Snake hunters capture 106 Burmese pythons in Florida Everglades – Associated Press Saturday 27 February 2016 15.16 EST


Florida Fish and Wildlife officials commissioned hunters’ help to tackle thousands of invasive pythons from south-east Asia that have overrun the Everglades

Florida python hunters

Snake hunters captured 106 Burmese pythons after weeks of traipsing through the Florida Everglades, state wildlife officials announced on Saturday, along with awards for the most impressive catches.

Thousands of invasive pythons from south-east Asia live and prey on native creatures in the Everglades, and Florida Fish and Wildlife officials admit that state-sanctioned hunts will not dent the reptiles’ numbers. But the officials say the two hunts since 2009 have helped draw attention to the snake crisis.

The longest python caught during the hunt, which ran between 16 January and 14 February, was 15 feet long. It was caught by a team led by Bill Booth of Sarasota. Booth’s team also took home a prize for largest haul of snakes: 33 pythons.

More than 1,000 people from 29 states registered to remove pythons from South Florida’s wetlands.

Daniel Moniz of Bricktown, New Jersey, suffered bites to the face, neck and arm from the 13ft, 8.7in python that won him a prize for the longest python caught by an individual.

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More African Elephants May Be Sold to China This Year – By Adam Cruise, for National Geographic  PUBLISHED FRI JAN 01 16:47:29 EST 2016


Zimbabwe’s government says that it’s willing to take more young elephants from their herds and export them to tourist facilities in China.

Picture of elephant

This female, one of 24 elephants airlifted from Zimbabwe to China in July 2015, suffered a wound while housed in the Qingyuan quarantine facility. Zimbabwe’s environment minister said the country is willing to export more elephants to China this year. Read more about the condition of the exported elephants here.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NATURE UNIVERSITY 

In October 2014, tens of young elephants were taken from their family groups in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, where they were held in a capture unit for eight months until July 2015. That’s when 24 were flown to the Qingyuan quarantine facility in Guangdong Province before being transferred to Chimelong Safari Park, also in Guangdong.

Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s minister of environment, water and climate, said that more of the country’s wildlife will be captured and sent to China to give them a better and safer environment, according to the China Daily. Muchinguri spoke during a visit to the Qingyuan animals and plants preservation center, Guangdong, on New Year’s Eve.

“We are happy that young African animals have been well accommodated here in China,” she said. “We are willing to export more in the years to come as it would help in the preservation of wild animals.”

In September 2015, National Geographic reported that the elephants in China were being mistreated and were slipping into poor health.

Previously, in 2012, Zimbabwe exported eight elephants to China, according to a database produced by the Convention on International Trade in Wild Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), the international body that sets wildlife trade policy. Only four survived the journey. Another three died shortly after arriving in China, leaving only one surviving elephant.

Export of elephants is sanctioned under CITES, as long as trade in individual animals or plants doesn’t threaten the long-term survival of the species.

 

Elephants Die Sooner in Zoos

A 2012 Seattle Times report found that elephant births in U.S. zoos have failed to offset deaths, which will lead to the demographic extinction of the country’s zoo elephants in the next 50 years. Half the elephants documented in the study were dead by age 23, about a third of their expected life span in the wild of 50 to 60.

The report noted that the infant mortality rate for elephants in zoos is 40 percent—nearly triple the natural rate in the wild in Asia and Africa. Most had died from injury or disease associated with their captive conditions: foot and joint disease, reproductive disorders, infertility, aberrant behaviors such as infanticide.

Would you want a clone of your pet? – The Guardian Wednesday 25 November 2015 09.26 EST


This is precisely what a company in China is offering. So, if you had the cash, would you duplicate your dog, copy your cat and double your bunny?

 It’s a 2-fur-1 offer. Photograph: Hon Keong Soo/Demotix/Corbis

It’s a 2-fur-1 offer. Photograph: Hon Keong Soo/Demotix/Corbis

Wednesday 25 November 2015 Last modified on Thursday 26 November 2015 
The biggest cloning factory in the world is due to open in China next year. It’s purpose will primarily be to produce a million calves a year, to stem the shortage of beef in the country, where farmers struggle to meet demand.

On top of that, the company, BoyaLife, says it will provide clones of family pets. There is already an industry in cloning pets, but the procedure is expensive, and some argue that the result will not be a success, since much of an animal’s behaviour is down to the way it is treated.

If you had the resources, would you clone your beloved poodle, or order a carbon copy of your grumpy cat? Would you risk it, knowing that it would have a very different early life than your original pet? Tell us whether you’re pet-obsessed enough to want an exact replica of fido, weird habits and all.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/25/clone-your-pet-china-cat-dog

A New Year resolution that’s good for you and the planet: stop eating meat | Life and style | The Guardian


Raising beef cattle requires 160 times more land and causes 11 times more greenhouse gas emissions when compared to crops like wheat, rice or potatoes

Source: A New Year resolution that’s good for you and the planet: stop eating meat | Life and style | The Guardian

The Rapidly Disappearing Elephants Of Tanzania – John Burnett December 13, 20157:05 PM ET


The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania has seen its elephant population, one of the largest on the continent, go from 110,000 to fewer than 45,000 in the past decade due to poaching.

Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest wildlife refuges in the world and one of the last great wild places in Africa. The problem is — it’s not a refuge from anything. In the past five years, 60 percent of its iconic elephant herds have been machine-gunned or poisoned by poachers for the value of their tusks.

Photographer Robert Ross spent six years traversing the 17,000 square miles of the Selous, from its miombo woodland to its Borassus palm swamps, and meandering sand rivers.

In his book, The Selous In Africa: A Long Way From Anywhere, Ross chronicled much more than the elephant slaughter. After all, who really wants a coffee table book of pachyderm carcasses? His stunning images inventory the magnificent biodiversity of the continent’s oldest protected wilderness as well as the threats it now faces.

Ross, a 59-year-old former real estate financier, fled New York City to pursue his passion for photography and Africa. During his time in the Selous from 2008 to 2014, “There has been a noticeable habitat change because of the loss of elephants,” he says in a telephone interview from his home in Basalt, Colorado. “They’re not coming through the country as much. It’s returning to thicket. The elephants aren’t there anymore to keep those areas clear.”

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http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/12/13/458016646/the-rapidly-disappearing-elephants-of-tanzania