Posts Tagged ‘China’

First Successful Reverse Vasectomy On Endangered Species Performed At The National Zoo

June 19, 2008

Veterinarians at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo performed the first successful reverse vasectomy on a Przewalski’s horse (E. ferus przewalskii; E. caballus przewalskii—classification debated), pronounced zshah-VAL-skeez. Przewalksi’s horses are a horse species native to China and Mongolia that was declared extinct in the wild in 1970.

Currently, there are approximately 1500 of these animals maintained at zoological institutions throughout the world and in several small reintroduced populations in Asia. This is the first procedure of its kind to be performed on an endangered equid species.

The genes of Minnesota—the horse who underwent the surgery—are extremely valuable to the captive population of the species, which scientists manage through carefully planned pairings to ensure the most genetically diverse population possible. The horse was vasectomized in 1999 at a previous institution so that he could be kept with female horses without reproducing. He came to the National Zoo in 2006.

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China to probe reports on tiger bone wine

June 18, 2008

Chinese authorities has ordered a probe into reported sale of tiger bone wine in Beijing and northern China and vowed to punish anyone trading in endangered animals or their products.

The action followed a report in Britains’ The Sunday Telegraph that undercover investigators had been offered the chance to buy wine made from the crushed bones of tigers at Qinhuangdao wildlife rescue centre in Hebei province and Badlan safari park in Beijing, state media said.

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3 to 5 months’ supply of bamboo for pandas in China

June 16, 2008

Officials say there is only between three to five months’ supply of bamboo for the pandas to eat. Staff at Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre were trying to find fresh supplies of bamboo.

Chinese state television said that bamboo, the staple diet of pandas, is in high demand following last month’s powerful earthquake in Sichuan province.

Officials say there is only between three to five months’ supply of bamboo for the pandas to eat. CCTV reported on Saturday that staff at Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre were trying to find fresh supplies of bamboo.

Landslides have cut off the mountainous supplies of bamboo for the pandas, according to the Centre’s director. “There are many landslides which are covering the bamboo area, so basically there’s no bamboo there. The amount of bamboo which can be purchased or cut has decreased sharply,” Zhang Zhihe says.

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Hong Kong to Slaughter All Live Poultry in Markets Following Bird Flu Outbreak

June 13, 2008

Hong Kong plans to slaughter all live poultry in the territory’s markets following the appearance the H5N1 strain of bird flu. As Naomi Martig reports from Hong Kong, this is the most serious outbreak of the virus in the city where it was discovered in five years.

Hong Kong authorities say the cull affects all retail poultry vendors, and about 3,500 birds will be killed to prevent the spread of the disease.

The move follows an outbreak of the H5N1 virus on Saturday, which led authorities to suspend live poultry imports from mainland China. Days later, the virus appeared in three city street markets – the first outbreak in the markets in five years.

The government plans to compensate vendors who face losses because of the cull.

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Courtship is a noisy affair for Giant Pandas

June 12, 2008

They are known to be shy and peaceful, but when it comes to sex, Giant Pandas turn hysterically noisy.

This complete metamorphosis of nature in the animals has been filmed by a BBC Natural History team in the bamboo forest that lines China’s Qinling mountains, when they captured a giant panda‘s courtship and mating sequence.

In the first of its kind sequence on TV, a male panda is shown to be fighting off the competition from other males, while he tries to woo a female who has taken refuge up a tree.

The magic moments, shot for BBC Two ‘s Wild China series, shows the rampaging males indulging in their boisterous calls on the ground, while the female finds save haven up on the tree.

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Animal welfare group says eBay auctions in US of suspect ivory increasing

June 6, 2008

An animal welfare group says eBay auctions in the U.S. of illegal or possibly illegal ivory are skyrocketing.

In a statement Friday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare says eBay affiliates in Germany, Australia, France and China have nearly eliminated illegal ivory trading on their sites. The watchdog group says, however, that sales had shifted to North America.

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Honeybee Dance Breaks Down Cultural Barrier

June 4, 2008

Asian and European honeybees can learn to understand one another’s dance languages despite having evolved different forms of communication, an international research team has shown for the first time.

The nine species of honeybees found worldwide separated about 30 to 50 million years ago, and subsequently developed different dance ‘languages’. The content of the messages is the same, but the precise encoding of these languages differs between species.

Now researchers from Australia, China and Germany have discovered that the two most geographically distant bee species — the European honeybee Apis mellifera and the Asian honeybee Apis cerana — can share information and cooperate to exploit new food sources.

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World’s strangest looking animals

June 3, 2008

“The Mickey Mouse of the desert” – mouse-like rodent with a long tail, long hind legs for jumping, and exceptionally large ears. The jerboa, found in the deserts of Mongolia and China, is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Click here for the full list and photos of the world’s strangest animals.

Earthquake pets: To save or not to save?

May 30, 2008

[…]In the Sichuan earthquake, pets were not just the objects of rescue.

In a few cases, they were the heroes who saved people.

The story of Wang Youqiong, a 61-year-old caught in a landslide in the mountains, is a case in point.

After her lower body was stuck under giant rocks, she survived on raindrops and the help of two dogs for eight days.

They licked her face clean to provide her with much needed moisture on her parched lips.

They also barked vigorously whenever they sensed human movement nearby.

Eventually they were able to attract rescuers.[…]

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Tainted pet food suit settled for $24 million

May 23, 2008
Menu Foods, other pet food makers and retailers involved in last year’s massive pet food recall will set up a $24 million cash fund to compensate pet owners, according to a proposed settlement filed Thursday in federal court.

The fund is expected to compensate thousands of pet owners in the U.S. and Canada who bought recalled pet foods made by Menu and 11 others. The products had a contaminated ingredient from China that sickened dogs and cats.

The $24 million is in addition to $8 million that pet food makers have already paid to pet owners. Legal fees and expenses, which haven’t been determined, will come out of the fund. The settlement, negotiated over the past seven months, would resolve more than 100 lawsuits by more than 250 plaintiffs brought in the U.S. and a dozen in Canada.

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Panda Finds Way Home to Reserve After China Quake

May 22, 2008

A captive adult giant panda that had disappeared during the May 12 earthquake has returned home, but two of the rare animals are still unaccounted for, China’s state media agency reported today.

Officials are optimistic about the survival of the two missing pandas, which live at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in central China.

The reserve is located 18 miles (29 kilometers) from the epicenter of the massive temblor that ripped through mountainous Sichuan Province. (See photos of the quake’s devastation.)

The panda’s homing instinct is not unusual, Marc Brody, president of the U.S.-China Environmental Fund (USCEF), told National Geographic News.

“There’s a history of captive pandas returning to the breeding center after escaping for one reason or another,” he said.

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PHOTOS: The Animal Kingdom’s Odd Couples

May 22, 2008

A little macaque nestles its head on a pigeon that responds peacefully on Neilingding Island, China. Three months ago, the macaque was born on the island, but strayed from its mother. Luckily, it was taken in by work staff in the protective station and made the acquaintance of the pigeon. More than 2,000 macaques live on the island.

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Relocation Of Endangered Chinese Turtle May Save Species

May 21, 2008

There are only four specimens of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle left on Earth–one in the wild and three in captivity. In order to save this species from extinction, conservation partners from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), working in conjunction with partners from two Chinese zoos and the China Zoo Society, recently paired two of them. A still reproductive, more than 80-year-old, female, living in China’s Changsha Zoo has been introduced to the only known male in China, a more than 100-year-old living more than 600 miles away at the Suzhou Zoo.

On Monday, May 5, turtle biologists, veterinarians, and zoo staff from partner organizations convened at the Changsha Zoo to collect and transport the female to the Suzhou Zoo where she joined her new mate to potentially save their entire species. The move was coordinated to coincide with the female’s reproductive cycle.

“This is a story of hope for a species truly on the brink,” said Colin Poole, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Asia Programs. “We are extremely grateful to our conservation partners both in China and here in the U.S. who made this historic move possible. Now that the turtles are together, we are optimistic that they will successfully breed.”

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Female Concave-eared Frogs Draw Mates With Ultrasonic Calls

May 19, 2008

Most female frogs don’t call; most lack or have only rudimentary vocal cords. A typical female selects a mate from a chorus of males and then –silently — signals her beau. But the female concave-eared torrent frog, Odorrana tormota, has a more direct method of declaring her interest: She emits a high-pitched chirp that to the human ear sounds like that of a bird.

his is one of several unusual frog-related findings reported recently in the journal Nature.

O. tormota lives in a noisy environment on the brushy edge of streams in the Huangshan Hot Springs, in central China, where waterfalls and rushing water provide a steady din. The frog has a recessed eardrum, said Albert Feng, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Illinois and team leader on the new study.

“In the world we know of only two species — the other one in southeast Asia — that have the concave ear,” Feng said. “The others all have eardrums on the body surface.”

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Female Jumping Spiders Find Ultraviolet B Rays ‘Sexy’

May 6, 2008

A report publishing online on May 1st in the journal Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press, provides the first evidence of an animal using ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to communicate with other members of its species.

In a series of mate choice experiments with the Chinese jumping spider (Phintella vittata), the researchers found that female spiders would rather mate with males that reflect UVB than those that do not.

” It has long been recognized that solar UVB has direct deleterious effects on a wide range of living organisms; for example, it can cause skin cancer and damage the retinal tissues of the eyes of mammals,” said Daiqin Li of National University of Singapore, who is also an Adjunct Professor in Hubei University, China. “Thus, it has generally been assumed that animals are unable to sense the presumably deleterious UVB wavelengths.”

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Chinese Ants Show Promise For Fighting Arthritis, Other Diseases

May 6, 2008

Ants may be an unwelcome intruder at picnics, but they could soon be a welcome guest in your medicine cabinet. Chemists in China report identification of substances in a certain species of ants that show promise for fighting arthritis, hepatitis, and other diseases.

For centuries, ants have been used as a health food or drink ingredient in China to treat a wide range of health conditions, including arthritis and hepatitis. Researchers suspect that these health effects are due to anti-inflammatory and pain-killing substances in the ants. However, the exact chemicals responsible for its alleged medicinal effects are largely unknown.

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Microchips Could Speed Up Detection Of Livestock Viruses

March 31, 2008

Some of the worst threats to farm workers and farm animals such as bird flu, foot-and-mouth disease and other emerging viruses could soon be quickly identified by using a simple screening chip developed by scientists from the Institute for Animal Health, scientists will hear March 31, 2008 at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting.

“The last major SARS outbreak — severe acute respiratory syndrome — which started on the border of China and Hong Kong was identified using a microarray chip. Fortunately, because of the rapid identification of the virus it was brought under control, and in spite of its seriousness caused relatively few deaths,” says Dr Paul Britton of the Institute for Animal Health in Compton, near Newbury, Berkshire. “We need a similar way of quickly identifying viruses that attack chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep and other farm animals.”

The scientists have developed a microarray, called a chip, which contains specific small regions of virus genes that react with any viruses in the samples being tested, showing up as coloured spots on glass slides. The method can also be used to see if a sample contains two or more viruses.

“At the moment the common methods for detecting viruses rely on some previous knowledge, such as recognising the clinical signs of a disease,” says Dr Paul Britton. “A system that can be used by almost anyone, and that can quickly and accurately be used to identify the particular virus early on is vital to control these diseases before they spread, and will have much wider applications.”

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Mystery of the missing zoo animals still unsolved

March 28, 2008

The Berlin zoo is under pressure to explain the fate of hundreds of animals which have vanished amid claims they were slaughtered and in some cases turned into potency-boosting drugs.

Claudia Hammerling, a Green party politician, backed by several animal rights organisations, alleges the zoo’s director, Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, sold the animals.

She claims to have evidence that four Asian black bears and a hippopotamus were transported to the Belgian town of Wortel, which has no zoo, but which does have an abattoir.

According to Ms Hammerling these animals were slaughtered. She said the systematic “overproduction of animals” at zoos, designed to attract more visitors, was to blame.

Ms Hammerling said she also knew of several tigers and leopards from Berlin that ended up in a tiger breeding farm in China that promoted itself as a purveyor of traditional potency-boosting medicines made from big cats. She alleges the animals’ remains were turned into drugs.

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Drive-thru animal safari!

March 24, 2008

An elk, an emu and an alligator — no, this isn’t the start to some lame joke — those are just three of the animals you might spy at Cherokee Trace Drive-thru animal safari.

The park features a 300-acre preserve of 400 animals — 25 different species — of free-range animals that hail from far-off places including Africa, India, China, the Scottish Highlands, British Columbia, the Mediterranean islands, the Middle East and even some from the U.S.

“We try to get the most exotic animals we can,” park Operations Manager Staci Doty said. “We like to see the faces of the kids when they see a Canadian Wood Bison or a zebra up close and personal.”

Because the animals are free to roam the safari park, preserve officials don’t allow predators in.

“We don’t want to pen anything in, so you won’t see lions or tigers or anything like that,” Doty said.

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Olympics clean-up Chinese style: Inside Beijing’s shocking death camp for cats

March 9, 2008

Thousands of pet cats in Beijing are being abandoned by their owners and sent to die in secretive government pounds as China mounts an aggressive drive to clean up the capital in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Hundreds of cats a day are being rounded and crammed into cages so small they cannot even turn around.

Then they are trucked to what animal welfare groups describe as death camps on the edges of the city.

The cull comes in the wake of a government campaign warning of the diseases cats carry and ordering residents to help clear the streets of them.

Cat owners, terrified by the disease warning, are dumping their pets in the streets to be picked up by special collection teams.

Paranoia is so intense that six stray cats -including two pregnant females – were beaten to death with sticks by teachers at a Beijing kindergarten, who feared they might pass illnesses to the children.

China’s leaders are convinced that animals pose a serious urban health risk and may have contributed to the outbreak of SARS – a deadly respiratory virus – in 2003.

But the crackdown on cats is seen by animal campaigners as just one of a number of extreme measures being taken by communist leaders to ensure that its capital appears clean, green and welcoming during the Olympics.

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