TIME animals

Antarctic Tourism Could Expose Penguins to New Diseases, Study Warns

Antarctica, South Orkney Islands, Laurie Island, Gentoo
Getty Images

Scientists sound the alarm after foreign pathogens sweep through penguin colonies

A boom in Antarctic tourism could introduce new, infectious diseases to the continent’s penguin colonies, scientists warned in a new study released Friday.

More than 37,000 tourists trekked out to the frozen continent in 2013, more than quadrupling the number of visitors two decades earlier, according to a report in New Scientist first spotted by The Atlantic.

Researchers warned that these well-intentioned visitors could be the unwitting carriers of foreign pathogens. Avian flu, for instance, has caused deadly outbreaks among photogenic colonies of gentoo penguins, killing hundreds in 2006 and 2008. Researchers say that the origin of the virus remains unknown, and that it could also have been introduced by migratory birds flocking to the region.

“The effects of both a growing tourism industry and research presence will not be without consequences,” Wray Grimaldi of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand told the New Scientist.

TIME animals

This Ad Featuring Pets Eating With Human Hands Is Terrifying

Isn’t it every pet’s dream to be able to eat at the dining room table alongside humans? This ad for pet food company Freshpet replaces the heads of 14 humans sitting around the dining room table with the heads of 13 dogs and one cat. The animals use their human hands to do what many humans do at dinner, play with their iPhones at the table or sneak a sip of booze from a flask underneath the table. The one thing they do not do is talk. Frankly, people watching this spot who have to have dinner with chatty relatives over the holidays might envy that part.

TIME animals

Birds Sensed Tornadoes Coming a Day Early, Study Finds

Golden-winged warbler
Golden-winged warbler Getty Images

Ecologists say birds could hear the oncoming storm from over 100 miles away

Five golden-winged warblers left their nests one day before devastating tornadoes in the central U.S. in April, suggesting they could sense the storms coming, according to new tracking data.

These migrant songbirds may be able to sense extreme weather events with low frequency hearing, a new study in the Journal of Current Biology says. The warblers left their nesting area when the storm was still over 100 miles away and weather conditions in the area were normal. Ecologists say they could likely hear an “infrasound” signaling the approach of the storm, which humans cannot hear.

The birds left their nesting area just days after completing their seasonal migration. Geolocators show them flying from the Appalachians 400 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The stormfront consisted of 84 tornadoes that led to 35 fatalities and over $1 billion in property damage.

TIME animals

French Police Tase Rogue Monkey for Stealing Candy from Kids

Now being cared for by vets

A monkey who was terrorizing citizens in the French city of Marseille has finally been tackled by police, who used a taser gun to subdue the animal.

Authorities believe the monkey came from Algeria, Gibraltar or Morocco, was raised illegally and then abandoned in the city, according to reports in La Provence. It appears to have been maltreated and malnourished, subsisting largely on Kinder chocolate bars.

That may have led to a craving for sugar that turned nasty. Last week, it sparked panic in an elementary school, biting and scratching some of the children on repeated occasions as it hunted for sugary snacks.

The police finally managed to capture the animal, which was over 2 and a half feet tall, by tasering him into submission. During the intervention, the monkey bit one police officer’s hand, but is now being looked after by vets.

[La Provence]

TIME animals

Carnivore Comeback: Wolves, Bears and Lynx Thrive in Europe

A Siberian lynx sits inside an open-air cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk
A Siberian lynx sits inside an open-air cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo on the suburbs of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, May 18, 2013 Ilya Naymushin—Reuters

Data was pulled from all over Europe

Despite having half the land area of the contiguous United States and double the population density, Europe is home to twice as many wolves. A new study finds that Europe’s other large carnivores are experiencing a resurgence in their numbers, too — and mostly in nonprotected areas where the animals coexist alongside humans.

The success is owed to cross-border cooperation, strong regulations and a public attitude that brings wildlife into the fold with human society, rather than banishing it to the wilderness, according to study leader Guillaume Chapron, a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences’ Grimsö Wildlife Research Station…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Canada

Canadian Driver Who Stopped Car to Rescue Ducklings Gets Jail Time

Emma Czornobaj
Emma Czornobaj, shown here in this June 3, 2014, file photo at the Montreal Courthouse in Canada, was found guilty in the deaths of two motorcyclists who collided with her car after she stopped for ducks on a Montreal-area highway. On Thursday, a judge sentenced her to 90 days in jail. Graham Hughes—AP

Motorcyclist and his daughter died after crashing into Emma Czornobaj's stationary vehicle

A Canadian woman who stopped her car on the highway to rescue ducklings, inadvertently causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his daughter, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and banned from driving for 10 years on Thursday.

Emma Czornobaj, a 26-year-old woman from the Montreal suburb of Chateauguay, was sentenced Thursday to serve three months of jail time on the weekends, CBC reports. She was convicted in July on two counts of criminal negligence in the deaths of Andre Roy, 50, and his 16-year-old daughter Jessie, and had faced a possible life sentence.

In June 2010, Czornobaj parked her Honda Civic in the left lane of a highway in a Montreal suburb after seeing seven ducklings in the road. She said she was trying to gather the ducks and take them home. As she left her parked car to round up the ducklings, Roy crashed his motorcycle into the back of the stationary vehicle.

The incident has been divisive in Canada. A petition on Change.org signed by thousands of people pushed for the country’s legal system to be lenient on a woman who they believe only had the best of intentions in saving the ducks. The victim’s family members, however, have expressed frustration with Czornobaj over the fact that she hasn’t reached out to them.

[CBC]

TIME Accident

Dog Accidentally Shoots Man in Wyoming

He remains hospitalized but his injury is not life-threatening

This is a case of shooting the arm that feeds you: A Wyoming man was hospitalized on Monday after he was apparently shot by his dog.

Richard L. Fipps had gotten out of his truck to remove snow chains and ordered his dog to go into the back, where the gun was lying, according to Big Horn Mountain Radio. He was accidentally shot in the left arm after the dog stepped on a loaded rifle that had its safety off, or caused movement that triggered it to fire, a sheriff told the Huffington Post.

Fipps remains in the hospital but his condition is not life-threatening. Calls to the sheriff’s officer were not immediately returned.

[The Huffington Post]

TIME animals

Nature’s Top 10 Cute Critters for 2014

A serious science journal allows itself some cuddles

If you read science journals (and really, who doesn’t?) you know that it’s not easy to top Nature—and Nature itself surely knows it. They’re the major leagues, the senior circuit, the place the serious stuff goes to get seen. Nature doesn’t do small—and it definitely doesn’t do cute.

At least, it didn’t.

But every now and then, even the folks on the peer review panels start to feel cuddly. Spend your days vetting new studies about the Dumbo octopus or the toupee monkey or the robot baby penguins that can fool real penguins, and you have to admit that sometimes nature can be pretty adorable—even if Nature can’t.

So in a nod to the sweetness that hides in the science, the journal just released an uncharacteristically precious video–the Top 10 Cutest Animals in 2014. You can go back to being Mr. Grumpypants tomorrow, Nature. But for now, give us a great big hug.

TIME animals

Watch a Dog With No Front Paws Learn to Run With 3D-Printed Legs

He was also born with small forearms

In a heartwarming promotion for 3D systems, a 3D printing company, a dog named Derby tries out a pair of 3D-printed prosthetic legs. The dog has “a congenital deformity characterized by small forearms and no front paws,” according to a statement.

Before Derby got his new legs, he could only move around on soft surfaces indoors, so the new legs are supposed to help him get around on hard surfaces like sidewalks without injuring himself. His owner Dom Portanova says, “He runs faster than the both of us.”

As CEO of 3D Systems Avi Reichental summed up 3D printing’s influence to TIME earlier this year, “This is one of those technologies that literally touches everything we do.”

LIST: 25 Best Inventions of 2014

TIME animals

This Video Is a Turtle Love Story Baby Just Say Yes

Romeo helps Juliet who has fallen on her back and then they ride off into the sunset

This is a video starring two turtles, so you’re probably thinking it isn’t going to be a big deal and it isn’t going to make you feel a bunch of feelings. But joke’s on you, because this video is a big deal and it is going to make you feel a bunch of feelings.

When one turtle spotted a fellow turtle stuck on its back, it bravely came to the rescue, carefully but deliberately turning it over until it was standing on its own feet once again. It’s really such a beautiful moment. They both pause, letting this burgeoning turtle romance sink in for just a second, before waddling (do turtles waddle?) off into the sunset.

As Taylor Swift might say: It’s a love story, baby just say yes.

 

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