Data collected from more than 17,500 birds revealed that migrating warblers can return to a local nesting site from thousands of miles away using a single geomagnetic coordinate.
A research team led by members of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology has found evidence that migratory birds, like the reed warbler, can use sensory cues from the Earth’s magnetic field to help them return to the same nesting site year after year.
To establish whether migrating songbirds also used magnetic cues as a destination pin to re-locate nesting sites, the study published today in Science analysed ‘ringing recoveries’ from more than 17,500 reed warblers collected over eight decades.
Ringing data logs the location of the bird when the leg ring is fitted and again when the bird is recovered – building a record of any changes to the birds’ nesting positions from one year to the next.
The research team found that as the Earth’s magnetic field moved year on year, the logged locations of the returning warblers moved correspondingly, suggesting a geomagnetic influence.
Previous studies have shown that migratory birds inherit ‘clock and compass’ information from their parents, and that experienced birds can use the Earth’s magnetic field as a navigation aid. However, little was known about how migrating birds know precisely when and where their journey should end.
Dr Joe Wynn, formerly of the University of Oxford and now a researcher at the Institute for Avian Research in Germany, said: ‘While we know an increasing amount about how birds inherit migratory information from their parents, how they return to the same site year-on-year with pinpoint accuracy has remained elusive. It’s quite exciting, therefore, that we’ve been able to find evidence that magnetic cues could be used by songbirds trying to re-locate their homes.’
Although the warblers seemed to be using geomagnetic markers to navigate, it was still unclear which magnetic cues were used by warblers to pinpoint their breeding sites over large distances.
Using the starting position from the ring data and overlaying variations in the earth’s magnetic values, researchers estimated where the bird should return to the following year, depending on which cues the warblers responded to. The study used three models of navigation based on different magnetic cues mapping the predicted recovery sites against the logged ringing recovery sites. The researchers reported evidence that the warblers used a single magnetic cue – magnetic inclination (the ‘dip angle’ of the earth's magnetic field) – to find their natal or breeding sites by using it as a stop sign.
Dr Wynn said: 'Birds seem to have a direction that they are inclined to go in at a specific time of year and they go in that direction. When they reach a value that represents the magnetic value they are aiming for, then they stop. 'It's remarkable that birds can do this to precisely pinpoint a breeding site from half the world away.' The full paper, ‘Magnetic stop signs signal a European songbird’s arrival at the breeding site after migration’ is published in Science.
AKC Reunite, the largest non-profit pet identification and recovery service provider in the United States, announced today that 100 grants have been donated to police departments throughout the nation through its AKC Reunite Adopt a K-9 Cop matching grant program. Funds were raised by contributions from AKC clubs and community members, with AKC Reunite matching donations at a three-to-one ratio.
The 100th Adopt a K-9 Cop grant was given to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office in Sylva, NC sponsored by The United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) with AKC Reunite matching the funds raised three-to-one. The USPCA has been a top participating sponsor in the program.
The Adopt a K-9 Cop program allows AKC Reunite to match funds from AKC Clubs, AKC affiliated organizations and the public, three-to-one, up to $7,500 per grant through the Canine Support and Relief fund. These donations help police departments throughout the United States purchase K-9 police dogs. Many of the police dogs acquired with the help of these grants are used as patrol dogs as well as detection dogs, helping to locate narcotics, explosives and/or evidence.
“We are thrilled to have donated 100 grants through the AKC Reunite Adopt a K-9 Cop matching grant program,” said Tom Sharp, AKC Reunite CEO. “K-9 police dogs are a vital asset to law enforcement agencies nationwide and these grants help local police departments acquire police dogs, contributing to increased safety in their communities.”
“The United States Police Canine Association is excited to assist the AKC Reunite program, which helps provide funding for new and additional police canines to law enforcement across the country,” added Don Slavik, Executive Director for the USPCA.
A total of 100 Adopt a K-9 Cop grants have been awarded since the inception of the program. Learn more about how to get involved in AKC Reunite Adopt a K-9 Cop program and see pictures and stories of dogs already donated at https://www.akcreunite.org/k9/.
Veterinary sector sales rose 9 percent to $35 billion in 2021, including all services and products, Packaged Facts reports.
Across the pet industry, “an ever-heightening focus on animal health has spearheaded the most important marketing and product development thrusts, driven by pet humanization and pet parents’ heavy involvement in pet care,” according to the market research firm. The findings are part of the just-released Veterinary Services in the U.S.: Competing for the Pet Care Customer.
The trend has included pet parent insistence on – and willingness to pay for – quality services and products that offer demonstrable health benefits on par with what they seek for themselves, the firm stated in a press release. With human health concerns elevated in the face of COVID-19, pet owners’ heightened focus on the health of their fur children has been a natural side effect, especially as they rely even more heavily on their pets for companionship and comfort.
It’s also no secret in the pet industry that much of the future of the business hinges on the current and ongoing involvement of Millennials and Gen Z, which together account for 55% of dog owners and 43% of cat owners. This younger set of veterinary clients is at the forefront of many of the pet industry’s most important trends.
The good news is that Millennials and Gen Z are even more likely to take their pets to the vets. The challenge is that veterinary practices that worked with Boomers are increasingly unlikely to maintain business as usual, much less position the veterinary sector for growth.
A Maine cat named Ashes that went missing almost seven years ago is set to finally return home after being identified by a veterinarian 1,400 miles away in Longwood, Florida, on Jan. 22. Ashes escaped from owner Denise Cilley's home in August 2015. After an extensive search of the surrounding area didn't turn up Ashes, Cilley believed that her beloved pet had been killed by a predator.
That all changed with one phone call. On Jan. 22, a veterinarian from the Franklin County Animal Shelter in Eastpoint, Florida, informed Cilley that someone recently brought the cat in as a stray. The veterinarian confirmed the feline belonged to Cilley through the contact info found on Ashes' microchip before calling the pet parent.
"I live in Maine. We don't have a cat in Florida," she recalled telling the vet in an interview. The vet then told Cilley that the cat was a female gray tabby who had been spayed, and Cilley knew her long-lost beloved pet had been found, though she still wonders how the cat ever got to Florida.
"We have no idea," Cilley said. "Maybe somebody found her in Maine, thought she was a stray, took her in and moved to Florida, and she got out and couldn't find her way home. I wish she could talk." Cilley knows that her upcoming reunion with Ashes is only possible because of "the miracle of microchips." "They're not that expensive and can save so much heartache if your cat ever gets out," she explained.
The steps to make Cilley's reunion with Ashes a reality are in motion thanks in part to Janet Williams, a former Maine resident who had since moved to Florida and founded ADORE Pet Rescue. "They called me because I do have connections in the rescue community," Williams told Patch. "And there's a fairly well-organized rescue network up, and down the East Coast I could tap into."
Ashes had an upper respiratory infection, dental disease, missing teeth, and a scabby coat when brought to the Franklin County Animal Shelter as a stray. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for Ashes' veterinary care and travel costs.
"I don't think she had vet care, or she would have been scanned for a microchip," Cilley said of the cat's past seven years.
"She bounced back quickly, though. She has a good coat, a good body weight, and a good disposition," Williams added. "She is incredibly sweet. She wants to be brushed, which is unusual for cats, but she loves to be combed."
With the help of a social media post, a Southwest employee has volunteered to fly Ashes back to New England once she is healthy enough for the trip.
"Kitty still has some traveling in her future," Cilley shared.
Researchers from Ohio State University took nasal swabs from 360 wild white-tailed deer across nine different areas in Northeast Ohio between January and March of 2021 when cases of COVID-19 were surging in the U.S..
Experts behind the study published last month in Nature detected genetic material from at least three different strains of the virus in more than 35 percent of the deer sampled in six of the locations, meaning 129 deer had either been infected recently or were dealing with an active case.
The study builds on previous research that has found evidence of coronavirus infection among white-tailed deer in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.
While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 spread from deer to human, researchers warn circulation of the virus in deer could potentially pose a risk to humans if the animal becomes a reservoir for the virus. Andrew Bowman, the study’s author and professor of veterinary preventive medicine at The Ohio State University, said the fact wild deer can become infected “leads toward the idea that we might actually have established a new maintenance host outside humans.” “Based on evidence from other studies, we knew they were being exposed in the wild and that in the lab we could infect them and the virus could transmit from deer to deer. Here, we’re saying that in the wild, they are infected,” Bowman said.
“And if they can maintain it, we have a new potential source of SARS-CoV-2 coming into humans. That would mean that beyond tracking what’s in people, we’ll need to know what’s in the deer, too.”
Deer functioning as a viral reservoir for the coronavirus could complicate future mitigation and control plans for COVID-19. Bowman said the virus could mutate in deer, potentially facilitating the transmission of new strains to humans. The virus could also circulate in deer without mutating but continue to evolve in humans. When humans don’t have immunity to the strains spreading among the deer, those strains could spill back into the human population.
Researchers are not exactly sure how the deer got infected or how the virus behaves in the animals’ body, but suspect they may have been infected by drinking contaminated water, as the virus is shed in human stool and found in wastewater.
Maps recently released by the Washington Department of Natural Resources shed light on what Washington's coast might be facing in the aftermath of a 9.0 earthquake. Experts say a major earthquake is likely to happen within the next 50 years.
A tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake would cover low-lying coastal communities under as much as 30 to 100 feet of water, depending on the area, maps show.
However, the maps break ground in other ways - they also look at how fast that water will move. “Understanding the currents and where they’re the fastest, is incredibly important,” said Chief Hazards Geologist for the Washington Geological Survey Corina Allen.
Water could move as quickly as 30 miles per hour, or more than 25 knots.
The last magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the northwest coast was on Jan. 26, in 1700, off the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a fault that runs from Cape Mendocino in California all the way to British Columbia.
It's called a subduction zone because a layer of the earth's crust making up the ocean floor is being pushed and pulled under the North American Plate, which covers the North American continent. The entire Pacific rim is ringed with these types of faults which generate the largest known quakes on the planet.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone has been quietest the longest and is considered in the window to rupture again, but that could still be a century or more away. The last major quake and tsunami occurred in March of 2011 off northeastern Japan.
In the meantime, Washington is still vulnerable to tsunamis resulting from earthquakes or undersea volcanic eruptions thousands of miles away.
The most damaging could come from Alaska, but just last weekend the tsunami generated by the explosion of an underwater volcano in Tonga sent waves around the Pacific.
In Washington, the highest measurement was 1.1 feet in La Push, Washington. Port San Luis in California saw 4.3 feet. But again, it’s not just a matter of water depth, as beaches and marinas were closed around Washington and the northwest.
“People hear about a one to three-foot wave, they think it’s not a big deal, I see waves that big all the time,” said Harold Tobin, who has spent decades studying subducting faults and tsunamis. “It’s not the same thing. A tsunami is a rush of water…like a tide coming in. And it’s moving a lot faster than you can outrun it.” Tobin also serves as Washington State’s seismologist and is director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.
Pre-veterinary students will have a powerful new tool to streamline the process of applying to colleges of veterinary medicine, thanks to a new hours-tracking integration announced today by Liaison International.
Students applying through the Veterinary Medicine Centralized Application Service (VMCAS™) — created by Liaison and used by nearly every veterinary school in the United States — will now be able to use the Time2Track app to streamline the often-time-consuming process of tracking, documenting and sharing relevant experience hours as part of veterinary school applications.
"We're pleased to see Liaison develop this new app to make the application process more efficient and user-friendly," said Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe, CEO of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). "This new integration will help applicants document, organize and submit information that helps our member institutions make the best admissions decisions."
Before applying for admission to veterinary school, prospective students are in many cases required to track and submit evidence of hundreds of hours of clinical experience along with recommendations from practicing veterinarians, test scores and other application materials. The integration of Time2Track will enable pre-veterinary students to more easily track and manage their in-service experience hours as they prepare for admission to one or more of the 46 veterinary schools worldwide using VMCAS.
According to data compiled from VMCAS applications, applicants report an average of 2,200 total experience hours from jobs, internships, undergraduate coursework and other experiences.
Demand for veterinarians continues to rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 17 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
"This solution helps prospective veterinary school students track and safeguard their earned hours of experience and seamlessly transfer them to their VMCAS application. Most importantly it makes the highly competitive application process a clear pathway to the profession," said George Haddad, Founder and CEO of Liaison.
Liaison offers over 40 different Centralized Application Services that streamline and optimize the admissions and enrollment processes. The company first launched VMCAS in 2013 in partnership with the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges as an admissions solution for veterinary school applicants and programs.
Proposed legislation in Arizona would provide veterinarians with tuition assistance.
The measure is designed to help alleviate a vet shortage, KGUN-TV reports.
Under the proposed legislation, those who graduate after Jan. 1, 2023, could receive up to $100,000 in assistance.
Julie Funk, dean of the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine, said that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, “there were estimates for a need for nearly 30 percent more veterinarians” in Arizona.
The bill, called SB 1271, has been approved in committee and is now headed to the full Arizona Senate. If it passes, it will then go to the state House of Representatives.
A federal judge restored protection to gray wolves, reversing a Trump-era rule that removed Endangered Species Act protection from the animals across most of the country. The ruling prohibits wolf hunting and trapping in states outside of the northern Rocky Mountains.
“This is a huge win for gray wolves and the many people across the country who care so deeply about them,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I hope this ruling finally convinces the Fish and Wildlife Service to abandon its longstanding, misguided efforts to remove federal wolf protections. The agency should work instead to restore these ecologically important top carnivores to places like the southern Rockies and northeastern United States.”
In his 26-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White wrote: “...the Service’s analysis relied on two core wolf populations to delist wolves nationally and failed to provide a reasonable interpretation of the ‘significant portion of its range’ standard.” He therefore set aside the delisting rule and restored wolf protections in the Great Lakes region, West Coast states and southern Rocky Mountains.
“Again and again, we’ve had to take the fight for wolves to the courts,” said Adkins. “I’m relieved that the court set things right but saddened that hundreds of wolves suffered and died under this illegal delisting rule. It will take years to undo the damage done to wolf populations.”
Today’s win is the result of a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association and Oregon Wild.
The court ruling does not restore protection to wolves in the northern Rockies, as wolves in that region lost their protection prior to the delisting rule challenged in this case. However, in response to an emergency petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and its partners, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined in September that protecting the species in the northern Rockies may be warranted based largely on new laws in Idaho and Montana that authorize the widespread killing of wolves.
On Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens announced the passing of Ranger, a beloved “ambassador” bear who had resided at the zoo since 1997. The cub was taken after being orphaned as a cub in Minnesota. The zoo explained why Ranger was never released back into the wild:
While it is never an ideal situation to take animals out of their natural environment, this was the best-case scenario for Ranger, as he had become accustomed to human interaction at a very young age, which would have inhibited his re-introduction to the wild.
Everyone loved Ranger’s “sweet, proud, and relaxed personality,” and because of his amiable demeanor, he broke fear barriers and built connections that promoted awareness of and coexistence with local wildlife.
In a statement, Beth Schaefer, director of animal programs at the Los Angeles Zoo, said:
“Ranger touched the lives of every animal keeper, volunteer, and docent who worked with him over the last 25 years.”
Describing how the beloved bear came to be an ambassador at the zoo:
“Part of the reason why zoos exist is to help create a strong connection to the wildlife that lives around us, and Ranger was the best ambassador for his species in that way. When you would walk around Tiger Plaza, it was impossible to not see groups of people of all ages stopping to observe Ranger basking in the warm sun, eating berries, or just lounging in his habitat. The L.A. Zoo will not be the same without him.”
As reported by NBC Los Angeles, Ranger was euthanized because of declining health.