Feral swine bomb could wreak havoc on large swaths of the US if wild boar population continues to explode

Wild hog populations are soaring in what experts dub ‘a feral swine bomb’. Picture: Montrose Daily Press/Mark Rackay A population explosion among wild boars in the US has led experts to warn that a “feral swine bomb,” if left unchecked, could wreak havoc on large swaths of the country.  Undark Magazine reported on the explosion of the pig population, which has caused an estimated $2.5bn worth of damages every year.   Feral hogs trample and tear-up crops, attack livestock, and can destroy sensitive habitats. The pigs also act as disease carriers. They can host more than 30 viral and bacterial diseases as well as scores of parasites.   There are approximately 9 million feral hogs in the US, and their numbers are multiplying quickly. Thirty years ago, only 17 states had feral hog populations. Today, there are at least 39 states dealing with the animals’ destructive tendencies.   Dale Nolte, manager of the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program at the US Department of Agriculture, told Undark Magazine that their exponential population growth has experts concerned.   “They multiply so rapidly. To go from a thousand to two thousand, it’s not a big deal. But if you’ve got a million, it doesn’t take long to get to 4 [million], then 8 million,” he said.   In some parts of the country, like Florida, Georgia and California, the feral hog population has grown wildly out of control. Both California and Texas have encouraged the recreational hunting of the pigs, but their attempts to cull the population backfired; in response to the hunting, the pigs simply scattered throughout the state, increasing the scope of the problem. Data suggests that in Colorado, for example, hunting pigs will actually increase their travelling distance by up to 100 miles.   Montana outright banned the hunting of wild boars after a 2013 incident in which Texas man attempted to bring the beasts into the state to hunt them commercially. Two years later, the state passed legislation banning hunting of feral pigs and prohibiting their transportation or ownership in the state. Those found breaking the feral swine laws could be hit with up to $10,000 fines. [embedded content] The pigs are especially dangerous because of their genetics.   The wild boars are the offspring of domestic big breeds and the European wild boar.   As a result of the mix, the pigs inherit the intelligence, heightened sense of smell and rugged survivability from the hogs, and their exceptional fertility – thanks to years of husbandry – from the pigs.   When pigs escape their enclosures and breed in the wild – even with other domestic pigs – their offspring can eventually revert to a feral phenotype after just a few generations – less than 20 years.   “The problem with the hybrids is you get all of the massive benefits of all of that genetics,” researchers said.   A few states have started awareness campaigns meant to urge the public to report the pigs so authorities can destroy them.   Washington, Oregon and Montana have a “Squeal on Pigs” information campaign that urges residents to call a 24-hour phone hotline to report pig sightings.   Though Montana has received praise from experts for its use of legislation and public information to help contain the flood of pigs, there is fear that too little is being done to get the creatures under control.   Ryan Brook, a biologist with the University of Saskatchewan that researches animals, said the efforts are just a small part of what is needed to truly contain the pigs. “The efforts to deal with them are about 1 per cent of what’s currently needed,” he said. It seems that they multiply like viruses… 2020 and its wild boars plague… More animal invasions on The Independent, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you!

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351 sea turtles found dead in 6 months on same coast where 137 sea lions died in Mexico

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Linkedin ReddIt WhatsApp Hundreds of turtles and sea lions ahve been found dead on the same stretch of beach in Mexico. Picture via Youtube video Environmental groups say a total of 351 loggerhead sea turtles have been found dead so far this year on the same stretch of Baja California coast where authorities found a total of 137 dead, beached sea lions last week. The Mexican Center for Environmental Law and the Center for Biological Diversity said Friday the deaths showed the need for a ban on net and line fishing in the Gulf of Ulloa area off the Pacific coast. Authorities had previously said the sea lions did not show signs of injuries from getting caught up in fishing nets or lines. But the activists said that nets are one of the main causes of sea turtle deaths. [embedded content] The bodies were found along an 80 mile (130km) stretch of coast in the area of Comondu, in Baja California Sur state. More information on KTIV, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you! Facebook Twitter Pinterest Linkedin ReddIt WhatsApp Previous articleHow To Increase Your Concentration Time Next articleWest Coast wildfires continue to rage with 11 states reporting 87 large fires Follow Strange Sounds to discover amazing, weird and unexpected phenomena around the world. Be curious!

Continue Reading 351 sea turtles found dead in 6 months on same coast where 137 sea lions died in Mexico

Unprecedented numbers of birds are mysteriously dropping dead from the sky in New Mexico

‘Hundreds of thousands, if not millions!’ New Mexico sees massive migratory bird deaths. birds mysteriously fall dead from the sky in New Mexico, leaving scientists baffled. Picture: Martha Desmond/New Mexico State University Over the past few weeks, various species of migratory birds are dying in “unprecedented” numbers of unknown causes.  And this growing number of birds in southern New Mexico that have mysteriously died have wildlife experts scratching their heads. “It is terribly frightening,” Desmond said. “We’ve never seen anything like this. … We’re losing probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of migratory birds.“ In August, large numbers of birds were found dead at White Sands Missile Range and at the White Sands National Monument in what was thought to be an isolated incident, Desmond said.  After that, however, came reports of birds behaving strangely and dying in numerous locations in Doña Ana County, Jemez Pueblo, Roswell, Socorro and other locations statewide. The affected birds have included warblers, sparrows, swallows, blackbirds, flycatchers, and the western wood pewee. The biologists noted that the majority of the dying birds are insectivores, but that seed eaters were sickening and dying as well. “A number of these species are already in trouble,” Desmond said. “They are already experiencing huge population declines and then to have a traumatic event like this is – it’s devastating.”  Only on Saturday, 300 bird carcasses were discovered at Knox Hall on the university of New Mexico main campus. The day before, residents living around also found birds behaving strangely and gathering in large groups before dying.  Dead migratory birds in New Mexico. Picture: Martha Desmond/New Mexico State University “People have been reporting that the birds look sleepy … they’re just really lethargic,” Cutler said. “One thing we’re not seeing is our resident birds mixed in with these dead birds. We have resident birds that live here, some of them migrate and some of them don’t, but we’re not getting birds like roadrunners or quail or doves.”  On the other hand, numerous migratory species are dying rapidly and it is not immediately clear why, although the cause appears to be recent. Biologists said the birds had moulted, replacing their feathers in preparation for their flight south, “and you have to be healthy to do that; but somewhere after that, as they initiated their migratory route, they got in trouble.“ The biologists guessed the cause might involve the wildfires ravaging the western U.S. and dry conditions in New Mexico. “They may have been pushed out before they were ready to migrate,” Desmond said. “They have to put on a certain amount of fat for them to be able to survive the migration. These birds migrate at night and they get up in the jet stream, and they might migrate for three nights in succession, they’ll come down and they’ll feed like crazy, put on more fat and go again.”  The birds will be sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore. for further analysis. “Over 3 billion birds have died since 1970. Insect populations are crashing, and this is just an unprecedented mortality…” What’s new with the new technologies? More information about the mysterious bird deaths in New Mexico on LC-Sun, KOB, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you! A growing number of birds in southern New Mexico that have mysteriously died have wildlife experts scratching their heads. “It appears to be an unprecedented and a very large number,” said Martha Desmond, a professor at NMSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology. “It’s very difficult to put a finger on exactly what that number is, but I can say it would easily be in the hundreds of thousands of birds.” Desmond is working with a group of wildlife experts from the Bureau of Land Management, NMSU and White Sands Missile Range to get to the bottom of why they’ve been seeing a sudden uptick in deaths. They said one potential reason could be the cold snap that passed through the state last week. “What is odd is the fact that we’re seeing this occur beforehand and we’re seeing it occur since then,” Desmond said. Environmental conditions like droughts could have also played a part in the deaths. “It can be related to some of the drought conditions. It could also be related to the fires in the west. There may have been some damage to these birds in their lungs.  It may have pushed them out early when they weren’t ready to migrate,” Desmond said. Other researchers across the state are also exploring different theories because they said this phenomenon is not normal. “On the missile range we might in a week find, get a report of less than half a dozen birds,” said Trish Butler, a wildlife biologist at White Sands Missile Range. “This last week we’ve had a couple hundred, so that really got our attention.” People can help wildlife officials by reporting any groups of dead birds on the iNaturalist app. “If people can, we would ask that they collect the birds, use gloves or a bag to pick it up,” Desmond said. “We don’t advocate touching the birds with their hands. Bag them, double bag them and put them in the freezer.”

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Why do orcas start attacking boats? Scientists and sailors left baffled

Reports of orcas striking sailing boats in the Straits of Gibraltar have left sailors and scientists confused. Just what is causing such unusually aggressive behaviour? ‘I’ve never seen or heard of attacks’: scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats. So what is going on. When nine killer whales surrounded the 46ft boat that Victoria Morris was crewing in Spain on the afternoon of 29 July, she was elated. The biology graduate taught sailing in New Zealand and is used to friendly orca encounters. But the atmosphere quickly changed when they started ramming the hull, spinning the boat 180 degrees, disabling the autohelm and engine. The 23-year-old watched broken bits of the rudder float off, leaving the four-person crew without steering, drifting into the Gibraltar Straits shipping lane between Cape Trafalgar and the small town of Barbate. The pod rammed the boat for more than an hour, during which time the crew were too busy getting the sails in, readying the life raft and radioing a mayday – “Orca attack!” – to feel fear. The moment fear kicked in, Morris says, was when she went below deck to prepare a grab bag – the stuff you take when abandoning ship. “The noise was really scary. They were ramming the keel, there was this horrible echo, I thought they could capsize the boat. And this deafening noise as they communicated, whistling to each other. It was so loud that we had to shout.” It felt, she says, “totally orchestrated”. Very unusual orca behavior The crew waited a tense hour and a half for rescue – perhaps understandably, the coastguard took time to comprehend. To say this is unusual is to massively understate it. By the time help arrived, the orcas were gone. The boat was towed to Barbate, where it was lifted to reveal the rudder missing its bottom third and outer layer, and teeth marks along the underside. Rocío Espada works with the marine biology laboratory at the University of Seville and has observed this migratory population of orca in the Gibraltar Straits for years. She was astonished. “For killer whales to take out a piece of a fibreglass rudder is crazy,” she says. “I’ve seen these orcas grow from babies, I know their life stories, I’ve never seen or heard of attacks.“ Highly intelligent, social mammals, orcas are the largest of the dolphin family, and behave in a similar way. It is normal, she says, that orcas will follow close to the propeller. Even holding the rudder is not unheard of: “Sometimes they will bite the rudder, get dragged behind as a game.” But never with enough force to break it. This ramming, Espada says, indicates stress. The Straits is full of nets and long lines; perhaps a calf got caught. More attacks in the Gulf of Gibraltar But Morris’s was only one of several encounters between late July and August. Six days earlier, Alfonso Gomez-Jordana Martin, a 31-year-old from Alicante, was crewing a delivery boat near Barbate for the same company, Reliance Yacht Management. They were proceeding under engine when a pod of four orcas brought their 40ft Beneteau to a halt. He filmed them – it looks more like excitement and curiosity than aggression – but even this bumping damaged the rudder. And the force increased, he says, over 50 minutes. “Once we were stopped, they came in faster: 10-15 knots, from a distance of about 25m,” he remembers. “The impact tipped the boat sideways.“ The skipper’s report to the port authority said the force “nearly dislocated the helmsman’s shoulder and spun the whole yacht through 120 degrees.“ At 11.30pm the previous night, 22 July, Beverly Harris, a retired nurse from Derbyshire, and her partner, Kevin Large, were motor-sailing their 50ft boat, Kailani, just off Barbate at eight knots, when they came to a sudden standstill. It was flat calm, pitch black. They thought they’d hit a net. “I scrambled for a torch and was like, ‘Bloody hell, they’re orcas,’” says Harris. The couple checked their position and found the boat pointing the opposite way. They tried to correct several times, but the orcas kept spinning them back. “I had this weird sensation,” Harris says, “like they were trying to lift the boat.“ It lasted about 20 minutes, but felt longer. “We thought, ‘We’ve sailed across the Atlantic, surely we’re not going to sink now!’” Their rudder was damaged but got them to La Línea. It was a long night. “Kevin said I should get some sleep. I said, ‘Are you joking? I’m having a gin and tonic,’” recalls Harris. While enjoying her drink, Harris could have spared a thought for Nick Giles, having a sleepless night alone after an almost identical encounter off Barbate just two and a half hours earlier. He was motor-sailing, and playing music when he heard a sudden bang “like a sledgehammer.” The wheel was “turning with incredible force” as the vessel spun 180 degrees, dislodging the autohelm and steering cables. “The boat lifted up half a foot and I was pushed by a second whale from behind,” he says. While resetting the cables, the orca hit again, “nearly chopping off my fingers in the mechanism.” He was pushed around without steering for about 15 minutes before they left him. So what is going on underwater? Sonar? army tests? If human activity is affecting the orcas’ behaviour, human activity must be regulated. Activities producing underwater noise should be reduced to a minimum. Read more at The Guardian. More strange animal behavior on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you!

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