Walter Palmer needs to be punished, but some of his critics are going too far

Cecil the Lion (pictured above) was a huge tourist attraction in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks. I say ‘was’ because wildlife guides were paid approximately $55,000 by a guy who thinks killing animals for shits and giggles is a fun way to spend a weekend. Cecil was apparently baited out of Hwange National Park by three men who proceeded to shoot the creature with a crossbow. Unfortunately for Cecil, he did not die. Instead he suffered with his injuries for 40 hours before being found by the hunters who killed him with a rifle. After he was killed, the lion was skinned and beheaded, and his killers attempted to remove the tracking collar he was wearing as part of long-term research being conducted by Oxford. Cecil wasn’t shot because he was a danger to anyone. Hell, he wasn’t shot for food. He was shot for sport. The guides surely knew that killing Cecil was illegal, as they lured him out of the national park, where it is illegal to kill animals. Moreover, they broke the law by attempting to remove his collar. One of the wildlife guides and the landowner bordering the national park have been charged, but Mr. Hunt-4-Fun has not yet been charged. That guy, btw is ↓ this ↓ douchebag: Dr. Walter Palmer.

Continue reading “Walter Palmer needs to be punished, but some of his critics are going too far”

Walter Palmer needs to be punished, but some of his critics are going too far
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The Best of Humanity: Caring for an orphaned bat

Lil’ Drac is a short-tailed bat who was orphaned by his mother (apparently bats are extremely sensitive during maternity season and if disturbed, will abandon their young). Thanks to the Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford, Texas, Lil’ Drac has received much love and care.

(via Motivious)

The Best of Humanity: Caring for an orphaned bat

In his excitement over the dorsal fins he didn’t have time to be afraid

That probably changed after swimmer Will Gerard’s encounter with this pod of killer whales.

I imagine he was shaken up following the encounter. These magnificent creatures are apex predators:

An apex predator is an animal who, as an adult, has no natural predators in its ecosystem. The great white shark is an example of an apex predator.

Apex predators play an important role in keeping ecosystems in check. A study in 2009 showed that on land, or in the ocean, the removal of apex predators (intentionally or accidentally) can have dramatic impacts on an ecosystem, and result in even larger problems.

Though the creatures are scary, they were likely more inquisitive than anything. Plus they knew he wasn’t a mid-day snack:

“When I saw the dorsal fins and realized it was an orca I was so excited I didn’t have time to be afraid and get out of the water,” Gerard told The Marlborough Express. Highly intelligent hunters, orcas would “know the difference between a human and a seal,” said Roy Grose, a local conservationist.

It’s illegal in New Zealand to willfully swim with wild orcas, but that does not apply in this case. “The orcas approached him and that’s fine, there’s no problem with that,” said Grose.

(via Takepart)

In his excitement over the dorsal fins he didn’t have time to be afraid

In his excitement over the dorsal fins he didn't have time to be afraid

That probably changed after swimmer Will Gerard’s encounter with this pod of killer whales.

I imagine he was shaken up following the encounter. These magnificent creatures are apex predators:

An apex predator is an animal who, as an adult, has no natural predators in its ecosystem. The great white shark is an example of an apex predator.

Apex predators play an important role in keeping ecosystems in check. A study in 2009 showed that on land, or in the ocean, the removal of apex predators (intentionally or accidentally) can have dramatic impacts on an ecosystem, and result in even larger problems.

Though the creatures are scary, they were likely more inquisitive than anything. Plus they knew he wasn’t a mid-day snack:

“When I saw the dorsal fins and realized it was an orca I was so excited I didn’t have time to be afraid and get out of the water,” Gerard told The Marlborough Express. Highly intelligent hunters, orcas would “know the difference between a human and a seal,” said Roy Grose, a local conservationist.

It’s illegal in New Zealand to willfully swim with wild orcas, but that does not apply in this case. “The orcas approached him and that’s fine, there’s no problem with that,” said Grose.

(via Takepart)

In his excitement over the dorsal fins he didn't have time to be afraid

Aerial drone photos of killer whales

An unmanned remote controlled vehicle has allowed scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Vancouver Aquarium to film killer whales from above. The high resolution camera mounted to the drone has taken beautifully detailed images of the magnificent creatures.

(photo courtesy of NOAA)

(photo courtesy of NOAA)

(photo courtesy of NOAA; you can check out further images here)

Cool huh?

The scientists had more in mind than simply taking amazing new photos of these creatures. They were looking to monitor the health of individual killer whales and their population as a whole.

To get these photos, scientists from NOAA Fisheries teamed up with colleagues at the Vancouver Aquarium. The animals they studied are the Northern Resident killer whales of British Columbia, a population that’s listed as threatened under Canada’s Species At Risk Act, and the pilots were trained and operating under permits issued by the Canadian Government. Like the endangered Southern Residents that spend summers near Seattle, these whales eat salmon—mainly Chinook salmon—and some of the salmon runs they rely on are much smaller than they used to be. In fact, several Chinook runs are themselves endangered, and scientists are concerned that a lack of prey may be limiting the whale populations.

The main question scientists are trying to answer is: Are the whales getting enough to eat? To find out, they fly the hexacopter at an altitude of more than 100 feet, high enough that the whales don’t notice it, but near enough to get photographs that are incredibly revealing. Scientists have previously taken aerial photographs of killer whales from a helicopter, but those photos are taken from a much higher altitude, and the cost can be prohibitive.

By analyzing the hexacopter photos, scientists can see how fat or skinny individual whales are. They can also see which whales are pregnant and what percentage of pregnancies are carried to term.

Currently, scientists do a summer census to learn out how many whales have died since the year before. “But mortality is a pretty coarse measure of how well the population is doing because the problem, if there is one, has already occurred,” said John Durban, a biologist with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. But the hexacopter, Durban said, “can give us a more sensitive measure that we might be able to respond to before whales die.”

Aerial drone photos of killer whales

This makes my skin crawl

I’m not scared of most animals. Some critters unnerve me though. Roaches are gross and I still jump when I see one, though I’ve been consciously trying to force myself to not freak out when I see one. I’ve never been scared of snakes, although I’ve never been around any (save for the zoo), so I don’t know how I’d react if I saw one slithering through the grass in the backyard. I’m also not afraid of spiders, but they are creepy (especially closeups of them)

If I lived at 84 Gillete Field Close in St. Louis, MO, that would be a whole ‘nother story:  the residence has a HUGE infestation of spiders. Not just any old arachnid. It’s infested with brown recluse spiders (I have goosebumps just thinking about this):

The spider problem started in October 2007, shortly after Brian and Susan Trost bought the home at 84 Gillette Field Close, according to testimony at a civil trial. The Trosts had purchased the home, built in 1988, for $450,000.

Susan Trost testified she was walking through her new home, exploring it on her first day there, when she noticed a large, stringy web wrapped around one of the light fixtures.

It hadn’t been there on the walk-through date.

Neither had the webs in the bar area in the basement. In the kitchen, she tugged on a piece of loose wallpaper, and a spider skittered behind it.

She thought the home probably just needed a thorough cleaning, so she got to work.

In the following days, she saw spiders and their webs every day. They were in the mini blinds, the air registers, the pantry ceiling, the fireplace. Their exoskeletons were falling from the can lights. Once when she was showering, she dodged a spider as it fell from the ceiling and washed down the drain.

A month after living in the home, her 4-year-old son screamed frantically from the basement, and Trost saw a spider, about the size of a half dollar, inches from his foot.

Instead of smashing it, Trost trapped it in a plastic bag and looked it up on the Internet. It was a brown recluse.

Trost testified she contacted a pest control company that came in on a weekly basis, spraying the interior and exterior and setting down sticky traps.

Since brown recluse spiders often live behind walls, she hired someone to come in and remove drywall so the exterminator could spray behind it.

She hired another company to remove the insulation from the attic and put down a pesticide powder.

“After the attic treatment, it seemed to help for quite a while, although we were still capturing them,” she testifiedd. “It just was a decline; they weren’t gone.”

CLAIMS DENIED

In 2008, the Trosts filed a claim with their insurance company, State Farm, and a civil lawsuit against the home’s previous owners, Tina and David Gault, for allegedly not disclosing the brown recluse and other problems with the home.

At a jury trial in St. Charles County in October 2011, Jamel Sandidge, a biology professor at the University of Kansas, described the brown recluse problem at the Trost home as “immense,” between 4,500 and 6,000 spiders.

Continue reading “This makes my skin crawl”

This makes my skin crawl