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Pacific walruses are coming ashore in northwest Alaska in record numbers
because they can’t find enough sea ice to rest on. The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration spotted the estimated 35,000 animals huddled
together during an annual marine mammal aerial survey Saturday. The walruses were
first seen in the area Sept. 13 and have been moving on and off shore. Officials say about 50 of the animals have died, possibly in a stampede. Walruses must take
breaks from swimming and use their tusks to haul themselves out onto ice or
rocks. Females give birth on sea ice and use it as a platform to dive for food.
"The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what
many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the
Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of
the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of
climate change,” said Margaret Williams of the World Wildlife Fund. — Read it
Scientists from the U.K.’s University of
Lincoln have captured the first evidence of imitation in a reptile species.
After watching one bearded lizard demonstrate how to open a wire door to get to
a reward, the bearded lizards who observed the action were able to imitate it.
All of the lizards who watched the demonstrator lizard were able to open the
door, but none of the lizards in a control group that didn’t see the
demonstration were able to complete the task. The study was published in the journal
Cognition. — Watch it at Live
The mirror turtle ant, Cephalotes
specularis, was discovered in Brazil by George
Washington University’s Scott Powell. The new species is a master spy. In
two years of observation, he found that the mirror turtle ant was able to
infiltrate the territory of an aggressive ant species by acting just like it.
It copied the other species’ body movements and avoided getting too close so its
scent wasn’t revealed to the enemy. Then, it was able to feed from the other
ants’ food trails and food supply. It’s the first ant species known to use
mimicry to live off another ant species. Powell’s findings were published in
the journal The American Naturalist. — Read it at Discovery
There will be two new faces at the 2015
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: the
Wirehaired Vizsla and the
Coton de Tulear. The
wirehaired Vizsla originated as a hardy hunter from Hungary, and the
Coton de Tulear is a small companion dog known as the "royal
dog of Madagascar." Breeds are added to the competition after they’re recognized by the
American Kennel Club, which has criteria including having several hundred of the
dogs registered in the U.S. The pair brings the number of breeds in the Westminster show to 180. It takes place in New York City on February 16 and 17. — Read it from the
AP via People Pets
Humane Wildlife Services was recently called to a store in Washington, D.C., to find a wayward opossum. The animal had fallen through a ceiling panel and then disappeared — although there was evidence that he was there, getting into merchandise. After days of searching the HWS found the little guy hiding out in a bag, dehydrated and malnourished. The opossum was brought to
City Wildlife, where he was fed and given fluids for six days, until he was strong enough to be released back into the wild. “We were thrilled to give this little guy a second chance of being one of our wild neighbors,” said John Griffin of the
Humane Society of the United States. — Watch it at
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