1

Join the Hive That Will Save The World!

Entrepreneur, Igor Casapu, has engineered a unique solution to a global crisis; BeeRole, a virtual hive set up to bring together beekeepers and honey lovers all around the world!

Casapu found the inspiration for BeeRole in his passion for taking action against the growing environmental threats we face. Specifically, the alarming rate of decreasing bee populations in ecosystems worldwide. BeeRole functions as a social media marketplace geared towards supporting beekeepers, growing the honey industry, and uniting people under an urgent cause; saving the bees.

Where would we be without bees? As far as important species go, they are top of the list. Honey bees are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crop profits.

That’s only the start of the problem we face if we lose bees from our ecosystem; we will lose the plants that bees pollinate and all of the animals that eat those plants. With a disruption like this to an ecosystem, the entire food chain is affected, and whole ecosystems can collapse as a result.

A world without these critical pollinators would struggle to sustain the global human population of seven billion. We would see massive food shortages, a tremendous increase in the prices of produce, and a subsequent decline in human nutrition. We depend on honey bees to sustain the ecosystems that sustain us.

There is no one reason we can blame for the rapidly declining bee population, though possible causes include the loss of flower meadows, the crab-like varroa mite that feasts on their blood, climate change, the use of pesticides, and habitat loss. The fact is that regardless of the reason, we are losing bees at a shocking rate, and the crisis grows more urgent each day.

The solution for this ecological crisis lies in a pressing need to protect the surviving honey bees and create more hives. The world is predominantly motivated by industry; we need to support the industry that supports the bee population, namely HONEY. Beekeepers may just be our saving grace, but as with all small businesses, beekeepers often have a hard time selling their products on a global scale.

Enter BeeRole – This social media market place is a one of a kind solution to a one of a kind problem. Casapu combined his ideas of sustainability solutions and virtual social marketplaces to create this ingenious solution. From selling honey to connecting beekeeping communities, BeeRole is the one-stop-shop for all honey needs.

Through BeeRole, beekeepers can sell their products on a fair trade market, and consumers can taste honey from Zimbabwe to Nepal to Mexico. BeeRole is so much more than just a honey company; they solve the crisis we face in the massive decrease in the number of bees in the world.

If these contributions to the community were not enough, BeeRole has also created the 2 Billion Bees Project. BeeRole is donating 1$ from every sold jar of honey to save bees all around the world. By creating 200k beehives and donating those hives to over 100 affected countries, over 2 billion honey bees will be saved. Each beehive saves 100,000 bees and costs $100; therefore, each $1 saves 100 bees!

By tackling environmental issues like habitat loss, small business concerns such as the lack of a niche market place, and social roadblocks in awareness in education, BeeRole has found an all-encompassing way to go about solving one of the most pressing issues of our time. Not just a honey company, social media platform, non-profit, or marketplace, BeeRole is everything we need to save the honey bees.

Saving the bees is an issue that has the power to unify every single person on the planet as it affects each and every one of us. Casapu warns, “Living on a planet where everything is interconnected, it is easy to understand why losing our pollinators could lead to disastrous consequences.”

For more information, please feel free to watch this video, or take a look at their website.




Salmon Spawning for the First Time in 80 Years in the Upper Columbia River

Tribal biologists have confirmed that chinook salmon are spawning in the upper-Columbia River system in Washington state for the first time in 80 years.

The discovery of 36 “redds” (where a female salmon deposits her eggs) along a prime eight-mile spawning stretch of a tributary of the Columbia called the Sanpoil River confirmed the Colville Tribe’s suspicions.

It’s the culmination of decades of dreaming, and years of work, which one can hear in the words of Crystal Conant, a Colville tribal member of the Arrow Lakes and SanPoil bands when she spoke to Eli Francovich at Spokesman

“I was shocked at first, then I was just overcome with complete joy…I don’t know that I have the right words to even explain the happiness and the healing,” she said.

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville System have been planning and researching how it would be possible to restore salmon populations to the river systems above two dams built in the 1930s and ’50s which prevented the fish from reaching the higher levels of the river system to spawn, as they had done for generations.

A long time coming (home)

Grand Coulee Dam, US Bureau of Reclamation 

In blocking the salmon from returning to the upper reaches of the Sanpoil River, many of the tribes there were prevented from carrying out fundamental practices of their culture, including the “salmon songs” which called the fish back from the ocean, and spearfishing around Kettle Falls, over which the river tumbled and roiled as it contested against quartz boulders.

The Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams don’t include fish ladders, and so in August, the Colville Tribes released 100 salmon 35 miles upstream of the two dams in an attempt to see if they would survive and spawn.

They outfitted electronic trackers to the fish so they would be able to observe their movements. Over the summer and fall, contrary to some predictions that the fish would just up and leave, the hatchery-born salmon spread out and began to spawn.

But of course, the major challenge to an otherwise superbly plausible restoration effort is whether small salmon can cross the Columbia River reservoir created by the dam, pass through the hydropower infrastructure, move out to sea, eat, grow, and return again.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




Surfing Sea Lions Have a Blast as They Ride and Flip Through Gnarly California Waves in Video

By | TheMindUnleashed.com

Surfers know that in terms of the best places to catch the best breaks and surf zones, few regions can compete with California’s central coast. From Malibu through Ventura to Santa Barbara County, up through SLO to the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz, the Gold Coast arguably has no rivals in the U.S. in terms of its natural beauty and spectacular waves.

But while California’s beaches have long been synonymous with the surfing world, it would appear that actual sea lions from the region are also enjoying the gnarly wake surfs and sick swells on offer throughout the central coast.

In a brilliant video captured last week off Santa Barbara Island, within the Channel Islands National Park just west of Los Angeles, sea lions can be seen surfing the massive waves with the sort of natural skill that only evolutionary forces can mold.

In the footage, the nimble pinnipeds can be seen riding and flipping about while taking huge leaps through the giant swells. The video was captured via high-speed photography, far too fast for sound to be recorded.

So Ryan Lawler, who runs Pacific Offshore Expeditions, paired the footage to the iconic hit from the Surfaris, “Wipeout.”

The energetic footage was captured by a documentary crew that included a National Geographic cameraman during a Jan. 7 outing with Pacific Offshore Expeditions.

 “Our trip to Santa Barbara Island was bumpy and dive conditions questionable,” the company wrote on its Instagram post of the video. “But what we found in light of this was a wonderful surprise: surfing sea lions! None of us had ever seen such sustained and enthusiastic wave riding from pinnipeds before. It was a joy to watch!”

The scene was so remarkable that the crew eagerly returned to Santa Barbara Island for more footage after checking out the footage that they shot.

On the exposed side of the island, the swell was huge but we found some sun,” Lawler told For The Win Outdoors“As we rounded the southern portion of the island, which has an islet called Sutil Island, we noticed sea lions flying out of the back of the waves. It was an awesome moment.”

Like most priceless moments in the majestic Channel Islands, however, the session was all too brief – and was totally skunked by the thick, foggy marine layer of an unseasonably hot January.

“I had never seen that before at this island, which is well known for its sea lions,” Lawler continued. “So we stayed there for 20 minutes, observing and waiting for the sun to break up the fog. Then we dove for about 90 minutes and came back, but all the sea lions had disappeared.”

Sea lions have long been known to be powerful and agile swimmers who are even known to body surf on occasion, but scenes such as these are very difficult to capture.




Sperm Whale ‘Asks’ a Diver to be Freed From a Fishing Hook

Video Source: World of Aviation 

Sperm whales are intelligent and social creatures. Here, a Sperm Whale is ‘asking’ a diver for help as there is a hook stuck in its mouth and lets the diver help him(or her) out.

The brave diver does a fantastic job freeing the Sperm Whale from the hook.

Sperm whales are the largest tooth whales and apex predators of the Ocean in addition to Orca. However, they are gentle and prey mostly on squid deep down in Ocean.

With such a beautiful creature like Sperm whales and countless others,.

My request is Please DONT POLLUTE OCEAN in any way!

The diver’s name is Hugues Vitry, world-famous Maurician environmentalist, and underwater photographer.

Diving with Hugues: http://bluewaterdivingcenter.com/en

If you appreciate this video, please like it and also subscribe to the channel




US EPA Evaluation Finds Glyphosate Likely to Injure or Kill 93% of Endangered Species

By Sustainable Pulse

The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft biological evaluation on Wednesday finding that glyphosate is likely to injure or kill 93% of the plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The long-anticipated draft biological evaluation released by the agency’s pesticide office found that 1,676 endangered species are likely to be harmed by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and the world’s most-used pesticide.

The draft biological opinion also found that glyphosate adversely modifies critical habitat for 759 endangered species or 96% of all species for which critical habitat has been designated.

“The hideous impacts of glyphosate on the nation’s most endangered species are impossible to ignore now,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Glyphosate use is so widespread that even the EPA’s notoriously industry-friendly pesticide office had to conclude that there are hardly any endangered species that can manage to evade its toxic impacts.”

Hundreds of millions of pounds of glyphosate are used each year in the United States, mostly in agriculture but also on lawns, gardens, landscaping, roadsides, schoolyards, national forests, rangelands, power lines, and more.

According to the EPA, 280 million pounds of glyphosate are used just in agriculture, and glyphosate is sprayed on 298 million acres of cropland each year. Eighty-four percent of glyphosate pounds applied in agriculture are applied to soy, corn, and cotton, commodity crops that are genetically engineered to tolerate being drenched with quantities of glyphosate that would normally kill a plant.

Glyphosate is also widely used in oats, wheat, pulses, fruit, and vegetable production.

“If we want to stop the extinction of amazing creatures like monarch butterflies, we need the EPA to take action to stop the out-of-control spraying of deadly poisons,” Burd continued.

The EPA has, for decades, steadfastly refused to comply with its obligation under the Endangered Species Act to assess the harms of pesticides to protected plants and animals. But it was finally forced to do this evaluation under the terms of a 2016 legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




Fences Have Big Effects on Land and Wildlife Around the World That Are Rarely Measured

Australia’s dingo fences, built to protect livestock from wild dogs, stretch for thousands of kilometers. Marian Deschain/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 

By , , | The Conversation

What is the most common form of human infrastructure in the world? It may well be the fence. Recent estimates suggest that the total length of all fencing around the globe is 10 times greater than the total length of roads. If our planet’s fences were stretched end to end, they would likely bridge the distance from Earth to the Sun multiple times.

On every continent, from cities to rural areas and from ancient to modern times, humans have built fences. But we know almost nothing about their ecological effects. Border fences are often in the news, but other fences are so ubiquitous that they disappear into the landscape, becoming scenery rather than subject.

In a recently published study, our team sought to change this situation by offering a set of findings, frameworks, and questions that can form the basis of a new discipline: fence ecology. By compiling studies from ecosystems around the world, our research shows that fences produce a complex range of ecological effects.

Some of them influence small-scale processes like the building of spider webs. Others have much broader effects, such as hastening the collapse of Kenya’s Mara ecosystem. Our findings reveal a world that has been utterly reorganized by a rapidly growing latticework of fences.

Conservationists and scientists have raised concerns about the ecological effects of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, most of which is essentially a fence.

Connecting the dots

If fences seem like an odd thing for ecologists to study, consider that until recently no one thought much about how roads affected the places around them. Then, in a burst of research in the 1990s, scientists showed that roads – which also have been part of human civilization for millennia – had narrow footprints but produced enormous environmental effects.

For example, roads can destroy or fragment habitats that wild species rely on to survive. They also can promote air and water pollution and vehicle collisions with wildlife. This work generated a new scientific disciplineroad ecology, that offers unique insights into the startling extent of humanity’s reach.

Our research team became interested in fences by watching animals. In California, Kenya, China, and Mongolia, we had all observed animals behaving oddly around fences – gazelles taking long detours around them, for example, or predators following “highways” along fence lines.

We reviewed a large body of academic literature looking for explanations. There were many studies of individual species, but each of them told us only a little on its own. Research had not yet connected the dots between many disparate findings. By linking all these studies together, we uncovered important new discoveries about our fenced world.

Vintage ad for barbed wire.

Early advertisement for barbed wire fencing, 1880-1889. The advent of barbed wire dramatically changed ranching and land use in the American West by ending the open range system. Kansas Historical Society, CC BY-ND 

Remaking ecosystems

Perhaps the most striking pattern we found was that fences rarely are unambiguously good or bad for an ecosystem. Instead, they have myriad ecological effects that produce winners and losers, helping to dictate the rules of the ecosystems where they occur.

Even “good” fences that are designed to protect threatened species or restore sensitive habitats can still fragment and isolate ecosystems. For example, fences constructed in Botswana to prevent disease transmission between wildlife and livestock have stopped migrating wildebeests in their tracks, producing haunting images of injured and dead animals strewn along fencelines.

Enclosing an area to protect one species may injure or kill others, or create entry pathways for invasive species.

One finding that we believe is critical is that for every winner, fences typically produce multiple losers. As a result, they can create ecological “no man’s lands” where only species and ecosystems with a narrow range of traits can survive and thrive.

Altering regions and continents

Examples from around the world demonstrate fences’ powerful and often unintended consequences. The U.S.-Mexico border wall – most of which fits our definition of a fence – has genetically isolated populations of large mammals such as bighorn sheep, leading to population declines and genetic isolation. It has even had surprising effects on birds, like ferruginous pygmy owls, that fly low to the ground.

Australia’s dingo fences, built to protect livestock from the nation’s iconic canines, are among the world’s longest man-made structures, stretching thousands of kilometers each. These fences have started ecological chain reactions called trophic cascades that have affected an entire continent’s ecology.

The absence of dingoes, a top predator, from one side of the fence means that populations of prey species like kangaroos can explode, causing categorical shifts in plant composition and even depleting the soil of nutrients. On either side of the fence there now are two distinct “ecological universes.”

Our review shows that fences affect ecosystems at every scale, leading to cascades of change that may, in the worst cases, culminate in what some conservation biologists have described as a total “ecological meltdown.” But this peril often is overlooked.

Map showing the density of fencing in the western U.S.

The authors assembled a conservative data set of potential fence lines across the U.S. West. They calculated the nearest distance to any given fence to be less than 31 miles (50 kilometers), with a mean of about 2 miles (3.1 kilometers). McInturff et al,. 2020CC BY-ND

To demonstrate this point, we looked more closely at the western U.S., which is known for huge open spaces but also is the homeland of barbed wire fencing. Our analysis shows that vast areas viewed by researchers as relatively untrodden by the human footprint are silently entangled in dense networks of fences.

Do less harm

Fences clearly are here to stay. As fence ecology develops into a discipline, its practitioners should consider the complex roles fences play in human social, economic, and political systems. Even now, however, there is enough evidence to identify actions that could reduce their harmful impacts.

There are many ways to change fence design and construction without affecting their functionality. For example, in Wyoming and Montana, federal land managers have experimented with wildlife-friendly designs that allow species like pronghorn antelope to pass through fences with fewer obstacles and injuries. This kind of modification shows great promise for wildlife and may produce broader ecological benefits.

Another option is aligning fences along natural ecological boundaries, like watercourses or topographical features. This approach can help minimize their effects on ecosystems at a low cost. And land agencies or nonprofit organizations could offer incentives for landowners to remove fences that are derelict and no longer serve a purpose.

Nonetheless, once a fence is built its effects are long-lasting. Even after removal, “ghost fences” can live on, with species continuing to behave as if a fence were still present for generations.

Knowing this, we believe that policymakers and landowners should be more cautious about installing fences in the first place. Instead of considering only a fence’s short-term purpose and the landscape nearby, we would like to see people view a new fence as yet another permanent link in a chain encircling the planet many times over.




Indigenous Community in Canada Mourns After Poachers Kill Sacred White “Spirit Moose”

By Elias Marat | TheMindUnleashed

First Nation communities in Canada are in a state of shock and anger after a rare white moose, seen as a “spirit” animal to indigenous people, was killed by suspected poachers.

The rare white moose, seen as a sacred creature by the native culture, was killed by poachers near the city of Timmins, Ontario, leaving locals in a state of mourning.

The corpses of two female moose, including a majestic white cow, were discovered shot and discarded along a service road with their entire bodies intact, including the head, reports The Guardian.

Local residents have traditionally revered the white moose population – as well as white animals including bison, ravens, and grizzly bears – who have a ghostly pallor due to a recessive gene, and have been sighted moving quietly among the aspen and pine forests of the region.

Community leaders are perplexed about the seemingly needless execution of the creature.

“Everybody is outraged and sad. Why would you shoot it? No one needs one that bad,” remarked Chief Murray Ray of the Flying Post First Nation. “If you have a license to shoot a cow moose, you could shoot another one. Just leave the white ones alone.”

The incident is now under investigation by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Signs around the area warn against killing the creatures, which are now under legal protection under laws that locals fought hard for.

“I really hope they find the people that are responsible for this and they’re charged,” Murray added.

Troy Woodhouse, a fellow member of the Flying Post First Nation community, noted that anyone who sees the moose in person would likely realize “how much of a sacred animal it is and rare and majestic to see.”

“It saddens me that somebody would take such a beautiful animal,” Woodhouse added. “Nobody knows exactly how many are in the area, so the loss of a single spirit moose is one too many.”

Woodhouse fondly remembers the first time that he saw a young white bull moose alongside his wife near the home of his grandfather’s home, which is also in the region.

“It was a sign that he’s watching over us on the land. It was very special to me,” he said.

Woodhouse has personally volunteered to give CAD $1,000 to anyone who volunteers any information that leads to the hunters’ arrest, or for them if the killing was a mistake and they decide to turn themselves in. Others, including animal rights activists and a drilling company, have contributed CAD $8,000 (USD $6,121) for a pool that will go to anyone who can help find the culprit.

“Maybe hunters tried to get one moose and got the other by accident,” he added. “If a person does come forward and admit what they did, I would put my portion towards any of their legal fees. There’s so much negativity in the world today. It’s nice to just see some people banding together and trying to turn this into something positive.”

The creatures are extremely rare in the region. Wildlife photographer Mark Clement, who says that he has seen at least four over the years, estimates that only 30 of the white moose reside in the area.

This isn’t the first time that the slaying of the creatures has outraged indigenous communities in Canada.

In 2013, three hunters killed a white moose in Nova Scotia and faced charges by the Mi’kmaq people. They were eventually forced to return the animal’s pelt to Mi’kmaq authorities so that a days-long mourning ceremony could be held to honor the rare and majestic creatures.




Humpbacks Might Be the Superheroes of the Sea

Video Source: SciShow

We don’t expect animals to act in a way that doesn’t directly benefit their species. But humpback whales are willing to take on one of their few natural predators to become the heroes of the ocean!



For Vampire Bats Social Distancing While Sick Comes Naturally

Source: Ohio State University | Science Daily

New research shows that when vampire bats feel sick, they socially distance themselves from groupmates in their roost — no public health guidance required.

The researchers gave wild vampire bats a substance that activated their immune system and made them feel sick for several hours, and then returned the bats to their roost. A control group of bats received a placebo.

Data on the behavior of these bats was transmitted to scientists by custom-made “backpack” computers that were glued to the animals’ backs, recording the vampire bats’ social encounters.

Compared to control bats in their hollow-tree home, sick bats interacted with fewer bats, spent less time near others and were overall less interactive with individuals that were well-connected with others in the roost.

Healthy bats were also less likely to associate with a sick bat, the data showed.

“Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we feel fine, doesn’t feel particularly normal. But when we’re sick, it’s common to withdraw a bit and stay in bed longer because we’re exhausted. And that means we’re likely to have fewer social encounters,” said Simon Ripperger, co-lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in evolution, ecology and organismal biology at The Ohio State University.

“That’s the same thing we were observing in this study: In the wild, vampire bats — which are highly social animals — keep their distance when they’re sick or living with sick groupmates. And it can be expected that they reduce the spread of disease as a result.”

The study was published today (Oct. 27, 2020) in the journal Behavioral Ecology.

Ripperger works in the lab of co-lead author Gerald Carter, assistant professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State. The two scientists and their co-author on this paper, University of Texas at Austin graduate student Sebastian Stockmaier, are also affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Carter and Ripperger have partnered on numerous studies of social behavior in vampire bats. Among their previous findings: Vampire bats make friends through a gradual buildup of trust, and vampire bat moms maintained social connections to their offspring even when both felt sick.

For this work, the researchers captured 31 female common vampire bats living inside a hollow tree in Lamanai, Belize. They injected 16 bats with the molecule that induced the immune challenge — but did not cause disease — and 15 with saline, a placebo.

After returning the bats to their roost, the scientists analyzed social behaviors in the colony over three days, including a “treatment period” from three to nine hours after the injections during which the researchers attributed behavior changes to the effects of treated bats feeling sick.

“We focused on three measures of the sick bats’ behaviors: how many other bats they encountered, how much total time they spent with others, and how well-connected they were to the whole social network,” Carter said.

On average, compared to control bats, the sick bats associated with four fewer groupmates over the six-hour treatment period and spent 25 fewer minutes interacting per partner, and the time any two bats spent near each other was shortest if the encounter involved at least one sick bat.

“One reason that the sick vampire bats encountered fewer groupmates is simply because they were lethargic and moved around less,” Carter said. “In captivity, we saw that sick bats also groom others less and make fewer contact calls. These simple changes in behavior can create social distance even without any cooperation or avoidance by healthy bats. We had previously studied this in the lab. Our goal here was to measure the outcomes of these sickness behaviors in a natural setting.

“The effects we showed here are probably common in many other animals. But it is important to remember that changes in behavior also depend on the pathogen. We did not use a real virus or bacteria, because we wanted to isolate the effect of sickness behavior. Some real diseases might make interactions more likely, not less, or they might lead to sick bats being avoided.”

Although the study did not document the spread of an actual disease, combining the social encounter data with known links between exposure time and pathogen transmission allows researchers to predict how sickness behavior can influence the spread of a pathogen in a social network.

Clearly identifying each bat’s behavior in the colony’s social network was possible only because the proximity sensors — miniaturized computers that weigh less than a penny and fall off within a week or two — took measures every few seconds of associations involving sick or healthy bats or a combination of the two. Visualizations of the proximity sensors’ recordings showed growth in the number of connections made in the colony’s social network from the treatment period to 48 hours later.

“The proximity sensors gave us an amazing new window into how the social behavior of these bats changed from hour to hour and even minute to minute during the course of the day and night, even while they are hidden in the darkness of a hollow tree,” said Ripperger, who is also a visiting scientist at the Museum of National History in Berlin, Germany.

This work was supported by the German Research Foundation and a National Geographic Society Research Grant.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Ohio State University. Original written by Emily Caldwell. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Simon P Ripperger, Sebastian Stockmaier, Gerald G Carter. Tracking sickness effects on social encounters via continuous proximity sensing in wild vampire batsBehavioral Ecology, Oct. 27, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/beheco/araa111



Hyper-Realistic Robot Dolphins May Soon End Captivity at Theme Parks and Aquariums For Good

By | TheMindUnleashed.com

A life-sized robotic dolphin could help finally put an end to animal captivity in marine parks and aquariums for good by replacing real-life animals.

U.S.-based animatronics company Edge Innovations has designed a revolutionary mechanical mammal that appears nearly as playful as the real thing, and the company hopes that the robot will soon be used in aquatic theme parks and Hollywood films in place of actual living animals.

So far, the robot can nod, swim in aquariums, and interact closely with humans. Developers claim that the mechanical creature is nearly identical to the cetacean, and could even coexist with robotic versions of predators like great white sharks or even the massive reptiles that Jurassic-era seas teemed with millions of years ago.

However, the huge difference here is that despite the large price tag of $26 million, this robotic dolphin is a truly cruelty-free alternative to the capture and confinement of live animals for the sake of entertainment at amusement parks and aquatic zoos – and it will likely prove cheaper than the real thing, too.

The robot dolphin weighs in at 550 pounds and has medical-grade silicone skin, and offers a viable alternative to the once-profitable industry of capturing, breeding, and training live animals.

“It’s surprising there are 3,000 dolphins currently in captivity to generate several billion dollars just for dolphin experiences,” Edge Industry CEO and founder Walt Conti told Reuters.

“There’s obviously an appetite to love and learn about dolphins and so we want to use that appetite and offer different ways to fall in love with the dolphin.”

In recent decades, animal rights activists and casual animal lovers alike have turned their back on marine parks that are seen as subjecting dolphins and other intelligent, self-aware creatures to inhumane acts just for the sake of human amusement.

Feature films like Free Willy (1993) and the documentary Blackfish (2013) have helped educate viewers about the miserable living conditions faced by orcas and other cetaceans that have been deprived of their natural life and thrust into small enclosures at amusement parks like SeaWorld.

Increased outrage over the plight of cetaceans, or aquatic mammals, have led to countries like Canada and around 20 European countries to effectively placing a ban on whales, dolphins, and porpoises being bred, imported and exported, captured, or held in captivity for entertainment purposes.

Edge Industry hopes that with its extensive experience developing animatronics for major Hollywood features – including Free Willy, Deep Blue Sea, The Abyss, and other films – the robotic replacement can soon win over those who prefer a humane alternative to view creatures who naturally belong in the wild.

The company has worked closely with marine biologists to replicate the physiology of dolphins and nail their natural movements.

“Everyone wants to know if using an animatronic dolphin is different from using a real dolphin. The truth is in many ways they’re the same,” Holzberg said.

“If you want to design a show that uses real dolphins you have to capture real dolphins, train them and get them to do that show,” he continued. “With creating robots you have to do exactly the same thing. The difference is you don’t have to have breeding programs worry about safety with human beings.”

Edge Industry has seen demand for its creations decrease as major film studios opted for computer-generated images rather than practical effects and animatronics. However, the company is now focusing on developing attractions for theme parks, and its robot dolphins will soon roll out at marine parks being built in China.

“The idea of this pilot is really to create a Sesame Street underwater,” Holzberg said. “Those characters taught a generation how to feel about different kinds of aspects of humankind in ways that hadn’t been imagined before. And that’s what we dream of with this project.”

Animal rights activists have greeted this new development that could spell an end to animal captivity at marine theme parks.

“There is an end in sight to cruel ‘swim with dolphins’ programs, for which young dolphins are traumatically abducted from their ocean homes and frantic mothers, sometimes illegally,” said Katherine Sullivan of PETA.




Enormous 50-Year-Old 17-Foot Great White Shark Dubbed ‘Queen of the Ocean’ Found By Scientists

Ocearch/Chris Ross 

By Elias Marat | TheMindUnleashed.com

(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 on 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 a 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 sharks’ 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 discolorations 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 who 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 steadily dwindling over the years.




Tasmanian Devils Reintroduced to Australian Mainland For First Time In 3,000 Years

By John Vibes | Truth TheoryWaking Times

Tasmanian devils have not inhabited mainland Australia for over 3,000 years, but the species has recently been reintroduced to the continent. 26 of the animals have been released into a wildlife sanctuary just north of Sydney over the past month. The wildlife sanctuary is nearly 1000 acres and home to a variety of different endangered species.

Tim Faulkner, president of Aussie Ark, an Australian NGO that has been working to save Tasmanian devils for over ten years, believes that this is the beginning of the repopulation of the species on the continent.

In 100 years, we are going to be looking back at this day as the day that set in motion the ecological restoration of an entire country. Not only is this the reintroduction of one of Australia’s beloved animals, but of an animal that will engineer the entire environment around it, restoring and rebalancing our forest ecology after centuries of devastation from introduced foxes and cats and other invasive predators,” Faulkner said.

Tasmanian devil populations have been struggling due to a contagious form of cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), which has killed about 90% of the specie’s population. Researchers estimated that there are only about 25,000 Tasmanian devils left in the wild.

The team will keep track of the animals using radio collars, camera traps, and regular surveys.

The Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. It is not entirely clear why the animals disappeared from Australia, although it is widely believed that perhaps they were preyed upon by dingoes, and were able to survive in Tasmania because there are no dingoes on the island, but this is still disputed by researchers.

The species was listed as vulnerable under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act in 2005 and the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in 2006.

Image Credit: Susan Flashman

About the Author

John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and focuses on solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast.




Surprising New Study Shows Crows Experience Complex Subjective Experiences and Consciousness

By Jake Anderson | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) – Consciousness is one of the greatest mysteries in the universe and humans are still in the dark on a wide range of related scientific questions, but a new paper is presenting a fascinating plot twist in the story of conscious perception on Earth. Based on the first experimental study of its kind, the authors suggest that crows experience conscious perception and subjective awareness in ways that are neurologically similar to humans and non-human primates.

The results of the new study provide the first experimental neurological data suggesting that crows – and, presumably, other birds and non-primate animals – are capable of vastly more complex cognitive processes than previously believed.

The lead author of the study, Andreas Nieder, says:

“The results of our study opens up a new way of looking at the evolution of awareness and its neurobiological constraints.”

Nieder and his neuroscience research team at the University of Tübingen conducted the study by measuring the brain signals of corvid songbirds as they received visual sensory input and simultaneously documenting their behavior. The results, which stunned the scientists, demonstrated the birds experience a form of conscious perception that was previously considered the domain of humans and other primates.

“Nerve cells that represent visual input without subjective components are expected to respond in the same way to a visual stimulus of constant intensity,” Nieder explains“Our results, however, conclusively show that nerve cells at higher processing levels of the crow’s brain are influenced by subjective experience, or more precisely, produce subjective experiences.”

The reason the results were so surprising is that birds have very different brain structures than humans and non-human primates, who have a cerebral cortex. Until now, many scientists have considered the cerebral cortex the main mechanism for the production of strong subjective experiences. While crows and other corvid birds have demonstrated cleverness and the ability to solve puzzles, they were not thought to subjectively analyze the external world.

Brain scans from the new experiment suggest otherwise and, according to Nieder, this could have ramifications for how we study the origins of consciousness on Earth and its evolution across a wide variety of species.

“The last common ancestors of humans and crows lived 320 million years ago,”

the neurobiologist states“It is possible that the consciousness of perception arose back then and has been passed down ever since…the capability of conscious experience can be realized in differently structured brains and independently of the cerebral cortex.”

The finding could alter how we view the evolution of consciousness. Some scientists believe that there may have been multiple different forms of sentient awareness that developed independently across the world in different species.

In addition to bolstering the study of consciousness in non-human species, the work could help change the way we view animals in general, as we learn that they have their own universe of perception, replete with their own subjective feelings and reactions.

At the very least, the phrase “bird brain” may be on the chopping block.




World’s Rarest Great Ape, Discovered 3 Years Ago, is Fast Being Wiped Out By British Firm’s Goldmine

By Elias Marat | TheMindUnleashed.com

When scientists discovered the Tapanuli Orangutan in 2017, they were ecstatic. After all, these rare primates were the first great ape species to be discovered in almost a century. But now, with only about 800 of the newly-identified animals remaining, it is feared that the rarest great ape species on the planet could soon be made extinct by transnational mining operations.

The Tapanuli orangutan can be found only in a single high-elevation forest in the Batang Toru Ecosystem, which lies in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The area is rich in biodiversity, with other highly endangered species like the Pangolin and Sumatran tiger calling it home.

However, the lush rainforest of Batang Toru is also the site of a major gold-mining project by Jardine Matheson, an Anglo multinational conglomerate whose dealings in Asia date back nearly 200 years, when it trafficked opium to China from colonial India to the Pearl River Delta and directly helped deliver Hong Kong to the British imperialists.

The Hong Kong-based transnational corporation now has extensive holdings across Southeast Asia and the world, including automobile companies, dairy farms, and ownership of the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain.

But ever since 2018, when Jardine Matheson bought the Martabe goldmine on Sumatra Island, the company has been expanding its operations deeper and deeper into the Tapanuli orangutans’ environment. This has entailed the destruction of the irreplaceable Tapanuli orangutan forest habitat with projects to expand mining infrastructure including the huge massive Batang Toru hydroelectric dam project, which is meant to power the smelters of the Martabe mine.

Scientists are now warning that the damage is so great that if only eight of the Tapanuli orangutans are killed each year, the genetic diversity of the isolated great ape species would decline to the point of no return over the next decade.

Conservationist group Mighty Earth has been organizing and advocating for an end to the destruction of the Tapanuli orangutan habitat by the Martabe gold-mining project and is demanding that Jardine Matheson halt the deliberate damage being done to the forest ecosystem.

“I think this is an issue of corporate responsibility,” campaign director Amanta Hurotwitz told The Telegraph. “You have a mine in the habitat of the most endangered species of great ape… If you are going to profit off this species you have a responsibility to take action to protect the species.”

However, spokespeople for the transnational conglomerate strongly reject the claims, explaining that they strictly abide by the guidelines of local authorities, including any environmental regulations that are in place.

“The mine has not encroached on areas categorized as protected forest and has been clear on its commitment to protecting biodiversity,” a spokesperson said.

However, conservationists fear that the Tapanuli orangutan, whose unique genetic make-up and behavior delighted scientists and primatologists, could be forever lost due to the devastating carelessness and corruption that comes with corporate greed – especially in the case of such large-scale mining operations.

Hurotwitz urged the company to rethink its practices, noting that it is crucial that Jardine Matheson resolves to “work with scientists to mitigate the damage that has been done.”




‘Extinct’ Large Blue Butterfly is Reintroduced in the Wild After 150-Year Absence

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) – A large blue butterfly that was previously extinct has been successfully reintroduced to the UK, with the pollinator repopulating large parts of the country after an absence of 150 years.

Some 750 of the large blue butterflies, which are marked by distinct rows of black spots on its forewing, have been spotted this summer around Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire, southwest England – a higher number than anywhere else in the world.

In 1979, the butterfly was declared extinct and hasn’t been seen in the Rodborough region for 150 years. The Large Blue is one of the rarest of Britain’s Blue butterfly species, reports BBC.

Last year, conservationists released some 1,100 larvae to the region after meticulously preparing the landscape for the butterflies’ return.

The globally endangered large blue butterfly has a unique life cycle that begins with tiny caterpillars tricking the area’s red ant population (myrmica sabuleti) into hauling them to their nest, while even “singing” to it, after which the parasitic larvae feast on ant grubs before emerging a year later as butterflies.

“In the summer when the ants are out foraging, nature performs a very neat trick — the ants are deceived into thinking that the parasitic larva of the large blue is one of their own and carry it to their nest,” said research ecologist David Simcox in a statement.

“It’s at this point that the caterpillar turns from herbivore to carnivore, feeding on ant grubs throughout the autumn and spring until it is ready to pupate and emerge the following summer.”

Controlling the red ant population was a crucial component of the project to reintroduce the blue butterflies.

For five years, a range of experts from the National Trust, Butterfly Conservation, the Limestone’s Living Legacies Back from the Brink project, Natural England, Royal Entomological Society, and the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Committees of Commoners collaborated to prepare the area for the butterflies.

Cattle grazing was kept in check and the area’s scrub cover was reined in to help the area’s ant population, while wild thyme and marjoram plant growth was encouraged to ensure that the butterflies have their natural source of food and egg-laying habitats.

“Butterflies are such sensitive creatures, and with the large blue’s particular requirements they are real barometers for what is happening with our environment and the changing climate,” said commons area ranger Richard Evans. “Creating the right conditions for this globally endangered butterfly to not only survive but to hopefully thrive has been the culmination of many years’ work.”

The butterfly was reintroduced to the UK after caterpillars were brought to the country from Sweden in an ecologist’s camper van, writes The Guardian.

Experts now say that the large blue butterfly has “stronghold” sites around the country and have also naturally colonized areas across southern England, reports CNN.

The return of the rare large blue to the region marks one of the most successful insect reintroduction projects to date and marks the culmination of a nearly four-decade conservationist effort in Europe.

“One of the greatest legacies of the re-introduction is the power of working together to reverse the decline of threatened species and the benefit the habitat improvements will have for other plants, insects, birds, and bats on the commons,” Evans said.