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Animals

‘Beeautiful’ Buzzing Sistren

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Gen Zs (<26 year olds) are rescuing and breaking new ground within the queendom of our sistren, the bees.

Honeybees have a remarkably complex language. It includes dancing, headbutting and scaling vibrations. Each intriguing maneuver conveys specific and precise meaning. For example, when honeybees encounter giant Asian hornets their vibrational dialect quickly pulses up the scale. That is, the higher the pitch, the greater the peril.

Honeybees can communicate danger better than any other of the 900,000 or so kinds of insects. That’s why scientists are paying close attention to the bees because they spotlight toxicity within the environment. It’s high time for the lawmakers globally to ban all these deadly nerve poisons that are killing bees and birds, e.g., neonicotinoids, sulfoxaflors, flupyradifurone and chlorpyrifos.

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A Sweet Story

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*Science is exhilarating, challenging and rich with rewards. As a scientist, the bees have shown me many things.

Last week, the bees revealed a lesson on speed and stamina. At 230 wingbeats per second, on my bicycle, I clocked one gal soaring down the street at 27 miles per hour (mph)!

honeybees
An indefatigable worker on a nectar run. Image credit: Reese Halter

She had an empty load. When topped-up with nectar, pollen, water or tree resin (used to make propolis, or bee glue), a honeybee can reach an impressive 20mph. She can maintain that stamina for possibly a couple miles or more.

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America’s Bees – 55 Billion Dead, Feds Drop Bee Survey

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*America’s bees are in big trouble. Instead of protecting our important buzzing brethren and those who  faithfully tend to them, the Trump administration is overtly pandering to Big Chem, the makers of more deadly nerve poisons.

Normally, a beekeeper can expect to lose about 12 percent of a colony to overwintering deaths. Since 2006, U.S. beekeepers have lost around 30 percent of their hives each winter. The winter of 2007-08 recorded a death spike of 36 percent. Some beekeepers were forced into bankruptcy.

America's Bees
Image credit: Reese Halter

Since then, my colleagues have conducted hundreds of scientific studies on the deadly effects of a wide array of nerve poisons used in commercial insecticides e.g. neonicotinoidssulfoxaflorflupyradifurone, chlorpyrifos. When honeybees encounter less than a dozen parts per billion of these nerve poisons, they instantaneously exhibit the full strength symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The Einsteins of the insect world lose their minds and shake to death.  Horrible. Keep Reading

Psychopathic Danish Dolphin-Killers

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*The cruel, violent rampage against the dolphins began early this year on New Year’s Day.

Those who willingly inflict torture and excruciating pain against our brethren, the cetaceans, are criminal planet-killers. Image credit: SeaShepherd.org.uk

The dolphins intend Man no harm. Yet, each year, the bloodthirsty crazed Faroese stain the coves and shorelines of their far North Atlantic islands with our brethren’s mammalian blood.

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Senseless Destruction of Zambian Hippos

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*The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists hippopotami as red, or, threatened. Their existence is in peril because of destruction of habitat and loathsome poachers.

Why has the Zambian government auctioned off 2,000 healthy masterpiece hippos to trophy hunters for $3.3M?

The scourge of planet Earth, psychopathic poachers.Image credit: ThingLink 

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Clever Orcas Command Respect

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*Orcas are the most widespread of the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). These beauties are the pinnacle of mammalian evolution, and so worthy of our admiration and protection.

orcas attacking great white
The Salish Sea orcas live in three pods named J, K, and L.
Image credit: Tatiana Ivkovich, Shutterstock

With brains more than twice as heavy and as complex as that of humans, orcas are feared predators. It’s not just other cetaceans that must constantly watch their backs for sudden ambushes by pods of the intelligent ones. Orcas give great white sharks a lot of grief and occasionally much pain. Keep Reading

More Dead Dolphins Strewn Across Europe

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*Almost 1,200 dolphins are dead from the shoreline of France’s Atlantic to Greece’s Aegean. The culprit is unmistakably that of Man’s insatiable greed and heinous lust for the destruction of Nature.

Since January, more than 1,100 dolphins, most with their fins cut off, have washed ashore onto France’s Atlantic coastline.

dead dolphins
The unprecedented demand for low-cost fish is driving the dolphins to extinction. Image credit: Associated Press

They drowned in the Bay of Biscay as bycatch within fishery nets. 90 percent of these beauties were amputees with broken jaws caused by being trapped in nets, struggling unsuccessfully for life. Subsidized trawlers relentlessly overfishing for hake and sea bass are quickly wiping the dolphins off the French map.

Extinction means forever.

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Polluted Oceans, Dead Dolphins

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*Around the globe, the dolphins are showing scientists that the planet has become unlivable. Dolphin deaths are piling up.

The economics of extinction is quickly driving bluefin tunas off the planet. Individual fish sell for $3.1M.  Image credit: CNN

Globally, 44,000 floating slaughterhouses are marauding the oceans 24/7/365. Measuring a total of 13 million miles, with a couple of billion legal and illegal hooks, they are wiping, tunas, sharks, rays, sea turtles, cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), sea birds and so many other masterpieces off the planet at an unprecedented rate. Keep Reading

Trump Throws Wolves Under Bus

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*This week, the Department of the Interior, led by acting secretary David Bernhardt, announced plans to delist wolves from the Endangered Species Act across America. A small exception of 114 critically endangered Mexican wolves of Arizona and New Mexico could be spared.

Alpha male (712) of the Canyon pack in the Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park. Image credit: Jim Peaco/National Park Service

In the early 1970s, masterpiece grey wolves were hunted to near extinction, a horrifying non-stop bloodbath. Keep Reading

Secrets of Bees and Flowers

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*People and honeybees share many similarities including some of the same genes and brain neurons. It’s one of the many reasons why I am awed by these masterpiece creatures.

For my entire professional life, I have followed Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum’s dictum: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.”

honeybees
Honeybees can add, subtract and count. Image credit: Nat Geo

The more we discover about the incomparable honeybees, the more respect they rightfully garner. Keep Reading

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