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Orca Attacks On Boats Are Getting Worse and Worse, Scientists Say

These Orca attacks have been coordinated, and anyone who encountered them insists that the animals were communicating and working in tandem.

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Over the summer, researchers began to realize that Orca whales, sometimes known as “killer whales,” have begun attacking boats along the coasts of Spain and Portugal. These attacks have been coordinated, and anyone who encountered them insists that the animals were communicating and working in tandem.

Since the phenomenon was first reported earlier this year, sailors have reported more whale attacks in the same area. Another video of one of these encounters was recently shared online by a British sailor named David Smith. 

Smith was sailing on a 45-foot yacht off the coast of Portugal in October when his boat was attacked by a group of angry Orcas.

“I don’t frighten easily and this was terrifying,” Smith told the BBC. “I looked at this animal – and it was jet black and brilliant white,” he added.

Since 2013, Smith has been sailing around European coasts delivering boats to their owners. In October, he was delivering a yacht from France to Gibraltar when he and his crew noticed that they were being attacked by whales. The Gibraltar orcas are endangered, and it is estimated that there are fewer than 50 of them remaining in the wild.

The attack began just before sunset, and the crew did not realize what they were dealing with at first.

Smiths says that the first crew member to notice shouted out, “it looks like we have some large dolphins.” 

Smith quickly realized that they were whales because of the color. For nearly two hours the group of whales rammed the boat while it was sailing off the coast of Portugal. 

“It was continuous. I think there were six or seven animals, but it seemed like the juvenile ones — the smaller ones — were most active. They seemed to be going for the rudder, the wheel would just start spinning really fast every time there was an impact,” Smith said.

Unfortunately, the group was out of radio range and could not call for help until they were able to reach the Portuguese coast guard on a satellite phone. The coast guard instructed them to cut the engine, take down the sails and appear as “uninteresting” as possible to the orcas.

“So then we were just drifting. But while I was on the phone, I could hear them ramming the boat. At one point, one of the larger animals came right to the stern and flipped onto its back — you could see its bright white underside,” Smith said.

He feared that one of the animals could rupture the boat and cause them to sink.

If that fractures, you’re really in trouble. I was definitely preparing to ask the Portuguese coast guard to send a helicopter to get us off,” Smith said.

Then he said that the attack stopped as suddenly as it began.

This case is among 40 similar incidents that have occurred this year.

Marine biologist Jörn Selling has suggested that possibly the orcas became comfortable with the quieter waters during the pandemic restrictions, and are now disturbed by the increase in traffic now that businesses are slowly going back to normal.

Morris believes the orcas seemed to be fighting back against something, and she hopes that these encounters could raise some awareness about what this species is facing.

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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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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