A Decade Of New Species Discoveries In The Himalayas

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ARRESTING AMPHIBIANS
The Smith’s litter frog (Leptobrachium smithi), was discovered nearly 10 years ago in the state of Assam in northeastern India. The fantastic-looking frog is only a few centimeters long but has large, gold eyes. Despite its fresh discovery, the frog—found first in the Mayeng Hill Reserve and Garbhanga Reserve forests—is facing harsh realities of habitat destruction from tree clearing and water pollution.

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BRIGHT BIRDS
Few new bird species have been reported in India since the 1940s, but an astrophysicist described the Bugun liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum) in 2006. Ramana Athreya spotted two of the Asian babblers in 1995 around the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh. Particular in its habitat requirements—preferring hill forests with open canopies—the Bugun liocichla is only known to live at altitudes ranging from 2,000 to 2,350 meters.

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SURPRISING SNAKES
This poisonous pit viper grows to a menacing 1.3 meters and was discovered by scientists in 2002 around Putao. The Gumprecht’s green pit viper (Trimeresurus gumprechti) lives in the northern reaches of Burma at altitudes above 400 meters and varies widely between the sexes. Females are larger and have yellow eyes and a thin white or blue stripe on their heads, whereas males (pictured here) are a bit shorter and have red eyes and a bright red stripe.
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Meet The Top Breeds Of Cat

Posh-looking Persians may be best known for eating Fancy Feast out of crystal goblets, but the regal-looking breed is surprisingly undemanding. Rather, Persians are gentle and playful with quiet, sing-songy voices. Their long hair and large eyes do require regular cleaning, but if you introduce them to baths when they are young, they’ll acclimate quickly.

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Persian
Posh-looking Persians may be best known for eating “Fancy Feast” out of crystal goblets, but this regal-looking breed is surprisingly undemanding. Rather, Persians are gentle and playful with quiet, sing-songy voices. Their long hair and large eyes do require regular cleaning, but if you introduce them to baths when they are young, they’ll acclimate quickly.

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Exotic
Here, “Exotic” is a noun, not an adjective. Sometimes called “the lazy man’s Persian,” this shorthair has the qualities of a Persian without the high-maintenance hair. Since Exotics mature later than most breeds, they remain very playful as adults, and some are so friendly, they’ll even sit on your shoulder and hug you while you pet them.
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World's Oldest Cat… Or World's Most Im-Paw-Ssible Hoax?

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News that a man in England is the owner of the world’s oldest cat has been garnering global attention this week… but does something smell fishy about this feline tail?

Jim Cowell of northwest England’s Lancashire County claims that in 1973, two young girls found a black-and-white feline, now known as Tizzie, along a railroad track and gave it to the Cowell family. Jim Cowell claims that Tizzie’s veterinary records, which would verify the cat’s age, were lost when the vet relocated in 1990 — coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) the same year Jim says he assumed ownership of Tizzie from his mother.

Without those records, Cowell’s best chances of verifiying that Tizzie is indeed 36 years old are:

1. Tracking down the two girls who originally found the cat
2. Sharing with the press family photos that date back to 1975 showing Tizzie in the possession of Jim and his mother.

A local paper, The Burnley Express, ran an article about Tizzie on August 25; in it, Cowell spoke proudly of Tizzie, calling her “fit as a butcher’s dog,” and saying he is optimistic about locating the two girls. But by August 27, the Lancashire Telegraph printed a follow-up piece in which Cowell expressed his strong displeasure with the media attention showered upon him and his cat. “I didn’t expect Tizzie to become a national sensation,” Cowell told the paper. “We are really shocked at what has happened now, we didn’t expect this, or really want it.” The story has been picked up by news outlets as far away as China, and by publications as sensational as the Weekly World News.
More

World's Oldest Cat… Or World's Most Im-Paw-Ssible Hoax?

tizzie-oldest-cat-240ds090309

News that a man in England is the owner of the world’s oldest cat has been garnering global attention this week… but does something smell fishy about this feline tail?

Jim Cowell of northwest England’s Lancashire County claims that in 1973, two young girls found a black-and-white feline, now known as Tizzie, along a railroad track and gave it to the Cowell family. Jim Cowell claims that Tizzie’s veterinary records, which would verify the cat’s age, were lost when the vet relocated in 1990 — coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) the same year Jim says he assumed ownership of Tizzie from his mother.

Without those records, Cowell’s best chances of verifiying that Tizzie is indeed 36 years old are:

1. Tracking down the two girls who originally found the cat
2. Sharing with the press family photos that date back to 1975 showing Tizzie in the possession of Jim and his mother.

A local paper, The Burnley Express, ran an article about Tizzie on August 25; in it, Cowell spoke proudly of Tizzie, calling her “fit as a butcher’s dog,” and saying he is optimistic about locating the two girls. But by August 27, the Lancashire Telegraph printed a follow-up piece in which Cowell expressed his strong displeasure with the media attention showered upon him and his cat. “I didn’t expect Tizzie to become a national sensation,” Cowell told the paper. “We are really shocked at what has happened now, we didn’t expect this, or really want it.” The story has been picked up by news outlets as far away as China, and by publications as sensational as the Weekly World News.
More

German Shepherd Has A Nose For Sewage

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To the long list of jobs that dogs do for humans, add another: the detection of water pollution.

Meet Sable, a German shepherd mix with a nose for sewage.

Sable’s trainer, Scott Reynolds, who works for an environmental consulting firm, Tetra Tech in Lansing, Mich., said the three-and-a-half-year-old mutt is the only canine known to reliably detect raw sewage or detergents flowing into sewers from illegal or bungled pipe connections.

The dog has sniffed out illegal connections in three Michigan counties. And field tests in 2007 and 2008 showed Sable was 87 percent accurate compared with traditional laboratory water tests, Reynolds said. When the dog errs, Reynolds said, it is probably due to the presence of animal, not human, waste in the sewers.

Word of Sable’s exploits are spreading. Communities in Maine and New Hampshire struggling to protect their swimming beaches and shellfish beds from bacterial pollution are considering bringing the dog to New England.
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Monster Exotic Fish Found In Hong Kong Ponds

Hong Kong has launched a search of ponds in public parks after at least 16 fish of an exotic species that can grow up to three metres
(10 feet) long were discovered, apparently dumped by their owners when they grew too big.

A metre-long alligator gar was caught Friday in a park pond after reports that visitors feared for their safety, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday.The fierce-looking creatures get their name from their long snout, which resembles that of an alligator. While they are an aggressive and carnivorous species, they are not known to attacks humans.

Native to North America, alligator gars are commonly sold in Hong Kong for home aquariums when they are less than 30 centimetres (one foot) long but can grow to three metres and weigh up to 140 kilograms (300 pounds).Another 15 of the fish had been found in ponds and lakes at other parks across Hong Kong, the Post said.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said in a statement late Friday the species had no conservation value and would affect the local ecology if released into the wild.”Staff will clean the lakes regularly. Dangerous fishes will be removed when they are found,” it said.It said it would offer non-dangerous fish to animal welfare groups and charities if they were willing to take them.

The fish caught Friday died later that day.
The department warned that people who dumped unwanted pet fish in public parks risked a 2,000-dollar (260-US dollar) fine and two weeks in jail.

(source)

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