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In aftermath of Hurricane Laura, thick mosquito swarms kill hundreds of Louisiana cattle

In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, massive swarms of mosquitos have killed huge numbers of cows, as well as deer and other livestock in the region..

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, massive swarms of mosquitos have laid waste to Louisiana, killing huge numbers of cows, as well as deer, horses and other livestock in the region.

Two weeks after Hurricane Laura brought torrential rains to the southwest part of the state, thousands of mosquitos have set upon animals as large as bulls, draining their blood and leaving them anemic and bleeding. Livestock annoyed by the mosquitos have also been forced to pace around during the hot and moist summer in an attempt to avoid the insect.

The hordes of mosquitos pushed out of their marshy habitats by Hurricane Laura have been nothing less than a menace for local livestock, according to a Louisiana State University AgCenter press release.

“The population just exploded in the southwest part of the state,” said LSU AgCenter agent Jeremy Hebert.

The problem has led to the widespread loss of cattle and even some horses across the five parishes neighboring the most severely impacted part of the state where the storm made landfall in late August.

Experts estimate that anywhere between 300 and 400 cattle have been lost by local ranchers.

“They’re vicious little suckers,” veterinarian Craig Fontenot of Ville Platte told Associated Press while showing a photo he took of a bull’s belly completely covered by the mosquitoes.

Cattle are generally out grazing in 50- or 100-acre pastures, unlike horses and goats who generally remain in stalls that can easily be sprayed with insecticide.

The swarms are not only draining the blood from livestock, but also forcing them to be in constant motion to keep the mosquitoes away, leaving them exhausted to the point that they pass out.

One deer rancher even lost roughly 30 of his 110 animals, a portion of which had already been sold, Fontenot added.

“He’s saying its over $100,000 he lost,” the veterinarian said.

In order to combat the thick clouds of mosquitos, a number of parishes have begun aerial spraying of the region. The spraying has already had a good degree of success in thinning out the hordes, according to agents from the LSU AgCenter.

“The spraying has dropped the populations tremendously,” said Acadia Parish agent Jeremy Hebert said. “It’s made a night-and-day difference.”

The insect continue to plague Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis Parishes, but the widespread spraying is reducing the acute nature of the problem.

Hurricane Laura was the strongest hurricane in terms of wind speed in the state since at least 1856. Since the storm made landfall, over 280,000 local residents lack access to clean drinking water while 14,476 lack running water altogether.

As of Friday, about 105,475 residents remained without power amid heat advisories, according to poweroutage.us.

The storm has also been an ecological calamity for the region, as over 1,400 oil wells were lying directly in the hurricane’s path. One photographer taking aerial shots of the wetlands spotted roughly 20 miles of oil sheen stretching across coastal marshes and bayous.

And while livestock deaths from mosquitoes may seem like a very 2020 phenomenon, past storms have entailed similar events – namely Hurricane Lili in 2002 and Hurricane Rita in 2005. Similar problems have also occurred in hurricane-prone Florida and Texas, Fontenot noted.

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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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