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Pair Of The Worlds Smallest & Rarest Cats Born In UK Sanctuary

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Around eight weeks ago, two rare, tiny kittens were born at the Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary, Cornwall in the UK. Described as being the size of mice when they were born, the pair are the first litter of the Rusty-spotted wild cat born at the sanctuary.

Smaller than domestic cats, the body of a fully grown adult Rusty-spotted cat (prionailurus rubiginosus) measures around 13-19 inches (33-48cm) in length with a tail of between 5-12 inches (15-30cm) long. Native to the forests of Southern India, Sri Lanka and occasionally spotted in Nepal, this is yet another wild species under threat due to human encroachment and loss of habitat and are listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List.

Posted by Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary on Thursday, April 30, 2020

These tiny nocturnal felines avoid predators by hiding in trees and caves until dark but often emerge for brief excursions during the day and their faded, spotted, leopard look-alike coats provide perfect camouflage in the dappled forest light. While small mammals such as rodents, and birds are their preferred meal, they also enjoy snacking on frogs, lizards and smaller insects.

Although the reproductive behavior of Rusty-spotted cats has only been observed in captivity, it is very close to that of domestic cats and breeding is seasonal in captivity, with a litter of one to three kittens born after a gestation period of about 67 days. In captivity, they have a life span of approximately 12 years.

Posted by Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary on Thursday, April 30, 2020

Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary is part of an ongoing conservation program with the Rusty Spotted Cat Conservation Breeding Programme. Sharing photos of the adorable cubs and their mum they wrote:

“As most of you know, we are a sanctuary for unwanted/surplus animals and do not actively take part in breeding. However, we had an enclosure spare last summer and were given the opportunity to take on a pair of rusty-spotted cats. To our knowledge they are two of only around 40 in captivity across the world, so we were excited about the opportunity.

Posted by Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary on Thursday, April 30, 2020

“We’ve been waiting for the right moment to reveal that they have had two cubs! They are now coming up for 8 weeks and starting to explore their surroundings with mum. She has done a fabulous job at raising them and continues to be very protective of them, so we are unsure of their gender.

“We are over the moon with the new babies as the majority of our animals are old and here for retirement. As we are well into the 6th week of lockdown we wanted to share some positive news with you all! Thank you for your ongoing support, we hope you can all visit us and the cubs soon.”

The sanctuary also shared a link to a GoFundMe to help care for the cats and other animals in its care, which you can donate to 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.

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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