Pod of 22 pilot whales beached in Florida

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More than 20 pilot whales have come ashore on a south Florida beach, triggering a daylong effort by state and national officials, nearby residents and others to save them.

By evening, five pilot whales – two calves and three juveniles – had been transported to Florida Atlantic University‘s Harbor Branch Institute for rehabilitation.

The rest had died of natural causes or had to be humanely euthanased, said Allison Garrett, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries service.

“It was not possible to rehabilitate them,” she said.

The pod of 22 whales came ashore on Saturday morning at Avalon Beach State Park in St Lucie County. They ranged from calves and juveniles to adult whales.

Garrett said it was unclear why the whales became stranded.

“Pilot whales are very social animals,” she said.

“One scenario could be one of the animals was sick. They won’t leave (a sick whale). They’ll stay together.”

TCPalm.com reported that hundreds of residents came to the beach to assist with the rescue, helping the animals turn upright so they could breathe better and pouring water over them to keep them cool.

News Link:-http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10831181


Botched tiger death register rings alarm amid fears nation’s big cats could vanish from the jungle

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The nation’s tigers could soon vanish from the jungles and remain only on the record books because of unprecedented bungling in the death register. 

Crimes related to tigers are often not reported or passed off as minor offences to keep the logbook clean

A typical police phenomenon whereby crimes are often not reported or passed off as minor offences to keep the logbook clean, this trend has been noticed in tiger conservation and is leading to devastating consequences.

The nation has 1,706 tigers according to the 2010 census. But the number could be different in the 40- odd forests reserved for the majestic national animal because 32 deaths have already been reported this year – 14 of them to poaching.

To buck this trend, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has ruled that tiger deaths be treated as cases of poaching, unless proved otherwise.

‘To ensure due diligence and topmost priority, every case of tiger and leopard death would be henceforth treated as a case of poaching, unless proved otherwise beyond reasonable doubt. If a tiger death is classified as death because of natural causes, it should be substantiated by adequate supporting field evidence and factual details,’ the conservation authority said in its advisory issued last week.

Officials said this would ensure that no incident of poaching was termed as natural death. Rajesh Gopal, secretary in the conservation authority, asked chief wildlife wardens of the states where tigers are found to follow a series of ‘adequate caution while classifying tiger deaths as death due to natural causes’.

Wildlife activists and tiger conservationists have welcomed the move.

‘It’s a good because many poaching deaths have been covered up as natural deaths,’ conservationist Belinda Wright said.

‘If one was to look at statistics (of tiger mortalities) from 2008 onwards, the figure of natural deaths and deaths due to infighting has trebled. On the other hand, poaching deaths, evident from confiscation and recovery of tiger parts, have halved. This is not possible. There was something seriously wrong somewhere,’ she pointed out.

‘So now, every time there is a tiger death, the wildlife officials posted at the tiger reserves have been asked to check for equipment used in poaching like metal traps, snares, any evidence of unauthorised vehicular movement, any sign of use of firearms, poisoning near water bodies and even poisoning of livestock killed by tigers.

‘These tell-tale signs will help investigators establish the cause of death,’ she added. The guidelines have been issued almost a month after the conservation authority pressed the panic button following credible inputs that several wandering gangs of poachers were seen near tiger reserves. Calling the situation serious, it asked forest guards to conduct combing operations.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2150865/Botched-tiger-death-register-rings-alarm-amid-fears-nations-big-cats-vanish-jungle.html#ixzz1wBB2Akc

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