Les anglonautes

About | Search | Grammar | Vocapedia | Learning | Docs | Stats | History | News podcasts - Videos | Arts | Science | Translate

 Previous Home Up Next


Vocapedia > Earth > Wildlife > Water > Fish, Fishing, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Coral reefs





Evolution’s Undulations | ScienceTake | The New York Times        13 May 2015


The answer to how one long fin

has made for agile swimmers of different species.


Produced by: David Frank and James Gorman

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1ctRUdp

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video


















marine life        UK








marine biologist        USA







reptiles > sea turtle        USA







reptiles > giant sea turtle





reptiles > alligators        USA






reptiles > lizards        USA



http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126797405 - May 13, 2010





amphibians        UK





amphibians        USA






Living Seas: Britain's marine life        UK        2010






The Sea: the first wonder of the world – in pictures        UK        September 2011


Images from The Sea,

a stunning photography collection

published this month by A & C Black






marine reserve        UK






UK > Marine Act        UK        2009









USA > Fish and Wildlife Service        USA































oceans        UK











Pacific Ocean        USA






ocean life        USA






ocean floor        USA






oceanographer        USA






ocean acidification / acidifying waters        USA





















seabed        USA






deep sea marine creatures        UK






in the deep        USA











seahorse        UK








sea lion        USA






sea turtle







marine mammal > manatees        USA









marine life species        UK









USA > Marine Mammal Protection Act - passed in 1972.














































fish        USA






invasive fish        USA






fish        USA













moon jellies        USA






oarfish        USA
















angler        UK






Stanley Edward Bogdan        USA        1918-2011


maker of fly fishing reels so coveted

that anglers were willing to spend years

on a waiting list to buy them

and then to pay far more

than they would have

for reels of only ordinary excellence






freshwater fish        UK






monster fish > Dunkleosteus        UK






fish stocks        UK






dwindling fish stocks        USA






fishing        USA






commercial fishing        USA






cod        USA






ray        USA











cutthroat trout        USA






bull trout        USA






tuna        USA









Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population        USA































salmon        UK






salmon        USA












Atlantic Salmon        USA






wild salmon        USA






salmon-killing virus        USA
















shellfish        USA






shellfish > clams        USA






jellyfish        UK









goldfish        UK






predatory fish        UK






grass carp        USA






invasive carp > silver carp / Asian carp        USA







eel        UK








cod        USA






mackerel        UK






stickleback        UK





















calf        UK






whale calf        USA
















narwhal        UK






walrus        UK








otter        UK









penguin        UK






tardigrade        USA

















habitat        UK






algae        UK














































coral        USA






coral reefs        UK








coral reefs / corals        USA










Great Barrier Reef > coral        UK

















How Octopuses Communicate        ScienceTake        NYT        24 July 2018





How Octopuses Communicate | ScienceTake        NYT        24 July 2018


Did you know octopuses can communicate

by changing their color and posture?


That's just one of many findings from a group of researchers

who studied the creatures in Tasmania, Australia.


Watch this 2015 episode of ScienceTake

for more insight into the world of octopuses.


















How the Octopus Moves        ScienceTake        The New York Times        21 April 2015





How the Octopus Moves | ScienceTake | The New York Times        21 April 2015


How does an octopus control

eight highly flexible and independent arms so well?


Produced by: David Frank and James Gorman

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1JZCzws

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video


















predator > Humboldt squid        UK






squid        USA











giant squid        USA






octopus        USA

watch?v=edWyvaygWNA - NYT - 24 July 2018


























320,000 will die

in Canada's biggest seal cull for more than 50 years:

Skin trade fuels government's quota increase


The Guardian        p. 3        31 March 2005





















gray seal        USA








seal cull        UK






















Loch Ness monster        UK














































shark        USA















shark        UK






basking shark        UK






oceanic sharks        UK






scalloped hammerhead shark        UK






great white shark        UK
















amphibian        USA






frog        USA








salamander        USA











Ocean Life

Faces Mass Extinction,

Broad Study Says


JAN. 15, 2015

The New York Times


A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.

But there is still time to avert catastrophe, Dr. McCauley and his colleagues also found. Compared with the continents, the oceans are mostly intact, still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health.

“We’re lucky in many ways,” said Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and another author of the new report. “The impacts are accelerating, but they’re not so bad we can’t reverse them.”

Scientific assessments of the oceans’ health are dogged by uncertainty: It’s much harder for researchers to judge the well-being of a species living underwater, over thousands of miles, than to track the health of a species on land. And changes that scientists observe in particular ocean ecosystems may not reflect trends across the planet.

Dr. Pinsky, Dr. McCauley and their colleagues sought a clearer picture of the oceans’ health by pulling together data from an enormous range of sources, from discoveries in the fossil record to statistics on modern container shipping, fish catches and seabed mining. While many of the findings already existed, they had never been juxtaposed in such a way.

A number of experts said the result was a remarkable synthesis, along with a nuanced and encouraging prognosis.

“I see this as a call for action to close the gap between conservation on land and in the sea,” said Loren McClenachan of Colby College, who was not involved in the study.

There are clear signs already that humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree, the scientists found. Some ocean species are certainly overharvested, but even greater damage results from large-scale habitat loss, which is likely to accelerate as technology advances the human footprint, the scientists reported.

Coral reefs, for example, have declined by 40 percent worldwide, partly as a result of climate-change-driven warming.

Some fish are migrating to cooler waters already. Black sea bass, once most common off the coast of Virginia, have moved up to New Jersey. Less fortunate species may not be able to find new ranges. At the same time, carbon emissions are altering the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic.

“If you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,” Dr. Pinsky said. “In effect, that’s what we’re doing to the oceans.”

Fragile ecosystems like mangroves are being replaced by fish farms, which are projected to provide most of the fish we consume within 20 years. Bottom trawlers scraping large nets across the sea floor have already affected 20 million square miles of ocean, turning parts of the continental shelf to rubble. Whales may no longer be widely hunted, the analysis noted, but they are now colliding more often as the number of container ships rises.

Mining operations, too, are poised to transform the ocean. Contracts for seabed mining now cover 460,000 square miles underwater, the researchers found, up from zero in 2000. Seabed mining has the potential to tear up unique ecosystems and introduce pollution into the deep sea.

The oceans are so vast that their ecosystems may seem impervious to change. But Dr. McClenachan warned that the fossil record shows that global disasters have wrecked the seas before. “Marine species are not immune to extinction on a large scale,” she said.

Until now, the seas largely have been spared the carnage visited on terrestrial species, the new analysis also found.

The fossil record indicates that a number of large animal species became extinct as humans arrived on continents and islands. For example, the moa, a giant bird that once lived on New Zealand, was wiped out by arriving Polynesians in the 1300s, probably within a century.

But it was only after 1800, with the Industrial Revolution, that extinctions on land really accelerated.

Humans began to alter the habitat that wildlife depended on, wiping out forests for timber, plowing under prairie for farmland, and laying down roads and railroads across continents.

Species began going extinct at a much faster pace. Over the past five centuries, researchers have recorded 514 animal extinctions on land. But the authors of the new study found that documented extinctions are far rarer in the ocean.

Before 1500, a few species of seabirds are known to have vanished. Since then, scientists have documented only 15 ocean extinctions, including animals such as the Caribbean monk seal and the Steller’s sea cow.

While these figures are likely underestimates, Dr. McCauley said that the difference was nonetheless revealing.

“Fundamentally, we’re a terrestrial predator,” he said. “It’s hard for an ape to drive something in the ocean extinct.”

Many marine species that have become extinct or are endangered depend on land — seabirds that nest on cliffs, for example, or sea turtles that lay eggs on beaches.

Still, there is time for humans to halt the damage, Dr. McCauley said, with effective programs limiting the exploitation of the oceans. The tiger may not be salvageable in the wild — but the tiger shark may well be, he said.

“There are a lot of tools we can use,” he said. “We better pick them up and use them seriously.”

Dr. McCauley and his colleagues argue that limiting the industrialization of the oceans to some regions could allow threatened species to recover in other ones. “I fervently believe that our best partner in saving the ocean is the ocean itself,” said Stephen R. Palumbi of Stanford University, an author of the new study.

The scientists also argued that these reserves had to be designed with climate change in mind, so that species escaping high temperatures or low pH would be able to find refuge.

“It’s creating a hopscotch pattern up and down the coasts to help these species adapt,” Dr. Pinsky said.

Ultimately, Dr. Palumbi warned, slowing extinctions in the oceans will mean cutting back on carbon emissions, not just adapting to them.

“If by the end of the century we’re not off the business-as-usual curve we are now, I honestly feel there’s not much hope for normal ecosystems in the ocean,” he said. “But in the meantime, we do have a chance to do what we can. We have a couple decades more than we thought we had, so let’s please not waste it.”

A version of this article appears in print on January 16, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline:
Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says.

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says,
JAN 15, 2015,






Op-Ed Contributor

Think Like a Fish


June 28, 2009

The New York Times



Provincetown, Mass.

UNLUCKY fishermen are all alike: We don’t know how to see. My friend Jud has outfished me in all but one or two of the hundred times we’ve gone to the ocean and bay beaches and kettle ponds on Cape Cod. By both study and exercise, he knows the culture of striped bass better than I know my own nose. But to call him “lucky” would begrudge him a talent that I have never seen in anyone else and that lives underneath skill or knowledge.

One July night, on a falling tide that sifted through the granite jetty in the west end of Provincetown, we fished the same 10-foot sluice, with the same tackle and the same flies (he ties them for me), and I watched in outrage as he caught 20 stripers to my two.

Another night, on Long Point, the finger of sand that curls into Provincetown harbor at the far end of Cape Cod, the stripers were chasing alewife, peanut bunker and other baitfish through the current that rips the point on a rising tide. I caught the first fish of the night, a 32-inch bass, enormous for me and for the lightweight rods we were using. It took 20 minutes to land. Jud yelped in amusement and then caught eight more just like it, while I stood cursing and changing flies by the light of the town, two miles across the dark harbor.

What he can do and I can’t is face a piece of water and so absorb himself in the place that he seems to share the consciousness of the fish in it. If you have seen a school of 10,000 sand eels swerving as one animal under a wharf, you have seen that individuals can integrate their senses into a collective mind. Without the benefit of language, they share all the most important news: where to find food, light, threat, rocks. Human beings usually experience this common mind only under the stress of love or panic.

My friend pulls his hat brim down to deflect the sun, as everybody does, and makes the double-haul cast — a move in which the non-dominant hand jerks down and up on the line, both on the forward and back casts. Think of a man doing the polka with his arms. It isn’t as hard as it sounds; it just helps him reach the fish, not find them.

For all I know, he may, more often than not, see only a confluence of light and current, and point his desire at that spot, so that he believes he sees the fish before his eyes detect the animal itself. But I can’t deny that wherever he puts the lure, the fish find it.

We’ve evolved a neocortex that presents us with an awareness of past and future at the cost of forgetting where we are right now. Jud seems to switch that faculty off in favor of an older, lower brain. Like a sand eel in the school, he sees with 10,000 pairs of eyes. Many times when he was catching fish and I wasn’t, I’ve asked, “How do you know where the fish are?” And he’s said, “I see them.”

I may have glimpsed for myself what he sees, but only once. On an early summer afternoon we were fishing for brook and rainbow trout in the mid-Cape, at Cliff Pond. In reality, except after heavy rains, it’s two ponds split by a narrow sand bar.

More than 300 of these kettle ponds perforate the Cape. They formed around 10,000 years ago. As the Laurentide ice sheet retreated into Canada, it left behind chunks of ice as thick as 60 feet that the force of the glacier had plowed into the earth. The sediment outflow from the melting Laurentide sheet covered the blocks of ice, so they lay hidden and insulated for 1,000 years or more beneath the soil. As the climate warmed further, the blocks melted, the sediment crusts collapsed, and the deep holes that the blocks had formed began to fill with ground water and rain. In general, streams neither feed nor drain the ponds, and in the absence of wind they lie as still as mirrors.

Oak and pine trees ring Cliff Pond so tightly that if a wading fisherman tries to cast much farther than 10 feet, he snags his fly in the heavy brush during the back cast.

I was having a miserable afternoon, yanking one errant fly after another from the pine boughs. Jud came around the corner, having caught half a dozen brook trout and let them go. He saw my irritation and suggested another spot.

We climbed around an oak grove and onto the sand bar that divides the water. Not much high vegetation grows on the bar, so if you face east you can back cast as far as you like without snagging a tree, and fish the smaller pond with ease. The sun was going down in the drizzle. A screeching racket erupted, from the nearby marsh it seemed, but also from everywhere at once.

“What are those?” I asked.

He said, “peepers,” a frog smaller than your thumbnail that can scream as loud as an air raid siren. They lived all over the marsh, he said; but wherever I looked, I couldn’t find them.

We knew the fish were roaming the inlet we faced; he’d seen them there, but he left me alone and fished from the other side of the marsh.

I cast long and short, played the surface with a caddis fly, switched to a nymph to fish the bottom, strategized to no end, but nothing doing. The sun behind me threw my long shadow on the water and shot through a billion droplets hovering over the pond. I kept on wading deeper, thinking harder, catching nothing.

Anyone who fishes is an animist, and anyone who is frustrated while fishing becomes an egoist. So when a rainbow appeared over the far woods, I believed the cornball god of the place was having a laugh at my expense. But who can look away from a rainbow?

I stopped awhile and took it in, backing out of the weeds into shallower water, shaking my sore arm. The bright arc rose from one flank of the distant forest and fell into another. Above the uppermost red band, a secondary arc emerged — thicker, the colors reversed, with red on the underside, purple on top — and disappeared. The low clouds rumbled.

And all at once, with no invitation, the place penetrated me. My mind coextended with the woods and the pond. All my senses sent their data not to the front office of the brain for analysis and criticism, but to a room far below, to the body’s mind. The squishy silt beneath my feet smelled of leaf rot, the wind of ozone. The hidden throng of peepers rang from all quarters. The cold sun struck me in the back of the neck.

My fly line lay coiled in the black water. I threw it behind me, threw it forward, letting a few yards out, then cast backward again.

I had no awareness of future or past. I had forgotten everything I knew. My pores were soaked with the place.

The fly shot out, settled on the pond, and sank beneath the stippled surface. Nothing emanated from me but one thing, a passion that rose from the bottom of my lungs and out my throat into the whistling air: it was the bottomless desire, in the bottomless present, to catch a fish. I stripped the line once between the fingers of my right hand.

The line jerked and went taut. And I yanked up on the rod. And the line dived. I stripped again and drew up the rod. The pond cracked.

And a trout pitched itself out of the water and screwed through the yellow air.


Salvatore Scibona is the author of “The End.”

Think Like a Fish,






Wayward Whales Closing in

on Golden Gate


May 30, 2007

Filed at 7:58 a.m. ET

The New York Times



BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- A humpback and her calf were seen less than 10 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge and the salty sea after a two-week sojourn through a Northern California river delta.

The wayward whales passed under the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge at the north end of San Francisco Bay on Tuesday afternoon. If the humpbacks can navigate south around a peninsula and a nearby island, few obstacles would remain on their route past Alcatraz to the Pacific Ocean.

''They're heading very much in the right direction,'' said Rod McInnis, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Still, there are fears the whales might continue into the long southern half of the bay instead of turning west and exiting into the Pacific.

''There are lots of places they could get themselves into trouble before they go out of the Golden Gate,'' McInnis said.

The duo was first spotted May 13 and got as far as 90 miles inland to the Port of Sacramento before turning around.

Biologists said the saltier water where the mother humpback whale and her calf have been swimming since leaving Rio Vista has helped reverse some of the health problems caused by long exposure to fresh water.

Lesions that had formed on the humpbacks' skin over the weekend appeared to be sloughing off, California Department of Fish and Game deputy director Bernadette Fees said. Scientists also reported that a coating of algae that was clinging to the mother had fallen away.

Veterinarians were unable Monday to see whether the whales' wounds had started to heal, Fees said. Antibiotics were injected into the whales on Saturday to try to slow the damage from the gashes, likely caused by a boat's keel.

With the whales on the move, officials did not plan to take any action to prod them toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

A convoy of boats was escorting the pair to protect them from heavy ship traffic in the bay. Bay Area ferry commuters could face delays depending on the whales' location, Coast Guard officials said.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard hauled several swimmers out of the water as they tried to approach the whales and fended off about 100 boats carrying would-be whale watchers.

Ariadne Green, 57, of Vallejo, came to the waterfront to catch a glimpse Tuesday after traveling last week to Rio Vista, where the whales circled for a week before heading toward the ocean. She said seeing the humpbacks was a ''profound spiritual experience.''

''They need to go home now because their health is in jeopardy,'' Green said. ''It's good to know they're on their way back.''

Wayward Whales Closing in on Golden Gate,







and Quarreling Over, Frogs


May 20, 2007

The New York Times



ANGELS CAMP, Calif., May 17 — Every May, they come. Thousands of slimy little athletes, primed for the biggest event of their careers, the World Series of competitive frog jumping: the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee.

Then, of course, it’s back to the pond.

But after nearly 80 years of peaceful jumping, a civil war of sorts has broken out among the human overseers of this annual, undeniably bizarre event, which was inspired by Mark Twain’s classic 1865 tall tale, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” about an inveterate gambler and his gifted amphibian. The dispute, which pits the group that has long presided over the jump against the fair’s organizers, has resulted in a pair of dueling competitions this year, each planning to hold their finals on Sunday.

All of which has cast a pall over what should be the county’s biggest weekend of the year.

“It’s sad,” said Emily Stemler, 85, the director of the Angels Camp Museum and Carriage House, who attended the first competition in 1928. “I think they ought to get back together. But I guess you can’t stop what they call progress.”

The squabble has also divided many of the competitors, grown men and women who spend days and nights before the fair crawling around ponds and swamps looking for the perfect jumping frog. Known as frog jockeys, the handlers are clannish, working in teams of 10 or more to gather the frogs from waterlogged places around the state. Hundreds of human competitors, and more than 2,000 frogs, are expected to compete at the fair this weekend, with the top 50 advancing to the finals.

It is semiserious business, with cash prizes and bragging rights on the line. Many teams test-jump the frogs in the days before the three-day fair competition, looking for traits that might lead to the ultimate prize: the world record, held for the last two decades by the famed Rosie the Ribiter, who in 1986 made a staggering triple jump of 21 feet, 5 3/4 inches.

In competition, frogs are allowed to jump three times and land — all while their jockeys yell, stomp the ground, and, yes, occasionally blow on the frogs’ nether regions. Measurements are down to the quarter-inch, which can often separate champions from mere fly-eaters. The animals are then caught with nets, thanked for their services (sometimes with a kiss), and returned to “frog condos,” basically large metal canisters with a few inches of water.

Good jockeys are renowned in Calaveras, where teams have been known to capture 200 frogs to find a single winner.

“There’s an art and a science to it,” said Bill Proctor, a former pilot who is something of a legend in the sport for having fielded, with his brother-in-law, a series of winners in his career, which ran from 1958 to 1978. “Frogs are like any other animal: certain ones are better athletes than others. A lot of that is the environment they are living in. I can’t give away any secrets, but there’s certain kind of environments where they really have to jump to get away.”

Indeed, considering the $5,000 prize for a world record, it is not completely surprising that most competitors fiercely guard exactly where their frogs — American bullfrogs, often eight inches long and always underpaid — are gathered.

“We’ve had the champion the last two years,” said Mike Ziehlke, 45, a member of the local Calaveras Frog Jockeys who works, appropriately enough, at the local water utility. “I ain’t telling.”

Like many ardent jockeys, Mr. Ziehlke said he knew all too well about the schism in the frog world and did not want to take sides, although he is entering the fair’s competition. “We are not a political organization,” he said. “But sometimes when people are treated like kindergarteners, they act like kindergarteners.”

The issue at the heart of the squabble is the very topic of Twain’s story: money. Last year, after rain hurt attendance and damaged the fair’s bottom line, organizers informed the Angels Camp Boosters, the group that has run the jump since its inception, that they might change direction in 2007. The boosters, a group of longtime residents and business owners, had received a $2,300 stipend to organize and judge the competition, a fee fair organizers said they could not afford this year.

Ray Malerbi, chief executive of the fair, which he said could draw up to 50,000 people in a good year, said his board was also concerned that “the frog jump was beginning to lose its hold and that it was either stagnating or at least not moving forward.”

The boosters, however, were not about to bow out without a fight. So this spring, they announced that they would stage their own frog jump in a local park on the same weekend as the fair.

Donovan Hamanaka, the boosters’ vice president, disputed the fair’s assertion that the boosters had lost focus, saying that publicity about the spat had actually energized his group, which he said had gained members in recent years after a period of faltering enrollment. “You’d be surprised what kind of care we’re getting from the community,” said Mr. Hamanaka, 25, a former frog jump finalist who called the fair’s decision a “slap in the face.” He added, “We’ve got teenagers coming in, wanting to join.”

Legend has it that Twain visited this Gold Rush town in 1865, when he overheard and penned the tale of Jim Smiley, a man “always betting on any thing that turned up” and his “modest and straightforward” frog Dan’l Webster. In the story, Smiley loses $40 in a bet after a rival fills Dan’l Webster with buckshot.

Nowadays, such behavior is strictly prohibited by the fair’s frog welfare policy, a four-page document that outlines rules, including treatment of hundreds of “rent-a-frogs,” which are stored in a cellarlike room under the main jumping stage. There, rules stipulate that frogs are kept cool and in the dark, limited to three jumps daily, and that soothing music, either soft rock or cool jazz, is played at all times.

Also forbidden is the jumping of any California red-legged frogs, the breed the fictional Dan’l Webster is believed to be. Those frogs, now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, were devastated in the late 1800s by the appetite for frog legs among miners in the Sierra Nevada and later in cities like San Francisco.

“It became a sort of sushi craze of that time,” said Robert Stack, the founder of the Jumping Frog Research Institute. “And a whole lot of people over-frogged to feed the craze.”

Dr. Stack said the situation was not helped by the importing of bigger, badder bullfrogs from the East Coast, which “will eat anything that moves that fits in its mouth,” including smaller, red-legged frogs. That sort of omnivorousness still frightens wildlife advocates, who view the Calaveras event as an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

“With hundreds of frogs and lots of people, it’s hard to keep a lid on these things,” said Michael Markarian, the executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States. “If one frog escapes into the wild populations, it could have an impact on imperiled species.” Fair officials say they are careful to return their frogs to nonthreatened habitats.

Officials in Angels Camp, about 130 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada foothills, said they hoped the current bad blood did not distract from the fair, which is the biggest tourist draw of the year for a town of about 2,800 people.

Mr. Proctor, the former champion and a member of the boosters organization, said he would not attend the fair this year, out of loyalty to his colleagues. But he said he hoped the two groups could work out their differences before the 80th anniversary next year.

“We’re too small of a community to fight like this,” Mr. Proctor said. “This is supposed to be fun.”

    Celebrating, and Quarreling Over, Frogs, NYT, 20.5.2007,






With Return of Sea Lions,

a Rebirth at Bronx Zoo


April 28, 2007

The New York Times



Having a home renovated is never easy. But at least Adrienne, Cleo and Indie, who normally live in the Bronx, were fortunate enough to have been on an extended vacation in Brooklyn during the noise and dust of their construction project.

In June, these three female sea lions will return from an 18-month sojourn at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island to their restored pool at the Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Park. The pool is one part of the $6.7 million renovation of Astor Court, which dates to the zoo’s early years. As a bonus, a new male suitor is expected to arrive a few weeks later.

Under a steady rain yesterday, landscapers laid sod in the Peacock Garden for the June 1 reopening of the 22,000-square-foot mall at Astor Court, whose formal steps and terra cotta balustrades lead to a panoramic view of the zoo’s original Victorian designs. Astor Court is being renovated in stages, with different dates for completion.

The areas being renovated include an Italian garden of boxwoods and roses; the Rockefeller Fountain, which has provided a welcome spritzing to many of the two million annual visitors; and a suite of Beaux-Arts-style buildings considered to be the heart of the 265-acre zoo.

One of those buildings, the Lion House, which opened in 1903 and was designed by the New York architects Heins and LaFarge, has been closed for more than two decades, and the lions roam an outdoor exhibit.

The Lion House, which is expected to open next year, will be converted into a 40,000-square-foot, $49 million exhibit on Madagascar, an island located off the southeastern coast of Africa and home to 1 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Visitors will be able to see a 13-foot Nile crocodile, ring-tailed lemurs and the fossa mammal.

Construction workers inside the building yesterday were busy scaling ladders while artists painted the trunks of fake baobab trees. In a feature of the exhibit sure to resonate uncomfortably with city dwellers, hundreds of hissing cockroaches will live inside the trunk of one of the fake baobab trees.

“They eat kibble, banana peels, pretty much anything,” said James Breheny, director of the zoo, holding one of the four-inch-long insects, whose serrated shell appeared shellacked in the mahogany hue of a cello.

The renovations, designed by FXFowle Architects, are part of the zoo’s 25-year master plan and meant to uphold its mission to educate visitors about wildlife and nature and to protect declining wildlife, said Steven Sanderson, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo.

Along with improving the zoo’s appearance, the Astor Court renovations are also being done with the environment in mind. The Lion House is expected to be the first landmark building in New York City restored in accordance with the stringent environmentally sensitive guidelines of the United States Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction, Mr. Sanderson said.

One of the environmental solutions is a storage and filtration system that recycles water from the zoo’s laboratories. It would save more than 140,000 gallons of water a year.

“At the end of the 25-year plan, we’ll set the standard in green materials and conservation and be able to link our guest experience to the mandate we have: to conserve wildlife around the globe,” Mr. Sanderson said.

As part of the restoration project, a variety of lighting styles were replaced with energy-saving Victorian reproduction lighting, and slatted benches yielded to wrought iron and wood versions, said Sue Chin, director of planning and design for the zoo.

Like the sea lions, the peacocks that once lived in Astor Court were moved during renovations, in this case, to the Children’s Zoo. The birds will eventually be able to roam the entire zoo, but zookeepers hope that the mirrored Victorian “gazing balls” that are going to dot Astor Court will entice them to stay there.

“We’re going to try to attract them here with those,” Ms. Chin said, “so they can gaze at their beautiful image.”

   With Return of Sea Lions, a Rebirth at Bronx Zoo,
    NYT, 28.4.2007,






Dead Alligator Found

in Indiana Drain


April 19, 2007

Filed at 3:47 a.m. ET

The New York Times



BERNE, Ind. (AP) -- Surveyors looking for the source of a clogged drain in southern Adams County found a 7-foot dead alligator. ''At first they thought it was a turtle in there, but then they discovered an alligator,'' Adams County sheriff's Deputy Larry Butler said.

He said the 120-pound alligator, which had been dead for about a week, was put inside the drain after it died. The sheriff's department and the Department of Natural Resources were looking for the owner of the reptile found Monday in Berne, about 30 miles south of Fort Wayne.

It is legal to own alligators in Indiana, but the state requires owners to apply for a permit with the DNR for alligators that are longer than 5 feet, said Greg McCollam, assistant director with the department's fish and wildlife division. There were no permits registered in Adams County, he said.

In March, animal enforcement officers nabbed a 3-foot-long alligator in a mobile home in Gary. Two months earlier, a dead alligator was found in a rolling garbage container in the Gary's Glen Park area.

Dead Alligator Found in Indiana Drain,






October 25, 1848


The Great Sea-Serpent is seen again


From the Guardian archive


Wednesday October 25, 1848



The following letter has been addressed to the editor:

19th October, 1848. Sir, I have just reached this port on a voyage from Malta and Lisbon, and my attention having been called to a report relative to an animal seen by the master and crew of HMS Daedalus, I take the liberty of communicating the following circumstance.

When clearing out of the port of Lisbon, upon the 30th September last, we saw the American brig Daphne, of Boston; she signalled for us to heave to, and lay-to while the mate boarded us, and handed a packet of letters to be despatched per first steamer for Boston on our arrival in England.

The mate told me that when in lat.4 11 S. lon.10 15 E. wind dead north, upon the 20th September, a most extraordinary animal had been seen. It had the appearance of a huge serpent, or snake, with a dragon's head. Immediately upon its being seen, one of the deck guns was brought to bear, which having been charged with nails, and whatever other pieces of iron could be got at the moment, was discharged at the animal, then only distant about 40 yards from the ship; it immediately reared its head in the air, and plunged violently with its body, showing that the charge had taken effect.

The Daphne was to leeward at the time, but was put about on the starboard tack, and stood toward the brute, which was seen foaming and lashing the water at a fearful rate; upon the brig nearing, however, it disappeared, and, though evidently wounded, made rapidly off at the rate of 15 or I6 knots an hour, as was judged from its appearing several times upon the surface.

The Daphne pursued for some time, but the night coming on, the master was obliged to put about and continue his voyage. From the description given by the mate, the brute must have been nearly 100 feet long, and his account of it agrees with that lately forwarded to the Admiralty by the master of the Daedalus.

I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant, James Henderson, master.

· There must be some error in the preceding letter, either in the latitude or longitude indicated, or in the date - perhaps in both. The point 4 11 S. latitude and 10 15 E. longitude is close to, if not actually upon, the coast of Africa; and it is an impossibility for any sailing vessel to reach the mouth of the Tagus in 10 days (the 20th to the 30th Sept.), from that part of the coast of Guinea.

Her majesty's ship Daedalus was two months on her voyage home from where she saw the serpent, which is only about 14 degrees farther south. Ed

From the Guardian archive,
October 25, 1848,
The Great Sea-Serpent is seen again,
Republished 25.10.2006,






November 4, 1840


Monster of the Thames


From the Guardian archive


Yesterday (Friday) afternoon, one of the largest River Thames eels ever seen was caught in the City Canal, Limehouse, under the following circumstances: The locks of the canal which open into the river had to be opened for the purpose of letting out a large vessel, when a great body of the water rushed out. A short distance above the place where the vessel had been lying, a kind of gut or creek existed, and which was left dry by the receding of the water.

Three boys, who were on the spot, seeing a large portion of the mud agitated, went down to discover the cause, when, to their astonishment, they saw what at first they took to be a snake, but which proved to be an enormous eel, of the thickness of a man's thigh, and about 15 ft long.

The boys instantly attempted to secure the extraordinary prize; but, for some time, they were unsuccessful, as the monarch of the eel tribe felt no inclination to be retrieved to terra firma, as, upon being grappled with, he beat the mud about with his tail, and in a short time covered his assailants with the deposit of the river. The boys, however, were not to be beaten; and, after a long and arduous struggle, they succeeded in drawing their captive ashore, when some men, who had stood by, attempted to take the monster away from his legal captors.

This they resisted, and some gentlemen who were drawn to the spot interfered, and the boys retained possession of their prize, which they subsequently sold for 32s. to an individual who, it was said, intended to exhibit it. As a proof of the immense size of the monster, it was weighed, and found to exceed 63lb.

From the Guardian archive >
Monster of the Thames, November 4, 1840,
The Guardian > The Guardian Review, 6.8.2005.










Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia





Earth, population growth, environment,

disasters, pollution, waste






agriculture / farming, gardening



climate change, global warming