Tense Face-Off Between Tiger And Bear Caught On Camera



At Tadoba Reserve, Tense Face-Off Between Tiger And Bear Caught On Camera

A vicious encounter between an adult tiger and a sloth bear at Maharashtra’s Tadoba National Park has been caught on camera. Scroll down to see the startling footage.


At Tadoba Reserve, Tense Face-Off Between Tiger And Bear Caught On Camera

Caught on camera: A face-off between a tiger and sloth bear at Maharashtra’s Tadoba National Park



  1. Viral video captures face-off between tiger, bear at Tadoba National Park
  2. Sloth bear was protecting her cub, says naturalist who filmed footage
  3. Fur saved injured sloth bear from further attack, explains animal expert

A viral video from Maharashtra’s Tadoba National Park captures a violent face-off between an adult tiger and a sloth bear. The video, taken on Wednesday during an afternoon safari, shows the encounter between two fierce members of the animal kingdom.

The video begins with the tiger chasing away the bear but suddenly, the sloth bear charges at the tiger. A battle ensues and it is far from a playful fight. As the video progresses, the tiger tries to pin the bear down. The sloth bear tries desperately to escape the tiger’s grip. The next few tense minutes see both the tiger and the sloth bear viciously charge at each other trying to assert their dominance.

tiger vs sloth bear 650 1

The video captures a tiger and sloth bear battle it out near a water body in Tadoba National Park

Akshay Kumar, the chief naturalist at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge, tells NDTV that the tiger is 7-year-old Matkasur, a dominant male from the park who has marked the water body called Jamun Bodi, seen in the video, as his territory.

The sloth bear, a female, was headed to the water body with her young cub in search of water when the tiger, which was cooling off in the water, attacked. The mother bear, in order to protect her cub, fought back. The distressed cub roared as its mother took on the big cat.

tiger vs sloth bear 650 2

Akshay Kumar, the chief naturalist at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge, caught the incredible encounter on camera

For the defensive sloth bear, not known to be territorial, it was her motherly instinct to fight back.

“The tiger attacked the bear more than five minutes. It went after the sloth bear but she kept charging in order to protect her cub,” Mr Kumar tells NDTV. “It went on for 15 minutes. The tiger was roaring. It was a severe fight.”

Both the tiger and sloth bear suffered injuries in the attack. The young cub ran away during the fight.

Mr Kumar, who shot the video, was leading a safari with tourists when they spotted the face-off between the bear and tiger. The video went viral on social media.

Watch the incredible viral video below:


“Sloth bears are easy game,” says Dr Anish Andheria, President of Wildlife Conservation Trust. “As you can see in the video, the sloth bear was so exhausted. They can’t outrun tigers,” he tells NDTV.

Although injured, what saved the sloth bear from further attack by the apex predator of the jungle was her fur.


“The only thing that saves the bear is the hair on the body, because tiger doesn’t get a grip,” Dr Andheria explains.

Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district experiences high temperatures during summer months. Due to the scarcity of water, animals congregate at a common water hole to have a drink. Although such encounters are not uncommon in the wild, it was the first time it was seen in the tourist area of the reserve.

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South African lions eat ‘poacher’, leaving just his head



South African lions eat ‘poacher’, leaving just his head

A lion stretches out by the Luvuvhu river in Kruger National Park, South AfricaImage copyrightCAMERON SPENCER/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionLocal police said the lions ate almost all of the man’s body (file picture)

A suspected big cat poacher has been eaten by lions near the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police say.

The animals left little behind, but some body parts were found over the weekend at a game park near Hoedspruit.

“It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions,” Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP.

“They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains.”

Police have not yet established the victim’s identity. A loaded hunting rifle and ammunition were found next to the body, South African website Eyewitness News reports.

Lion poaching has been on the rise in Limpopo province in recent years.

The big cats’ body parts are sometimes used in traditional medicine, both within Africa and beyond.

Wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation says lion bones and other body parts are increasingly sought-after in South East Asia, where they are sometimes used as a substitute for tiger bones.

In January 2017, three male lions were found poisoned in Limpopo with their paws and heads cut off.

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Because Of Article About Impossible Large Bird Spotted: This Article



Just a few moments ago I posted an article from the Juneau Alaska newspaper about an ‘impossibly large bird spotted’.  What I am going to tell you about is a personal experience I had back in about March of 2010. Because of my health issues I had to retire from being an ‘over the road’, ‘OTR’ truck driver, I job I spent basically all of my adult life doing. I never mentioned this event to anyone before quite frankly because I really didn’t have anyone to tell and it is n’t a story that I had any proof of anyway. So, believe it or not, that is up to you.


     I did a lot of loads that went from the mid-Atlantic states up into the North-West. I always enjoyed the longer runs because I could plan my trips out into driving sections of time where I enjoyed driving the most. When ever it was possible I enjoyed driving all nigh and sleeping from about 7-AM to 2 or 3-PM. Doing this meant that I could drive while there was less traffic on the roads, quieter, and safer. One early morning (about 4-5 AM local time) I was driving North-West on the two lane called Route 30 in NW Wyoming. This route cuts in just west of Little America Wyoming and takes you up into South-East Idaho, just a little south of the University of Idaho. This morning I was the only traffic in either direction and I was not yet to Cokeville Wyoming which was in a very vacant part of the road. This morning what got my attention was a large shadow of a flapping wing that stayed with me for about 5 flaps, or about 12-15 seconds. The wing flaps/shadow were on my drivers side just in front of me. The wing flaps were staying barely not in the beam of my headlights, as if it was pacing me, yet when it flapped you could see the shadow of the (right) wing. Folks, I was doing about 55 MPH, give or take about 5 MPH. I remember thinking to my self ‘how in the hell’, simply because, what kind of bird could have been that big because it was obvious that it was a whole lot bigger than an Eagle.


Then about 30 seconds later I got another shock. This time the same exact thing happened to me except, the wing shadow was on the passenger side of the truck and it stayed with me for about the same 12-15 seconds while I was still doing about 55 or so MPH. In both cases it had seemed as though the bird pealed off out of my light beam. In both cases I remember having the thought that it just wasn’t able to keep up any longer. At first I remember thinking that how did that bird do that, going from one side of the truck to the other. This would have meant that this bird would have been with me for about a full 60 seconds with me driving 50-60 MPH. My thoughts were, that’s just not possible. This is besides the fact that I had/have no doubt at all that this was a bird because of the flapping of its wings and even the shape of the shadows were of the curvature of a big birds wings plus the fact that I could sense the movement of large feathers on the curvature of those wings as they flapped. Then another reality struck me, that couldn’t have been one bird, it had to have been two different ones. One bird, especially one that size couldn’t have possible have been on my left, fade off to the left away from the truck then reappeared after about 30 seconds then reappear on my right side and stayed with me about another 15 seconds before it turned off to my/its right. In case you may be thinking that a bird may have been able to have picked up speed coming down off of a mountain making it possible to be able to go that fast for that long, this is an almost totally flat region of highway landscape, no mountains there.


So, go figure, think what you wish, that’s my story, believe what you want. I probably drove that stretch of road about 100 times through the years, I never had that happen to me any other time. Reading the fore mentioned story from the Juneau Alaska paper made me think back to the event. All that I know is that those two birds had massive wings and I have seen Eagles many times in my life and I know that these birds wings were way bigger that that of an Eagle. What kind of birds were they, I have no idea.



Impossibly large bird spotted in Mendenhall Valley (S.E. Alaska)




Impossibly large bird spotted in Mendenhall Valley

This is not the bird mentioned in this story. (123rf.com Stock Photo)

According to several eyewitness reports, a bird with a wingspan nearly the width of Mendenhall Loop Road has been spotted in the Mendenhall Valley.

The cryptozoological curiosity stems from a post in the popular Facebook page “Juneau Community Collective,” brought to the attention of the Empire by several readers. The Empire couldn’t track down a clear explanation of what the bird was, but we did talk to some bird experts and did a little digging on similar sightings from around Alaska.

Here’s the original post, from eyewitness Tabitha Bauer:

“Attn; I was just driving by the movie theater in the Valley and there was a huge black bird flying above the road. The wingspan had to be at-least 20 feet, it was almost as wide as the road. I have lived here all my life and have never seen anything like that, it freaked me out. It was not a raven or an eagle. This isn’t a joke. This thing was HUGE, almost the size of a small airplane. Did anyone else see it?”

The sighting was backed up by several others in a long comment thread on the post. Some were poking fun at the idea of a thunderbird or pterodactyl in the valley, but others weren’t so skeptical.

Bauer, recounting the sighting to the Empire a few days after spotting the bird, said it was “like an eagle, but five times as big.” She couldn’t think of any other way to describe the odd encounter.

She spotted it around 4 p.m. on Jan. 16, what would have been dusk. Bauer was driving to the bank, alone in her car.

“Right before the movie theater, I looked ahead of me and it was towards Superbear direction,” Bauer said, referencing the grocery store in the Mendenhall Mall and Gross Alaska Theatre’s Glacier Cinema.

There was rain on her windshield, so she turned on her wipers to clear the view.

That was when she saw a massive, jet-black bird with a short tail flying level with the treetops over Mendenhall Loop Road toward her. Bauer said the bird flapped its wings, soared a little higher, and flew at a fast clip over her car about 50 feet in the air.

“I looked up and right at that point, there was a gigantic, huge black bird flying right above my truck. It was basically following the roadway along the treetops.

“I slowed down to try to get a better look at it. It was heading toward the glacier, the wingspan was almost as wide as the road,” Bauer said, adding, “It was the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It was very concerning. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Bauer said that it definitely had feathers, but she couldn’t make out a beak.

“The body of it itself had to have been six to eight feet,” Bauer said. “I know it sounds nuts — I’ve been getting a lot of crap on Facebook about it like I am crazy — but I wanted to post it in case anyone else had seen it.”

Another woman, who asked that the Empire use only her first name, Diane, said she saw something very similar — this time perched, or attempting to perch, in a tree near her house late at night a few years ago.

Diane went out to smoke a cigarette at her Lemon Creek home and noticed that all the birds in the area were excited.

“All you heard was the whooshing sound in my tree. I went inside and grabbed a flashlight. It was so large, I couldn’t even get an outline of what type of bird it was,” Diane said.

Diane noticed downed branches littered her yard in the morning.

“That sounds crazy, but it was huge,” she said. “I don’t even go camping anymore.”

Similar sightings

Both of these accounts sound similar to a national headline-making event in 2002, when a very large bird was spotted in Southcentral Alaska.

A heavy equipment operator from Togiak spotted the bird then.

“At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes,” the Alaska Dispatch News (now the Anchorage Daily News) quoted Moses Coupchiak, 43, a heavy equipment operator from Togiak, as saying. “Instead of continuing toward me, it banked to the left, and that’s when I noticed it wasn’t a plane.”

So what could this be? It’s debatable what the biggest bird in Alaska is, but one candidate is the black-footed albatross, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raptor biologist Steve Lewis said. They can have a wingspan of 6-8 feet.

But it’s highly unlikely an albatross would venture into the valley. Strong winds can sometimes blow an albatross inland, but they’re generally ocean-going birds that stick to the coast, Lewis said.

“Over the water there’s a potential to see something that may have wings like an albatross, but wouldn’t be jet black and wouldn’t be over the valley at all,” Lewis said.

The Stellar’s eagle is another candidate. Like the black-footed albatross, those can have a wingspan of 6-8 feet. They generally don’t venture as far north as Juneau, but as recently as the 1990s they were consistently spotted only a few miles from Juneau on the Taku River, near Canada.

A third, and more likely explanation is that the bird was an immature female bald eagle. Those are the largest birds that are frequently in the area, Lewis said. Young bald eagles have bigger feathers than older eagles, he explained, which aid them as they learn to fly and can make them look larger than they are.

Female bald eagles are generally larger than their male counterparts, Lewis added. Their job in a mating pair is to defend the nest, so it helps to be big and imposing to scare off potential nest robbers.

Bauer and Diane were both adamant about the size of the bird, so neither the albatross, Steller’s eagle or immature female bald eagle squares with their account. They’re both too small and the wrong colors.

The Federal Aviation Administration didn’t return calls to this story, but since both eyewitnesses described seeing this thing flap its wings, it’s unlikely it was a glider or a large drone, by their accounts.

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.

Grand Canyon Rattle Snakes-Including Pink Rattle Snakes




Light colored rattlesnake coiled
Grand Canyon rattlesnake on the North Kaibab Trail.


The Grand Canyon is home to six species of rattlesnakes. These creatures control rodent populations in the Canyon, helping prevent the spread of disease and the over grazing of fruiting plants. Please observe these venomous predators from a distance.


  • The most famous physical feature is the rattle on the end of the snake’s tail. It is made of highly modified scales, and the noise it makes is used to scare way animals that may threaten the snake. By scaring away predators without a fight, rattlesnakes avoid injury and don’t waste venom that they need for hunting.
  • Rattlesnakes have a thick body and broad, diamond shaped head.
  • Rattlesnakes are part of a group of venomous snakes called pit vipers. All pit vipers are characterized by a pair of heat-sensing pits below their nostrils that help them find prey at night.
  • Each of the 6 rattlesnake species in the Grand Canyon has a different color pattern.
Rattlesnake with black tip on its tail.
Black-tailed rattlesnakes are only found at the western edge of Grand Canyon.

William Flaxington

Black-Tailed Rattlesnake

Crotalus molossus

Light colored rattlesnake
Often described as pink in color, this species is found nowhere in the world but the Grand Canyon.


Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake

Crotalus oreganus abyssus

Light colored snake with dark spots
The North Rim is the only part of the park where this species is found.

Boise State University

Great Basin Rattlesnake

Crotalus oreganus lutosus

Snake coiled between rocks
Hopi rattlesnakes are found in northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico.


Hopi Rattlesnake

Crotalus viridis nuntius

Rattlesnake coiled on sand
Often called the “Mojave green,” Mojave rattlesnakes often have a greenish color.

William Flaxington

Mojave Rattlesnake

Crotalus scutulatus

Coiled rattlesnake
Speckled rattlesnakes are found in the western part of the park.

William Flaxington

Speckled Rattlesnake

Crotalus mitchellii


  • While they can be found on the Rims, rattlesnakes are primarily found inside the Canyon.
  • Most species prefer open, rocky areas. Rocks provide shelter from predators, and an ambush site for hunting.


  • Rattlesnakes are ambush predators, meaning that they wait motionless until prey moves close enough for the snake to strike.
  • Prey includes small mammals, birds, and other reptiles.
  • Rattlesnakes are hunted by hawks, eagles, and other snakes (including the kingsnake, which is immune to rattlesnake venom).
  • Because rattlesnakes are ectotherms (meaning that they cannot regulate their body temperature like mammals do) they must bask in the sun to warm themselves in cooler weather.
  • During the winter, rattlesnakes enter a state of brumation. Similar to hibernation, brumation means that the snake becomes far less active, but are not completely inactive through the winter. Rattlesnakes will stay in this dormant period until daytime temperatures consistently reach 60oF (15.5oC).
  • Rattlesnakes are highly venomous, but will not attack a human unless provoked. Most bites occur when people try to pick up rattlesnakes.
  • If you hear a rattle, move away from the noise and watch the snake from a distance of at least 15 feet (3m)

Racer Snakes – The Demons Of Planet Earth II




In defence of racer snakes – the demons of Planet Earth II (they’re only after a meal)


It’s the stuff of nightmares: a rockface that comes alive with a writhing mass of snapping serpents seemingly hellbent on working together to capture and consume a defenceless young marine iguana. This jaw-dropping scene aired as part of the new series of the BBC’s flagship natural history programme, Planet Earth II, and seems to have captured the imagination of millions.

Racer snakes are right bast


Filmed on Fernandina Island in the Galápagos, the Galápagos Racer (Philodryas biserialis) is a slim, fast-moving, mildly venomous snake that reaches lengths of up to 120cm. They were filmed during their best feeding opportunity of the year, as young iguanas are born and make a dash for the safety of the higher rocks above. Snake eyesight has evolved to quickly detect movement – and once they spot a target, their reactions can appear highly aggressive and relentless in pursuit.

It’s all too easy to demonise the snake, and for years that’s exactly what the media has encouraged. Reports involving snakes are commonly misrepresented or deliberately sensationalised. Snakes are often portrayed as slimy, cold, angry sticks with teeth rather than anything resembling a living, breathing creature. This of course does little to alleviate public ophidiophobia, an irrational fear of snakes.

In fact, my first break as a wildlife presenter came about following a phone call from the BBC Natural History department regarding snakes, having seen me deliver a talk for the British Association of Science at Cardiff University.

“We’d love to shoot a documentary about adders with you,” the voice on the other end of the phone exclaimed. “We especially want to see the fangs, and the venom … just how much venom can we see from milking an adder?”

Taking a deep breath, I clarified through gritted teeth that Britain’s only venomous snake was both shy and reclusive and not at all aggressive. It was a delicate snake that could easily be injured, and it would be unethical to undertake such an exercise just for the camera. A documentary of that calibre would present adders in a poor light, and it was not a project I would want to be part of.

“Okay,” the voice replied, seemingly without hearing a word I had just uttered. “Do you know anyone else that would be interested?”

One that got away. BBC NHU/© Elizabeth White

I remember thinking that that would be the last chance I’d ever have to work for the BBC, but also feeling that I’d made the right decision. A couple of days later, though, I received another call telling me that the documentary had been poorly thought out and that a decision had been made to cancel the production. As you can imagine, I was relieved. And rather than hinder my career, my stand attracted BBC producers with better judgement, and eventually led to me presenting my own primetime BBC One wildlife series, Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol.

But while it worked out well for me in the end, the same cannot be said for the racer snake, which has already been roundly and colourfully attacked. Rather than capturing a coordinated attack from snakes hunting as a pack, the clip from Planet Earth II actually shows a number of snakes acting individually, on instinct. The time of year when these iguanas hatch is for these snakes the equivalent of Black Friday bargain hunting – it’s every snake for itself, because if they miss out here, they’ll go hungry. Collectively, the actions of these snakes can appear terrifying, but once a snake eats it loses its desire to hunt again.

Unlike mammals, snakes don’t chew their food and have no appendages with which to carve up a share of their quarry with their kin. Evolution has instead led them to consume their prey whole, digesting bones and all. As ectothermic – or cold-blooded – animals, reptiles only require around a tenth of the food intake of a similarly-sized mammal to survive. Once prey is consumed, the snake may not eat again for several weeks.

It is perhaps because snakes’ eating habits, appearance and movement is alien to us that we fear them. After all, we are most often afraid of the things we don’t understand and struggle to anticipate. Throughout history we’ve presented the snake as a symbol of evil and danger. No surprise then to witness the relief felt when the little iguana slipped through the snakes’ constricting coils and escaped to safety. But I suspect very few people gave a second thought to the plight of the snakes left hungry on the beach.

Lost history of African dinosaurs revealed



Lost history of African dinosaurs revealed

Reconstruction of the new dinosaur on a coastline in what is now the Western Desert of EgyptImage copyrightANDREW MCAFEE, CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Image caption Reconstruction of the new dinosaur on a coastline in what is now the Western Desert of Egypt

A new species of dinosaur found in the Egyptian desert is shedding light on Africa’s missing history of dinosaurs.

Few fossils have been unearthed from the last days of the dinosaurs, between 100 and 66 million years ago, on the continent.

Scientists say the dinosaur, which lived about 80 million years ago, is an “incredible discovery”.

The giant plant-eater was the length of a school bus and weighed about the same as an elephant.

It had a long neck and bony plates embedded in its skin.

The dinosaur’s fossilised remains were unearthed during an expedition by palaeontologists from Mansoura University in Egypt.

Named Mansourasaurus shahinae, the new species is regarded as a critical discovery for science.

“It was thrilling for my students to uncover bone after bone, as each new element we recovered helped to reveal who this giant dinosaur was,” said Dr Hesham Sallam of Mansoura University, who led the research.

He said he expected the pace of discovery to accelerate in the years to come.

Students carry rock from the digImage copyrightMANSOURA UNIVERSITY
Image captionStudents carry rock from the dig

The course of dinosaur evolution in Africa has remained much of a mystery for the last 30 million years or so of the reign of the dinosaurs.

Study co-researcher Dr Matt Lamanna of Carnegie Museum of Natural History said that his jaw “hit the floor” when he first saw pictures of the fossils.

“This was the Holy Grail,” he said. “A well-preserved dinosaur from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs in Africa that we palaeontologists had been searching for for a long, long time.”

Dinosaur fossils in Africa are rare as much of the land is now covered in lush vegetation, rather than the exposed rock that has yielded dinosaur treasure troves elsewhere.

There is a huge gap in the fossil record during the Late Cretaceous, when the continents were coming towards the end of huge geological changes.

“Africa remains a giant question mark in terms of land-dwelling animals at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs,” said Dr Eric Gorscak of The Field Museum, who worked on the research, published in the journal, Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Mansourasaurus helps us address longstanding questions about Africa’s fossil record and palaeobiology – what animals were living there, and to what other species were these animals most closely related?”

Geological upheaval

Throughout much of the Triassic and Jurassic periods, during the early years of the dinosaurs, the Earth’s continents were joined together as one large land mass, known as Pangaea.

During the Cretaceous Period, the continents began splitting apart and shifting towards the configuration that we see today.

It has not been clear how well connected Africa was to other Southern Hemisphere landmasses and Europe during this time and to what degree Africa’s animals may have been cut off from their neighbours to evolve along their own separate lines.

By analysing anatomical features of its bones, the researchers determined that Mansourasaurus was more closely related to dinosaurs from Europe and Asia than to those found further south in Africa or in South America.

This, in turn, shows that at least some dinosaurs could move between Africa and Europe near the end of these animals’ reign.

“It shows Africa wasn’t this strange lost world of dinosaurs that lived nowhere else,” said Dr Lamanna. “That at least some African dinosaurs had other close relations in other continents at the time.”

The lower jaw bone of the new dinosaurImage copyrightHESHAM SALLAM, MANSOURA UNIVERSITY
Image captionThe lower jaw bone of the new dinosaur

Mansourasaurus belongs to the Titanosauria, a group of sauropods, or long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs, that were common during the Cretaceous. Titanosaurs are famous as some of the largest land animals on Earth.

Mansourasaurus, however, was relatively small for a titanosaur, and about the weight of an African bull elephant.

Its skeleton is important in being the most complete dinosaur specimen so far discovered from the end of the Cretaceous in Africa. Parts of the skull, the lower jaw, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, most of the shoulder and forelimb, part of the hind foot, and pieces of dermal plates are preserved.

Rather than being a piece of a jigsaw filling in the gaps in dinosaur history, it is more like “a corner piece”, said Dr Gorscak. “It’s like finding an edge piece that you use to help figure out what the picture is, that you can build from.”

Dr Veronica Diez Diaz, an expert in sauropod dinosaurs from the Museum fur Naturkunde in Berlin, who is not connected with the study, said sauropod remains have previously been found in Tanzania and Madagascar.

“The important thing about this discovery is that we did not know any Late Cretaceous sauropod species from North Africa,” she said. “Most of the remains were teeth and isolated bones. Thanks to Mansourasaurus that is not the case anymore.”

Commenting on the study, Dr Philip Mannion of Imperial College, London, said, “This is just the tip of the iceberg – it points to the fact that Africa has the potential to reveal a much richer fossil record.”

And Dr Michael D’Emic, Adelphi University, added: “It’s just an incredible discovery. It’s special because of where it was found.”

Follow Helen on Twitter.

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It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying



It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying

 January 9 at 1:32 PM
Sydney heat wave kills hundreds of flying foxes

Hundreds of flying foxes in the Greater Sydney area were found dead amid an extreme heat wave that struck Sydney on January 7.

It has been a weird few weeks of weather. In North America, Canadians and Floridians alike shivered through freezing temperatures, a bomb cyclone and a polar vortex. (It got so cold that iguanas froze and fell out of trees.)

Meanwhile, over in Australia, where it is summer now, it has been especially hot. Sweltering, really.

In Sydney, temperatures hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, the hottest it has been since 1939. That oppressive heat, a side effect of climate change, has made life hard for the country’s humans and infrastructure. Heat waves result in 10 percent more calls for ambulances and 10 percent more deaths, local experts said. Police in Victoria, on Australia’s southeastern coast, warned drivers last week that a six-mile stretch of a freeway in the central part of the state had melted. A spokeswoman for VicRoads, which manages Victoria’s road systems, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that hot weather caused the asphalt to become “soft and sticky” and the road surface to bleed.

It has also been nearly unbearable for some animals. “Anytime we have any type of heat event, we know we’re going to have a lot of animals in need,” animal specialist Kristie Harris told the BBC. It was so hot that possums burned their paws on roofs and roads. Birds needed to be specially rehydrated. Koalas around the region were being sprayed down to keep them cool.

And hundreds of flying fox bats died because they didn’t have enough cover to protect themselves from the heat. Animal rescuers in Sydney described “heartbreaking” scenes of dozens of dead baby bats piled on the ground. As the adult bats sought shade near a creek, babies were left dangling from trees with no means to survive the heat, according to a charity organization in the Sydney suburb of Campbelltown, home to colonies of flying foxes. Many were found scattered on the ground. Others died before they made it down.

“It was unbelievable. I saw a lot of dead bats on the ground and others were close to the ground and dying,” volunteer Cate Ryan told the Guardian. “I have never seen anything like it before.”

Flying foxes have adapted to Australia’s warm climate, but these fruit-eating bats are unable to regulate their body temperature when the outside temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The young ones are especially vulnerable, Ryan told the Camden-Narellan Advertiser.

“They have less heat tolerance,” she said. “Their brain just fries and they become incoherent.” Often, she said, they will simply get too hot and fall to the ground while the adults seek out precious shade.

A heat-stricken bat is rescued in Sydney. (Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown/AFP/Getty Images)

Wildlife volunteers and rescuers spent Sunday picking up bodies of about 200 flying foxes, most of which were babies, according to the charity Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown. The death toll was expected to rise to the thousands, as many were still dangling from trees and were unreachable to volunteers.

“Many pups were on their last breaths before getting much needed help . . . There were tears shed and hearts sunken,” the charity said Sunday in a lengthy Facebook post. “It’s devastating when a colony like our local one goes down like this due to heat, this colony needs more canopy cover and shaded areas to help with our ever rising hot summers because this episode will surely not be the last.”

Australia considers the gray-headed flying fox, one of four types, a vulnerable species — with about 400,000 left, down from more than 560,000 in 1989. The bats live in woods and swamps along Australia’s east coast and play an important role in pollination and seed transportation.

Experts link the plight of flying foxes to the globe’s steadily rising temperature. More than 30,000 flying foxes died across Australia during heat waves between 1994 and 2008, bat ecologist Micaela Jemison wrote in 2014.

Last year, more than 2,000 flying foxes were found dead in the Richmond Valley region of northern New South Wales on Australia’s east coast, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. Temperatures topped 113 degrees Fahrenheit. About 100,000 bats across the state of Queensland died during a heat wave in 2014.

“This is of great concern to scientists not only due to the increased risk of these ‘die off’ events, but also for the long term impact it will have on the recovery of several of these already threatened species,” Jemison wrote.

Australia’s heat wave — and the United States’s bomb cyclone — come on the heels of the second-warmest global year on record since the 1800s.

A new report, pointing to signs of climate change such as the thawing of Arctic ice and intensifying wildfires, says the global average surface air temperature in 2017 exceeded 14.7 degrees Celsius (58.46 Fahrenheit), making last year a bit cooler than 2016, the warmest on record. But 2016 included the tail end of a strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific, and that bumped up temperatures that year, as well as in 2015, according to the report by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a European agency.

These findings are echoed in Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology’s climate report for 2017, the country’s third-warmest year on record.

“Despite the lack of an El Nino — which is normally associated with our hottest years — 2017 was still characterized by very warm temperatures. Both day and nighttime temperatures were warmer than average . . . Seven of Australia’s ten warmest years have occurred since 2005 and Australia has experienced just one cooler than average year — 2011 — in the past decade,” according to a news release.

3 African Elephants Relax on Georgia Interstate



Afrikanischer Elefant, Addo Elephant Park, Ostkap, Südafrika, Afrika Rights-Managed Image - Lizenzpflichtiges Bildmaterial - (c) by LOOK-foto - JEGLICHE VERWENDUNG nur gegen HONORAR und BELEG - Werbliche Nutzung nur nach schriftlicher Freigabe - Es gelten die AGB von LOOK-foto - Tel. +49(0)89.544 233-0, Fax -22, info@look-foto.de, LOOK GmbH, Muellerstr. 42, 80469 Muenchen - www.look-foto.de
Afrikanischer Elefant, Addo Elephant Park, Ostkap, Südafrika, Afrika Rights-Managed Image – Lizenzpflichtiges Bildmaterial – (c) by LOOK-foto – JEGLICHE VERWENDUNG nur gegen HONORAR und BELEG – Werbliche Nutzung nur nach schriftlicher Freigabe – Es gelten die AGB von LOOK-foto – Tel. +49(0)89.544 233-0, Fax -22, [email protected], LOOK GmbH, Muellerstr. 42, 80469 Muenchen – http://www.look-foto.de
Jan Greune / LOOK-foto—Getty Images/LOOK


November 21, 2017

A Georgia interstate isn’t the place you’d typically find African elephants, but there they stood.

Three African elephants stunned drivers and emergency response officials early Monday morning as they patiently stood along a Georgia interstate after the tractor-trailer carrying them caught on fire. The animals were not injured.

The elephants stood along I-24 near the Georiga-Tennessee border as officials responded to the incident around 2 a.m. ET Monday morning. The animals, named Mikia, Lovey, and Lou, were from Wilstem Ranch in French Lick, Ind., according to WTVC. They were en route to their winter retreat in Sarasota, Fla. when the incident occurred.

Battalion Chief Lesley Morgan of the Chattanooga Fire Department, which responded to the incident, said “the elephants were HUGE, but well behaved,” according to a Facebook post from the department.

According to the fire department, the tractor carrying the trailer caught on fire, while the trailer did not. “The owners got the elephants safely out of the trailer and gave them some hay to munch on while firefighters put the fire out,” the department said.

At Wilstem Ranch in Indiana, visitors can pay to bathe the elephants with a “spa appointment” — which includes giving them a pedicure, according to the business’s website. The retreat also gives one-hour educational seminars on elephants, in which guests can pet them and take photos with them.

‘Absolutely Grisly.’ A Woman Was Mauled to Death by Her Own Dogs





December 16, 2017

A 22-year-old woman was apparently mauled to death by her own dogs, described as pit bulls, according to Virginia law enforcement.

Bethany Lynn Stephens’ body was found in a wooded area in Goochland, V.A., with wounds on her hands, arms, throat and face consistent with a mauling, WTVR reports. Stephens’ father went looking for her on Thursday, and reportedly discovered her dogs standing watch over her body.

“It was an absolutely grisly mauling ,” Sheriff James Agnew told WTVR. “In my 40 years of law enforcement I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I hope I never see anything like it again.”

Agnew told WTVR that the dogs appeared to initiate the mauling. Evidence suggests the attack began when Stephens was alive, and became fatal after she fell to the ground unconscious. There is no evidence of a homicide, WTVR reports, and the sheriff’s office will look to euthanize the pit bulls.


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