A 72-year-old woman was gored by a bison at Yellowstone National Park when she tried to take a picture

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/bison-gores-woman-yellowstone-trnd/index.html

Dave Alsup and Hollie Silverman, CNN • Updated 30th June 2020FacebookTwitterEmail

A woman was gored by a bison as she tried to take a picture of it in Yellowstone National Park.

(CNN) — A 72-year-old California woman was gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park, a news release from the park said.The woman approached the bison to take a picture and got within 10 feet of it multiple times before it gored her on June 25, according to the release.She sustained multiple goring wounds and was treated by rangers before being flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for further treatment.The news release said the woman approached the bison several times near her campsite at Bridge Bay Campground in northwest Wyoming before the bison charged.Related contentA woman suffers burns after illegally entering Yellowstone National Park, park officials say“The series of events that led to the goring suggest the bison was threatened by being repeatedly approached to within 10 feet,” Yellowstone’s senior bison biologist Chris Geremia said in the release.”Bison are wild animals that respond to threats by displaying aggressive behaviors like pawing the ground, snorting, bobbing their head, bellowing, and raising their tail. If that doesn’t make the threat (in this instance it was a person) move away, a threatened bison may charge,” Geremia added. “To be safe around bison, stay at least 25 yards away, move away if they approach, and run away or find cover if they charge.”The attack serves as a reminder that “wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild,” the release said.Park visitors must stay 25 yards away from all large animals in the park including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes, the release said. If people encounter bears and wolves they should stay 100 yards away.Another woman was also gored at the park in late May only days after the park reopened to visitors following a closure for coronavirus.

I Just Hope There’s no Sparrow Hell

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I feel sad for the planet that people are so straight-jacketed and tongue-tied against ever whispering a word about the human overpopulation crisis.

People won’t hesitate to speak up if a non-human animal species becomes overpopulated (usually because humans have changed its environment and/or killed off its natural predators), but they continue to tiptoe around the issue of their own species overpopulation…

There’s way too many of us to be telling people, ‘just consume less and we’ll be fine.’ As popular as that might be to some of us, the human footprint is much too deep and heavy to get off so lightly.

 

Like cows in search of greener pastures, we’ve worn an indelible trail to our own demise. We’ve come so far on this narrow trail that it’s getting too late to turn back now…

 

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I’m reading a true story wherein the main character/victim is a mother who, though she has 2 kids already and then had her tubes tied, re-marries and wants to have more babies with her new husband. One of her eggs is in-vitro fertilized and she ends up having quadruplets (in addition to the 2 she already had). After she is murdered by her ex-husband, her younger sister (who has 4 kids of her own) helps take care of them…

Anyway, long story short, there’s too many humans now to just say. ‘Just buy a little less’ and we’ll all be ok’. That’s an oversimplification sort of like Gorge W. Bush telling people to go out shopping after 9-11. Good for the 7-11s in the world maybe, but not the full answer the Earth really needs right now.

In other words, until we address the overpopulation of humans, we may as well tell people to just go out and go shopping.

Until humans come down from their pedestal and decide that we are animals, beholden to the same laws of nature as any others, we’ll never escape the mess we’re in…

Wandering humpback whale likely killed in ship collision, says necropsy team

Dead whale shows signs of acute trauma, says veterinary professor

The lifeless body of young humpback whale was found drifting in the St. Lawrence River, near the Verchères archipelago, early Tuesday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
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Preliminary results of a necropsy show a boat strike likely killed the humpback whale whose body was found drifting down the St. Lawrence River near Varennes, Que., early Tuesday, say veterinarians who are examining the carcass where it was hoisted from the water, in Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel.

The whale, vigorous when she was first spotted near the Jacques Cartier Bridge on May 30, drew hundreds of people to the Old Port to catch a glimpse of the rare sight. The whale was last spotted alive Sunday near Pointe-aux-Trembles, at the northeastern end of the island of Montreal and was then seen, lifeless, near Île-Beauregard, six nautical miles away.

Université de Montréal Prof. Stéphane Lair, a veterinary pathologist leading the team conducting the necropsy, said the whale had suffered trauma under its skin and in its muscles. The accumulation of blood in the whale also suggests that a collision fatally wounded the animal, said Lair.

Lair confirmed the young humpback was a female, between two and three years of age.

He said his team will analyze samples from the necropsy in the lab before confirming the cause of death in a month or two.

If indeed a boat did strike and kill the whale, Laird said, the vessel would have had to have been very large.

WATCH: Veterinarian on what he found in whale necropsy:

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Preliminary findings show whale was hit by boat

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The team led by Université de Montréal veterinary Prof. Stéphane Lair says early findings from the necropsy suggest the humpback whale was struck by a boat. Lair says a final diagnosis could take as long as two months. 0:30

“If they hit the whale during the night, there’s a good chance they might not have noticed it,” Lair said.

The whale had some skin damage from the time it had spent in fresh water, Lair said, but it otherwise looked to be in good health.

Humpback whales can survive a journey through fresh water for at least three weeks and return safely to the ocean, said Robert Michaud, the co-ordinator of the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network.

“We thought this animal could make it,” said Michaud, who is also the founder and scientific director of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, based in Tadoussac, Que.

Lair said he can’t yet confirm if the whale had been eating but said it is possible the whale, at least in the early part of her journey from salt water upstream to Montreal, could have been chasing schools of fish.

Michaud and his network had hoped they could help the whale return safely to her natural habitat, keeping close tabs on her until they lost track of the whale Sunday morning, he said.

A crew from the University of Montreal veterinarian school performs a necropsy on the whale in Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel, Que. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Humans and Neanderthals: Less different than polar and brown bears

https://phys.org/news/2020-06-humans-neanderthals-polar-brown.html

Humans and Neanderthals: less different than polar and brown bears
Credit: Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions

Ancient humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans were genetically closer than polar bears and brown bears, and so, like the bears, were able to easily produce healthy, fertile hybrids according to a study, led by the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology.

The study, published 3 June in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that the genetic distance values between humans and our ancient relatives were smaller than the distance between pairs of species which are known to easily hybridize and have fertile young.

Professor Greger Larson, Director of the Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network (PalaeoBARN) at Oxford and senior author of the study says, “Our desire to categorize the world into discrete boxes has led us to think of species as completely separate units. Biology does not care about these rigid definitions, and lots of species, even those that are far apart evolutionarily, swap genes all the time. Our predictive metric allows for a quick and easy determination of how likely it is for any two species to produce fertile  offspring. This comparative measure suggests that humans and Neanderthals and Denisovans were able to produce live fertile young with ease.”

The long history of matings between Neanderthals, humans, and Denisovans has only recently been demonstrated through the analysis of ancient genomes. The ability of mammalian species, including , to produce fertile hybrid offspring has been hard to predict, and the relative fertility of the hybrids remains an open question. Some geneticists have even said that Neanderthals and humans were at the “edge of biological compatibility.”

So the team developed a metric using genetic distances to predict the relative fertility of the first generation of hybrids between any two mammalian species. They did this by analyzing genetic sequence data from different species that had previously been shown to produce hybrid offspring. By correlating the genetic distance with the relative fertility of the hybrid offspring, it was possible to show that the greater the evolutionary distance between any two species, the less likely it is that the  between them would be fertile. In addition, the team used the distance values to determine a threshold of fertility.

When the distance values between humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans were calculated, they were even smaller than the values between several pairs of species which are known readily and easily to hybridize—including  and , and coyotes and wolves. This suggests we could have predicted the existence of Neanderthals and Denisovans in our genomes as soon as the first genetic sequences were generated.

This proxy can also be used to predict the likelihood that any two mammal species can give birth to live hybrids, a useful tool that can be used in decisions about whether to place animals together in zoos.

Richard Benjamin Allen, joint first author of the study says, “Many decisions in  have been made on the basis that related organisms that produce hybrids in captivity should be prevented from doing so. Such an approach has not considered the significant role that hybridisation has played in evolution in the wild, especially in populations under the threat of extinction. Our study can be used to inform future conservation efforts of related  where hybridization or surrogacy programs could be viable alternatives.”


Scientists say an apocalyptic bird flu could wipe out half of humanity

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The coronavirus has killed over 365,000 people worldwide in just five months — but that’s nothing compared to what could be coming if humans don’t clean up their act when it comes to chickens.

In his new book, “How to Survive a Pandemic,” Dr. Michael Gregor, a scientist and physician who once testified for Oprah Winfrey in her “meat defamation” trial, warns that an apocalyptic virus emanating from overcrowded and unsanitary chicken farms has the potential to wipe out half of humanity.

Greger, a vegan, writes that “In the ‘hurricane scale’ of epidemics, COVID-19, with a death rate of around half of one percent, rates a measly Category Two, possibly a Three. … The Big One, the typhoon to end all typhoons, will be 100 times worse when it comes, a Category Five producing a fatality rate of one in two. … Civilization as we know it would cease.”

While environmentalists warned earlier this month that the world would face another stronger epidemic if we continue to have contact with wildlife, Gregor places the blame squarely on chickens.

“With pandemics explosively spreading a virus from human to human, it’s never a matter of if, but when,” Greger writes.

Citing the bird-based Spanish Flu outbreak of 1920, and the H5N1 outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997, Gregor writes, “the worry is that the virus never stands still but is always mutating. … This is the monster lurking in the undergrowth, the one that makes epidemiologists shudder.”

The Hong Kong outbreak, which originated in a bird market, “started with a three-year-old boy in Hong Kong, whose sore throat and tummy ache turned into a disease that curdled his blood and killed him within a week from acute respiratory and organ failure.” While only 18 people contracted that flu – a third of them died.

During that pandemic, the government killed 1.3 million chickens in an attempt to eliminate the virus – but there have since been two more outbreaks between 2003 and 2009 outside of China.

But with over 24 billion chickens on earth feeding the world, what can be done?

Gregor writes we have to change the entire system – away from large scale farms where chickens are fed antibiotics and are crammed together and pass diseases from one to another easily to smaller, free-range farms … and eventually not eating chickens or ducks at all.

“The pandemic cycle could theoretically be broken for good,” he writes. “Bird flu could be grounded.”

But until then, he warns, “as long as there is poultry, there will be pandemics. In the end, it may be us or them.”

Why I’m An Animal Rights Activist When There Is So Much Human Suffering In The World

Do Humans Have a Moral Duty to Stop Procreating?

With the amount of destruction we’re causing, is it time we curbed our own population?

Whenever any animal population gets out of control, whether it be an overrun of deer or geese, humans usually step in and make plans to curb it through hunting or damaging nests. It seems cruel, but without natural predators to bring the population down, overpopulation could have devastating effects on the local environment. Yet, humans have shown themselves to be far more destructive than any other animal on this planet, so why don’t we offer ourselves the same consideration? I’m talking about anti-natalism here, the philosophical position that opposes procreation.

“If that level of destruction were caused by another species we would rapidly recommend that new members of that species not be brought into existence,” writes philosopher David Benatar.

There’s a fair argument to be made for anti-natalism that tears at most people’s desire to reproduce and a moral responsibility that few of us consider. This planet is overpopulated and we’re consuming more resources than the Earth can reproduce. You may not know this, but last week featured Earth Overshoot Day — the day when the Global Footprint Network announced that we’ve consumed a year’s worth of resources. The GFN estimates that the first Overshoot Day may have been back in the 1970s “due to the growth in the global population alongside the expansion of consumption around the world,” wrote Emma Howard from The Guardian.

“If that level of destruction were caused by another species, we would rapidly recommend that new members of that species not be brought into existence,” writes philosopher David Benatar, author of the anti-natalist book, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.

“Nothing is lost by never coming into existence. By contrast, ceasing to exist does have costs.”

Many humans are capable of reflecting on whether or not they should reproduce, but few do, according to Benatar. He explains in an article for The Critique:“This may be because humans are not as different from non-human animals as they would like to think. Like other animals, we are the products of evolution, with all the biological drives that such products can be expected to have.”

However, one of the main reasons for Benatar’s article is to explain what anti-natalism is not: “It is important to note that anti-natalism, while favouring human extinction, is a view about a particular means to extinction – namely non-procreation. Anti-natalists are not committed to either suicide or ‘speciecide,’ as some of their critics insensitively suggest. Nothing is lost by never coming into existence. By contrast, ceasing to exist does have costs.”

His piece is jarring and his book on the philosophical argument against procreation is even more so, but it challenges the presumption of “be fruitful and multiply” that most of us are brought up on. I have often stopped to think about whether or not I want to have children, but, for me, his argument challenges the deeper morality that has been absent from this decision.

Wild animals are reclaiming cities and streets during coronavirus lockdown

Afoot and light-hearted, they’re taking to the open road.

Amid the global lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus, striking images taken in South Africa’s popular Kruger National Park — which has remained shut since March 25 — show a pride of some 15 lions napping in the middle of an empty paved road.

CNN reports that on any typical day, this area would be packed with tourists on safari excursions. But that doesn’t mean that the travelers would get to experience this sight.

“This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see,” the park tweeted Wednesday. “This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.”

That isn’t the only atypical sight.

“Lying on the road during the daytime is unusual because under normal circumstances there would be traffic and that pushes them into the bush,” Kruger spokesman Isaac Phaahla tells CNN. “They just occupy places they would normally shun when there are tourists … People should remember that [Kruger] is still a largely wild area and in the absence of humans, wildlife is more active.”

It isn’t just Kruger that’s shut down. Despite initially announcing a 21-day lockdown for the country, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in early April that he would extend the quarantine at least until the end of the month.

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Monkeys in India sit outside during quarantine.AFP via Getty Images

This isn’t just a sight limited to South Africa. Worldwide, with the coronavirus keeping humans inside, wild animals have taken to the streets to have their own play — even in cities. People in New Delhi have spotted monkeys looking for food in an alleyway lined with closed shops. In Venice, Italy, clear blue canals have lured swans and fish before tourists return in gondolas.

Here’s a look at some more.

You goat to be kidding me

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Mountain goats roamed Llandudno, Wales, as people remained inside under coronavirus-related lockdown.Getty Images

In the north of Wales, herds of wild mountain goats have claimed the empty streets of Llandudno as their own. Known as the Great Orme Kashmiri goats, they typically live on a nearby hill that looks over the town, rarely heading into it. North Wales police reportedly said the agency received a call about the wandering herd — which had been grazing on people’s hedges and gardens — but there was no need to intervene.

“We are not aware of officers attending to them as they usually make their own way back,” the police said.

Mountain goats take over Welsh town

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A purrfect match

More locally, 50-year-old Latonya “Sassee” Walker — who’s cared for Canarsie’s wild cat population for a decade, has doubled the number of cats she looks after. She told The Post that typically she cares for four colonies of feral cats. But with many elderly folks stuck inside, she’s taken on more. She brings the cats dry food, wet food and water, predicting she’ll spend more than $600 this month because with restaurants shut, there’s no garbage for them to eat. She’s even brought them in to be spayed and neutered.

“The cats have no clue what’s going on because nothing has changed for them,” she says. “It’s not in my DNA to see a cat suffering and not do anything about it. I’m equipped to make a cat’s life better, so I’m going to.”

March of the penguins

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This penguin, named Wellington, got to meet a Beluga whale at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.SHEDD AQUARIUM via REUTERS

In March, with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium closed to the public, penguins got the opportunity to explore their home thanks to no human visitors wandering about.

“Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals,” the aquarium told the Chicago Tribune. “Introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourages them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors.”

With the aquarium closed to humans, penguins take opportunity to explore and visit other animals

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That means some penguins got to meet other aquarium inhabitants. One of them, a penguin named Wellington, saw Shedd’s Amazon Rising exhibit, looking around at the fish tanks with his head spinning in wonder. The fish even looked back.

“The black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitors,” the caretakers tweeted.