“Researchers dressed as pandas introduce cubs to wild … The dressing up is just not for fun, say scientists, but an essential part of China’s ambitious strategy to reintroduce captive-bred Giant Pandas back into the wild. It is not yet clear if the Pandas are fooled by the disguises, but researchers at China’s Wolong Panda reserve in Sichuan Province, say that captive-bred cubs must live devoid of all human contact if they are to have any chance of survival.”
Pandas are simply not good at making more pandas. Recently, however, researchers have made progress in helping pandas breed. This BBC article provides a good overview of the situation. Ultimately, the issue seems to be that giant pandas are poorly designed: Female pandas are only in heat for 72 hours each year. Even worse, they can only actually get pregnant during a 12 to 24 hour window in that time. Male pandas have small penises, requiring a very exact position to mate. Voyeuristic researchers found that pandas did not seem to know the required position very well. Pandas subsist on a diet of nothing but bamboo. Bamboo contains so few nutrients that pandas in the wild spend up to 10 hours each day consuming as much as 50 pounds of it. Pandas often give birth to twins, but mothers abandon the weaker of the two, causing it to perish.
“Herring Gull with Guillemot Chick. Taken on the Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK, the herring gull circled around the guillemot colony three or four times before dropping in and picking up this chick with the guillemot colony watching.”
“Before the laced mice are airdropped, they are attached to “flotation devices” that each consist of two pieces of cardboard joined by a 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) paper streamer. The flotation device was designed to get the bait stuck in upper tree branches, where the brown tree snakes reside, instead of falling to the jungle floor, where the drug-laden mice might inadvertently get eaten by nontarget species, such as monitor lizards. There are few other species on Guam that could be tempted by the mouse bait, USDA’s Savarie said, because the brown tree snakes have eaten most of them.”
It’s happened. Igor has appeared just off the West African coast, and he’s coming this way. Igor (it’s “EE-gor” not “EYE-gor”) is certain to become the butt of bad jokes by meteorologists and David Letterman in the coming week.
“Multiple tower upward lightning flash captured at 9,000 images per second in Rapid City, SD on 6/16/10. A preceding downward positive ground flash triggers upward leaders from seven towers, three of which are visible in the video.”
Since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, the Interior Department has approved 27 new permits for offshore drilling sites. Here’s the kicker: Two of these permits are for BP. But it gets better still: 26 of the 27 new drilling sites have been granted regulatory exemptions, including those issued to BP.