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Thai wildlife officials began a headcount Friday of nearly 150 tigers kept by monks at a temple which has become the centre of a dispute over the welfare of the animals. Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua in Thailand's western Kanchanaburi province -- commonly known as "The Tiger Temple" -- has long proved a hit among tourists who flock there to visit the monks and be photographed next to their huge feline pets. Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said earlier this week it planned to take the animals away on Friday. "We have come to check and scan the tigers to see whether the numbers match what we have or not," DNP official Somsak Poopet told AFP, adding his department said they had been told there should be 147 tigers at the temple.
Three male Amur tiger cubs were born Tuesday (April 21) at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. The baby tigers each weighed 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms) at birth, which falls within the typical range of 1.5 to 3 pounds (0.7 to 1.4 kg) for tiger cubs, according to zoo staff. The cubs are now in an incubator, but they are feeding vigorously and are already looking strong, zoo officials said. At such an old age and with one undersized ovary, "there were a number of strikes against her," said Harry Peachey, curator of Asia Quest at the Columbus Zoo.
U.S. fisheries managers on Monday proposed lifting protections for most humpback whales around the globe, including in American waters, based on evidence the mammals have made a strong comeback since commercial whaling drove them near extinction. The humpback whale is currently listed as endangered throughout its range. The stripping of safeguards under the Endangered Species Act means U.S. ships and commercial fishermen in international waters would no longer be bound by law to check levels of underwater noise that could constitute harassment of the whales, while vessel strikes that kill or injure the humpbacks might not be closely tracked.
The secret to puppy love is in the eyes, researchers said Thursday after studying how that locking gaze boosts the love hormone, oxytocin, in both dogs and people. The study by Japanese researchers in the US journal Science suggests that humans and dogs co-evolved to become close over the centuries via the mutual eye contact and the higher levels of oxytocin, which fosters trust and emotional connection, that it builds.
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - A new strain of dog flu from Asia that started infecting pets in Chicago this January has spread to thousands of dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana and killed six, animal health officials said. The canine influenza virus (CIV) currently affecting dogs in the Midwest is a strain known as H3N2, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell University. Symptoms of the flu include a persistent cough, runny nose, lack of appetite and fever. It is not known how the H3N2 strain was introduced into Chicago but it could have been a dog from Asia who was a carrier and did not have active symptoms, said Keith Poulsen, diagnostic and case outreach coordinator with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
Because dogs don't otherwise use eye contact as a way to cement bonds with other dogs, the study researchers suggest that man's best friend may have gotten its prized place in human hearts by tapping into an ancient human bonding pathway. "We humans use eye gaze for affiliative communications, and are very much sensitive to eye contact," study co-author Takefumi Kikusui, a professor of veterinary medicine at the Companion Animal Research Lab at Azabu University in Japan, said in an email.
Environmentalists seeking to curb the deaths of an estimated 53,000 sea turtles each year from getting caught in commercial shrimp nets off the southeastern United States sued federal regulators on Wednesday for stronger protections. Oceana, an ocean conservation group, is suing the National Marine Fisheries Service to force the agency to enact closer monitoring of and stricter limits on the number of turtles that can be caught and killed by the Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic shrimping industry. "If people knew that their order of shrimp cocktail came with a side of government-authorized sea turtle, they would be horrified," Oceana lawyer Eric Bilsky said in a statement. The fisheries service has estimated that 500,000 loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and Kemp's ridley sea turtles, all listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, are injured in some way each year by shrimp fishing gear, according to the lawsuit.
The giraffe born at the Dallas Zoo last week is a healthy baby girl, according to a zoo spokeswoman. The spindly-legged bundle of joy weighs 139 lbs. (63 kilograms) and stands 5 feet 10 inches (1.8 meters) tall, said Laurie Holloway, the Dallas Zoo's director of communications and social media. The zoo is holding a public vote to name the calf later this week, Holloway told Live Science. Animal Planet installed 10 cameras in the zoo's maternity barn to give at-home viewers a chance to witness the remarkable event live and learn about the state of these animals in the wild.