Monday, May 5, 2008


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Friday, May 2, 2008

'Sex pest' seal attacks penguin

An Antarctic fur seal has been observed trying to have sex with a king penguin.

The South African-based scientists who witnessed the incident say it is the most unusual case of mammal mating behaviour yet known.

The incident, which lasted for 45 minutes and was caught on camera, is reported in the Journal of Ethology.

The bizarre event took place on a beach on Marion Island, a sub-Antarctic island that is home to both fur seals and king penguins.

Why the seal attempted to have sex with the penguin is unclear. But the scientists who photographed the event speculate that it was the behaviour of a frustrated, sexually inexperienced young male seal.

Equally, it might be been an aggressive, predatory act; or even a playful one that turned sexual.

"At first glimpse, we thought the seal was killing the penguin," says Nico de Bruyn, of the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Source: BBC NEWS

Photo of the Day...

Feral cat and feral kitten (via stshank)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What's love? For Conchita the endangered monkey it's a teddy bear mum

Conchita is a white-naped mangabey, an endangered primate at the London Zoo. Her mother was seriously ill when Conchita was delivered via C-section, so zookeepers put a teddy bear into the newborn's enclosure. Now Conchita sorta thinks the bear is her mom. "She hugs that bear day and night," says keeper Andrea Payne. "She will run to the bear when she's alarmed. She won't run to me. She clamps on to it just like she would her mother." The teddy bear is "smelly" and has some monkey poo on it, but the zookeepers can't wash it. "To the baby it is her own special smell... The baby recognises the smell, it's a comfort to her. Washing the teddy would make it unrecognizable."

London Times

Legless Lizard Among Newly Found Species: are you sure thats not a snake?

Scientists discovered legless lizard, a dwarf woodpecker and another 12 suspected new species in Brazil's fast-disappearing Cerrado grasslands, an environmental group said Tuesday.

The discoveries were made during a 29-day expedition by U.S. and Brazilian scientists in Brazil's vast wooded grasslands, one of the world's 34 biodiversity conservation hotspots, Conservation International said in a statement.

The grasslands are threatened by encroaching farmland; the expedition focused in and around the Serra Geral do Tocantins Ecological Station, a 2,765-square-mile protected area that is Cerrado's second largest.

The 14 suspected new species discovered include eight fish, three reptiles, one amphibian, one mammal and one bird, the group said.

The legless lizard, of the Bachia genus, resembles a snake due to its lack of legs and uses its pointed snout to move about its predominantly sandy environment.

Other outstanding new findings include a dwarf woodpecker of the genus Picumnus, and a horned toad of the genus Proceratophrys.

Besides the new species, the scientists also recorded several threatened animals such as the hyacinth macaw, marsh deer, three-banded armadillo, the Brazilian merganser and the dwarf tinamou, among more than 440 species of vertebrates documented.

"We need to know our protected areas better, especially the ecological stations whose principal objective is to generate scientific knowledge of Brazilian biodiversity, so little studied and already so severely threatened," said expedition leader Cristiano Nogueira.

Source: Discovery Channel

Genetically Altered Trout Approved for Release in U.K.

Plans to pour tankfuls of genetically altered fish into wild lakes and rivers have been given the go-ahead in the United Kingdom after conservation scientists backed the project.

According to a recent study, releasing the modified fish for anglers to catch is a better option than traditional trout farming and may even benefit native trout populations.

That's because the fish have been engineered to be sterile, so they won't breed with vulnerable wild strains.

These so-called triploid trout have three sets of chromosomes in their cells instead of the two sets normally found in diploid animals.

The two-year study, led by Dylan Roberts of the U.K.'s Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, investigated the impact of releasing triploid trout on native populations at 90 river sites in England and Wales.

The government's Environment Agency (EA) approved the plan last week following the study's publication.

The EA announced that by 2015 the estimated 750,000 farmed trout introduced each year in fishing waters must consist purely of triploids.

National Geographic

5 Extremely Expensive Exotic Pets...

5. DeBrazza’s Monkey, $7,000

4. Macaw $12,000

3. Python $15,000

2. Chimpanzee $65,000

1. White Tigers $138,000