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Rare Endangered Frog Seen for the First Time Since Disappearing in 1871

Elias Marat

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Frog 150 Years

A student at Ikiam University in Ecuador, located in the heart of the Amazon in the province of Napo, has captured imagery of a rare frog that hasn’t been seen in the area for 150 years and belongs to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of species in danger of extinction.

The images, which were posted by the college on Twitter and quickly spread across Latin American social media, note that the rare amphibian belongs to the Atelopus spumarius species—or Pebas Stubfoot Toad—that was last described in written literature as being encountered way back in 1871.

Ikiam University noted that the amphibian is threatened by extinction and its sudden reappearance has surprised residents in the area surrounding the dense canopy jungle where the amphibian lives.

The species belongs to the genus Atelopus, whose members are commonly known as harlequin frogs and live in the Amazonian rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the Guianas.

The land-dwelling species normally makes its home along streams in the forests of the Amazon. Due to the loss of its natural habitat to large-scale mining by transnational mineral extraction corporations, the creature is included on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, which is considered the most comprehensive inventory of the current state of animal and plant species worldwide.

Under President Lenin Moreno, Ecuador has pushed to grant new concessions to international mining firms, alarming conservationists who focus on the heavy impact of mining on countries along the Amazon Basin. The pressure to crack open the wealth in the Ecuadorean Amazon has also angered locals, who argue that large-scale mining violates the government’s social contract with indigenous communities and violates Ecuador’s constitution, which is unique in the region insofar as it grants key rights to nature.

The frog also faces a dire threat from chytridiomycosis, an infectious flesh-eating disease described as the “deadliest in all time.” Thanks to humans, it has become the zoological equivalent of a global pandemic and has spread worldwide. The disease, caused by the fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans, affects a wide range of amphibians such as frogs, toads, newts and salamanders. The disease has led to the complete extinction of 90 species across the world and the dramatic decline of populations in 411 other species from Oceania to the Americas.

There are about 600 identified amphibian species in Ecuador, and around 20 percent or more remain undescribed, according to Luis Coloma, director of the Jambatu Center for Research and Conservation of Amphibians in Ecuador.

Animals

Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window

Elias Marat

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Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.

Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.

In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.

This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.

A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”

One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”

The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.

The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.

“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”

The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.

“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.

“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”

According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.

“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”

Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.

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Animals

Golden Retriever Filmed Giving Woodchuck Ride Across Massachusetts Lake

Elias Marat

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There are some occasions when the natural world resembles something we might think belongs to the realm of Disney films but no – it’s simply the animal kingdom in motion.

Such was the case when a dog owner captured amazing footage of her dog giving a ride to a small rodent across a lake in Massachusetts.

Lauren Russel was with her dog, Wally the golden retriever, at Hickory Hills Lake in Lunenburg last month when the dog encountered a woodchuck in the water.

So Wally did one any good dog of his breed would do – he gave his new friend a ride back to shore.

“He was about 100 meters out and a woodchuck, I think, just crawled right up on his back and he swam back to shore with him,” Russell told WCVB on Monday.

She always knew that her Wally was a friendly pooch, but she never imagined something like this.

“We were flabbergasted. It was unbelievable. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” Russell continued.

To top things off, once they arrived onshore, Wally and his fast friend gave each other what appeared to be a kiss.

“They like touched snouts and then he ran away,” Russell said.

You can watch the video of the touching event here:

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Animals

Tiny Creature Frozen for 24,000 Years is Brought Back to Life

Elias Marat

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A microscopic creature has come back to life and reproduced asexually after 24,000 years of lying dormant in the permafrost of Siberia.

Russian scientists found the tiny freshwater creature, called the bdelloid rotifer, in the rich soil of the Alazeya river of Russia’s far northern Siberan region of Yakutia.

The multicellular organism is common throughout the world and is known to be extremely resilient, capable of surviving extreme cold, dryness, starvation and low oxygen.

While previous research found that it could survive a decade when frozen at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the new study published by the journal Current Biology offers a stunning testimony of the survivability of the tiny animal – which is by far the longest survival period known of any creature in the world.

“Our report is the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism,” said Stas Malavin, an author of the study, in a statement.

Malavin’s Soil Cryology Lab in Pushchino, Russia, used a drilling rig to extract the miniscule organism from roughly a dozen feet below the remote Arctic location.

Once the ancient organism thawed, it reproduced on its own through a process of parthenogenesis. Researchers then found that it could withstand repeatedly being frozen and thawed dozens of times due to its innate processes of cell and organ protection.

“The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers,” Malavin said.

“Of course, the more complex the organism, the trickier it is to preserve it alive frozen and, for mammals, it’s not currently possible,” the scientist added. “Yet, moving from a single-celled organism to an organism with a gut and brain, though microscopic, is a big step forward.”

Researchers hope that the knowledge gleaned from studying the microscopic organism will bring further insights on how to preserve animals’ cells, tissues and organs – including those belonging to human beings.

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