Animals of the Week: Cute, informative and distracting
Fri, 30 Mar 2012 10:18a.m.
By Hannah Sarney
Guinness the dog has become the first animal to be presented with a local hero medal as part of the New Zealander of the Year awards. The gentle giant "brought smiles back to residents' faces" with his voluntary clean up work after Christchurch's devastating earthquakes.
Let's get emotional with another pup (requires headphones):
Would you like to help an animal in need too?
One project (among an endless list of others) caught my attention this week and you'll be able to stay slumped in your office chair/bed while you participate.
Gareth Morgan has set out to raise $1 million to eradicate mice from New Zealand's Antipodes Islands - Gareth and his wife, Jo, will match public contributions dollar for dollar. Such champs!
The Antipodes Island group lie 860km southeast of New Zealand's Stewart Island. They are home for the Antipodes Island snipe and Antipodes Island parakeet. Shall I write Antipodes Island again? The islands are also critical for the wild breeding of the Antipodean wandering albatross (one of the largest flying birds in the world!), white-capped mollymawk, white-chinned petrel, grey petrel, soft-plumaged petrel, and black-bellied storm petrel.
The only introduced species on the island are the mice. Their eating habits don't suit the islands at all, in fact they're awfully vicious, and so they've got to go.
You should help out! Skip your coffee/cola/croissant today and put the money toward the fundraiser instead. You'll feel good.
Another feel-good story surprisingly involves the survival rate of Hector's dolphins. It's up over five percent thanks to the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary - hooray! You can watch amazing footage of the rarest and smallest dolphins that are right on New Zealand's doorstep.
On Alaska's doorstep... well...
Here's yet another example that debunks the "it's not natural" argument - male bottlenose dolphins have been found to engage in extensive bisexuality, combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality.
A gray whale was freed from about 15 metres of netting filled with other dead sea creatures over the weekend. It had been dragging the load for nearly a week when rescuers found it struggling to remain on the surface to breath.
A sea lion, a leopard shark, two angel sharks and various spider crabs, fish and rays were found caught up in the tangled mess behind the whale. It's now probably died.
"This was a snapshot into what is going on in the oceans all over the world," said one of the rescuers, Dave Anderson. "Unfortunately, thousands of marine animals die every day from similar circumstances."
In other bleak news (sorry), research has found that one in three women delay leaving violent relationships because they're scared their animals will be killed or tortured. The SPCA and Women's Refuge are working toward improving the crossover between their organisations.
New studies have also found that honey and bumble bees could be threatened by supposedly safe doses of pesticides. The chemicals examined in the research, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, are both licensed for use in New Zealand.
Moving overseas, the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans in the Tripa swamp forest in Indonesia are battling raging fires at the moment. "It is no longer several years away, but just a few months or even weeks before this iconic creature disappear," said Ian Singleton, conservation director of Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program. "We are currently watching a global tragedy."
Let's end on a cheery note though - baby pygmy goats and Hall and Oates!
Earth Hour starts at 8:30pm on Saturday March 31. Turn out the lights and think about how things in the world need your help even when you can't see them.
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