November 19, 2013

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Dallas Zoo Baffled By Lion-on-Lion Crime

Male kills female in front of visitors

Visitors at the Dallas Zoo were treated to a display of existential horror Sunday when they witnessed a lion attack and kill one of it's own. The male lion turned on his female companion, Johari, gripping her neck in his jaws until the life left her.

Zoo security responded swiftly, clearing visitors from the exhibit in an attempt to shield them from the incident. But it was too late. "At first you think they're playing; then you realize he's killing her... and you’re watching it," said visitor Michael Henshaw. "You just can't believe your eyes."

Dallas Zoo officials still say they are unsure how this happened. According to vice president of animal operations and welfare Lynn Kramer, the animals involved were born in captivity and had lived peacefully together at the zoo for the past three years. "We've had, you know, a few incidents of rough play, but nothing out of the ordinary," the 35-year zoo veteran told WFAA Dallas. "I've worked in five major zoos, and I've never seen a cat kill another cat before."

The killer, whose name has not been released, was not euthanized, but has been removed from the enclosure and will remain separated from its compatriots for the foreseeable future.

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This MODIS image, taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite on November 10, shows an iceberg that was part of the Pine Island Glacier and is now separated from the Antarctica continent.     Photo: Courtesy of NASA

Chicago-size Iceberg Unleashed

Iceberg could impair maritime shipping

When the Titanic sunk, newspapers estimated the iceberg’s size in feet; today, an iceberg that broke off of Antarctica is being measured in miles.

According to The Wall Street Journal, an iceberg measuring 270 square miles that was once part of the Pine Island Glacier separated from Antarctica earlier this month. The floating mass could pose a hazard for maritime shipping between South Africa and South America.

“It’s about the size of Chicago, or Singapore,” Robert Marsh, an oceanographer at the University of Southampton, told The Journal. “It could stay around the Antarctic coast, which poses no real issues.”

But currents could easily push it north where it could disrupt international commerce.

“As it melts, it will break up and this could create real problems to shipping as the pieces will cover a wider area,” Grant Bigg, of the University of Sheffield, also told in The Journal.

Britain's National Environment Research Council awarded Marsh and Biggs £50,000 ($80,585) in an emergency grant to study the iceberg and predict it’s likely path.

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Grey Wolf (Canis lupus)     Photo: MikeLane45/Thinkstock

Wolf Season Opens in Michigan

Sixth state with wolf hunting season since 2009

Four wolves were killed during the first weekend of wolf season in Michigan, which opened Friday, November 15. This year marks the first wolf-hunting season for the state since the animal was listed as an endangered species nearly 40 years ago, according to ABC News.

Due to increasing numbers, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lake region over the last several years. Six states have since held wolf hunting seasons. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a target of culling 43 gray wolves before the season ends on December 31. To do so, it has granted 1,200 wolf-hunting licenses, and will stop the season upon reaching the culling goal. The bag limit is one per person for the state of Michigan and the wolf carcass must be presented at a check station within 72 hours of harvest, reports ABC News. Michigan's estimated gray wolf population is 658. 

In Wisconsin, 85 wolves were killed in the first six days of the season. However, Wisconsin's culling goals are far larger, with a target of 251 wolves by the season's end in February, reports Wisconsin's Journal Sentinel. In northern parts of the county, ranch owners and farmers claim that they are losing more livestock to wolves due to the increasing population.

In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the removal of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act all together. If removed, gray wolves would be stripped of nearly all of their protections across the country. Public hearings to debate the issue were scheduled this fall and then cancelled due to the government shutdown. According to Treehugger, hearings in Sacramento, Albuquerque, and Denver have been rescheduled for the coming weeks.

On Sunday, a wolf hunter in Montana killed a pet Malamute.

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A three-year-old jaguar kept at the Belize Zoo, west of Belize City, Belize.     Photo: Bjorn Christian Torrissen/Wikime

Jaguars Obsessed with Calvin Klein Fragrance

Biologist use Obsession to lure jaguars

Calvin Klein Obsession for Men doesn’t just attract cougars...it also works on jaguars (actual jaguars).

Rather than paying an army of field assistants to observe the elusive cats, wiildlife biologists often deploy cameras in jungles from Guatemala to Nicaragua to capture images when these solitary, nocturnal cats pass by. But how do they lure the big cats in front of the camera? After testing many different fragrances, one researcher now swears by Obsession, which, according to The Guardian, contains synthetic "animal notes" similar to those secreted by cats.

Every bottle of Obsession is made with a chemical called civetone, which is derived from the scent glands of the cat-like civet, Miguel Ordenana, a biologist with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, told Scientific American. “What we think is that civetone resembles some sort of territorial marking to the jaguar, and so it responds by rubbing its own scent on it.”

So if you plan on wearing Obsession on your next date, don’t plan on having dinner in jaguar territory.

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    Photo: Tomasz Papuga/Thinkstock

China to Ease Animal Testing

In U.S., testing remains legal.

The China Food and Drug Administration plans to do away with the requirement that certain domestically manufactured cosmetic products be tested on animals.

By June of next year, Chinese-produced shampoos, soaps, and certain skin products will be free to enter the market without "toxicological testing," whereby creatures such as rabbits and guinea pigs are subjected to trial-and-error.

This comes after the February decision by the European Union to ban imports and sales of cosmetic items that have been tested on animals—meant to pressure other parts of the world, including China, to pursue safer alternatives.

Although China's proposal does not extend to imports, a document posted on the website of the China Food and Drug Administration earlier this month indicated that China would continue easing regulations to allow more international firms opposed to animal testing to enter China's $22 billion cosmetics market.

In the U.S., meanwhile, animal testing is legal, as outlined in the Animal Welfare Act of 1966.

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