Kaleb Benham of Grass Valley, California, spent much of his Thanksgiving lying with his 90-pound pit bull Buddy after getting into a life-or-death fight with a huge, 350-pound bear.
Massive bears are hardly uncommon in Grass Valley, a gold rush-era city in Nevada County, California, situated way up in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Locals in Nevada County are eager to share their stories about black bears making a mess while rummaging through garbage cans, or of close encounter with a lumbering bear while biking through mountain roads. Some locals even have funny stories about bears popping up in the region’s many cannabis farms.
But Benham’s story is far more terrifying than the usual local anecdotes.
Just one day before Thanksgiving, Buddy was playing outside of the house when Bentham heard a tremendous noise. As it turned out, the noise was coming from a massive bear who had confronted Buddy.
“I heard a growl, looked about 75-100 feet down, and the bear was dragging him by his head, had his head in his mouth,” Benham told CBS 13 Sacramento.
While the realization was horrific, it was then that Benham’ parental instinct quickly kicked in. So he did what any man would do to save a loved one.
“I just ran down there, plowed into the bear, tackled it and grabbed it by the throat and started hitting it in the face and the eye until it let go,” Benham said.
“Honestly the only thing I could think of was ‘save my baby,’” he added.
Having freed Buddy from the jaws of death, Benham quickly rushed to find a veterinary clinic in the semi-rural town.
His first attempt to locate a nearby vet failed when the clinic near his home turned out to be closed due to an infection resulting from the novel coronavirus.
“My first thought was that I was going to lose him,” Benham recounted.
Fortunately, he was able to admit Buddy to the Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital, which was able to immediately provide the wounded pit bull with surgery. Benham sat in suspense as vets inserted tubes into Buddy’s head to drain fluid while stapling and stitching is wounds.
“I just stood there and watched through the window for 3 1/2 for hours,” Benham said.
Buddy is now quickly recovering from the traumatic attack, and is on the mend.
Terrifyingly, the 350-pound bear is refusing to let bygones be bygones and has instead stalked about the property where the two live. The bear has returned several times since the initial attack.
“It made an attack and had it’s food and it’s food got taken from it and it wants it back, I feel like,” Benham said.
Benham and Buddy have been an inseparable pair ever since they met at an animal shelter a few years ago. Benham didn’t hesitate when the time came to rescue his best friend once again.
“If it was your kid, what would you do. That’s my kid, I would die for my dog,” he said.
Idaho Senate Approves Bill to Kill 90 Percent of State’s Wolves in “Brutal War”
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.”
As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists
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.
Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever
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.