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Hybridization patterns in two contact zones of grass snakes reveal a new Central European snake species | Scientific Reports

This is amazing news. Natrix natrix -previously thought to be the only grass snake in the UK – has been found to be genetically distinct from what was previously thought to be a variation rather than separate species, the newly named Natrix venaticus. Studies sampled mtDNA from existing skins and specimens and found clear genetic differences between the two, confirming Natrix venaticus as a separate and distinct species. No living snakes were harmed for the study either, which is always good news.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07847-9

Maned wolf | Smithsonian’s National Zoo

More on the maned wolf, my new favourite animal. Genus Chrysostom.

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/maned-wolf

10 Leggy Facts About the Maned Wolf

I may have found my spirit animal. Chrysocyon brachyurus, Maned Wolf. Magnificent Canidae, prehistoric carnivora lineage. I love them! Can I study them? 
http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=87334

Roosting in conical leaves reduces the clarity of bat communications – A new zoology thing for curious kids – 2 New Things

“Spix’s disk-winged bats don’t live the standard cave-bound lifestyle we usually associate with flying mammals. The natives of Central and South America generally roost in the thick, curled leaves of plants like calatheas. Weighting in at only four grams, a handful of bats can hide in a single furled leaf, hanging on thanks to the suction-cup disks on their wings and legs that they’re named for.”
http://2newthings.com/roosting-conical-leaves-reduces-clarity-bat-communications/

Complete Cranium Reveals Otter- and Badger-like Features | Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The new species, Siamogale melilutra lived 6.24 million years ago in the Yunnan Province in China. It weighed approximately 110 lbs and was roughly the size of a modern wolf.”

https://www.cmnh.org/announcements/ancient-otter

Dolphins escape from Taiji facility in Japan – BBC News

It’s so tragic that these animals are so traumatised and conditioned to rely on handouts for resources that they gain their freedom after someone cut the nets and they don’t know what to do with it. Awful breaking of a wild animal’s autonomous, free spirit.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38515187

Wolf trapping – A diary of moving from East London to Montana

A fascinating read. I will never, ever understand hunters of any kind. Their logic and ethics are utterly skewed. 

But I learn that Jim Posewitz is that uniquely Western American who has made it his life’s work to improve ‘the image of hunting with an emphasis on fair chase ethics’ and has focused ‘on putting hunters at the forefront of our nation’s conservation ethic.’ He’s exactly the sort of person I find impossible to understand. Is it just semantics? When he talks of conservation, does he mean the conservation of a way of life based on when the trapper ruled and the West was won by guys who slept under the stars dreaming of the dead wolves at their feet the next morning? As Rick Bass says about hunters in his book The Ninemile Wolves, ‘there’s nothing harder to stereotype than a “hunter”.’ I would add that this is also true of trappers: they claim to love the wilderness, they call themselves sportsmen, outdoorsmen, and yet they are happy inflicting pain on animals in return for the price of their fur. Most hunters eat their prey, whereas trappers do it for money.”

https://missoulabound.wordpress.com/tag/wolf-trapping/