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 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:42 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Europe's offshore wind hits record yearly high with six months still to go

Germany drives bumper year for European offshore wind in 2015, installing three times more capacity than current leader, the UK

Damian Carrington
Thursday 30 July 2015 10.10 BST

Europe’s offshore wind power industry has set a record for its biggest ever year just six months into 2015.

The biggest factor was a huge jump in turbines in German waters connecting to the grid, with Germany installing three times more electricity-generating capacity than the continent’s current leader, the UK.
Tories to end onshore windfarm subsidies in 2016

In the first half of the year, 584 offshore wind turbines were connected, adding 2.3GW of capacity to the European electricity grid, according to new data from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). In total there is now 10GW of connected offshore wind, enough to power about seven million homes.

The newly connected capacity is over 50% more than was connected in the whole of 2014. But the EWEA says it expects a slower growth rate in the next 12-18 months, as a new investment cycle begins and many projects already in the pipeline begin construction.

“2015 is shaping up to be a bumper year for offshore wind,” said Kristian Ruby, the trade body’s chief policy officer. “There are three key drivers for the market this year; exponential growth in Germany, larger capacity turbines in the water and a number of projects [becoming] either fully grid connected or partially completed.”

“This year, we are going to see Germany deploy more offshore wind than the UK for the first time.” said Ruby. “It’s a real statement of intent from Germany as the energiewende (energy transition) continues to kick in. However, it is certainly too early to say that Germany will overtake the UK [before] 2020.”

Since January, Germany has installed 1.7GW, the UK 0.5GW and the Netherlands 0.1GW. In UK waters, 102 turbines were installed in the Humber Gateway, Westermost Rough and Gwynt y Môr projects.

Offshore turbines benefit from stronger winds and fewer difficulties with planning permission than onshore projects. But the heavy foundations, more difficult maintenance and grid connection cables needed make offshore wind more expensive, though costs are falling.

The UK government frequently cites its global leadership in offshore wind as evidence of its green ambitions. The UK still has about double the installed capacity of Germany, but continued German expansion could see that gap erased. The manufacturing of turbines was dominated by Germany’s Siemens, with 57% of the new capacity added in 2015.

UK ministers recently announced the end of subsidies for onshore wind farms, and the government intends to cut support for solar and biomass energy. The moves harmed the confidence of renewable energy investors but to date ministers have not indicated they will reduce subsidies for offshore wind.

Amber Rudd, energy and climate change secretary, said: “Thanks to government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy – it’s part of our long term plan to foster enterprise, innovation and create jobs as we decarbonise at the lowest cost to hardworking bill payers. We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies.”

Offshore wind farms are big business, with European projects worth €7.1bn (£5bn) getting final investment approval in the first half of 2015. Another €10bn is expected to be invested in offshore wind farms in the next 18 months, providing 2.2GW of capacity, according to the EWEA.

The average turbine size increased from 3.5MW in 2014 to 4.2MW in the first half of 2015 as developers preferred more powerful machines. Orders are also starting to be seen for very large 8MW turbines.

Over 9o% of the world’s offshore wind power is installed in northern Europe, with two demonstration projects off of China the next largest projects.

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:40 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
David Cameron promises to protect wildlife after Cecil the lion killing

Prime minister discusses ‘issue of tiger bones, and rhino horn’ on visit to Vietnam, as Tory minister Grant Shapps writes to Zimbabwean government

Patrick Wintour Political editor in Kuala Lumpur
Thursday 30 July 2015 12.04 BST

David Cameron has promised to step up government efforts to protect wildlife from poachers following the outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion.

He said he wanted to do more to help countries such as Vietnam stop the illegal trade in rhino horn after talks with the Vietnamese prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung.
Analysis Trophy hunting just part of the story behind declining lion numbers in Africa
Lion hunting quotas in Zimbabwe, where Cecil was killed, are unsustainable but across Africa hunting helps prevent habitat loss that is a main driver in the animals’ decline, say conservationists
Read more

At the same time the Foreign Office minister Grant Shapps called on all governments in Africa to end hunting such as the killing of the Zimbabwean lion. Shapps described the killing as revolting and said he had written to the Zimbabwean government to ask what more could be done to stop illegal hunting and poaching.

He described Cecil as “an icon of the wildlife world”.

Shapps wrote to the Zimbabwean environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri, saying: “I was distressed to read media reports about Cecil the lion being illegally killed by hunters in Zimbabwe earlier this month, as I am sure were you.

“It is clear that we share an ambition to secure the protection of threatened species, and in working towards an end to poaching and other illegal practices. I would welcome your thoughts on how we could work more closely together to help achieve our shared objectives on this issue.”

In Vietnam, Cameron was asked if Britain could do more to end the trophy imports that lie at the heart of the illegal wildlife trade, and he replied the government was playing a leading role in stopping trade in illegal wildlife.

Dung told Cameron rhinos in Vietnam had now been hunted to extinction in part due to the belief their horns had a medicinal quality.

Sold in shops in Hanoi, rhino bones imported from Africa are seen as a valuable commodity. Tiger bones are also valuable because tiger glue is highly prized by advocates of traditional medicine. It is said to to increase masculinity.

Cameron said he and Dung had discussed “how we could help the Vietnamese with this in terms of preventing this trade, which is leading to the loss of so many vital species. So we were actually discussing the issue of tiger bones, and rhino horn”.

Britain has promised £200,000 funding to the Vietnamese to stage a conference on the illegal wildlife trade next year.

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:38 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
World Bank rejects energy industry notion that coal can cure poverty

World Bank’s climate change envoy: ‘We need to wean ourselves off coal’
Bank has stopped funding new coal projects except in ‘rare circumstances’

Suzanne Goldenberg
Wednesday 29 July 2015 20.01 BST

The World Bank said coal was no cure for global poverty on Wednesday, rejecting a main industry argument for building new fossil fuel projects in developing countries.

In a rebuff to coal, oil and gas companies, Rachel Kyte, the World Bank climate change envoy, said continued use of coal was exacting a heavy cost on some of the world’s poorest countries, in local health impacts as well as climate change, which is imposing even graver consequences on the developing world.

“In general globally we need to wean ourselves off coal,” Kyte told an event in Washington hosted by the New Republic and the Center for American Progress. “There is a huge social cost to coal and a huge social cost to fossil fuels … if you want to be able to breathe clean air.”

Coal, oil and gas companies have pushed back against efforts to fight climate change by arguing fossil fuels are a cure to “energy poverty”, which is holding back developing countries.

Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest privately held coal company, went so far as to claim that coal would have prevented the spread of the Ebola virus.

However, Kyte said that when it came to lifting countries out of poverty, coal was part of the problem – and not part of a broader solution.

“Do I think coal is the solution to poverty? There are more than 1 billion people today who have no access to energy,” Kyte said. Hooking them up to a coal-fired grid would not on its own wreck the planet, she went on.

But Kyte added: “If they all had access to coal-fired power tomorrow their respiratory illness rates would go up, etc, etc … We need to extend access to energy to the poor and we need to do it the cleanest way possible because the social costs of coal are uncounted and damaging, just as the global emissions count is damaging as well.”

The World Bank sees climate change as a driver of poverty, threatening decades of development.

The international lender has strongly backed efforts to reach a deal in Paris at the end of the year that would limit warming to a rise of 2C (3.6F).

However, even that deal would not do enough to avoid severe consequences for some of the world’s poorest countries, Kyte said.

“Two degrees is not benign,” she said. “It is where we put the line in the sand.”

Fossil fuel companies have pushed back against the notion that climate change is a driver of poverty, arguing instead that the low global prices for coal and oil are a benefit for poor countries.

Peabody launched a global public relations offensive around the notion of “energy poverty”, trying to rebrand the dirtiest of fossil fuels as a poverty cure. Spokesmen for Shell have called efforts to cut use of fossil fuels in developing countries “energy colonialism”.

The World Bank stopped funding new coal projects except in “rare circumstances” three years ago after the US, Britain and the Netherlands opposed its decision to finance a new coal-fired power plant in South Africa.

The US stopped investing in new coal-fired projects overseas in 2011, and called on lending institutions like the World Bank to do the same.

Kyte in her remarks on Wednesday left some room for the World Bank to fund future coal projects – but she made it clear it would only be in the most isolated circumstances. “We have no coal in our pipeline apart from one particularly extreme circumstance,” she said.

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:36 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Obama will use veto to defend climate change plan if necessary

President will use all powers available to push through Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power stations, says White House

Suzanne Goldenberg
Thursday 30 July 2015 12.07 BST

Barack Obama will use all of his powers – including his veto – to defend his plan to fight climate change, the White House said, on the eve of new rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants.

Obama is expected to unveil the new rules as early as Monday, according to those familiar with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan.

The final version will give states and electricity companies an extra two years – until 2022 – before they need to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The delay was seen as an attempt to defuse opposition from Republicans in Congress and industry to the rules.

But the White House said on Wednesday it was still gearing up to do battle over the new rules.

“When it comes to the Clean Power Plan, let me say this: We will not back down. We will finalise a stronger rule. We will veto ideological riders to stop this plan and undercut our bedrock environmental laws, and we will move forward on behalf of the American people with the vision set forward by the president,” Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, said on Wednesday.

He said the time lag would not weaken the power plant rules or stop the US from meeting its global commitments to fight climate change.

Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the US. The EPA rules are critical to meeting Obama’s promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025 and, by extension, shoring up Obama’s efforts to reach a global agreement to fight climate change in Paris at the end of the year.

“Given the president’s legacy, I can’t imagine the EPA would go through this huge stakeholder effort and not follow through,” said Bill Becker, director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

So far, half a dozen states including Texas and Oklahoma have declared they will not go along with the EPA rules and could take the agency to court.

However, Becker said many states were already preparing to put their carbon-cutting plans in place.

Republicans in Congress this week attached riders to must-pass funding bills that would delay the EPA rules or block them entirely.

Meanwhile, power companies, especially those that rely heavily on coal, claim the EPA rules would drive up household electricity bills.

McDonough said the opposition came straight from the “well-worn playbook of scare tactics”, but he said the White House would not retreat. “There is no doubt we will be focused on all this and be forced to battle back.”

The White House official also dismissed fears the EPA delay would weaken efforts to fight climate change.

After receiving more than 4.3 million public comments – the most ever to any environmental rule – the EPA is now expected to give states until 2022 to start cutting emissions, according to those familiar with the final rule.

Under the original draft, states were required to submit an initial carbon-cutting plan by September 2016. That deadline has now been extended into 2018.

The agency is also believed to have reduced targets for some states, in the hopes of getting more support later on.

The EPA is believed to have offered incentives to states that hit the original deadline – which McDonough said would ultimately strengthen the rules.

“It will be stronger in many ways than the proposed rule put forward by the EPA by encouraging rapid deployment of the cleanest form of energy,” McDonough told a forum hosted by the New Republic and the Center for American Progress.

However, some campaign groups were openly concerned about the time lag. Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the states did not need more time to put their plans in place. “States are already on track to cut their emissions through actions they’ve put in place,” he said.

“If the EPA does decide to delay compliance timelines, I’ll be looking for assurance that the overall emission reductions achieved by the rule stay strong, early action by states is incentivized, and any delay won’t jeopardize the US’s 2025 international commitment.”

The American Lung Association, which has been a solid supporter of the EPA rules, said it was reassured by reports of incentives for states to act quickly. “The final plan ... appears to be a robust approach to reduce carbon pollution from power plants,” said CEO Harold Wimmer.

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:34 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
International outcry over death of lion brands big-game hunter as ‘villain’

Originally published July 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm Updated July 29, 2015 at 9:36 pm

The tempest over the killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota big-game hunter is playing out around the world, with court proceedings against two men, U.S. authorities offering to help and the hunter saying anger toward him has brought his dental practice to a halt.

(Minneapolis) Star Tribune (TNS)and The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Dr. Walter Palmer’s neatly groomed property near Minneapolis, adjacent to a preschool, has turned from a dentist’s office to a memorial to the killed lion Cecil, with red roses and more than a dozen stuffed animals laid outside the locked front door.

The turmoil surrounding the killing of the beloved lion in Zimbabwe by Palmer, a Minnesota big-game hunter, played out around the world Wednesday, with court proceedings against two men, U.S. authorities offering investigatory assistance and the hunter saying that anger toward him has brought his dental practice to a halt.

Palmer, 55, of Eden Prairie, has acknowledged that he shot Cecil with a bow and arrow July 1 during the hunt that he paid more than $50,000 to arrange. Cecil was living in the Hwange National Park, where it had protected status and was collared as part of a long-term study. The animal became a favorite among tourists and a point of pride for the southern African nation.

But in the hours after Palmer said he had killed the lion under the impression that the hunt was legal and undertaken with the proper permits, he went from a dentist and longtime hunting enthusiast to the villain at the center of a virtual firestorm over the ethics of big-game trophy hunting.   

He apologized in a statement: “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.”

Trophy hunting, undertaken by wealthy hunters who pay tens of thousands of dollars for licenses to kill protected animals for trophies and sport, has long been a subject of global debate. Hunting advocates and some conservationists argue that, if done responsibly, the selling of expensive licenses to big-game hunters can help pay for efforts to protect endangered species.

A 2009 study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimated that trophy hunters kill around 600 lions a year.

Last October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and a move that would also establish guidelines for permitting the importing of lion trophies. That proposal is under review.

Cecil had been closely studied by researchers at the University of Oxford since 2008 as part of efforts to track the decline in Africa’s lion population and to better understand the threats the animals face.

The university’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit said in a statement that Cecil’s adult “brothers” and cubs would now most likely be killed by other male lions seeking dominance in the community.

When it was reported that a Texas man paid $350,000 to hunt and kill a black rhinoceros in Namibia this year, the debate remained among activists. But the death of Cecil, a 13-year-old lion who wandered out of his sanctuary in a national park this month, struck a chord with social-media users.

As more details around the killing emerged, activists used search engines to find Palmer’s contact information and social media to share information about his business and his family, stirring a fever pitch of anger strong enough to effectively dismantle his digital life.

Angry people sent a surge of traffic to Palmer’s website, which was taken offline. Vitriolic reviews flooded his Yelp page — “Murderer,” one reviewer wrote. A Facebook page titled “Shame Lion Killer Dr. Palmer and River Bluff Dental” drew thousands of users. Professional profiles of Palmer were also scrubbed from websites.

Even a local crisis-management expert got pulled into the fray. The specialist, Jon Austin, who operates a Minneapolis-based communications firm, said he had been asked only to circulate Palmer’s initial statement. On Wednesday, Austin ended his involvement with the matter but not before his own Yelp page was flooded by angry commenters.

Federal authorities in the United States said Wednesday they are poised to assist officials in Zimbabwe in their investigation of Palmer and the two men who were with him when Cecil was shot with a bow and arrow and then finished off two days later with a gunshot.

Laury Marshall Parramore, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said her agency is deeply concerned about the killing of Cecil. “We are currently gathering facts about the issue and will assist Zimbabwe officials in whatever manner requested. It is up to all of us — not just the people of Africa — to ensure that healthy, wild populations of animals continue to roam the savanna for generations to come.”

The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement that it’s also “aware of the situation and … looking into the facts.”

Police in Bloomington, Minn., are ramping up patrols around Palmer’s office, where artist Mark Balma leaned a 6- by 6-foot blank canvas against his vehicle and is painting a portrait of Cecil. Balma, who splits his time between California and Italy, is visiting friends in the area and said he felt the need “to do something about this and express it. I paint, so I painted it out.”

A Bloomington mother brought her two small children to the protest. One of them, 3-year-old Beckett Madison, wore a lion’s costume and a sign that read, “Protect Me, Don’t Hunt Me.”

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton characterized Cecil’s death as “just horrible. … It’s an iconic lion. To lure the animal out of the preserve, I don’t understand how anyone thinks that’s sport.”

Movie and television celebrities joined the chorus of global condemnation and took out after Palmer, largely on Twitter, among them British comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, TV personality Sharon Osbourne and movie actress Olivia Wilde.

Late-night TV talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel used more than four minutes of his opening monologue Tuesday night on ABC for a largely punchline-free scolding. Palmer needs to “stop saying you took the animal,” Kimmel said. “You take aspirin. You killed the lion; you didn’t take it.”

Palmer wrote in a notice to his patients that his practice is closed for the time being, saying his business has been disrupted by the “substantial number of calls and comments from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general.”

He added that he hopes to “resume normal operations as soon as possible.” In the meantime, Palmer continued, referrals to other dentists are being arranged.

Along with repeating his statement from Tuesday, the dentist also told his clients, “I don’t often talk about hunting with my patients because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic. I understand and respect that not everyone shares the same views on hunting.”

In Zimbabwe, two men implicated in the killing of Cecil were in court Wednesday in Hwange, about 435 miles west of the capital, Harare. Palmer, who was in the Twin Cities as of Tuesday evening, was being sought on poaching charges, according to Zimbabwe officials.

In a statement on Tuesday, Palmer said that he had not been contacted by the authorities, but that he was willing to cooperate with their requests.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study, until the end of the hunt,” Palmer said. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

Theo Bronkhorst, a professional guide with Bushman Safaris, was charged with “failing to supervise, control and take reasonable steps to prevent an unlawful hunt.” Court documents said he was supervising while Palmer shot the animal.

Bronkhorst is suspected of luring the lion to a farm, where it was shot. He pleaded not guilty and was freed in lieu of $1,000 bail. If convicted, Bronkhorst faces up to 15 years in prison.

Farmer Honest Trymore Ndlovu has yet to be charged. Officials say Ndlovu was expected to first testify for the state and then be charged.

During a nighttime pursuit, the hunters tied a dead animal to their car to lure the lion out of the national park, said Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. Palmer shot the lion with a bow and arrow, injuring it. The wounded lion was found later and killed with a gun, Rodrigues said. The 13-year-old lion, easily spotted by his dominantly black mane, was skinned and beheaded.

Cecil’s carcass was discovered days later by trackers, according to a statement from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe. Emmanuel Fundira, president of Safari Operators Association, said “Cecil’s trophy (head) has since been recovered and will be brought to court as an exhibit.”

Palmer has been hunting big game for many years. His kills are listed by Safari Club International, a big-game hunting group that claims 55,000 members worldwide. The club’s detailed record book lists 43 kills by Palmer, all by bow and arrow. His list includes moose, deer, buffalo, a polar bear and a mountain lion. A photo in the record book shows him with an African elephant he shot in Zimbabwe in 2013.

According to U.S. court records, Palmer pleaded guilty in 2008 to making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear he fatally shot in western Wisconsin.

Palmer had a permit to hunt but shot the animal outside the authorized zone in 2006, then tried to pass it off as being killed elsewhere, according to court documents. He was given one year probation and fined nearly $3,000.

Information from The Associated Press is included.


Jimmy Kimmel has emotional response to death of Cecil the lion - video


US talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel gives an emotional response to the death of Cecil the lion, a cherished creature at Zimbabwe's Hwange national park. The host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! says he was saddened to hear the lion was killed by an American hunter earlier this month. Kimmel becomes visibly upset while speaking about the incident, and later prompts viewers to donate to a wildlife research unit

Click to watch:


Cecil the lion's killer joins long list of big game hunters skewered on social media

Click here to read this article:


Trophy hunting just part of the story behind declining lion numbers in Africa

Lion hunting quotas in Zimbabwe, where Cecil was killed, are unsustainable but across Africa hunting helps prevent habitat loss that is a main driver in the animals’ decline, say conservationists

John Vidal
Wednesday 29 July 2015 17.14 BST

Lion numbers are in steep decline across Africa, but trophy hunting is only partly responsible for the long-term losses, say conservationists.

According to UK-based charity Lion Aid, trophy hunters in Zimbabwe killed around 800 lions in the 10 years to 2009, out of a population in the country of up to 1,680.

This compares with a total of 990 lions killed for sport in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique combined over the same period.

South Africa, where hunters legally kill around 260 a year, is the world centre of lion hunting but nearly all those killed for sport are bred in captivity, in a practice known as canned hunting. In central and west Africa there is less hunting because lion populations are nearly all in steep decline or extinct.

“Lions are grossly over-hunted in Zimbabwe concessions, lured out of national parks and there is corruption. Quotas are exceeded. It is highly unsustainable,” said a spokesman for Lion Aid, following the illegal killing of a 12-year-old lion known as Cecil who was lured out of Hwange national park by an American hunter.

But many conservationists say that without trophy hunting there would be no lions at all.

“The land would be used for farming and this would accelerate the loss of wildlife. We don’t like trophy hunting but it slows the rapid decline of populations. It is a necessary evil,” said Guy Balme, director of the leopard programme in Africa for US-based conservation group Panthera.

Governments encourage hunting because most of the land used for hunting is not suitable for tourism. “The problem is we don’t have the alternatives to hunting. In many areas where lion hunting takes place there is no other wildlife-based industry. I don’t condone it. The shooting industry uses the excuse that hunting is better than the alternatives, but it can only be a short-term solution,” said Balme.

Data on lion numbers is not reliable, said Peter Lindsey, a lion conservation specialist at Zimbabwe university and author of a survey of trophy hunting in Africa. He has argued in academic papers that hunting could be a positive force because it provides an economic motive for maintaining wildlife habitats.

“But in countries like Tanzania, which holds 30-50% of all Africa’s wild lions, trophy hunting appears to be the primary driver of lion population declines outside protected areas,” said Lindsey.

The hunting industry is believed to contribute over $200m (£130m) a year to African governments, through permits, taxes and quotas. The money is in theory used to support national parks and wildlife conservation.

South African organisation Hunting Legends this week quoted $35,000 to kill a male lion in his prime, $13,000 for a buffalo, $8,500 for a crocodile and $60,000 for a large elephant. A Vervet monkey can be shot for $170, said its website.

According to a 2007 paper by Lindsey, lions generate up to 17% of Africa’s hunting income and attract the highest prices from hunters. number of] animals. Trophy hunting is not the problem, it is habitat loss,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

Johnstone, whose company offers hunting trips with bows as well as rifles, said he could not defend the way Cecil was lured out of the protected area. But he added: “It is all very well being sentimental about Cecil. But he was an old lion. It surprises me that he hadn’t been killed by other male lions or hyenas. He happened to go onto a hunting area and got shot. People who have got businesses in that park are making a huge nonsense out of it ... Wildlife hunting is a good thing. It should be supported wholeheartedly.”


Cecil the lion mural painted outside dental practice in Minnesota – video


Artist Mark Balma discusses why he is painting a huge mural of Cecil the lion outside Walter Palmer's dental practice in Minnesota. Palmer received widespread condemnation for hunting and killing the lion in Zimbabwe. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Palmer's office on Wednesday demanding the dentist be extradited to face charges in Zimbabwe. Palmer has said he believed the hunt was legal and didn't know about the lion's status

Click to watch: <iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:19 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Baby giraffe whose birth was streamed live on internet dies at Dallas zoo

Three-month-old Kipenzi broke her neck in an accident when she ran into a perimeter edge of a barn
Kipenzi the giraffe with its mother

Associated Press
Wednesday 29 July 2015 06.05 BST

A baby giraffe whose birth at the Dallas zoo was viewed live on the internet worldwide has died in an accident.

A Dallas zoo statement said Kipenzi, three months old, died about 5.30pm on Tuesday when she ran into a perimeter edge of a barn that is part of the giraffe herd’s habitat.

According to the statement, zookeepers had been routinely shifting the herd into their night barn when the calf began to scamper about the feeding yard. Zoo officials said she died immediately from three broken neck vertebrae.

Kipenzi’s mother, Katie, was allowed to visit the calf’s body before veterinarians and zookeepers removed it.

Kipenzi’s birth on 10 April was livestreamed on the Animal Planet website. Kipenzi is Swahili for “loved one”.

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Badger recovering in shelter after being found drunk on Polish beach

Party animal discovered surrounded by seven empty beer bottles, along with two more hidden in bushes, believed to have been stolen from beachgoers

Agence France-Presse in Warsaw
Wednesday 29 July 2015 19.17 BST

A female badger is recovering at a Polish animal shelter, two days after the party animal was found passed out on a beach having had too much to drink.

“Oh, youth. Oh, summer holidays,” animal shelter Dzika Ostoja joked on Wednesday in a Facebook post, detailing Wandzia the badger’s plight in the Baltic seaside resort town of Rewal.

“We found Wandzia drunk, surrounded by seven [empty beer] bottles. There were two more in the bushes, so it’s possible Wandzia began partying there. Haha.”

The badger is believed to have stolen the booze from fellow beachgoers, before removing the beer caps with her teeth.

The black and white omnivore was unconscious for two days, the shelter’s manager, Marzena Bialowolska, told AFP, adding that the badger had partially recovered but was still unable to sit up.

“She’s been sleeping, drinking water and eating chick meat,” said Bialowolska. If all goes well, Wandzia will be released back into the wild by the end of the week.

Wandzia is not the first of her kind to have experimented with alcohol. In 2009, German police were called to clear a road of a badger that was “drunk as a skunk” from gorging itself on over-ripe, fermented cherries.

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:14 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
July 28, 2015

Russian logging roads destroyed to save endangered tigers

by Brett Smith
Red Orbit

In a major victory for conservationists, a logging company operating in the Russian Far East has agreed to dismantle old unused logging roads in order to thwart the efforts of poachers.

Terney County in the Russian coastal province of Primory, where the old roads are located, is home of a significant population of Siberian Tigers that used these roads as travel corridors, a habit that makes them easy pickings for poachers.

The agreement was reached between the Terney County Forest Service, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the logging company TerneyLes. According to the agreement, the roads will be rendered impassible by taking out bridges, digging trenches, and bulldozing bottlenecks (where a road goes between a river and a steep cliff).

Destruction is crucial for preservation

The destruction of the roads is crucial for the preservation of the 30 percent of all endangered species in Russia. In addition to tigers being vulnerable on these logging roads, red deer and wild boar – major prey species for tigers – are also typical targets. Other species like Blakiston’s fish owl, mandarin ducks, and a vast array of fish are also negatively affected by these roads. In addition, traffic on the roads increases the chances of manmade fires.

Outside of protected areas, the area has been focused on by logging companies over the last three decades. Consequently, logging roads have grown tremendously. A recent WCS satellite evaluation of the area found in 1984, there were approximately 140 miles of roads in Terney County. In 2014, this had expanded to an estimated 3,900 miles of roads, virtually all of them built to assist the logging industry.

In a press release, the WCS noted logging isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Siberian tigers. However, the roads left behind do have a serious negative impact. Dismantling of the roads is expected to begin later this summer.

“We at TerneyLes recognize the value of Primorye’s forests as a reservoir of biological diversity, and we take our responsibility to help manage these resources seriously,” said Aleksandr Levchenko, in charge of forest management for the logging company. “Closing roads is just one of many things we do to help protect these resources while providing sustainable employment to the citizens of Terney County.”

 on: Jul 30, 2015, 05:12 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
July 29, 2015

Animal stomach acid evolved for protection

by Susanna Pilny
Red Orbit

An analysis published today in PLOS ONE has discovered an evolutionary link between diet and stomach acidity.

It’s well known that stomach acid is used to chemically break down food and to protect animals from food poisoning. But acidity varies widely between species in the animal kingdom, especially in birds and mammals.

“Yet, while the idea that the stomach serves as a barrier to pathogens has often been discussed, no study appears to have formally compared the stomach pH [the measurement of acidity] in birds or mammals as a function of their biology in general or their likely exposure to foodborne pathogens in particular,” wrote the authors.

This lack of knowledge drove the researchers to examine the relationship between stomach acidity and diet. They hypothesized that the differences in gut pH across animal species related to what they ate, as some diets have a higher risk of pathogen infection than others. Carnivores, for example, run a higher risk than herbivores, as meat carries more pathogens than plants.

To test this, they gathered all the existing literature on the stomach acidity of birds and mammals—68 species in total—along with data on the natural feeding habits of each species. Then, they ran an analysis to see how diet related to acidity levels, with lower pH levels corresponding to stronger acidity.

Scavengers—who run the highest risk of food contamination—had the most acidic stomachs, allowing them to effectively filter microbes. Obligate scavengers (which rely on scavenging alone to eat) had the “strongest” stomachs, with an average pH of 1.3; facultative scavengers (who scavenge opportunistically) were a close second, at 1.8.

Next highest were generalist carnivores (who don’t prey on specific animals) at 2.2, followed by omnivores (2.9), carnivores that specialize in specific prey type (3.6), and herbivores (4.1 and 6.1 for different gut locations).

"The finding confirms our hypothesis, but you have to get that confirmation before moving forward," said DeAnna Beasley, a co-author of the paper.

Humans are a little weird

One surprise of the research was that humans (who are classified as omnivores) have an average stomach pH of 1.5, an acidity on the level of scavengers. While there is no definitive reason why, the authors had a few hypotheses.

“One explanation for such acidity may be that carrion feeding was more important in humans (and more generally hominin) evolution than currently considered to be the case,” explained the authors. “Alternatively, in light of the number of fecal-oral pathogens that infect and kill humans, selection may have favored high stomach acidity, independent of diet, because of its role in pathogen prevention.”

The authors also made note that when human pH levels change, people are more at risk for illnesses. For example, elderly humans more prone to bacterial infections in the stomach and gut had pH levels of 6.6 in one study.

Further, patients of gastric bypass also experience a drop in acidity, with pH levels around 5.7 to 6.8, along with people who take stomach acid reducing agents like proton-pump inhibitors and young children. This means they are more likely to experience infections from food.

However, the authors did have a suggestion on how to avoid illness due to low acidity:

 on: Jul 29, 2015, 09:02 PM 
Started by Sabrina - Last post by Lenore
Linda, you're amazing! Thanks for all those links  Grin

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