Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have played role in dolphin deaths

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In the first four months of 2011, 186 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them dolphin calves many of whom were perinatal, or near birth. Researchers now believe a number of factors may have killed the animals. Writing in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, scientists theorize that the dolphins died a sudden influx of freshwater from snowmelt after being stressed and weakened by an abnormally cold winter and the impacts of the BP oil spill.

Researcher with dead dolphin calf. Photo courtesy of the University of Central Florida.

According to researchers, oil leaking from the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon could have decimated the dolphin’s prey base, leaving a larger than usual number of dolphins suffering from malnutrition.

“Declines in planktivorous fishes over the shelf in summer and fall 2010 and evidence of genetic and physiological impairment of nearshore fishes support the hypothesis that bottlenose dolphins’ forage base may have been reduced,” the scientists write.

An harsh winter along the Gulf likely worsened matters. Then came high volumes of freshwater snowmelt into the Gulf of Mexico, which was the last straw for many dolphins and their calves, according to the paper.

“Unfortunately it was a ‘perfect storm’ that led to the dolphin deaths,” explains co-author Graham Worthy in a press release. “The oil spill and cold winter of 2010 had already put significant stress on their food resources, resulting in poor body condition and depressed immune response. It appears the high volumes of cold freshwater coming from snowmelt water that pushed through Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound in 2011 was the final blow.”

However, the study argues that the dolphins would likely have survived the freshwater snow melt influx, if they weren’t already stressed and in poor condition. The question remains: just how responsible was the oil spill for the dolphins’ deteriorated health?

Bottlenose dolphins are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List with a global population of over 600,000.

Read more:http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0722-hance-dolphins-bpspill.html#ixzz21jo8m8xt

 

PARTICIPATE IN JAPAN DOLPHINS DAY 2012!

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July 18, 2012 by Ric O’Barry, Earth Island Institute

Ric O’Barry

Campaign Director

Save Japan Dolphins

Dear Friends and fellow Dolphin Lovers:

I am asking you for your help. On or around Sept. 1, please head to your local Japanese embassy or consulate to voice your concern about the dolphin slaughters!

This time of year always makes my heart heavy. September 1 marks the official beginning of the dolphin drive hunting season in Taiji, Japan, as I helped to show the world in the Oscar-winning movie The Cove. Every year, thousands of dolphins are brutally killed; some are then sold into a lifetime of slavery in captive facilities around the globe, and the rest are used for their flesh – which is highly contaminated with mercury and other toxins, rendering in dangerous for human consumption.

We absolutely must keep the international spotlight on Taiji in order to stop these senseless murders once and for all. This is why I am asking you to lend your voice to the cause and join or organize a Japan Dolphins Day event in your area.

The good news is that we already have many events in countries around the world, put together by dedicated people like you. We have created a map which allows you to find one in your area:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=218328447128658910358.0004c363570a91076da24&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=54.59667,-5.930203&spn=91.259621,292.160024&t=m&source=embed

If you don’t see an event in your area, I STRONGLY encourage you to organize your own! Please contact laurab@earthisland.orgfor more information on how to get started.

This year, September 1 falls on a Saturday. Organizers have the option of holding their event on August 31, but only for the purpose of attempting contact with the embassy staff. The most important thing to keep in mind is that these events should be focused around MEDIA – try to get as many newspapers, journalists, and television stations there as possible – because these are the people who will make sure our message gets heard around the world.

Please keep in mind that we are not speaking out against the Japanese people – we are opposing the handful of corrupt government officials who allow and even encourage the hunts to continue. I do not condone any racial slurs or anti-Japanese sentiments of any kind. We are also speaking out against any captive facility that keeps dolphins and small whales. These places, such as aquariums, marine parks and dolphinariums, are abusing animals purely for their profit. This should come to an end. Remember – don’t buy a ticket to a dolphin show!

Also, it is important to note that most Japanese do not eat whale or dolphin meat, and the market for such meat is drying up — so much so that dolphin hunters in Taiji last season killed fewer dolphins than ever.  Our efforts to convince the Japanese people to stop eating whale and dolphin meat are working!  Keep up the pressure by emphasizing the human rights that are being violated by the Japan government’s silence on mercury contamination of dolphin and whale meat!

Throughout last year’s hunting season, our Cove Monitors reported regularly on the hunts, to the consternation of the dolphin hunters and the Japanese government alike. See our blog postsand be sure to regularly check our Facebook page for this year’s updates.

I hope you will join me and participate in a Japan Dolphins Day event near you. Together, we can get this stopped!

Contact laurab@earthisland.org to organize an event near you.

News Link:-http://savejapandolphins.org/blog/post/participate-in-japan-dolphins-day-2012

Please sign the petition:- The Cove: Help Save Japan’s Dolphins:-

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/724/210/624/

 

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Venture Stumbles Toward Reality

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Royal Dutch Shell, the global energy giant, has already invested more than $4 billion in its Arctic drilling venture, but that was apparently not enough to purchase proper mooring in Alaska‘s Dutch Harbor and avoid a subsequent public relations mess.

Precisely what happened is still being sorted out. Official accounts had the Noble Discoverer, one of two massive drilling rigs that Shell had parked midway up the Aleutian Island chain, dragging anchor in stiff winds over the weekend before coming to a halt 100 yards offshore.

Locals, including a shutterbug harbor captain, disputed that scenario and lit up Twitter and Facebook with photographs showing the rig all but on the beach.

“There’s no question it hit the beach,” Kristjan Laxfoss, the harbor captain, told The Associated Press on Sunday. “That ship was not coming any closer. It was on the beach.”

Judge for yourself: 

Whatever the reality, and while Shell plans to send divers down later this week to inspect the hull, no damage to the rig has yet been reported, and the incident appears to have had no environmental impact.

But for a company embarking on what is arguably among the most watched and most contentious oil and gas ventures in recent memory, the image of shore-based personnel scurrying toward a drifting and uncontrolled rig is embarrassing at best, and inauspicious at worst.

It is also a chilling reminder that, despite the most careful planning, things can go awry.

“Our goal remains flawless operations,” the company declared in a statement posted to its website. “Even a ‘near miss’ is unacceptable. While an internal investigation will determine why the Discoverer slipped anchor, we are pleased with the speed and effectiveness of the mitigation measures we had in place.”

Opponents of Arctic drilling were unmoved. “For us,” said Travis Nichols, a spokesman for Greenpeace, “it’s a clear warning sign that Shell isn’t prepared to go up there.”

“Up there” is the unforgiving Chuchki and Beaufort seas, still more than 1,000 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor, along Alaska’s northern coast. That’s where the Noble Discoverer and its sister rig, the Kulluk — along with dozens of support vessels — aim to soon hunker down, between 20 and 70 miles offshore, where they will begin poking exploratory holes in the seabed in the hope of finding oil.

With visions of oil-soaked beaches and BP’s flaming Deepwater Horizon rig still fresh in the minds of many Americans — as are more than two decades of environmental impacts arising form the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound — opposition to Shell’s Arctic ambitions has been fierce. In response, the company has pulled out all the stops in touting its experience in northern waters, including exploration wells it plumbed in the Chuchki and Beaufort the 1980s and ’90s, before low oil prices prompted it to focus on the Gulf.

Shell has also argued that, unlike BP’s operation in the Gulf of Mexico, which was groping in waters nearly a mile deep and drilling to depths of 18,000 feet, the Beaufort and Chuchki operations will be working in comparative shallows of 140 feet or so, and drilling to roughly 10,000 feet or less. Well pressures in the Arctic are also expected to be far lower, the company has said, making the sort of wild, unchecked gusher that BP experienced unlikely.

Read the rest of this News Story:-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/shell-arctic-drilling_b_1679697.html?utm_campaign=071712&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-green&utm_content=FullStory

 

Dead Horse Pulled From River Severn In Worcester Sparks RSPCA Appeal (GRAPHIC PICTURES)

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“OMG…this is heartbreaking, with the trap still attached it looks like someone got caught in a swollen part of the river crossing, but they got off to safety, & just left the horse to drown…how callous can people be, to walk away from a drowning horse! Judging by the trap, I am wondering if travelers live around that area…I can’t think of many other types that would use that kind of set up, it looks similar to a slinky from the pictures, but facing the other way around, which is odd…that’s just my theory!”

The RSPCA is appealing for information after the bloated body of dead horse was pulled out of a river in Worcester.

The local Fire and Rescue team successfully retrieved the body from the Severn, even though the horse was still attached to a trap. It’s possible to see the bridle and harness still attached to the horse in the picture below.

Flood warnings have been issued a number of times to the area since May, and the river was swollen on the day the fire and rescue service were notified, reports the Worcestershire news.

WARNING GRAPHIC PICTURES IN ARTICLE

The horse had to be hauled out of the river by the local fire service

There had been concerns that a person may have fallen in the river with the horse, but a body has not been found, reports the Worcester Standard.

RSPCA inspector Pippa Boyd said: “This is a deeply unsettling incident and we urgently need the public’s help. At the moment we have no idea when this happened and so we need to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this dreadful discovery.”

There have been a number of horrific attacks against horses over the past six months, though there is no suggestion that these crimes are linked with the discovery of this body.

The first horse, Barney was attacked in Carmarthenshire, Wales on 5 January.

Linda Vickerage, a nurse, discovered the remains of seven-year-old Welsh pony Barney when she went to give him and her other pony their evening feed at a field in Whitland.

Wales Online reported that when police and a vet examined Barney they found he had had his eyes removed, his mouth slit, his ear cut, and been slashed along his body, exposing his organs.

Less than a week after this horrendous attack, a two-year-old horse called Eric was found in Cornwall with his genitals, an eye and teeth cut out after the attack in a field in Cornwall. Police are investigating whether he was drugged before being attacked.

His owner Dawn Jewell said she had lost “her baby”, a Friesian horse she had been wanting since she was a child. Animal lovers have been making their feelings of horror known in large numbers via Twitter, including the BBC horseracing presenter Clare Balding.

In May the RSPCA launched an emergency appeal to find foster homes for a “never ending tide” of abandoned young horses.

The charity said it was currently looking after nearly 600 horses and ponies which have suffered neglect and cruelty – a figure which has more than doubled since last year, with almost half of the animals involved being youngsters.

Anyone with information about the incident in Worcestershire is urged to contact the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

News Link:-http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/11/dead-horse-river-severn-worcester-rspca_n_1664438.html

Alligator Attack Victim Wants Animal’s Head

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“So another alligator will probably die just because this teenager wants revenge?, the alligator that did it is already dead, so why not leave well alone?  He best be careful, he was lucky the last time he messed about in the river, he might not be as lucky if he tries to gain revenge by catching another!”

A US teenager who lost most of his right arm when he was attacked by an alligator has said he wants the animal’s head.

Kaleb Langdale lost his limb below the elbow but said it was only by offering the 11-foot alligator his arm that he was able to survive at all.

He added that skills he learned watching TV shows likeSwamp People helped him fend off the attack.

And the 17-year-old from Florida told Fox News he planned to seek vengeance despite the animal having been killed.

“I want his head,” he said.

“I’m going to use it for a prosthetic arm rest. You can’t do this to me and get away with it.

“I’m glad the alligator attacked me, because if it was any of my friends, they probably would have died.”

Kaleb said the alligator lunged at him as he tried to swim away on the Caloosahatchee River near Moore Haven.

He said he felt the pressure of the alligator biting his arm and knew the animal had a locked grip when it started to perform a death roll.

All that remained of his arm after the tussle was what Kaleb described as a dangling tendon. “I still couldn’t break free because I was still attached to the tendon,” he said.

“Then the gator did another death roll and I kicked my way out of it.”

Gary Beck, a friend, said Kaleb popped out of the water, screaming “call the paramedics, my arm is gone”.

Kaleb said he managed to stanch the bleeding by squeezing what was left of his arm between his legs – and by using spider webs he found to stop the flow of blood.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino told Fox News the teenager’s arm was still inside the alligator when it was hunted down and killed on the evening after the attack. It was not possible to re-attach the limb.

Kaleb’s mother Felinda Langdale, the teen’s mother, said: “He could have lost his life. Half an arm is nothing.”

News Link:-http://www.klfm967.co.uk/news/world-news/717020/alligator-attack-victim-wants-animals-head/

Experts urged to reduce animal deaths in floods

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Guwahati: Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain Saturday said the government had asked experts to work out a mechanism to reduce animal deaths during floods

“Floods are a natural phenomenon. Every year, the (Kaziranga) national park gets flooded.

However, we have asked people involved with wildlife preservation and protection to see if we can workout a mechanism to reduce animal casualties,” the minister said.

Floods hit Kaziranga June 26 and almost the entire park was flooded. On June 29, the waters were flowing 1.44 metres above the danger level.

The park is still flooded but the waters are flowing below the danger mark, the minister said.

The national park lost 559 animals in floods this year including 14 one-horned rhinos, an elephant and many other species. A total of 475 Hog Deer also died.

“The park witnessed severe floods in 1988, 1998, 2004 and 2008. While we lost 1,203 animals in 1988, 652 died in 1998. This year, we have lost 559 animals,” Hussain said.

He appreciated the effort of the locals in rescuing wildlife.

Kaziranga, spread over 860 sq km, is a UNESCO world heritage site and famous for one-horned rhinos. According to the rhino census of April this year, the park has 2,290 one-horned rhinos.

News Link:-http://zeenews.india.com/news/eco-news/experts-urged-to-reduce-animal-deaths-in-floods_786092.html

A Homeless Polar Bear in London – Ft. Jude Law and Radiohead

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“If this doesn’t make people want to save the Arctic, I don’t know what will!”

 

Published on 2 Jul 2012 by 

http://www.savethearctic.org - Our leaders won’t listen to her, but they’ll listen to you. What do you have to say to those who want to destroy the Arctic? Tell us in a comment!

Greenpeace, Jude Law, Radiohead and hundreds of thousands of people around the world are coming together to demand we save the Arctic from oil drilling, industrial fishing and militarization. Join us athttp://www.savethearctic.org

In the last 30 years, we’ve lost as much as three-quarters of the floating ice cap at the top of the world. The volume of that sea ice measured by satellites in the summer, when it reaches its smallest, has shrunk so fast that scientists say it’s now in a ‘death spiral’.

For over 800,000 years, ice has been a permanent feature of the Arctic ocean. It’s melting because of our use of dirty fossil fuel energy, and in the near future it could be ice free for the first time since humans walked the Earth. This would be not only devastating for the people, polar bears, narwhals, walruses and other species that live there – but for the rest of us too.

The ice at the top of the world reflects much of the sun’s heat back into space and keeps our whole planet cool, stabilising the weather systems that we depend on to grow our food. Protecting the ice means protecting us all.

Ask world leaders to create a global sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the North Pole and a ban on oil drilling and industrial fishing in Arctic waters.

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION – LET’S SAVE THE ARCTIC WHILE WE STILL CAN:-http://www.savethearctic.org/

Whaling Body Reacts To Commercial Sales Of Whale Meat In Greenland By Rejecting Quota Request

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Following revelations by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) of the wide-spread commercial sale of whale meat in Greenland to tourists, concerned International Whaling Commission (IWC) Members States reacted today by refusing to grant Greenland any increase in its hunt of large whales for so-called aboriginal subsistence needs. Indeed, in a procedural failure, Denmark failed to get any quota approved at all.

Greenland (a Danish overseas territory) was seeking to increase the number of endangered fin and humpback whales it kills for the subsistence needs of its native people for the next six years, but the undercover operation conducted by WDCS exposed how Greenland has been actively undermining the IWC’s ban on commercial whaling by openly selling whale meat in the vast majority of its restaurants and also in supermarkets.

The EU offered to amend Denmark’s proposal, but Denmark refused, demanding that its original proposal was voted on.

The IWC vote was 25 in favour, and 34 against, 3 abstained.

Criticism of Greenland was led by the Latin block of countries who pointed out their was little difference between what Greenland was doing in feeding whales to tourists and that practiced by commercial whaling operations.

Claims by Denmark on behalf of Greenland that they would not stop selling whale meat to tourists and that Greenland’s whalers could use baseball bats to kill whales if they wanted to, did little to endear Greenland to the rest of the IWC.

The European Union struggled to come to a position due to ongoing confusion over its internal decision making processes. WDCS worked extensively with the EU Commission to give guidance to the EU Member States and eventually, EU Members who shared WDCS’s concern that Greenland’s whaling as not in fact properly regulated aboriginal subsistence whaling, forced an internal vote on the Danish proposal.

The EU tried to amend the proposal from the floor, but their offer was rejected by Denmark.

WDCS CEO, Chris Butler-Stroud stated: “The EU finally sent its own signal to Denmark that it needs to clean up the mess that is Greenlandic whaling, and that commercial sales to non-aboriginal peoples will not be tolerated.” 

In response to the revelations of these ASW abuses in Greenland, several European tour operators to Greenland have responded by pledging to WDCS and the Animal Welfare Institute that they will not promote whale meat consumption to their customers (1)

Blurring the lines – An open invitation to South Korea

WDCS has been warning for some time that the ongoing blurring of the lines between ASW and commercial whaling was causing confusion at the IWC.

South Korea had taken advantage out the double standards of the IWC in granting St Vincent an ‘ASW’ quota despite commercial sales being highlighted and noted that its fishermen have abided by the 1982 ban on whaling.

Butler-Stroud said,  “Whether South Korea’s threat to resume commercial whaling through the loophole of so-called ‘scientific whaling’ will come to fruition remains to be seen, but the IWC stance on Greenland may well give it pause for thought.”

Butler-Stroud concluded: “The IWC now needs to clean up its act. It needs to stop pretending that it will tolerate commercial whaling in any form and get on with saving whales, and not the few remaining subsidized elements of industrial whaling in a few rich countries.”

News Link:-http://www.wdcs.org/news.php?select=1262

 

Poachers kill rhino in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

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An adult male rhino was killed by poachers inside the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district of Assam.

The poachers came on a boat and killed the rhino late last night before fleeing with its horn, police said on Thursday.

Large parts of Pobitora has been inundated by flood water since past one week and most of the animals in the sanctuary have fled to higher grounds.

Police said poachers took advantage of the flood, which has also led to closure and shifting of guard camps, to kill the animal.

News Link:-http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Assam/Poachers-kill-rhino-in-Pobitora-Wildlife-Sanctuary/Article1-883591.aspx

41 animals killed in Kaziranga floods

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Nearly 70 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park was flooded in the current spell of rains, which claimed the lives of two rhinos and 22 hog deer. Speeding vehicles killed 17 hog deer till Friday. The park authorities have so far rescued and released 56 hog deer and eight swamp deer.

Assam Forest offcials rescue an adult deer from a flood-affected region at Bagori range of Kaziranga National Park in Nagaon district of Assam on Friday.

KNP Director Sanjib Kumar Bora told The Hindu that the magnitude of the flood in the park this time was higher than that of 2004, but all efforts were on to protect the wild animals from the flood fury.

Migration

He said elephant herds of the park started migrating to highlands on the southern side towards Nagaon, Golaghat, and Karbi Anglong followed by herds of hog deer. Rhinos can survive in water.

A rhino calf and an elephant calf hit by vehicles were rescued, and both animals are being treated at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), run jointly by the Wildlife Trust of India, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Department of Forest located in the park.

Speed restrictions

Mr. Bora said Section 144 had been promulgated, restricting the speed of vehicles plying along National Highway 37 that passes through the park, and time cards had been introduced to enforce a speed limit of 40km/hour, in cooperation with the police and local NGOs and general public.

Positive aspect

The KNP director, however, said the flood this time was expected to recharge the wetlands of the park, and rejuvenate grasslands and other areas.

News Link:-http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article3585936.ece

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