(TMU) — As Australia’s bushfire crisis continues to impact wildlife, aircraft have been deployed to feed thousands of starving wild animals who have been stranded by the blazes.
The government of the hard-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) has begun a campaign of airdrops across scorched regions, delivering thousands of pounds of root veggies —like carrots and sweet potatoes —from choppers flying above in a bid to sate the appetites of hungry colonies of brush-trailed rock wallabies, reports Daily Mail.
Dubbed “Operation Rock Wallaby,” the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s campaign is meant to help save the threatened marsupials from the growing danger of mass starvation.
Over the past week, the agency has conducted the food drops for rock wallaby colonies in various regions across the state. Nearly 5,000 pounds (2,200 kg) of fresh vegetables have already been delivered to the hungry native creatures.
— Matt Kean MP (@Matt_KeanMP) January 11, 2020
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said that although the wallabies have escaped the threat of the monstrous fires, their food sources remain scarce—or simply nonexistent. The official explained:
“The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat.
The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging for the wallabies without assistance.”
Kean added that they plan to follow up on how the animals progress as they continue recovery efforts following the raging bushfires. He said:
“When we can, we are also setting up cameras to monitor the uptake of the food and the number and variety of animals there.”
Since the fire crisis broke out in September, at least 28 people have been killed and countless others forced to evacuate—often repeatedly—as the historic wave of bushfires ripped through 25.5 million acres (10.3 million hectares) of land, an area equal to the size of South Korea.
Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate that over 1 billion animals have been killed in the bushfires. Because the fires have extended to wetlands, dry eucalyptus forests, and even rainforests, many animals have been unable to find refuge in neighboring regions.
Even prior to the fires, rock wallabies had been deemed an at-risk species due to the destruction of their habitats.
Experts have warned that the massive loss of life due to the fires threatens to cross a tipping-point for entire species of animals and plants on an island continent where 87 percent of wildlife is endemic to the country, meaning it can only be found on Australia.
Conservationist group the World Wildlife Fund Australia estimates that 1.25 billion animals have died due to the bushfire crisis. In a statement Tuesday, WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said:
“This heart-breaking loss includes thousands of precious koalas on the mid-north coast of NSW, along with other iconic species such as kangaroos, wallabies, gliders, potoroos, cockatoos and honeyeaters.
Many forests will take decades to recover and some species may have tipped over the brink of extinction. Until the fires subside, the full extent of damage will remain unknown.”
Australia's iconic wildlife is being hit hard as bushland continues to be destroyed. Millions of animals are being killed, injured and displaced. Help us get emergency funds to care for injured and displaced wildlife 👉 https://t.co/ZwuLZS43ot#AustraliaBurns pic.twitter.com/i7mhpdualO
— WWF_Australia (@WWF_Australia) January 12, 2020
Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window
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.
Golden Retriever Filmed Giving Woodchuck Ride Across Massachusetts Lake
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:
Tiny Creature Frozen for 24,000 Years is Brought Back to Life
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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