Friday, September 30, 2011

Swarms of jellyfish invading the Med, warns top scientist - and some of them could really give you the wobbles


Nothing to trifle with: Swarms of jellyfish like these pelagias are taking over the Mediterranean and could be a danger to tourists, warn experts

Enormous swarms of jellyfish - some of them deadly - are taking over the Mediterranean, a top scientist has warned.

The holiday hotspot, a favourite with Brits, has seen a sharp increase in numbers and could turn into an 'ocean of jellyfish'.

Now researchers have set up a 'Jellywatch' so the public can report sightings via a website or by using a phone app.

Invasion: Blooms of Aurelia jellyfish like this one await sun-seekers heading for a winter break in the Mediterranean.. and it's getting worse

The scheme started in Italy and Israel three years ago after growing public fears over jellyfish 'blooms'. Monitoring has since begun in Spain.

The man behind the plan, Professor of zoology Ferdinando Boero, warned: 'Jellyfish cause problems for swimmers, particularly as some species are a real health hazard.

'An Italian woman was killed last year after being stung by a Portuguese Man o' War.

Deadly: A Portuguese Man o' War like this one killed a woman off the coast of Italy

'Jellyfish have clogged industrial marine cooling systems in Israel and they have also caused problems for power plants in the US and Scotland.'

He said: 'While jellyfish are a natural feature of the Mediterranean, 'jelly blooms' were rarely seen until the last few years when massive swarms became a frequent sight in coastal waters..

'This causes all sorts of problems and one of the biggest is obviously tourism.'

source: dailymail

Rare pure white humpback whale calf spotted off Great Barrier Reef


A white spectacle: A rare pure white humpback whale has been spotted off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. There are only 10 to 15 in the 15,000-strong humpback population along the east coast of Australia

A rare white humpback whale calf has been spotted near Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Believed to be just a few weeks old, the 12ft calf was seen at Cid Harbour in the famous reef's Whitsunday Islands area by a family out in the bay in their boat.

White whales are highly unusual, with only 10 to 15 believed to exist among up to 15,000 living along Australia's east coast.

Has he got a famous dad? This picture shows Migaloo - Aboriginal for 'whitefella' - another pure white whale that been spotted off Australia since 1991. The calf may be related

Wayne Fewings was diving in the harbour when he spotted the animal surfacing and described the sighting as a 'once in a lifetime experience'.

He said: 'We were just drifting when I noticed the smaller whale in the pod was white. I couldn't believe my eyes.

'Then the white calf approached my boat, seeming to want to check us out. I was just so amazed at seeing this animal, it made me think how truly astounding the Great Barrier Reef is.'

source: dailymail

Am I adopted, Mum? Rare monkey gives birth to ginger baby at London Zoo


Like mother, like son: First time mum Lu Lu, a rare Francois langur monkey, snuggles up with baby Tango, who was born with ginger fur at London Zoo

It's tricky to see a family resemblance between these two but this tiny flame-haired primate, nicknamed Tango, is actually snuggling up to its mother Lu Lu at ZSL London Zoo.

And far from going ape when he saw his offspring, Tango's father Neo was gingerly helping the little monkey settle in.

Both parents have black fur but as little Tango's mother is a rare Francois' langurs monkey, a flame coloured coat is typical in offspring.

Go ape: Baby Tango's fur will gradually turn black and by the time he is six months old, he can be expected to look more like his Mum

Experts say the ginger fur evolved so it is easy for parents to spot their offspring. And looking at little Tango you can see Mother Nature's point.

The youngster, who is yet to be sexed since being born on September 1, spends most of its time snuggled up to Lu Lu, but its auntie Lee Lee also helps out with the babysitting.

Family contrast: The birth of baby Tango has been welcomed by zoo staff as the Francois langur monkey critically endangered due to the destruction of their habitats

Zookeeper Kathryn Sanders said: 'Baby Tango is currently rocking the redhead look, but it won't actually be ginger for very long.

'Its fur will begin to darken at around three months of age, and they are usually completely black by the time they reach six months old.'

Francois' langurs are one of the world's rarest monkeys, and originate from north east Vietnam and China.

source: dailymail

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm big enough to clean my own face, mum! Rare baby Amur tiger looks less than impressed by his mother's attentions


Oh mum! Iris gives one of her triplets a loving lick - but he looks less than impressed

This seven-week-old tiger cub looks less than impressed as his mother gives him a hearty lick during his first foray into the open air at a Russian zoo.

The cub is one of three born to female Amur tiger Iris and her mate Kedr, who have already have seven babies.

The latest litter was born at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on August 5 and the trio have been named Kaktus, Jasmin and Narciss.

I'll get you back! The tiny cub play fights with his mother as the family makes it's first public appearance at Royev Ruchey zoo in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk

Siberian tigers are one of the world's rarest species with only 300 thought to be left in the wild, most of which are in Russia's Far East.

The world's largest cat was once a familiar sight across northern China, the Korean peninsula and eastern Russia.

But loss of habitat and poaching almost wiped out the cats during the early 20th century with only 20-30 individuals surviving in the wild by the 1940s.

Watch me go: The trio were born on August 5 and are named Kaktus, Jasmin and Narciss

Fierce! One of the seven-week-old cubs tries out his fighting face

source: dailymail

Is it a bird? Is it a hamster? Meet the sugar gliders flying around a suburban living room


Flying high: Kayleigh Price playing with her pet sugar glider Gizmo, Ms Price said the creatures don't so much fly as 'fall with grace'

Soaring through the air these creatures are often mistaken for flying hamsters or bats with tails.

But far from being an oddity, these friendly furry marsupials are in fact a type of possum known as a sugar glider.

In the wild these tiny creatures fling themselves from tree to tree but at the Animal Experience in Cambridge the sugar gliders are usually seen flying around the living room.

Owner Kayleigh Price, who cares for five of the furry marsupials with her parents Mitch and Hazel, said the adorable creatures are popular with visitors to the animal centre.

Gliding: Gizmo can fly up to 200m, in the wild he would go from tree to tree but at The Animal Experience he is often seen soaring around the living room

Ms Price said: 'Next to the big lizards, the sugar gliders are my favourite animals. They are very tame and good natured so they make very good pets.

'They can glide up to 200m and in the wild they would take off from tree tops. They don't so much fly as fall with grace.'

Adorable: Kayleigh Price, who runs Animal Experience, says the sugar gliders are a favourite with visitors

The 18-year-old studied animal management before taking a full-time role looking after her parents giant menagerie which houses more than 120 animals.

The Prices care for blind sugar glider, Stevie Wonder, who recently underwent an operation to fix his cataracts, and energetic Gizmo.

Catch me if you can: Kayleigh Price with Gizmo in her living room, she says the aim of the zoo is to educate people about rare types of animals

Where will he land? Gizmo take a soaring glide across Kayleigh Price's living room

Furry friends: Gizmo and Stevie Wonder relax after flying around

source: dailymail

How did a 33ft whale end up in the middle of a field in East Yorkshire?


Stranded: The 33ft whale was found beached 800 yards from the shoreline of the Humber Estuary

A young whale died after an exceptionally high equinox tide carried it 800 yards from the shoreline to a salt marsh where it then became stranded.

The 33ft mammal, thought to be a Sei whale, was discovered in marshes on the north bank of the River Humber near the village of Skeffling.

As the tide retreated the whale became stranded before rolling over onto its blowhole, causing it to suffocate. The highest tides of the year occur after the spring and autumn equinox.

Mysterious: Experts are baffled by the beached whales, as this one, like others, are from species not normally stranded on the British coast

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has since carried out a post-mortem examination on the mammal with the British Zoological Society. Experts who examined the animal said they are 95 per cent certain it is a female Sei whale and say it could simply have been looking for food when the tide turned.

The trust's Kirsten Smith said: 'With the high tide the whale probably got carried up on to the salt marsh, got pushed further in shore and then got stuck when the tide went out.

Andy Gibson from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust examines the young female whale on the banks of the Humber Estuary

source: dailymail

If you wake up my baby I’ll go ape! The moment a 200lb gorilla cradles her newborn baby seconds after giving birth


I'll never let you go: Salome cradles her sleeping newborn at Bristol Zoo. The gorilla house has been temporarily closed to allow the apes to bond with the new arrival

Five years ago she became the first gorilla in the world to have fertility treatment.

So it’s little wonder Salome looks utterly content as she cradles her newborn – who arrived following nothing more complicated than a bit of monkeying around.

The western lowland gorilla gave birth on Tuesday, but the baby has not yet been named because Salome, 35, is so protective of her third child that she won’t loosen her grip for keepers to determine its sex.

Furry much in love: Salome cradling her newborn gorilla baby, still wet seconds after being born at Bristol Zoo Gardens yesterday. The baby's father Jock, is also bonding with the new arrival

I only have eyes for you: Hours later Salome is still cuddling her new baby, which is starting to open its eyes

John Partridge, senior curator of animals at Bristol Zoo, said: ‘It is still very early days, but Salome is a great mother and has been cradling and cuddling her baby affectionately.

‘Salome keeps the baby very close and we are keen to give the gorillas space, therefore it is still too early to determine the sex of the baby.’

Snoozy does it: All this mothering is a tiring business. Salome manages to get a few minutes shut eye while the baby nestles in close

Born at lunchtime yesterday, the gorilla baby is the latest addition to an international conservation breeding programme set up to protect this critically endangered species.

Both mother and baby appear to be doing well, and the Gorilla House has been closed to allow the gorillas, including the newborn's father Jock, time to bond with the new arrival.

Mr Partridge added: 'We are pleased to say that both Salome and the baby are doing well.

You still there? Mummy strokes her baby gently with one finger while she takes the opportunity to rest in the straw bedding

Gentle giant: Salome takes her tiny new addition outside for some fresh air while it clings on to her

Gorilla Island: The island where Bristol Zoo's gorillas are kept, and where the newest arrival was born

The gorillas at Bristol Zoo are part of an international conservation breeding programme for the western lowland gorilla, which is a critically endangered species.

source: dailymail

Let the dog see the rabbit... sorry, he can't! Greyhound who lost every race turns out to be BLIND


Plucky Jack: The greyhound was diagnosed with a rare type of blindness after being retired because his owner thought he was a dud. In fact his condition meant he would have been terrified while on the race track

When Jack Sprat the greyhound came last in every race in which he competed, his owners thought they had a dud.

But in fact, he did well to keep up with the pack at all because it turns out Jack is almost completely blind and couldn’t see the rabbit.

The hound, who was born in Ireland, was entered into dog races in Wimbledon, London, last year after he hit speeds of 40mph in training.

Lagging behind: Jack, circled, struggling to keep up with the pack on the track at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. He came last in both his races

Despite his disability, Jack can still run 100 metres in just 6.39 seconds - considerably faster than athlete Usain Bolt who broke records with his 9.69 time.

But three-year-old Jack, competing under the name Centurys Gunner, came sixth in both of his races at the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium.

Looking for a new home: Dog trainer Charlie Parsley with Jack at the Dogs' Trust in Norfolk. The trust said that he will make a perfect pet

His baffled owner, believing he just wasn't fast enough, retired him and handed him over to the Dogs' Trust in Snetterton, Norfolk, in July this year.

Vets at the animal charity examined Jack and realised a rare condition had left him completely blind in his left eye and with only 20 per cent vision in his right.

They diagnosed him with Chorioretinitis, a swelling and irritation of the middle layer of the eye, which is irreparable.

'We think he may compensate for his loss of sight with his other senses. For example he likes to be on the left side of the person taking him for a walk so he can sense where they are.

'He needs to get used to his surroundings but once he is familiar in his new home he will be a perfect pet.'

*The Dogs' Trust is the UK's largest dog welfare charity and cares for more than 16,000 stray and abandoned dogs every year. To re-home Jack visit

source: dailymail

Caught on CCTV: Culprit who stole 39 goldfish from garden pond is unmasked as an OTTER


The otter runs around the pond, which is firmly covered with the plastic net, looking for a way in

A retired couple who set up CCTV cameras in their garden to catch the mystery predator which was eating their goldfish finally discovered it was a hungry otter.

Pensioners Elizabeth and Harry McDougall were devestated to find their collection of 27 goldfish, in two ponds in their garden in Carlisle, had been wiped out.

All that remained after the night-time attack were fins and scraps of skin.

Sneak thief: The hungry otter, below right, appears by the side of the pond and first sees the plastic mesh

The couple restocked the ponds and fitted a strong plastic mesh, installing CCTV to try to find the culprit.

Three weeks later, the predator struck again, killing all 12 of Mrs McDougall's new fish.

This time the CCTV recorded the incident on camera and now the couple have released the footage to show the thief at work.

source: dailymail

Two women Cotswolds villagers 'organised illegal dogfights and starved their bull terriers to make them bloodthirsty'


Caged: The dogs were kept in squalid conditions in between fights

Members of a dog-fighting ring today admitted starving bull terriers to make them more bloodthirsty.

Two women and two men are accused of chaining dogs to treadmills - often in complete darkness - and forcing them to run for hours to lose weight.

The dogs were kept in squalid conditions and were so starved of food that one ate its collar to satisfy the hunger pangs, while another ate its own faeces.

Defendants: Both Danny Draper, left, and his father Ian have pleaded guilty to multiple charges of animal cruelty

Once fighting fit, the dogs were forced into brutal bouts watched by baying punters which could last for up to 40 minutes and often resulted in permanent deformities or death.

Today the four defendants pleaded guilty to a string of animal cruelty and dog fighting charges at Swindon Magistrates Court.

Treadmill: The dogs were chained to exercise machines and forced to run for hours

Ian Draper, 47, and his son Danny Draper, 25, admitted keeping six dogs in terrible conditions and using them for fighting.

Katy Davies, 33, admitted aiding and abetting her partner Ian Draper and Danny's girlfriend Laura Hornsby, 24, admitted causing unnecessary suffering.

Danny Draper pleaded guilty to five charges including possession of items in connection with an animal fight, while his father pleaded guilty to seven charges.

Ian Draper was given a three-month custodial sentence in 2006 for similar offences, and was serving a ten-year ban on keeping animals at the time of the offences.

Davies and Hornsby have also pleaded guilty in relation to the incident.
The two-day sentencing hearing continues tomorrow.

source: dailymail

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Auf wiedersehen, pet: Heidi the cross-eyed opossum closes her eyes for good


Heidi the opossum has died, Leipzig Zoo have confirmed

Heidi the cross-eyed opossum has been put down in Germany to ease her suffering.
The visually challenged critter who became an Internet sensation - she had three times as many Facebook fans as Chancellor Angela Merkel - passed away today.

'The cross-eyed opossum Heidi has closed her eyes for ever,' said the zoo in Leipzig, eastern Germany.

The animal, aged three-and-a-half, had been treated for health problems for weeks and zoo officials decided to put her down 'to spare her further pain and suffering'.

The cross-eyed opossum is shown sitting in her enclosure in December (left) and a picture in June shows that Heidi has not been well (right)

Heidi’s distinctive eye problem was thought to be due to a poor diet before she was abandoned in the United States, or because she is overweight, leading to fat deposits behind her eyes.

Leipzig Zoo said she suffered badly from arthritis. While treatment for her maladies increased in recent weeks, putting her to sleep was seen as the kindest option.

Two year-old octopus Paul, the so-called 'octopus oracle' predicts Spain's 2010 soccer World Cup final victory over The Netherlands (left) and polar bear Knut at Zoologischer Garten zoo in Berlin (right)

source: dailymail

In the heart of a stampede: Amazing images capture herds of animals as they rampage OVER photographer


Worms' eye view: These images were captured by Chris Weston who dug a 4ft deep trench in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, to capture wildebeest as they stampeded

This is the moment a wildlife photographer comes face to face with a stampeding herd of wildebeest as they trample OVER him.

This amazing series of images was captured by Chris Weston, who dug a 4ft ditch in the rampaging animals' path in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.

Covering the trench with railway sleepers, he lay underneath for seven hours awaiting the stampede.

On the hoof: A marauding zebra hurtles past inches from Mr Weston's camera lens as he snaps away

And when it finally came he had just seconds to get his shots before the stampede passed over him and off into the distance.

Mr Weston, who quit his job as an IT salesman 11 years ago to travel the world taking wildlife photographs, said: 'They were literally running over the top of me.

'Their hooves were inches away from the end of my camera lens.

Unique angle: This herd of around 100 impala also ran over Mr Weston's hiding place, sending showers of dirt and dust into the hole

'The stampede was part of a game capture exercise, where wildlife was being relocated from one game reserve to a new one in Zimbabwe, so I knew it was happening that day.

'The sound of the stampede so close was deafening and dust and debris were flying everywhere. After they had passed, it took almost a whole minute before I could breathe again due to the dust in the pit.'

'Deafening': Mr Weston, 44, came up with the idea for his pictures after watching wildebeest stampede from a distance

A team of locals helped to dig the pit after he came up with the idea.

The images will form part of a book Mr Weston is writing titled Animals on Edge, due out later this year.

source: dailymail

Whoops! Kingfisher diving for her lunch misses her minnow and ends up with a pebble


Splash! The kingfisher plunges into the stream but just misses her minnow, biting down on a pebble instead

Plunging into a stream, this hungry kingfisher had her lunch firmly in her sights - but veered off course at the last moment, missing her minnow by a whisker and grabbing a pebble instead.

The orange and turquoise bird was left empty-handed after the speedy fish darted off and evaded capture.

But the common kingfisher - thought to be a female less than one-year-old - returned immediately and did get a meal.

Still hungry: Unthwarted the bird plunged back into the water and snatched up her dinner

Photographer Tony Flashman has spent ten hours a week at the stream, near his home in Deal, Kent, for the past 18 months.

The 54-year-old sits in his hide watching the kingfishers as they sit on their perch, fly and fish.

He said: 'This bird mis-timed its dive and missed the fish. It ended up picking up a small pebble that was nearby instead.

'It would have noticed its mistake pretty quickly when it went to bite into it and was met with a tough surface rather than something squidgy.

Coming up for air: The bird had returned to the surface empty-handed before making a second, successful dive

'My camera can take nine frames a second and in that time the bird can leave its perch, dive into the water and leave with a fish.

'To get the timing right and get these photos is very difficult. I have taken hundreds of photos to get good one like these.'

source: dailymail

The man packing a dozen peckers in his pants: Traveller arrested smuggling live hummingbirds in his trousers


Keep your pecker up: More than a dozen hummingbirds were found wrapped up in pouches sewn into the front of a Dutch traveller's pants in French Guiana

If you were sat next to this airline passenger, you might understand why he was fidgeting around so much.

This Dutch traveller was caught trying to smuggle more than a dozen live hummingbirds in special pouches sewn into the inside of his underwear at Rochambeau airport in Cayenne, French Guiana.

The birds were individually wrapped in cloth and taped up to prevent them from 'escaping' from their sweaty travel container.

Lucrative? The live birds, which are not thought to have been sedated, were rapped in cloth and taped into the pouches

But fortunately for the unfortunate birds authorities noticed the passenger acting suspiciously and he was detained by French customs officers.

When his underwear was removed, officials discovered the haul of hummingbirds - who are not believed to have been sedated - lining the front.

The man, who reportedly has a previous conviction for trying to smuggle the tiny creatures, was arrested.

It is not clear if he has yet been charged.

Birds' eye view: The man was stopped by customs officials at Rochambeau airport in Cayenne after he was spotted acting suspiciously

The customs officers show off the puoches in Rochambeau airport, French Guiana

source: dailymail

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