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Author Topic: For All Daemon Souls and Dog Lovers  (Read 14986 times)
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« Reply #390 on: Aug 19, 2014, 06:46 AM »

Cheetah and dog become best of friends at San Diego zoo – video report


A baby cheetah who was rejected by his mother is being raised with a puppy at San Diego zoo. Ruuxa will stay lifelong companions with puppy Raina. The pair, who are almost four months old, play and wrestle together. Cheetahs are sometimes paired with dogs to provide companionship and help them stay calm in public settings.

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« Reply #391 on: Aug 19, 2014, 06:50 AM »

Barry the manatee drowns at Paris zoo after getting stuck in pool shaft

Three-year-old mammal has died just a month after joining refurbished wildlife park at Vincennes

Anne Penketh in Paris, Tuesday 19 August 2014 12.34 BST      

A three-year-old manatee has drowned after getting stuck in a service shaft in its pool just a month after joining a zoo in Paris.

Barry the manatee, who weighed 300kg (660lbs), died last Tuesday but the zoo at Vincennes only acknowledged the mammal's death on Monday and said an investigation was under way. Barry and his 600kg companion Tinus were a star attraction at the zoo, which had been closed for five years for a major renovation.

The 80-year-old zoo reopened in April under its new name, the Paris Zoological Park, having previously been known as the Vincennes zoo.

Barry was born in captivity at the Danish zoo at Odense and had been in Vincennes since 4 July.

A spokeswoman told the Guardian that the mammal "forced its way into the shaft where it got stuck".

Authorities are trying to find out exactly what happened and whether the manatees' enclosure needs to be modified. On the day of the accident, the tropical pool was closed to the public while the shaft was shut and keepers made sure that Tinus was not at risk. The pool was specially built to contain up to three manatees.

The gentle, lumbering manatees are an endangered species, with only a few thousand left in the world. The herbivorous mammals remain submerged in shallow water or just under the surface and need to come up every five minutes to breathe.

The zoo's scientific director, Alexis Lécu, said the manatee pool design had been approved by a body that supervises the breeding programmes and exchanges of European zoos, and had been inspected on site in February before the zoo reopened.

A healthy adult manatee, which can measure about three metres (10ft) and weigh up to 600kg, can live to the age of 60. They spend most of their time eating or sleeping. Young manatees, also known as sea cows, can fall victim to shark or crocodile attacks in the wild, but the greatest threat to them is collisions with motorboats

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« Reply #392 on: Aug 19, 2014, 10:08 AM »

African elephants’ plight worsens as poaching soars

A study by the world’s leading elephant experts found that illegal killings have climbed from 25 percent of all African elephant deaths a decade ago to about 65 percent today.

The Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya — Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012, a huge spike in the continent’s death rate of the world’s largest land mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, a new study published Monday found.

Warnings about massive African elephant slaughters have been ringing for years, but Monday’s study is the first to scientifically quantify the number of deaths across the continent by measuring deaths in one closely monitored park in Kenya and using other published data to extrapolate fatality tolls across the continent.

The study — which was carried out by the world’s leading African elephant experts — found that the proportion of illegally killed elephants has climbed from 25 percent of all elephant deaths a decade ago to about 65 percent of all elephant deaths today, a percentage that, if continued, will lead to the extinction of the species.

China’s rising middle class and the demand for ivory is driving up the black-market price, leading to more impoverished people in Africa “willing to take the criminal risk on and kill elephants. The causation in my mind is clear,” said the study’s lead author, George Wittemyer of Colorado State University.

The peer-review study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was co-authored by experts from Save the Elephants, the Kenya Wildlife Service, an international group called MIKE responsible for monitoring the illegal killings of elephants, and two international universities.

“The current demand for ivory is unsustainable. That is our overarching conclusion. It must come down. Otherwise the elephants will continue to decrease,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants.

Elephant deaths are not happening at the same rate across Africa. The highest death rate is in Central Africa, with East Africa — Tanzania and Kenya — not far behind.

Botswana is a bright spot, with an elephant population that is holding steady or growing. South Africa’s rhinos are being killed, but poachers have not begun attacking its elephants.

Some individual elephant-death numbers are shocking. The elephant population in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve dropped from 40,000 to 13,000 over the past three years.

China is aware of its image problem concerning the ivory trade. The embassy in Kenya this month donated anti-poaching equipment to four wildlife conservancies. Chinese Ambassador Liu Xianfa said at the handover ceremony that China is increasing publicity and education of its people to increase understanding of the illegal ivory trade.

“Wildlife crimes are a cross-border menace,” Liu said, according to a transcript of the ceremony published by Kenya’s Capital FM. “I assure you that more action will follow as will support to fulfill our promise. We firmly believe that, through joint efforts, the drive of combating wildlife crimes will achieve success.”

Counting elephants is extremely difficult. Even Douglas-Hamilton refuses to offer an estimate as to how many live in Africa.

An often-cited number is about 400,000, but the Save the Elephants founder would argue that no one truly knows.

Counting elephant deaths is just as hard. But a Save the Elephants project in northern Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve has counted elephant births and deaths — including if the death was natural or from poachers — for the past 16 years. Using that data, the authors examined known death numbers in other African regions compared with the rate of natural deaths and were able to determine that the continent’s deaths between 2010-2012 were about 100,000.

“This is the best work available from the best data we have using officials from the top organization, so in my mind this is the best you are going to get at the moment,” Wittemyer said. “Because of the magnitude of the issue and the politics we’ve been very careful. The scrutiny we did internally was at a much greater level than the questions we got in the peer-review process.”

Despite the huge death numbers, both Wittemyer and Douglas-Hamilton believe African elephants can survive. Wittemyer said more elephants will be killed, but in areas where countries are willing to invest in wildlife security, numbers will hold steady, he said.

African elephants survived a huge poaching crisis in the 1970s and 1980s fueled by Japan, Douglas-Hamilton said.

“I have to be an optimist,” he said. “I’ve been through all of this before in the ’70s and ’80s. As a collective group we stopped that killing, and in the savannas there was a reprieve of 20 years. I believe we can do it again.”

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