Soccer fans aren't the only depressed creatures in Argentina these days. Arturo the polar bear, a 29-year-old male who lives at the Mendoza Zoo, has been swaying back and forth, shaking his head and acting downright despondent ever since his longtime playmate Pelusa passed away two years ago.
And his decidedly un-polar living conditions aren’t helping: temperatures in Arturo’s oven-like enclosure can top 100 degrees.
What do you do with a morose cold-weather mammal that appears to be suffering from heartache, heatstroke, or both? Internet voices think they have an answer—move Arturo to the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IBPCC) at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada. There are petitions currently circulating on Change.org and ForceChange.org to make it happen, and a fundraiser posted to Reddit had crowdsourced almost $5,000 as of this writing.
Those officials would first need to cut through a pile of red tape. “Before an animal is transported, it receives a detailed veterinary check-up to verify that it is healthy for transport,” says Dave Bernier, general curator at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. “Every shipment has to have a health certificate signed by the attending veterinarian by regulation."
Since Arturo’s medical records are spotty at best, it would be difficult for the IBPCC to import him. There’s also the issue of Arturo’s age. Polar bears only have a life expectancy of 30 years in captivity, so some people wonder if a stressful relocation would be worthwhile for a geezer like Arturo. Finally, there’s the sheer logistics of the thing. After all, Arturo is a 900-pound predator with a chip on his shoulder, and Mendoza is almost 6,000 miles from Winnipeg in the opposite hemisphere.
Still, zoos and other facilities have proven that they can transport large animals effectively. When Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium was renovated in 2008, FedEx airmailed seven whales to a host facility using large metal containers equipped with specially designed water slings. In 2013, a zoo in New Zealand successfully shipped a 15-month-old giraffe to a partner zoo in Melbourne via ocean freighter and extra-tall crate. Later that year, a rare Sumatran tiger was transported from a German zoo to a zoo in the U.K. via ferries, cranes, and an army of careful caretakers. “Animal shipments must happen at the appropriate temperature, in the proper enclosure and using a travel method that ensures the safety of both the animal and staff,” says Bernier.
But before zoo officials can even begin to talk logistics, there’s that damn red tape—particularly the issue of incomplete medical records. Before, this seemed like a deal-breaker as the Mendoza Zoo simply cannot provide what the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) needs to approve the transfer. But Arturo’s sob story is blowing up the mainstream news cycle this week, and as more heavy-hitters get involved, the public pressure could lead to a one-time exception.
Here’s to hoping poor Arturo gets better—or gets the green light to pack his bags for the Great White North.
Gregg Hein, 33, was on a solo hike in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks when a loose boulder caused him to lose his footing and fall 150 feet. The 33-year-old broke his right leg in three places, with bones protruding from the skin and his foot "dangling," according to USA Today.
Hein quickly evaluated his situation and knew that a tourniquet would ultimately result in amputation, so he stabilized his leg with a cord, his belt, and hiking poles and found refuge after scooting himself near a glacier, where he was able to melt enough ice to drink and find enough bugs to eat. On day four, Hein crawled nearly a mile so he would be more visible to possible rescue parties.
When helicopter crews spotted him on July 10, Hein was immediately transported to a hospital, where he underwent two surgeries to pin his leg bones back into place. It is expected that he will need two more surgeries and that a full recovery will take months.
"As soon as I can get back to trail running and hiking, I'll be out there," he told USA Today. As Hein has already proved, for an adventurous spirit, where there's a will, there's a way.
Chris Froome and Alberto Contador abandoned the Tour de France earlier this month, and now another star rider has called it quits. This time, it's American Andrew Talansky.
His team, Garmin-Sharp, announced in a statement Thursday morning that Talansky would not start Stage 12. Doctors diagnosed Talansky with acute sacroilitis, an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint, which connects the pelvis to the spine.
The decision comes on the heels of Talansky's rough completion of Stage 11, in which he endured pain from two hard crashes in previous stages, a back so stiff that he could not remove his jersey without a team staff member's help, and an upper respiratory infection. He finished the stage with five minutes to spare before the disqualification time cutoff.
"I'm absolutely heartbroken to leave the Tour de France. I had hoped the rest day would allow some time to recover from my crashes," Talansky said in the team statement. "But it proved to be too much."
Although he is dismissing himself from the biggest race of the year, Talanksy still had an impressive 2014 season, winning the Criterium du Dauphine in June and solidifying his place in cycling.
It's no secret that prodigious dam construction in the United States has been a boon for hydroelectric power but hasn't been so fantastic for our native salmon populations, which, in addition to natural predators, have for decades had to contend with man-made obstacles blocking the path to their natural spawning waters.
Many dams have fish ladders to help these migratory swimmers on their (not-so) merry way, but many do not. And as studies have shown, fish ladders have proven to be only moderately effective at best.
Which is why a team of scientists in central Washington has been dabbling with the concept of a pressurized tube transport for fish populations, a method that recalls the pneumatic pipelines in offices of yore. Instead of business memos, however, this pressurized system hopes to help salmon and steelhead trout reach the promised land by shooting them over particularly impenetrable areas.
The concept originated in 2009 with Whooshh Industries, a Washington-based company that initially specialized in fruit transportation. It's still in early phases, but the idea sounds promising and, believe it or not, "less stressful" for the fish, as they would be subjected to minimal human contact.
For more information on dam construction and its effect on fisheries, check out the trailer for DamNation, a new film available on iTunes.
Take that with a grain of salt. As we've discussed many, many, many times, a significant chunk of past Tour de France champs have likely doped as well. In the midst of Armstrong's fiasco, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement that from 1999 to 2005, doping applied to all but one of the 21 TdF podium finishers. Irish cyclist Stephen Roche directly acknowledged this when he said, "Doping has been part of sport, not only for cycling, for decades." Roche—himself the subject of a handful of doping allegations—thinks it would be wrong to leave seven years of a 100-year history blank.
Other cyclists felt the same about preserving the history books, including more recent winner Andy Schleck. But overwhelmingly, Armstrong's supporters veer toward older generations. Recent champs such as Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins say those seven years should serve as a lesson for other riders. "Those seven empty places symbolize an era," Froome said. (We see the irony too.)
Armstrong's own reaction to the survey? He told De Telegraaf, "I'll keep it to myself for now."