Following the revelation that singer/actress Barbra Streisand had her dog cloned, CBS New York reports that the procedure is available for other pet owners, as well — if they can come up with $50,000.
That's how much Viagen, a Texas-based company, charges to clone a canine. The company uses a skin sample from your pet and implants the embryo in a surrogate, according to CBS New York.
Melain Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the company, told the news station: "The dog that you’re going to clone is not going to be a Frankenstein. It’s just a normal dog, like any other dog."
It's cheaper for cats, at only $25,000.
Streisand recently toldVariety she had her dog cloned twice. As theLos Angeles Times reports, PETA has criticized her actions, stating that "animals’ personalities, quirks, and very 'essence' simply cannot be replicated."
A group of thieves made a business of stealing — and then selling — merchandise from PetSmart stores, authorities say.
They allegedly hit no fewer than nine locations across North Carolina and Virginia, The Virginian-Pilot reports.
The value of the stolen pet supplies was at least $38,000, but it may have been much higher, in excess of $100,000, authorities say. The items ranged from dog collars to medications.
Recently indicted in connection with the theft were 24-year-old Timothy B. Erb Jr. and 42-year-old Joseph Heim Jr. The newspaper reports that the indictment "charges the men with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen property."
The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2016, with the men securing orders from buyers before they stole the merchandise. Authorities say the theft ring involved a seven-person group.
Botany Bay beaches off Sydney Australia that were closed after a woman was bitten by what experts suspect was a juvenile great white shark have reopened after the attack.
Randwick City Council on Sunday morning reopened Little Congwong, Congwong, Frenchmans and Yarra beaches at La Perouse following the shark attack on Friday evening.
The beaches were closed last Saturday as lifeguards, lifesavers and the Westpac rescue helicopter monitored the waters of Botany Bay.
“There have been no further sightings of the shark,” a council spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday morning when announcing the four beaches had reopened.
Anna Shurapey, 55, survived the first shark attack in Botany Bay in at least 25 years after she was bitten on the leg about 7pm Friday, prompting the Randwick City Council to close nearby beaches for 24 hours.
Shurapey, who had been swimming off Little Congwong beach, was taken to St George hospital where she was recovering after surgery to deep cuts to her leg.
University of Sydney shark researcher Christopher Neff said the nature of the injuries could suggest a juvenile was to blame.
“Juvenile sharks generally don’t know what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s a curiosity injury rather than anything else.”
Neff shut down calls for shark nets in the area, saying there was no data to back up their effectiveness. He also believed beachgoers shouldn’t be worried about a repeat attack because sharks move between 50 and 100km a day.
“They don’t stay in the same area – that’s a myth,” Neff said. “There’s no real science behind looking for the shark, that’s more to ease public fear and to make people comfortable going back in the water.”
Neff said while no swimmer was to blame for any shark incident, swimming at dusk and dawn could be hazardous because people were usually alone.
He said statistically two things are true about increased risk: that water temperatures below 20C can lead to an increase in white shark activity, and that shark behavior is correlated to the lunar cycle.
“If there’s a new moon, sharks come in closer to shore. You just want to be mindful.”
Miranda Lambert and her MuttNation Foundation have announced the 50 animal shelter recipients that were selected to receive grants as part of the organization’s Mutts Across America campaign.
The generous program created by Lambert’s mother, Bev Lambert, was established after the mother-daughter duo founded MuttNation in 2009. According to CMT, to date, they have issued more than $775,000.00 in total grants to more than 200 shelters throughout the United States.
The most recent batch of surprise grants totaled $189,000.00 which was then divided between specific shelters throughout the country with each receiving between $3,000.00-$5,000.00.
“Because of you, we were able to award almost $200k in grants to deserving shelters in all 50 states! We can’t thank y’all enough for helping us make a difference for mutts,” Lambert and her team shared on a Facebook post.
The unknowing shelters were delighted when they opened a mystery package letting them know they were a recipient along with a much-need check, a certificate, and MuttNation Citizenship.
“We’ve been able to take in more geriatric animals from around the state and country,” a representative of Indy Humane explained in a video also shared on MuttNation’s Facebook page.
Ventura County Animal Services in Southern California also let Eastwood, the dog, personally thank the foundation for his “second chance at life”.
The shelters are selected based on a range of criteria including high adoption rate, volunteerism, and activity, such as fundraising, as well as fiscal responsibility, community presence, website and social media presence and advocacy. The program researches shelters independently and does not accept applications.
Monday marked the highly-anticipated arrival in South Africa of two lions that had been rescued from two deplorable zoos, located deep in the war zones of Mosul, Iraq and Aleppo, Syria, last year by Four Paws International.
According to the organization, the male lions, 4-year-old Simba and 2-year-old Saeed, were quite the cooperative passengers on the Qatar Airways flight that left their refuge in Jordan on Sunday and brought them to their new home in South Africa.
“There was no sedation needed for the two rescued lions, thanks to the great training of the animal caretakers and our partner sanctuary Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife.
The lions have since been successfully transported to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary & Lodge where they will live the rest of their lives in peace.
As per Four Paws, Simba was born in the Montazah Al-Morour Zoo in Eastern Mosul in Iraq, in 2014 during the war. He and a bear named Lula were rescued by Four Paws and subsequently taken to Al Ma’wa in Jordan in April 2017.
Saeed was born in the Magic World Zoo near Aleppo in Syria in 2016 and was one of 13 animals the organization rescued in July 2017. He was transferred to Al Ma’wa in August 2017.
Emaciated, dehydrated and traumatized when rescued, the now healthy animals share their new home at the sanctuary with 80 other lions that have been rescued from circuses and zoos throughout the world, as well as many that have been spared from what would have been not only their life but their death at South African captive-bred lion operations.
The organizations share that they plan to socialize the new male resident lions with lionesses in the beautiful sanctuary “where they can enjoy their lives under the African sun.”
Researchers conducting a tick survey in Alaska unexpectedly found themselves looking at an unusual tick. A tiny adult female tick that had been removed from a red squirrel was carrying her own parasitic hitchhiker — an adult male of the same tick species, and he appeared to be gripping the female not in the throes of passion, but of hunger.
When scientists examined the blood-engorged female using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), they identified the much smaller male tick clinging to and feeding from the underside of the female's body, digging in deep with its piercing mouthparts.
Hard ticks have three life stages — larva, nymph and adult — and the insects typically take one blood meal from a host during each stage, according to the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of California, Davis.
The tick species has been associated with the spread of Lyme disease, and is the species that is the most abundant on rodents and other mammals in British Columbia and Alberta, both provinces in Canada, and in Alaska, researchers from Georgia Southern University, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, wrote in a new study describing the evidence of tick-on-tick feeding.
By feasting on another tick, the male insect described by the study authors was practicing a behavior known as hyperparasitism — when parasites cut out the middleman by skipping over the host animal entirely and cadging a meal directly from their blood-bloated fellow parasites.
A second male tick was also attached to the female and was mating with her, but it became dislodged as the researchers prepared the specimens for scanning, they wrote in the study.
The remaining male tick's mouth parts penetrated the female's body region close to her head and genital opening, and his palps — a pair of elongated appendages near his mouth — were splayed upon her exoskeleton, positioned in a characteristic feeding pose, the scientists noted.
An additional scar on her body — a small puncture visible below and to the left of her central genital opening — suggested that another hungry tick also fed on the female, the researchers reported.
Hyperparasitism is common in soft ticks, but was thought to be less widespread in their hard-bodied cousins, and has not been previously detected in the hard tick species. However, prior research has not only documented male ticks in the parasitizing females, but has also recorded evidence of feeding scars on females like those found in the new study. That evidence, along with the new findings, suggests that male hard-bodied ticks may use females as a meal ticket more frequently than once thought, the authors concluded.
The findings were published online Feb. 19 in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
Wildlife biologists with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida shared a shocking python find in Collier-Seminole State Forest on Thursday.
An invasive Burmese python’s eyes were a little bigger than its stomach when it decided to devour a white-tailed deer fawn.
Officials say pythons have been known to kill and ingest large prey and this was a record breaking meal.
Officials stumbled upon the python with the massive prey inside. The biologists removed the python out of the wild into an open area and the python was stressed so it pushed the deer out of its mouth. In the photo below you can see the breathing tube and tongue of the python as it has its mouth wrapped around the deer.
Biologists believe it is the largest python-to-prey ratio documented.
The python was 31.5 pounds and the deer was 35 pounds; 111% of the python’s mass.
The findings will be published in the March 2018 issue of the Herpetological Review.
“This observation is another important piece of evidence for the negative impact invasive Burmese pythons are having on native wildlife across the Greater Everglades Ecosystem” said Ian Bartoszek, Conservancy of Southwest Florida wildlife biologist. “Imagine the potential consequences to the state and federally protected Florida panther if Burmese pythons adversely affect the number of white-tailed deer, a panther’s primary prey.”
Biologists are focused on the impact the python is having across the food chain.
Since 2013, the Conservancy and its research partners have been conducting research to document the invasive Burmese python’s biology and behavior in Collier County, including the tracking, removal and necropsy of captured pythons.
Walk the remote shores of the Great Lakes, far outside the city, and you’ll find miles of sandy beaches and quiet tranquility. You’ll also find plastic straws. Pink ones, white ones, clear ones. They’re everywhere.
In fact, visit any coastline around the world and you’re likely to find plastic straws. Conservation groups highlight them as one of the items most frequently collected during beach clean ups.
The reason isn’t hard to grasp. Whether you order an iced coffee or a Coke, chances are it’s going to come with a straw. That number adds up to millions of straws used every day. The Marine Conservation Society says that as many as 8.5 billion straws are used every year in the United Kingdom alone. A map tracking litter, claims straws are the sixth most commonly picked up piece of trash — though the top-tagged item is just generic “plastic”.
The straw’s abundance has also made it a growing target. Like plastic bags before them, advocacy groups are pushing elected officials and drink sellers to ditch straws, as CNN detailed in a report . And from music festivals to museums, a number of venues already have. Xanterra, a concessioner who runs lodges and restaurants within America’s National Parks, offers straws, but asks visitors not to use them. Some American cities moved forward with similar restrictions last year.
And this week, both the United Kingdom and the larger European Union said they’re moving ahead with plans to ban plastic straws, according to the British media outlet Sky News. The outlet said that announcement came after a report that the country’s Parliament has doubled its purchases of straws in recent years.
However, in the United States, even banning plastic bags has proven difficult. Some politically conservative states, like Arizona, have gone so far as to ban cities from enacting plastic bag bans. Though other left-leaning states have already passed their own rules.
And other countries are also leading the way. Last year, Kenya passed the world’s toughest law against plastic bags, offering fines and imprisonment for using plastic bags.
One California state legislator introduced a similarly tough law for plastic straws last month. It proposed restaurants only hand out straws when customers asked for them — violators would be on the hook for $1,000 or potential jail time. That last part drew criticism online, which prompted the representative to suggest the bill could be passed without such extreme consequences.
This wave of bans was enough for oil company BP to announce this week that such single use plastic laws will likely put a dent in their oil production. (Though it still expects growing oil demand overall through the 2030s.) The company says that single use plastics use up about 15 percent of non-combusted oil. Worldwide bans on single-use plastics, like straws, could lower oil demand by some 2 million barrels a day over the next several decades.
After over two years of fighting on behalf of more than 300 neglected animals, the ASPCA has helped bring former animal shelter director, Bobbie Taylor, to justice.
The case began in June 2015, when the ASPCA assisted in the rescue of approximately 300 animals from a substandard animal shelter in Moulton, Alabama, where Taylor served as director. The dogs and cats were found living in filthy, deplorable conditions—some of the animals were in small wire crates, while others were crowded into enclosures, competing for space and food. Many animals appeared to be emaciated, and suffering from medical issues like parvovirus, distemper and untreated wounds.
It was heartbreaking to see the community’s animals subject to such suffering and neglect.
The animals were removed and taken to a temporary shelter established by the ASPCA, where they received immediate treatment and continued care. The ASPCA then held an adoption event, and worked with trusted partner shelters to find homes for these animals and give them second chances as family pets.
Now, Taylor has been found guilty on six counts of second-degree animal cruelty. It is a win for the animals she allowed to suffer under her watch, and a lesson for all that animal cruelty cannot go unpunished.
Taylor’s sentencing is set for May, and each count can see a maximum sentence of up to 12 months in jail.
Rescue is only one part of an animal cruelty case such as this. The ASPCA assists with forensic evidence collection and processing to help build a case for animals who can’t speak of the abuse they’ve endured. We also provide assistance with legal counsel and testimony in court to give animal victims their best chance at finding justice.
Animal cruelty cases are complex and, like this one, can take years to conclude. We currently have hundreds of animals in our care who are part of open cases, and we will continue to care for them as long as we’re needed.
Sand to Snow National Monument is a quiet place — its mountainous high desert and cascading streams a draw for those seeking panoramic views, tranquility and solitude.
But on a recent morning, the serenity was ruined by a menacing bellowing, making it clear passing hikers weren’t alone.
On a ridgeline near a popular stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, five feral bulls, each the size of a small car, were snorting, stomping and pawing the ground — postures indicating they were ready to charge.
The bulls gazed down on human observers; some lowered their foot long horns. Then they lumbered on, trampling the trail and devouring native vegetation in one of California’s newest national monuments.
Peering through binoculars, Terry Anderson, a board member of the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep, saw a species he doesn’t consider worthy of conservation in the wild lands near Palm Springs.
“They are part of a herd of at least 150 that’s ripping up this monument and scaring the heck out of folks who cross paths with them,” he said. “They also can transmit disease to native bighorn sheep. So, they need to be removed — and I’m all for lethal removal. They don’t belong here.”
Signs posted at trailheads warn of an additional danger. A pack of pit bulls has been killing and eating wild cattle in this nature sanctuary framed by mountains and watered year-round by a river roiling through overlapping biological zones including sandy desert, boulder fields, grasslands and forests.
Jack Thompson, desert regional director of the adjacent Whitewater Preserve, roughly 10 miles northwest of Palm Springs, was only half-kidding when he said, “It’s Jurassic Park just a two-hour drive east of downtown Los Angeles.”
The conflicts have become a local crisis not just because of the wild cattle and dogs, but also because the number of visitors and hikers in the Mojave Preserve and Sand to Snow National Monument has increased dramatically since it received federal designation in 2016, up from 90,000 to 148,000 last year
Growing up, most of us probably heard our parents tell us time and time again to make our beds each morning, but as it turns out, they could have been wrong.
Research from Kingston University has shown that making your bed in the morning traps in dust mites that have accumulated overnight and provides a breeding ground for allergens that can exacerbate asthma and allergies.
These microscopic bugs feed on scales of human skin, and they thrive in moist environments. When we sleep during the night, our bodies become warm and sweaty, making us a prime target for these dust mites to feed on our skin (and leave behind excretions that can give us asthma-like symptoms).
Making your bed first thing in the morning traps in this moisture, allowing your bed to be a home for up to 1.5 million dust mites. If you leave your bed messy, however, the mites are exposed to air and sunlight, which causes them to become dehydrated and die out.
Because mites can produce allergens that are problematic for people with asthma or allergies, it’s important to minimize the number of mites milling around in your bed.
To search for a solution to the problem, scientists at the university developed a computer model to track the number of dust mites in the home, and they found that leaving your bed unkempt throughout the day is the best solution to reduce the number of dust mites. Letting your bed air out to remove any moisture inhibits mite survival, so you no longer have to feel guilty about heading out the door in a rush with your sheets in a tangle.
If you’re someone who can’t stand a messy bed, at least consider leaving your bed unmade in the morning for a few hours, and putting it together later in the afternoon.
The American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology recommends the following to help combat dust allergies at home:
- Remove wall-to-wall carpets, particularly in the bedroom.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom, and preferably out of the house.
- Minimize household humidity.
- Use “mite-proof” cases on mattresses and pillows; wash bed linens frequently in hot water.
- Install a high-efficiency media filter in your furnace and air conditioning unit.
- Keeping your house cool and dry can also help reduce dust mites, as they thrive best in a warm and humid environment.