Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kudzoo the Gorilla is Expecting!

The late Willie B. will have another grandchild in 2011

One of Atlanta’s best-loved animal families may welcome a brand-new addition to its third generation in 2011. Kudzoo, a 16-year-old western lowland gorilla, is expecting her second infant. The newborn will be the third surviving grandchild of the legendary late Willie B.

The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams estimate that Kudzoo is roughly two months into her pregnancy. Gorilla gestation averages 8.5 months, suggesting a birth in late spring 2011. The Veterinary Team is monitoring Kudzoo closely and is conducting monthly pregnancy tests, as she is known to have experienced at least one previous miscarriage. She became pregnant in late 2009 but miscarried the fetus before summer 2010.

“We are very excited about anticipating Kudzoo’s infant, particularly given the fact that generations of Atlantans have followed this family, all the way back to Willie B.,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “At the same time, we are keeping a close eye on Kudzoo, as the chance remains that she could experience another miscarriage.”

Born February 8, 2004, Kudzoo won hearts throughout the city as the celebrated firstborn of Willie B., who passed away in 2000. All four of her siblings – Olympia, 14; Sukari, 12; Willie B. Jr., 12; and Lulu, 11 – still reside at Zoo Atlanta, as does Kudzoo’s mother, Choomba. Kudzoo and her mate, 21-year-old silverback Taz, have one previous offspring, Macy Baby, 4.

Zoo Atlanta is home to the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas, with 23 individuals living in distinct social groups, and is a global center of excellence for the care and behavioral study of these critically endangered great apes. Since the opening of The Ford African Rain Forest in 1988, 18 gorillas have been born at the Zoo, 16 of whom still live on grounds. Four of the Zoo’s gorillas – Ozzie, 49; Choomba, 49; Ivan, 48; and Shamba, 51 – are beloved senior citizens, as gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of about 35. Individuals, schools and groups can support the stewardship of western lowland gorillas at Zoo Atlanta, as well as help support efforts for their counterparts in the wild, by sponsoring a gorilla through Rare Care. Visit zooatlanta.org for details and program benefits.
---
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
Facebook: http://facebook.com/ArtsAcrossGA
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Monday, November 29, 2010

Giants among us: Paper explores evolution of the world's largest mammals

The largest mammal that ever walked the earth —Indricotherium transouralicum, a hornless rhinoceros-like herbivore that weighed approximately 17 tons and stood about 18 feet high at the shoulder, lived in Eurasia almost 34 million years ago. In a paper just published in the journal Science, an international team of researchers has compiled and analyzed an enormous database of information about the largest mammals across time and around the globe, revealing striking patterns in their evolution.

The research, funded by a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network grant, was led by scientists at the University of New Mexico who brought together paleontologists, evolutionary biologists and macroecologists from universities around the world. University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology Dean John Gittleman and postdoctoral researcher Patrick Stephens were among them.

“We were invited to participate because the group wanted to take an explicitly evolutionary approach to size,” said Gittleman, whose research focuses on large-scale ecological and evolutionary problems, from disease to extinction to organism characteristics.

“John and Patrick were indispensable members of our team,” said Felisa Smith, associate professor of biology at the University of New Mexico and the paper’s lead author. “This really was a project that took all of us to accomplish.”

The goal of the research was to revisit key questions about size, specifically in mammals. “Size impacts everything, from reproduction to extinction,” said Gittleman. “And mammals are a good test case. There is so much variation—everything from mice to elephants—and there also is far more data available about mammals than other taxonomic groups.”

“There is a much better fossil record for mammals than for many other groups,” said Stephens. “That’s partly because mammals’ teeth preserve really well. And as it happens, tooth size correlates well with overall body size.”

The researchers spent two years assembling the data. “The database is powerful and unique,” said Gittleman. “It includes information on the size of all mammals, living and fossil, from around the world.”

With access to much information, the group was able to test a hypothesis about the evolution of mammal size.

“During the Mesozoic, mammals were small,” said Gittleman. “Once dinosaurs went extinct, mammals evolved to be much larger as they diversified to fill ecological niches that became available. This phenomenon has been well-documented for North America; we wanted to know if the same thing happened all over the world.”

The researchers found the pattern was indeed consistent, not only globally but across time and across trophic groups and lineages—that is, animals with differing diets and descendedfrom different ancestors—as well. The maximum size of mammals began to increase sharply approximately 65 million years ago, peaking in the Oligocene Epoch (about 34 million years ago) in Eurasia and again in the Miocene Epoch (about 10 million years ago) in Eurasia and Africa.

“Having so many different lineages independently evolve to such similar maximum sizes suggests that there were similar ecological roles to be filled by giant mammals across the globe,” said Gittleman. “The consistency of the pattern strongly implies that biota in all regions were responding to the same ecological constraints.”

Global temperature and the amount of land available as an animal’s range are two ecological factors that appear to correlate with the evolution of maximum body size, but Gittleman warned against assigning cause and effect. “A big part of science is seeing patterns, and then producing new hypotheses and testing them,” he said. “We now have identified this pattern very rigorously.”

Besides Smith, Gittleman, and Stephens, the research team includes Alison Boyer, Yale University; Jim Brown, University of New Mexico; Daniel Costa, University of California, Santa Cruz; Tamar Dayan, Tel-Aviv University; Morgan Ernest, Utah State University; Alistair Evans, Monash University; Mikael Fortelius, University of Helsinki; Marcus Hamilton, University of New Mexico; Larisa Harding, Umea University; Kari Lintulaakso, University of Helsinki; Kathleen Lyons, Smithsonian Institution; Christy McCain, University of Colorado, Boulder; Jordan Okie, University of New Mexico; Juha J. Saarinen, University of Helsinki; Richard Sibly, University of Reading; Jessica Theodor, University of Calgary; and Mark Uhen, George Mason University.

The group is meeting soon to determine the next phase of the project; more information is available at http://biology.unm.edu/impps_rcn/. For more information on the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, see www.ecology.uga.edu/.

-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Iams Home 4 the Holidays Almost Meets Goal of 100,000 Meals with Fans

Iams Home 4 the Holidays has made a commitment to donate 100,000 meals to participating shelters in need when the milestone of 100,000 fans is reached on their Facebook page. 

Since October 1, the Facebook fans page is up to 87,700.  That's just 13,000 short of Iams reaching its goal. 

Want to help homeless pets in need?

Information on how to get involved, how to find a participating shelter in your area and other important tips for new parents can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iams or on IamsHome4theHolidays.com

-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The HSUS and Anonymous Georgia Donor Offer $7,500 Reward in Butler, Ga., Horse Cruelty Case

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for brutally attacking Molly, a 13-year-old quarter horse. An anonymous donor is adding $5,000 to the standard HSUS reward offered to help enforce animal cruelty laws, raising the total reward offered to $7,500

The Case:

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Department gives the following account: On Oct. 4, Molly, a former therapy horse for handicapped children, was found in her pasture in Butler, Ga., suffering from severe lacerations to her head, ear and neck. It appeared as if someone had attempted to sever Molly’s muscles and peel back her skin.

According to Molly's owner at the time of the attack, Bobby Bazemore, Molly and her pasture mate, Cisco, had only recently returned to their pasture, having spent several months on loan to a local riding camp. Bazemore was notified of Molly's injuries by a farm hand, and, upon seeing the mare, immediately called his veterinarian.

Due to the extent of her injuries, Molly was hospitalized for 17 days and she continues to receive rehabilitative care under the guidance of Dr. Charlene Cook of Central Georgia Equine Services.

"Molly's kind and gentle nature is what made us initially bring her into our family and has made her a favorite with the local children," Bazemore said. "I am glad that Molly is on the road to recovery and hope this reward will bring someone forward who knows something."

Cook said, "In my 25 years as a veterinarian, I have never seen an injury like this one. It would have taken a tremendous amount of force and a very sharp instrument to sever those muscles. I would like to know exactly what happened."

She added, "Especially in these trying economic times, many owners faced with an injury like Molly's would opt for euthanasia rather than putting the time and resources into rehabilitation. I commend Molly's owners for making the commitment to her recovery. She's a special horse and continues to be a wonderful patient."

Until Molly's abusers are apprehended, The HSUS is cautioning Georgia horse owners to be vigilant, taking extra precautions to ensure their horses are secure and safe.

Animal Cruelty:

Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well -documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

“It is unconscionable that someone could so viciously mutilate an innocent animal. The crime is an especially cruel fate for an animal who served children in need,” said Stacy Segal, equine protection specialist for The HSUS’ Animal Cruelty Campaign. “We are so grateful to the anonymous donor who stepped up to provide Molly's continued care and add to the reward. We hope it will help bring Molly’s abusers to justice.”

The Investigators:

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Department is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 478-862-5444.


-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Secrets of suet: Why serving up suet helps birds weather winter

(ARA) So you think you know suet? Think again.

Today's suet is not the messy, hard-to-manage lump of congealed animal fat that your grandparents had to contend with. Modern suet has gone gourmet, and can be served in convenient suet cakes, suet kibbles, suet nuts and suet pearls loaded with treats that backyard birds adore, like nuts, grains and berries. You can even find squirrel-proof varieties that thwart the bushy-tailed bullies by including habanero pepper in the succulent fat.

As winter approaches, you may need to change some of the foods you offer backyard birds. Suet is an essential source of energy for birds during long, cold winter months. So if you've avoided serving suet in the past, or have been unsuccessful at attracting birds with suet while keeping squirrels away, here are some suet secrets to get you on your way this winter:

Fat is your friend

While many species, like robins and sparrows, will migrate south, many stay put, like cardinals and chickadees. These birds rely on high-calorie, high-fat foods, like suet, to help maintain their increased metabolic rate during a season when their normal food sources, such as insects and berries, are scarce. If you want to attract a bounty of birds to your backyard during cold months, fat is your friend.

Birds love suet, the solid fat rendered from beef, venison or vegetables that provides concentrated energy to help birds make it through freezing winter days and nights. Typical suet-eating birds include woodpeckers, bluebirds, chickadees, titmice and nuthatches, but you never know who might show up, like a kinglet or warbler.

Feeding birds through winter can actually improve traffic at your feeder, since many birds will find and stay where there is a reliable food source.

Supplement suet with seed

While birds need suet during winter, they also need a variety of foods that normally constitute their diets as well. Supplement your suet feeding with plenty of seeds, presented in a variety of feeding styles. Variety and reliability will attract birds and keep them coming back to your yard throughout the year.

One way to cater to birds that love seeds, nuts or berries is to try a suet-seed mix like Nutberry Suet Blend, offered by Cole's Wild Bird Products, which mixes human-grade cherries, apples and blueberry-flavored cranberries, preferred nuts, nutritious insect suet kibbles and whole kernel sunflower meats into an energy-packed, powerhouse feed.

Cole's suet cakes are offered in an assortment of blends, such as Blue Ribbon, mixing rendered beef suet, sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn, formulated to attract the largest variety of birds. You can also stir things up further by serving some innovative "gourmet style" suet products that are in forms other than traditional cakes. Try Suet Pearls, which offer sunflower meats buried within energy full suet pellets; Suet Nuts, that combine nourishing peanuts with berry suet; or Suet Kibbles, which mix berry flavor and dried insects in a convenient, non-messy, kibble form.

Squirrels love suet too, and can quickly consume a cake that would otherwise feed dozens of birds for days. To discourage squirrels, Cole's offers Hot Meats suet cakes, which uses a patented technology tested by scientists at Cornell University, consisting of rendered beef suet, red chili peppers, sunflower meats, corn, and oats. Birds love it but can't taste the heat that squirrels hate.

Feed 'em high, feed 'em low

Different species of birds prefer different types of feeders, so supply several styles of feeders arranged around your backyard. You can serve up suet in traditional suet cages as well as wood and cage style feeders that protect birds from the elements by making them hang upside-down while feeding. You can also use peanut feeders to serve newer, innovative suet products like Suet Pearls, Suet Nuts and Suet Kibbles.

Be sure to locate feeders out of the wind, positioning them near natural cover and perches like bushes and trees. For ground feeding, provide an area near cover with a clear view of the surroundings.

This winter season, boost backyard birds' energy levels and serve up suet. You'll enjoy winter bird-watching and the birds will benefit from the extra energy suet provides. Be patient though, it may take a few weeks before the birds discover newly placed feeders. While you wait, be sure to keep the feeders full. Eventually, the birds will come. For more information on Coles Feed visit www.coleswildbird.com.



-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Monday, November 15, 2010

Protecting Whales From the Sky: EcoHealth Alliance's Annual Aerial Surveys of Endangered Right Whale Populations

/PRNewswire/ -- EcoHealth Alliance (formerly Wildlife Trust), is gearing up for the organization's annual aerial surveys for the protection of endangered North Atlantic right whales. For the fourth consecutive year, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) has pledged up to $200,000 per year for a total of five years to increase aerial surveys for the protection of endangered right whales off the coast of S.C. Aerial surveys provide valuable information to wildlife conservationists and researchers, including location and photo-identification of right whales during their winter calving season off the Southeastern coast of the U.S. "Through productive partnerships, we can develop new port business while also enhancing our natural environment," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority. "We'll continue to grow in a responsible way."

"Right whale populations were nearly hunted to extinction by whalers long ago, and they've been fighting their way back from the brink ever since," said Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance. "With fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales alive today, EcoHealth Alliance's Aquatic Conservation Program is a key factor in ensuring the ongoing viability of this beautiful, critically endangered mammal."

North Atlantic right whales migrate from November through April to give birth to their calves off of the Southeast coast, which is the only known calving ground for the species. Aerial surveys give the EcoHealth Alliance team a bird's eye view of whales in relation to the heavily trafficked coastline navigated by cargo, military, and recreational boats. Flights are conducted an average of two days a week during the best weather conditions; the teams log an average of 600 hours of flight time at the conclusion of the calving season in April 2010.

"During our aerial surveys, we document the births of new calves, record sightings of returning whales, and alert shipping officials about the whereabouts of these slow moving mammals, to help keep them out of harm's way," said Cynthia R. Taylor, associate vice president of the Aquatic Conservation Program at EcoHealth Alliance. "The biggest threats to right whales are from ship collisions and entanglement in fishing gear, so we immediately alert rescue crews when we see whales that are in trouble."

Survey flights originate from Mt. Pleasant regional airport near Charleston, S.C. from November 15, 2010 through April 15, 2011 and from the Malcolm McKinnon airport on St. Simons Island, Ga. from December 31, 2010 through March 31, 2011. EcoHealth Alliance's aerial survey team in South Carolina, which covers the airspace from Cape Romain, S.C. to Fripp Island, S.C., includes team leader Dianna Schulte, Jonathan Gwalthney and Melanie White. The aerial survey team in Georgia, which covers the airspace from Sapelo Island, GA to Cumberland Island, GA includes team leader Patricia Naessig, Julianne Kearney, Lisa Barry, and Ashley Dobrovich.

EcoHealth Alliance partners in its efforts with The South Carolina Ports Authority, The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, who provide funding annually for the intensive survey effort. For more information about this EcoHealth Alliance program, visit http://www.ecohealthalliance.org/wildlife/9-protecting_endangered_right_whales.

-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Friday, November 12, 2010

Creative, Heartwarming Pet Poems By Kids

(NAPSI)-When it comes to describing the rewarding relationship between pets and their owners, sometimes a poem just says it best.

Recently, six poems summed up that sentiment so well that they won the American Pet Products Association's (APPA) 2nd Annual National Children's Pet Poetry Contest. Through the APPA's Pets Add Life (PAL) campaign, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students were invited to write and submit a unique and creative poem about their pets.

Two students from each grade were selected to win a $250 gift certificate for pet products, and a "byline" in a nationally circulated publication. In addition, the six winning students' classrooms each received a $1,000 scholarship to spend on pet-related education.

Poems were judged on creativity, clarity, voice and the student's ability to reinforce the message of the joys and benefits of pet ownership. The panel of judges consisted of teachers, elementary school administration and APPA.

Here is one of the winning poems, in the fifth-grade category:

"My Dog, Bear" by Spring from Lincoln, Del.

When I think of you,

My heart shines bright,

Just like a

Baby bird's first flight.

First thing in the morning

Your nose I see,

An inch from my nose

Tickles me.

When you know I'm leaving,

Your head hangs low.

It breaks my heart,

'Cause I love you so.

And even though I'm angry,

When you chew my shoe,

Your sorrowful eyes

Make me forgive you.

When my sister died,

You comforted me.

You miss her too--

It's plain to see.

When I'm lonely,

Or I need a friend,

You're always there,

Your love to lend.

I love you Bear,

My adorable dog.

You've helped me

Through my own fog.

No other dog

Compares to you.

Taking care of me,

You'll always do.

To see other poems and for more information about APPA's 3rd Annual National Children's Pet Poetry Contest, you can visit www.petsaddlife.org.

-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Update: Iams H4TH Campaign - Helping Pets One Meal at a Time

Each year, many pets are either abandoned or lost and end up in homeless shelters. Iams Home 4 the Holidays is an annual campaign to find permanent homes for these homeless pets.

Iams is spearheading a campaign to provide 5 million bowls of food for these shelters and homes for 1.5 million pets in need by January 4, 2011.

The Fayette Front Page was recently invited by Iams to participate in the Iams Home 4 the Holidays campaign by joining in a blog hop about pet adoptions.  It was easy to share stories about the adopted pets in our lives.  With tissues in hand, our staff and readers shared moments of happiness and sadness that our furry companions have brought to our lives.

In appreciation of the growing momentum this project, Iams has released the following update numbers for this year's adoption campaign which runs through January 4, 2011.

Dogs adopted:  150, 037
Cats adopted:  131,956
Other adoptions:  6,191

Facebook Fans:  50, 551
Total Meals Donated:  439,746


A great big "thank you" is extended to all who participated in the Blog Hop which ran October 24-31.

Read the stories submitted during the Blog Hop by the Fayette Front Page. 

Did I Tell You About the Fish I Caught?

Saving Katie's Life

Thinking of Evidence

Grumpy Old Gal Photo Shoot

Saved from the Ashed on Her Last Day

I Want a Lap Puppy

Pillow Pup Update:  Every Dog Needs a Pal

Open your heart.  Remember homeless pets need love, too.

Staff Report
Fayette Front Page

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Turtle Watchers Cap ‘Good Year’ For Loggerheads

A record-breaking year came to a close recently as members of the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative met in Brunswick to wrap up the nesting season. There were 1,750 loggerhead nests recorded in 2010, topping the previous record of 1,646 from 2008. Last year’s nesting totals were much lower, with only 995 reported.

Members of the coop gave updates on various projects ranging from genetics data to predation issues. The overarching message: It was a good year for sea turtles.

For the last 22 years, Sea Turtle Cooperative members have worked to conserve Georgia’s turtles. Coordinated by the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the group of volunteers, researchers and biologists from various agencies monitors turtle nesting activities on Georgia beaches.

This season, Cumberland Island led all barrier islands with 486 confirmed nests.

“Both our nesting numbers and our hatchling success numbers were really high this year,” said Doug Hoffman, National Park Service biologist on Cumberland Island. “An average year for us is around 225 nests and we doubled that this season.”

In addition, Cumberland saw its predation rate drop from 67 percent in 2000 to less than 1 percent this year, a figure Hoffman is proud to report. “I came on board in 2000 when predation was at the highest levels it has ever been,” he said.

“… In the last 10 years we have taken measures that include live trapping of raccoons, shooting hogs and placing screens on every nest – all of which have reduced the predation rate to almost zero. The only thing we still have a problem with is ghost crabs, but you see that on every island. “

Cumberland also accounted for about half of the strandings during the nesting season, or 43 of 119 sea turtles found washed up along the coast. This may be in part due to the length of the island’s coastline, which stretches for 17 miles. Whenever a turtle washes ashore dead or comes to the beach and then dies, it is referred to as a stranding.

On Tybee Island, the nesting storyline was a little different. Tybee recorded some of the lowest numbers, with only 10 confirmed nests. However, that number was still high for a developed beach.

Tammy Smith, Sea Turtle Project coordinator for the island, was very excited that her group of volunteers not only beat local rival St Simons Island, which reported only five nests, but also made strides toward improving the habitat for turtles.

“Lighting pollution is one of our biggest issues, being a developed beach, but this year we were able to get the hotel on the south side of the island, in an area we call the strand, to turn off the lights in the top three balcony levels,” helping limit the number of disoriented turtles, Smith said.

Turtles often mistake lights on the beach for moonlight, which they use to navigate back to the water after nesting. A turtle can become disoriented and then exhausted looking for the ocean and end up on busy roads or in backyards. Lights are also a problem for hatchlings, which may head toward roads and homes rather than the water, making them more vulnerable to predators.

Tybee turtle volunteers also had their first encounter with a live adult turtle this year, one that happened to have been tagged on Wassaw Island. “That was pretty neat; most of us had never seen a turtle actually laying a nest,” Smith said.

Jekyll Island had a decent year with 140 nests. Emily Walker, night patrol team leader for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, reported that the last nest finally hatched in early October. Overall, Jekyll’s hatchling success rate has been holding steady at 62 percent. Walker attributes that to moving fewer nests this year due to less erosion. “We only lost two nests, so that was pretty exciting,” she said.

Another development on Jekyll had to do with lights on the beach. “We were able to get a new lighting ordinance passed this year that states that if you have suitable nesting habitat on the beach you have to use appropriate lighting for turtles,” Walker explained. “Already there are hotels changing their lights and there is a good chance it contributed to us having fewer disorientations due to lighting this season.”

Despite the record year for loggerheads, biologists urged caution. Federal criteria require that the population increase by 2 percent a year for 50 years for the species to be considered recovered. The 50-year nesting goal for loggerheads in Georgia is 2,800 nests a year.

Mark Dodd, a senior wildlife biologist and Sea Turtle Program Coordinator with Georgia DNR, said the loggerhead population in Georgia “has sustained a long-term decline, but over the last five years, we have seen average or above-average nesting years.

“We are hopeful that we are seeing the beginnings of a recovery, but it is still too early to say.”

Dodd praised the Sea Turtle Cooperative. “We are very grateful to our cooperators for all their hard work,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have a sea turtle conservation program in Georgia.”

Loggerheads, the most common sea turtle on Georgia’s coast, are state-listed as endangered. The nesting season runs from May through September. Daily monitoring of nesting began in 1989.

Georgians can help conserve sea turtles and other animals not legally hunted, fished for or trapped, as well as native plants and habitats, through buying wildlife license plates that feature a bald eagle or a ruby-throated hummingbird. They can also donate to the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff, or directly to DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section. These programs are vital to the Nongame Conservation Section, which receives no state funds.

Visit www.georgiawildlife.com for more information, or call Nongame Conservation Section offices in Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438) or Brunswick (912-264-7218).



-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Giant panda born at Zoo Atlanta

Lun Lun, a 13-year-old female giant panda at Zoo Atlanta, gave birth to her third cub on November 3, 2010. The cub, born at 5:39 a.m. in a specially-prepared birthing den in the Zoo’s giant panda building, is the only giant panda to be born in the U.S. in 2010.

Lun Lun appears to be providing appropriate care for her cub, which is roughly the size of a cell phone. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams will continue round-the-clock monitoring of mother and cub, and a preliminary veterinary checkup will be performed as soon as staff is able to remove the cub without disrupting maternal care.

“We are extremely excited about welcoming Lun Lun’s and Yang Yang’s third cub, and proud of the success of Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda program,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “This is a joy we share with the City of Atlanta, our colleagues in China, and our counterparts at our fellow zoological organizations housing giant pandas in the U.S.”

Zoo Atlanta Members and guests can expect to meet the cub in spring 2011. The cub’s father, 13-year-old Yang Yang, and older brother, Xi Lan, remain on exhibit and will not be introduced to their new family member. This separation is normal for giant pandas, which are solitary in the wild.

The newborn is the third offspring for the Zoo’s famous panda pair. Born September 6, 2006, their firstborn, Mei Lan, has lived at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding since February 2010. Born August 30, 2008, the pair’s second cub, 2-year-old male Xi Lan, remains one of the Zoo’s most popular and precocious animal stars. As is the case with Lun Lun’s tiny newest arrival, both Mei Lan and Xi Lan were the only giant pandas born in the U.S. in their respective birth years. All three births have been the products of artificial insemination.

The birth is a significant achievement for global efforts to save a critically endangered species. Fewer than 1,600 giant pandas are estimated to remain in the wild. There are approximately 280 individuals living in zoological institutions, only 11 of which reside in the U.S.

In the months leading up to the cub’s debut, images will be available on monitors at the Zoo’s Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center and on PandaCam presented by EarthCam. PandaCam streams daily, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fans are encouraged to stay abreast of all things panda by following Zoo Atlanta on our website and on Twitter, joining the Zoo Atlanta Facebook community, and registering for biweekly eUpdate newsletters.

-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

UGA study finds moving animals not a panacea for habitat loss

New University of Georgia research suggests moving threatened animals to protected habitats may not always be an effective conservation technique if the breeding patterns of the species are influenced by a social hierarchy.

Research, published in the early online edition of the journal Biological Conservation, found an initial group of gopher tortoises released on St. Catherine’s Island, Ga. were three times more likely to produce offspring than a later-introduced group, although the initial group had a much smaller proportion of reproduction-aged males.

"There definitely appeared to be an advantage to the order that the tortoises were released," said lead author Tracey Tuberville, an assistant research scientist at UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. "The earlier the males were released, the more likely they were to be successful fathering offspring for the next generation."

Moving multiple groups of gopher tortoises at different times may disrupt their social structure, explained Tuberville, resulting in differential success in reproduction among potential breeders. Introducing a specific number of males to reach a target population size may not achieve the desired results if all of the males are not reproducing.

"We found that females released later were not excluded from reproduction," she said. "If you need to augment a population, you might consider targeting females as opposed to males or introducing more females than males, because females produce the eggs, and they also seem to be incorporated into the breeding and social structure faster than males."

Gopher tortoises are federally listed as a threatened species in the western part of their range, though not in Georgia and Florida, where much of the destruction of their habitat has occurred.

Gopher tortoises are highly social and live in sandy burrows. They prefer open-canopied longleaf pine forests, which now cover only two percent of their historic range. Gopher tortoise habitats are ideal sites for human development, and Tuberville said that in the past, land developers were required to do little to protect their habitats at development sites.

Gopher tortoises from various locations were first introduced to St. Catherine’s in the 1980s. A second group from a single population was later introduced in 1994. Biologists and veterinarians working on the island recorded health and survivorship data on the tortoises, each of which were permanently and uniquely marked to be easily identifiable. The researchers sought to identify which tortoises from each group were successfully reproducing after release. After a site-wide capture of all the potential breeders, researchers collected DNA samples. Once the eggs hatched, they also tested the DNA of the young to determine the parents.

"If we find that the pattern of differential mating success is consistent, or if it is observed in other places, it will inform us whether or not we want to establish populations through multiple releases and also whether or not we want to augment an existing population," said Tuberville.

Study co-author Travis Glenn, associate professor in the department of environmental health science in the UGA College of Public Health, said that new DNA technologies increasingly are being used in conservation and environmental health efforts. “We’re trying to use these techniques in new and interesting ways," said Glenn. "That requires partnerships between a greater variety of people."

"The technology is getting better and better, so the answers will be better and more informative," Glenn added. "The ability to address conservation concerns will be faster, cheaper and more accurate."

-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The pet industry's dirty secret: What to know before you buy for your dog

(ARA) - For dog owners, there are no two ways about it - pets are part of the family. You want your four-legged companion to be as happy and healthy as any other member of your family. Many of the things you buy for your human loved ones - like food, medicine and beauty products - are regulated by agencies that make sure those products are safe. You might assume that there are similar restrictions on pet products, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that accurate ingredient lists be put on human items like shampoos and soaps. The agency strictly regulates supplements intended for human consumption. Though laws regulate what advertising claims can be made on pet supplies for dogs, the FDA does not regulate shampoos used on pets unless the shampoo is classified as a drug, e.g., anti-dandruff. This means that many manufacturers are misleading the public as to what is in their shampoos. Even when some manufacturers claim drug facts, many forgo the costly product registration process and unfortunately are too low a priority to get noticed by the FDA.

Given the trend toward organic products, some vendors make claims about their products being all natural when they are not - often with impunity. Worse yet is the fact that they might not honestly list the ingredients in the product, which could be harmful for your dog. A short ingredient list is a red flag that you might not be buying an honest product.

"Without a thorough and honest ingredient list, it can be hard to recognize that some pet shampoos are actually products made for humans, just re-labeled," says Lorenzo Borghese, who founded Royal Treatment pet products out of concern for the skin problems his own dog was experiencing. He notes that while that might not sound too bad, human soaps are bad for dogs' skin. "Human skin is acidic, while dogs' is alkaline, and a product intended for human consumption has an improper pH which can cause the skin to burn or become irritated."

Adding to the problem, foaming agents like sodium laureth sulfate, often found in human shampoos, strip oils off the skin. Human skin is porous, so it can naturally replenish those oils, but dogs' non-porous skin can't, leaving them with extremely dry skin. That is often a big part of why veterinarians only recommend washing your dog every four to eight weeks.

For those looking for a natural dog shampoo, the problem of incomplete labels is frustrating, and even more so when trying to help a pet with skin and coat problems. Borghese's Royal Treatment line of shampoos and conditioners was formulated with ingredients that are ideal for animals' sensitive skin, all of which are listed on the label. Because the products are sold on television they have to meet rigorous standards and have complete and verified ingredient lists.

The same problematic lack of regulation that affects topical pet care products also makes it difficult for pet owners to know whether pet health supplements are safe and effective.

The low cost of overseas production often means that manufacturers will outsource the work of producing pet supplements. That also means that there is sometimes a lack of oversight and quality control - pet supplements might not contain the ingredients in the amount claimed on the bottle. For pet owners who want to take care of health issues like joint stiffness or a poor coat, it's almost impossible to verify whether the supplement they're giving their pet has the ingredients it claims in the active quantity listed on the label.

Working with renowned veterinarian Dr. L. Phillips Brown, Borghese also launched a line of supplements for dogs with the same principles of providing verifiable ingredients that are ideal for pets. "The ingredients in these supplements are standardized," Brown says. "They are made in the United States, and what's on the label is in the product." Batch testing helps to verify that ingredients are present in the correct amounts that are necessary for the supplements to be effective.

Knowing precisely what you're giving your dog is important. It can be difficult to take the guess work out of shopping for pet supplements and care products, but the most important thing to demand is information about the exact ingredients in everything from food to shampoo to supplements. Armed with that knowledge, you can give your pet a healthy, happy life. For more information on pet-safe products, go to www.royalpetclub.com.


-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trout Streams Ready and Waiting on Anglers-Delayed Harvest Begins Nov. 1st

Fishing and leaf-viewing opportunities combined – what a great way to combine fun fall activities! The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has five delayed harvest streams available to anglers beginning Nov. 1.

“Georgia trout streams are designated as seasonal, year-round or delayed harvest, and different streams offer varying populations of rainbow, brown and brook trout,” says the division’s Trout Stocking Coordinator Perry Thompson. “The delayed harvest streams have special regulations from November 1 – May 14. Since these delayed harvest streams are regularly stocked and the trout are caught and released, catch rates remain high, making them a great destination for new and seasoned anglers alike.”

The five trout streams managed under delayed harvest regulations are the Toccoa River located on U.S. Forest Service land upstream of Lake Blue Ridge in Fannin County (from 0.4 miles above Shallowford Bridge to 450 feet above the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access), Amicalola Creek on the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (from Steele Bridge Road downstream to Georgia Hwy. 53), Smith Creek at Unicoi State Park, the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta (Sope Creek, downstream of Johnson Ferry Road, downstream to the Hwy 41 bridge) and a portion of the Chattooga River (from Ga. Hwy. 28 upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek) on U.S. Forest Service land bordering South Carolina.

“Remember, these streams are catch and release only during the delayed harvest season and also are restricted to artificial lures with one single hook from Nov. 1 – May 14,” Thompson adds. “When May 15 rolls around, harvest is allowed under the general regulations pertaining to designated trout water.”

In addition to the excellent fall fishing opportunities delayed harvest streams provide, there also are ample year-round trout fishing opportunities in a number of Georgia streams. These designated year-round streams are open to fishing throughout the year.

Noontootla Creek Watershed: This watershed offers some high quality year-round fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout, with many of its tributaries offering a chance at a wild brook trout (a real plus since most other brook trout waters are closed to fishing after Oct. 31). Both Noontootla and its tributaries are managed under an artificial lure only regulation and have a 16” minimum size limit in order to “recycle” the 8”-12” trout that make up most of the population.

Dukes Creek: This stream, located on the Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation Area offers year-round trout fishing by reservation (706-878-3087). All fish caught here must be released immediately and anglers must only use artificial lures with barbless hooks. The stream offers a great chance at a trout over 20 inches, so bring your camera for a quick shot before release. Best time to fish is after a rain discolors the water.

Chattahoochee River: For good trout fishing close to metro-Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River downstream of Buford Dam offers family-friendly and close-to-home, year-round fishing for stocked rainbow and brown trout and wild brown trout. Despite the recent rains, fishing in the Chattahoochee River will continue to be good and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area parks offer good bank, wading and boating opportunities.  Be aware that some National Park Service parks downstream of Morgan Falls Dam are closed due to recent flooding.  Contact CRNRA (678-538-1200) to learn about park closures.  The river will be stocked through the fall months to keep angler catches high. Year-round harvest is legal from Buford Dam to Sope Creek. Best fishing is at low flow when the river is clear to slightly stained.

Some additional notable year-round trout streams include the Conasauga River, Tallulah River and the Chattooga River.

To download free Georgia trout stream maps and other trout fishing tips, or for additional trout fishing information, visit www.gofishgeorgia.com . Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout license to fish in designated trout waters. 


-----
Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP

Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta Open House & Adoptions November 6

The Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta and the East Coweta Veterinary Hospital invite you to an open house and dog adoption event November 6 from 2-5 pm.

There will be cute adoptable dogs along with a silent auction and raffle.  Come on out and have fun.


Sorry- no owner surrenders accepted at the event

3462 Hwy 34 E
Sharpsburg, GA

For more information:
info@greatpyratlanta.com or 404-829-2609

TenderHeartRescue@gmail.com or 770-304-2600

-----

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
www.GeorgiaFrontPage.com
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
www.ArtsAcrossGeorgia.com
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG
www.FayetteFrontPage.com
Twitter: @FayetteFP