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Bees Are Thriving As Pollution Plummets and Environmental Conditions Improve

A much-needed bit of news we can certainly “bee” grateful for!

Elias Marat

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(TMU) – With nearly every facet of humanity facing disruption and economic activities screeching to a halt, the world has witnessed nature being given a break that has perhaps no precedent in the modern era. As a result, marine life.

And with the lockdown leading to less pollution, less traffic and a marked improvement in the environmental conditions across the globe, bees are thriving in a way they haven’t in years, reports Metro.

The “new normal” of people shopping locally, traveling less, and not cluttering roads with cars is having a healing effect on bee colonies, according to the U.K.’s largest bee farm, Denrosa Apiaries.

Because of the marked improvements to the environment, 43-year-old beekeeper Helen McGregor believes that her community has become keenly aware of the need to preserve nature.

McGregor said:

“Less traffic, less pollution is bound to make a difference to the environment which of course has a positive knock-on effect for bees.

“I think people are more aware of what’s going on around them and in the countryside just now because of lockdown. Hopefully we see these changes lasting.”

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The beekeeping operation has been in business since the 1940s in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. With 4,000 hives each filled with 50,000 bees, the massive commercial beekeeping operation founded by McGregor’s grandfather Kenneth has even produced honey for the British royal family.

And with environmental conditions improving, Helen is noticing a cultural shift among locals. She explained:

“They are more aware of nature, maybe seeing hives when they are out and about and thinking more about the food they are eating and where it comes from.

“It’s taking people back to their roots, making them look at what’s necessary in life and what’s not, it’s back to a basic outlook on life.”

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The overall health of the bees at the farm isn’t just a factor that impacts Denrosa Apiaries – it also has a strong impact on the agrarian economy of the rural Scottish region.

Bees are perhaps one of the most important managed pollinators in agriculture. Spreading the male sex cells of flowers to their female counterparts in a natural process that is highly crucial to plant reproduction.

Helen noted:

“We have hundreds of sites from down in England, all the way up to Aberdeenshire, with billions of bees.

“A lot of farmers are looking for bees to help with crop pollination. We have mini hives which we use to build up bee levels and we breed our own queen bees.”

The beekeeping operation now has hundreds of sites scattered across the U.K. with four or five teams checking about six sites daily. Helen added:

“It’s very early in our season to say what production is going to be like but the bees are busy bringing back nectar and pollen.

“We are at the mercy of the weather and could do with some rain as the ground is very dry.”

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, pollinators are worth anywhere from $235 and $577 billion worldwide owing to their pivotal role in the production of global crops.  In the U.S., for example, bees are estimated to be responsible for no less than $20 billion of domestic crop production. However, the health of bee colonies has been threatened by warming climate conditions, diseases and parasites, and the food industry’s over reliance on pesticides and other agro-industrial chemicals.

Without bees we would likely have to kiss almonds, blueberries, watermelon, chili peppers, tomatoes, and other crops goodbye.

So this news from the U.K. is most definitely a much-needed bit of news we can certainly “bee” grateful for!

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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