October 28, 2013

Horses in Kusasenri, Japan.     Photo: Chris Gladis/Flickr

Fukushima Breeder Braves Radiation for Horses

Refuses to leave or slaughter

Japanese horse breeder, Tokue Hosokawa is defying a government order to abandon his irradiated horses in Fukushima prefecture. According to The Guardian, Hosokawa has been given the option to either slaughter his horses or leave his farm, which has been subject to dangerously high radiation levels since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown.

Following the nuclear disaster, Hosokawa relocated 80 horses and kept 30 on his farm 25 miles northwest of the plant in Fukushima prefecture. In January this year, many of the remainders became unsteady on their feet and 16 died in mysterious circumstances, with four having evidence of radiation poisoning.

Hosokawa estimates that he's loosing 100,000,000 yen (approximately $100,000) annually. "We can't give these horses the same life as they had before the nuclear disaster, and no one wants to buy them," he told Guardian reporter Justin McCurry, "We can't make a living from them, but unless we feed them they will die."

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Tandem skydiving     Photo: David Holt London/Flickr

Disabled Man Skydives Over Everest

Historic tandem jumps from 32,000 feet

A French man with multiple sclerosis completed a successful skydive over Mount Everest this weekend. The 55 year-old Marc Kopp, who has been suffering from multiple sclerosis for over a decade, became the first disabled man to complete an Everest skydive, reports NPR.

The tandem skydive consisted of Kopp and his friend Mario Gervasi, a champion skydiver, jumping out of an aircraft from 32,000 feet to a specially designated landing area on the mountain. Kopp and Gervasi spent the first several thousand feet in free-fall before landing on the platform nearly halfway up the 29,000-foot peak.

Kopp, whose disease has gradually taken away the use of his right side, runs a support group for other multiple sclerosis sufferers. He told the AFP, "I hope my action will inspire others living with this illness. I hope many more will follow in my footsteps."

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A wild turkey in the eastern U.S.     Photo: Dimus/Wikimedia

Turkeys Wreak Havoc in Maine

Maine extends hunting season to reign in population

Even around Thanksgiving, there can be too much turkey. Maine is extending its turkey-hunting season and loosening regulations in wake of a massive explosion of Thanksgiving fowl. In 1977, 41 turkeys were reintroduced in Maine after more than 100 years since they were last seen in the Pine Tree State.

That modest flock has grown 1,400 percent with approximately 60,000 turkeys roosting in cars, leaving droppings, and purportedly damaging the landscape and affecting state agriculture. Republican congressman and apple producer Jeff Timberlake told USA Today that 20 turkeys can eat $10,000 worth of apples in an hour. However, Brad Allen, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, says that most of the proven crop reports were actually the result of raccoons, foxes, and other animals.

Forty years ago, 1.3 million dotted the landscape; today a total of 7 million turkeys occupy every state but Alaska. 

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On Sunday, Ted Ligety won the men's World Cup giant slalom for his third straight year.     Photo: SnoCountry.com/Flickr

Ted Ligety First in Giant Slalom

Bode Miller makes strong return

The FIS Ski World Cup kicked off in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday with promise for U.S. men's skiiing. American Ted Ligety took first in the season-opening giant slalom for his third consecutive year, while American Bode Miller, who returns after spending last season on the mend for an injured knee, came in 19th despite starting outside the top 30.

Ligety, who last season won six of eight races, won this year's giant slalom at 1:59:50, 0.79 seconds over French Alexis Pinturault. Overall champion Austrian Marcel Hirscher took third, coming in 1.02 seconds behind.

“I’m super-psyched to win this today,” Ligety said. “It wasn’t easy conditions on the second run, it was dark and bumpy, but any day you win it’s a good day, so I can’t complain.”

Miller, coming in 19th, told the Los Angeles Times that his knee "feels better than it has since 2001," and that he is pleased with his expectation-defying performance.

Lara Gut of Switzerland won the women's World Cup giant slalom, with American Lindsey Vonn sitting out to recover from an injured knee. Vonn plans to start her season next month after knee surgery.

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Reef shark.     Photo: Matt9122/ Shutterstock.com

Woman Survives Shark Attack in Australia

Reef shark strikes off northwest coast

A 60-year-old woman survived an attack by a 39-inch reef shark off Australia’s northwest coast on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, the woman and her partner were snorkeling about 40 yards offshore. "The shark initially showed signs of aggression toward him, then turned and bit the woman on the arm," said Lisa Clack, Shark Response Unit manager for the Fisheries Department.

The woman was flown from Exmouth to Perth for surgery on her right arm; her injuries are described by the Royal Flying Doctor Service as “serious but not life threatening.”

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, 65 people have been attacked in Western Australia since 1700. Fourteen of those attacks have been fatal; the last fatality was in 2012.

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