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Omicron's 'wacko' combination of mutations has scientists split over whether it developed in humans or animals

A health staff member prepares a COVID-19 test at the Histopath Diagnostic Specialists pre-departure area at Sydney International Airport on November 28, 2021.James D. Morgan/Getty Images The Omicron variant has a strange set of mutations. It doesn't resemble Delta, the dominant strain. That has led scientists to wonder about its origin — namely, whether it came from humans or animals. One of the most promising theories suggests Omicron emerged in an immunocompromised person. Omicron look...
Tags: Europe, UK, Science, News, Animals, Trends, Read, South Africa, Delta, Evolution, Humans, Haiti, South Carolina, Botswana, Epidemiology, New England Journal of Medicine

Abuse, intimidation, death threats: the vicious backlash facing former vegans

Going vegan has never been more popular – but some people who try it and then decide to reintroduce animal products face shocking treatmentIn 2015, Freya Robinson decided to go vegan. For more than a year, the 28-year-old from East Sussex did not consume a single animal product. Then, in 2016, on a family holiday in Bulgaria, she passed a steak restaurant and something inside her switched. “I walked in and ordered the biggest steak I could have and completely inhaled it,” she says. After finishi...
Tags: Health, Animals, Environment, Life and style, Communities, Society, World news, Mental Health, Ethical and green living, Animal Welfare, Bulgaria, Veganism, Diets and dieting, Robinson, East Sussex, Freya Robinson

‘Mesmerising’: a massive murmuration of budgies is turning central Australia green and gold

After a bumper wet season, huge flocks of budgerigars are on the move in the deserts of the Northern TerritoryThe humble budgerigar has transformed the red centre into a sea of green and gold.A massive murmuration – the phenomenon of thousands of birds flocking together – has swarmed the Northern Territory. Continue reading...
Tags: Australia, Animals, Australia news, Birds, Wildlife, Northern Territory

Gorgeous footage of the rarely seen Giant Phantom Jellyfish

In November, an underwater robot operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute captured this footage of a glorious Giant Phantom Jellyfish off the coast of California, more than 3,200 feet down in the ocean. The Phantom Jelly has only been encountered by scientist around 100 times since the first specimen was collected in 1899. — Read the rest
Tags: Video, News, California, Animals, Oceans, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Jellyfish, Oceanography

Experience: I was attacked by a dog while climbing a volcano

He came back and sunk his teeth in again. The pain took my breath away as I felt his fangs in my fleshI was backpacking in Panama over Christmas in 2018, and planned to climb Volcán Barú. At 3,474m, it is the highest peak in the country and one of the only places on earth from where you can see the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans at the same time. It is an active volcano, but last erupted around 1550.I set off before sunrise. It was a little chilly, so I had pulled on tights under my trekking tr...
Tags: Dogs, Animals, Life and style, Atlantic, Panama, Volcan Baru

Recycled regatta: world heritage site highlights plastic pollution crisis

When environmentalists on a Seychelles atoll decided to race boats made from ocean litter, they had 500 tonnes to pick from• Photographs: Anna Koester/Seychelles Islands FoundationRed Lion is the kind of boat you would not see in most regattas. Its frame is made of bamboo, sourced from washed-up fishing equipment, and it uses two old oil drums for buoyancy.Equally strange is Rasta Rocket – made from old plastic drain pipes, washed-up floats and fishing buoys. Continue reading...
Tags: Animals, Africa, Environment, World news, Pollution, Wildlife, Conservation, Marine Life, Oceans, Fishing, Seychelles, Plastics, Seychelles Islands, Anna Koester

Elle magazine to stop using fur in editorial and advertising content worldwide

Magazine becomes the first major publication to ban fur content across all of its pages, saying it is rejecting animal crueltyElle magazine has announced it will stop using fur in all its editorial and advertising content worldwide, becoming the first major publication to do so.The monthly lifestyle magazine, which originated in France and is owned by French media group Lagardère, has 45 editions around the world. It has about 33 million readers from Mexico to Japan, with 100 million monthly onl...
Tags: Japan, Media, Mexico, France, Animals, Newspapers & magazines, Culture, Magazines, Elle

In Australia’s wet weather ‘tis the season for spiders, mozzies, mice and mould

La Niña brings more than just rain to eastern states, as some unwanted visitors begin venturing into people’s homesGet our free news app; get our morning email briefingA surge in mosquitoes, spiders, termites, rodents – and mould – has hit eastern Australia, in what appears to be a fitting end to 2021.The wet weather caused by the latest La Niña event has helped flush out creatures that may typically burrow or live underground into the open and inside people’s homes. Continue reading...
Tags: Australia, Animals, Environment, Australia news, Wildlife, New South Wales, Victoria, Insects, Australia Weather, Spiders, La Niña

Furious frogs get addicted to their smart phone

In my headcanon this is now the secret origin of the Battletoads universe. "Your phone is one of us now"— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) November 29, 2021 Image: Charles J. Sharp / Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Tags: Post, News, Animals, Smartphones, Frogs, Animal Behavior, Frog, Phone Addiction, Tech Addiction, Cute Animal Videos, Animal Friends, Frogger, Addictive As Hell, Charles J Sharp, Trolling The Frog

When wild animals escape: could the exotic pet trade be our downfall? – video

Exotic pet ownership in the UK has grown 60% since 2000, according to the wildlife charity Born Free. But escaped wild animals are also a growing concern for their potential to spread disease, and the impact an invasive species might have on nature. The Guardian visits BeastWatch, an organisation of volunteers that specialises in the safe retrieval of exotic pets, and Bristol Zoo to see how wild animals are kept in captivity and ask if new laws can address some of the issues Watch more episodes ...
Tags: UK, Zoos, Animals, Pets, Environment, Conservation, Invasive Species, Bristol, Veterinary Medicine

Rescue me: why Britain’s beautiful lockdown pets are being abandoned

The cats and dogs that helped us through the pandemic are increasingly being dumped in the street or handed over to charities – and shelters are dealing with the falloutOn a cold, steely grey day in a farmyard in Essex I meet Spike. Thick-set, broad-chested, narrow-eyed, he has a look that says “don’t mess with me”, and he has tiny, pointed ears that have been cut to make him look more intimidating.Spike is an XL bully; bully stands for American bulldog, XL means bred to be bigger. They are fash...
Tags: Cats, Dogs, Animals, Pets, Life and style, Britain, Essex, Moss, Spike, Waltham Abbey, Ira Moss, Essex XL

Swifts and house martins join UK red list of endangered birds

RSPB warns wildlife is in freefall with 70 of Britain’s 245 bird species now seriously at riskThe red list of Britain’s most endangered birds has increased to 70 species with the swift, house martin, greenfinch and Bewick’s swan added to the latest assessment.The red list now accounts for more than a quarter of Britain’s 245 bird species, almost double the 36 species given the status of “highest conservation concern” in the first review 25 years ago. Continue reading...
Tags: UK, Animals, Environment, UK News, World news, Birds, Britain, Wildlife, RSPB, Bewick

One in six Australian birds are now threatened, landmark action plan finds

Once-in-a-decade study finds 216 out of 1,299 species are in danger – up from 195 in 2011Get our free news app; get our morning email briefingOne in six Australian birds are now threatened, according to a once-in-a-decade study that finds the climate emergency is pushing species closer to extinction.The action plan for birds is a major scientific study led by Stephen Garnett of Charles Darwin University, with input from more than 300 bird experts.Sign up to receive an email with the top stories...
Tags: Animals, Environment, Australia news, Birds, Wildlife, Conservation, Queensland, New South Wales, Endangered Species, Tasmania, Guardian Australia, Stephen Garnett, Charles Darwin University

White rhinos flown from South Africa to Rwanda in largest single translocation

In a bid to secure the future of the near threatened species, 30 animals have been driven, flown and finally rehomed in Akagera national parkGetting stuck into the in-flight wine wasn’t an option for the 30 passengers flying overnight from South Africa to Rwanda. Crew members instead worked to keep the first-time air travellers placid and problem-free. The last thing anyone wanted was a 1.5-ton rhino on the rampage aboard a Boeing 747.“All the rhinos were slightly sedated to keep them calm and n...
Tags: Animals, Africa, Environment, World news, South Africa, Wildlife, Conservation, Endangered Species, Boeing, Rwanda, Akagera, Rwanda Crew, Jes Gruner

Every good dog deserves a musical tribute

Hector, dog of dogs, is the most glorious companion. Simon Tiffin reveals how he came to commission a piece of music that would evoke his spirit when he finally departs this worldOne of the earliest signs of spring in my garden is a ring of snowdrops and winter acconites that encircles the trunk of a medlar tree outside the greenhouse. This yellow-and-white display was planted to complement a collection of elegantly engraved, moss-covered mini-headstones that mark the resting places of the previ...
Tags: Psychology, Science, Dogs, Animals, Pets, Life and style, Health & wellbeing, Alexa, Hector, Simon Tiffin

Separation anxiety: how to manage your pet’s mental health as post-lockdown routines resume

Experts say demand for wellness and calming products for animal companions have surged since Australia’s restrictions lifted Get our free news app; get our morning email briefingWhen Melburnian Anni O’Donnell used to arrive home from work, her sausage dog, Ziggy, would be excited to see her. Since lockdown, though, “he cries and wiggles his body for a good five minutes”.“He even does it for short periods of time, like a five-minute pop to the shops,” O’Donnell said.Sign up to receive an email wi...
Tags: Dogs, Australia, Animals, Pets, Life and style, Australia news, Guardian Australia, O'Donnell, Coronavirus, Anni O'Donnell

Rare mouflon sheep on Italian island of Giglio at centre of culling row

Activists threaten legal action over mouflon hunting on Tuscan island as part of EU-funded biodiversity projectAnimal rights activists have threatened legal action against the national park that runs a group of islands off Italy’s Tuscan coast as controversy intensifies over the culling of rare mouflon sheep on the tiny island of Giglio.Hunters arrived on Giglio this week and have so far killed four mouflons, a wild sheep native to the Caspian region that is thought to be an ancestor of domestic...
Tags: Europe, Animals, Eu, World news, Animal Welfare, Italy, Giglio, Giglio Hunters

Campaigners criticise European zoo proposals to cull adult male gorillas

Overcrowding of western lowland gorillas in zoos has led regulatory body to consider drastic measuresCampaigners are hitting back at zoo proposals to cull adult male gorillas, arguing they should be returned to the wild instead.Overcrowding of critically endangered western lowland gorillas in zoos has led the influential European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza) to consider killing adult males of the species. Eaza is the body that regulates most of the zoos in Europe.Western lowland gorill...
Tags: Europe, Zoos, Animals, Environment, UK News, World news, Conservation, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Eaza

The need to trespass: let people in to protect nature, says guerrilla botanist

Naturalist and campaigner Dave Bangs says limiting access to the countryside makes it harder to save our ancient landscapesIn a prehistoric bog where iguanodons once roamed and the early Britons first smelted ore into iron, what looks like a tiny orange candle peeps through the mire. It sends my companion into a paroxysm of joy.“That’s good! That’s new!” Continue reading...
Tags: Science, Biology, Animals, Environment, UK News, World news, Wildlife, Conservation, Farming, Trees and forests, Brighton, Rural affairs, Fungi, Endangered Species, Endangered habitats, Biodiversity

Are you a psychopath for not liking fairy bread? The Guardian’s only furry agony aunt is back | First Dog on the Moon

Civilisation is in a death spiral but you can’t get the lid off the goddamn jar of salsa!Sign up here to get an email whenever First Dog cartoons are publishedGet all your needs met at the First Dog shop if what you need is First Dog merchandise and prints Continue reading...
Tags: Health, Animals, Mental Health

Sales of eco-friendly pet food soar as owners become aware of impact

Number of products in UK containing MSC-certified sustainable seafood has grown by 57% in last five yearsEco-friendly pet food is on the rise as dog and cat owners become more aware of the impact of their beloved pet’s diet. New figures released exclusively to the Guardian show that the number of pet food products containing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified sustainable seafood has grown by 57% in the UK during the last five years, from 49 to 77. In the last year alone consumers bought ...
Tags: Food, UK, Cats, Dogs, Animals, Pets, Environment, Fish, Marine Life, Fishing, Msc, Marine Stewardship Council MSC

Do lobsters have feelings? – podcast

Last week the UK government confirmed it would be extending its Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill to include decapods (such as crabs, lobsters and crayfish), and cephalopods (such as octopuses, squid and cuttlefish). The move followed a government-commissioned review of the scientific evidence, which found strong evidence that cephalopods and decapods do have feelings. Madeleine Finlay spoke to Dr Jonathan Birch, who led the review, to ask what it means for lobsters to have feelings, and what diff...
Tags: UK, Science, Biology, Animals, Ethics, Animal Welfare, Seafood, Jonathan Birch, Madeleine Finlay

Australia’s most expensive goat – a ‘very stylish buck’ – sells for record $21,000

Sold at auction in western NSW, Marrakesh has orders from his new owners to ‘go forth and multiply’Get our free news app; get our morning email briefingThe owner of Australia’s most expensive goat has described his new acquisition as a “very stylish buck”.Andrew Mosely knew he would have to break the $12,000 Australian record to buy Marrakesh, a goat that went on sale in the western New South Wales town of Cobar on Wednesday. But he did not expect he would have to pay almost double that, forking...
Tags: Australia, Animals, Environment, Australia news, New South Wales, Marrakesh, Guardian Australia, Farm Animals, Rural Australia, Cobar, NSW Marrakesh, Andrew Mosely

The swine bomb: is 2021 the year wild hogs take over the world?

They are running rampant through the US and Europe: stealing a nudist’s laptop, rifling through rubbish and upsetting Shakira. Just how worried should we be?Name: The swine bomb.Status: Ongoing and escalating. Continue reading...
Tags: Europe, Animals, US, Wildlife, Shakira Just

Pig patrol: Amsterdam airport’s innovative approach to flight safety

Farm animals are being used to prevent bird strikes as numbers of geese boom around Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest flight hubsA group of animals has been drafted in to combat a hazard in the skies above the runways of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, the Netherlands’ aviation hub.A six-week pilot project is studying whether a small herd of pigs can deter flocks of geese and other birds attracted to discarded sugar beet on nearby farmland. Continue reading...
Tags: Europe, Animals, Environment, World news, Netherlands, Air transport, Amsterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Schiphol, Farm Animals

Climate crisis pushes albatross ‘divorce’ rates higher – study

Researchers say warmer waters mean birds are travelling further for food and becoming more stressed, triggering relationship breakdownsAlbatrosses, some of the world’s most loyally monogamous creatures, are “divorcing” more often – and researchers say global heating may be to blame.In a new Royal Society study, researchers say climate change and warming waters are pushing black-browed albatross break-up rates higher. Typically after choosing a partner, only 1-3% would separate in search of green...
Tags: Animals, Environment, Birds, Wildlife, Royal Society, Climate Crisis

Truffle-eating marsupial on ‘brink of extinction’

Population of northern bettongs in Queensland thought to number 1,000 found to be no more than 50, researchers sayDownload the free Guardian app; get our morning email briefingOne of only two remaining populations of an “ecosystem engineer” truffle-eating marsupial found in Queensland is much smaller than originally thought and could be declining further, according to new research.Scientists studying northern bettongs on the Mount Carbine Tableland in north-eastern Queensland have estimated the ...
Tags: Animals, Environment, Australia news, Wildlife, Conservation, Queensland, Endangered Species, Mount Carbine Tableland

A minky morning.

Caught him clearly there. He was in and out of the rocks and I have many photos that I believe should show the mink, but I'm challenged to find him — for example: Side issue: Mink or otter? Do you know the difference? I know a difference — pointy vs. round snout — and that's what made me say mink. [Author: [email protected] (Ann Althouse)]
Tags: Photography, Law, Animals, Sunrise, Lake Mendota, Ann Althouse

Watch: Florida man hooks a shark which a bald eagle promptly swipes from him

In Dunedin, Florida, Chad Rissman and his uncle Darrin Vick spent the day fishing but had no luck. Finally at dusk, a tiny shark took the bait. But just as Vick began to reel in his catch, a beautiful bald eagle swooped down and snatched the shark. — Read the rest
Tags: Video, Florida, News, Animals, Sharks, Raptors, Dunedin Florida, Vick, Gone Fishing, Chad Rissman, Darrin Vick

Frog back from the dead helps fight plans for mine in Ecuador

Campaigners say if copper mine gets go-ahead in cloud forest, the longnose harlequin, once thought to be extinct, will be threatened againReports of the longnose harlequin frog’s death appear to have been greatly exaggerated – or, at least, premature. The Mark Twain of the frog world is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as extinct, which may come as a surprise to those alive and well in the cloud forests of Ecuador’s tropical Andes.Known for its pointed snout, t...
Tags: Law, Animals, Environment, Americas, World news, Mining, Wildlife, Conservation, Trees and forests, Global development, Endangered Species, Endangered habitats, Indigenous Peoples, Mark Twain, Ecuador, Land Rights