Category Archives: animals

Argentine Ants Take Over The World

A single mega-colony of ants has been able to filter into much of the world according to scientists. The inter-related colony that have spread across Europe, the United States and Japan refuse to fight each other.
The Argentine ant was first identified in 1866 at Buenos Aires, Argentina by German entomologist Dr. Gustav L. Mayr .

The colony of ants could rival humans when it comes to world domination. They are unwittingly getting help by people in their world growth. The Linepithema humile are native to South America but people have introduced ants to every continent in the world except for Antarctica.

Known for forming large colonies and attacking native animals and crops an Argentine ant colony can span over 3,700 miles. That is the size of the colony that has formed along the Mediterranean coast. There is a 560 mile long colony in California and another large colony that is along the west coast of Japan.

The ants can cause havoc with the ecosystem by killing off native small animals and plants. They are a menace to farmers as they will protect aphids and scale insects from predators and parasitoids. For this protection the ants are rewarded with an excretion known as honeydew.

The fact that these colonies will not fight each other is very rare in the ant world. Researchers testing the ants chemical profile have found that the world-wide colony is from a single colony in South America.

Because the ants are not aggressive with each other they have been able to expand into such large super colonies.

A new colony can be formed with as few as 10 worker ants and a single queen ant.

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Same-sex penguin couple given egg to raise at German zoo

When the biological parents of a penguin egg at Germany’s Bremerhaven zoo wouldn’t tend to their egg zookeepers decided to give gay couple Z and Vielpunkt a shot at parenting.
The two male penguins have shown that they have that parenting instinct as they tended to the egg and have been good dads to the baby chick.

Bremerhaven zoo has three same-sex couples among their 20 penguins. They have observed the penguins attempt to mate with their partners. Zoos in Japan and New York have also observed that some of their penguins have homosexual tendencies.

This doesn’t surprise scientists that study the animal kingdom. There are plenty of documented cases of homosexuality.

Most giraffes are homosexual according to research observation. When bottlenose male dolphins are born they are often homosexual and grow to exhibit bisexual behaviours.

These findings are observed both in captivity and in the wild. It also doesn’t seem to matter if there are plenty of the opposite sex around. Actually animals don’t have many hang-ups when it comes to sex. They are fairly animistic when it comes to doing the wild monkey dance of love.

See Magazine reports:

“The whole question of sexual pleasure and where that comes into it is very difficult for zoologists to deal with,” he adds. “There is a continuum of sexual expression in the animal world that includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and everything in between. Why can’t we see this behaviour as a natural variation in sexual expression?”


Animals Share Morals With Humans

It’s often been suggested what sets humans apart from other animals is the ability to have morals. That theory is being disputed by some scientists that have observed humans are not alone in morals.
From rats to wolves animal scientists are observing that morals may be something we all in the animal kingdom are born with.

Humans are indeed animals. As scientists research futher into the morality clause of humans they are finding that we are not alone. Most animals have the ability to tell right from wrong and have emotions.

Professor Marc Bekoff who works at the University of Colorado, Boulder believes that morals is ‘hard-wired’ into the brain of all mammals. Could it be that morals is how all animals are able to live together in groups.

Wolves are not known for their fairness when it comes to other species but as a group they work well together. Wolves will even ‘handicap’ themselves amongst their pack to give equal footing to others.

Chimpanzees are kinder to the members in their groups who are handicapped.

The Daily Mail quotes Bekoff:

‘The belief that humans have morality and animals don’t is a long-standing assumption, but there is a growing amount of evidence that is showing us that this simply cannot be the case,’ Prof Bekoff told the Sunday Telegraph.

‘Just as in humans, the moral nuances of a particular culture or group will be different from another, but they are certainly there.

‘Moral codes are species specific, so they can be difficult to compare with each other or with humans.’

Consider dogs. Humans have put a lot of faith in an animal that often are not considered capable of morals. Would you trust a non-moral human with helping your blind mother across the road?

Would you allow testing on your family pet similar to those being done on mice in the lab?

Ask yourself why. We know the truth. We see the truth in their trusting eyes. If an animal can trust how can we even think that they don’t have other emotions.

Primatologist Frans De Waal agrees with Bekoff:

De Waal argues that morality evolved to address a need: “in the course of human evolution, out group hostility enhanced in group solidarity to the point that morality emerged. This presents a “profound irony”: our noblest achievement-morality-as evolutionary ties to our basest behavior-warfare.


Reactions To Egyptian Pig Cull

The decision by the Egyptian government to cull the nation’s pig population has brought out the critics. The government ordered the slaughter of the pigs on Wednesday saying that it would stop panic about the swine flu in the largely Muslim country.

The United Nations has repeatedly told the world’s population eating properly prepared pork is not a way of getting the swine flu.

Joseph Domenech, the chief veterinary officer for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has called the cull “a real mistake.”

The Egyptian government is now saying that the swine cull was not because of the swine flu.

Medical News Today reports:

“The authorities took advantage of the situation to resolve the question of disorderly pig rearing in Egypt,” health ministry spokesman Abdelrahman Shahine told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The World Health Organization’s move to put the pandemic alert to phase 5 confirms that the situation is not a pig problem but a human problem, he added. The government is calling the decision a “general health measure” rather than a measure to fight swine flu.

Most of Egypt’s swine population has been raised by Christian farmers who are saying that the government pledges of compensation of $105 per animal were inadequate. Ten per cent of Egyptians are Coptic Christians. The majority of those live in Cairo slums where their pigs feed on garbage. The majority of Egyptians are Muslims who do not eat pork for religious reasons.

Medical News Today
reports:

Saber Abdel Aziz Galal told AFP that the government wants to restructure pig farming so that it takes place on “good farms, not on rubbish”. At the moment the pigs live with “dogs, cats, rats, poultry and humans, all in the same area with rubbish,” he said, explaining that the government wants to build new farms in special areas, like they have in Europe.

“Within two years the pigs will return, but we need first to build new farms,” he said.

The government is attempting to speed up the culling process by importing three machines to accelerate the slaughters Almasry Alyoum daily said on Sunday.

Xinhua
reports:

“We will import three new slaughtering machines to increase the capacity to 3,000 pigs a day,” said Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Amin Abbaza in a statement.

The actual culling started on Saturday. The country plans to have slaughtered all the swine within six months. Egypt is facing a large problem on what to do with the culled meat. There are not enough factories to contain the pork.

Al Jazeera reports:

“Our pigs are healthy. They are our capital and they have no diseases,” Adel Ishak, a rubbish collector from Manshiet Nasser, northeast of Cairo, told the AFP news agency.

“How will they replace the capital if these pigs are killed?”

Police are guarding areas that have large pig farms to stop farmers from smuggling their pigs out.

On Sunday pig farmers and police clashed in Manshiyet Nasser, a shanty district east of Cairo, because of the pig cull.

Philstar.com
reports:

“About 5,000 pig farmers clashed with the police forces in Manshiyet Nasser shantytown on Sunday as the government wants to cull all the pigs in Egypt,” Atta, a pig rearer on the scene, said.

“There are about 30 police cars, and about 1,000 policemen who started to fire tear gas towards us,” Samir Kamel, another pig rearer on the scene said.

“The still going-on clashes came because the government refused to compensate the rearers,” Samir added.

“About 12 protests got minor injuries,” he added.