NY lawmakers: Cuomo is moving to cut funds to fight cancer
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a $25 million reduction to programs that fight cancer, diabetes and other public health challenges a move intended to eliminate inefficiencies that is being fought by some lawmakers and health advocates who oppose the cuts.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:53:42 -0500
Texas to feral pigs: It's time for the 'hog apocalypse' to begin
Texas has a new plan for its 2.5 million feral hogs: total annihilation. Sid Miller, the state's agriculture commissioner, just approved a pesticide called "Kaput Feral Hog Lure" for statewide use. "The 'hog apocalypse' may finally be on the horizon," Miller said in a statement on Tuesday. SEE ALSO: First human-pig chimeras created, sparking hopes for transplantable organs and debate "This solution is long overdue," he added. "Wild hogs have caused extensive damage to Texas lands and loss of income for many, many years." Texas's agriculture commission estimates that feral hogs cause $52 million in damage each year to agricultural businesses by tearing up crops and pastures, knocking down fences and ruining equipment. The so-called hog lure is derived from warfarin, a blood-thinning agent that's also used to kill rats and mice in homes and buildings. Animals don't die immediately from eating the odorless, tasteless chemical. That would be too kind. Instead, they keep eating it until the anti-clotting properties cause them to bleed to death internally. This week, Miller approved a rule change in the Texas Administrative Code that allows landowners and agricultural producers to use Kaput essentially warfarin-laced pellets to keep feral hogs off their property. Not on my watch, hogs. Image: mark thompson/Getty Images Proponents of the hog toxicant, including the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, say it's an effective tool because it's only strong enough to kill the swine, and not other wildlife populations or livestock. In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered Kaput's hog bait under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, a move that made the product available for general use. Still, environmentalists and hog hunters alike staunchly oppose using warfarin to stamp out Texas's feral pig problem. Pigs poop, after all, and other animals could ingest the warfarin along the way. Some Texans hunt the pigs for sport and food, and they're worried about eating poisoned swine. "For Texas to introduce a poison into the equation is a bad decision in our opinion and could likely contaminate humans who unknowingly process and eat feral hogs," the Texas Hog Hunters Association said in a Change.org petition to block the rule change. MIke and his big ole boar from yesterday. Lamar county Texas https://t.co/jQoS5JbtnQ pic.twitter.com/2SeAKs7zbh TX Hog Hunters Assn. (@texashoghunters) February 14, 2017 Louisiana might become the next state to use Kaput to quell its feral hog population, which worries state wildlife veterinarian Jim LaCour. He said local black bears and raccoons could easily lift the lid to the cages containing the warfarin-laced pellets. "We do have very serious concerns about non-target species," LaCour told the
Times-Picayune in New Orleans. "When the hogs eat, they're going to drop crumbs on the outside, where small rodents can get them and not only intoxicate themselves but also birds of prey that eat them. Since the poison will be on the landscape for weeks on end, the chances of these birds eating multiple affected animals is pretty good," he told the newspaper. The pesticide's manufacturer, Scimetrics Ltd. Corp., assures the pesticide is safe for humans and wildlife just not for feral pigs.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:33:14 -0500
Saving Simba and Lula, last two survivors of Mosul zoo
Simba the lion and Lula the bear are the Mosul zoo's only survivors -- the other animals were killed by shelling, starved to death or ate each other during the fighting. Federal forces retook that side of Mosul last month from the Islamic State group after more than two years of tyrannical rule by the jihadist group and weeks of bitter combat. Until Amir Khalil, a kind of 'roving war zone veterinarian', and his team of volunteers from the Four Paws animal welfare charity visited on Tuesday, nobody had entered the cages in weeks.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:56:42 -0500
David Cassidy Has Dementia: Here's What That Means
Actor and singer David Cassidy recently revealed he has dementia, but what exactly does this term mean? Cassidy, who is 66, told People magazine on Monday (Feb. 20) that he has dementia, and will stop touring as a musician because of his diagnosis. The actor also said that both his mother and grandfather suffered from dementia.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:01:00 -0500
Adding friendly bacteria to skin lotion wards off bad germs
WASHINGTON (AP) Bacteria live on everyone's skin, and new research shows some friendly germs produce natural antibiotics that ward off their disease-causing cousins. Now scientists are mixing the good bugs into lotions in hopes of spreading protection.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:54:14 -0500
South Korea confirms H5N8 bird flu outbreak at duck farm
South Korea has confirmed an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus at a duck farm in a southwestern county, its first such incident in 15 days, the farm ministry said on Wednesday. Asia's fourth largest economy has culled a record number of more than 33 million farm birds, or nearly a fifth of its poultry population, in the battle to contain its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu since November last year. This week's case was reported in Haenam county, more than 390 km (242.33 miles) southwest of the capital, Seoul.
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:15:50 -0500
Hug a tree while you still can: U.S. forests are disappearing
The Amazon rainforest and Indonesia's peat swamps aren't the only places suffering from deforestation. On the mainland U.S., swaths of forests are steadily disappearing, too. It's not just that we're losing trees. The forests themselves are growing farther and farther apart, researchers say. A new study found that the average distance between forest patches increased by nearly 1,690 feet or about 14 percent between 1992 and 2001. SEE ALSO: Meet the architect behind China's smog-sucking 'vertical forests' That's bad news for biodiversity. Think of each forest patch as a sanctuary or transit hub for migratory animals and other species. When forests are closely knit together, the wildlife, plants and soil can share nutrients and thrive. When trees are few and far between, these connections break down. "There are lots of studies that concentrate on how much forest is lost. We wanted to see how important is the forest that we're losing?" said Giorgos Mountrakis, an associate professor from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Image: Yang S, Mountrakis G (2017) Mountrakis and Sheng Yang, a doctoral candidate at SUNY, co-authored the paper, which was published Wednesday in the journal
PLOS ONE. Nationwide, the U.S. has lost around 34,900 square miles or nearly 3 percent of its total forest cover since the 1990s. That's an area roughly the size of the state of Maine. Based on that and other earlier research, Mountrakis and Yang initially expected that distances between forests hadn't grown by that much: about 33 feet over the 10-year period, according to their simulations. But when they drilled down into the data, they found that average forest distances were 50 times bigger. Mountrakis said the results were "eye-opening," especially since much of the forest loss happened in rural areas and on public lands not near land-devouring cities or on private properties, as one might suspect. A scorched landscape near Wrightwood, California, after an August 2016 wildfire. Image: DAVID mcnew/Getty Images He explained the idea of forest distances like this: If you have a 5-x-5-foot forest patch in the middle of a forest, and it disappears, the average distance between forests won't change by that much, since you still have all the surrounding forest. But if that same patch stands alone on the edge of a cornfield or a suburb, and then is chopped down, the distance to the next forest increases significantly. The second scenario is playing out across the continental U.S. particularly in the West, which has been ravaged by wildfires and tree-killing insects and diseases in recent decades. Mountrakis said he and Yang are next studying what is driving these growing gaps between forest patches. They're also looking at how forest loss affects different demographics, along lines of income, education and race. The
PLOS ONE study was supported by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council and the McIntire Stennis Program, U.S. Forest Service. BONUS: China's big, beautiful, green 'vertical forests' will suck up toxic smog
Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:22:21 -0500
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