For “Mammal Monday”:
Prairie Dogs Rescued from Colorado Flooding
“The HSUS's Prairie Dog Coalition which is based in Boulder, Colorado has been busy rescuing prairie dogs from the disastrous Colorado flooding. In just one day, they had already rescued 45 prairie dogs from the freezing waters, and now have them recovering safe and warm—ready for a new home when conditions improve.”
Despite BP’s Claims, Gulf Dolphins Still Struggling
BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley recently boasted in an interview, “The Gulf has bounced back really well. And I’d like to think that we played a big role.”
The more than 900 bottlenose dolphins that have died since the spill might indicate otherwise. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is still investigating the ongoing wave of dolphin deaths and the agency has explicitly stated that it is considering the oil spill as a potential cause.
The deaths are concentrated in states closest to the Deepwater Horizon. Louisiana, ground zero for spill impacts, has also seen the largest number of dead dolphins. Stranding rates in Mississippi and Alabama remain elevated, while deaths in the less-affected Florida Panhandle have returned to normal historical levels.
An in-depth study of 32 dolphins in one particularly heavily-oiled area of the Louisiana coast found the animals there were seriously ill with symptoms indicating oil exposure. Specifically, the dolphins in the study were underweight, anemic, had low blood sugar, and some had symptoms of liver and lung disease. Half the dolphins also had abnormally low levels of the hormones that help with stress response, metabolism, and immune function.
Dolphin mother and calf, Ocean Springs, MS. Three years after the oil disaster, stillborn dolphin calves are still being found at high rates. Photo: Juanma Carrillo.
Roughly a quarter of the dolphins tested appear to have died from a bacterial infection. Teri Rowles, the coordinator of NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, points out that the presence of the Brucella bacteria does not rule out the oil spill, saying, “Severe environmental stress, including from exposure to oil, could have reduced the animals’ ability to fight infection.”
Stillborn dolphin calves have been found in high numbers every spring since the oil disaster. Infant dolphins were found dead at almost four times historical rates during the first four months of 2013.” More at: http://blog.nwf.org/2013/08/despite-bps-claims-gulf-dolphins-still-struggling/
Improving Regulation and Oversight of Commercial Breeders
USDA Restores Important Check and Balance on Retail Pet Sales to Ensure Health, Humane Treatment.
“We take animal welfare seriously. But the Animal Welfare Act, which sets standards for humane treatment and care of pets for commercial sale, was written more than 40 years ago -- before the internet created new ways for breeders to sell pets sight unseen.
Until now, most online breeders were considered "retail pet stores," and exempt from regulation even though buyers never had the opportunity to view animals before they bought them like they would in a traditional pet store and as the Animal Welfare Act envisioned. Nobody was monitoring or inspecting these breeders to ensure their animals' overall health and humane treatment.
So when you petitioned us to regulate so-called puppy mills, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed a rule that would update that "retail pet stores" definition. After huge amounts of public input, the USDA has finalized that ruling -- and is bringing more animals under the protection of the Animal Welfare Act.
This rule restores the original intent of the Animal Welfare Act: that a retail pet store must be a place where the seller, buyer, and animal available for sale are all in the same place -- so that no animal is bought sight unseen and the buyer can be sure it’s healthy prior to taking it home.” More at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2013/09/retail_pet_final_rule.shtml
Cyanobacteria: This Stealth Poison Could Kill Your Pet (or Child) Within Hours
“A Jack Russell Terrier in New York died recently after drinking from a pond while enjoying the outdoors with his family. Testing showed the dog was full of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, which he ingested when he drank the contaminated pond water.
Always Avoid Greenish-Colored Ponds and Lakes
Blue-green algae form blooms that make the water look as if someone spilled blue or green paint on the surface. The floating blooms can form thick, dense mats that collect near the shore, which is where animals and people come into contact with them.
Blue-green algae can be toxic to both animals -- including dogs, cats, horses, cows and birds -- and people. It can cause damage to the liver and nervous system, inflame the respiratory tract, and irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat.” More at: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/09/16/cyanobacteria-blue-green-algae.aspx
On This Day:
Eighth planet discovered, Sep 23, 1846:
“German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovers the planet Neptune at the Berlin Observatory.
Neptune, generally the eighth planet from the sun, was postulated by the French astronomer Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who calculated the approximate location of the planet by studying gravity-induced disturbances in the motions of Uranus. On September 23, 1846, Le Verrier informed Galle of his findings, and the same night Galle and his assistant Heinrich Louis d'Arrest identified Neptune at their observatory in Berlin. Noting its movement relative to background stars over 24 hours confirmed that it was a planet.
The blue gas giant, which has a diameter four times that of Earth, was named for the Roman god of the sea. It has eight known moons, of which Triton is the largest, and a ring system containing three bright and two dim rings. It completes an orbit of the sun once every 165 years. In 1989, the U.S. planetary spacecraft Voyager 2 was the first human spacecraft to visit Neptune.”
Standard Oil geologists arrive in Saudi Arabia, Sep 23, 1933:
“On September 23, 1933, a party of American geologists lands at the Persian Gulf port of Jubail in Saudi Arabia and begins its journey into the desert. That July, with the discovery of a massive oil field at Ghawar, Saudi King Abdel Aziz had granted the Standard Oil Company of California a concession to "explore and search for and drill and extract and manufacture and transport" petroleum and "kindred bituminous matter" in the country's vast Eastern Province; in turn, Standard Oil immediately dispatched the team of scientists to locate the most profitable spot for the company to begin its drilling.
As automobiles and other internal-combustion machines proliferated, both in the United States and around the globe, Standard Oil was eager to control as much of the market for gasoline as it could. As a result, it would do almost anything to have first dibs on Saudi oil. The partnership between Abdel Aziz's government and Standard Oil became known as the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco). (Texaco soon joined the partnership; about a decade later, so did Standard Oil of New Jersey and Socony-Vacuum Oil.) The company promised to provide the Saudi government with a steady income, along with an outright payment of 50,0000 British pounds; in return, Aramco got exclusive rights to all the oil underneath the eastern desert. In 1938, the company's gamble (after all, while Aramco engineers knew there was oil in the region, no one knew exactly where or how much) paid off: its geologists and drillers discovered oil in "commercial quantities" at the Dammam Dome, near Dhahran. The next year, Aramco exported its first tanker-load of petroleum.
In 1950, once it had become clear how very much oil there was under that desert, Aramco agreed to split its profits with the Saudi government. In 1980, after several years of squabbling over the price and availability of the country's petroleum (Saudi Arabia was a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, whose 1973 embargo precipitated a massive fuel crisis in the United States and other parts of the industrial world), Saudis won total control of the company: It's now known as Saudi Aramco. The next year, the kingdom's oil revenues reached $118 billion.”
Because they had been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, it seemed like I was researching medical stuff with a neighbor, for most of the day.