Snake Population On The Decline On Three Continents

Distinct populations of snake species on three continents have crashed over the last decade, raising fears that the reptiles may be in global decline, according to a study published recently.The pattern across the eight species monitored was alarmingly similar despite their geographical isolation, which points to a common cause such as climate change, the researchers said.

Other factors known to play a role include habitat loss, pollution, disease, lack of prey and over-exploitation, either for food or trade.The study showed that 11 of 17 snake populations in Britain, France, Italy, Nigeria and Australia dropped off sharply over a four-year period starting in the late 1990s.“Our data revealed an alarming trend,” the authors reported in the British Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
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Beekeepers Lose One Sixth Of Hives

Beekeepers lost one in six hives last winter due to disease and cold weather, according to the latest statistics. The losses are much higher than the natural rate of up to 10 per cent and reflect growing concerns that bee numbers are falling in Britain.

However, beekeepers are optimistic that colonies are in better shape than previous years, especially after such a harsh winter. In 2008/09 one in five hives were lost over the winter and a third died out the year before.
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Britain's 'Big Cat X Files' Revealed

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There have been more than 100 sightings of exotic and unidentified animals in England since 2005, according to a dossier compiled by Natural England. They are the stuff of rural legend – but for decades, alleged sightings of big cats stalking the British countryside have been dismissed as hoax or fantasy.Yet now the head of a Government agency responsible for investigating such incidents has declared that he believes these mysterious creatures do indeed exist. His comments follow the release of a dossier by Natural England which lists more than 100 sightings of exotic, non-native and unidentified animals in England since 2005.

Of these, 38 were “big cats”. In some cases, members of the public claimed to have seen the creature itself; on other occasions, they reported finding farm or wild animals which had been attacked or killed.The documents – Britain’s “big cats X Files” – show the extent to which Natural England takes the reports seriously.
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Britain's 'Big Cat X Files' Revealed

bigcat_1591562c

There have been more than 100 sightings of exotic and unidentified animals in England since 2005, according to a dossier compiled by Natural England. They are the stuff of rural legend – but for decades, alleged sightings of big cats stalking the British countryside have been dismissed as hoax or fantasy.Yet now the head of a Government agency responsible for investigating such incidents has declared that he believes these mysterious creatures do indeed exist. His comments follow the release of a dossier by Natural England which lists more than 100 sightings of exotic, non-native and unidentified animals in England since 2005.

Of these, 38 were “big cats”. In some cases, members of the public claimed to have seen the creature itself; on other occasions, they reported finding farm or wild animals which had been attacked or killed.The documents – Britain’s “big cats X Files” – show the extent to which Natural England takes the reports seriously.
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Britain Is Fat Pet Nation With 3.5Million Overweight Dogs

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A third of Britain’s pet dogs are overweight, a study has found.Pet charity PDSA has warned dog owners are killing their animals with kindness.Too many fatty treats and a lack of exercise, which can slash pets’ life-expectancy and cause them serious health problems, have been blamed for the obesity epidemic. The proportion of fat dogs has jumped from a quarter two years ago. More than 3.5million dogs are now thought to be too fat.In Glasgow more than half were found to be overweight.Northern Ireland had the UK’s healthiest dogs with fewer than one in five judged too big.

Cats are also getting bigger with one in four now overweight, compared to one in five three years ago.And vet Sean Wensley said the ‘steady increase’ in pet obesity was even affecting hamsters and other small animals.He said: ‘As people’s waistlines increase, so too our pets’ vital statistics seem to be mirroring that trend.‘Many owners get into the habit of feeding scraps and fatty treats to pets.’It’s not good for them and the onset of Lent is an ideal time to make a fresh start.’

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Biggest Crab Ever Seen In Britain… And It's Still Growing

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With its enormous legs and lethal claws, this monster of the deep is already the biggest crab ever seen in Britain.But astonishingly, the arthropod – which measures a staggering 10ft from claw to claw – is still growing, and could live until it is 100.Nicknamed ‘Crabzilla’ after the fictional giant monster, the Japanese Spider Crab has a body the size of a basketball and its legs can straddle a car. They will eventually measure a massive 15ft.

The crab, called Macrocheira kaempferi in Latin, was caught by fishermen in the Pacific Ocean and has now been imported to Britain where it has gone on display at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.Out of the water, the crab looks limp and languid because it cannot support its heavy limbs.But in its own habitat – up to 2,500ft down in the cold seas of the ocean – it is a lethal predator.However, it also has predators of its own – humans – as it is considered a delicacy in Japan.Graham Burrows, curator of the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, said: ‘It is rumoured these crabs can grow to four metres across.’Our open-topped ray tank has the icy cold waters Crabzilla needs, and will be his home until the end of March.
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Biggest Crab Ever Seen In Britain… And It's Still Growing

article-0-083D8146000005DC-472_468x700

With its enormous legs and lethal claws, this monster of the deep is already the biggest crab ever seen in Britain.But astonishingly, the arthropod – which measures a staggering 10ft from claw to claw – is still growing, and could live until it is 100.Nicknamed ‘Crabzilla’ after the fictional giant monster, the Japanese Spider Crab has a body the size of a basketball and its legs can straddle a car. They will eventually measure a massive 15ft.

The crab, called Macrocheira kaempferi in Latin, was caught by fishermen in the Pacific Ocean and has now been imported to Britain where it has gone on display at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.Out of the water, the crab looks limp and languid because it cannot support its heavy limbs.But in its own habitat – up to 2,500ft down in the cold seas of the ocean – it is a lethal predator.However, it also has predators of its own – humans – as it is considered a delicacy in Japan.Graham Burrows, curator of the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, said: ‘It is rumoured these crabs can grow to four metres across.’Our open-topped ray tank has the icy cold waters Crabzilla needs, and will be his home until the end of March.
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'Rabbit Jumping' Craze Takes Off In Britain

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This pictures show how rabbits are being taught to show jump in a new craze taking off in Britain. Rabbit Jumping UK is the country’s only rabbit jumping club and began when retired office worker Maureen Hoyle visited a fellow breeder in Sweden and got inspired.The unusual sport is popular there and in other parts of Scandinavia.Rabbit fan Maureen took the idea back home and appealed to others to join a new club.The rabbits are trained by owners at home who use treats to encourage the animals to make a leap of faith over barriers.

On Saturday members met at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, North Yorks. They treated visitors attending the Bradford Excel Small Animals Show to two competitions and rabbit jumping displays.”The rabbits love it,” said Maureen, from Huddersfield, West Yorks. “The rabbits are very agile and a lot of people are surprised by what they can do.”The rabbits have to clear the jump without touching it.
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'Rabbit Jumping' Craze Takes Off In Britain

Rabbit-Jumping_1569583c

This pictures show how rabbits are being taught to show jump in a new craze taking off in Britain. Rabbit Jumping UK is the country’s only rabbit jumping club and began when retired office worker Maureen Hoyle visited a fellow breeder in Sweden and got inspired.The unusual sport is popular there and in other parts of Scandinavia.Rabbit fan Maureen took the idea back home and appealed to others to join a new club.The rabbits are trained by owners at home who use treats to encourage the animals to make a leap of faith over barriers.

On Saturday members met at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, North Yorks. They treated visitors attending the Bradford Excel Small Animals Show to two competitions and rabbit jumping displays.”The rabbits love it,” said Maureen, from Huddersfield, West Yorks. “The rabbits are very agile and a lot of people are surprised by what they can do.”The rabbits have to clear the jump without touching it.
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Battle To Save Tigers 3,200 Only Left

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Conservationists say there are just 3,200 tigers left in the world as the future of the species is threatened by poachers, destruction of their habitat and climate change.The world population of tigers has fallen by 95 per cent in the past century. The WWF said it intends to intensify pressure to save the Panthera tigris by classifying it as the most at risk on its roster of 10 critically endangered animals.It hopes to increase patrols and work with politicians to eradicate poaching and thwart illegal trade of tiger skins and body parts.

The wildlife charity also aims to work with governments to encourage more responsible forest management and compensation for farmers whose livestock are killed by tigers to avoid them being hunted.Diane Walkington, head of species programme for the WWF in Britain, said: “This year has been designated the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations and so we have created a list of 10 critically important endangered animals that we believe will need special monitoring over the next 12 months.

“This year will also be the Chinese Year of the Tiger, and so we have put it at the top of our list. It will have special iconic importance.”Of course, there are thousands of other species on the endangered list. However, there is particular importance in selecting a creature such as the tiger for special attention.”To save the tiger, we have to save its habitat – which is also home to many other threatened species.”So if we get things right and save the tiger, we will also save many other species at the same time.”
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