Posted by: thewideblueyonder | April 18, 2009

World’s Rarest Shark Caught, Then Eaten

Written by Jerry James Stone

Fishermen in the Philippines accidentally caught and later ate one of the rarest sharks in the world – the megamouth shark.

Only 40 others have been encountered, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday. The 1,100-pound, 13-foot megamouth died while struggling in the fishermen’s net on March 30 off Burias island in the central Philippines.

Okay, fishing nets kinda suck!

It was taken to nearby Donsol where it was butchered and eaten, said Gregg Yan, spokesman for WWF-Philippines. The WWF tried to dissuade the fishermen from eating it but shark meat is the main ingredient in a local delicacy.

The first megamouth was discovered in Hawaii in 1976, prompting scientists to create an entirely new family and genus of sharks. The megamouths are docile filter-feeders with wide, blubbery mouths. Yan said the fish was tagged “Megamouth 41″ — the 41st megamouth recorded in the world — by the Florida Museum of Natural History. It was the eighth reported encountered in Philippine seas.

The presence of two of the world’s three filter-feeding sharks along with manta rays and dolphins indicates that the region’s marine ecosystem was still relatively healthy and should continue to be protected. Yan urged fishermen who encounter the rare shark to immediately report to authorities or the WWF.

Others megamouths have been encountered in California, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brazil, Ecuador, Senegal, South Africa, Mexico and Australia.

Source [AP]

Posted by: thewideblueyonder | April 6, 2009

Why Going Vegetarian For One Day Will Help Stop Global Warming

Written by Brian Liloia

Americans eat lots of meat. So much so that livestock is now one of the leading contributors to global warming, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions as measured in a carbon dioxide equivalent.

A recent United Nations report concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems — that means all of the globe’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.

Kathy Preston poses an important question for meat-eating Americans concerned about the effects of global warming: what are the effects of going vegetarian for just one day? Here are her astounding statistics about how going vegetarian for a single day can help prevent global warming:

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

  • 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
  • 70 million gallons of gas — enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
  • 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
  • 33 tons of antibiotics.

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
  • 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
  • 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
  • Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

It is undoubtedly clear that human activity causes increased global warming, and America’s dangerous over-consumption of meat is a major contributor to climate change. Adopting a vegetarian diet is an important step towards preventing global warming. And as these alarming statistics suggest, simply decreasing the amount of meat in your diet can have a major impact.

For more information about how going vegetarian can help prevent global warming, check out the original article.

Image credit: flickr via taminator

Posted by: thewideblueyonder | April 4, 2009

Nine Snow Monkeys Escape from Oregon Animal Testing Lab

Written by Alex Felsinger

Nine monkeys escaped from an Oregon Health & Science University animal testing lab after a cage was left unlocked. Four were shortly re-captured and four others have been spotted on campus — but one has entirely eluded authorities.

“One of our cage cleaners accidentally left a lock off a cage,” said Jim Newman, a university spokesman. “The cage was closed; however, the animals were able to slide the door open and get out.”

The university has faced increasing scrutiny for their primate testing program from animal rights groups, but it’s clear that their escape was not aided by activists. They simply wanted out of their cages and took advantage of an unlocked cage.

Newman said that humans should avoid the five remaining snow monkeys, which weigh between 20 and 50 pounds each, but noted that these particular monkeys had not been tested on and pose little risk of spreading disease.

[via Fox 12 Oregon]

Photo Credit: peyri on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

Posted by: thewideblueyonder | April 1, 2009

Whale-Sized Marshmallows Deployed to Thwart Japanese Whalers

Written by Jerry James Stone

Just Born — the makers of Marshmallow Peeps — says they’ll be producing whale-shaped, and whale-sized, Marshmallow Peeps in an effort to end Japanese whaling.

The Peep-maker said the joint effort is between Darryl Hannah, The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Greenpeace, and that they are uniting under the moniker PEEP: People for Everything and Everyone on the Planet.

PEEP will be using the marshmallow whale Peeps as decoys, hopefully tricking Japanese whalers into harpooning those instead of cute and cuddly whales. If successful, PEEP will look into other decoy opportunities. Baby seal Peeps are under strong consideration, especially with Canada’s seal hunt underway.

PEEP is Darryl Hannah’s brainchild.

Each Easter, Hannah and fellow gal-pal Drew Barrymore get together for a ritual Spring Cleaning. The tradition involves naming and nuking [microwaving] Marshmallow Peeps until they explode. The Peeps usually don names of prominent conservatives and members of the GOP. Last year when the Rush Limbaugh Peep kept getting bigger and fatter, and just wouldn’t die…Hannah had an idea.

The former mermaid had this to say, “Last Easter, after the Rush Limbaugh Peep broke Drew’s microwave, we joked…what if we covertly replaced prominent members of the GOP with Marshmallow Peeps. Like a McCain McPeep? So we actually tried making a few, but it just didn’t work out.”

“At first we tried making a Karl Rove Peep, but the mold kept turning out like that Emperor guy from Star Wars [the originals, not those crappy sequels],” she laughed. “The GOPeeps just weren’t working, it was really hard to get them right, and someone kept eating the Sarah Palin one!”

She said it was her work on Splash that gave her the idea of whale Peeps.

One obstacle, and the reason it took a year to develop the whale-sized Peeps, is that Peeps aren’t veggie friendly. “We wanted Greenpeace on our side.” Hannah said. “The last thing you wanna do is piss off a bunch of vegans from Greenpeace,” she warned.

Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said, “We will start deploying the whale Peeps when the ship leaves port next.” This is expected to happen sometime in June.

The whale Peeps will come in three flavors: pink, yellow and krill.

Source: Just Born, Inc.

Posted by: thewideblueyonder | February 4, 2009

New 7 Wonders of Nature

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Posted by: thewideblueyonder | February 3, 2009

Stop Canadian Seal Hunt

This week marks the beginning of the annual Canadian Harp Seal hunt, the largest marine mammal hunt in the world and the only commercial hunt where the target is the infant of the species.
For decades the seal hunt has provoked worldwide outrage and protest by animal-rights, environmental, and scientific groups who object to the viciously cruel practice and the serious threat it poses to the long-term survival of the Harp Seal.
For several weeks each spring, the ice floes of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the coast of Newfoundland & Labrador turn bloody, as some 300,000 Harp Seal pups between 2 and 12 weeks old are beaten to death (their skulls crushed with a heavy spiked club called a hakapik) or shot. They are then skinned and the carcasses usually left on the ice or tossed in the ocean.
Thousands of other wounded pups manage to escape the hunters, but later die of their injuries or drown. The seals are hunted primarily for their pelts, which are exported to make designer-label coats and accessories.
Despite the cruelty of the seal hunt and potentially devastating effects of global warming to Harp Seal breeding grounds, the Canadian government has raised the annual seal hunt quotas to the highest levels in history.
How can you save Harp Seals?
Join the boycott of Canadian Seafood and encourage you local grocer and restaurant to do the same.
Write to Gucci, Prada, and Versace, to express your opinion of their products made from Harp Seal pups.
If you are a Canadian citizen, write to your MPP / MPP and express your opinion of the seal hunt.
Write to Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and express your opinion of the seal hunt.
Urge Canada’s Minister of International Trade to Stop the Seal Hunt.
Learn more about Seals and consider joining organizations that are rallying to end the seal hunt.

Posted by: thewideblueyonder | February 2, 2009

New amphibian species found in Colombia ‘is sign of hope’

A spiky-skinned orange rain frog and three poisonous frogs are among 10 new species of amphibian discovered in Colombia, scientists say. The discoveries also include three types of “glass frog”, so-called because internal organs can show through their transparent skin, a harlequin frog, another species of rain frog, and a salamander.

The finds were made during a three-week expedition to Colombia’s mountainous Tacarcuna area of the Darien, close to the border with Panama, led by scientists from Conservation International and the Ecotrópica Foundation. The survey, under Conservation International’s rapid assessment programme, found around 60 species of amphibian, 20 reptiles and almost 120 species of bird – many of which are thought to be found nowhere else.

In addition, some central American species, including a rain frog, a small lizard, a salamander and an as-yet unidentified snake, were recorded for the first time in this northern area of South America, the scientists said.

Other species, such as the endangered Baird’s tapir, the Geoffroy’s spider monkey and the white-lipped peccary, were also recorded. Conservation International said the high incidence of new species of amphibian – which are important indicators of environmental problems because they are vulnerable to pollution such as acid rain and pesticides, and to climate change – was cause for hope.

José Vicente Rodríguez-Mahecha, scientific director of Conservation International Colombia, said: “Without a doubt, this region is a true Noah’s Ark. The high number of new amphibian species is a sign of hope, even with the serious threat of extinction that this animal group faces in many other regions of the country and the world.”

Colombia has one of the most diverse collection of amphibians in the world, with 754 species currently recorded.

A third of amphibian species are threatened with extinction as a result of disease, habitat destruction and climate change. The Darien region of Colombia, which is isolated from the Andes, is recognised as an area of high biological diversity but is threatened by hunting, mining, illicit crop cultivation and habitat destruction.

Emily Beament , The Guardian

Posted by: thewideblueyonder | February 2, 2009

Could melting sea ice make penguins extinct?

Excerpts from the Boston Globe’s environmental blog.

Climate change is threatening many charismatic species, but if you’ve ever seen the Academy Award winning documentary “March of the Penguins,” the latest research out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is bound to make you pause.

Emperor penguins – those regal anthropomorphized Antarctic animals – may be heading for extinction.

A new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that the world’s largest penguins could suffer serious population declines through at least part of their range before the end of the century. The paper, coauthored by five researchers and led by woods Hole biologists Stephanie Jenouvrier and Hal Caswell, used mathematical models to predict the effect of climate change on penguins.

Penguins need sea ice to breed, feed, and molt on. The ice also serves as a grazing ground for krill – tiny crustaceans that pen guins, along with fish, whales, and seals, feed on. The research indicates if climate change continues to melt sea ice at the rates published in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, the median population size of a large emperor penguin colony such as one in Terre Adélie, Antarctica, is likely to shrink from its present size of 3,000 to only 400 breeding pairs by the end of the century. About 40 emperor penguin colonies exist worldwide.

Emperor penguins weigh about 66 pounds and can stand about 3.8 feet tall. They can dive to a depth of 1,800 feet and hold their breath for up to 22 minutes – allowing them to get food other birds can’t get. Researchers say the probability of a population decline of 95 percent or more is at least 40 percent, and perhaps as much as 80 percent. If that many penguins are lost, extinction could occur.

Last month, the Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to list the emperor penguin under the Endangered Species Act.


Posted by: thewideblueyonder | February 1, 2009

Tell Gov’t of Nova Scotia to protect grey seals

The Nova Scotia Minister of Environment has authorized a commercial hunt of grey seals to occur on Hay Island again this year. The slaughter is set to begin on February 2 and will run until March 14, 2009. 

Hay Island, part of the Scaterie Island Protected Wilderness Area in Cape Breton, was the scene of a horrific mass slaughter last year when Nova Scotia fishermen armed with crude wooden bats and boxcutters descended on the island and within just a few short days had bludgeoned to death 1,261 grey seal pups just a few weeks old. The slaughter on Hay Island marked the first time the killing of grey seal pups in Nova Scotia was witnessed and documented by a third party. Humane Society International and Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition were present on the island and distributed to the public videotape evidence of the cruelty involved in the grey seal hunt.

In just a few days, that horrific scene will be repeated, and defenceless grey seal pups in the provincially-held Protected Wilderness Area will be savagely bludgeoned to death with clubs by a crowd of untrained fishermen who bitterly blame the seals for the sad state of fish stocks.

Last year, the Nova Scotian government claimed that seals must be killed to protect fish stocks in waters surrounding Hay Island. However, DFO’s own scientists say there is no direct evidence that seals negatively impact cod stocks, and they simply do not know if reducing seal populations will aid in cod recovery.  Seals eat a variety of fish, most of which are not commercially fished in Canada. Cod accounts for only 2% of their diet. In fact, seals eat predators of cod, which is beneficial to cod, not detrimental.

Last year sealers were allowed to kill up to 2,500 pups on Hay Island, when there were actually only approximately 1,300 pups alive on the island at the beginning of the hunt.  Hunting methods used last year were recently deemed to be inhumane by experts.  DFO advises that the same methods will be used this year.

Please take a moment to urge Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister to reverse his decision and to protect the grey seal herd on Hay Island and other protected areas.

Sign the petition on the Care2 website.  If you are not a member, please join – it is free.

Cocos Island, a Costa Rican National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is close to being included in the list of 7 Modern Wonders of the World. Winning this honor will bring world attention to Cocos, and therefore additional protection for her marine resources.

The second stage of voting will end July 7th. The N7W Panel of Experts, led by Doctor Federico Mayor, former Director-General of UNESCO, will
announce the 21 Official Semi-Finalists on July 21, 2009.

If you voted in phase one, please vote again now!

Make a difference with a few clicks of your mouse.

Do not forget to invite your friends.

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