“The blind, pink rodent from Africa may hold key to longevity”


Hairless, pink skinned, big toothed, wonder of the rodent world may hold the secret to longevity and some forms of cancer. Who is this wonder of the animal world? None other then the mole rat of the African desert.

Blind and spending its life underground this animal who’s family social structure more resembles the queen bee and her hive than a mammal family lives the longest of any rodent in the world.

Naked mole rat longevity

Does the key to longevity reside in the animals ability to produce quality proteins that do not degrade as quickly  or does keeping the proteins in top shape longer so the proteasomes (the cell’s protein trash recycling system) do not have as much work to do to recombine amino acids that made up the degraded proteins into new ones.

Scientists do not know yet if other animals that live a long and healthy life like soem birds like the parrot also havs the same recycling system, but will be researching these kindred long lived animals next.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.uthscsa.edu/hscnews

Image from Natures Crusaders library

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“The secret life of bird droppings”


A very underrated substance and for many the last body substance to be talked about is poop. Historically bird droppings have been used and sold by many peoples. There is one very unusual ancient use for nightingale wastes.

Guano or excrement (feces and urine) from seabirds, bats and seals is big business. Guano consists of ammonia, along with uric, phosphoric, oxalic, and carbonic acids, as well as some earth salts and impurities. Guano also has a high concentration of nitrate is that make it popular for making an effective fertilizer and gunpowder ingredient due to its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen and also its lack of odor. Super phosphate made from guano is used for aerial topdressing. Soil that is deficient in organic matter can be made more productive by addition of this manure.

How does bird poop differ from animal dung?

Mammals urinate or pee, but birds’ kidneys remove the nitrogenous wastes from the bloodstream, but instead of excreting it as urea dissolved in urine as mammals do, they excrete it in the form of uric acid. Uric acid has a very low solubility in water, so it emerges as a white paste. All waste products the uric acid and the wastes from the intestines leave the bird’s body through the same opening called the cloaca.

Guarney Cormorant

The best producers of guano that is high in nitrogen is the Guarney Cormorant.

Its guano is richer in nitrogen than guano from other seabirds.

Guano is still used by organic gardeners and farmers.

In ancient Japan, the Geisha women found that the bird poop facial made from powdered nightingale droppings is the best.

Nightingale droppings are the best for beauty treatment

This ancient use of bird guano combines traditional and natural Japanese ingredients to soften, brighten and nourish the complexion. Geisha were known for their iconic porcelain complexion-clear, unblemished and pale as a camellia blossom. However, their beautiful appearance came at a price as the lead and zinc in their face powder caused chronic skin care problems until the discovery of a unique remedy -nightengale droppings
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guano

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.shizukany.com/geisha-facial.html

Image G. Cormorant courtesy of http://www.heptune.com/poop.html

Image courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Nachtigall_%28Luscinia_megarhynchos%29-2.jpg

“Coffee, tea or me?-A new species is served up at the feet of naturalist”


Poisonous snake serves up new species at the feet of a jungle researcher

How convenient. If only finding new unidentified species was so easy all the time.

Seems that a monkey researcher rounded the other side of a tree in the forest looking for his beloved monkeys and startled a twig snake that had just eaten. The snake to get away spit up his latest catch a live whole juicy new chameleon species at the feet of the scientist.

The scientist Dr Andrew Marshall, a conservationist from York University thought this might be a new species so he snapped a picture and sent it to his colleagues who confirmed his suspicions were correct. This new Magombera chameleon species, name Kinyongia magomberae discovered in Tanzania may help to save this forest biome as well.

New chameleon found in Tanzania

The Magombera forest near the Udzungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania is one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. Marshall and the team there have discovered many new species of frogs, a shrew, mollusks and millipedes  recently here. This forest needs to be protected to preserve its biodiversity from further destructive development.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/23/new-chameleon-species-magombera-tanzania

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/11/cute-new-chameleon

Image courtesy of Andrew Marshall/African Journal/PA

“Endangered Giraffes rebounding -thanks to the care + effort of many”


Good News!

The Nigerien giraffe lived in pockets across the Sahel and Savanna regions of West Africa. Intensive farming and hunting practices, human encroachment, a series of dramatic droughts since the late 1800s, and environment destruction (both natural and human made) have all contributed to their dramatic decline.

Niger giraffe rebounding

The droughts have created wide spread suffering, but one subspecies Niger giraffes almost became extinct . The seven subspecies of giraffe range throughout Senegal, Niger, eastern Mali, northern Benin, northern Nigeria, southwest Chad and northern Cameroon. However, the Populations from northern Cameroon and Southern Chad.

The Endangered Niger giraffes (camelopardalis peralta), are the most imperiled. They have cream colored legs almost devoid of spots and tannish colored body and face spots. The Niger, also called the Nigerian giraffe does have the long, 18 inch black tongue, which is used to pluck leaves from trees and bushes. They can live for 25 years and go without water longer than a camel.

The Nigerien giraffe population relies upon seasonal migration between the relatively drought-resistant lowlands of the Niger River valley and the drier highlands near Kouré. In this area, Tiger bush habitat allows for bands of trees to thrive in climates which might otherwise become more typical desert. These giraffe survive primarily on a diet of leaves from the following  plants the Acacia albida, Hypaene thebaica, the Annona senegalensis, Parinari macrophylla, Piliostigma reticulatum, and Balanites aegyptiaca.

In the late 1990s, a government sponsored wood cutting project around Niamey nearly destroyed the Tiger bush and giraffe habitat within the region. Now the Nigerien government has limited woodcutting in the area Conservation efforts and a sizable growth in populationfrom 50 individuals, in 2007 to 175 wild individuals today.Intensive efforts have been made within Niger, especially in the area just north of the Dosso Partial Faunal Reserve. From there, the largest existing herd migrate seasonally to the drier highlands along the Dallol Bosso valley, as far north as Kouré, some 80km southeast of Niamey. Governmental and international efforts are  spear headed by Association pour la Sauvegarde des Girafes du Niger who maintains the habitat, smooth relations between the herd and area farmers, and provide opportunities for tourism,

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  allvoices.com/niger-giraffes-majestic-gentle-giants-back-from-the-brink-of-extinction

Excerpts and Image courtesy of   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_African_Giraffe

 

Image courtesy of

“Tucson’s own environmentalist Maeveen Behan is dead”


A life of dedication to saving the desert
Maeveen Behan, lawyer and  key developer of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, that saved 3 million acres of land in Pima County, Arizona, including the city of Tucson, and surrounding communities is dead.
Sharing a common goal she orchestrated one of the Nation’s most successful community multi-species

Maeveen is dead

conservation plans. The Tucson area plan united ranchers, builders, businesses, environmental groups, citizens and state and federal agencies to conserve southern Arizona’s unique cultural, historic, and natural resources, while still providing for continued sustainable economic activity in the region.

The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan works on several levels. It affords protective measures for protecting endangered species while saving the remainder of Tucson’s desert ecosystem. More than 100 biologists contributed studies; Habitat maps highlighting the locations of the greatest species richness were created. A series of conservation reserves covering 54 species, but in reality it will end up aiding the full spectrum of animals and plants across the ecosystem. The conservation reserves are pockets of biologically sensitive areas that are either adjacent to existing reserves or near parcels of developed land surrounded by open space. The idea is to create habitat corridors from the reserves by connecting them to other large tracts of undeveloped land.

Dr. Behan life was a model of dedicated service, respect for all people and the environment.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a partner in the planning process for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, renamed the Maeveen Marie Behan Conservation Lands System on the day of her death.

Thank you for a life well spent in service to the biodiversity of the earth and us all.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.ialtar.com/Memorials/Maeveen

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/317369

Image courtesy of  http://www.ialtar.com/Memorials/Maeveen/images/dinner2.jpg

“Orca birth announcement”


Great News – two new calves. born to  L and  to J pod

These two new baby orcas raise hope that possibly the southern resident orca population

may continue to increase off Puget Sound, Washington State.

Good News

The addition of two young calves to the three Puget Sound pods brings the total population to 87 whales. The orcas migrate back and forth from Puget Sound to British Columbia in search of food. According to the Orca Network, the new addition to J pod has been named J-47 and the mother is name  J-28. The young orca was spotted swimming along side its mother close to Victoria in the waters near the San Juan Islands and the calf has been given the designation J-46. Its presumed mother is a 16-year-old orca known as J-28 or Polaris.

new orca

New orca this baby's tiny dorsal fin snuggled in among the large dorsals of its family members - even his/her uncle, J44, who was born earlier this year seems big by comparison

The southern resident killer whales (orca) were on the decline and were listed for ESA protection in early 2007. Chinook salmon are also endangered and have been on a steady decline for decades. Their main food is salmon which is  declining in numbers, pollution, disease and  hunting have put the orca are threatened populations. Last summer seven endangered orcas from the Puget Sound disappeared, including two reproducing-aged females. The whales were feared dead and scientists believe they may have died from malnutrition, starvation, and vulnerability to other threats, like water contamination.

Dangers plague the whales

from shipping lanes, cruise ships, and cargo traffic to pollution and decreasing food sources of salmon.

Orcas are protected their capture for use in theme parks is prohibited.

You can help save our ocean nimals and ecology by using less plastic and fossil fuels and living more naturally.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.whaleresearch.org/conservation.htm

Excerpts courtesy of  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010258840_webbabyorca12m.html

Excerpts courtesy of  http://blog.seattlepi.com/candacewhiting/archives/184992.asp

Image New calf J46 swimming with J28 – courtesy of Mark Malleson/http://blog.seattlepi.com/candacewhiting/archives/184992.asp

“The secret relationship between humans and dirt”


DIRT! The Movie

The secret story of humans living dirt

Join us at a theater  near you on December 4, 2009

Dirt the Movie

Why Dirt?

Dirt feeds us and gives us shelter. Dirt holds and cleans our water. Dirt heals us and makes us beautiful. Dirt regulates the earth’s climate. Dirt is the ultimate natural resource for all life on earth.

Yet most humans ignore, abuse, and destroy our most precious living natural resource. Consider the results of such behavior: mass starvation, drought, floods, and global warming, and wars. If we continue on our current path, Dirt might find another use for humans, as compost for future life forms.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Another world, in which we treat dirt with the respect it deserves, is possible and we’ll show you how.

The film offers a vision of a sustainable relationship between Humans and Dirt through profiles of the global visionaries who are determined to repair the damage we’ve done before it’s too late. There are many ways we can preserve the living skin of the earth for future generations. If you care about your food, water, the air you breathe, your health and happiness… it’s time to see DIRT! the Movie, roll up your sleeves for action and Get Dirty.

“Japan’s new ‘Food Safety’ Minister still allowing sale of toxic dolphin”


Journalist Boyd Harnell  and Sky TV’s Pio d’Emilia takes on the new Food Safety Minister Fukishima of Japan, with scientific facts, some supplied by the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition, regarding the health and safety issues of selling toxic mercury and and methyl mercury tainted dolphin meat at retail outlets in Japan.dolphin and whale meat in Japanese supermarkets. The meeting took place at a Toyko Press Conference on November 16, 2009.

toxic dolphin meat sold as whale meat

The Japan Health Ministry has refused to put warnings on the small cetacean meat labels,and has also allowed the mislabeling of dolphin meat as being whale meat throughout the country. Two Taiji government officials from the town where the dolphin slaughter has annually taken place, have condemned dolphin meat as toxic waste after they had conducted certified lab tests showing Taiji dolphin meat to be extremely high in mercury and methyl mercury.
He admitted serving dolphin meat to school children through a government-sponsored Taiji lunch program.

Dr. Shigeo Ekino and Dr. Tetsuya Endo scientists have condemned the sale of dolphin meat for human consumption. Their research on local Taiji residents have shown that local residents tested ten times higher in their blood  for mercury toxicity than the national average.

Mr. Harnell asked the Health Minister to ban the sale of dolphin and whale meat and stop the needless slaughter of these animals to protect public health and preserve the ocean biome. Even presented with the scientific data the new woman “health minister ” is dragging her political feet.

Help stop the slaughter of dolphins by signing the petition click here.

Resources
Excerpts
courtesy of   savejapandolphins.blogspot.com
Excerpts courtesy of  thepetitionsite.com/3/stop-the-dolphin-slaughter
Image courtesy of        creativecommons.org/toxic+dolphin

“Icy Arctic warming -the Arctic reindeer is threatened”


Snow was late coming to reindeer land in the Arctic this year.

Icy Arctic warms three times faster -will reindeer become endangered too?

The reindeers survival is closely linked to their abiiity to eat dry lichens. This year the area around the Barents Sea are unseasonably mild, above zero degrees Celsius. The Arctic reinder eat dry lichens, but with their home warming their food souce has to be supplemented. Why?

reindeer hers down

When this wet ice in the lichen is eaten and enters the reindeers’ stomach, they can’t digest the food. In the past, when the snows have come, they have generally fallen on dry ground, this year the lichens are filled with water.

Because the reindeer’s traditional food is dry lichens, if they eat wet lichens it upsets their digestion. “there’s wet ice in the lichen.” so they can’t digest the food.” To avoid losing precious reindeer, the Sami, native people of Norway, the reindeer herders, are forced to move their herds to drier ground and even feed them straw. Since there is less snow and it is coming later, it is more important than ever to let these herders drive the reindeer across the entire north of the nation.

The Arctic is being hit hard by global warming. It warms three times faster than elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere because of a phenomenon called Arctic amplification. As global air temperatures increase, the Arctic tends to show greater changes, because the ice pack that once reflected solar rays  is melting. When more of the sun’s rays are absorbed rather than reflected warming  accelerates and the polar ice melts and shrinks.

First the polar bear and now will the reindeer be the next artic animal to become endangered after the polar bear?

We can make the difference by living more simply, recycling and using less plastics, pesticides and growing our own organic food. Will you become part of the solution?

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of terradaily.com/Global_warming_a_growing_threat_to_Arctic_reindeer

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/54130

Image courtesy of nasa.gov/goddard/images/content/173181main_reindeer_herd.jpg

“Fortyfive percent drop in Amazon deforestation”


The rate of deforestation in the Amazon has dropped by 45% and is the lowest on record since monitoring began 21 years ago, Brazil’s government says.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva described the drop in the level of deforestation as

amazondeforestation

Amazon deforestation drops Fortyfive

“extraordinary”.  A little over 7,000 sq km was destroyed between July 2008 and August 2009.
By 2020, the Brazilian governments goal is to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020.

This would equal destruction of a land mass area about the size of Delaware each year.
The environment ministry here is said to be proposing that around half of a 40% cut in Brazil’s carbon emissions would come from reducing deforestation.
Has the rate of deforestation taken place because of economic slow down?
Cutting deforestation to zero, while creating sustainable living is the goal.

Resources
Excerpts courtesy of   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8358094.stm
Image courtesy of  http://www.tropical-rainforest-animals.com/image-files/amazondeforestation.jpg

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