Without a doubt, dogs are resilient animals. Whether they have been lost for 9 months or trapped in a drain for 3 years, they will often persist. Now, dogs Zeus and Valentine may have set the record for surviving out at sea. Along with their humans Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, the team remained on their damaged sailboat for nearly five months.
“When I saw the gray boat on the edge of the horizon, my heart leapt because I knew we were about to be saved,” [said Appel.] “Because I honestly believed we were going to die within the next 24 hours.”
On a trip from Hawaii to Tahiti, the pair encountered a storm, which flooded their engine and destroyed their mast. Communication lines also took a hit, and distress signals went unnoticed. Moreover, the four sustained two shark attacks. After 98 days, the US Navy came to their rescue.
“I’m grateful for their service to our country,” Appel said in a Navy statement. “They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the US Navy] on the horizon was pure relief.”
Who says only cats have nine lives?
On occasion, people suffering from crippling medical conditions experience unexpected miracles. Surgeons in Rochester saved both teacher Dan Fabbio and his music function from a high-risk tumor. Gene therapy is finally giving butterfly children a chance to recover. However, things don’t always turn out as planned. Queensland paramedics did everything they could for palliative patient Graeme Cooper, but to no avail. They chose to fulfill her dying wish, and took her to the beach one last time.
“Above and beyond, the crew took a small diversion to the awesome beach at Hervey Bay to give the patient this opportunity – tears were shed and the patient felt very happy.” [said officer-in-charge Helen Donaldson.]
Shared on social media, the photo immediately went viral, shared more than 10,000 times. The paramedics team had taken Cooper to see the ocean two weeks prior, when she was en route home to be with her husband. Tragically, her last visit to the bay was a pit stop back to the hospital. Still, she was optimistic.
“I said to the patient: ‘What are you thinking?’” [paramedic Danielle Kellan] recalled. “And she said: ‘I’m at peace, everything is right’.”
I always commend paramedics for their skill — but this was all simply compassion.
Animals will never cease to amaze us. Whether they’re solving pollution or producing alcohol, our wonder hardly falters. As technology remains on the rise, animals are calling out for attention — literally. Killer whales are showing parrots the real deal, imitating their trainers’ speech.
“We found that the subject made recognizable copies of all familiar and novel conspecific and human sounds tested and did so relatively quickly (most during the first 10 trials and three in the first attempt),”
Star pupil Wikie is a marvel at the Marineland Aquarium in southern France. Whereas most mammals use the larynx to vocalize, whales and the like use a nasal passage. And yes, that makes it all the more impressive.
“Human sounds are easily recognizable by us and if they could produce a human sound that is not in their normal repertoire, that would mean that the only way they could learn it is by listening to it and reproducing it. And that’s what we did,” [said professor Josep] Call.
So far, Wikie has learned to greet guests with “hello” and “bye bye” as well as count (up to two, anyway). Now, excuse me while I binge reruns of Free Willy!
Renewable wind energy has long ago proven its worth, powering 70% of Australian homes just last year. With its maximum potential still undiscovered, Danish company Ørsted is building a 174-fleet wind farm in the UK. The sustainable solution will power a plentiful million homes.
“After years of planning it is fantastic to see the initial stages of offshore construction begin… These wind farms will not only greatly contribute to the UK’s goal of decarbonising our energy system, they are also bringing jobs and investment to Grimsby and the North East.” [said program director Duncan Clark.]
The 800-ton turbines will make their official debut in 2020, with allowance for transport limitations. On the whole, Ørsted is determined to transition as much of society as it can into green energy users. Still, the group is managing its expectations.
“The government has to change the trajectory or we are going to fail. We need to learn our lessons from where things have gone wrong so far,”
With great ambition comes extreme patience — but I do hope I’m around to see our planet change for the better.
To prevent passersby having to rescue beached whales, activists are looking for ways to better protect marine life. Some are turning to lab-grown meat to combat overfishing, while others are dealing with poachers up front. Determined to keep their own Revillagigedo Islands afloat, Mexico is placing 57,000 square miles under protection.
“It’s an important place biologically for megafauna, kind of superhighway, if you will, for sharks, manta rays, whales and turtles,” [said] Matt Rand, director of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project… “It’s a pretty biologically spectacular location.”
Altogether, the islands are home to 366 species of fish, as well as a vast number of plants and birds. Though fishing villages have expressed concern, conservationists have assured that the reserve will help catch populations to quickly rise.
“We have a long way to go,” [Rand] says. “But there’s been incredible growth in the concept of large-scale marine protected areas. It’s almost becoming a race. Hopefully it’s starting to snowball.”
To conserve ecosystems, at least 30% of the ocean must remain untouched. I’d say 57,000 square miles is a pretty good start.
At present, contemporary breweries have moved out of beer houses and into labs. To make up for scant resources, many sustainable groups are crafting tasty drinks from bread and other waste. While revamping recipes is a success in itself, we can’t yet say the same for packaging. Six-pack holders are often 100% plastic, but that isn’t the case for Mexican Startup E6PR. Eco Six Pack Rings’ holders are made with compostable materials that are completely biodegradable.
“With the help of E6PR, we would like to inspire the entire beer industry to follow our lead… Our goal is to transition all of the packaging in our facility to this six-pack ring alternative that goes beyond recycling and strives to achieve zero waste.” [said Chris Gove of SaltWater Brewery.]
The rings dissolve in water and are safe for marine animals to ingest. E6PR hopes to produce the holders for all types of cans and bottles along with their standard size.
“If most craft brewers and big beer companies implement this technology, we will potentially be saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives as a result,” said Francisco García, the engineer behind the project
It’s quite the genius party trick, and while it won’t harm any animals, we do hope you reach for a rubbish bin before making the ocean yours.
Showing off an arsenal of life-saving capabilities, drones have been tending to rural patients at a shocking rate. Treatment lies in the form of deliveries, mostly medical tools and blood packets. In any event, the machinery itself hasn’t yet made any direct rescues — until making its way to New South Wales. On account of his search drone, lifeguard Jai Sheridan managed to save two drowning boys.
“I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes,” Sheridan said.
The drone, meant to scout for sharks, ejects a detachable floatation device. The boys, about half a mile into the water, safely paddled to shore on the floater. Sheridan’s “miracle” drone isn’t like any other in that you won’t be able to score it at your local Apple store.
It was a sophisticated UAV called “Little Ripper” described by its corporate sponsor, Westpac, as having a carbon fibre air frame and aircraft grade aluminum components.
Drones are tricky things — but their new and improved counterparts are surely making up for past slip-ups.
It’s the end of an era for plastic products. In the past year, Kenya bid goodbye to plastic bags while the U.K. made a final salute to microbeads. Latest to kick the bucket are cotton buds, axed by Scotland’s government.
“Despite various campaigns, people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets and this has to stop. Scotland’s sewerage… systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds, which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them.” [said environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham.]
The ban is the first of its kind in the U.K. Subsequently, it has encouraged cotton product manufacturers to use biodegradable materials. E-charity Fidra has attempted a number of exhausting cotton bud clean-ups — and the damage isn’t pretty.
“This decisive action is great news for the environment and for wildlife. Cotton buds are a very visible sign of our hugely wasteful habits, turning up on beaches across the globe.” [said Richard Dixon of Friends of the Earth.]
Sure, cotton swabs may feel pleasant in your ear — but not in oceans and definitely not in anyone’s stomach!
Efforts to restore coral beds by returning oyster shells to reefs may be making an impact — but not for sea stars. Plagued by star wasting syndrome in 2013, the majestic creatures saw an uneasy population decline. However, a miraculous turn of events has seen the distinguished species resurface in Southern California.
“It’s a huge difference… A couple of years ago, you wouldn’t find any. I dove all the way as far as Canada, specifically looking for sea stars, and found not a single one,” … said Darryl Deleske, an aquarist at San Pedro, California’s Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
While die-offs have occurred in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, climate change has amplified its latest comeback. With no solid explanation to star wasting syndrome, the disease is tricky. Still, researchers have offered a number of theories.
Scientists suggested that parvovirus, which can be carried by other invertebrates, might be linked to the disease, with the viral agent possibly “going rogue.”
The sea star’s resurgence may be a conundrum even the Mystery Gang can’t solve — but a fortunate one at that!
It’s not everyday hundreds of strangers come together for a greater purpose. Occasionally, 80 people will form a human chain to rescue drowning swimmers. Other times, some 300 volunteers will save a beached whale. In fact, the feat actually occurred recently.
Throughout the morning, three diggers boosted the efforts of the rescue mission as dozens of people used shovels and hoes to remove the sand, and throw buckets of water over the animal to keep it hydrated.
A handful of rescuers later multiplied into hundreds, but ditch-digging proved to be unsuccessful. Volunteers chose not to move the Humpback in fear of damaging its internal organs. Things took a hopeful turn when the marine puppy made its own effort to wiggle its way back to sea. Presumably, the situation was an ordinary case of a young whale’s wonky internal GPS.
According to experts, the puppy may have got lost from the group it was traveling with when crossing the Rio coast bound for the Antarctica. The migration usually takes place at this time of year.
After 24 hours, the 7-ton baby beast refloated into the South Atlantic Ocean. It appeared to thank its volunteers with a wave of its fin — a total breath of fresh air. Or perhaps a breath of salty water?