Adopt an Animal - News

Wild Ethiopian Lions Rescue Kidnapped Girl

Internet Expresses Outrage At The Death Of Cecil The Lion

A 12-year-old girl who found herself kidnapped and beaten by a group of men who were attempting to force her to get married was later found being guarded by three lions who according to the girl, chased of her kidnappers a policeman involved in the case said. The girl had been missing for a week and had been abducted by seven men who were trying to force her into marriage with one of them said Sergeant Wondimu Wedajo a policeman who serves in the Ethiopian city of Bita Genet.

Lions guarded girl

She was beaten repeatedly by the group of men before she was found by police and relatives on the city’s outskirts said Mr Wondimu. According to the girl, the lions had been guarding her four about 12 hours. Mr Wondimu said the lions stood guard until she was found and then just left her as if she were a gift and wandered back into the forest. He adds that if the lions had not rescued the girl, the situation would have been much worse because girls in such cases tend to be raped and beaten until they accept marriage.

‘Some kind of miracle’

Tilahun Kassa, a government official who confirmed Mr Wondimu’s story said one of the men wished to marry the girl against her wishes. Mr Kassa adds that everyone believes that this is some kind of miracle because lions tend to attack humans, but in this case, they provided assistance. Stuart Williams a wildlife expert says the reason why the girl probably managed to survive was because she was crying as a result of the trauma of her attack.

Mistaken for a cub

Mr Williams said a young girl whimpering could easily be mistaken for the mewing sound of a lion cub which would explain why the lions did not eat the girl. Ethiopian lions have huge black manes which they are famous for and serve as the country’s national symbol. Lions adorn everything from the national currency to statues. Despite Ethiopia cracking down, hunters continue to kill the animals for their skins which can be sold for as much as US$1,000. It is estimated that less than 1,000 Ethiopian lions remain in the wild.

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New Species Of Orangutan Discovered

Indonesian Wildfires Threatening Orangutans Of Borneo

Scientists studying a tiny population of orangutans in the Northern part of Sumatra have discovered a new species of great ape. Great apes are a group that include humans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos, with orangutans being the most distant relatives of human beings. Until the latest discovery, there have only been two distinct orangutan species, the Bornean and the Sumatran. Now apparently, there is a third species of orangutan.

The discovery is exciting

Serge Wich a researcher from Liverpool John Moores University said the discovery was extremely exciting. He added that it was quite a shock to find a new species given the fact that Sumatran orangutans can be found less than 100 kilometres away. Unfortunately, the concern is how long the new species will be able to survive. The population consists of less than 800 individuals that are believed to be spread across 1,000 square kilometres. This makes it the great ape species with the lowest head count and the population faces the threat of habitat destruction and illegal trade.

Species threatened

Dr Wich says the area in which the species lives has a goldmine, many of the villagers hunt and there is also a hydroelectric power plant being planned in the region. The new species is being called the Tapanuli orangutan and is named after the part of Northern Sumatra where the apes live. Reports of orangutans living in the area date back to the 1930’s, however it was not until 1997 that the scientists rediscovered the apes and began to study them again.

The new species branched off about half a million years ago

The researchers analysed the genomes of 37 orangutans across the entire region which allowed them to develop an evolutionary family tree. The results suggest that orangutans which live to the North of Lake Toba split from the Southern population of ancestral orangutans that had arrived from mainland Asia and the split took place about 3.4 million years ago. Another split in the population living South of Lake Toba took place about 674,000 years ago which led to the establishment of the Bornean Orangutan as well as the species that has been newly discovered which, like their ancestors also live South of Lake Toba.

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Adélie Penguins Suffer Breeding Catastrophe

Emperor Penguins Can Be Too Hot In Freezing Antarctic Winter

Thousands of penguin chicks in Antarctica have been wiped out by mass starvation caused by unusually thick sea ice which has forced their parents to travel further in order to forage for food. Conservationists are calling the event a catastrophic breeding failure. French scientists that have been funded by WWF have been monitoring a breeding colony made up of 18,000 pairs of Adélie penguins in East Antarctica for the last seven years. In the most recent breeding season, the scientists discovered that only two chicks managed to survive.

WWF urges increased government protection

In response to the catastrophe, WWF is urging that governments provide increased protection for the waters located off East Antarctica to ensure that the penguins do not have to deal with the increased pressure that arises from competition from fishing fleets for their main source of food, krill. The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) which has 25 members met very recently to discuss proposals to add new protected areas for waters of East Antarctica.

Climate change the culprit

Adélie penguins main diet is krill and because they are efficient swimmers, they tend to thrive in East Antarctica. However, their numbers have been falling in the region where climate change is having a pronounced effect causing the sea ice to shift and the sea to warm, affecting their prey. In 2013 the same colony that is being studied had 20,196 breeding pairs and not a single chick was produced during that year.

New Marine Protected Area Required

WWF’s Rod Downie said the Adélie penguin is one of the hardiest species on the planet. He adds that that the catastrophe that has occurred is at odds with the Disney images that many people conceive of when they think of penguins. Mr Downie says it is unthinkable that the area in question should be opened up to exploratory krill fisheries that would end up competing with Adélie penguins for food as the species seeks to recover from two catastrophic breeding failures. Mr Downie is urging CCAMLR to act immediately by adopting a new Marine Protected Area for the waters of East Antarctica in order to ensure the penguins stay protected.

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Deadly Snake Venom Could Be Key To Pain Management In Humans

blue coral snake

Scientists seeking better techniques to manage pain relief are turning to the snake with the largest venom glands in the world for answers. The snake which is nick named the “killer of killers” is officially known as the long-glanded blue coral snake and often feeds on other snakes such as king cobras. The snake which can grow up 2 metres long and is native to South East Asia possesses venom that acts almost immediately causing its prey to spasm.

Venom which targets pain receptors

According to the latest research, the snake’s venom targets receptors which are critical to how pain functions in humans which means in theory it could be used to treat pain. Dr Bryan Fry one of the scientists carrying out the research said that most snakes tend to have venom which acts quite slowly and works in a similar manner to a powerful sedative. This means the victim of a snake bite usually gets quite sleepy before they die. Not so with the blue coral snake which instead works almost immediately because it hunts very dangerous animals that must be killed quickly before they have the chance to retaliate.

“The venom targets our sodium channels, which are central to our transmission of pain. We could potentially turn this into something that could help relieve pain, and which might work better on us.” Dr Fry said.

Turning into medicine?

The blue coral snake has venom glands that extend to as much as 25 per cent of its entire body length and according to Dr Fry, it is the first vertebrate in the world that has venom that works the way it does. The blue coral snake however is extremely rare because nearly 80 per cent of its habitat has been destroyed. Dr Fry says he has only ever spotted two of them in the wild. Much of their habitat has been cleared so that palm plantations in South East Asia can be established.

Looking for close relatives

Dr Fry and his team which includes researchers from several countries including Singapore, the US and China are studying the snake in Singapore. The team is looking to find out if the snake has any relatives that would possess any different properties. There is an often-used phrase which says the only good snake is a dead snake, but Dr Fry and his team are trying to do quite the opposite here.

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Extremely Rare Albino Orangutan Rescued From Captivity

orangutan

An extremely rare albino orangutan that was separated from her mother has been found and rescued on the Indonesian island of Borneo. According to a report by the Associated Press, this is the first time in its 25 years of conservation work, that the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation has ever seen an albino orangutan. The female ape was rescued from villagers earlier in the year and the foundation is now providing her with round-the-clock care in a darkened room in order not to subject the sensitive ape to too much light. Apparently, she is getting stronger every day.

Recovering from trauma of separation

Nico Hermanu a spokesperson for the foundation says the baby orangutan still has a long way to go in order to recover fully from the trauma of losing her mother and being captured illegally. Experts at the foundation think that the albino orangutan was able to survive in the wild thanks to a protective mother who she was unfortunately separated from somehow.

Authorities were contacted

Villagers from Central Kalimantan province said the orangutan had wandered away from the forest so they kept her for a couple of days the foundation said. Fortunately, other villagers contacted the authorities and a government conservation agency and asked for help. A local veterinarian told the Associated Press that when she was rescued, the orangutan was extremely stressed and she suffered from dehydration. The vet said the ape was curled up and weighed just 8.3 kilograms which for a five-year-old female orangutan is very skinny.

Bornean orangutan critically endangered species

The foundation is unsure whether they will ever be able to release her into the wild again, but they hope the orangutan will become a powerful symbol in the effort to save the species. Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature officially declared the Bornean orangutan as critically endangered as a result of hunting and deforestation.

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