VIETNAM (EcoDaily) — A distinctly two-tone mouse deer that was feared lost to science has been captured on film foraging for food by camera traps set up in a Vietnamese forest.
The pictures of the rabbit-sized animal, also known as the silver-backed chevrotain, are the first to be taken in the wild and come nearly 30 years after the last confirmed sighting.
“We had no idea what to expect, so I was surprised and overjoyed when we checked the camera traps and saw photographs of a chevrotain with silver flanks,” said An Nguyen, a scientist and expedition team leader at Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC).
“Discovering that it is, indeed, still out there is the first step in ensuring we don’t lose it again, and we’re moving quickly now to figure out how best to protect it,” he said.
The silver-backed chevrotain is a half-painted beast. Behind the russet head, neck and front legs lies a silver-grey body and hind legs rounded off by a white, grizzled bottom. Though probably preyed on by leopards, wild dogs and pythons, scientists fear that snares laid by hunters have pushed the species to the brink of extinction. Despite the name, they are neither mice nor deer, but the world’s smallest ungulate, or hoofed animal.|
Nguyen and his team began their search by interviewing villagers and government forest rangers in provinces of Vietnam where the animals had previously been spotted. Some recalled seeing grey chevrotains, suggesting the species might not have died out in the wild.
Based on the information, the scientists installed three camera traps in a lowland forest in southern Vietnam. Over five months, they captured 275 photos of the animal. These were classified as 72 separate events, since multiple photos taken within the space of an hour are considered one event. Buoyed by the sightings, the researchers set up a further 29 cameras in the same area and took 1,881 more photographs, comprising 208 independent events. It is unclear how many individual animals the photographs represent.
The findings, reported in Nature Ecology and Evolution, have increased calls for swift action to protect what remains of the population. A chief priority is to reduce the widespread use of snares to capture animals for the wildlife trade. “Stopping snaring will not only protect the silver-backed chevrotain, but also numerous other species, including several mammals and birds that are only found in the Greater Annamites ecoregion and are threatened with extinction,” said Andrew Tilker, a member of the GWC team.
The rediscovery of the silver-backed chevrotain has raised hopes that other species thought lost to science could yet be found in the wild.
“A key aspect to future surveys for lost species will be to work with local communities, as we did for the silver-backed chevrotain project, to help guide on-the-ground survey efforts,” said Tilker. “Incorporating this local ecological knowledge was critical for our work, and this strategy could prove successful for other species in other parts of the world.”
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Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions
(TMZ) — It’s becoming more clear by the day that wet markets are NOT just a China problem — it’s an American problem too … just take a look at these latest clips from Texas and California.
TMZ has gotten a hold of even more graphic videos of two different live animal shops in TX and CA — where people pick out the animal, have it slaughtered on the spot and then sold to them right then and there — and you see the mixed-in livestock runs the gamut.
There are pigs in pens, goats and sheep hoarded together … and, of course, as we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere — chicken and rabbits cooped up in cages — all in the same area within earshot of each other, and all getting butchered.
Ya got pigs hanging from hooks out in the open, chicken beaks, feathers and guts all over the floor and in an exposed trash can — this while customers (including kids) come in and browse the freezer for whatever cuts of meat they want. It’s downright dirty and gross.
As we’ve been told by the experts, these one-stop-shop slaughterhouses/storefronts can be breeding grounds for disease — including new viruses, like COVID-19, which supposedly got started at a wet market in China.
We already know of lawmakers in Cali and New York working to get these things shut down, but it’s pretty apparent there needs to be federal legislation rolled out to address this. Can’t call the kettle black when we’re swimming in the freakin’ pot.
Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate
FORT WORTH (TMZ) — The prison Joe Exotic is currently being held at is the second leading hotbed for coronavirus in the entire federal prison system — but not to worry … Uncle Sam’s got a plan.
The ‘Tiger King’ star has been locked up at FMC Forth Worth in Texas, and as of Tuesday … there was a total of 298 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, making it number 2 behind a federal CA facility at 570 inmate cases.
If that sounds troubling, it should … we’ve seen jails and prisons across the U.S. getting besieged with the virus — and some of the inmates are suffering. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has assured us they’re going above and beyond for their prisoners, staff and visitors alike at Joe’s facility to keep them safe and healthy.
As for Joe … his people have repeatedly told us … he’s virus-free.
The agency tells TMZ there’s a comprehensive action plan in place at all of their institutions — which includes reducing inmate transfers, increasing screening and testing, minimizing unnecessary movement on the inside and temporarily canceling social and legal visits, not to mention training for BOP employees. They will also do regular temperature checks.
The trick is … as little congregating as possible. BOP says it’s trying to keep guards at one post for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary interaction.
BOP also tells us they’ve made sure everyone — prisoners and staffers — have received surgical masks. BOP says it has things under control — so far fewer than 5 deaths at the Fort Worth facility … but with nearly 300 cases, it’s gotta be viewed as a full-fledged outbreak.
So … guess that means Joe’s in good hands??? Here’s hoping so.
Dolphins Still Putting on Show in Japan without Spectators
JAPAN (TMZ) — Move over LeBron James … while pro sports leagues are trying to figure out when they can return to action, some dolphins are way ahead of ’em.
These photos are from Hakkeijima Sea Paradise’s special dolphin show Thursday in Yokohama, where they had zero spectators due to the coronavirus quarantine guidelines there.
Animal trainers still did their thing, though, with dolphins and a beluga whale putting on quite a show — despite lacking a crowd of oohing and ahhing humans. Let’s keep it real … the animals are in it for the food.
The show wasn’t just a dress rehearsal … the aquarium videotaped the performance and aired it on the web for folks to watch safely from home.
Makes ya wonder … do the animals feel differently performing without a crowd? Or, is it just a little closer to being in the wild without a loud pack of humanity watching ’em? We sure hope so.
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This Just In…
- Petition Circulating to Ask Judge to Keep Ed Buck in Jail
- RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic
- Koretz Won’t Back ‘Uplift Melrose’ Plan
- Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of Pedestrian on Sunset
- Beverly Grove Man Charged for COVID Relief Loan Fraud
- County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family
- Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day