Animal Journeys

ramonmercado

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Oh no he didn't!

Edinburgh ferret Mickey did not make London trip
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-e ... e-12861295

Staff named the ferret Mickey

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Rail ferret 'took London train'

A ferret which rail staff thought had travelled on a train from London to Edinburgh has been reunited with his owner.

The male ferret, named Mickey by staff, was found at Haymarket train station on Monday, on platform four when the train from London was in the station.

It was suspected he had jumped off the train after travelling 500 miles on it.

However, his Edinburgh owner said the ferret actually went missing from his home in Stenhouse on Sunday.

Scottish SPCA staff said the owner had never named the two-year-old ferret but referred to him as "Wee man".

The ferret may have followed the tracks all the way into the station, or could have jumped on board a train at either Slateford or Kingsknowe stations to make the two-mile journey from Stenhouse.

Jenny Scott, a Scottish SPCA senior inspector, said: "We are pleased to say that Mickey the ferret has been reunited with his owner after a friend of his owner saw him on the local news.

"He had escaped from his home in the Stenhouse area of Edinburgh on Sunday and had made his way to Haymarket Station where he was found on Monday evening.

"His owner collected him from our Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Balerno on Wednesday afternoon."
 

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Whales' navigational skills cannot be explained by any known theories, claim scientists
Humpback whales possess navigational skills which cannot be explained by any known theories, a study has found.
7:30AM BST 20 Apr 2011

Scientists used satellite technology to track 16 tagged whales as they migrated thousands of miles northwards from the South Atlantic and South Pacific.
For several days at a time they swam legs of their journey - often covering more than 600 miles - with unswerving accuracy.
Most of the whales maintained an almost dead-straight course, deviating by less than one degree, despite the effects of weather and ocean currents.

''Such remarkable directional precision is difficult to explain by established models of directional orientation,'' the researchers led by Dr Travis Horton from the University of Canterbury wrote in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Most long-distance travelling animals are believed to navigate using a compass based either on the Earth's magnetic field, or the position of the sun.
But neither method can account for the extraordinary navigational ability of humpback whales, said the scientists.
They wrote: ''It seems unlikely that individual magnetic and solar orientation cues can, in isolation, explain the extreme navigational precision achieved by humpback whales.
''The relatively slow movements of humpback whales, combined with their clear ability to navigate with extreme precision over long distances, present outstanding opportunities to explore alternative mechanisms of migratory orientation based on empirical analysis of track data.''

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildli ... tists.html
 

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Meet Buster, the lost dog that made an incredible 1,200 mile journey from Colorado to California
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:41 PM on 4th June 2011

When Buster the dog disappeared from his home in Colorado, his owner spent hours agonising over his fate.
But despite thinking about all different possibilities, including that the beloved Labrador had been stolen or eaten by a lion, Samantha Squires could never have imagined what really happened to him.

Six months after Buster Brown vanished from his home in Boulder he was found – an astonishing 1,200 miles away in Salinas, California.
‘I have no idea how he would have made it to Salinas,’ said Mrs Squires. ‘I’ve never even heard of it before.’

Mrs Squires had given up hope of ever seeing her doggy best friend, when she received a letter in the post from an animal shelter.
A member of the public had found the intrepid pooch wondering the streets and taken him to the shelter where staff scanned for a microchip.
The animal lovers had called all the phone numbers listed for the dog, but they were all disconnected.

In a final bid to find his owner, they had written the letter to his last known address to say that they had until May 31 to contact the shelter or the dog would be placed up for adoption.
Late in the afternoon on May 31, a tearful Samantha Squires rang the centre to say that she was his owner.

Buster and Mrs Squires were reunited after he was flown back from San Francisco to Denver.
No one knows how the adventurous dog made his way 1,200 across the country.
Cindy Burnham at the animal shelter said they had, ‘no idea how he got here’.
'He’s the only one who knows. We’re asking him but he’s not telling us.’

A delighted Mrs Squires said that Buster ‘looks quite a lot older and quite a lot fatter’.
She said she is overjoyed to be reunited with her canine companion.
‘He was with me 24/7,’ she told local station KION 46. ‘He slept with me, ate with me, we ran together, everything.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1OOdWzKoG
 

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Gyrfalcons are 'secret seabirds'
By Matt Walker, Editor, BBC Nature

The world's largest falcon, the fast, taloned gyrfalcon, is a secret seabird, scientists have discovered.
Gyrfalcons living in the high Arctic overwinter out at sea, spending long periods living and hunting on pack ice.
It is the first time any falcon species has been found regularly living at sea.

The birds likely rest on the ice and hunt other seabirds such as gulls and guillemots, over what appears to be one of the largest winter ranges yet documented for any raptor.

"I was very surprised by this finding," said ornithologist Kurt Burnham who made the discovery. "These birds are not moving between land masses, but actually using the ice floes or pack ice as winter habitat for extended periods of time."
"Previously, all species of falcon were considered to be land-based birds."

Dr Burnham of the High Arctic Institute, Illinois US and the University of Oxford, UK, together with colleague Professor Ian Newton of Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford, studied the seasonal movements of gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) by tagging 48 birds with radio transmitters.
This allowed them to track the movements of the birds living in three areas of Greenland: Thule in the northwest, Kangerlussuaq in the west, and Scoresbysund in the east.

They found a huge amount of variation between individual birds.
Birds living on the west coast had winter home-range sizes of between 400-6,600km square kilometres.

Those on the east coast ranged far more widely, covering between 27,000-64,000 square kilometres. Some of these had no obvious winter home ranges and travelled continuously during the non-breeding period, spending up to 40 consecutive days at sea.

During the winter one juvenile female travelled more than 4,500km over 200 days, spending over half that time over the ocean between Greenland and Iceland.

"Others had observed gyrfalcons sitting on icebergs and over the ocean but it was always assumed they were only over the ocean for a short period to hunt and then flew back to land," explained Dr Burnham.
"We show that some gyrfalcons actually spend large amounts of time living and hunting over the ocean and pack ice, and that sea ice is actually an important and previously unknown winter habitat for [them]."


Gyrfalcons in Iceland and the low Arctic are thought to be residents, staying in the same location all year. In the high Arctic, gyrfalcons are known to be migratory, but little was known about where they overwintered.

A few other falcons also cross the ocean when migrating, such as peregrine falcons crossing the Gulf of Mexico. But the gyrfalcons are doing more than just moving between land masses in this way.
"These individuals are likely resting on icebergs and ice floes and hunting the seabirds, such as black guillemots, dovekies, and species of gull, that are using the same habitat," said Dr Burnham.

The size of the bird's home range over the ocean also surprised the scientists.
Dr Burnham told the BBC: "The other main finding is the huge area that some of these individuals are using.
"In the big picture this shows how adaptable and mobile gyrfalcons have to be in order to survive and reproduce in the harsh arctic environment they live in.
"Food or prey can be scarce during the winter, and having the ability to travel somewhat long distances on a daily basis and spend long periods of time away from land increases their chance of survival.

The research, he added, emphasises how specialised many Arctic species are, in order to survive in an extremely difficult and inhospitable environment.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13791688
 

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Emperor penguin from Antarctic visits New Zealand beach

A young emperor penguin, normally found in the Antarctic, has turned up on a New Zealand beach.
It is a rare event, the first confirmed sighting of an Emperor penguin in New Zealand in 44 years.
"I saw this glistening white thing standing up and I thought I was seeing things," said Christine Wilton, who found it while walking her dog.

The department of conservation is baffled by how it arrived, saying it may have taken a wrong turn.
"It's amazing to see one of these penguins on the Kapiti coast," says the department's Peter Simpson.

The visitor has attracted crowds of onlookers, who are being advised not to disturb the penguin and keep their dogs on leads.
Conservation experts say the bird is a juvenile, about 10 months old and 32in (80cm) tall.
Emperor penguins are the tallest and largest of all penguin species, growing up to 4ft (122cm) high and weighing more than 75lb (34kg).

Colin Miskelly, a penguin expert at Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum, said the bird was likely born during the last Antarctic winter.
It may have been searching for squid and krill when it took a wrong turn and arrived on New Zealand's North Island.

"Usually they stay among the pack ice," said Mr Miskelly.
"This one just kept going north and it's a very long way from its usual range."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13856024
 

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'Loneliest penguin in the world' falls ill after eating sand it thought was snow
Lost Emperor hospitalised in New Zealand
By Richard Shears
Last updated at 8:34 PM on 24th June 2011

It's just one calamity after another for this Emperor penguin.
After making a wrong turn in Antarctic waters and ending up in New Zealand, the ten-month-old bird has now been taken to hospital for eating sand that it confused with snow.
The penguin had been showing signs of distress as it waddled up and down Peka Peka Beach on the North Island of New Zealand.

Experts agreed that because it had never seen sand before, the penguin thought it was snow and began to eat it.
The theory was confirmed after the bird was X-rayed at Wellington Zoo.

It was given a flushing treatment to clean out the handfuls of sand that had built up in its body.
Emperor penguins, the largest of the species, normally feed on fish, krill, and squid.

Peter Simpson of New Zealand's Department of Conservation said the penguin probably started eating the sand to cool itself down - as the creatures normally do with snow if they get too hot.
Despite it being winter in New Zealand, the country is enjoying temperatures of up to 18C - too warm for a bird who is around 4,000 miles from its frozen Antarctic home.
Mr Simpson said: 'Temperature is a major issue for it. We need to monitor its well-being in these sorts of climates.'

Emperor penguins typically spend their entire lives in Antarctica. It has been 44 years since one was last spotted in New Zealand.
The penguin has also become lethargic and there are fears it might have picked up an infection.

Mr Simpson said: 'If we can nurse it back to health we might be able to reintroduce it to the sea in the hope it will swim back to Antarctica.'
Flying the penguin back home was not possible he said, because it is winter in Antarctica which means 24-hour darkness.
He added: 'We don't have facilities in New Zealand capable of providing the penguin with long-term accommodation, so we can only hope it will make its own way back if we are able to release it.'

A decision was expected to be made on whether an operation would be needed to clear the bird's throat, which appears to have a blockage.
Experts also believed that a large number of visitors going to Peka Peka Beach to look at the bird might have added to its distress.
Officials have now moved the penguin to Wellington Zoo so it can be better looked after.

Christine Wilton discovered the penguin while walking her dog and had nicknamed it Happy Feet.
She said: 'I'm so pleased it's going to be looked after. He needed to get off the beach. He did stand up this morning, but you could tell that he wasn't happy.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1QH5vWhIX
 

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I don't feel confident about this poor bird's long term chances... :(
 

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Atlantic puffins 'scout out' their own migration routes rather than relying on genetic 'programming'
By Lee Moran
Last updated at 9:05 AM on 22nd July 2011

Birds of a feather are famed for sticking together.
But that may not exactly be the case for the independent Atlantic puffin - who is now believed to work out its migration routes without any help from its parents or genetic instincts.
Scientists tracking 18 birds found they followed a wide range of different flight paths, suggesting their movements were not genetically pre-determined.

They also discovered that young puffins leave their colonies at night, alone, long before their parents - rendering unlikely the theory they may learn a route directly from their elders.

Oxford University and Microsoft Research Cambridge teamed up for the study, published this week in PLoS ONE, in which they used BAS geolocater tags to track the migration movements of 18 birds.
Eight of the animals, belonging to a sub-colony at The Isthmus on Skomer Island, Wales, were tracked for two consecutive years.

Professor Tim Guilford, of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, co-led the project and believes the type of 'scouting' for good migration routes could also be used by other species of birds.
He said: 'We think it's likely that, before they start breeding, young puffins explore the resources the ocean has to offer and come up with their own individual, often radically different, migration routes.
'This tendency to explore may enable them to develop a route which exploits all the best food sources in a particular area wherever these might happen to be.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... z1SpRUh1w5
 

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Pigs can't fly... but they can swim: Homesick Scottish boars paddle a mile across the sea
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:23 AM on 25th July 2011

Pigs can't fly - but this pair of homesick Tamworth boar crosses can certainly swim.
They took to the water like pigs to mud after they were put out to pasture on the uninhabited island of Longa off the North West Scottish coast.
Named Mary and Truffle by their owner, James Cameron was startled to discover they had returned home the day after he left them and their swim across the sea was caught on camera.

Holidaymaker Jay Goss, 31, watched in amazement from his parents' seaside cottage at Big Sands in Wester Ros.
At first he thought they were otters but soon realised they had snouts. He said: 'The sea was a mill pond and the two wee chaps swam 1.5km to the mainland. It was incredible. They reached the shore and were shivering and nervous.'
He called Mr Cameron to tell him he had the two pigs but he thought it was a joke at first.

He said: 'We have six piglets, or weaners, at the moment and we decided to put two of them out to Longa.
'We normally put sheep over to the island and we thought the pigs would like it. There is plenty of rooting material and fresh water.
'We put them out at 6pm on the Thursday evening and on Friday about 8pm I got a call to say "Your piglets have just swam back home".

'I thought it was a joke at first and that somebody was pulling my leg because people had been thinking it was quite a story that the pigs were going to Longa. My initial reaction was 'Aye, right'. But it was true.'
'I went down to check for myself and they were just wandering about on the shore, quite happy and none the worse for their swim across the loch. I put them in the trailer and reunited them with the others.'
He added: 'I've been talking to people about it and nobody has ever seen pigs swim.'

His wife, Marie said: 'Holidaymakers at the campsite make a great fuss of the pigs and I think they just missed the company - and feeding time. People are always giving them food.
'Mary and Truffle won't be going back to Longa. They told us in no uncertain terms that they didn't fancy island life so they'll be staying here.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1T6w1uAvg

'I've been talking to people about it and nobody has ever seen pigs swim.'
IIRC, the famous Tamworth Two swam across a river in their escape from the abbattoir.
 

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Connecticut mountain lion 'crossed US' before death

A mountain lion killed on a road in the US state of Connecticut had walked halfway across the US before it died in June, scientists have said.
DNA tests showed the cat was native to the Black Hills of South Dakota, 1,800 miles (2,896km) away, scientists said.
And its DNA matched that of an animal collected by chance in 2009 and 2010 in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The evidence suggests the cat had made the the longest-ever recorded journey of a land mammal, scientists say.

The mountain lion, also known as a cougar or a puma, is a type of big cat native to the western hemisphere.
The species once ranged widely, from British Columbia in Canada to Argentina and Chile, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, but its habitat in North America is now mostly limited to the western US, according to the Sierra Club, a conservation organisation.

When it was struck by a car and killed in June in Milford, Connecticut, about 50 miles north-east of New York City, the young, lean, 140lb male became the first mountain lion seen in that state in more than a century, said Daniel Esty, commissioner of the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
"The journey of this mountain lion is a testament to the wonders of nature and the tenacity and adaptability of this species," Mr Esty said

The continental crossing from South Dakota to Connecticut put the cat on a path south around Lake Michigan, passed Chicago, the old industrial "rust belt" cities of Ohio and western Pennsylvania and north of New York City.

According to scientists with the US Department of Agriculture, DNA taken from the mountain lion showed its genetic structure matched a population of cats native to the sparsely populated Black Hills region of South Dakota.
The DNA also matched samples taken from scat, hair and blood in Minnesota, directly east of South Dakota, and Wisconsin, which neighbours that state to the east, in late 2009 to early 2010.

On 5 June, the lion was seen at a school in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was struck and killed on 11 June about 01:00 local time.
In addition, scientists said the cat was neither declawed nor neutered, suggesting it was not an escaped or released captive.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14303496
 

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New Zealand: Emperor penguin 'recovered' after surgery

A young emperor penguin found washed up on a New Zealand beach is recovering well and could swim home next month.
Staff at Wellington zoo said results of an X-ray and blood test showed "Happy Feet", as it has been named, is fine after endoscopic surgery.

The penguin was found on Peka Peka beach, about 60km (37 miles) north of Wellington - some 3,000km from its home in Antarctica.
Experts had been reluctant to intervene as the bird appeared to be healthy.
However, it later grew lethargic and was operated on to remove sand from its stomach.

A Zoo spokeswoman, Kate Baker, said the penguin has gained about 4 kg (9 lbs).
It was given a first swim at the zoo earlier this week, in waters which needed to be several degrees below freezing for the purpose.
Crowds have been flocking to the zoo to see the bird - the first such arrival of an Emperor penguin in New Zealand in at least 44 years.

The bird's plight has attracted worldwide attention.
Hundreds of people had gathered to watch a leading gastroenterologist from Wellington Hospital perform the endoscopy on the bird at the zoo in late June.

To help it feel more at home, the penguin is being kept in a room chilled to about 8C (46F). There is a bed of ice for it to sleep on.
Zoo staff said the bird would probably be released offshore from the south end of the country early next month.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14337401
 

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rynner2 said:
The mountain lion, also known as a cougar or a puma, is a type of big cat native to the western hemisphere.
The species once ranged widely, from British Columbia in Canada to Argentina and Chile, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, but its habitat in North America is now mostly limited to the western US, according to the Sierra Club, a conservation organisation.
And western Canada. Gah.

That said, after I typed that, I clicked the link, and that paragraph has now been amended to:

The species once ranged widely, from British Columbia in Canada to Argentina and Chile, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, but its habitat in North America is now mostly limited to the western US and Canada, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a government agency dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife and habitats.

Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, there was a cougar shot in Chicago that also was DNA matched to the Black Hills population.
 

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rynner2 said:
New Zealand: Emperor penguin 'recovered' after surgery

A young emperor penguin found washed up on a New Zealand beach is recovering well and could swim home next month.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14337401
Lost emperor penguin Happy Feet heads back home
Penguin who became focus of global media after washing up on New Zealand beach 2,500 miles from home to be returned to Antarctica
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 17 August 2011 08.27 BST

A young emperor penguin that captured worldwide attention when it washed up on a New Zealand beach after straying thousands of miles from home will head back to the subantarctic in a specially designed cage on board a research vessel.

The Wellington Zoo, where the bird – nicknamed "Happy Feet" by locals – has been living since June, said on Wednesday the penguin would be on the research vessel Tangaroa when it leaves on 29 August for a fisheries survey.
The penguin will be released from the ship about four days out at sea, en route to its final destination.

"The NIWA team are looking forward to having this extra special guest on board the vessel with us for the journey," Rob Murdoch of NIWA, the research organisation that operates the vessel, said in a statement issued by the zoo.
"Happy Feet has captured the hearts of New Zealanders and people across the world, and we're pleased to be able to help safely return him to the Southern Ocean."

A Wellington Zoo vet will accompany the penguin, which will be housed in a crate designed by Wellington Zoo staff to keep it cool and comfortable during the voyage.
The animal will be fitted with a GPS tracker that will allow fans to monitor its progress online on several websites, including sirtrack.com and ourfarsouth.org

The bird became the focus of the world's media after it turned up on a beach some 2,500 miles (4,000 km) from its home, only the second emperor penguin known to have shown up in New Zealand.

It underwent endoscopic surgery in June to remove 3kg (6.6lbs) of sand from its stomach and subsequently recuperated at the zoo, where a "penguin cam" allowed fans to observe its every move over the internet.
Penguins normally eat snow to stay hydrated but vets believe Happy Feet became confused and ate sand instead. Emperor penguins are the largest penguin species and can weigh up to 30kg (66lbs). The previous sighting of an emperor penguin in New Zealand took place in 1967.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/au ... heads-home
 

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New Zealand's farewell to lost penguin Happy Feet

Hundreds of people have visited Wellington Zoo to bid farewell to an emperor penguin who washed up on a New Zealand beach in June.
Nicknamed Happy Feet, he is being returned to Antarctica on Monday after recovering from surgery to remove 3kg (6.6lb) of sand from his stomach.
The bird is thought to have eaten the sand, having mistaken it for the snow penguins swallow to stay hydrated.
He is to be transported four days out to sea by a fisheries survey vessel.

Happy Feet, named after the popular animated film about a tap-dancing penguin chick, has been fitted with a tracking device so the zoo can monitor his progress.

His unexpected appearance on Peka Peka Beach - north of Wellington and 3,000km (1,860 miles) from his Antarctic colony - stunned wildlife experts who said he was only the second emperor ever recorded in New Zealand.

Hopes he would make his own way back were dashed when he became ill and his subsequent recovery, on a diet of "fish milkshakes", has captured the public's imagination.
The zoo's veterinary science manager Lisa Argilla said: "Everyone's been really curious to see what happens. It was touch-and-go there for a while but he's doing really well now."

A webcam set up in his small, ice-filled room at the zoo attracted an online following of more than 120,000 people.
A public campaign raised more than NZ$20,000 (£11,000) towards the costs of his recovery.
However, the total spent saving and returning him is estimated to be at least three times that. Some, like Wellington's Victoria University biologist Wayne Linklater, writing in Wellington's Dominion Post, have questioned the use of money on an animal whose species is not endangered.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14702100
 

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Another Mystery of the Sea...

Happy Feet the penguin's tracker falls silent
Emperor penguin found in New Zealand and returned to the ocean may have been eaten – or his tracker may have fallen off
Maev Kennedy guardian.co.uk, Monday 12 September 2011 16.34 BST

Happy Feet, the emperor penguin who became an international celebrity after losing his way and ending up in New Zealand, is missing presumed eaten after being released into the ocean this month, scientists said. :(

Concerns were raised over Happy Feet's fate when the tracker device attached to his body stopped sending signals on his trip home to Antarctica.
Kevin Lay, of Sirtrack, the specialist firm that fitted the tracker, said no signal had been received since Friday, when the penguin was about halfway home. He said it was possible Happy Feet had been eaten, but he remained hopeful.
"There are some species that will forage on emperor penguins. It's not likely that it has happened to Happy Feet because of the area he was in."

Lay said the tracker was meant to transmit a signal every time it broke the surface of the water, and had been working perfectly. It was intended to remain attached for months and be shed in the new year moult, but may have fallen off.
Sharks, seals and killer whales are among the creatures known to eat penguins.

The three-and-a-half-year-old Happy Feet was found emaciated and exhausted on a beach near Wellington in mid-June, only the second emperor ever recorded in New Zealand.

He was nursed back to health at Wellington zoo, undergoing surgery to remove several kilos of sand he had swallowed having apparently mistaken it for snow. The zoo's visitor numbers doubled as people tried to catch one of his rare public appearances.


Colin Miskelly, a wildlife expert who advised on the penguin's treatment, said the truth about his fate would probably never be known. "It is unlikely that we will ever know what caused the transmissions to cease, but it is time to harden up to the reality that the penguin has returned to the anonymity from which he emerged," he told AFP.
There are plans for a book and documentary of Happy Feet's story, but the ending may remain a mystery.

The tracker firm posted what may well be the last news of Happy Feet: "Finally, as we expect many people are, the team at Sirtrack are disappointed that we are unable to track Happy Feet's progress any further. We have enjoyed being part of this project and hope that Happy Feet is making his way home."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ker-silent
 

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ramonmercado said:
Probably eaten by an Orca.
First Bo Derek's leg, now Happy Feet! Will this madness ever end?
 

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Cat lost in Colorado turns up in New York
A pet cat that went missing in Colorado five years ago has been found wandering the streets of Manhattan, more than 1800 miles away.
7:00AM BST 15 Sep 2011

Workers at a pet shelter traced Willow the cat back to a family in Colorado, thanks to a microchip embedded in the animal's neck that they checked with a scanner, said Richard Gentles, spokesman for Animal Care & Control of New York City.
A concerned citizen found the brown, black and white cat recently prowling the streets on the East Side of Manhattan, and the animal was taken to the shelter.

Animal care workers do not know who was taking care of the cat, but Mr Gentles said one thing is certain - the pet did not travel half-way across the country on its own.
"The cat was in very good condition, clean, a little chunky," he said. "So obviously someone was taking care of her."

Willow belongs to a Colorado family called the Squires, and the animal apparently ran away five years ago during a home renovation project, Mr Gentles said.
The Squires could not be reached for comment late on Wednesday.

Animal Care & Control plans to soon fly the cat back to the Squires, after the animal passes a required screening test for communicable disease and to make sure it is healthy enough to travel, Mr Gentles said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... -York.html

I'm not saying the cat did walk all the way, but if it had it would only have covered about a mile a day on average over the five years.
 

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Kingfisher's record flight: Polish bird flies 620 miles to Suffolk
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:13 AM on 24th October 2011

A kingfisher has broken the record for the furthest migration of the species between the UK and the Continent, it seems.
The bird, found at the National Trust’s Orford Ness national nature reserve in Suffolk, is thought to have travelled more than 620 miles from Poland.
While kingfishers are a resident breeding species in this country, a small number migrate to the UK each year from the Continent, probably to escape areas with prolonged freezing conditions in winter, the trust said.

The kingfisher, which had been tagged, or ‘ringed’, in Poland, was caught by members of Landguard Bird Observatory as part of studies at the site.
Experts will now find out where in Poland it had been ringed and confirm the record.
The previous record set by a British kingfisher for migration was a bird ringed in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, and found in Irun, Spain – having travelled 603 miles.

Mike Marsh, volunteer ringer for the Landguard Bird Observatory, said: 'We catch a small number of kingfishers each year at Orford Ness, usually in the autumn, and previously assumed that these had been dispersing juveniles of fairly local origin.
'This will be one of the longest migrations among the kingfishers in the ringing database and we can’t wait to get confirmation of the record from the British Trust for Ornithology and hear about the Polish ringing scheme.'

Grant Lohoar, site manager for the National Trust at Orford Ness, a remote shingle spit on the Suffolk coast, said the length of migration was a great discovery - and one that was only made because the bird had been ringed.
'This highlights the importance of ringing as a tool for conservation which allows us to identify birds as individuals,' he said.
'Orford Ness is a really important stopover site for many migrating birds as they can refuel and rest on the marshes, in the reed beds or on the many lagoons we have here.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1bh1K0cVX
 

rynner2

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Tiny songbird northern wheatear traverses the world
By Victoria Gill, Science reporter, BBC Nature

Miniature tracking devices have revealed the epic 30,000km (18,640 miles) migration of the diminutive northern wheatear.
The birds, which weigh just 25g (0.8oz), travel from sub-Saharan Africa to their Arctic breeding grounds.
"Scaled for body size," the scientists report, "this is the one of the longest round-trip migratory journeys of any bird in the world.
The team reports its findings in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

"Think of something smaller than a robin, but a little larger than a finch raising young in the Arctic tundra and then a few months later foraging for food in Africa for the winter," said one of the lead researchers, Prof Ryan Norris from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

The species is of particular interest to scientists, because it has one of the largest ranges of any songbird in the world; with breeding grounds in the eastern Canadian Arctic, across Greenland, Eurasia and into Alaska.
Prior to this work though, it was not clear where the birds spent the winter.

Heiko Schmaljohann, from the Institute of Avian Research in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, was a member of the team that carried out this study.
He and his colleagues visited the wheatears' breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada and fitted 46 birds with the satellite tracking devices.
"The [trackers] weigh 1.4g, including a harness that loops around the birds' legs," he told BBC Nature.
These data loggers recorded the bird's position twice a day for 90 days. Four trackers that the team managed to retrieve revealed that individual wheatears spent the winter in northern parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

The Alaskan birds travelled almost 15,000km (9,000 miles) each way - crossing Siberia and the Arabian Desert, and travelling, on average, 290km per day.
"This is the longest recorded migration for a songbird as far as we know," said Dr Schmaljohann.

Although the Canadian birds did not travel as far - approximately 3,500km - they had to cross the northern Atlantic Ocean.
"That's a very big barrier for a small songbird," Dr Schmaljohann explained.

Henry McGhie, a zoologist and head of collections at Manchester Museum described the birds' journey as "very impressive".
"We do see Greenland wheatears in the UK on migration, usually on the coast," he said.
"The amazing thing [about this study] is that it gives us a glimpse into the extraordinary lives of these tiny birds.
"When we see them, they're in the middle of a journey they do twice every year. When you think of the challenges they must face, you wonder how on earth they do it."

Dr Schmaljohann added: "[In the past] we totally underestimated the flight capability of birds in terms of migration.
"It seems that bird migration is limited by the size of the Earth. If the planet was larger, they would probably migrate even further."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/17027565
 

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Cornish choughs returned from Republic of Ireland: Study

The Cornish chough population, which returned to the county in 2001, came from the Republic of Ireland, a university study suggests.
Researchers at Aberdeen University took DNA samples from feathers to get a genetic fingerprint of the birds.

After being absent from Cornwall for 54 years, the species returned 11 years ago.
Dr Jane Reid said she was surprised by the finding as usually the chough was a "very, very sedentary" bird.

Feathers were taken from chough populations across western Europe, which allowed researchers to discover the Cornish birds' "true origins".
It was speculated that the birds had flown from "the closest launch-off points" of south Wales or Brittany, France.
"Genetic evidence now suggests the new Cornish ones came from some point along the coast of southern Ireland," Dr Reid said.

"Our study also showed that all the populations we sampled right though from Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Ireland, are really quite genetically distinct from each other, which suggests that typically there is very little movement between them."

Species protection warden for the Cornish Chough Project Katherine Lee, who runs a 24-hour protection programme for the birds, said the chough's return had "kept volunteers guessing for about 11 years".
Ms Lee said the return of the chough was of "massive importance" to Cornwall.

She said the year the birds had returned coincided with the foot-and-mouth disease crisis and claims that year the restrictions on public footpaths could have encouraged them to settle.

Choughs are a member of the crow family with a red beak and legs and an excitable high-pitched 'chi-ow' call from which it gets its name.
The bird is included in Cornwall's coat of arms alongside the miner and the fisherman, reflecting the bird's importance in Cornish culture.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-18721061
 

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These kinds of stories make me so happy.

Wichita couple reunited with stolen basset hounds after five years

[SNIP]
And then, last Wednesday, a phone call came.

Brenda Travis didn’t answer.

“I don’t take phone calls during the day, unless it’s nap time. With the baby, I can’t talk,” she said.

But the area code was 707. She listened to the message. The person spoke so fast, Travis said, she couldn’t understand the message.

So, Travis called back.

The person on the other end wanted to know if she had reached the Tom Shields residence. It was the Paulding County animal shelter in Dallas, Ga.

Does he have a basset hound?

“I explained we used to but somebody stole them years ago,” Travis said.

The woman said, “I have them.”

There was a long silence.

“What?” Brenda Travis said. “And then, there were a lot of tears. I finally asked, ‘Are they OK?’ She replied, ‘They are healthy and fat’”
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2012/07/15/240927 ... tolen.html
 

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Koala surprises canoeists by hitching ride in Australia
28 August 2012 Last updated at 19:33

A group of canoeists on Australia's Gold Coast were surprised over the weekend to see a koala swimming near the bank of a river and even more shocked when it crawled into one of their canoes and hitched a ride.

Although it is not unknown for the marsupials to take to the water, experts believe the animal might have felt trapped on a tidal bank in Tallebudgera Creek and decided the canoe was its best way to escape.

Tom Santorelli reports.

[Video courtesy of Burleigh Point Outrigger Canoe Club]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19399774
 

JamesWhitehead

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It is very awww! I have always liked koalas. But those folk are native Australians, I think, from their accents - they know better than to try and cuddle the bugger! :)
 

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Runaway dog mimics London commuters with solo train ride

Frankie the jack russell surprises owner by taking a rush-hour journey to the capital after sneaking out of his home in Kent


James Meikle
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 29 August 2012 10.57 BST

Frankie the dog on his train journey to London. Source: YouTube.

Commuters know the drill. Brisk walk to the station; dash across the platform; hop on to the train; scurry down the aisle to find a suitable seat.

Frankie the jack russell showed a middle-aged dog can learn new tricks by behaving like a regular on the 6.56am to London.

The six-year-old family pet marked his birthday last week by setting out on an incredible rush-hour journey after sneaking out of his home in Gravesend, Kent, after his owner left for work.

There was a 1.6-mile (2.6km) trek to the station and an all-too-brief free ride, before he was caught and put on a leash by train manager Richard Cheeseman as the high-speed Javelin service from Maidstone West to London St Pancras neared its destination.

Thanks to a contact number on his collar, staff were able to phone owner Jane Abbott, 47, who had been frantically searching for her missing pet. She said: "I normally get greeted by Frankie when I get up, but not this morning. I looked all over the house and the garden but there was no sign of him … What we don't understand is why Frankie chose rail. He's never been on a train before."

While Abbott and her 22-year-old daughter Stephanie had to fork out £59 for the trip to fetch their wandering companion, Frankie dodged the usual penalty fines for being caught without a ticket.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/au ... ndon-train

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That statement - "What we don't understand is why Frankie chose rail. He's never been on a train before." makes it strange. Was he following what humans do? Does he have some residual memory from a past life of getting on a train? Is he the littlest hobo?
 

rynner2

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This is fascinating:

Dung beetles guided by Milky Way
By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News

They may be down in the dirt but it seems dung beetles also have their eyes on the stars.
Scientists have shown how the insects will use the Milky Way to orientate themselves as they roll their balls of muck along the ground.
Humans, birds and seals are all known to navigate by the stars. But this could be the first example of an insect doing so.

The study by Marie Dacke is reported in the journal Current Biology.
"The dung beetles are not necessarily rolling with the Milky Way or 90 degrees to it; they can go at any angle to this band of light in the sky. They use it as a reference," the Lund University, Sweden, researcher told BBC News.

Dung beetles like to run in straight lines. When they find a pile of droppings, they shape a small ball and start pushing it away to a safe distance where they can eat it, usually underground.
Getting a good bearing is important because unless the insect rolls a direct course, it risks turning back towards the dung pile where another beetle will almost certainly try to steal its prized ball.

Dr Dacke had previously shown that dung beetles were able to keep a straight line by taking cues from the Sun, the Moon, and even the pattern of polarised light formed around these light sources.
But it was the animals' capacity to maintain course even on clear Moonless nights that intrigued the researcher.
So the native South African took the insects (Scarabaeus satyrus) into the Johannesburg planetarium where she could control the type of star fields a beetle might see overhead
.

Importantly, she put the beetles in a container with blackened walls to be sure the animals were not using information from landmarks on the horizon, which in the wild might be trees, for example.

The beetles performed best when confronted with a perfect starry sky projected on to the planetarium dome, but coped just as well when shown only the diffuse bar of light that is the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Dr Dacke thinks it is the bar more than the points of light that is important.
"These beetles have compound eyes," she told the BBC. "It's known that crabs, which also have compound eyes, can see a few of the brightest stars in the sky. Maybe the beetles can do this as well, but we don't know that yet; it's something we're looking at. However, when we show them just the bright stars in the sky, they get lost. So it's not them that the beetles are using to orientate themselves."
And indeed, in the field, Dr Dacke has seen beetles run in to trouble when the Milky Way briefly lies flat on the horizon at particular times of the year.

The question is how many other animals might use similar night-time navigation.
It has been suggested some frogs and even spiders are using stars for orientation. The Lund researcher is sure there will be many more creatures out there doing it; scientists just need to go look.
"I think night-flying moths and night-flying locusts could benefit from using a star compass similar to the one that the dung beetles are using," she said.

But for the time being, Dr Dacke is concentrating on the dung beetle. She is investigating the strange dance the creature does on top of its ball of muck. The hypothesis is that this behaviour marks the moment the beetle takes its bearings.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21150721
 

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Homing pigeon 'Bermuda Triangle' explained
By Rebecca Morelle, Science reporter, BBC World Service

The mystery of the "Bermuda Triangle" of the homing pigeon world may have been solved.
For years, scientists have been baffled as to why the usually excellent navigators get lost when released from a particular site in New York State.
But new research suggests the birds are using low frequency sounds to find their way around - and they cannot hear the rumble at this US location.

The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
The lead author of the paper, Dr Jonathan Hagstrum, from the US Geological Survey, said that the birds were creating "acoustic maps" of their surroundings.
But some other researchers said the theory was controversial and there was much debate over how homing pigeons navigate so efficiently.

The puzzle of the vanishing pigeons began in the 1960s.
Professor Bill Keeton from Cornell University was trying to understand the birds' astonishing ability to find their way home from places they have never previously visited.
He released birds throughout New York State, but was surprised to discover that whenever the pigeons were released at Jersey Hill, near Ithaca, they became disorientated and flew about aimlessly.

This happened again and again, apart from on one occasion on 13 August 1969 when the birds' navigational prowess returned and they flew back to their loft.

Dr Hagstrum has now come up with an explanation.
He said: "The way birds navigate is that they use a compass and they use a map. The compass is usually the position of the Sun or the Earth's magnetic field, but the map has been unknown for decades.
"I have found they are using sound as their map... and this will tell them where they are relative to their home."

The pigeons, he said, use "infrasound", which is an extremely low-frequency sound that is below the range of human hearing.
He explained: "The sound originates in the ocean. Waves in the deep ocean are interfering and they create sound in both the atmosphere and the Earth. You can pick this energy up anywhere on Earth, in the centre of a continent even."
He believes that when the birds are at their unfamiliar release site, they listen for the signature of the infrasound signal from their home - and then use this to find their bearings.

However, infrasound can be affected by changes in the atmosphere.
Dr Hagstrum used temperature and wind records taken from the dates of the various experimental releases to calculate how the sound would have travelled from the pigeons' base to Jersey Hill.
"The temperature structure and the wind structure of the atmosphere were such in upstate New York that the sound was bent up and over Jersey Hill," he explained.

This meant the birds could not hear it and got lost - apart from the day that the birds found their way home.
He said: "On 13 August 1969, there was either a wind shear or temperature inversion in the troposphere that bent the sound back down so it arrived right back at Jersey Hill on that day, and that day alone."

Dr Hagstrum thinks that disruptions of infrasound may also explain other homing pigeon puzzles, where large numbers of pigeons lose their way, such as a race in 1997 across the English channel where 60,000 birds veered off course.

He admitted his work was "controversial", but said: "This doesn't prove it by any stretch - but it puts out a new idea, which, as far as I'm concerned, is the best explanation of what pigeons are doing, because it explains what has been going on at Jersey Hill."

Others have put forward different ideas for how pigeons find their way, suggesting that the birds use smell, visual clues or the Earth's magnetic field, or even a combination of all of these.

Tim Guilford, professor of animal behaviour from the University of Oxford, said: "Whilst there is disagreement about the details, what we know from a large body of experimental evidence is that access to atmospheric odours is usually necessary, and often sufficient, to explain pigeons' navigational performance from unfamiliar areas, when combined with the time-compensated Sun compass (on sunny days) and perhaps a back-up magnetic compass (on cloudy days).
"When birds become familiar with their wider surroundings, however, they start to depend increasingly on topographical features (probably visual) forming habitual routes home across the landscape."

He said that Dr Hagstrum had used an "interesting approach" and that it was valuable to explore new ideas.
However, he added: "Given the volume of evidence for other mechanisms, infrasound seems unlikely to be the whole explanation."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21262170
 

kamalktk

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If only they had gone with a title of "Birdmuda Triangle" ;)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21262170

"The mystery of the "Bermuda Triangle" of the homing pigeon world may have been solved.

For years, scientists have been baffled as to why the usually excellent navigators get lost when released from a particular site in New York State.

But new research suggests the birds are using low frequency sounds to find their way around - and they cannot hear the rumble at this US location.

The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

The lead author of the paper, Dr Jonathan Hagstrum, from the US Geological Survey, said that the birds were creating "acoustic maps" of their surroundings."
...
 

ramonmercado

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Missing Stoke cat found in Cardiff four years later
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-sout ... s-21277057

Lawrence Gwynn discovered Bobby had been missing since 2009

A missing cat has been found in Cardiff, 150 miles from home in Stoke-on-Trent and four years after vanishing.

Well-travelled tabby Bobby was taken in as a stray by Lawrence Gwynn after he turned up on his doorstep last summer.

Mr Gwynn took Bobby to his vet and discovered he was registered as missing from Stoke-on-Trent in 2009.

But despite calls to the owners, they cannot be traced and Mr Gwynn has appealed for them to come forward.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Nobody knows how he ended up in Cardiff, 150 miles away”

Lawrence Gwynn
Cardiff
Mr Gwynn, 49, of Llanishen, Cardiff, said: "I first found Bobby sitting in my garden when I came back from holiday in June.

"Later on he started developing these polyps on his ears, so I took him to my vet. He told me the cat had a microchip.

Mystery trek
"He scanned him and found out his name was Bobby and he had been registered missing in Stoke-on-Trent in 2009.

"Nobody knows how he ended up in Cardiff, 150 miles away. One theory is that he got inside a vehicle like a removal van that brought him down here.

"But he was in quite a good condition when I found him, so it seems like someone had been looking after him in Cardiff before I found him."

The vet was able to find two telephone numbers registered to Bobby's owner, but one was no longer valid, and there was no answer on the other.

Mr Gwynn said: "If the owner does come forward and wants Bobby back, I'd be happy to hand him over."
 
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