Wednesday, December 24, 2014

EXTREME WEATHER: Tornadoes Kill 4 In Mississippi - 50 Injured During Deep South Severe Weather; Deadliest December Outbreak Since 1953; State Of Emergency For Several Counties! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

The NWS-Jackson Survey Team captured damage on Dec. 24 the day after a tornado touched down in Columbia, Miss. (NWS-Jackson) 

December 24, 2014 - DEEP SOUTH, UNITED STATES
- Severe weather swept across the South Tuesday and Wednesday, spawning at least six confirmed tornadoes that killed at least four people, injured at least 50 others and destroyed homes.

Mississippi was particularly hard hit Tuesday. All four reported deaths took place in the state; two in Marion County and two in Jones County, according to local officials.

Survey teams from the NWS analyzed damage from a tornado near Columbia, the seat of Marion County. The team rated the damage as consistent with an EF3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Damage from the Jones County tornado, near Laurel, has been rated EF2 with maximum winds estimated at 125 mph.

WATCH: Tornado Pummels Towns, Killing 4 People.

Eric Carpenter, a meteorologist at the NWS office in Jackson, Mississippi, said it is not yet clear whether the two swaths of tornado damage came from separate tornadoes, or one long-track tornado.

"Regardless of how many tornadoes touched down, Tuesday has become the deadliest December tornado event in Mississippi since 38 died in the Vicksburg tornado of Dec. 5, 1953," said Nick Wiltgen, senior meteorologist. He said the last December tornado to kill two or more people in Mississippi occurred in 1967, according to NOAA's official storm database.

In all, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center relayed a total of 70 storm reports across the Deep South on Tuesday, comprising 37 wind damage reports, 19 large hail reports, and 14 reports of tornadoes. As survey crews in the field confirm tornado damage paths, some of those reports will likely prove to have been from the same tornado, so the final tornado count is likely to be smaller.


Gov. Phil Bryant issued a state of emergency Tuesday for Marion and Jones counties, along with other parts of the state affected by severe weather.

At around 2:30 p.m. local time, strong circulation with a debris signature was spotted on radar moving toward the town of Columbia, in Marion County.

The tornado damaged businesses, flipped cars and toppled power lines onto U.S. 98, closing the road for several hours. Two people were killed in Marion County: one in a trailer park, 71-year-old Mary Jane Sartin, and the other in a strip mall, 33-year-old Amber Sumrall, according to the Marion County Sherriff.

Meanwhile, Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge said the two were killed when a mobile home was destroyed, WAFB-TV said. identified those victims as Leonardo Drummond, 45, and Josey White, 40.

The storm will lead to an extensive cleanup effort on Christmas Eve in Columbia, a town of about 6,400. Businesses, such as Te Davi Florist on U.S. 98, saw their buildings damaged and merchandise blown away.

Debris everywhere...

That was a FIELD of trailers.

Chasity Magee reacts near her family's mobile home at Oak Crest Trailer Park in Columbia, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) 

Sandra McDaniel walks through the remains of the product showroom for Jack Morris Gas Company in Columbia, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014.
The community was hard hit by a tornado on Tuesday that destroyed several businesses and homes and have two deaths attributed directly to it.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Workers pile sheeting and roofing materials during the removal of debris from a business in Columbia, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014. The community
was hit by a storm that destroyed several businesses and homes and killed at least four people. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) 

Sandra McDaniel, granddaughter of the founder of the Jack Morris Gas Company in Columbia, Miss., describes the tornado that destroyed her family's business on Tuesday, as co-workers gather records in the business office, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) 

A set of Ten Commandments appears undamaged in front of the remains of the Jack Morris Gas Company in Columbia, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) 

The NWS-Jackson Survey Team captured damage on Dec. 24 the day after a tornado touched down in Columbia, Miss. (NWS-Jackson) 

Damage in Columbia, Miss. is seen after a tornado touched down on Tuesday, Dec. 23. (NWS-Jackson) 

Tornado damage is seen in Tangipahoa Parish, La. on Dec. 23, 2014. (Courtesy of Tangipahoa Emergency Management) 

"We were here, and when the sirens went off the second time, my mom said we needed to leave because she had a bad feeling, and we left," said Melissa McKenzie, owner of the flower shop, in a Hattiesburg American report. "I had my son with me about 10 minutes after we left. To have this happen — this (store) was a dream of mine."

The Marion General Hospital reported damage and a loss of power, which hampered the hospital's ability to treat patients. Eight people were transferred to a hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, as a result. All told, 50 people were treated at the hospital in the wake of the tornado, according to Marion General spokeswoman Millie Swann.
Marion County Emergency Management Agency Director Aaron Greer reported people were still trapped in their homes near U.S. 98 and Mississippi 13 Tuesday night, Hattiesburg American said.

Mississippi Power reported that nearly all customers were without power in Columbia Wednesday morning, but surface was largely restored by the end of the day Wednesday, a spokesperson said.


An EF2 tornado touched down in Amite City, Louisiana, knocking down trees and power lines near the intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 1054, the NWS said. The agency's storm survey estimated the twister's top winds at 115 mph.
Numerous trees were uprooted and a house was damaged when its roof was ripped off in the same tornado, WDSU-TV reported.

Tangipahoa Parish’s emergency management director estimated 15 to 20 homes and mobile homes sustained damage, according to the NWS. No injuries were reported.


Authorities say thunderstorms have left trees and power lines down across Alabama and flooded several roads.

In western Alabama, the Lamar County emergency manager reported to the NWS that 25 roads across the county were flooded late Tuesday night. Authorities said at least 10 roads were impassable in Lamar County, about 90 miles northwest of Birmingham.


Wednesday morning, a woman was injured in Thomasville when a tree fell on her car. The extent of her injuries are unknown at this time.

An elderly couple was trapped in their car after a tree fell on their van in Thomasville, but authorities were able to rescue the couple; reports they suffered no major injuries.

The storms roared again Wednesday after a possible tornado left tree damage in Lowndes County. No injuries were reported from that event, according to

In metro Atlanta, the NWS issued a flood warning for areas along Big Creek near Alpharetta, where minor flooding is expected. Several other creeks in north Georgia were expected to also crest slightly above flood stage.

In northwest Georgia, emergency managers have reported trees and power lines down in Whitfield and Murray counties.


Tallahassee declared a flash flood emergency Tuesday night as heavy, persistent rainfall caused major travel problems. Several roads were flooded and impassable, according to the NWS. At the intersection of Ocala Road and West Tennessee Street, cars were stuck and immobile after the road flooded, Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Early Wednesday afternoon, the City of Tallahassee reported a tree fell on a transmission line in the city, causing a power outage to some 4,549 customers in the northern part of the city.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office told The Weather Channel that several water rescues were conducted across the county. Many of those rescued were commuters who drove into flooded roadways.

Tallahassee had its rainiest day on record for the month of December after receiving 7.44 inches of precipitation Tuesday, shattering the previous record of 5.34 inches established Dec. 2, 2009. Records in Tallahassee date back to 1892.

A funnel cloud was spotted south of Jacksonville Wednesday afternoon.

North Carolina

The NWS in Wilmington confirmed a brief EF1 tornado Wednesday morning near Castle Hayne, in the southeastern part of the state.

The tornado destroyed a shed and damaged a house and nearby trees. One person was injured by flying glass in the short-lived twister, which was on the ground for less than 3 minutes and traveled less than a quarter of a mile before lifting.


Reports out of Kentucky say gusts up to 61 mph have been measured. According to the NWS high winds damaged a trailer and blew down several trees on Wednesday.  - Weather.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

December 24, 2014 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Sri Lanka Floods – Three Deaths Confirmed as Evacuations Continue

Sri Lanka army carry out flood rescues. Photo: Sri Lanka Army

According to the Disaster Management Centre, the number of those affected by the flooding in five provinces of the Sri Lanka, (Northern, Central, North Western, Eastern and North Central) has now risen to 292,000.

Around 60,5000 of those affected have taken refuge in relief centres and temporary accommodation away from the flooded areas. This figure has increased by around 15,000 since yesterday. At least three people have been confirmed killed as a result of either flooding or landslides in the last 3 days.

Over 7,000 army personnel are helping with relief and rescue operations. The National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC) says that they urgently need relief supplies such as sleeping mats, bed sheets and mosquito nets. If the number of affected people increases, the NDRSC may request humanitarian agencies to provide support with these items.

Government reports also say that around 1,900 houses have been destroyed in the floods, with a further 4,000 damaged.

More than 90,000 displaced by floods in Malaysia, highest figure in nation’s history

Incessant rain and rising floods waters raging through five states in the peninsula has led to the evacuation of more than 90,000 people – a figure which might be the highest in Malaysia's history.

National news agency Bernama reported that 90,250 people were evacuated this morning with the highest number in Kelantan at 32,343, followed by Terengganu (28,991), Pahang (24,316), Perak (4,335) and Perlis (265). The east coast states suffer annual floods but this has been the worst in living memory. The last big floods in the country was in 1971, with the worst-hit are being the Klang Valley.

Putrajaya has approved an immediate allocation of RM50 million for flood-hit states, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah was quoted as saying by Bernama.

He said the allocation would be channelled to the state development office in the affected states and distributed immediately.

In Kelantan, 5,190 people were moved out of their homes overnight to add to the 27,153 already evacuated as of last night, according to the state government flood portal.

The latest evacuees were from the Tanah Merah and Kota Baru districts. Kota Baru has come to a standstill after Sungai Kelantan burst its banks there yesterday.

Seven of the eight other districts in the state – Gua Musang, Jeli, Kuala Krai, Machang, Pasir Mas, Pasir Puteh and Tumpat – are also affected by floods.

Kelantan has closed 37 roads as of today.

Twitter screen grab of the flood. © Malaysia Official Man Utd Fan Club/Twitter

Floods in Maran, Pahang, Malaysia. Photo: Malaysia Police

Flood evacuations in Kelantan, Malaysia. Photo: Bomba Malaysia

Kelantan is one of the worst states hit by floods. – Pic courtesy of

In Terengganu, Kemaman is the worst affected district with 19,400 evacuees.

In Pahang, Kuantan district had the highest number of evacuees at 14,350.

Meanwhile, plans to evacuate local and foreign tourists from the flood relief centre in Kuala Tahan today had to be shelved because of adverse weather conditions.

Bernama quoted Jerantut district officer Ali Syahbana Shahabuddin as saying rain and fog forced the authorities to postpone the evacuation operation to tomorrow.

The 102 tourists at the flood relief centre at SM Jubli Perak Sultan Ahmad Shah had earlier been evacuated from the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort.

"Three helicopters from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), the Fire and Rescue Department and a private one had been ready to evacuate the tourists," Ali Syahban said.

The 102 tourists had been stranded at the Mutiara Taman Negara Resorts after heavy rains caused the water levels of Sungai Tembeling to rise.

In Perak, 4,335 people were evacuated in the Kuala Kangsar, Hulu Perak and Perak Tengah districts.

Floods displace over 120,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh

Floods have forced more than 120,000 people to leave their homes in parts of Indonesia's Aceh Province, an official says.

The displaced people are from seven districts in Aceh which have been hit by flooding after Sunday's heavy rain, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said on Wednesday.

Nugroho added that the waters reached as high as four meters in the worst hit districts of North Aceh and East Aceh.

Rescue operations for those stranded in the floods are ongoing, involving soldiers, police, and local disaster agency officials, said the spokesman.

No reports of fatalities have been released yet.

The flooding come as the province is due to mark the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26 with prayers and a ceremony attended by 35 foreign envoys and 33 aid organizations from around the world.

Over 130,000 people in Indonesia were confirmed dead following the tsunami in 2004.

Tens of thousands displaced by floods.

Indonesia is frequently struck by floods and landslides as a result of heavy downpours.

On December 14, a landslide in the Indonesian district of Banjarnegara in Central Java claimed at least 39 lives.

During Indonesia’s annual rainy season, which peaks between December and February, the country is prone to flooding, which is exacerbated by clogged rivers and sewers.

Officials say an average of 541 people have died every year from floods and landslides in Indonesia over the past decade.

- The Malaysian InsiderFloodlist | Press TV.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: “It’s Getting Bigger All The Time” – Massive Sinkhole Opens Up In Front Garden In Upper Basildon, UK!

The hole appeared nearly a fortnight ago and has been growing ever since

December 24, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM
- A "massive" sinkhole has appeared in the front garden of a house in Berkshire.

The 10m (32ft) wide and 5m (16ft) deep crater formed outside the family home of Sarah Jenkins, in Upper Basildon, near Reading.

Ms Jenkins said: "It's massive and it's getting bigger all the time."

Consultant engineer Dr Clive Edmonds described it as "one of the larger of the hole sizes to appear".

The hole first appeared on 5 December but is continuing to grow.

Ms Jenkins added: "The only access to our property has been across our neighbour's garden.

"It's taken out quite a bit of the driveway and garden and it's sitting underneath my children's climbing frame, so it's very serious.

"It's dangerous. Living with this is absolutely dreadful."  - BBC.

CONTAGION COVER-UP: Investigative Journalist Sharyl Attkinson - CDC Hiding Numbers Of Possible Ebola Cases In The United States; Over 1,400 Cases Being Monitored Currently?!

December 24, 2014 - UNITED STATES
- A noted investigative journalist says the American people are still not being kept up to speed about the dangers of possible spread of Ebola in the country, and that the government's chief agency for handling such emergencies is the primary culprit.

In a recent interview with Fox News' Media Buzz program, former CBS journalist Sharyl Attkisson said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Obama Administration, is not telling the public about all of the possible cases of Ebola that officials are continuing to monitor. She went on to say there was an effort to control the Ebola message.

WATCH: Sharyl Attkisson - CDC Is Tracking 1,400 Possible Ebola Cases in US Today.

"A lot of the media coverage has gone from overtime to almost nothing since they appointed the 'Ebola czar,'" Attkisson said.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden initially was all over the place conducting interviews and talking about the deadly disease after the first case was diagnosed in September, and afterward when two nurses caring for the first victim were also diagnosed with the virus.

Then, in late October, President Obama appointed longtime Democratic political operative Ron Klain to be an "Ebola czar," but he was nearly silent (and has now announced that he is resigning his post) about the disease. Media coverage in the U.S. of the virus has also all but dried up.

Don't hype it, just report it

Attkisson said on the program that infectious disease experts are still "very concerned," because if the deadly virus gets out of control in the United States, "we will not even be able to, obviously, deal with it."

The public is somewhat safer now, she told host Howard Kurtz, but the reason for that is because there was media coverage and a public outcry that changed completely how the government handled the Ebola crisis. Attkisson also said that she phoned the CDC recently to inquire about how many potential cases were being actively monitored in the U.S., and was told that 1,400 people were being followed.

"I said, 'Where is that on your on your website, these updates?' They said, 'We're not putting it on the web.' So, I think there is an effort to control the message and to tamp it down," she told Kurtz. "This is public information we have a right to know and the media should not hype it, but cover it."

Meanwhile, the BBC reported in late December that spending cuts by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were being blamed by some researchers in the United Kingdom as having contributed to the rapid spread of the virus in the most-affected West African nations.

The cuts led to "under-funded, insufficiently staffed, and poorly prepared health systems" in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the researchers said, as quoted by the BBC.

IMF officials denied the allegation, the British network reported.

Budget cuts led to inadequate hiring, lack of proper pay

So far, the virus has killed more than 7,300 people, most of them in the three West African nations.

"A major reason why the Ebola outbreak spread so rapidly was the weakness of healthcare systems in the region, and it would be unfortunate if underlying causes were overlooked," Cambridge University sociologist and lead author of a study examining IMF's role in the crisis Alexander Kentikelenis said.

The study went on to say that policies requiring government spending be cut were "extremely strict, absorbing funds that could be directed to meeting pressing health challenges."

In an interview with the BBC's Newsday program, Kentikelenis said that caps on labor and wage measures meant that countries were unable to hire adequate health staff and then pay them properly.

He also said the IMF's emphasis on a decentralized healthcare delivery system made it much more difficult to mobilize a coordinated response to health emergencies like the Ebola outbreak. - Natural News.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

WEATHER PHENOMENON: "Mother Of Pearls" - Polar Stratospheric Clouds Spotted By Observer In Norway!

December 24, 2014 - NORWAY
- A possible outbreak of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) is underway around the Arctic Circle. Unlike normal grey-white clouds, which hug Earth's surface at altitudes of only 5 to 10 km, PSCs float through the stratosphere (25 km) and they are fantastically colorful. Ivar Marthinusen sends the picture above, of the phenomenon from Skedsmokorset, Norway.

"Right after sunset on Dec. 22nd, the clouds were so bright they were uncomfortable to look at directly," says Marthinusen.

Also known as "nacreous" or "mother of pearl" clouds, these icy structures form in the lower stratosphere when temperatures drop to around minus 85ºC. Sunlight shining through tiny ice particles ~10µm across produce the characteristic bright iridescent colors by diffraction and interference. Once thought to be mere curiosities, some PSCs are now known to be associated with the destruction of ozone.

"Nacreous clouds far outshine and have much more vivid colours than ordinary iridescent clouds, which are very much poor relations and seen frequently all over the world," writes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Once seen they are never forgotten."  -  Space Weather.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: Omen – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Mass Animal Die-Offs, Appearance Of Rare Creatures And Warnings From Mother Nature!

December 24, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

30 MILLION dead fish wash up along 30Km of Lake  Poopo in Bolivia

A wild duck and thousands of dead fish on Lake Poopó on the side of the province Saucarí

A "carpet" of about 30 kilometers, stretching along the shore of Lake Poopó, consisting of approximately 30 million dead fish, including mackerel and Karachis, which was described by community members in the nearby town of Untavi, as one of the worst tragedies that happen to live in the region.

On the banks of Lake Poopó, following a complaint filed on December 6, one can see three rows of dead fish. The center is the thickest, about a meter wide, up to two in some sectors, which resembles a vast and endless "carpet". The other two are thinner, one of them, the farther the lake was partially cleaned by community sector.

It is calculated "roughly" that could reach well over 30 million dead fish, including mackerel and Karachis of different ages, from fry until the adults were ready to become marketable product.


Currently there is no official report on what caused this tragedy, but some hypotheses are handled. The pollution of the lake, is one of the few inhabitants and supporting local fishermen, however preliminary results of studies conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock Service (SEDAG), show no polluting waste in the water.

The other hypothesis says that climate change caused the reduction of water; it would have been heated by the situation, generating less oxygen in the lake to fish; Added to that a wind of about 70 kilometers per hour (kmph) dragged close to the shore, where they could not return to be stunned by the lack of oxygen, being on the floor in agony.

The official report on what happened, would be known today. But fishermen await further action by the municipality of Toledo, where they belong, and the Interior, to find solutions to the conflict that is generated from the tragedy, for about 170 families are affected by the death of fish .

"There has been fishing, so far no one has caught anything, come to seek in vain, nowhere found. We have no hope of returning to the lake," says sadly Jhon Mendoza, fisherman.

Meanwhile Valerio Rojas Flores, also a fisherman in the area, said they will seek help from the authorities. "Unfortunately up makes us want to mourn, because we never thought to see such natural disasters. We want to be emphatic that the disaster has not been simple, but catastrophic. Let's get together to draw conclusions from the tragedy and negotiate with the Government some kind help because many (community members) will no longer even have to bring food home, "he said.


Something that caught my attention was the number of birds fell dead after the fish start to appear on the lakeshore. The director of SEDAG, Severo Choque, indicates that the strong wind caused his downfall and subsequent death, but the locals doubt it.

Parihuanas, mallards, Khasas and taracas are bird species whose bodies remain on the shore of Lake Poopó. It is very difficult to quantify the number of deaths, but some community believe that would exceed 500 and may even be more than 1,000 deceased animals.

It is expected that the official report presented by the Government on Tuesday, all doubts are dispelled and can undertake an action plan to prevent future disasters. - La Patria Enlinea. [Translated]

Mystery as 5,000 pigeons die in Nepal

Mystery surrounds the death of thousands of pigeons on the Bhimeshwor temple premises in the past week.

According to the people in Dolakha Bazaar, dead pigeons are lying on the streets, rooftops, gardens and paddy fields. The stench from dead birds pollutes the atmosphere.

"Approximately 5,000 pigeons have died in a week," said Bharat Shrestha, treasurer of the Bhimeshwor temple prayer and trust management committee.

Authorities are yet to respond to the situation. Vets said an unidentified virus may be responsible for the menace while the locals have got into a panic fearing a disease outbreak in humans.

"Such cases happened in the past but the damage this time is terrible," said temple caretaker Kashi Narayan Shrestha. He added that rooftops and areas surrounding the temple had yet to be cleared of dead pigeons. - Ekantipur.

250,000 birds killed due to avian flu in British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver B.C. December 15, 2014. Turkeys displayed by Steve Desmone inside Whole Foods on December 15, 2014. These birds are all free of the Avian Flu.
Photograph by: Mark van Manen.

It will be a cautious Christmas for avian farmers in the Fraser Valley, with “bio-security” precautions taking precedence over traditional festive gatherings.

Nearly 250,000 chickens and turkeys are either dead or set to be euthanized due to avian flu, which has infected 11 sites in B.C.'s Fraser Valley since the beginning of the month.

The avian flu virus involved in an outbreak in B.C. is related to a deadly strain that has spread through Asia and is now affecting North American poultry for the first time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has said.

Kerry Froese, a farmer with 170,000 chickens on two farms in Abbotsford, said many friends and families in the Fraser Valley farming community have halted traditional seasonal gatherings. Instead of attending annual holiday events with fellow farmers, or going to church, or even visiting family and friends with farms, they’ve hunkered down on their own properties. The concern is not that people would pass the infection to each other, but that they might inadvertently carry a contaminant on their boots or clothing to another farmer’s property.

“It just means we have to reduce contact,” Froese said.

Froese said authorities are advising farmers to change and thoroughly clean their clothing after entering their bird barns.

“What happens in the barn, stays in the barn,” is how Froese put it.

The agency has yet to determine the source of the outbreak or how it is spreading. The strain has not yet been detected in wild birds in Canada.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed two wild birds in Washington state tested positive for avian flu — one with H5N2 and another with H5N8. It's not clear whether those cases are connected in any way to the B.C. outbreak.

Meanwhile poultry producers are assuring B.C. residents there will be plenty of turkeys on store shelves during the holidays despite the flu.

The industry group representing farmers who raise chickens, turkeys and eggs says it has bolstered its stock with birds from out of the province so prices remain stable.

The president of the B.C. Poultry Association says it’s important for shoppers to understand that the province’s poultry and egg products are safe to eat.

Ray Nickel says there is no evidence that eating poultry or eggs can transmit the avian flu virus to humans. - The Province.

Hundreds of dead fish found floating on the coast of Guaymas, Mexico

Hundreds of fish were found dead in the Royal Navy of San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and apparently is related to red tide recorded in the area.

More than half a ton of marine species such as snapper, corvina and smooth dawned floating lifeless, and it was used by several bystanders to collect them and take them to their homes, according to testimony from pedestal cited by the newspaper El Imparcial.

The same newspaper noted researcher statements holder Ecology and Management of Coastal Ecosystems, José Alfredo Arreola Lizarraga, who attributed the cause of the deaths of marine species to lack of oxygen and has collateral relative to the red tide recorded in the area. - Mimorelia. [Translated]

Hundreds of dead fish wash up in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

 FISHY BUSINESS: Alex Glover stumbled upon hundreds of dead fish at Rockhampton’s Ski Gardens. Contributed

When Alex Glover took his dog for an afternoon walk to the Rockhampton Ski Gardens on Wednesday, he stumbled upon something fishy.

Alex and his two friends saw what appeared to be hundreds of "white dots" floating on the waters of the Fitzroy River.

When they went closer to check it out, he realised those white dots were hundreds of dead fish.

Alex, 22, said the place smelt "a bit off" when he made his way towards water's edge but he never expected to see the river full of dead fish.

"When I walked towards the Ski Gardens I thought the bad smell was floodwater," he said.

"But when I got closer to the water I realised the white dots on the water were fish. I saw them all at once and instantly thought something in the water had poisoned them due to the amount of dead fish.

"I took some photos on my phone and posted them to Facebook. Heaps of people commented on the photos and said it might have been from the floodwater and from all of the rain."

A spokesperson from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) released a statement to the Bulletin yesterday.

The spokesperson said EHP had not received any reports of fish deaths in the vicinity of the Ski Gardens section of the Fitzroy River.

However, they had received a report of dead fish in Rockhampton's Yeppen Lagoon on Wednesday. EHP officers had inspected the area and took water samples for analysis.

"Initial results found low dissolved oxygen levels in the water," the spokesperson said.

"Other samples have been sent to a laboratory for further analysis. Recent high temperatures and a significantly increased in-flow to the lagoon may have contributed to the low oxygen levels.

"EHP will investigate the fish deaths in the vicinity of the Ski Gardens in the Fitzroy River."

Members of the public are encouraged to report further fish deaths to the department's pollution hotline on 1300 130 372. - The Morning Bulletin.

1,200 young turtles have washed ashore during past 2 months in Cape Cod, Mass. America

When 1,200 turtles washed ashore in Cape Cod over the last two months, people took notice. Although turtles washing ashore in Cape Cod isn’t unusual in itself, it’s the sheer quantity of these creatures that is drawing attention. According to Yahoo! News, the animals have been coming in on the tide since mid-November.

Now a record number of turtles are arriving daily, with the largest number coming ashore in a single day reaching 198. In prior years, numbers typically reached no higher than 200 annually. Wildlife experts can’t explain the increase in numbers, although some point to an increase in the turtle population in general as a possible cause.

“I am hearing a lot of theories, but the reality of the situation is we really don’t know — nobody knows,” stranding program manager at the New England Aquarium Connie Merigo said of the increase in cold-stunned turtles washing ashore in Cape Cod.

It isn’t every day that 1,200 turtles wash ashore in Cape Cod, or elsewhere. That’s why concerned staff members and more than 150 volunteers from the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in South Wellfleet are taking action. These dedicated individuals have taken to patrolling the shorelines around the clock, searching for stranded turtles in distress.

Many of the sea turtles are malnourished and susceptible to pneumonia by the time they come ashore, and their survival rate is only around 50 percent. New England Aquarium’s animal care center in Quincy has received around 700 of these distressed creatures, providing necessary treatment and nursing them back to stable condition before distributing them to other animal care facilities for further rehabilitation.

Of the 1,200 turtles washed ashore and stranded in Cape Cod, the majority are the endangered species Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), which can reach 24 to 28 inches in length and weigh up to 100 pounds as adults, according to NOAA. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the smallest marine turtles in the world.

WATCH: Hundreds of turtles stranded on Cape Cod beaches.

Speaking of turtles, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, an animal lover got the surprise of a lifetime when she discovered a two-headed snapping turtle crossing the road. Kathleen Talbot of Maine watched over a bale of turtle hatchlings to ensure their safety as they crossed the road, and she noticed that one of the little creatures was falling behind. When she brought the baby snapping turtle home and rinsed off its coating of dirt, she discovered that it had two heads protruding from a single tiny shell. She named the unusual creature Frank and Stein. - Inquisitr.

Angler hooks 89 STONE greenland shark setting new world record for biggest fish caught on a rod

Catch of the day: Angler Joel Abrahamsson reeled in the huge beast. © FreeWaterPictures/BNPS

Builder Joel Abrahamsson caught the Greenland, which weighed as much as an adult male polar bear, while fishing off Norway

An angler who built up his strength by reeling in blocks of concrete caught a record-breaking 89-stone shark.

Builder Joel Abrahamsson, 33, caught the 15ft Greenland while fishing off Norway.

The monster catch is a world record for a fish caught on rod and reel from a kayak.

Joel built up his strength for the record attempt by lifting rocks and practiced his technique by lowering 60lbs cement blocks into his local lake and then reeling them in.

To give him the extra power needed to reel in the 1,247lbs shark, he strapped himself into a harness that was attached to his rod, meaning if the shark had overpowered him, he could have been pulled into the freezing waters.

The Greenland shark weighed as much as an adult male polar bear. © FreeWaterPictures/BNPSAdd caption

He used 8lbs of coalfish as bait which took 25 minutes to lower to depths of 1,600ft off the island of Andorja.

It took him 90 minutes to reel in the shark, which is thought to be 200 years old.

Joel, from Gothenburg, Sweden, smashed the previous unofficial record of a 500lb salmon shark caught off a kayak in 2007 in Alaska.

The record is unofficial because it was not recorded on a certified scale. To weigh a fish on a scale would require killing it but the Greenland shark is a protected species and cannot be commercially fished.

The deadly shark had to be measured - more than 13ft long with a girth of six and a half feet - and its weight calculated using a recognised formula by researchers in a support boat.

Joel said: "I knew there were fish of this size in Norway and that was all I needed to know to become obsessed with hooking one from a kayak.

"They're almost like dinosaurs. We know they exist but very few people get to see them and it's always been a dream of mine to see a living Greenland shark.

"I prefer to go after big fish from a kayak to prove it's possible.

"I've been fishing all my life but there was no adventure in it anymore so I started kayak fishing about five years ago because I wanted to be scared - and I was with this one.

"It was too difficult and too heavy at times and I had to just let go of the rod and hold on to the kayak to stop myself falling out.

"The fighting harness was almost strangling my stomach and I was left bruised from that.

Hook, line and sinker: Builder Joel caught the shark from a kayak - breaking the world record. © FreeWaterPictures/BNPS
"The water was really clear and I could see the shark about 50ft under the kayak and that's when I got really scared.

"I just saw this big shadow under me, flapping with its tail. The feeling I got then was a feeling of both total fear and amazement.

"That was about as heavy a fish as I ever want to fight from my kayak."

The Greenland shark - Somniosus microcephalus in Latin - are slow-moving creatures that live in the north Atlantic, around Canada, Greenland and Norway.

Its diet consists of other fish, including smaller sharks and large cod, and has even been known to eat polar bears, horses and reindeer.

They have very little interaction with human because of the live in cold and deep water. - Daily Mirror.

Rare Arctic gyrfalcon seen in Madbury, New Hampshire

© Hanne & Jens Eriksen/VIREO

Gyrfalcon travels south from normal Arctic range

The largest of the falcons, a rare gyrfalcon, was seen in Madbury during the past week, according to the Audubon Society's rare bird alert.

Fast like a peregrine falcon and wearing a faint mustache, gyrfalcons live in the Arctic.

According to the Peregrine Fund, the birds of prey are very sensitive to changes in the environment.

The group said pesticides, loss of habitat or a decrease in prey can affect populations of gyrfalcons. - WMUR.

First mountain lion seen in Kentucky since before the Civil War shot by wildlife officer

© US Fish and Wildlife Service.

A Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer killed a mountain lion on a Bourbon County farm on Monday, marking the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Kentucky since before the Civil War, said Mark Marraccini, a spokesman for the agency.

Marraccini said a farmer spotted the cat in a tree and alerted the department. When the officer responded, he found the animal had been trapped in different tree by a barking dog and decided it was best to "dispatch it."

Mountain lions were once native to Kentucky but they were killed off here more than a century ago, Marraccini said.

Mountain lions are the largest cats found in North America and can measure up to eight feet from nose to tail and weigh up to 180 pounds. Also known as cougars, pumas, panthers and catamounts, the cats are considered top-line predators because no other species feed on them.

Marraccini said the wildlife officer shot the cat because it was about 5:30 p.m. and getting dark and he feared that it would slip away in darkness and threaten people in the nearby city of Paris.

"If that cat had left that tree, it would have disappeared into the brush and it was a fairly populated area," said Marraccini, who said it would have taken several hours and dark before a state veterinarian could retrieve the tranquilizer from her safe and get it to the scene had officials taken that route.

"It sounds good but it's pretty impractical," said Marraccini, who said the officer who shot the cat made the right call.

"That's the way the officers deemed to handle it and I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be handled that way," he said.

Marraccini said a state veterinarian will conduct a necropsy on the cat Tuesday to determine if it is a wild cat or a former pet that was either released or escaped.

According to the Cougar Network, the cat is mostly confined to the western United States but is advancing east. For years, the Mississippi River has been thought to be a barrier to the mountain lion's eastern expansion. But its clear they have been getting close to Kentucky.

They have colonized in South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, said Amy Rodrigues, a staff biologist for the Mountain Lion Foundation, and there have been sightings in recent years in Indiana and even downtown Chicago.

Rodrigues said that mountain lions each need more than 100 square miles to survive and many of the animals being killed as they expand east are young males under the age of two that have been kicked out by their mothers. They often travel east looking for deer, water and female cougars.

But Rodrigues said states that kill the animals when they enter are wrong for doing it and that the animals shouldn't cause fear. "If you're a deer, they're a little dangerous. If you're a human, not so much," she said. "Attacks on people are not that common. There have only been 22 deaths in the last 120 years."

She said people are at greater risk of dying from bee stings and lightning strikes than they are from cougar attacks.

They get a bad rap because "they are large animals with sharp teeth," Rodrigues said.

She added the presence of mountain lions in an ecosystem adds to biological diversity, which she said helps the environment recover from natural disaster and diseases that affect the fauna in a region.

Mark Dowling, a director of the Cougar Network, which advocates for the use of science to understand the animals, said the population was being pushed further and further west until the 1960s when a number of western and midwestern states began to classify them as game animals rather than vermin, and limiting people's right to kill them.

Since then, he said, the cats have been slowly reclaiming their old turf.

Marraccini said there is no official protocol about how to handle more mountain lions if they are found in Kentucky but he doubts that they will be allowed to colonize here like they have in many western states.

"Every one of them is handled on its own," said Marraccini.

Marraccini said that people and legislators probably would be opposed to allowing the cats to stay in the state. "When you have a population essentially that has had generations and generations and generations that have not had top-line predators, you think about it. You going to let your kids wait for the school bus in the dark? ..."

"From a wildlife diversity perspective, it would be a neat thing but from a social aspect, probably not," he said.

Dowling wouldn't take a position on whether the cat should have been killed but said that most states that have had the cats moving through them have just left the cats alone. In fact, he said he can't think of a state wildlife agency that shoots them on sight but he noted that South Dakota will shoot them when they enter a city.

But he said human attacks are few and far between, even in California where there are thousands of the cats, some of them living within large cities like Los Angeles.

"It's very, very rare for them to show any aggression toward humans," he said. "They, in fact, have a fear of people."

Animals like the mountain lion once near extinction or limited in their range are rebounding across the country. The first gray wolf confirmed in Kentucky in generations was shot by a hunter a year and a half ago near Munfordville. - The Courier Journal.

Reindeer populations are on the decline worldwide

Reindeer populations are in trouble around the world, and in China, the iconic animals are on the decline largely because of inbreeding, according to new research.

Some folklorists say Christmas tales of flying reindeer may have originated as a hallucination, with one theory claiming the inspiration for Santa Claus came from shamans who would give out bags of hallucinatory mushrooms in late December in the Siberian and Arctic regions. But, nonflying reindeer are very real and an important part of northern ecosystems.

Reindeer populations currently live in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Alaska, Russia, Mongolia and China, and populations across the board are declining. In the new study, researchers from Renmin University in Beijing focused on the reindeer population in China, which has declined about 28 percent since the 1970s.

Reindeer first migrated to China from Siberia about 2,000 years ago along with the Ewenki tribe, according to the researchers. The Ewenki people are reindeer herders, and they have a similar relationship with reindeer as Native Americans had with buffalo. The Ewenki do not fully domesticate the reindeer, but provide the herd with basics like salt, and use the animals for their meat, hides and milk.

The researchers determined how many reindeer were left in China (about 770) by interviewing the Ewenki herders and looking through old population records. The Ewenki often tie colored ribbons around the reindeer's necks to help differentiate the animals.

The researchers pointed to several reasons reindeer populations are decreasing, but the number one cause they found was inbreeding. Reindeer are split up into small, shrinking groups and have very few mating options. Without more genetic variation, the populations will eventually collapse, the researchers said. Poaching is also a problem, since reindeer antlers can fetch a pretty price. Both male and female reindeer have antlers, so snares set up to catch reindeer do not target a specific sex.

Further, more and more of the reindeer's historic caretakers are opting for different careers. Ewenki herders are usually young men, and many have trouble adjusting to the isolation of the forest-covered mountains where the animals live. As of 2012, there were only 33 reindeer herders left in China. The lack of herders means that reindeer that get lost from the group usually stay lost, and those caught in poaching traps are generally not rescued.

Moving the herds closer to civilization may make more Ewenki people willing to sign up as herders, but when moved closer to cities, reindeer are often hit by cars, kept as pets or slaughtered for tourists.

The Chinese government is starting to address the problem. In 2012, they brought in 29 reindeer to participate in an artificial insemination program designed to work against inbreeding and reverse the loss of genetic variation.

The researchers suggest the Chinese government should also set up natural reserves or parks to preserve the species. In addition, the scientists are urging world leaders to pay more attention to the Association of World Reindeer Herders, which spans several northern countries and represents more than 20 different ethnic groups.

Reindeer are currently listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's threatened species list under the "least concern" category. But the researchers say this classification, which is based on a 2008 survey of the population, needs updating.

Strengthening the declining population could also boost the health of ecosystems and enhance local economies, the researchers said.

The findings were published in the December issue of the Journal for Nature Conservation.

- Live Science.

Carnivore Comeback: Bear and wolf populations are thriving in Europe

A female brown bear (Ursus arctos) with three yearlings in Gutulia National Park in Hedmark, South East Norway. © Kjell Isaksen

Despite having half the land area of the contiguous United States and double the population density, Europe is home to twice as many wolves as the U.S.

A new study finds that Europe's other large carnivores are experiencing a resurgence in their numbers, too - and mostly in nonprotected areas where the animals coexist alongside humans. The success is owed to cross-border cooperation, strong regulations and a public attitude that brings wildlife into the fold with human society, rather than banishing it to the wilderness, according to study leader Guillaume Chapron, a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences' Grimsö Wildlife Research Station.

In Europe, "we don't have unspoiled, untouched areas," Chapron told Live Science. "But what is interesting is, that does not mean we do not have carnivores. Au contraire; we have many carnivores."

Europe's carnivores bounce back

Chapron and his colleagues pulled together data from all over Europe - excluding Russia, Ukraine and Belarus - on the population numbers of brown bears (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), wolverines (Gulo gulo) and gray wolves (Canis lupus). Their results, published today (Dec. 18) in the journal Science, reveal that large carnivores in Europe are doing very well.

With the exception of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, every European country in the study has a permanent and reproducing population of at least one of the four large carnivores, the researchers reported. The continent is home to 17,000 brown bears in 10 populations spread over 22 countries. There are 9,000 lynx in 11 populations in 23 countries. Wolves are thriving, with more than 12,000 individuals found in 10 populations in 28 countries.

Wolverines can live only in the cold climates of Scandinavia, so Norway, Sweden and Finland are the only countries in the study that host all four of Europe's major large carnivore species. There are two populations of wolverines in Europe, with an estimated total of 1,250 individuals.

Some small populations of carnivores are in decline across Europe, the researchers noted, but none of the large to medium populations are suffering.

Attitudes toward the wild

What makes this success so surprising is that these wolves, bears, lynx and wolverines are surviving largely outside of protected areas.

"Maybe the wolf is your black bear," Chapron said, explaining European attitudes toward the animal. In the United States, he said, wolves are seen as animals that can't coexist with humans, whereas black bears are generally tolerated in residential areas, with locals making accommodations such as bear-proof trash cans.

Chapron acknowledged that there are clashes in Europe between carnivores and people, particularly around livestock farming. Traditional strategies - such as employing livestock-guarding dogs or shepherds, or corralling livestock in pens at night - help ease carnivore attacks on valuable livestock, and compensating farmers for losses can also help mitigate problems, he said.

"There is a need to keep the conflict at a low intensity," Chapron said.

Chapron also credited the Habitats Directive, a set of conservation regulations that protects species and habitat types across national borders, for keeping carnivores from decline and extinction.

"We have found a recipe that works," he said.

Whether a similar recipe could work in the United States depends on public attitudes. However, the European model clearly shows that large carnivores can coexist with people in places Americans tend to find unimaginable, Chapron said. In 2011, a male gray wolf traveled from Oregon to California, becoming the first wolf in the state since 1924. (He later trotted back across the border to Oregon, and fathered pups.)

The appearance of the wolf triggered debate over how to manage the return of wolves in California. That is a matter of public policy, but Chapron pointed out that there is a fast-growing wolf population in Germany and Poland, where roads are as dense as anywhere in the world.

"If people from California decide to have wolves," he said, "then the European model clearly shows that you can have plenty of wolves in California."

- Live Science.

Snowy owl sightings on the rise across the upper US

If you have a passion for birds or even if you're so-so about them, you're going to love this. All the indicators are present telling us this year is going to be witness to another snowy owl eruption across the upper United States. That means for us up here on the Range, too!

Last year, 2013-2014, we saw what was possibly the largest eruption of snowy owls during the last century. This year could be even better. There have already been 44 snowy owls reported in Minnesota alone.

There are different theories on why Snowy Owls leave the Arctic. Some believe that due to such great nesting success, a shortage of food forces the younger owls to leave the area in search of better hunting territories. Others believe the younger owls leave because they have not perfected their hunting skills yet and would not be able to survive competing among older, wiser owls. No matter the reason, what this really means to most of us is this will be a great winter to get out and see one of these beautiful visitors from the Arctic Tundra. - Hometown Focus.

Medic monkey saves electrocuted pal at railway track in India

People at a railway station in India witnessed a moving scene on Sunday as a monkey saved a primate friend after it suffered an electric shock and lost consciousness on the tracks. The monkey tried to rouse the injured animal until it began moving.

The primate reportedly came in contact with a high voltage power cable while wondering on the tracks of the railway station in Kanpur - a major city in India's Uttar Pradesh state.

WATCH: Monkey rescues electrocuted buddy on train tracks.

It lost consciousness and fell between the tracks. Soon the injured simian was spotted by a friend, which was determined to resuscitate it.

After almost 15-20 minutes of emergency measures - slapping, biting and dipping into water – the patient started showing signs of life.

The life-affirming scene was captured on video by an onlooker at the station. - RT.

Video shows kangaroo punching drone from sky, destroying the device

A kangaroo knocked an aerial drone from the sky after the device hovered too close to a small group of the animals, as video above shows.

The footage was captured in Hunter Valley, Australia from a camera attached to a small drone. As the device comes in low across a field to observe four to five kangaroo at the edge of a brush-line, the larger of the animals hops forward to inspect the intruding machine.

WATCH: Drone vs Kangaroo.

The drone lifts in elevation and once more moves lower before the kangaroo advances and punches it out of the air, sending the drone into the grass and damaging it enough to prevent further lift-off.

According to Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, there are over 60 different species of kangaroo and close relatives in Australia, where the marsupials are almost entirely exclusive.

Kangaroos are known for their strong back legs and tail. If threatened, they will box and kick opponents or stomp a foot on the ground to warn others.

Male kangaroos are known to box each other, leaning back on their tails to deliver blows over potential mates, while in some cases, kangaroos have been pitted against humans in boxing matches. - UPI.

New bizarre-looking species breaks record for world's deepest fish

 A never-before-seen fish has been caught on camera, setting a new depth record in the Pacific Ocean.

The world's deepest fish was captured on camera at depths of 8,145 meters (26,700 feet) in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean. The newest discovery breaks a depth record set in 2008 by nearly 500 meters (1,640 feet).

The previously unknown creature, believed to be a snailfish, was filmed several times floating along the sea floor. It is a white translucent fish with an eel-like tail and wing-like fins.

WATCH: New bizarre-looking species breaks record for world's deepest fish.

The footage was captured by a team of Scottish scientists aboard a vessel from the Schmidt Ocean Institute. It was caught on camera during a 30-day expedition in the Mariana Trench.

"It stunned scientists because in other trenches, there is only one fish species at this depth--a snailfish; this fish is really different from any other deep-sea fish that scientists have ever seen," posted the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

The institute states other rare creatures were also discovered on their expedition, including a "supergiant" amphipod - a very large crustacean. - WECT.

Villagers in Kazakhstan use 'guard wolves' for protection

"You can buy a wolf cub for just $500 (£320), they say, and hunters are adamant that if treated well the wild animal can be tamed," the KTK television channel reports. Nurseit Zhylkyshybay, from the south-eastern Almaty region, tells the channel he bought a wolf cub, Kurtka, from hunters three years ago, and the animal is perfectly happy wandering the yard of his house. "He's never muzzled, I rarely put him on a chain and do take him for regular walks around the village. Our family and neighbours aren't scared of him at all," Mr Zhylkyshybay insists. "If the wolf is well fed and cared for, he won't attack you, although he does eat a lot more than a dog."

WATCH: Villagers in Kazakhstan are increasingly turning to an unusual animal to guard their land - wolves.

But wolf expert Almas Zhaparov says the animals are "far too dangerous" to keep at home. "A wolf is like a ticking bomb, it can go off at any moment," he tells KTK.

"If nothing is done, the fashion could spread to wealthy Kazakhs," who might try to keep wolves in the grounds of their houses, with possibly deadly consequences, he warns. Social media users are overwhelmingly apprehensive about the trend, although a few accuse the government of failing to cull wolves in the first place.

"You can't blame villagers for using wolves to fend off wolves," says one person on the Nur news portal. Another user engages in a little black humour: "The sheep are in the pen, and the wolves have full bellies - but no one can find the shepherd." - BBC.

New 'evolutionary oddity' revealed in the bizarre deep-sea bone worm saga

A male Osedax priapus, or bone worm.

The saga of the Osedax "bone-eating" worms began 12 years ago, with the first discovery of these deep-sea creatures that feast on the bones of dead animals. The Osedax story grew even stranger when researchers found that the large female worms contained harems of tiny dwarf males.

In a new study published in the Dec. 11 issue of Current Biology, marine biologist Greg Rouse at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and his collaborators reported a new twist to the Osedax story, revealing an evolutionary oddity unlike any other in the animal kingdom. Rouse's collaborators included Nerida Wilson (formerly based at Scripps and now at the Western Australian Museum), Katrine Worsaae of the University of Copenhagen, and Robert Vrijenhoek of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Examining bone worms collected at 700 meters (2,296 feet) depth by an MBARI remotely operated vehicle, Rouse observed a surprising new type of Osedax species. Females of the new species are roughly the same size as their previously studied relatives, but males are tens of thousands of times larger than those of other Osedax worms, and are roughly the same size as the females.

"This discovery was very unexpected," said Rouse. "It's the first known example of such a dramatic evolutionary reversal from dwarf males."

"Evolutionary reversals to ancestral states are very rare in the animal kingdom," noted coauthor Vrijenhoek. "This case is exceptional because the genes for producing full-sized adult males should have deteriorated over time due to disuse. But apparently the genes are still there."

Also surprising was the discovery that males of the new species consume bone on their own, something their dwarf relatives don't ever do.

Adding even more peculiarity to the discovery is the mating process for the new species. Previously studied Osedax male dwarfs are permanently attached to their female hosts, and therefore do not need mobility to mate, so the scientists wondered how the newly discovered males are able to seek out a mate, given their independence.

"The evolutionary solution (the new species) found was to actually make the male's body very extendable so he can reach far out to find females to mate with - he can extend his body ten-times its contracted state," said Rouse.

In essence, Rouse said, the entire worm's body has evolved as a tool for mating, "and that's why we named it Osedax 'priapus,' the mythological god of fertility," said Rouse.

The scientists speculate that less competition for space on certain animal bones allowed the evolutionary introduction of Osedax priapus.

"This worm was weird enough as it was and now it's even weirder," said Rouse. "This shows us that there continue to be mysteries in the sea and there is still so much more to discover, especially since we only found these creatures 12 years ago."


Local people terrorized by unusual explosion of venomous snakes in central Vietnam

A Quang Ngai resident is shown holding a green snake he has killed.  © Tuoi Tre

The green pit viper, a species of venomous snake, has appeared in urban residential areas in Vietnam's central region at an alarming rate, slithering into kitchens, bedrooms, gardens, and schools.

Dozens of people in Da Nang City, as well as Quang Nam and Quang Ngai Provinces, have been hospitalized recently after being bitten by the poisonous reptile 'rắn lục' (green snake), with the scientific name of Trimeresurus albolabris.

The snake perfectly disguises itself around trees thanks to its green body. It is yellow or pale green below the eyes, while its belly is green, yellowish or white, and the end of the tail is brown or red.

The situation has reached such a dangerous level that the Department of Forest Management of Quang Ngai has asked local authorities to urgently begin a campaign to drive the animals out of local neighborhoods.

An odd increase in the number of venomous snakes

Within the last three days, locals in Chau O Town in Binh Son District of Quang Ngai have killed around 30 snakes.

The green snakes have appeared not only in gardens, but also in kitchens, bedrooms, kindergartens, hanging under roofs, and over school gates.

Nguyen Thi Nga, a resident in Binh Minh Commune of Binh Son District, said she discovered five green snakes in her house after one night.

"After getting up early one morning, I saw a green snake curled up on my dining table. I called my husband and he found four more in the corners of other rooms."

Phuoc Hoa Hamlet of Binh Tri Commune in Binh Son had four locals hospitalized within four days for snake bites, she added.

Nguyen Van Thao, a guard at the 23-4 kindergarten, was admitted to a local hospital after being bitten by a green snake last week.

Vo Van Dan, whose father was bitten by a green snake, said his fellow villagers killed seven such reptiles several days ago.

Pham Hung, vice chairman of the People's Committee of Chau O, said, "Green snakes appear even on the road. We already reported the odd growth in the number of green snakes to district level authorities."

The fourth zone in Phuoc My Ward in Da Nang's Son Tra District is a busy residential center, but it has become a 'rendezvous' for the snakes.

Local dwellers have to install tightly knit nets and roller blinds to surround their houses to prevent the snakes from getting in.

They have also applied folklore experience by grinding garlic, onions, and citronella grass to drop at gates and doors because they believe that the reptile fears the odors of the plants.

The Quang Ngai General Hospital has treated over 40 patients bitten by green snakes from the start of this month.

Vietnamese people, especially those in rural areas, are inclined to apply traditional herbal remedies for snake bites, and they have proved effective in many cases.

The green snake with a red tail is venomous and its poison can cause fatigue, breathing difficulty, dizziness, nausea, inflammation, and blood circulation problems. It requires long-term treatment to remove the poison from the body of a patient, said a doctor.

A bite from a green snake may kill a person, according to Doctor Doan Van Sen, vice director of Thang Binh Hospital in Quang Nam Province.

Killing the snakes is urgent work

Nguyen Van Han, head of the Quang Ngai forest management department, explained that the green snake population has grown and 'invaded' local neighborhoods because of low rainfall and no floods, creating favorable natural conditions for the reptile's eggs to hatch and multiply.

The odd increase in the population of the green snake and its invasion into residential areas all over the central region have never taken place before, even though they are native to this region, according to Duong Van To, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Quang Ngai.

"Eliminating green snakes from residential areas is now an urgent task here," said Pham Thanh Tung, chairman of the People's Committee of Mo Duc District in Quang Ngai.

"Initially, we will weed grass and bushes along streets," he added. 

Over 100 live snakes released on Vietnam highway

Over 100 snakes of different kinds crawled along a national highway in southern Dong Nai Province, throwing locals into panic on Saturday afternoon.

Around 4.40pm, locals who travelled and live in a neighborhood in the province's Thong Nhat District along the National Highway No. 1 were petrified at the ghastly sight of over 100 snakes crawling across the highway.

Witnesses said they earlier saw three men, who resembled Buddhist monks with shaved heads in yellow outfits, getting down from a seven-seat car with three green sacks.

The men unpacked the sacks as if they were pouring out the contents.

Shortly after they left, locals saw the snakes creeping across the highway and sneaking into rubber tree farms nearby.

Local police soon joined passengers and rubber workers in beating the snakes dead and collected around 10 kilograms of dead snakes.

According to those who joined in the snake search, the number of collected snakes is small compared to those remaining on the loose, as the area is densely vegetated.

The incident drew huge crowds of curious passengers and locals, although many are concerned they may get bitten.

However, some snake traders said the snakes are non-venomous.

Several locals say the snake-freeing act, if confirmed, may be related to a Buddhist practice of releasing an animal from captivity for humanitarian purposes.

Vietnamese people, particularly Buddhists, traditionally set free birds and fish on major Buddhist occasions to pray for blessings.

However, many dismiss that possibility as few, if none, set free snakes for that purpose, and demand the snake release be investigated closely.

The district police are further looking into the strange incident.

- Tuoitre News.

West Harlem Residents Are Fed Up With ‘Aggressive’ Raccoons Terrorizing Neighborhood

West Harlem residents say a posse of raccoons has taken over their neighborhoods and in some cases even broken into their homes.

“These things think they live here and they actually walk in if you leave an opening,” said resident Lauren Flanigan.

Pictures from residents showed a raccoon making itself comfortable on the patio of a West Harlem home, and even coming up to the door. And that raccoon was not alone, residents said.

“They came in the kitchen, and they’re not that friendly, and they also pushed the window screens in,” Flanigan told CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco.

“They climb over the fences to the next backyard and they keep going from backyard to backyard, so that’s why it’s not one homeowner’s problem. It’s everybody’s problem,” Maria Freeman said.

WATCH: Raccoons run ramp in West Harlam neighborhood.

Residents complained that the raccoons wreak havoc in the streets daily, and believe they make the trek from Central Park. They want the city to do something because the problem is only getting worse.

“These raccoons don’t behave normally. They’re out during the day time when they should be sleeping. They are not afraid of humans. They’re aggressive,” Flanigan said.

Residents are now asking the city to step in and pay for a trap-and-release service to get rid of the raccoons before mating season starts in January.

In a statement the city said they are “staunchly committed to addressing all constituent requests from New Yorkers across the five boroughs, including animal related complaints and inquiries.”

Residents say help can’t come soon enough. - CBS New York.

Mass die-off of fish in a lagoon in Krabi, Thailand

Krabi sea swamp fish found in the dead scholars identify the cause of the low water quality. Not due to disease outbreaks.

Mr. Narin with Wong academic specialists. Krabi Fisheries Office, said that the hundreds of thousands of fish in the sea swamp Moo 1. Nongtalay a large lagoons. Water used in the production Death is a lot After the incident, which brought fish sent to the Coastal Fisheries Research and Development District. Krabi checked and has notified when the results come back this morning (Dec. 18) that the sole proof of dead fish found there. bacteria in the lungs caused by the low quality of the water. And dead fish are not caused by the epidemic.

Mr. Narin said the preliminary cause of fish death is expected. Be several reasons for the amount of rain that fell sharply. Sediment washed out And chemicals from the garden into the pool, the water quality and waste also can be caused by water does not drain. However, the introduction of the SAO. Remove aerator. And lime into the lake to improve water quality then. It is expected that the water will be improved and the number of dead fish is reduced. 

 - Manager. [Translated]

Two otters found dead in Sundarbans oil spill, Bangladesh

Autopsy on the two otters, recovered by forests department workers from the river Shela in the Sundarbans on Thursday, have confirmed that they had died from ingestion of oil.

The veterinarians of the forests department on Saturday found furnace oil in the mouths and lungs of the two animals. Previously innumerable otters could be seen in the rivers of the southwest regions, but now they are only found in the Sundarbans. These are enlisted as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Fishermen of Narail and the Sundarbans use otters to catch fish, and National Geographic as well as other wildlife agencies have done researches on this.

After 350 thousand litres of oil was spilled in the river Shela of the Sundarbans in the 9 December tanker capsize, the shipping ministry has stated that this will cause no harm to the forest. The ministry for environment and forest took samples of water from the rivers Shela and Pashur and observed that the water has an adequate level of dissolved oxygen for plants and animals to survive. In other words, the animals and plant life was free of risk.

However, the primary results of the research being led by Professor Abdullah Harun Chowdhury of Khulna University's biology department, show that the dissolved oil in the river waters of east Sundarbans is way above danger level, creating a serious threat to crabs, otters, shrimps, deer, micro plant and animal organisms as well as fish eggs.

Chief conservator of forests Tapan Kumar Dey told Prothom Alo, there is less oxygen and more oil in the water, which is entering the bodies of the animals. The autopsy showed that the two otters had died due to the furnace oil.

Professor Monirul H Khan of Jahangirnagar University's biology department visited the Sundarbans on 12 December. He observed the presence of various species of fish and birds including eagles, seagulls, black hawks, changeable white eagles, and vultures, all of which lived off dead animals. He said, these birds do not normally come to the east Sundarbans in December. They were never seen in the area around this time in the past. They only gather when they smell a large number of dead animals. The presence of eagles, hawks and vultures indicates there are a lot of dead animal bodies in the Sundarbans.

After the tanker capsized on 9 December, a six-member team of the forests department, headed by veterinarians Syed Ahmed and Mofizur Rahman, have been inspecting east Sundarbans daily. Yesterday the team spotted crocodiles and monitor lizards smeared with oil at the Chandpai range of the Sundarbans. - Prothom.

Seal found 20 miles inland near St Helens, UK

Seal washed up in a field in Newton-le-Willows near Warrington, Cheshire Photo: Liverpool Echo

A seal had to be rescued from a field more than 20 miles inland - after apparently getting "very, very lost".

The seal, which was discovered in Newton-le-Willows, near St Helens in Merseyside on Monday morning, was likely to have swum up to 50 miles away from its home before clambering into the fenced-off field from a nearby brook, experts said.

It was found in a "distressed" state by a dog-walker at about 9.45am, sparking a rescue operation involving the emergency services and the RSPCA as police warned locals to stay away from the "potentially dangerous" animal.

The creature, believed to be a juvenile male grey seal, was eventually coaxed into a trailer using mackerel as bait and taken to a wildlife centre for checks.

Farm owner Gary Watkinson, who owns the field where the seal was found, said: "We woke up this morning and found a seal in our field, which is quite unusual to say the least.

"We usually have a few ponies and a couple of sheep but never any seals. We're about 20 miles away from the coast.

"It's definitely come up from the brook near here. I tracked its movements and you can see the marks in the soil."

Rachael Fraser of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, told the Liverpool Echo the seal seemed "very stressed" and "a little dehydrated".

"There's a grey seal colony near Hilbre Island and that's where we think he's come from - but he's got very, very lost," she said.

From Hilbre Island at the mouth of the Dee Estuary the seal would have had to swim an estimated 50 miles, around the Wirral into the Mersey Estuary and then up a series of brooks to reach the field.

A seal was spotted by a member of the public in a field outside the Red Bank Farm Shop (Mercury Press)
Nicola Watkinson, who works at the nearby Red Bank Farm Shop, said: "Someone rang up this morning and said there's a great big sea lion outside our shop.

"We've got traffic piled up with people looking at it, and there's lots of police here.

"They are trying to get near it but it's not very friendly."

A woman who lives nearby said she saw the seal when she opened her curtains - and assumed it was a pony which had collapsed.

She said: "I thought it must have been hurt. It was right up against next door's fence.

"The poor thing must be so scared." - Telegraph.

Wrong place, wrong time: European robin turns up thousands of miles away in China

Photographers were awestruck by the sighting of a European robin in the Temple of Heaven. © Getty

Appearances on greetings cards, wrapping paper and festive tree baubles are one thing but the notion of a cheery redbreast preening in front of hundreds of assembled cameras does sound a little incongruous.

Take a peek at this week's photo and while the robin looks very much like your common-orgarden favourite, the way it was pictured in all its flame-toned glory has become the talk of the birdwatching world.

However this delightful individual has been holding court in Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park, creating the kind of scenes reminiscent of a rarity arrival on the Isles of Scilly or the north Norfolk coast.

How this robin arrived in the Chinese capital thousands of miles from its European home is open to conjecture. There is increasing evidence that small populations of migratory birds often take a "left-hand turn" and fly in the reverse direction in autumn as a survival technique against a possible disaster on their normal wintering ranges.

Whatever the reason for the robin's arrival in Beijing, its presence has been headline news and the talk among China's burgeoning birding community or, to be more accurate, bird photographers who have turned up in huge numbers to get the kind of close up that epitomises the festive season in the UK.

Beijing-based British birder Terry Townshend says that besides providing a fascinating subject for the photographers, the robin has also proven to be an exceptional diplomat for advancing the cause of bird conservation. "It's been a great chance to raise awareness among Beijingers about the importance of the city's parks for wild birds as well as highlighting the dangers they face from poachers," Terry tells me.

"Bird trappers are commonly encountered in the Temple of Heaven, even though taking any bird from the wild is illegal without a permit."

Terry, an independent consultant on environmental law who is aiding the development of Chinese legislation, also gave an exciting account of how a bird so common back home in Britain got his pulse thumping.

News of the robin broke when a Beijing photographer posted pictures of a "mystery bird" on a Chinese internet forum.

Sharp-eyed birders Huang Hanchen and Li Xiaomai raised the alarm and the following morning Terry and three young Chinese birdwatchers were in the Temple of Heaven Park.

"After a three-hour search, there was no sign of the robin until... I decided to walk one more circuit around an area of shrubs that looked the most likely spot for a robin," explained Terry.

"Along the last line of shrubs I suddenly heard a call, one that I immediately recognised. It was hard to believe and I almost felt embarrassed but my heart leapt.

"Little did we know what a fuss this bird would cause. On a single day that week there were more than 150 photographers."  - Daily Express.

500 crows found dead in Indian village

Nearly 500 crows have been found dead in the past four days at Baghiari village near Tarn Taran, which is close to a bird sanctuary at Sarai Amanat Khan. With bird flu causing deaths of geese at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, senior officials of the Animal Husbandry Department have responded quickly to take preventive measures in the area. The district administration is also on alert.

"The reasons for the birds' deaths could be the use of pesticide in fields, contaminated water or the cold wave. However, we have sent the carcasses of birds to Regional Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar to know the exact cause of the deaths," said Dr Raminder Monga, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department. He added that it would take six days to know the reason for such a high bird mortality," said Dr Monga. Deputy Commissioner Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal met officials of various departments and constituted response teams. Amarinder Singh Tiwana, a PCS officer, has been made the point person to coordinate with all teams. Dhaliwal urged people in the area to stay alert and do not panic.

"We are keeping a close watch on the areas where migratory birds land in a big number. We have collected blood samples of migratory birds from Harike Wildlife Sanctuary," he said.

Wildlife officials at the Harike sanctuary, spread over about 90 km, have gone into overdrive following the reports of avian influenza at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. Harike Divisional Forest Officer Neeraj Gupta said the bird droppings had been sent for investigation to ascertain their health status. "We have also banned the entry of visitors to the lake. All steps are being taken as a precautionary measure following the bird flu scare," Gupta said. - The Tribune.

Girl 'plays dead' to survive brutal black bear attack in Florida

A 15-year-old girl who suffered horrific injuries after being attacked by a bear only survived because she remembered to 'play dead.'

Leah Reeder, 15, sustained deep bites and gouges to her legs, back, neck and face, after the attack on Sunday in Eastpoint, Franklin County, on Florida's panhandle.

She was out walking her dog at 6pm when the bear suddenly appeared and tackled her.

'I was listening to music and I heard my dog start barking. It was like a black blur,' she told Apalach Times from her hospital bed.

WATCH: Girl "plays dead" to survive bear attack.

She said the bear pushed her down, and she rolled on to her front side and started screaming.

'I guess nobody heard me,' she said.

'After I realized nobody was coming, I stopped screaming, and it started dragging me to the ditch.

'It lost its grip on my jacket and fell in the ditch and got up and ran away.'

Leah was able to stagger a block back to where she was staying with her father.

He found her in an immense state of distress and called 911 - poor weather conditions hampered a helicopter so she was transported via road.

Her mother Sheri Mann told the website: 'It bit her face open, and beside her ear on her scalp.'

'It was very, very bad.'

'Even as I sit here now, I can't believe it happened,' Mann said.

'The bears are all over the place, and I know how hard I would fight to protect my kids, but a momma bear can do so much more damage than me with just one swipe.'

'She managed to crack a few smiles at me before she went in for surgery,' Mann told WMBB.

Wildlife officials are now looking for the bear.

They have using a dog to track the scent of the bear from the teen's clothes.

It was the third bear attack in the region this year.

Stan Kirkland, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said FWC officials put in two live 'culvert' traps in the vicinity last night, and planned to install two more today, in an effort to catch bears and euthanize them.

'It's an assumption that it's an adult animal. That's all we know at this point,' said Kirkland. 'It is likely we will catch more than one bear.

'Public safety is paramount,' he said. 'We will likely euthanize any adult bears that we catch. One of the things we want to do is have the public know we have removed the bear.

'We will in all likelihood be removing numerous animals,' he said.

'We're an agency that is all about fish and wildlife, and we want a robust animal population. But when you have animals like that that can hurt someone, we're going to err on the side (of caution). We want the community to feel safe.' - Daily Mail.

Hundreds of dead fish found in a river in Pimpri-Chinchwad, India

Hundreds of fish were found dead by fishermen
on Thursday, but PCMC remains unmoved
Environmentalists blame chemical waste from cottage industries, PCMC turns a blind eye.

After hundreds of fish were found dead in the Indrayani river in Pimpri Chinchwad, local environmentalists are once again up in arms against the discharge of chemical waste generated by cottage industries which have flooded Kudalwadi, Chikhali and More wasti.

Activists claim the fauna in the river is hugely threatened by this waste and have accused the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) authorities of not paying heed despite several complaints in the past.

On Thursday, some local fishermen had gone to the river near Chikhali ghat and found several fish floating on the surface. Some of them even complained that a stink from the chemicals was emanating from the water.

Speaking to Mirror, Vikas Patil, a member of the Pune district environment committee, said that over the last few years, due to industrialisation, chemical waste has been discharged into the river on a large scale, polluting the water and killing the fish.

"We have been complaining and demanding that stern action be taken against those responsible," he said, adding that PCMC is categorically turning a deaf ear to their complaints.

Another member of the committee said that if PCMC continued to ignore the reality of the polluted river, they would throw the dead fish inside the PCMC office.

Sanjay Kulkarni, executive engineer (environment) of PCMC, said they have not received any communication from the environmentalists group. "Once we receive official information, we will collect samples and send them to the laboratory to ascertain the exact reason," he said.

Kulkarni ,however, added that the entire issue does not come under their purview, saying that it is the responsibility of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). "We will write to the MBCP," he said. - Pune Mirror.

Hippopotamus attacks and kills woman in Malawi

A hippopotamus attacked and killed a womanin the Vwaza WildlifeReserve early Tuesday morning where she had gone to fish in Lake Kazuni.

Rumphi Police and Vwaza Wildlife Reserve official confirmed the incident in separate interviews and identified the deceased as Dorica Banda, 36, from Chauluntha Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mpherembe in Mzimba District.

Rumphi Police Spokesperson Victor Khamisi said the deceased was among a group of poachers who had gone into the protected area to fish.

"While they were casting their nets, a hippopotamus suddenly emerged and charged at them before it went for Banda, who was at the time in the water, and attacked her.

"When she shouted for help, the rest of the group ran away, leaving her at the mercy of the beast," Khamisi said.

He said one man who had accompanied her to the lake stood by her and confronted the beast until it released her.

"However, the beast had already bitten her severely on the right thigh and left arm. Her rescuer and another well wisher took her to Thunduwike Health Centre where, unfortunately, she was pronounced dead on arrival.

"Medical report issued by the health centre concluded that the deceased had died from severe loss of blood as a result of injuries," Khamisi said.

Khamisi further said the deceased was a daughter in-law of Group Village Headman (GVH) Chauluntha Mkandawire.

Vwaza Wildlife Reserve Deputy Manager, Jonas Luhanga also confirmed the incident. He said he was informed later in the morning by a messenger of GVH Chauluntha Mkandawire. - Maravi Post.

Robin seen in the dead of winter in Bethel, Alaska

A robin spotted in Bethel December 17th.  © Kevin Morgan

A rare winter robin has been spotted in Bethel and it has folks wondering what exactly it means. Locals and a biologist say they think it has to do with climate change.

Bethel resident Myron Angstman spotted and videotaped a robin outside his window on Wednesday(12/17). He says that's not the only unusual thing he saw. Angstman says his wife looked out through the kitchen window and saw a red squirrel hanging out with the robin.

"And the red squirrel bounded into the feeder and chased the robin out and the robin came and landed in a tree by the kitchen window. So then we got a good look at it and we got some pictures," said Angstman.

Angstman says the robin was eating bird seed because the bugs it would normally feed on are nowhere to be found in the winter. He adds that in his 40-years of living in Bethel, he's never seen a robin in the middle of December.

"It's always really spring before they get here. They don't show up in the end of winter at all. It's usually May sometime,
usually late May I think, but it's usually pretty warm out when you see your first robin," said Angstman. - KYUK.

12 endangered vultures rescued after fleeing severe cold in Nepal, Bhutan and India

Twelve critically endangered Himalayan Griffon vultures have been rescued after they fell on the ground in several areas of Panchagarh.

Officials of Rajshahi and Dinajpur forest departments and Panchagarh district administration rescued the rare vulture species from Mirgarh, Malipara, Station Road, bus terminal areas of the district.

Tapan Kumar Dey, conservator (Wildlife) of the forest department, said the vultures had flown from Nepal, Bhutan and Himachal of India.

"They came here to save themselves from the severe cold in those places but lost their energy for flying miles and fell on the ground," he told this correspondent. The "weak and hungry" vultures were caught by the locals on Sunday and Monday, he said.
Even though, two of the twelve vultures were handed over to the Panchagarh district administration officials immediately, the other ones were recovered from the locals later, Tapan added.

After the recovery, the vultures were taken to the Social Forestry and Nursery Training Centre in Panchagarh, said Arshadul Haque, rang-officer of the forest department of the district.

Veterinary Surgeon Abdus Sobhan said the vultures received primary treatment at the centre and were shifted to Bangabandhu Safari Park in Gazipur later to be released there. - The Daily Star.

Two rare sea turtles found on UK's shores 5,000 miles from home

One of two Kemp’s ridley turtles found in Cumbria and Merseyside, 5,000 miles from their home in the Gulf of Mexico.  © Wildlife Trust

Critically-endangered Kemp's ridley turtles were found in Cumbria and Merseyside, 5,000 miles from their home

Two rare sea turtles have washed ashore on beaches in the North West, some 5,000 miles from their home in the Gulf of Mexico.

The critically-endangered Kemp's ridley turtles were found in Cumbria and Merseyside, and it is feared that more could yet appear.

Rod Penrose, a Marine mammal expert, said that they could have been "cold-stunned" by a drop in ocean temperatures in the US, which would leave them unable to feed or swim against strong currents.

Rob Archer, who was walking with his girlfriend on Saturday when he found one of the turtles on Sefton Beach, near Formby, told the Liverpool Echo: "At first I thought it was a crab.

"It seemed in a stupor as if there wasn't much life left in it.

"My first thought was to put it back in the sea so I walked out into some deeper water and it swam away."

However, the turtle washed ashore again nearby on Monday afternoon and is now being cared for at RSPCA's Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire.

The turtle which washed ashore in Cumbria's Walney Island on Sunday has been taken to the Lake District Coast Aquarium in Maryport.

Expert warn that the anyone who finds a turtle should call the RSPCA and not put it back in the sea.

Mr Penrose, who warned that there was likely more turtles struggling of the coast of Britain, told the BBC: "The sea temperatures on the east coast of the USA recently dropped causing large numbers of Kemp's ridleys to become cold-stunned.

"This condition leaves the turtles in a lethargic condition unable to feed or swim against strong currents.

"The two turtles currently in rehab are very likely as a result of this event."

The discoveries emerge just a day after a seal had to be rescued from a field more than 20 miles inland, also in Merseyside.

The adult seal, who is believed to have got lost, has now been transported almost 200 miles across the country from where he was found to the charity's specialist facility in East Winch, Norfolk. Centre manager Alison Charles said: "At the moment we are keeping him under close observation. - The Telegraph.

500 Crows found dead in Tarn Taran, India

Nearly 500 crows have been found dead in the past four days at Baghiari village near Tarn Taran, which is close to a bird sanctuary at Sarai Amanat Khan. With bird flu causing deaths of geese at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, senior officials of the Animal Husbandry Department have responded quickly to take preventive measures in the area.

The district administration is also on alert. “The reasons for the birds’ deaths could be the use of pesticide in fields, contaminated water or the cold wave. However, we have sent the carcasses of birds to Regional Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar to know the exact cause of the deaths,” said Dr Raminder Monga, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department. He added that it would take six days to know the reason for such a high bird mortality,” said Dr Monga. Deputy Commissioner Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal met officials of various departments and constituted response teams. Amarinder Singh Tiwana, a PCS officer, has been made the point person to coordinate with all teams. Dhaliwal urged people in the area to stay alert and do not panic.

“We are keeping a close watch on the areas where migratory birds land in a big number. We have collected blood samples of migratory birds from Harike Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said. Wildlife officials at the Harike sanctuary, spread over about 90 km, have gone into overdrive following the reports of avian influenza at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. Harike Divisional Forest Officer Neeraj Gupta said the bird droppings had been sent for investigation to ascertain their health status. “We have also banned the entry of visitors to the lake. All steps are being taken as a precautionary measure following the bird flu scare,” Gupta said. - Tribune India.