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Man's best friend may have been his companion for far longer than believed, scientists have reported, publishing an analysis that dates domesticated dogs to more than 27,000 years ago. The Taimyr wolf lived a few thousand years after Neanderthals disappeared and modern humans spread throughout Asia and Europe, the study said.
Air France will continue to transport live monkeys for laboratory testing, the airline's CEO Alexandre de Juniac said at an Air-France-KLM shareholders' meeting held as animal rights activists protested nearby. At the protest some of the around 30 activists donned monkey costumes and locked themselves up in a cage. Challenged on the issue by a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Juniac said his company has sought advice from experts who believe "experimenting on primates with a similar genetic ancestry to human beings is indispensable" to research.
Dolphins swimming in the oil-contaminated waters of the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 BP spill suffered unusual lung lesions and died at high rates because of petroleum pollution, US scientists said Wednesday. The report in the journal PLOS ONE presents the strongest evidence to date that the environmental disaster that was unleashed when the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, pouring millions of barrels of oil into the sea, was the reason for an unusually high number of dead or dying bottlenose dolphins washing up on the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Dolphins take big, deep breaths right at the surface of the water, where oil sheens are most concentrated, and "where there is a good chance of inhaling oil itself," said lead author Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist at the National Marine Mammal Foundation.
In a unique position as the child of one, and potentially two, US presidents Chelsea Clinton stepped up her growing public profile Wednesday by announcing publication of her first book. It will be published by an imprint of Penguin Young Readers on September 15, 2016 just weeks before the next US presidential election when mother Hillary will be hoping to follow Bill into the White House and become the country's first woman president. Under the sub-heading "Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going!" the book will address issues such as poverty, homelessness, hunger, access to education, gender equality, health, climate change and endangered species, Clinton and Penguin announced.
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's association of zoos and aquariums said on Wednesday it will stop buying dolphins taken in a controversial hunt made famous in an Oscar-winning documentary, possibly raising pressure to halt the annual event Japan says is a tradition. The hunt, featured in the 2009 film "The Cove," involves driving hundreds of dolphins into a cove in the western port town of Taiji. Japan was told a month ago that it faced losing membership of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums unless it stopped buying dolphins from Taiji.
Around half of wild birds have a secure status as EU programs to protect endangered species have boosted numbers, but some of their habitats are cause for major concern largely because of intensive farming, an EU report found on Wednesday. The State of Nature in the European Union report for the years 2007-2012 found 17 percent of species, including some birds of prey, are threatened. Researchers from the European Environment Agency found in their most extensive six-year assessment yet that the state of natural habitats was even more worrying and most have an unfavorable conservation status.
Japan's zoos and aquariums voted Wednesday to stop using dolphins caught by the controversial "drive hunt" method in Taiji, allowing them to remain part of a global body that had suspended the country's chapter over the issue. The vote was prompted by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (WAZA) suspension of the Japanese chapter (JAZA) last month, saying it had refused to stop taking dolphins caught in the southern Japanese whaling town. Taiji came to worldwide attention after the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" showed pods of the animals forced into a bay and butchered with knives, in a mass killing that turned the water red with blood.
Despite two million years of munching almost exclusively on bamboo, the giant panda's gut has not adapted to eating the plant -- putting the creatures in an "evolutionary dilemma", scientists said Tuesday. The surprising study, reported by online US journal mBio, examined 45 giant pandas over the course of a year and found that the animals appeared to have a digestive system "entirely differentiated from other herbivores". Instead, the pandas still retained the gut bacteria of the omnivorous bears they evolved from, the report's summary said.
(Reuters) - The Miami Dolphins have signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a contract extension through the 2020 season, the National Football League team said on Monday. Terms were not released but the Miami Herald reported the six-year deal worth $96 million with $45 million guaranteed. Tannehill, 26, the eighth pick in the 2012 draft, has started all 48 games in his three seasons with the Dolphins and his numbers have improved each season. Tannehill's new contract comes only a few months after speculation that he would lose his spot as the starting quarterback.
Film star Johnny Depp is flying his dogs home from Australia on Friday, a day after the farm minister warned him to send the pair back to the United States to be quarantined or face having them put down. Depp, who is in Australia to film the fifth of his blockbuster pirate movies, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales", also faces a formal interview with government officers into how the Yorkshire terriers were allegedly smuggled in, a spokesman for minister Barnaby Joyce told Reuters. The incident highlights tough animal security laws in Australia, which has had no reported cases of rabies among dogs.
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Move over, mammals and birds, and make room for a fish called the opah in the warm-blooded club. The opah, also called the moonfish, internally generates heat through constant flapping of wing-like pectoral fins, with an average muscle temperature about 7 degrees to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (4-5 degrees Celsius) above the surrounding water temperature at the time. Warm-blooded animals, such as birds and mammals, and known as endotherms, generate their own heat and maintain a body temperature independent of the environment.
Giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) may have another cub in a few months. Veterinarians gave the furry 16-year-old starlet two rounds of artificial insemination on April 26 and 27 at the National Zoo in Washington D.C., according to the Smithsonian. Female giant pandas are fertile only once a year for about 24 to 36 hours. So, to artificially do the deed, a team of experts carefully monitored Mei Xiang's hormone levels for weeks until they were sure she was in estrus (ovulating) and able to become pregnant, according to a Smithsonian news statement.
By Byron Kaye SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's farm minister has given film star Johnny Depp two days to send his pet dogs home to the United States so they can go through quarantine on their return, or face having them put down. Depp, 51, is in Australia to film the fifth of his blockbuster Pirates movies, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales". Depp cannot sidestep Australia's tough animal import laws just because he is one of the world's most famous stars, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said on Thursday. "Mr Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we're going to have to euthanize them," Joyce told media.
Saint-Aignan (France) (AFP) - Two families of endangered monkeys were stolen from a zoo in central France over the weekend, the sanctuary's director told AFP late on Monday. Rodolphe Delord said the thieves broke in to the zoo in Beauval on Saturday night, avoiding security cameras and patrols, and took seven golden lion tamarins and 10 silver marmosets.
Aili Kang is director of the China Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), where she has worked for 16 years. In 2008, Kang received the Global Young Conservationist Award from the Society of Conservation Biology. Kang contributed this article, as part of a series from WCS on women in conservation, to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Though I'm a trained scientist, social media is my platform, and that platform can have a significant impact on conservation.
By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Blue whales are vulnerable to cargo ship strikes because they are so used to being the largest animal in the ocean that they often fail to avoid the vessels, a Stanford University biologist has found. Researchers found that blue whales, instead of diving sharply, responded to approaching ships by descending gradually at a rate of just over a foot and a half (0.5 meter) per second, and did not try swimming to one side, according to Stanford University. The study, published about two weeks ago, represents an effort to better understand the behavior of the endangered behemoths, which according to the World Wildlife Fund number between 10,000 and 25,000, in hopes of finding ways to avoid fatal collisions. Conservation groups have said at least 11 blue whales are struck annually along the U.S. West Coast.
By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Activists said on Monday they would sue a Florida aquarium for violating the Endangered Species Act if it does not improve living conditions for Lolita, a killer whale in captivity for more than four decades. The Miami Seaquarium has 60 days to address the facility’s alleged shortfalls that include a small enclosure, life without another whale, and twice-daily performances in the searing Florida sun, said activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration added Lolita to the endangered species list in early February, opening the door to potential lawsuits.
Researchers discovered the surprisingly elastic nerves after collecting samples from a commercial whaling station in Iceland. "This discovery was totally unexpected and unlike other nerve structures we've seen in vertebrates, which are of a more fixed length," said Wayne Vogl, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Rorqual whales represent the largest group among baleen whales, tipping the scales at 40 to 80 tons.
Jonathan Slaght is projects manager for WCS's Russia Program. Julie Larsen Maher is staff photographer for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the first woman to hold the position since the society's founding in 1895. In addition to field visits, Maher photographs the animals at WCS's five New York-based wildlife parks: the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. Siberian tigers buck the trend.
By Letitia Stein TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A 2-month-old chimpanzee in need of a mother has moved to a central Florida zoo to be paired with a surrogate to raise her. Keeva, the baby chimp, was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. While Keeva appeared healthy at 2.6 pounds, her mother was not caring for her properly, according to zoo officials, who began searching for a surrogate. They found Abby, a 32-year-old chimp at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, who previously helped to raise two other orphaned chimps from infancy to adolescence.
Residents of the tiny village of Fanalei in the Solomon Islands killed more than 1,600 dolphins in 2013 for their teeth, a local currency and popular adornment, researchers said Wednesday. The overall recorded tally from 1976-2013 was more than 15,400, according to research published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. The Solomon Islands, particularly the island of Malaita where Fanalei is located, have a long history of "drive hunting" dolphins. Hunters in groups of 20-30 canoes drive dolphin schools from deep to coastal waters by hitting stones together under the ocean surface to create a sound barrier which the animals -- mainly spinner and spotted dolphins -- cannot escape.