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Enormous 50-year-old, 17-foot great white shark dubbed ‘Queen of the Ocean’ found by scientists

A massive great white shark weighing in at 3,500 pounds and spanning over 17 feet has been captured by researchers off the coast eastern Canada.

Elias Marat

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(TMU) – A massive great white shark weighing in at 3,500 pounds and spanning over 17 feet has been captured by researchers off the coast of Nova Scotia in eastern Canada.

The tremendous shark was captured on Friday by a team of researchers with NGO group OCEARCH. Scientists have described the female shark as the “Queen of the Ocean.”

“We named her ‘Nukumi’, pronounced noo-goo-mee, for the legendary wise old grandmother figure of the Native American Mi’kmaq people,” the group wrote in a Facebook post Saturday.

The indigenous Mi’kmaq culture is deeply rooted in the Nova Scotia region, the group added.

“With the new data we’ve collected, this matriarch will share her #wisdom with us for years to come,” OCEARCH added.

The expedition was led by Chris Fischer, who said that Nukumi was the largest shark ever tagged by his group, measuring in at a mammoth 17 ft, 2 inches, and weighing 3,541 pounds.

In video shared by OCEARCH, Nukumi can be seen lying on a specialized submersible platform built on the side of its research vessel before swimming away as researchers watch.

OCEARCH is devoted to collecting data on maritime creatures and has tagged and collected samples from hundreds of sharks, seals, dolphins, and other animals as a means to gain insights on migration patterns and uncover details about shark lives that were previously unknown.

According to Fischer, the team could already tell that Nukumi was a “matriarch” shark that has enjoyed a long and “rich” life.

“She is a very old creature, a proper Queen of the Ocean and a matriarch,” he told McClatchy.  “She has all the scars, healed wounds and discolourations that tell a deep, rich story of her life going back years.”

“You feel different when you’re standing beside a shark of that size compared to the ones in the 2,000-pound range,” Fischer added. “It’s an emotional, humbling experience that can make you feel small. You feel insignificant standing next to such an ancient animal.”

Great white sharks are the world’s largest predatory fish and are known to tear chunks from the flesh of their prey, according to the World Wildlife Federation. While great whites have roughly 300 teeth, they do not chew their food but instead, rip their prey into mouth-sized pieces which are then swallowed whole.

Great whites feed on a massive spectrum of prey, ranging from small fish such as halibut to large seals and dolphins. They have no known predators, although on rare occasions they have been preyed upon by orcas.

Great white sharks in the North Atlantic are migratory creatures whose move great distances when the seasons change. During the winter, great whites migrate thousands of miles to warmer waters further south, while many mature adult great whites also venture into the open ocean for blocks of several months, swimming tens of thousands of miles and diving to depths of up to 1,000 meters in search of their prey.

While great white sharks have a fearsome reputation, due in part to the Jaws films, the sharks are a vulnerable species whose numbers have been steadly dwindling over the years.

Animals

Idaho Senate Approves Bill to Kill 90 Percent of State’s Wolves in “Brutal War”

Elias Marat

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Idaho’s legislature is swiftly moving forward with a bill that critics say would sanction a “brutal war” on wolves whereby up to 90 percent of the current wolf population would be killed in a bid to protect the interests of the state’s ranchers.

On Wednesday, the Idaho senate passed the measure by a 26-7 vote. The bill will now move forward to the House chamber, reports Associated Press.

Since teetering at the brink of endangerment years ago, wolf populations were removed from the state endangered species list in 2011. Since then, they have thrived despite Idaho allowing hundreds to be killed by hunters, trappers and state measures to control their numbers. Over the past two years, the wolf population has held steady at about 1,500.

According to federal guidelines, wolf recovery numbers require about 150 wolves in the state.

Republican supporters of the bill said during senate debates that the wolf population has grown entirely out of control, endangering the numbers of deer and elk available to hunters and harming the state economy.

“We’re supposed to have 15 packs, 150 wolves. We’re up to 1,553, was the last count, 1,556, something like that. They’re destroying ranchers. They’re destroying wildlife. This is a needed bill,” said Republican state Sen. Mark Harris. 

However, critics have blasted the move as rash and potentially damaging to the state’s wildlife.

The Idaho Senate’s sudden move to pass this bill in the eleventh hour incentivizes the cruel deaths of more than 1,000 wolves across the state,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. 

“This brutal war on wolves must be stopped, and we urge the House to deny this bill,” Zaccardi added.

Maggie Howell, the head of the Wolf Conservation Center, also described the move as the latest in a hostile and extreme campaign against wolves that fails to take into account the creatures’ value to the local ecology.

“Beyond the wanton cruelty and devastation the passage of this bill would bring to wolves, this legislation poses a threat to wolves nationwide,” she told the New York Times. “With the Trump administration’s decision to transfer wolf management authority from the federal government to the states, Idaho’s policies can influence expectations about wildlife management beyond its borders.”

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Animals

As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists

Elias Marat

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The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.

However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.

While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.

The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.

The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes –  but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.

“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.

To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.

However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.

These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.

The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.

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Animals

Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever

Elias Marat

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Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.

Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.

In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.

At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.

“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.

“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”

The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.

Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.

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