Squirrels infected with plague close California campground

News Reports

 

Plague-infected squirrel shuts Los Angeles park

BBC

California Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi)

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Parts of a national forest in California have been evacuated and closed down after a squirrel was found to be infected with the plague.

Los Angeles officials say visitors were ordered to leave the Angeles National Forest as a precaution after the rodent was trapped in a routine check.

They said no people in the area were believed to have been infected with the disease, known as the Black Death.

The plague killed as many as 25 million Europeans during the Middle Ages.

Analysis

It sounds like a screenplay for a Hollywood B-movie: bubonic plague-infected squirrels descend on Los Angeles. But despite the excitement among Angelenos on social media about the “Black Death” being found at a California campsite, health officials say this is not a problem for urban squirrels.

City conditions do not lend themselves to having fleas co-existing in large numbers as they would in a forested area, they say. Even in this forest area where the squirrel was found on Thursday, only five “plague-positive” squirrels have turned up in the last 20 years or so. This particular squirrel is dead – tests are being conducted to determine if it died of natural causes or the plague itself.

It is a bacterial infection which can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas.

If not treated with antibiotics, it is usually deadly.

There have been only four cases of human plague in Los Angeles County since 1984, none of which were fatal, according to officials.

Further testing of squirrels in the region will be carried out before the campgrounds are re-opened to the public.

Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, told the BBC that agriculture workers would dust squirrel burrows in order to reduce the flea population.

He said that while the area was closed to camping, people would still be able to hike through.

He advised that anyone who wished to do so should use insect repellent and ensure that any pets they bring have a flea collar.

END

From wikipedia.org…..

Bubonic plague

is a zoonotic disease, circulating mainly in fleas[1] on small rodents and is one of three types of bacterial infections caused by Yersinia pestis (formerly known as Pasteurella pestis), which belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae. Without treatment, the bubonic plague kills about two thirds of infected humans within 4 days.

The term bubonic plague is derived from the Greek word βουβών, meaning “groin.” Swollen lymph nodes (buboes) especially occur in the armpit and groin in persons suffering from bubonic plague. Bubonic plague was often used synonymously for plague, but it does in fact refer specifically to an infection that enters through the skin and travels through the lymphatics, as is often seen in flea-borne infections.

Bubonic plaguealong with the septicemic plague and the pneumonic plague, which are the two other manifestations of Y. pestisis commonly believed to be the cause of the Black Death that swept through Europe in the 14th century and killed an estimated 25 million people, or 3060% of the European population.[2] Because the plague killed so many of the working population, wages rose and some historians have seen this as a turning point in European economic development.[3][4]

 

More about Bubonic_plague from wikipedia.org

 

US: 54 bottlenose dolphins, 112 manatees, roughly 300 pelicans died mysteriously in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon – 250713 0830z

At least 54 bottlenose dolphins have died mysteriously in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon since January.

Today, the federal government is stepping in to help find out what’s killing them. In a normal year, that number would be closer to 22.

On July 24, NOAA declared the mass die-off an “Unusual Mortality Event” – a declaration that will send federal resources and scientists to help teams already on the ground in Florida. It’s the lagoon’s worst dolphin die-off on record, and the cause is mysterious.

“This has become a national investigation, instead of a local investigation,” said Megan Stolen, a marine biologist with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, the nonprofit organization that has been investigating and keeping track of the dolphin deaths so far. “This will definitely help us.”

It’s the second time this year that NOAA has declared an Unusual Mortality Event for marine mammals in the lagoon, a 156-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida’s Atlantic coast. In April, a mass manatee die-off received the same designation. This is the third time a UME has been declared for dolphins in the lagoon. What caused the others, in 2001 and 2008, is still a mystery.

The lagoon is a treasured but troubled ecosystem, and has been besieged by a combination of nutrient run-off, pollution, and algal blooms – ingredients that have created a lethal situation for 112 manatees, roughly 300 pelicans, and 54 dolphins since last July. Scientists don’t yet know if the die-offs are linked, or if there are multiple killers on the loose in the estuary. Multiple investigations are ongoing, with teams trying to find out whether algal toxins, or pollution, or something else is to blame.

Stolen became concerned about the dolphin deaths in January. But it wasn’t until late spring that the carcasses really began to pile up; at one point, scientists were retrieving a dolphin a day from the northern and central lagoon. The die-off is affecting dolphins of all age classes and sexes. Some of the bodies are intact, others have been scavenged by sharks.

Unlike the dead manatees, which appear normal except for being dead, the dolphins are emaciated – thin and bony. But whether they’re starving because of disease, or a toxin, or a lack of food is still unknown. Clues are scarce, and only one sick dolphin has been found alive. Now, Stolen says, the die-off has slowed a bit. In July, five dolphins have been pulled from the lagoon’s brackish water.

“The last few dolphins have been calves,” she said. “Newborn babies.” It’s not clear yet whether the calves, three of them, are casualties of the mysterious scourge. But, Stolen says, “We would expect that if moms are getting hit by the UME cause, that we would start seeing dead calves as well.”

She and her colleagues will continue to monitor and respond to situation as NOAA’s team determines which direction to take the investigation in. “We are starting to look in [the dolphins’] stomachs now,” she said. “Normally when we do a necropsy, we kind of scoop everything out of their stomachs and put it in a bag. What we’ll do now is we’ll separate the liquid from the solid.” The liquids are good for toxin analyses, and the solids will tell researchers what, exactly, the dolphins have been eating – and if there are any clues to be found in their last meals.

Thursday, 25 July, 2013 at 03:31 (03:31 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

Seagrass-planting project designed to restore bare spots in lagoon

Florida Today

(Photo: floridatoday.com) Seagrass transplants added to Indian River Lagoon: Seagrass is being transplanted from healthier areas of the Indian River Lagoon to areas where the grass has died out in hopes that it will come back. By Rik Jesse and Tim Walters Posted July 24, 2013

“SEBASTIAN INLET Scientists transplanted tufts of seagrass along an otherwise bald Indian River Lagoon bottom Wednesday in hopes of growing back the once-lush fish habitat that algae blooms doomed.

No one knows whether the $110,000 experiment will work or whether the cloudy waters that smothered seagrass during the past few years will return to do so again.

But researchers hope the grass transplants teach them the best ways to grow back a vital nursery habitat for fish and crabs, as well as the manatees favorite meal.

This used to be as far as you could see grass, Adam Gelber, a senior scientist with Atkins North America, said as he and two other scientists transplanted shoal grass along Sebastian Inlets interior.

At the inlet, their environmental consulting firm is planting seagrass harvested in Vero Beach. That effort ispart of a larger project that could transplant grass at up to 30 sites in the lagoon but likely fewer occupying about 1 acre of lagoon bottom. The project ranges from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to Titusville, to Vero Beach.

Seagrass provides prime habitat for fish, crabs and other marine life and is considered a key barometer of the estuarys overall health. Each acre of seagrass supports about 10,000 fish and $5,000 to $10,000 in economic activity in the lagoon region, according to St. Johns River Water Management District and other studies.

Transplants are just one way biologists hope to restore some 74 square miles of seagrass lost since 2009, much of it clouded out by algae.

The scientists harvest the seagrass with hand tools only no machinery and manually install the grass at the recipient study sites.

They use shoal grass, because its among the fastest growers.

They place metal manatee cages over many of the transplants to keep ravenous seacows from chomping the experiment bare. But at least one manatee was quick to find this weeks plantings among the inlets seagrass-starved shoals. After Atkins consultants planted the first tufts of grass, they returned later that day and found evidence a seacow had made a snack of their work.” - Written by Jim Waymer / floridatoday

Indian River Lagoon

Extract from wikipedia the free encyclopedia

The Indian River Lagoon is a grouping of three lagoons: Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. It was originally named Rio de Ais after the Ais Indian tribe, who lived along the east coast of Florida.

Contents

Course

Its full length is 156 miles (251km), extending from Ponce de Len Inlet in Volusia County, Florida, to Jupiter Inlet in Palm Beach County, Florida,[1][2] and includes Cape Canaveral. Lake Okeechobee is connected to the lagoon by the Okeechobee Waterway and the St. Lucie River meeting in Sewall’s Point.

Aerial view of Indian River Lagoon

Portions of the Lagoon, from north to south:

Natural history

The Indian River Lagoon is North Americas most diverse estuary with more than 4,300 species of plants (2,100) and animals (2,200), including 35 that are listed as threatened or endangered more than any other estuary in North America.[3][4] The Lagoon varies in width from .5 to 5 miles (0.80 to 8.0 km) and averages 4 feet (1.2m) in depth.[3] It serves as a spawning and nursery ground for many different species of oceanic and lagoon fish and shellfish. The lagoon also has one of the most diverse bird populations anywhere in America. Nearly 1/3 of the nations manatee population lives here or migrates through the Lagoon seasonally. In addition, its ocean beaches provide one of the densest sea turtle nesting areas found in the Western Hemisphere.

Red Drum, Spotted seatrout, Common snook, and the Tarpon are the main gamefish sought by anglers in the Titusville area of the lagoon system.[5]

Dolphins

Between 200 and 800 Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) normally live in the Indian River Lagoon. The dolphins resident in the lagoon system may belong to three or more different communities. There is little exchange of individuals between the lagoon and coastal populations. However, individuals from coastal populations are occasionally seen in the lagoon. One individual from the lagoon communities, Dolphin 56, was tagged in the lagoon in 1979 and was sighted in the lagoon more than 40 times through 1996. In 1997 Dolphin 56 left the Indian River Lagoon and was spotted many times along the east coast of the United States from Florida to New York into 2011.[6][7]

Female Bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon tend to live longer than males. The maximum age attained by both sexes is one to almost two decades less than that reached by dolphins resident in Sarasota Bay, the most thoroughly studied wild population of Bottlenose dolphins.[8]

History

In 2011, a superbloom of phytoplankton resulted in the loss of 32,000 acres (12,900ha) of lagoon seagrass. In 2012, a brown tide bloom fouled the northern lagoon. The county has approval for funds to investigate these unusual blooms to see if they can be prevented.[9]

In 2007, concerns were raised about the future of the lagoon system, especially in the southern half where frequent freshwater discharges seriously threaten water quality (decreasing the salinity needed by many fish species) and contribute to large algae blooms (water heavily saturated with plant fertilizers promote the algae blooms). The lagoon has also been the subject of research on light penetration for photosynthesis in submerged aquatic vegetation.[10] The seagrass covers over 100,000 acres (40,000ha) and is a critical component to the overall health of the lagoon.[10][11]

In 2010 3,300,000 pounds (1,500,000kg) of nitrogen and 475,000 pounds (215,000kg) of phosphorus entered the lagoon.[12]

UK: Police investigate dead bottle nosed #dolphin hit by a boat in #Padstow. Witnesses, photos & videos sought – 220713 2300z

Bottlenose Dolphin (Photo: wikimedia.org/ NASA)

Specialist Wildlife crime trained police officers are currently investigating reports of a dead bottle nosed dolphin which was seen in the Camel Estuary, Padstow on Saturday 20 July 2013.

It is believed several boats were in the area at the time and one of the dolphins was hit by a boat and killed.

The juvenile dolphin was found dead at around 4.45pm on Saturday at The Rumps, north east of Pentire Point, which is between Polzeath and Port Quin. Police are keen to speak to any witnesses who saw a number of boats circling around the dolphins on Saturday afternoon. In particular they would like any photographs or videos of the boats, which were part of the flotilla of up to 25 boats, between 1.30pm and around 5pm on Saturday. PC Del Allerton-Baldwin, Wildlife Crime Officer on the Marine and Coastal Policing Team in Bodmin, said:

“We would like to get a list of all boats that were in the area at the time. They should all have names on them. “Many of the boat users were in fact behaving responsibly around the dolphins and keeping a distance of around 100 yards. However a few appear to have been harassing them. If you were part of the flotilla, it does not mean you were committing an offence but we would like to speak to you and eliminate you from our enquiries. You may also have vital information which may assist with the investigation.” Anyone with information, photographs or video clips is asked to call police on 101 quoting 399 of 21/07/13.

Philippines: Chinese fishing vessel crashes into Tubbataha Reef. Large area of ancient coral damaged – 040513 1520z

(Photo: pinoyrepublic.net) Coral

A Chinese fishing vessel has crashed into one of the Philippines’ most famous reefs and damaged thousands of square metres of centuries-old coral, the marine park has said.

(image: asiadivesite.com) Tubbataha Reef

Some 3,902 square metres of coral was destroyed after the boat became stranded in the Tubbataha marine park, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tubbataha Coral Reef, the park management said on Saturday.

“The damage the Chinese vessel caused to the reef is heart-breaking,” Angelique Songco, the head of the marine park said in a statement after experts assessed the affected area.

Some of the coral destroyed by the Chinese vessel was 500 years old, Songco said, adding that the damage was much larger than the area destroyed when a US Navy minesweeper, the USS Guardian, got stranded on Tubbataha in January.

The 48-metre vessel, carrying 12 suspected Chinese fishermen, plowed into the Tubbataha Reef near the western island of Palawan on April 8. Authorities later found hundreds of dead pangolins, an internationally-protected species, hidden inside the vessel. Tubbataha marine park information officer Glenda Simon told the AFP news agency that the 12 Chinese would likely be fined about $2.32m just for trespassing into the marine park and destroying the coral. The government has already charged them with poaching and they could face an additional 12 to 20 years in jail for possession of the pangolins in violation of wildlife law. Pangolins are widely hunted in parts of Asia for their meat, skin and scales and in China they are considered a delicacy and to have medicinal qualities. The Philippine office of the World Wide Fund for Nature condemned the poaching of the pangolins after the men were caught, saying that growing demand in China was wiping the animal out in Southeast Asia.

Chinese fishermen from the vessel that ran aground on Monday in Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, sit with their belongings on a Philippine Coast Guard vessel as they arrive in Palawan Province, west of Manila April 10, 2013 in this picture provided by Tubbataha Management Office. REUTERS/ Tubbataha Management Office Handout

Saturday, 04 May, 2013 at 13:54 (01:54 PM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

Chinese vessel did more damage to Tubbataha than USS Guardian TMO

The F/V Min Long Yu, a 48-meter Chinese fishing vessel, ran aground Tubbatahas North Atoll last 8 April. Though smaller than the 68-meter USS Guardian, the Chinese ship is steel-hulled, which is far more destructive to coral reefs. TMO, which is leveling a PHP58M (USD1.4M) fine against the US Navy for destroying 2345.67 square meters of coral reef, will now file charges against the Chinese poachers. (TMO Archives)

“Despite being smaller than the USS Guardian, the Chinese fishing vessel that ran aground at Tubbataha Reef last April 8 caused worse damage to the heritage site than the US minesweeper, the reef’s caretaker said Friday.
The Tubbataha Management Office said this was the finding of a team of scientists that analyzed the damage caused by the F/V Min Long Yu.
According to the team, the Chinese vessel destroyed 3,902 square meters of corals including some massive corals 500 years old. This is 66 percent larger than the 2,345.67 square meters damaged by the USS Guardian when it ran aground last Jan. 17.
“The damage the Chinese vessel caused to the reef is heart-breaking. Some of the massive corals that were pulverized are estimated to be about 500 years old,” Tubbataha Protected Area superintendent Angelique Songco said.
The USS Guardian measured 224 feet by 39 feet (http://www.guardian.navy.mil/), while the Chinese fishing vessel measured 48 meters long and eight meters wide.
Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan of De La Salle University (DLSU) led the team that conducted the assessment from April 23 to 30.
Joining him were marine biologists Miledel Christine Quibilan, Eznairah Jeung Narida and Renmar Martinez from the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute and Norievel Espaa of DLSU.
Also with the team were the Automated Rapid Reef Assessment System team (Philippine Department of Science and Technology) team, World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, Tubbataha Management Office and marine park rangers.
Extent of damage
The TMO said the damage extended from the original location of the F/V Min Long Yu when it ran aground on April 8, since big waves caused the vessel to move from its original position before it was pulled off the reef last April 19.
“It bulldozed through vibrant coral reefs leaving a highway of destruction in its wake,” the TMO said.
The team measured the grounding site using two methods aerial photography and boundary mapping using Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS).
For aerial photography, the team used a GoPro camera attached to a kite. Images taken over the area were georectified to determine the size of the damaged area.

(Photo: gmanews.tv) Tubbataha marine park

In DGPS, marine ecologist divers and a snorkeler were deployed and placed tags to establish the perimeter of the damaged area.
“Research stations have also been set up in the area to monitor coral and fish recruitment rates. The next monitoring activity will be in October 2013,” the TMO said.
Payment
The TMO said it has sent an official communication to the Chinese Embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs seeking assistance in identifying the person or company liable.
“So far, they have received no response,” it said.
Meanwhile, the 12 Chinese aboard the vessel had been charged for poaching and possession of protected species, as well as for attempting to bribe park rangers.
They will also face administrative cases before the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB).” TJD, GMA News

Pangolins (Scaly Anteaters) Seized from Chinese Vessel – WWF

The F/N Min Long Yu was carrying about 2000 dressed and rolled-up pangolins. Rising demand in China for pangolin meat and scales is wiping out the unique, toothless anteaters from their habitats in Southeast Asia. (TMO Archives)
About 400 boxes containing illegally-traded pangolins or scaly anteaters were seized from the F/V Min Long Yu, the same 48-meter Chinese fishing vessel which ran aground the Tubbataha Reefs last 8 April 2013.

Each box was estimated to contain from five to six dressed and rolled-up pangolins, which means the vessel could be carrying as many as 2000 of the toothless, insect-eating creatures.

Resembling large olive lizards, pangolins are actually scaled mammals which range throughout Asia and Africa. Eight species exist all threatened by habitat loss plus the illegal trade for their meat and unique scales, which are used for both traditional medicine and the curio trade.

The grisly discovery was made by the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park Rangers and the Philippine Coast Guard last 13 April 2013. The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) is set to lodge legal action against the 12 Chinese fishermen, who are already facing poaching charges in violation of Republic Act No. 10067 for their illegal entry into the Tubbataha Reefs.

The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) strongly condemns this latest act of wildlife trafficking.

It is bad enough that these Chinese have illegally entered our seas, navigated without boat papers and crashed recklessly into a national marine park and World Heritage Site, says WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan.

However, it is simply deplorable that they appear to be posing as fishermen to trade in illegal wildlife. Should the carcasses check out as Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis), we can be sure they were being smuggled out of Palawan. In which case, the full force of the Philippine Wildlife Act should be applied.

As the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora bad (CITES) prohibits trade in Asian pangolin species, WWF-Philippines calls on the government to fully prosecute the Chinese poachers for violating both national and international wildlife trade laws.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade

The latest seizure of pangolins from the F/N Min Long Yu comes right as the WWF global network is scaling up its campaign to combat the illegal wildlife trade, which now comprises the fourth largest illegal global trade after narcotics, counterfeiting of products and currency, and human trafficking.

The illegal wildlife trade, estimated to yield at least $19 Billion per year, has become a lucrative business for criminal syndicates because the risk involved is low compared with other crimes. Poaching syndicates flourish because there are presently no effective deterrents to the trade. High-level traders and kingpins are rarely arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for their crimes.

Today, pangolins are widely hunted and traded for their alleged medicinal properties. They are among the most commonly encountered mammals in Asias wildlife trade and alarming numbers have been seized throughout East and Southeast Asia in recent years.

WWF-Philippines encourages the public not to patronize products that may have come from species that are illegally traded. ” – wwf.org.ph

Concludes Tan, When the buying stops, the killing will, too.

Related:

Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park – UNESCO

https://johnib.wordpress.com/tag/chinese-vessel/

UK: Cargo ship Danio runs aground on Northumberland coast, concern for environment if oil leaks – 170313 1725z

(Photo: RNLI/Seahouses Lifeboat Station) Danio cargo vessel runs aground on Farne Islands. Seahouses Lifeboat attends.

“An 80 metre long ship has run aground on rocks near to the Farne Islands.

The MV Danio was carrying timbre from Perth in Scotland to Antwerp in Belgium when it hit when it struck the Blue Caps rocks at about 4.30 am Saturday morning.

The Seahouses RNLI lifeboat was immediately launched but attempts to tow the Danio to deeper waters had to be abandoned due to the outgoing tide.

The islands lie just three miles off the Northumberland coast.

They are part of an important wildlife haven for sea birds.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said there was no fuel leak from the MV Danio.

“No-one injured and pollution observed at this time” – Coastguard Credit: PA/RNLI

A spokesman said the master of the vessel reported the incident to the Coastguard and a salvage plan was being prepared.

“There was no-one injured and no pollution observed at this time,” the spokesman said.

“The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been in touch with all relevant parties to ensure that the owners of the vessel have a salvage plan in place for the refloating of the vessel at the next high tide, which is this evening.”

Salvage operation underway Credit: PA/RNLI

Andrew Douglas, who runs boat trips round the Farnes from Seahouses, said the Danio was carrying logs.

He said: “She seems to be fine at the moment, and doesn’t appear to be holed.

“But it is worrying because all the birds are starting to return to the islands for the summer.

“We have 20,000 guillemots on the Farnes right now.”

National Trust’s head ranger for the Farne Islands: “We got lucky.” Credit: PA/RNLI

The Farne Islands are also home to puffins, grey seals and more than 20 bird species breed there.

David Steel, the National Trust’s head ranger for the Farnes, said: “We got lucky.

“The birds are not back and there does not seem to be any damage to the ship, so we got away with it.

“The Farnes are internationally-important for nesting sea birds. We have 80,000 pairs of sea birds including 37,000 pairs of puffins.” – ITV News

Update 17 Mar 2013 Aprrox 1600z

Seahouses RNLI lifeboat: “No changes yet lifeboat returned to Seahouses harbour lunchtime to possibly return to stricken vessel at next high tide.” “…she’s pretty stuck and with the smaller tides this weekend it’s not looking good but fingers crossed”

(Photos: RNLI)

Other Reports

Danio cargo vessel runs aground on Farne Islands

BBC NEWS 16 March 2013 Last updated at 22:58

A 262ft (80m) cargo vessel has run aground off the Northumberland coast.

The Seahouses Lifeboat Station received a distress call from the cargo vessel Danio in the early hours of Saturday.

The ship got caught on rocks on the Farne Islands, a sanctuary to seals and seabirds, about 3 miles (5km) from the mainland.

Salvage teams are at the scene but there are no reports of any fuel leak or injuries. The crew of six are spending the night on board.

The vessel, which was built in 2001 and registered in Antigua and Barbuda, was sailing from Perth to Antwerp in Belgium with a cargo of timber.

It ran aground near Little Harcar rock, close to the Longstone Lighthouse, at about 04:30 GMT.

Ian Clayton from the RNLI said there were concerns about possible environmental damage if oil started leaking from the vessel.

But National Trust ranger David Steel said he was “hopeful” the vessel would pass without “any incidents”.

‘Overnight watch’

He said: “Everything seems good. It’s only if there is a spillage we’ll become concerned.

“We have been very fortunate that this has happened out of the height of the season. If it had happened in mid-summer, it could have been disastrous.”

There have been no reported spillages from the vessel so far

It was hoped the ship would be moved by a tugboat during high tide but this has not been possible.

Mr Clayton said Seahouses lifeboats had been with the vessel for 15 hours and a crew from Berwick-upon-Tweed would be on watch overnight.

A meeting will take place on Sunday morning involving various officials – including the coastguard, pollution control experts and salvage teams – to work out the best way to move the vessel.

Earlier, Mr Clayton said: “It is not a good area for any shipping to be in.

“It is lying in quite a tricky location and it will be difficult for the tugs to get in there to try and get the vessel freed.

“Obviously we have concerns for any possible environmental damage should any oil start to leak from this vessel, because of the very sensitive nature of the Farne Islands.”

The island is home to about 80,000 pairs of seabirds and a large grey seal colony.” – BBC News

HUNDREDS OF BABY SEALS SAVED FROM SLAUGHTER

The Jolly Good News

3004996.largeThe Huffington Post reports that the annual hunt on Hay Island was called off. The seals of Hay Island were spared last year as well. The Hay Island hunt usually kills a few hundred seals each year, out of the hundreds of thousands bludgeoned to death off the Newfoundland coast.

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