Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day at the Zoo

"Gorilla killed at zoo after boy falls into moat" by John Minchillo Associated Press  May 30, 2016

CINCINNATI — Panicked zoo visitors watched helplessly and shouted, ‘‘Stay calm,’’ while a woman yelled, ‘‘Mommy loves you,’’ as a 400-plus-pound gorilla loomed over a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into a shallow moat at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The boy sat still in the water, looking up at the gorilla as the animal touched the child’s hand and back. At one point, it looked as though the gorilla helped the youngster stand up.

Two witnesses said they thought the gorilla was trying to protect the boy at first before getting spooked by the screams of onlookers. The animal then picked the child up out of the moat and dragged him to another spot inside the exhibit, zoo officials said.

Fearing for the boy’s life, the zoo’s dangerous-animal response team shot and killed the 17-year-old male ape, named Harambe.

The child, whose name was not released, was allowed to leave Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on Saturday night, hours after the fall. His family said in a statement Sunday that the boy was home and doing fine.

Zoo director Thane Maynard said the gorilla didn’t appear to be attacking the child but was ‘‘an extremely strong’’ animal in an agitated situation. He said tranquilizing the gorilla wouldn’t have knocked it out immediately, leaving the boy in danger.

‘‘They made a tough choice and they made the right choice because they saved that little boy’s life,’’ Maynard said.

Zoo officials said the 4-year-old climbed through a barrier at the Gorilla World exhibit and dropped 15 feet into the moat Saturday afternoon. He was in there for about 10 minutes. Two female gorillas also were in the enclosure.

The two females complied with calls from zoo staff to leave the exhibit, but Harambe stayed, Maynard said.

Witness Kim O’Connor said she heard the boy say he wanted to get in the water with the gorillas. She said the boy’s mother was with several other young children.

‘‘The mother’s like, ‘No, you’re not. No, you’re not,’ ’’ O’Connor told WLWT-TV.

O’Connor shared video she and her family recorded of the boy and Harambe. The two appear in a corner of the exhibit while visitors yell, ‘‘Somebody call the zoo!’’ and ‘‘Mommy’s right here!’’ The station did not air portions of the video showing the gorilla dragging the boy.

Maynard called the killing a tragic death of a critically endangered species and a huge loss for the zoo and the gorilla population worldwide. The gorilla came to Cincinnati in 2015 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

Visitors left flowers at a gorilla statue Sunday. Gorilla World remained closed, but the rest of the zoo was open.

One father said he was shocked that the boy was able to get past the fence and bushes that surround the exhibit. He expects the zoo will take a close at it.

‘‘They probably thought the moat and the fence was good enough,’’ said Alex Salcedo. ‘‘Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like it was if a 4-year-old can get through.’’

Harambe was a western lowland gorilla, a species that is considered to be critically endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They can reach 4 to 5½ feet in height and weigh more than 400 pounds, the WWF notes on its website.

‘‘Harambe was a good guy. He was a youngster, just starting to grow up,’’ Maynard said. ‘‘And there was hopes to breed him. He was not quite of breeding maturity yet. But it’ll be a loss to the gene pool of lowland gorillas.’’

Brittany Nicely told The Cincinnati Enquirer the gorilla rushed toward the boy and led him by the arm through the water in the enclosure. She said initially the gorilla seemed protective and only alarmed by all the screaming....



“There are all kinds of problems with what happened in Cincinnati,” said Steven Wise, a graduate of BU Law School who is president of the Nonhuman Rights Project Inc., which is working to change the common law status of some animals — from “things” lacking legal rights to “persons” with rights, told us Monday. “One is these parents are out of their minds irresponsible and, two, apparently the zoo has some kind of SWAT team that has no idea how to handle gorillas. “But the biggest problem,” he said, “is that these extraordinarily amazing beings are living in a stupid enclosure in a zoo and being treated as slaves.”

Who knew zoos had SWAT teams, and how many others are hidden under the most innocuous-sounding institutions?

Cincinnati Police Wrap Up Gorilla Investigation

I see that people have taken to social media to voice their outrage.

Welcome to the Bad Mommy Zoo

They went too far there, and enough already.

Police to examine circumstances leading to gorilla’s death

Right below that in my printed paper was this, and the word Condit-ized, as some people would say, came to mind. Feels very much like the news coverage we were getting in the summer of 2001, just before, you know. 

So will it be a dirty bomb or mushroom cloud this time out?

Also see:

A close encounter with a great white
‘Scratchy’ the great white shark is back in Cape Cod waters
‘Shark Center’ in Chatham opens ahead of shark season

Maybe that is the kind of stuff you can eat up (I've stopped biting off more than I can chew and am now soaring above it), but when I saw the moose was loose as my lead Metro piece I began to wonder what terrorists are lurking and whether the government will be able to sniff them out in time or get tangled up again.

A Carefree Evening in Florida Ends in Heartbreak
After fatal attack, theme parks weigh alligator warnings
Nebraska family ‘devastated’ by fatal gator attack at Disney
The alligator next door

I'll stop monkeying around.

"In a story that seems to channel the spirits of both Michael Crichton and Charlton Heston, a scheme by Chinese villagers to support the local economy with dozens of tame monkeys has gone horribly awry. Like humans, macaques are intelligent primates: Also like humans, the monkeys can adapt to — and become nuisances in — diverse environments. At Xianfeng the monkeys steal food, get into cacophonous fights, and break into homes, CCTV News reports."

The Hong Kong government has begun sterilizing the monkeys in the hopes of lowering the population.

Related‘Dizzy’ the escaped monkey turns doorknob, and voila! Freedom

Also see:

Bear that walks like a human re-emerges in New Jersey

Colorado woman pries open mountain lion’s jaws to rescue son

Better keep your footing in Yellowstone, you jackass.

As for the elephant in the room....


After a Dizzying search, a missing monkey returns home
No Puppy Left Behind

It's going to be a whale of a summer.

Dog rouses family during house fire in Needham

Blue Hills deer hunt will be back

You know what is the answer always coming from authority, right?

"For this massive caterpillar invasion, it’s crunch time" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  June 30, 2016

BREWSTER — They are hungry, hairy, and covered in warts. They hang from the trees like joke-shop moustaches, drop onto picnic tables and infiltrate tents and open shirt collars. Walk into the woods these days and the sound of raindrops hitting a tarp turns out to be their little black droppings showering the forest floor.

A biblical outbreak of voracious, finger-long gypsy moth caterpillars, the biggest in more than three decades, is devouring trees across Massachusetts this month, stripping bare more than 100,000 acres from the Quabbin Reservoir to Cape Cod and testing the mettle of even the most intrepid camper.

“It’s just a gypsy moth bloodbath out here,” said Jeff Kilburn, as he patrolled his family’s campsite in Nickerson State Park, where hundreds of the bristly menaces were merrily chewing through the oak, cherry, and pines overhead — leaving swaths of trees leafless.

He was wearing a safari hat for protection from the droppings and had stretched a blue plastic sheet over his picnic table to shield his coffee and cereal.

“It’s like all-out war,” Kilburn said, as he warily eyed the wooly barbarians crawling around him. “They have invaded and they are taking no prisoners.” 

It truly is a war pre$$ in every way.

Massachusetts is in the midst of the worst plague of gypsy moth caterpillars since 1981, said Joseph Elkinton, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. That year, widely regarded as the annus horribilis for the red-and-brown larvae, the insatiable beasts used their powerful jaws to cut a swath of destruction across more than 200,000 acres of Massachusetts hardwood and millions more nationwide.

The state sprayed pesticides that year to control the larvae. Eight years later, in 1989, nature came to the rescue when a naturally occurring fungal pathogen that kills gypsy moth caterpillars began appearing in New England, significantly reducing the population, Elkinton said.

Entomologists believed the caterpillar outbreaks — which had hit the state every decade or so since the 1860s, when the moths were first brought to the United States from France — were a thing of the past.

We heard that about snowfall and other things, and then.... sigh.

But a severe drought last May and drier-than-normal conditions earlier this month prevented the spread of the fungal pathogen, which thrives in wet weather. Suddenly, the caterpillars were back with a vengeance, denuding forests across much of the state and parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Ken Gooch, director of the forest health program at the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, said the caterpillars pose a serious threat to forests because they completely strip trees, making them vulnerable to other pests and disease.

The caterpillars have also caused some mild panic in rural communities. Gooch said he recently got a call from an elderly woman in Sturbridge who “called up and was crying.”

I'm about to because the paper is really starting to read like fear fiction these days. It makes no sense and is literally unbelievable in so many regards.

He said a distraught teacher in Southeastern Massachusetts also called him [and] wanted to know why the state hadn’t done anything to control the caterpillar population, but Gooch said there is little the state can do.

Aerial spraying, he said, is costly and raises ecological concerns because it can kill other kinds of moths and butterflies, not just the dreaded gypsy caterpillar. Elkinton agreed, saying it was not “environmentally desirable” to use pesticides to battle caterpillars on a regional scale, as was customary in past decades.

“There is really not much that can be done, not now,” Elkinton said. “We don’t have any magic bullets.”

Fortunately, he said, the caterpillars’ rapacious feeding season is almost over.

OMG, all this fearful munching for nothing! The crisis has passed!

Thanks for the warning, Globe!

In the coming weeks, the larvae will metamorphosize into hard-shelled pupae and then transform again into mottled brown moths, best known for alighting on screen doors and futilely attacking porch lights.

Then I will leave it off and save some money.

In the meantime, campers and outdoor enthusiasts must simply tolerate the creatures.... 

You know what has become intolerable?


This is futile, folks, so f*** it.

Disney World is erasing evidence of alligators, crocodiles after toddler’s death

"Bears that attack humans are killed if it is found that they displayed predatory behavior, such as stalking the person, or consumed their victim. In this case, officials said is too soon to say what will be done to the bear if it is found. They are trying to determine if it was a mother with cubs, whether it was protecting a food cache nearby, or whether it simply reacted to the surprise appearance of the bikers, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said."

Orca named ‘Old Thom’ spotted in rare sighting off Chatham

Seal escapes jaws of great white off Cape Cod

Horse dies in a stable fire in Agawam

North Atlantic right whale calf killed by vessel

Fisherman injured by dogfish off Gloucester

Mass. bear population expected to soar

Animal control rescues almost 20 cats in Springfield

Negligent homicide charges recommended in New Hampshire circus tent deaths

Shark sighting closes pair of beaches

Shooting your neighbor’s dog is not allowed, state appeals court rules

But you can taser him.

Stranded 17-foot pilot whale dies off Harding’s Beach in Chatham

More close encounters of the great white shark kind reported off Mass.