Animal Journeys

ramonmercado

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Stowaway cat in 2,200-mile journey from Egypt
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-no ... e-21697854

The cat has to stay in quarantine

A cat survived a 2,200 mile flight from Egypt hidden in its unwitting owner's suitcase.

Bisou, a Persian, climbed into her owner's bag in Cairo as she was packing for a trip to visit her sister in Nottinghamshire.

It was only when owner Mervat Ciuiti was in a cab on the M1 that she realised her pet had come with her.

Bisou survived the flight in the hold unscathed but is now staying at a quarantine centre in Derbyshire.

'Perfectly happy'
The seven-year-old cat had to endure the freezing temperatures in the cargo hold on the five-hour flight.

Her owner, who was heading from London to Radcliffe-on-Trent. only found out when a relative rang to say Bisou was missing and she thought the cat might be with her.

She made the taxi driver pull over so she could check and was delighted to find the cat curled up inside unharmed.

But because of Egyptian animal laws she cannot return home for six months, while UK rules says Bisou must stay in quarantine.

She has now settled in happily at Calagran Kennels in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

Calagran owner Mike Binks said: "She is a Persian cat, so very laid back and perfectly happy. She was a bit timid at first but is doing very well now. I think it's harder for the owner.

"If all goes to plan she should be reunited with her owner by the end of May."
 

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Rutland ospreys: Back from the verge of extinction

A groundbreaking project to reintroduce the majestic osprey to central England is toasting its success.
Established in the 1990s, the Rutland Water Osprey Project was the first of its kind in Europe and it is hoped the birds of prey will now colonise neighbouring counties.

This year's young fledglings will soon make their first long distant flight - migrating thousands of miles to the west coast of Africa.

Here, Tim Mackrill explains the work done at the reservoir and tells the extraordinary tale of how they tracked one Rutland bird to a remote mountain in the Sahara desert using GPS technology.

[Videoslide show - great pictures and story.]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-le ... e-23684463
 

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An unusual story. This first surfaced in the local press as a case of callous cruelty, and a reward was offered to find the culprits. But it seems the truth may have been somewhat different:

Kittens thrown from car in Cornwall was 'tragic accident'

Two kittens allegedly thrown from a car and hit by traffic actually fell in a "tragic accident", police say.

Officers from Devon and Cornwall Police were told in August that the animals were thrown from a red VW Golf on the Penryn bypass heading towards Falmouth.
But after a witness came forward, police found the kittens had "fallen" from the engine compartment.
A police spokesman said: "No criminal action by any individual took place and this case is now closed."

The incident was alleged to have happened on 28 August and an appeal was made by police.
"A female came forward stating that she drives a similar car and can be put in the area at the time," the police spokesman added.
"She lives on a farm which has several feral cats and having returned from her journey she could hear a cat calling from within her car.
"A kitten was located in the engine compartment which was then reunited with its mother.
"Inquiries would suggest that two other kittens fell from the engine compartment while the vehicle was in motion."

He said that it was with "great relief" that the force could confirm "this was a tragic and unforeseeable accident rather than the act of a callous owner".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-24131421
 

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Just one thing puzzles me, said the cop before he left. This ad. you put in the paper:

"VW, low mileage, 2 litter engine, one callous owner, offers"

:shock:
 

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Eurasian Scops Owl takes refuge on HMS Illustrious

A owl which "ran out of steam" during its migration and "took refuge" on a Royal Navy warship has been returned to the wild.
Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious was patrolling off Yemen when the Eurasian scops owl was spotted cowering under a crane on deck.

Lt Chris Patrick, a member of the Royal Naval Bird Watching Society, spent several days nursing it back to health.
He said the "poor little thing must have seen the ship and took refuge".
Lt Patrick, from Weymouth, said the owl had landed on the vessel while on a migration route south towards Sub-Saharan Africa.
He said it had "looked as though it was simply waiting to die".

Weather conditions meant the bird would not be able to make it to shore, so he took it to his cabin and fed it pieces of meat.
Within two days, it was trying to fly again and Lt Patrick, the ship's meteorologist, calculated the best location to release the bird when wind conditions were favourable.

Lt Patrick said it had looked "in good condition" when it was released near the coast of Oman and was "heading to shore with the prevailing winds".
"We all hope it made the journey safely," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-24349122
 

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Missing cat from Portsmouth is found safe and well – in Scotland!
by Ellie Pilmoor
[email protected].
Published 19/10/2013 09:39

WHEN her cat went missing, Lisa Chamberlain had no idea where she might have gone.
But, eight weeks later, the mum-of-two from Jervis Road, Stamshaw, had a call saying Gypsy had turned up in Scotland.
The black and brown cat was found by a woman in Lanarkshire – 500 miles away.

Lisa said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I got the call from the RSPCA up in Scotland,
‘They said Gypsy is really underweight but is good in herself.
‘But, I have no way of getting her home and it is such a long way.
‘I don’t know what to do next but I am glad she’s safe.’

Lisa added that she has no idea how Gypsy got to Scotland.
‘No one knows what might have happened. Maybe she accidently got on a lorry or something, who knows.’

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/missin ... -1-5604801


Missing Portsmouth cat returns home from Scotland
Published 23/10/2013 07:40

A MISSING cat that turned up in Scotland is now home.
Lisa Chamberlain, from Stamshaw, is celebrating the return of her pet, Gypsy.

The cat was found in Lanarkshire, eight weeks after she went missing, as reported on Saturday.
She was returned home on Monday night after a courier service picked her up for free. :yeay:

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/missin ... -1-5613427

:D
 

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Here's a remarkable tale!

Alderney's 'ghost pig' may be wild boar from France

A wild boar which has been on the loose in Alderney for more than a month is thought to have swum there from the nearby French coast.
The boar found its way into a pig farm on Friday but, when approached, escaped by jumping over a 1m (3ft) stock fence.
Farm owner Tess Woodnutt said she would not have believed the animal could jump so high from a standing start, if she had not seen it with her own eyes.

Islanders have dubbed the boar "ghost pig", as it has only been seen at dusk.

Mrs Woodnutt said she first became aware of the boar on 27 September, when she was on holiday and received a call from a fellow islander saying one of their 40 pigs had escaped.
However, her son Jake immediately went to the farm and soon established there was none missing.

Steve Shaw, who was Alderney harbour master for 25 years, said he did not believe it would be possible for a wild boar to get to the island by boat without the crew noticing, and he had never heard of a wild boar being found on any vessel.

Some islanders have speculated the animal could be an "iron age pig", which have been farmed on the island.
However, Alan Woodnutt, Tess's husband, said he was certain it was not.
"Iron age pigs are a cross between a wild boar and a Tamworth," he said.
"They look a bit like a wild boar but this animal was not the progeny of an iron age pig."

Mrs Woodnutt said the boar's arrival on the island was a mystery but she had had it confirmed to her by an expert in the UK that a wild boar could swim long distances in open water.
Wild boar are commonly found in Normandy, the coast of which lies seven miles (11km) to the east of Alderney.

Duty Insp Kieran McGrath from Guernsey Police said islanders should contact them if they spotted the animal and should not approach it themselves, as any wild boar could be dangerous when cornered.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe- ... y-24785508

It must have been lucky with the tides, which can flow quite fast around Alderney.
 

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'Unique' bird migration discovered
[Video: The tag was recovered from a male red-necked phalarope in Shetland]

A tracking device which weighs less than a paperclip has helped scientists uncover what they say is one of the world's great bird migrations.
It was attached to a red-necked phalarope from Scotland that migrated thousands of miles west across the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
The journey has never before been recorded for a European breeding bird.

The red-necked phalarope is one of the UK's rarest birds, and is only found in Shetland and the Western Isles.

The RSPB, working alongside the Swiss Ornithological Institute and Dave Okill of the Shetland Ringing Group, fitted individual geolocators to 10 red-necked phalaropes nesting on the island of Fetlar in Shetland in 2012.
Each geolocator weighed 0.6g and was fitted to the bird with harnesses made from tubing.
It was hoped the trackers would shed light on where the birds, which are smaller than starlings, spend the winter.

After successfully recapturing one of the tagged birds when it returned to Fetlar last spring, experts discovered it had made an epic 16,000-mile round trip during its annual migration. :shock:

It had flown from Shetland across the Atlantic via Iceland and Greenland, south down the eastern seaboard of the US, across the Caribbean and Mexico, ending up off the coast of Ecuador and Peru.
After wintering in the Pacific, it returned to Fetlar, following a similar route
.

Prior to this, many experts had assumed that Scottish breeding phalaropes joined the Scandinavian population at their wintering grounds, thought to be in the Arabian Sea.

Although long, the phalarope migration is beaten by some distance by Arctic terns, which make a return trip of about 24,000 miles between the North and South poles each year.

However, the phalarope is the only known westward migration into the Pacific. This westward movement in late summer and autumn is into the prevailing weather and in virtually the opposite direction to all other migrants leaving the UK.
Numbers of red-necked phalarope in Scotland fluctuate between just 15 and 50 nesting males.

Malcie Smith of the RSPB told BBC Scotland he had almost fallen out of his chair when the tracking results showed where the birds had gone. 8)
He added: "We are freezing up here in Shetland and it's quite nice to think of our red necked phalaropes bobbing about in the warm tropical waters of the Pacific.
"What it tells us is that this bird isn't part of an offshoot population from Scandinavia. Our Shetland population is actually an offshoot of a North American population.

"It means that what we thought was a kind of medium-distance migrant is actually a long-distance migrant. It is one of the world's great migrations.
"We've known for some time that birds undergo big migrations. We all know about Arctic terns and swallows and this is pretty much in the same ballpark."

Scotland marks the southern limit of the breeding range of the small, colourful waders, with the species far more abundant further north.

The birds are perhaps best known for turning the tables on traditional gender roles, with male phalaropes incubating eggs and raising young in the summer, while the female uses her brightly coloured plumage to attract new partners.

In winter, phalaropes congregate in large flocks at sea in regions where currents create cold, nutrient-rich water and support blooms of plankton on which the birds feed.

By continuing the project and retrieving more tags from phalaropes after their winter migration next year, experts hope to learn the extent to which the Scottish population may be impacted by future changes at sea.

They also hope to learn how the species might respond to any change, and whether any negative impacts in these wintering areas can be mitigated by conservation management in Scotland.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-25661650
 

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Urban fox's record-breaking country walk
By Ella Davies, Reporter, BBC Nature

A fox has been tracked more than 40 miles (70km) away from its home range, breaking the previous British record.
The fox was named Fleet by University of Brighton researchers and fitted with a satellite tagged collar.
Scientists were surprised to record Fleet walking a total of 195 miles (315km) as he headed into the Sussex countryside from his home in the city.
Naturalist Chris Packham joined the team to retrace the animal's path for BBC Two series Winterwatch.

"Foxes will disperse for lots of different reasons, mainly to find some space to form their own territories," explained Dr Dawn Scott who led the study.
"The movement away from an area where they're born to another area is usually due to competition within the group."

A team of researchers has been studying the movements of urban foxes living in Brighton to understand more about their population dynamics and movements.
Through their records and observations by members of the public, Dr Scott's team learned that Fleet was pushed out of the group as the dominant male by his son, causing him to look for territory elsewhere.
"The previous furthest distance recorded, which was in Wales, was 52km [32 miles]," said Dr Scott.
A straight line measurement from Fleet's home to his furthest distance was 40 miles (70km) as he took a roundabout route through the Sussex countryside.

The tag in his collar provided the researchers with a GPS location every 30 minutes. Analysis of this data provided the team with a detailed picture of Fleet's movements.
Between 9 December 2013 and 2 January 2014, Fleet walked a total of 195 miles (315km) around Sussex.
He headed north from Brighton through the South Downs National Park to commuter town Hassocks and then took a rambling route east to Rye.

Dr Scott explained that he followed roads, train lines and rivers but where the wet weather had flooded land he was cautious to skirt around the water.
During the day, he rested in gardens or on railway sidings before journeying through the countryside at night.

"We know from other studies in Europe and in the [United] States that foxes can travel very far... this is the furthest record in this country," said Dr Scott.
The team expected Fleet to stop but he carried on in what Dr Scott described as "very unusual behaviour".

According to their records, Fleet was born in Brighton and his home range was a few neighbouring streets. He was fed by a member of the public in their garden and raised cubs in the area.
"We know they move between urban and rural [environments] but that transition from this very urbanised fox to then going across country for a long distance is not what we would expect," said Dr Scott.
"We think that his son has pushed him out and that pressure has caused him to leave and try to find somewhere else."
His early movements were across Brighton but with about 20 foxes per kilometre squared in the city, Dr Scott explained that finding a new territory would have been difficult.

Fleet's whereabouts now are unknown after researchers lost his collar's signal early in the New Year.
However, the data they were able to collect will help scientists to understand how foxes move around their environment and what factors effect this, such as the availability of food and mates and any obstacles including flood waters and human developments.
"It helps us understand the divide that people perceive between urban and rural foxes - that actually the populations are connected and they do move between the two," Dr Scott said.

She added that the results confirm the animals will move out to colonise other areas when populations in urban areas reach their maximum densities.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/25759153
 

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Mystery of 'Fuerteventura' cat found in Muchalls garage in Aberdeenshire

Mystery surrounds the discovery of a cat in an Aberdeenshire garage which has been traced via its identity chip to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.
BBC Scotland has learned the cat was found by a family in Muchalls on Thursday.

They contacted Cats Protection before taking it to a vet, and the cat was traced to the Spanish island through an international database after the national one drew a blank.
It has been named Juanita.
It will be found a new home if the owners cannot be traced.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-n ... d-25977638

Did it travel somehow... or Teleport?! ;)
 

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'Spanish' cat found in Scottish garage reunited with her owner

A cat microchipped in Spain which was found in a garage in Aberdeenshire has been reunited with her owner.
Shorthaired tabby Tina, found in Muchalls on Thursday, was registered in Las Palmas in Fuerteventura.
The phone number on record was disconnected and it was suspected the owner may have emigrated to the UK and not updated the address details.

A ring-round of vets by Cats Protection led to one recognising the owner and the pair were reunited in Aberdeen.
The owner, Fiona Prati, used to live in Fuerteventura and now stays in Bridge of Don.

Tina went missing from her home last week and it is thought she may have hopped a ride on a vehicle and travelled 30 miles to Muchalls.
The tabby has been looked after at Kirkton Vets since being found in a family's garage and was reunited with her owner by vet Fiona MacPherson on Saturday.

Ms MacPherson said: "We were delighted when Fiona came to collect her and we're so pleased that we were able to help reunite them.
"Fiona even heard the story on the radio as she was driving to collect Tina. She told us how pleased she was that Tina was ok as she had feared the worst."

Zahir White, from Cats Protection, said: "It is great news that Tina's owner has been found and we're happy we were able to play a part in reuniting them.
"Every week we help to reunite 50 lost cats with their owners across the UK and this is one of the most unusual cases we have come across.
"It is always heart-breaking when a much-loved cat goes missing and the owner never knows what became of them. Cases like this show how important it is to get cats microchipped and keep the microchip details up-to-date."

After seeing the story on the BBC, a Fuerteventura-based cat charity contacted Cats Protection offering to check the animal's registration details against its own records.
Twinkle Trust, which organises the sterilisation of stray cats by volunteer vets from the UK and Fuerteventura, has rehomed more than 100 in the UK since 1995.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-n ... d-25997769

So we have a cat named Tina/Juanita, and a vet and the owner called Fiona... Confusing, ain't it?
 

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Pacific salmon migrate with a 'magnetic map'
By Rebecca Morelle, Science reporter, BBC World Service

There is more evidence that salmon use the Earth's magnetic field to perform extraordinary feats of navigation.
A study suggests that Pacific salmon are born with an in-built "magnetic map" that helps them to migrate over thousands of kilometres.
US researchers believe the fish are sensing changes in the intensity and angle of the Earth's magnetic field to establish their position in the ocean.
The study is published in the journal Current Biology.

The epic journey of the Pacific salmon is one of nature's greatest migrations.
The fish hatch inland in rivers and streams, before swimming for hundreds or even thousands of kilometres to reach the open ocean.
After several years of foraging at sea, they make their way back to the same freshwater sites where they spawn and then die.

Lead author Dr Nathan Putman, from Oregon State University, said: "The migration is a lot of effort and it is definitely challenging, and looking at it from the outside, it doesn't seem necessarily intuitive how they could manage that."

Previous research has suggested that the fish use the Earth's magnetic field to find their way, with an earlier study led by Dr Putman revealing that Sockeye salmon may possess a memory of the magnetic field where they first entered the sea to find their way back home to their spawning ground.

But now the team says that the fish may also have an innate sense of the world's magnetic field.

To investigate, they looked at Chinook salmon hatchlings, which had not yet made a migration out to sea.

Because the intensity and inclination of the Earth's magnetic field change depending on where you are on the globe, the researchers exposed the fish to the sorts of magnetic fields they might experience on their journey through the ocean.
"We put the fish in buckets, we change the magnetic field around them, and the fish change direction in response to the field," explained Dr Putman.

For example, if they altered the magnetic field so it mimicked the northern extreme of the salmon's range, the fish oriented south. If they changed the field so it was the same as that experienced by salmon at the very southern end of their range, the fish turned around and pointed north.

Dr Putman explained: "To try to observe meaningful behaviour in the lab, we needed to have a good prediction of what the fish should do. Since none of these fish are found north of a certain magnetic field, we assumed that they are happiest to the south of that.
"So if they are using the magnetic field to find out where they are, they should think, 'Oh I am a bit north of where I should be', and go south. And likewise with the southern magnetic field."
He added: "It's like they have a map. They know something about where they are based on what field they are in."

Because the fish that were studied had never before made a migration, the scientists think the fish are born with this magnetic sense rather than it being a skill that is learned.

The team believes other sea creatures such as turtles, sharks and whales may also use the same tactics to roam the oceans.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26067065
 

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Puppy driven 12 miles in car engine in Salford
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-26436648

Betty Boop

Betty Boop was not harmed during her unexpected drive

A three-month-old puppy took an unexpected 12-mile journey when it got trapped in the engine of a car.

The Jack Russell, called Betty Boop, travelled round Salford in a car driven by its owner's neighbour.

Betty was taken along the East Lancashire Road to Swinton and back, travelling up to 50mph but was discovered unscathed in the car.

"We think she spent the journey on the gearbox. She is so lucky to still be alive," said Betty's owner Gary Rose.

He added: "If she had put her head a bit further in, she would have got caught by the fan, or the fan belt, the camshaft."

Mr Rose, of James Henry Avenue, Salford said: "The neighbour was coming down the street and he could hear the dog yapping and wondered where it was coming from.

"The first thing he did was open the bonnet and there she was."

Mr Rose, who describes his pet as inquisitive and mischievous, said: "The golden rule in this house is shut the gate, shut the gate, shut the gate."

The dog was unhurt in the incident.
 

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Safer than most of the pups in that region, who are walked on strings by their owners on bikes! :(
 

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I really hate seeing some bone idle, slack jawed idiot taking their dog for a walk whilst they are on a bike. Never mind how distressed the dog may be getting 'eh.
 

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Great white shark's epic ocean trek
By Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News website

A great white shark called Lydia is about to make history as the first of its species to be seen crossing from one side of the Atlantic to the other.
The satellite-tagged 4.4m-long female is currently swimming above the mid-Atlantic ridge - which marks a rough boundary line between east and west.

Lydia was first tagged off Florida as part of the Ocearch scientific project.
The shark has travelled more than 30,500km (19,000 miles) since the tracking device was attached.

Dr Gregory Skomal, senior fisheries biologist with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, told BBC News: "No white sharks have crossed from west to east or east to west."

Lydia is now roughly 1,600km (1,000 miles) from the coasts of County Cork in Ireland and Cornwall in Britain, and nearly 4,800km (3,000 miles) from Jacksonville, Florida, where she was tagged by scientists in March 2013.
Dr Skomal explained: "Although Lydia is closer to Europe than North America, she technically does not cross the Atlantic until she crosses the mid-Atlantic ridge, which [she] has yet to do.
"She would be the first documented white shark to cross into the eastern Atlantic."

The mere act of tagging a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a feat in itself. The scientists have been using a custom-built 34,000kg (75,000lb) capacity hydraulic platform, operated from their research vessel the M/V Ocearch, to safely lift mature sharks so that researchers can tag and study them.

The Ocearch project was initiated to gather data on the movements, biology and health of sharks for conservation purposes as well as for public safety and education.
Though Lydia's journey is impressive, the sharks are known for their marathon migrations of thousands of kilometres.
A great white nicknamed Nicole travelled from South Africa to Australia and back - a circuit of more than 20,000km (12,400 miles) - over a period of nine months between November 2003 and August 2004.

As for where Lydia might go next, Dr Skomal explained: "We have no idea how far she will go, but Europe, the Med, and the coast of Africa are all feasible."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26467037

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Great White sharks come pouring in from the Atlantic! ;)
 

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Cat travels 100 miles from Devon to Bristol on coach fuel tank

A stowaway cat is recuperating after curling up for a nap underneath a coach and waking up 100 miles away.
It was heard meowing by the National Express coach driver at Bristol bus station, having seemingly climbed on board in Barnstaple, Devon.
It is believed the cat - named Diesel by staff - fell asleep on the warm fuel tank when the vehicle was parked up overnight.
The RSPCA is now trying to locate Diesel's owners in Barnstaple.

The cat found himself on board the 08:45 GMT Westward Ho! to Grimsby service where he was stuck for a four-hour journey across the South West.
He was only discovered when coach driver Andy Muskett was unloading passengers' luggage in Bristol.
On hearing the cat's meowing Mr Muskett called engineer Andy Teagle who crawled under the coach to coax Diesel out.

"I heard a strange noise that was definitely not mechanical and realised that as only one thing meows we probably had a cat incident," he said.
"It was still a bit of a shock to find a silver tabby cat sitting on the fuel tank. When we got him down he was actually pretty contented."

Diesel did not have a collar or microchip so staff took him back to the depot where he was given some food.
RSPCA animal collections officer Julie Parsons said: "We are delighted staff at National Express were able to get Diesel out from such a tricky location.
"When we checked him over we realised he is suffering from some burns and he is currently on antibiotics. Fortunately, he is now recovering well at one of our clinics in Bristol."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26463701
 

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'Lucky' the owl survives 300-mile train trip
18 March 2014 Last updated at 20:17 GMT

An owl has been named "Lucky" by an animal sanctuary after it survived a 300-mile trip on the front of a freight train.
The bird was found below the driver's cabin of the Class 66 locomotive as it pulled into Stobart's freight terminal in Crick, Northamptonshire.

Lucky is now recovering with a sprained wing at Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary.

[Video: Ben Sidwell spoke to sanctuary owner Geoff Grewcock.]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-co ... e-26639212
 

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Giant pythons have 'homing instinct'
By James Morgan, Science reporter, BBC News

Giant Burmese pythons have map and compass senses which help them travel "home" over vast distances, scientists have been surprised to discover.
Pythons captured and relocated in Florida's Everglades - where they are an invasive species - returned 23 miles (36km) to their original start point.
It is the first evidence that snakes may share a similar magnetic compass to other reptiles, such as sea turtles.
The findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

The Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is one of the largest snakes in the world. The biggest specimen ever caught measured more than 17ft (5m) and weighed 164lb (74kg).
The snakes coil around their prey and suffocate it - and have been known to swallow animals as large as alligators.

Although native to South East Asia, they have become established in Florida's Everglades National Park - where they have been blamed for a staggering decline of mammals.
To study how these invasive predators migrate and spread, researchers captured 12 snakes and fitted them with GPS radiotransmitters.

Half were released where they were captured, but the other six were transported to other suitable habitats in the Everglades 13-23 miles (21-36 km) away.
Using aircraft to track their movements, the researchers were stunned by how quickly the snakes travelled homeward.
Five of the six returned within 5km of their original capture location - and their movement was faster than the control snakes.

"We were very surprised," said lead author Shannon Pittman, of Davidson College, North Carolina.
"We anticipated the pythons would develop new home ranges where they were released. We didn't expect them to orient back to their capture locations.
"This is evidence that Burmese pythons are capable of homing on a scale previously undocumented in any snake species."

The experiment suggests the snakes have both a map sense (to determine their position in relation to home) and a compass sense (to guide their movement home).
Researchers say the map could be magnetic - like sea turtles, while the compass could be guided by the stars, olfactory (smell) cues, or by polarised sunlight - all of which have been shown to be used by reptiles.
"Other snakes likely do share this ability with pythons. But our understanding is limited by a dearth of research on the subject," Ms Pittman told BBC News.

Some previous studies found that smaller snakes - sea kraits and garter snakes - can home over short distances. But not large constrictors.
"I'm impressed, but I'm not surprised - this verifies what many of us in the field have been seeing for years," said Dr Stephen Secor of the University of Alabama, who researches Burmese python physiology.
"Reptiles know where they're going - it's not just random. They're familiar with their home range.
"And I suspect that, if pythons can do this, all snakes can do it - rattlesnakes, vipers, the lot."


Keeping in familiar territory may help snakes to find prey and mates, and the homing sense may allow them to return to after exploratory forays, Ms Pittman said.
"We know that snakes tend to come back to some of the same sites throughout their lives - such as overwintering locations or refuges," she told BBC News.
Understanding how invasive pythons migrate could help control their spread in Florida, she suggested.

But Dr Secor said the threat to the Everglades has been overstated: "Some people want to sell it as an ecological disaster. It's really not.
"Burmese pythons can't ever move beyond the Everglades. It's too cold. The minute it freezes, it kills them," he told BBC News.
"They're actually very docile, gentle snakes. People who don't like them don't know a lot about them. They're pretty amazing animals and we can learn a lot from them."

And the first lesson we can learn from their homing ability, said Dr Secor, is "don't pick reptiles up".
"People see turtles crossing the road and try to move them to safety. But if you take them away, they're just going to try and come back. You are doing more harm than good," he told BBC News.

"Likewise with snakes - people find them in their yard, drive them off and dump them a mile down road. Then, three days later, the snake comes back!
"I hear these stories frequently: 'It came back! The same snake!' And I'm always kind of sceptical. Is it really the same snake? Or just another one that looks similar?
"But maybe these people were right all along. The snake really did come back." 8)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26635939
 

PeteByrdie

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Didn't help them get back to Burma, though, did it?

Obvious, I know. Just wanted to say it first.
 

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Huntingdon cat found at animal shelter after eight-year roam

Back home after nearly eight years Ollie "loves his fuss, his food and a nice long sleep on a sunny window sill", his owners said

A couple have found their cat eight years after he went missing while looking for a new pet on an animal shelter website.

Ollie wandered off from Caroline and Nick French's home in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, in 2006.

They only decided the time was right to find a new pet last month and were "shocked" to see his photo on the Wood Green Animal Shelter site.

Mrs French said they recognised him due to his "very distinct facial markings".

In August 2006, the couple had just moved to the town when the then four-year-old cat disappeared and after an extensive search they presumed the worst.

They put up posters and spoke to neighbours, but thought they would not see him again.

In April this year, after having two children, the couple decided to get a new cat and began searching online.

'Settled well'
They said they "couldn't believe it" when they saw a picture which resembled black and white Ollie but they "just knew it was him".

They emailed in a picture and were told he had been cared for by a woman not far from their home for about 18 months before being brought to the shelter.

"Ollie was happy to see us... and we are so happy to have him back," said Mrs French.

"He appeared much calmer than the lively young cat we'd once known.

"He has settled in really well at home with us and the children love him... it's still hard to believe that we found him after all this time."

Wood Green spokeswoman Gail Lees said: "We were delighted to be able to reunite him with his original family."

The wanderer has now been microchipped, they added.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-camb ... e-27373042
 

rynner2

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Tortoise in 300-mile recycling survival 'adventure'

A tortoise believed to have travelled almost 300 miles in the back of a lorry was saved by Norfolk recycling plant workers moments before being pulped. :shock:
The animal is thought to have been hibernating in paper sent for recycling at a depot in Silverton, in Devon.
The paper was transported to a King's Lynn plant where workers found the tortoise while sorting the papers.

Mid Devon Council is searching for the owner of the tortoise, which a spokesman described as "intrepid".
"It would appear the tortoise must have been hibernating in a black box amongst paper put out for recycling," he said.
The animal was likely to have remained there for two days before being dropped from a height of 20ft (6m) into the lorry bound for the Norfolk plant, he added.
The distance between the two recycling plants is about 270 miles (435km).

"Following its big adventure, we are happy to say that the tortoise is alive and very well, and currently being cared for by one of the mill workers in King's Lynn," the spokesman said.
"We would really like to be able to complete the journey of this intrepid tortoise - which we think is a 'she' - by returning it to its owner."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27716840
 

rynner2

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Cat hitches ride in postal van from Southampton to Berkshire

An animal charity is hoping to find the owners of a cat which went on a 67-mile (107km) journey from Southampton to Berkshire in the back of a post van.
The tortoiseshell, renamed Jess after the cat in the Postman Pat children's TV series, is being cared for at the Battersea Old Windsor cattery.

She is believed to have got into the van in Southampton and was later found when it reached Langley in Berkshire.
Battersea said it showed the need to microchip pets.

Tamara Willis, Battersea Old Windsor's cat rehomer, said: "Jess probably came from a loving home, but sadly her curiosity must've got the better of her before she got into the van.
"Her long journey shows the importance of microchipping your pet as you never know how far they can travel from home."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27998222
 

ramonmercado

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A San Francisco Bay area man had an unexpected passenger in his car during the 50km trip to his parents’ house: A small, stray kitten that had somehow found a place to ride in the engine compartment.

Jim Michelotti says he heard meowing after pulling into a petrol station. A woman next to him said it was coming from his 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante.

With the help of a flashlight, Michelotti found the black kitten on a bar between the engine and firewall, just inches from the ground. The cat was greasy and scared, but otherwise healthy.

It had apparently ridden from Michelotti’s home in the Silicon Valley city of Sunnyvale. Michelotti says the cat appears to be abandoned.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/quir ... 73969.html
 

ramonmercado

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A San Francisco Bay area man had an unexpected passenger in his car during the 50km trip to his parents’ house: A small, stray kitten that had somehow found a place to ride in the engine compartment.

Jim Michelotti says he heard meowing after pulling into a petrol station. A woman next to him said it was coming from his 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante.

With the help of a flashlight, Michelotti found the black kitten on a bar between the engine and firewall, just inches from the ground. The cat was greasy and scared, but otherwise healthy.

It had apparently ridden from Michelotti’s home in the Silicon Valley city of Sunnyvale. Michelotti says the cat appears to be abandoned.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/quir ... 73969.html
 

ramonmercado

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I bet she hunted and fought her way across the US.

DOG FOUND IN OREGON HEADING BACK TO PENNSYLVANIA

USA: Gidget is going back to Pennsylvania.

A Jack Russell terrier that somehow ended up in Oregon more than four months after she went missing from her home near Philadelphia will soon be flown back.

A microchip implanted in Gidget allowed workers at an animal shelter near Portland to find the dog’s owner. PetLink, manufactures the microchip and will pay for her return flight, said Deborah Wood, manager of Animal Services for Washington County.

“We have no idea how she came from Pennsylvania to Oregon, but we are thrilled that she will be going home safe and sound,” Wood said.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/quir ... 87728.html
 
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