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Brazil’s Endangered Blue Macaw, Recently Declared Extinct, Could Be Set to Make a Comeback

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With climate change on the rise and environmental calamities increasing on a previously unknown scale, we’ve become alarmingly used to the dreary drumbeat of horrible news. From Colony Collapse Disorder laying waste to global bee populations to plastic waste killing whales, it would seem the world is headed for disaster with no way to reverse the dire situation.

Take the blue macaw parrot, which calls the Amazon rainforest its home, for example.

The lovely blue bird, which is more accurately known as the Spix’s Macaw, was the subject of the beloved 2011 animated film Rio, which followed the protagonist named Blu–the last living male of his species–as he journeyed from Minnesota to Rio de Janeiro to meet Jewel, the last living female. The two Spix’s Macaws fall in love, mate, and live happily ever after.

Yet in the real world, the plight of the Blue Macaw–known in Brazil as the Ararinha-Azul–has been far less happy. According to a study last year by BirdLife International, the Spix’s Macaw has officially gone extinct in the wild–one of eight species to have disappeared from wildlife due to rampant deforestation, invasive alien species, poaching, and human-driven climate change.

However, reports of its demise as a species–which has been talked about as far back as 2000–may have been slightly exaggerated, as the endangered bird has been the subject of concerted efforts by conservationist groups who are hoping to save the bird and reintroduce it to its natural habitat in the caatinga, or desert vegetation, of northeastern Brazil.

In distant Qatar, the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation has been foremost among groups paving the way toward rescuing the bird from total extinction, according to The Peninsula.

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Speaking at a ceremony in Doha that celebrated the private wildlife refuge’s contribution to saving the Spix’s Macaw, Brazilian Ambassador Roberto Abdalla said:

“These incredible birds have been considered extinct in the wild since 2000, and now only 130 of them find refuge in private institutions in Qatar, Germany, and Brazil, where they have been able to breed and multiply in safety.”

The effort is the result of work spearheaded by the ruling Al Thani dynasty, according to Sheikh Hamad bin Saoud Al Thani who owns of the preserve. Largely resembling a desert oasis–not unlike the Spix’s Macaw’s native habitat–the Al Wabra sanctuary is a lush miniature landscape teeming with palm trees, vegetation, and rare endangered animals from all over the world. Work is overseen by an international team of veterinarians, biologists, and keepers.

https://twitter.com/BrazilinQatar/status/1110119065346035713

When the preservation began working on reviving the Spix’s Macaw, they began with about 15 birds, according to Al Thani. However, the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation succeeded in breeding no less than 130 birds with most of them soon returning to their natural environment.

Al Thani noted:

“In 2020, about 90 birds of Spix’s Macaw will be released in Brazil and the project will be completed … We have to keep only 40 birds in the Preserve. Our aim is to preserve nature and animals as well as to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the environment.”

The actions of humans in such fragile environs as the Amazon have been responsible for unleashing a myriad of threats against wild animals, with far-reaching and often irreversible effects.

Yet the work of conservationists show that our own species also has the power to revive and heal at least some of the destruction inflicted on the numerous species we share the planet with. With proper resources and dedication, perhaps the Spix’s Macaw’s comeback can be permanent and provide an example of humanity’s power to rebuild and not simply destroy.

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Animals

Scientists Catch a Glimpse of a Ultra-Rare Giant Phantom Jelly, With Bizarre Ribbon-Like Arms

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Researchers have seen a large deep-sea jellyfish with the assistance of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Doc Ricketts off the coast of California, in an extremely rare sighting. The footage revealed the creature’s unique and exquisite features.

The uncommon encounter was documented in November this year, 990 meters (3,200 ft) deep in Monterey Bay, according to a report issued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Youtube Screenshot

The enigmatic phantom jellyfish was initially discovered in 1899, but scientists did not recognize it as a distinct species until 1960. Scientists still know very little about this creature.

The specimen of the huge phantom jelly has only been seen 110 times in 110 years across the world. According to the MBARI research, despite thousands of dives, their ROVs have only observed this amazing species nine times.

The huge phantom jellyfish has the following characteristics:

The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter (3.3 feet) broad, with four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow to be more than 10 meters (33 feet) long, according to an MBARI report.

Youtube Screenshot

The species is said to inhabit anywhere between the surface and 21,900 feet in depth. It does, however, remain in the twilight zone, which is just beyond the reach of sunlight.

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The organism, formally known as ‘Stygiomedusa gigantea’, is found all across the planet except in the Arctic Ocean, according to the experts.

Youtube Screenshot

It’s worth noting that, in the past, scientists depended on trawl-nets to examine deep-sea species; but, the jellies, which transform into a viscous goo in trawl nets, were difficult to research using this outdated method. Fish, crabs, and squids are among the only creatures that can be effectively studied from nets.

Researchers may now examine these creatures in their native habitat with high-definition footage thanks to the robot cams. I, personally, prefer this “no-touch” approach.

Watch the mesmerizing video here:

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

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Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

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The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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