animal matter polluting the Ganges, along with human sewage and burnt, rotting human bodies.

Despite all of the vile toxins put into the river, and the horrifying amount of water taken out of the water table, Ganges river dolphins tentatively remain in smaller and smaller numbers in the great river. I truly hope that India can clean up its vital life source. Shutting down its entire leather industry would be a great start. What a disservice we do to animals and the planet in so many perverse ways.

Vets are denied access to abattoir footage | | The Times & The Sunday Times

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/vets-denied-access-to-abattoir-footage-hc7z27qmk

“More than 30 slaughterhouses are refusing to let official vets view CCTV footage of animals being killed, prompting concerns that they are hiding illegal acts of cruelty.”

Why? It does not take a genius to work this out. And what are “illegal acts of cruelty” anyway, in contrast to legal acts of cruelty? Vivisectionists commit legal acts of cruelty as a matter of course. Why are we as a species still perpetuating this abominable treatment of other animals every single minute of every single day? Don’t be a part of it. It’s not logical, it’s not ethical, it’s not ok.

Animal intelligence has been widely underestimated, says primatologist Frans de Waal – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2016/05/05/animal-intelligence-has-been-widely-underestimated-says-primatologist-frans-de-waal/

I spent many of my formative years feeling confused and frustrated at the way most humans appeared to categorise all other animals as “dumb”. They somehow use this assumed lesser or non-existent intellect to justify using and abusing other species (think: farm animals, think: lab animals). I still feel confused and frustrated; but this article and new research gives us hope that we can finally comprehend some of the understanding, awareness and ‘intelligence’ of other animals, and then learn to respect and honour it.

I cringe at how much laboratory animals must suffer at our violent, arrogant hands.