Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

MRSA from farm animals found in humans in UK for first time

June 11, 2008

Three people have been infected with a form of MRSA usually found in pigs, the first time any humans in Britain have been infected by an animal strain of the superbug.

The variation has been found in farm animals and humans on the Continent, causing serious heart, bone, blood and skin diseases, as well as pneumonia.

Dr Giles Edwards, the director of the Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory, said three people in Scotland had contracted the strain, known as ST398, in recent months.

“A lot of the patients who got this infection in Holland and Canada have been people who work with animals, such as farmers and vets. But none of the three individuals in Scotland have been in contact with animals, not that we could find.”

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Call for snare ban after claim thousands of hares killed

April 22, 2008
Thousands of mountain hares are being illegally snared in Scotland as part of control measures, it is being claimed.

A new report shows that 24,529 animals were killed during 2006-7 over 90 estates, with 79 per cent being shot and 21 per cent (5,078 hares) snared for sport, tick control or to protect forestry.

But it is feared that most snaring is being carried out without a licence, leading one animal group to call for a complete snare ban.

Mountain hares are protected under UK and European conservation legislation, which says that any means of killing which is indiscriminate and can cause a population to be disturbed or disappear is illegal.

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Teenage thugs attack animals at popular safari park

April 21, 2008

Scotland’s only safari park has banned visitors from getting close to the animals after a series of sickening attacks.

Thugs have kicked llamas and pot-bellied pigs, beaten goats with branches and thrown stones at wallabies.

They speared an apple on a goat’s horns and goaded others to chase it at Blair Drummond Safari Park.

Animals became ill at its pets farm after visitors ignored warnings and fed them beef and ham sandwiches and chocolate.

David Booth, chief game warden at the park, near Stirling, said: “Visitors could walk among the animals at the pets farm.

“But the behaviour of some people – mostly teenagers and kids – has made it impossible.

“The problem has got worse in the last couple of years. Some things that happened are unbelievable.

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Scientists will use groundbreaking technique to save one of rarest animals on the planet

April 17, 2008
With only 13 of the creatures left struggling to survive on the plains of the Congo, the northern white rhinoceros is one of the most threatened species in the world.

Plagued by poachers and with its habitat fast disappearing, the magnificent beast is now on the critically endangered list.

But new hope could be on the horizon, as Scottish scientists are hoping to use an innovative technique to save the creatures from extinction. It involves a pioneering genetic process that merges its stem cells with those of its cousin, the southern white rhino, to create a new animal, called a chimera.

It would be the first time the process has been used to try to preserve a species facing extinction in the wild – and, if successful, it could be used to save other endangered animals.

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Red Pandas storm out of zoo to freedom

February 13, 2008


Two rare red pandas are on the run after escaping from their enclosure in a Scottish zoo.

The pandas broke free five days ago after a tree fell onto their pen during a storm. The racoon-like animals are now thought to be in a wooded area close to Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park.

Police in Dumfries and Galloway last night appealed for people to look out for the animals, a mother and daughter.

Red pandas are about the size of a small dog and their diet is mainly bamboo. Staff from the conservation park and police do not consider the animals to be a threat and hope they will return to the zoo when they get hungry.

Constable Ian Bradley of Dumfries and Galloway Police, urged anyone who sees the red pandas to contact police in Kirkcudbright.

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Should animals that have died out in Britain be reintroduced into the wild?

January 31, 2008

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Environmentalists hope beavers will soon be reintroduced to Scotland, subject to approval by the Scottish Executive. If the trial reintroduction gets the go-ahead three families of European beavers, about 15 to 20 animals, will be brought over from Norway and released into the Knapdale Forest in Mid-Argyll in the spring of 2009. Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland in the 16th century for their furs and a secretion, which provided one of the active ingredients in aspirin. Mammals have never been reintroduced into wild in the UK before, though four German beavers were released at a Lancashire nature reserve.

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Haven’t had your fill of raven info? Check this out:

January 1, 2008

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In the latest issue of Scientific American, Bernd Heinrich and Thomas Bugnyar – scientists based at Vermont University in Canada and St Andrews University in Scotland, respectively – reveal a series of experiments that provides startling backing for the idea that ravens are the brainboxes of the natural world. ‘These birds use logic to solve problems and some of their abilities even surpass those of the great apes,’ they say…

…Many animals, birds and insects are capable of carrying out complex actions: nest-building, for example. However, such creatures are programmed genetically to undertake the different steps involved in such behaviour. Little intelligence is involved. By contrast, ravens have demonstrated that they can work out complex sets of actions, involving no tests or trial and error. This implies that they use logic. ‘The birds acted as if they knew what they were doing,’ the two researchers say in Scientific American. ‘Ravens have the ability to test actions in their minds. That capacity is probably lacking, or present only to a limited extent, in most animals.’

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