Cecil the lion’s son was ‘deliberately shot after hunter was told he was head of pride’

Scientists monitoring the movements of Cecil the lion’s Xanda believe big game hunters deliberately slaughtered the animal despite knowing he was head of the pride.

Xanda, six, was shot dead just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe last week , two years after the killing of Cecil by an American dentist prompted worldwide outrage.

Last week it was claimed that Xanda had strayed into forest outside the National Park boundaries where trophy hunting is allowed, and his death would not impact other younger lions.

But Oxford University’s Wildlife Research Conservation Unit, which tagged the lion as part of a monitoring project, said suggestions that Xanda had been ousted from his pride of seven cubs were simply not true.

Andrew Loveridge, leading the project, said his staff had warned the professional hunter, Richard Cooke, that shooting Xanda “would be detrimental to the population”.

Male lions routinely kill their rival’s offspring when they take control of a pride of females.

“These cubs are too young to survive on their own and will certainly be vulnerable to infanticide,” Mr Loveridge said in a letter.

“There is no question that Mr Cooke was fully aware that this animal was a pride male. He was a territorial male in a pride of three females with at least seven dependent cubs of between 1 and 1.5 years old.”

His comments came days after he initially praised Mr Cooke as an ethical hunter and “one of the good guys” when details of Xanda’s death emerged last week.


‘Monkey selfie’ creator continues legal battle, now broke

Going freelance is not easy. You either go big or go broke. One freelance photographer thought he would go big if he could get a monkey to do a selfie, but things didn’t turn out how he expected.

Freelance photographer David Slater is now in a dire financial situation as the legal proceedings regarding his now famous “monkey selfie” photos continue in a United States court.

Slater had to settle for watching a livestream of the proceedings from his United Kingdom home because he can’t afford the plane ticket, and is also not able to pay for the lawyer representing him, according to The Guardian.

Slater’s “monkey selfie” photos have become popular on the internet, but in 2014, things became complicated. Slater asked Wikipedia and blog Techdirt to stop using the photos, as he claims copyright for the said images. Wikipedia thought otherwise and argued that the photos were uncopyrightable because the monkey was the creator of the images. But the U.S. Copyright Office later on ruled that animals cannot own copyrights.

“If everybody gave me a pound for every time they used [the photograph], I’d probably have £40m in my pocket. The proceeds from these photographs should have me comfortable now, and I’m not,” Slater said in the report.

In 2015, Slater was sued by the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) on behalf of a crested black macaque which the organization identified as a six-year-old male named Naruto. A judge ruled against Peta the following year, saying that animals were not covered by the Copyright Act. Peta appealed to the ninth circuit court of appeals and the legal battle continues to this day.

Several points contested in court include whether Peta truly has a close relationship with Naruto to represent the animal in court. The value of providing written notice of copyright claim to a community of macaques is also called into question, as well as whether Naruto is actually harmed by not being recognized as a copyright holder.

“There is no way to acquire or hold money. There is no loss as to reputation. There is not even any allegation that the copyright could have somehow benefited Naruto,” Judge N Randy Smith was quoted in the report. “What financial benefits apply to him? There’s nothing.”

Slater and his publisher’s lawyer also questioned if Peta even identified the right monkey.

“I know for a fact that [the monkey in the photograph] is a female and it’s the wrong age,” according to Slater. “I’m bewildered at the American court system. Surely it matters that the right monkey is suing me.”
Slater had spent long hours following and trying to coax the group of monkeys that he took photos of during his trip to Sulawesi India in 2011. He stated that the selfies were a result of his ingenuity in getting the monkeys to press the shutter button while looking at the lens without blinking.

His only consolation, he said, is that his photos could help in saving the crested black macaque from extinction: “The picture hopefully contributed to saving the species. That was the original intention all along.”

An elephant was stranded nine miles out to sea

Of all the animals in the world to be stranded out in the ocean, few are more prepared to survive than an elephant, with its natural buoyancy and built-in snorkel. But even strong-willed elephants need a hand, and perhaps a fleet of naval vessels.

Dramatic footage from a 12-hour operation by the Sri Lankan Navy early Tuesday morning shows a lumbering elephant desperately staying afloat nine miles from the coast. Crashing waves threaten to submerge it, forcing the elephant to draw oxygen from its upturned trunk.

The animal was first spotted by a Sri Lankan Navy boat on a routine patrol off the northeastern coastal town of Kokilai. The rescue effort swelled to three more vessels and a team of navy divers.

Using ropes and guidance provided by officials from the Department of Wildlife, the team towed the elephant back to land, where it was handed over to officials from the wildlife office, the Sri Lankan Navy said in a statement.

Chaminda Walakuluge, a Sri Lankan Navy spokesman, told Agence France-Presse the elephant was likely caught in a riptide while crossing the Kokkilai lagoon, a coastal body of water wedged into jungle on either side.

“They usually wade through shallow waters or even swim across take a shortcut. It is a miraculous escape for the elephant,” Walakuluge told the AFP.

Joyce Poole, co-founder of the Elephant Voices conservation group, told The Washington Post in an email that “elephants are considered the best swimmers of any land mammal, excluding trained human swimmers.”

Poole said the elephant in the video looked tired, presumably from keeping afloat for an unknown period of time. Their swimming talents leading to danger is not new, she said.

“I well remember flying in the early 1990s over barren and deserted islands off the Kenyan coast near the Somali border and seeing the bones of elephants that had been killed there,” Poole said. “Clearly they swam from the mainland to the island only to meet their deaths there.”

The subspecies of elephants in Sri Lanka, commonly known as Asian or Indian elephants, weigh between 4,400 and 12,000 pounds and stand as high as 10 feet at their shoulder.

Only 2,500 to 4,000 have survived after deforestation and development disrupted migration patterns, a drop of 65 percent in Sri Lanka since the beginning of the 19th century, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Elephants there have been forced from their home on the southern tip of the tear-shaped island due to human activity.

Man snaps shark pic off coast of Maine

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– Many Mainers will be enjoying the coast of the Pine Tree State during the July fourth holiday, but one man said he saw something right out of a the movie Jaws. Augustus Wing sent us this picture of what he clamed is a Great White Shark he saw while out on the ocean on Monday.

Wow! NEWS CENTER was impressed with the photo, but is this really a White Shark? So, we reached out to the University of New England’s shark expert, a marine biologist and resident professor, Dr. James Sulikowski, to confirm.

As it turns out, this mighty fish in the picture is not a Great White, but instead a Porbeagle Shark; a shark that thrives in cold water and is commonly seen in the North Atlantic. Dr. Sulikowski said the give away is the white spot on the back of the base of the animal’s dorsal fin (the fin on its back). Great White Sharks, like the one in the picture below from Getty Images captured by Carl De Souza, do not have a white spot there- but the two sharks do belong to the same order of Lamniformes, or mackerel sharks.

However, not only did Dr. Sulikowski say that Porbeagles are being seen more and more in the chilly waters off the coast of Maine, but he’s actually spending his Independence Day on the water tracking and studying theses same sharks!

While Porbeagle Sharks typically grow to about eight feet long, don’t worry, these sharks enjoy eating bony fish- not humans.

Paws for Thought | Your cat: Family pet or tiny tiger?

Did you know that your cat exhibits many similar behaviours to its much larger cousins, like lions and tigers, and for very similar reasons?

Cats are crepuscular which means that they are most active during twilight, which is around dusk and just after dawn.

Wild cats will sleep between 16 and 20 hours per day with the male of the species sleeping longer than the females. So too does the family cat. Those many hours spent snoozing in the sun doesn’t mean that your cat is lazy or bored, it is just normal for a cat.

This behaviour stems from their ancestors who needed to conserve energy to catch their prey. If you think about a lion in the wild, it is most often photographed napping under a tree. When it is time to hunt they extend a huge amount of energy to catch, kill and eat their prey and then return to sleep. Your family cat naps for the same reason.

Much of the time they are not actually asleep but simply napping. This is a state where they are resting but still listening to what is going on around them. A napping cat’s ears will often twitch and move around like little radars listening out for potential danger whilst they snooze. Cats in the wild do the same thing.

Cats do sleep however this is usually for short periods and they switch back and forth between sleeping and napping.

Like their bigger cousins, domestic cats like to hunt but will often play with their captive rather than kill it. It is believed they do this because they don’t want the hunt to end and have never been taught how to kill.

Wild cats are taught survival skills like killing their prey by observing the behaviour of their parents, whilst your cat now has you.

Adopt Me! One-Eyed Cat Found Inside a Car Engine Is Looking for Love

Home: Some pets never have one to call their own. We’d like to help change that by introducing you to an adoptable pet every week. Today, in honor of Adopt a Shelter Cat month, meet Fannie, a one-eyed kitty who earned her name through an unfortunate set of circumstances.

The 7-year-old cat, now in the care of the Michigan Cat Rescue, was caught inside a car’s engine, specifically under the fan belt — hence the name Fannie. She had been trying to stay warm, when a person heard her cries. It took a little teamwork, but people got together and took apart the engine, which set her free.

“Unfortunately her eye was punctured and damaged so badly it had to be removed,” says the rescue’s president and founder Nancy Hutchinson. “She was adopted once into a really nice home but her owner suffered a stroke and passed away so she has returned to us by a friend of the woman.”

Although Fannie is missing an eye, she’s just like any other cat. “She is a lap cat, she is very sweet, very friendly and loving,” Hutchinson says. “She likes to sit and look out of a window. She is quiet and gentle and loves to be around people.”

The rescue hopes it won’t be too long before Fannie’s luck changes. “We hope the right home will come along for her again,” Hutchinson adds. “She has had a tough life.”

If you think Fannie is the feline for you, fill out an adoption application on the Michigan Cat Rescue’s website. To learn more about the organization’s work and available cats, visit its Facebook page.

Holy sheep! India-China 1967 dispute may have been triggered by petty argument over animals

The current India-China standoff over Doka La, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan, will hopefully not escalate further. But a similar border dispute between India and China over Sikkim in 1967 may have been triggered by something trivial.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, missing sheep and yaks may have been behind the conflict between India and China in 1967. The report says that besides allegations of territorial intrusions, a missing flock of 800 sheep and 59 yaks may have triggered the conflict.

Another India Today report says that after China complained of a herd of sheep being stolen in Sikkim, a group of Indian protesters — including then MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee — drove a herd of around 800 sheep to the Chinese Embassy on Shantipath in New Delhi.

Some of the protesters had even carried placards saying, “Eat me but save the world.”

A complaint from the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) in Beijing to the Embassy of India in China on 26 September, 1965 described the protesters as “a mob of Indian hooligans”.

Even though the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India responded to the plaint saying that India knew nothing of the missing yaks and sheep, the dispute escalated and the military standoff took the lives of over 80 Indian soldiers and around 300 to 400 Chinese troops.

This is probably a good example of how a petty dispute can escalate into a deadly military conflict.

The worrying part is that China on Tuesday ruled out a compromise in the military standoff with India in Doka La, and put the onus on New Delhi to resolve the “grave” situation.

Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui said “the ball is in India’s court” and it was for the Indian government to decide what options could be on the table to resolve the standoff.

Asked about remarks by official Chinese media and think-tanks that the conflict can lead to a “war” if not handled properly, the ambassador told PTI: “There has been talk about this option, that option. It is up to your government policy (whether to exercise military option).”

The Chinese government is very clear that it wants peaceful resolution, he asserted, adding that the withdrawal of Indian troops from the area is a “pre-condition” to peace.