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In Turkey, Officials Ensure That Stray and Shelter Animals Get Food and Water Despite Lockdown

“Even if everyone stays at home, we are not going to forget our furry friends.”



Shelter Animals
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(TMU) — While lockdown and shelter-in-place orders across the world have been something of a boon to wildlife and the environment as a whole, some animals have actually suffered as people have disappeared from the streets.

As the Mind Unleashed reported last month, creatures such as deer in Japan and monkeys in Thailand that once relied on tourists for food have seen food sources shrivel up in the wake of lockdown orders. Meanwhile in some cities, ducks living in parks are suffering due to a lack of visitors who would normally feed them scraps of bread.

However, authorities in Turkey are doing what they can to ensure that stray animals don’t fall by the wayside amid the ongoing health emergency.

According to Daily Sabah, the Turkish Interior Ministry issued a bulletin earlier this month laying out its plans to assist homeless animals impacted by the country’s social distancing policies meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new rules, local officials and the national government will collaborate to ensure that the creatures have stable food and water supples so that they don’t starve amid the public health crisis.

The ministry said:

“Food and water will be left at the living environments of street animals such as parks and gardens and particularly animal shelters.”

The newspaper also cited taking care of needy and helpless creatures as a part of Turkish culture, with neighborhoods typically working together to look after stray dogs and cats while local municipal veterans vaccinate the homeless animals.

The measure comes after local governments declared their readiness to continue the practice despite the pandemic’s disruption of Turkish life. In March, the municipality of the Maramara district of Darıca distributed food to animals as it carried out disinfectant activities, the Sabah reports. Officials of Darıca said:

“Even if everyone stays at home, we are not going to forget our furry friends. We will leave water and food at three feeding points at various intervals.”

The move has been warmly greeted by social media users, with many praising Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu for the initiative.

The official Twitter account of the Bayrampasa district in Twitter shared photos of stray animals being fed.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul also tweeted a photo of himself petting a dog and saying ”we should not abandon our animal friends during these tough days.

However, Gul received negative feedback for the tweet as some social media users used the opportunity to lambaste the top official for the treatment of prisoners who remain especially susceptible to the coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, there is a total of 65,111 confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,403 deaths caused by the illness since the first case was confirmed five weeks ago. The Guardian reports that the infection numbers suggest the country may have one of the fastest-rising numbers of confirmed cases in the world.

As CoViD-19 takes its toll on Turkish society, the government has responded with strict social distancing measures including restrictions on those who are 20 or younger, 65 or older, and those who suffer from chronic diseases and health conditions.

The government has also gradually imposed such measures including the suspension of international flights, border crossings, and inter-city travel as well as a ban on public gatherings, communal prayers, schools, and non-essential businesses.

Last Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdoğan banned the sale of face masks—a high-demand object often subject to exorbitant price-gouging—while promising that masks would be distributed to homes free of charge. The use of masks is a requirement in shops, public spaces, and on public transportation.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons |

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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.

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.

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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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years



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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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