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Illusive Fishing Cats To Be Protected By Global Initiative

The incredibly mysterious fishing cat is facing a range of threats due to its dwindling ecosystems. The species is documented as ‘endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List and is at risk of dying except if conditions improve.

Fish cats are distributed along the Eastern Ghats. These creatures inhabit estuarine, offshore wind, and away from the coast aquatic environment. Fishing cats are observed in the Chilika lagoon and neighboring watersheds in Odisha, Coringa, and Krishna marshes in Andhra Pradesh.

It was about two years ago that the Conservation team first spotted the mammals in an entirely forested freshwater environment in Srikakulam two years ago.

At this point, the greatest dangers to the fishing cats in the region are habitat destruction (rainforest destruction and reconfiguration for fish production and other major establishments), sand being excavated along the river, agricultural enhancement leading to decreased river protection, and being hunted by humans.

The team of experts that make up the Conservation Alliance aims to accomplish effective floodplains and shoreline ecosystems for the vulnerable felines’ protection.

Both the conservation team and organizations undertaking research have been established to ensure the fishing cats are steered into habitats that will ensure their protection from both humans and land deterioration in northeast Andhra Ghats.

They will use photo evidence, reports from locals, and events already recorded as they seek to create a haven for the fishing cats.

The chief contributing factor that’s impacting the vital fishing habitat of the fishing cats is the alteration of land usage for purposes such as agricultural development in the Eastern Ghats.

It has never been observed in the wild, so its environmental management and patterns are unknown. It’s hard to state the consequence without all the vital information.

While fishing cats are commonly found in marshlands, they are flexible to dwell in more arid terrains and even areas where humans are predominantly present.

Stimulating understanding among individuals who live in proximity to the cat habitat is essential. Educating the people will encourage them to be immersed in preservation efforts by creating more hands on deck and helping with observation and documentation.

The overall objective is to secure prosperous communities of fishing cats dwelling in peaceful proximity to humans in those regions.

The Alliance is slated to launch a global campaign in February to boost knowledge and get assistance for its manor endeavor.

The not-for-profit zoo and aquarium association, which is focused on the improvement of zoos and aquariums in the regions in collaboration with the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance will be disseminating all their expert information through different forms of media and other means.

The Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance is striving to stimulate the people’s desire to work on behalf of this little wild cat and unite as a compassionate society of Fishing Cat devotees.

This move will enable the protection of the wetland ecosystems and all the wildlife it helps.

Fishing Cat facts.

It is brave and comfortable in the water, taps the water lightly to attract prey, plugs its ears underwater, and emerges from the water dry because of the unique texture of its skin and the dual-coating.

The various sounds of the fishing cat resemble barking, mimicking a duck or even a human gurgle at times.

Cambodian depictions of the felines can be seen in various historical buildings.

They rely on water, so they are jeopardized by the loss of swampland, marshes, and mangrove environments.

A conflict situation with humans has been occurring in the area, leading to a decrease in the number of fishing cats, hence the reason they are regarded as vulnerable.

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U.K. Conservationists See Rising #s in Great Crane Project Success Story

Kevin Wells

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The Cranes of Great Britain may sound like the title of a lost Sherlock Holmes novel, but we assure you that isn’t the case. Instead, cranes are large, long-necked, and long-legged birds that once happily called the United Kingdom their home. Over 400 years ago, the Cranes of the United Kingdom would go extinct as a direct result of over-hunting and habitat destruction, particularly to the wetlands of the United Kingdom.

While their extinction was on the record more than 400 years prior, careful work by conservationists along with some natural luck has led to renewed optimism for the species. One particularly large reason for hope in the Great Crane population throughout the United Kingdom can be tied directly to the work of The Great Crane Project, established in 2009 through a partnership with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Pensthrope Conservation Trust, and The RSPB.

Successes of the Great Crane Project

We can’t look directly at the work of the Great Crane Project for a complete understanding of how we’ve arrived to this point with the great cranes of Britain. The luck we mentioned above is likely due to the return of a few birds to the county of Norfolk back in 1979. This coupled with intense conservation efforts would lead to some semblance of the success we are currently experiencing.

According to a survey published in partnership with RSPB, the Wetlands Trust, and Wildfowl, more than 85% of the wild crane breeding population can be tied to protected natural reserves, places where conservationists are proud to do most of their work. Developing their efforts together, the team behind the Great Crane Project has been successful at helping rehabilitate existing habitats while developing new protected areas for the birds to call home.

Originally traced back to the Middle Ages, the cranes of Britain had been gone for quite some time. Typically associated with breeding throughout Middle-Aged Europe, the history of the bird has some unique legal relevance as well. In 1533 a measure was introduced through an Act of Parliament to make the theft of a cranes’ egg a punishable offense that included a fine. More mentions of crane preservation manifested within the Household Book of the L’Estrange Family.

A Rapidly Recovering Bird

According to the most recent estimates supplied by the British Trust for Ornithology, 2017 estimates would reveal that the U.K.’s breeding population of cranes at just 10 pairs. After years of work through The Great Crane Project, that number is now up to a robust 64 pairs across the United Kingdom. In 2020, those 64 pairs would go on to produce an additional 23 chicks. Some experts in the field of conservation have argued that there are more than 200 cranes within the United Kingdom at the time of this writing. Creating a diverse and growing pool is immensely important for such an endangered animal.

While the rising numbers of the crane population are inspiring, there is still plenty of work to do for the bird to experience a full comeback. The Great Crane Project has worked extensively with what funding they’ve acquired to create ‘crane schools’ or rearing facilities throughout the U.K. One crane school was established at WWT Slimbridge to feature an acre of marshy garden purposed solely for rearing crane chicks. More than 20 cranes are raised and released every single year at the crane school, with more birds finding the same experience at Somerset.

Damon Bridge is the chairman at UK Crane Working Group and he has pointed out the resilience of the bird through its recent resurgence. Bridge would go on to argue that continued success can be found through adequate environmental protection.

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San Diego Zoo Gorillas Recover from COVID Infection

Kevin Wells

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The San Diego Zoo is breathing a big sigh of relief in 2021. They have just gone through an unwanted experiment in cross-species pandemic migration. However, in this case the issue was not a virus passing from an animal to a human; it went from humans to a gorilla instead.

The Species Infection Conundrum

The Zoo has been home to western lowland gorillas, and it was already a known fact that they could be vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus just as humans are. While the Zoo employees maintained extremely strict protocols, eight of the gorillas still somehow ended up being infected by someone. Unknown at the time, the virus was already busy mutating, and the version the gorillas ended up with turned out to be the far more aggressive and contagious version. So, as a result, by the second week of the year the animals started exhibiting classic symptoms of a COVID infection. They were coughing noticeably, pumping out more than normal nasal draining and absolutely laying around without energy as if exhausted. With blood tests the gorillas were confirmed sick. They had contracted the B.1.429 variant of COVID-19, which was well established in California.

Miracles Do Happen

Fortunately, the gorillas were not just able get through the virus, they were able to recover. The Zoo staff worked overtime with a specialized veterinary expertise, and that was reinforced by multiple resources from care professionals and gorilla experts as well. The most worrisome of the gorillas was the elderly silverback. Winston was a primary risk given both his age as well as already-existing medical concerns. Similar to humans, he was in the high-risk category right from the start. However, with a similar human treatment in the form of a monoclonal antibody treatment and other care approaches, the elderly gorilla was able to pull through. It was a critical phase; the gorilla already had heart disease and came down with pneumonia. The medicines used were stronger than those given to humans, which likely contributed to the recovery capability.

Teamwork is a Real Thing

The San Diego Zoo management has been thanking everyone involved, both internally and externally, in the successful recovery of the gorillas. At the same time, realizing the problem they had in their hands, the Zoo documented every one of the gorillas, the procedures applied, and the level of impact it had on the virus, the gorillas’ health, and the results that were produced. COVID isn’t going away anytime soon, and other zoos as well as gorilla sanctuaries are sure to end up dealing with the same problem eventually as the virus continues to spread. Over all the work and research will spread hopefully just as fast. At least a dozen agencies at the federal and state level were involved in the help and treatment.

And, as often happens with big challenges, the San Diego Zoo hit the nail on the head; collaboration of multiple expertise lines was the critical factor in finding medical solutions for the sick gorillas and bringing them back from the COVID brink.

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Unknown Creatures Made From Sticks Left in Canadian Park

Kevin Wells

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Since the beginning of lockdown, many people have adopted many arts to kill their anxiety, boredom and relieve stress. Some of the art adopted includes baking banana cakes, running, cycling, drawing, singing. Others have discovered their talents. But there is one artist on the west coast of Canada who elevated her artistic skills to a whole new level by making unbelievably iconic sculptures out of twigs and dried grass.   

During the covid-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020, artist Nickie Lewis began to make sculptures to beat her boredom and anxiety.

She began this fun job on Canada’s west coast in a little place known as Robert Burnaby Park. The park has a basketball pitch on the exteriors; then, trees are planted behind it, stretching hundreds of acres for you to venture inside and enjoy nature.

Lewis was bored like the rest of us during the pandemic lockdown, but she interestingly did something unique with her name in the park. She used the sizeable unused park space to display her imagination by making sculptures of magical forest creatures. She used nature waste materials like twine, clippers, sticks, and occasional nails altogether.

Speaking to the Global and Mail, she said that her inspiration behind the fascinating project that she claims to achieve it by using willow branches and reeds.

The sculpture making began in August 2020 and continued for months. Lewis has made some iconic and breathtaking pieces, including a fairy, unicorn, mermaid, a dragon, two Ewoks, a wasp, Chewbacca, and a gigantic troll creating huge and small surprises for strangers.

All this artwork began with just an obvious making of the unicorn as a symbolic gesture, which she went ahead and named the unicorn as the Guardian of the Forest.

You can find Lewis art spreading around Robert Burnaby park, but you need to pay attention to your surroundings to spot them. Most people have been asking Nickie Lewis why she can’t put her artwork somewhere it is easy to spot, and she answered, “I don’t want my art to be easily found, I want people to work to find it since when I am building this, it is kind of a therapy for me, and I like it to be secretly hidden from everyone.”

Nickie Lewis told BCIT news that she had created a trail of sculptures on google maps for people to find when you go looking for her sculptures using google maps while in the park, you will note that it feels like treasure hunting giving you a great sense of joy and therapeutic fulfillment outdoors.

According to Burnaby, Now speaking of her, Nickie Lewis has kept many locals distracted and thinking positively during these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Nickie reported to Burnaby Now that “Most people were scared and stressed, which is horrible. And for that reason, I began creating situations where people can engage with one another. Although some sculptures make you frightened, it is fun in a way, and it makes people happy too, something I never expected” 

Surprisingly, after all the hard work, Nickie Lewis does not expect any donations or many visitors. Anxiety Canada and visitors advise that “if you are going to hang out around the art, please be kind to her work and also remember that her work is done out of sticks and dried grass. 

Nickie Lewis added that “the mythical creatures are meant to be viewed at a distance, and they cannot hold any weight since they will collapse, thus causing little injuries to you or your loved one.

Her work’s intention is for people to have fun and to raise awareness of anxiety. Her biggest hope is that people will respect her work and maintain safety guidelines.

If you cannot reach or get near Burnaby park, don’t worry. Nickie has been posting photos of her outstanding work of intricate creatures on social media such as Instagram and Pinterest so that people outside the city or state can get familiar with them.  

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Penguins Exhibit Human-like Interest While Touring Kansas City Art Museum

Renee Yates

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While many people are stuck at home due to the pandemic, Penguins are having a whale of a time, wandering about, learning languages, and now, as we recently found out, developing a new found appreciation for art.

In what should have been a simple joke, a small group of penguins was taken to a museum, but their reactions were mind-blowing, prompting new research.

Penguins have always been known to act and even speak like humans; however, having an admiration for paintings is just a whole new level in itself.

The penguins were taken to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where they paused to acknowledge some Impressionist work by master artists.

Three penguins, who by all accounts should have preferred tropical fish, watched compositions by renowned artists like Caravaggio and Monet.

The museum’s director, Julián Zugazagoitia, presumed that the little penguins would be fascinated by the “Water Lilies” masterpiece.

He figured the birds would be attracted to the relaxing aura of the painting, which is a favorite for many. However, the penguins appeared to prefer Baroque music.

In the vibrant room, the birds paused and appeared to truly embrace the paintings, but it is still unknown what factors drew their attention most.

So how did this phenomenon come about?

As an April Fool’s prank, the museum director contacted his pal at the Kansas City zoo to speak about how they could harmonize their reopening phase in the midst of the pandemic.

He then jokingly suggested that they bring a few penguins to hang out at the museum, expecting them to laugh and blow off the idea.

However, he took it seriously, leading to a coordinated effort between the zoo and the museum to organize the visit.

They were initially anxious for the safety of the art and the birds, but the caretakers kept a keen eye on the penguins waddling around the room.

Zugazagoitia said the penguins are very similar to the museum’s usual guests. He explained that the penguins have been fairly social and exploratory, behaving as the typical human visitor would.

As the birds toured the museum, the presenter spoke to them in Spanish as they looked and listened attentively.

A video was posted on YouTube that promptly went viral and received attention from the international media.

The director was most surprised to see how many people enjoyed the program. He believes their reaction is an indication of how times have changed, and people want to see more light-natured, fun, and entertaining news, especially amid a crisis.

I think this enabled an incredible sense of happiness and relaxation. Even though the zoo and museum of art are separate entities, when they were unified, the experience was remarkable for everyone involved.

Most surprising was how the adorable penguins behaved without any issues, allowing the process to transition smoothly.

This may very well be the start of something new for both the museum and zoo.

In the meantime, due to the ongoing health crisis, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will be unavailable while the determinations are made about how to reopen safely.

These very difficult junctures have enabled the entities to utilize their hidden skills and to think outside of the box to keep them afloat.

The Museum director emphasized that they must deliver a strong and stimulating website that truly depicts the vitality of the museum, with the hope that they are fulfilling the interest and intellect of the people to want to visit them once the pandemic has dissipated.

He hopes that people will understand that there is always something new to learn at the museum and feel compelled to visit.

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Tony the Plant Man Grows Very Expensive Plants

Kevin Wells

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A Briton has quietly created his own Garden of Eden in his home, including one plant that is so rare, it could easily command almost $16,000 for one leaf. The botanist extraordinaire is a fellow named Tony Le-Britton.

Tony is, like many geniuses, a bit odd and extremely dedicated to his work. He’s so committed to plants and growing them, an entire room of his home is an indoor jungle, complete with a personal greenhouse and environment control to help support the kind of plants he is able to bring to full fruition. Tony’s collection, however, isn’t the typical plant collection one gets from seeds at the local hardware store or plant farm. His focus is on growing some of the world’s most uncommon and rare plants altogether. In fact, some of his flora are so rare, plant scientists and researchers around the world would love to spend a day with Tony simply examining his plants. He even has some plants that the scientific folks thought was completely gone and no longer alive, i.e. extinct.

Plant-growing, however, was not Tony’s only career. As it turns out, he’s quite adept as a photographer as well, having enjoyed a professional career producing images of hair and beauty. However, given how much his plants are in demand now, it’s pretty clear his plants will also take care of him too financially. Just the leaves alone versus the entire plant has the financial capacity to provide him a living income.  

The most valuable plant that Tony has in his greenhouse is known as a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Variegata. This particular plant is different version from a far more common plant that could be bought anywhere. Because it is a genetic mutation, an anomaly that has occurred due to a genetic change that occurred at the DNA level, it is extremely rare and practically impossible to find elsewhere. As a result, even samples of the plant are in high demand for collection or study or both. At the time of the interview, Tony had three orders on standby for just a leaf with a hefty price tag of $12,000 British Pounds. Of course, just taking leaves off the plant willy-nilly could kill it. So he has a waiting list, and the plant is literally growing money for him.

The above said, Tony has other plants in his stable as well. He is also a cultivator of an extremely rare Monastera sp Bolivia, a plant that has no complete documentation from a research or botany perspective. Tony was lucky enough to score a small stem, and he’s since been able to grow the plant to a tremendous size. The size and robust nature of the plant is so unique, Tony’s is constantly getting request for photographs of the plant for reference.

Another flora sample that was generally thought to be extinct in the wild is the Begonia Chloristica. Again, finding one with a collector in Europe, Tony was able to get another sample and grow is own version in his personal greenhouse in England.

The plant-growing interest, zeal, skill and hobby came from his grandparents, according to Tony. As a boy, they would spend a lot of time in the grandparents’ garden. When they didn’t have their hands in the soil, the boy and his grandmother would watch “Gardener’s World” on the TV.

In short, Tony is a working plant genius. He’s learned his skill and expertise in practice, trial and error, and 25 years of hands-on work. And, one notable trick is that he doesn’t over-care his plants. In fact, many times, he lets the plants take care of themselves, which in fact allows them to grow stronger and self-sufficient to an extent. After all, Tony still controls and maintains the greenhouse with temperature, humidity and the light levels.

Most importantly, however, Tony enjoys what he does, which also makes a huge difference in his success. He has created an amazing collection of flora that nobody else would otherwise know exists, and it’s his achievement.

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