Category: Uncategorized

Save the African Pangolin

It’s World Pangolin day tomorrow.

I confess to not having heard of this endangered species before.

But my son, Alex, sent me an email earlier in the week hoping I would post something on the blog.

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Dear Alex

Creating widespread awareness of the four African pangolin species is an important part of our mission, because if people don’t know what a pangolin is, why would they care enough to help save it?

It’s World Pangolin Day this Saturday and here are two easy ways you can get involved right now:

Share this newsletter

Forward this email to all your friends to encourage them to sign up and receive our updates too.
Tag10ForPangolins

Share our latest Facebook campaign tagging at least 10 friends in your post, and help us reach our target of telling 100,000 people about pangolins by Saturday. We’ve just passed the 51,000 mark and with your help we can reach our goal!

With thanks,

Catherine and Team Pangolin

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Every little helps!

And guess what I found:

PANGOLIN – The Most Poached Animal in The World

Pangolins are the most heavily poached animal in the world, despite the fact that most people don’t even know that they exist.

The Pangolin is a small mammal, covered in large overlapping scales. It’s mainly a nocturnal animal with a diet consisting of insects such as ants and termites.

They may look like weird-scaly anteaters, but they are actually not part of the anteater family at all. The 2 most unique features of this animal are, that it is covered in plate armor scales from head to toe, and even though it has four legs, it walks predominantly on it’s hind legs, and uses it’s front legs for griping & digging.

So why are these creatures being so heavily poached? Well It’s all to do with their scales. The Pangolin’s scales & meat are used in traditional medicine, fashion and even eaten in high-end cuisine.

Thanks for watching

And then on Wednesday the BBC News had an extensive item about Pangolins. It’s a long article with a video. Please read it.

A dog food advisory.

Not a dog food recall!

This came in three days ago and is a head’s up.

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FDA Finds Salmonella and Listeria in Hare Today Pet Food

January 23, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners not to feed a specific lot of Hare Today Gone Tomorrow Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs because Salmonella and Listeria bacteria were discovered in the product.

What Products Are Affected?

The product is available in four sizes and varieties. All included the processing date of 12.04.2018 on the back of the bag:

  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    1-pound bag
    Fine Ground
  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    2-pound bag
    Fine Ground
  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    3-pound bag
    Coarse Ground
  • Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs
    5-pound bag
    Fine Ground

What Caused the Warning?

The FDA collected this sample while following up on a consumer complaint in which a kitten became sick with Salmonella after eating the affected product.

The specific lot of Hare Today Gone Tomorrow Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs that the sick kitten ate was not available for testing.

The FDA collected samples from lot 12.04.2018, which tested positive for both Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

Although the Salmonella isolated from the feces of the sick kitten did not match the strain found in the product sample, Federal law requires that all pet food not be contaminated with pathogens, including Salmonella and Listeria because of the potential impact on human and animal health.

Why Is the FDA Issuing This Alert?

The FDA is issuing this alert because the affected lot of Hare Today Gone Tomorrow Ground Chicken/Bones/Organs represents a serious threat to human and animal health and is adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because it contains Salmonella and Listeriamonocytogenes.

The FDA continues to work with the company on the affected product.

About Salmonella

What is Salmonella and what are the symptoms of Salmonella infection?

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause illness and death in humans and animals, especially those who are very young, very old, or have weak immune systems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people infected with Salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

Most people recover without treatment, but in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Consult your health care provider if you have symptoms of Salmonella infection.

Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella.

But signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level.

If your pet has these symptoms, consult a veterinarian promptly.

You should also be aware that infected pets can shed the bacteria in their feces without showing signs of being sick.

About Listeria

What are the symptoms of Listeria infection (listeriosis)?

According to CDC, listeriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.

Pregnant women: Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches.

However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

People other than pregnant women: Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

People with invasive listeriosis, a more serious form of the disease, usually report symptoms starting 1 to 4 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria.

Some people have reported symptoms starting as late as 70 days after exposure or as early as the same day of exposure.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeriosis.

Anyone with symptoms of listeriosis should contact a health care provider.

Listeria infections are uncommon in pets, but they are possible.

Symptoms may include mild to severe diarrhea; anorexia; fever; nervous, muscular and respiratory signs; abortion; depression; shock; and death.

Pets do not need to display symptoms to be able to pass L. mono on to their human companions.

Once Listeria gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination may continue to spread.

If your pet has these symptoms, consult a veterinarian promptly.

Why Is the FDA Concerned About Salmonella and Listeria?

Pet foods contaminated with disease-causing bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria are of particular public health importance because they can affect both human and animal health.

Pets can get sick from Salmonella and Listeria and may also be carriers of the bacteria and pass it onto their human companions without appearing to be ill.

The FDA is aware of recent cases in which humans and/or animals have gotten sick from exposure to contaminated pet foods (Salmonella-human cases, Salmonella-kitten, Salmonella-kitten, dog).

Once Salmonella and/or Listeria become established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement.

And the contamination will continue to spread.

Because animals can shed the bacteria when they have bowel movements, it’s particularly important to clean up the animal’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed, in addition to cleaning items in the home.

Federal law, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, requires that all pet food not be contaminated with pathogens, including Salmonella and L. mono.

Pet food manufacturers must effectively manage sourcing of ingredients, processing and packing to control pathogens.

Without an effective control, such as cooking, raw pet food is more likely than other types of pet food to contain pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria.

Refrigeration or freezing does not kill the bacteria.

Pet owners who choose to feed raw pet food should be aware of the risks associated with these products.

The FDA is the Federal agency that regulates pet food, while the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat and poultry for human consumption.

USDA-regulated raw meat and poultry products are intended to be cooked and carry instructions to cook the product to a safe temperature.

However, raw pet food products are intended to be served without further cooking, which creates a potential health hazard for people and pets exposed to the product.

Company Response to FDA Warning

Click here to read the company’s response to the FDA warning and posted on Facebook.

What to Do?

If you have the affected product in your possession, stop feeding it to your pets.

And throw it away in a secure container where other animals, including wildlife, cannot access it.

Consumers who have had this product in their homes should clean refrigerators/freezers where the product was stored and clean and disinfect all bowls, utensils, food prep surfaces, pet bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with.

Clean up the pet’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to https://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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As before, the more this can be shared the better.

Pet-proofing your apartment – a guest post.

A guest post about dogs.

Or rather about protecting an apartment.

I was contacted about three weeks ago by a Jenny Harrison who wondered if I would be interested in posting a guest post. I said that I was and we settled on the following. Enjoy!

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What Is the Best Way to Pet-Proof an Apartment?

By Jenny Harrison.

There isn’t any doubt that pets are great companions to have around. Not only will they encourage you to be more active, but they look forward to seeing you after you have been out all day. Now the thing is if you plan on leaving your pet alone in your apartment, there is always a chance they might harm themselves. Keeping a pet in an apartment is tricky, but it is not something you can’t pull off. 

If you worry about your pet being alone at home, you should definitely look into pet-proofing your apartment. To learn more about pet-proofing your home, and the best ways you can go about doing so, read on. 

Organize your Living Space

You will find it incredibly cute that your pet pulls on anything and everything it comes across, but it is unsafe. You will not want your pet around electrical cords, blind cords, earbud cords and any wire or cord for that matter. Keep everything wrapped up and tidy. Leave no stone unturned to make your living space free from cords or laces of any type. 

For things your pet loves to chew on i.e. cushions, shoes, or even paper, make it a point to keep them away. If your pet is tearing things up, especially your dog, then it is a sign they are restless. Take your pet out as much as you can so they are calm and relaxed at home. 

Pet-Proof your Furniture 

Cats are known for leaving claw marks on couches. All cat owners are familiar with this, but that does not mean you can’t do anything about it. You can cat-proof your couch with the help of cat-deterrent sprays or stick furniture strips, that will make it uncomfortable for your cat to use your couch as a scratching post. 

Dogs aren’t any better when it comes to couches, since they shed their fur, chew and leave their scent. To deal with dogs get a blanket or cover for furniture, but keep it reserved for your pet alone. If the smell gets to you or your guests, then get a furniture spray. 

Another great way to solve this problem is by getting furniture that can’t be chewed and is unattractive to pets; so that is a no to furniture with fluffy cushions and wooden legs. Also, if your pet does not refrain from sitting or sleeping on the couch, then get a couch that matches with your pet’s coat of fur, so it is not visible. 

Install Baby Gates

For pets that are too noisy, it is a good idea to install baby gates. You can install baby gates in areas you want to keep them out from. This is especially useful for those times when you will be out for longer than usual, and can’t exactly keep an eye on them. 

If your pet is too big, and won’t be held back by baby gates, then a crate might just do the trick. If you opt for this option, ask someone to check out your pet in the apartment, and take them out for a walk, more specifically if it is a dog. 

Give your Pets their own Space

One of the biggest reasons your pet will want to sit on your bed, couch or anywhere else they should not be in the first place, is because it looks comfortable. Another reason they will want to do so is that they want to be close to you. 

Enough emphasis cannot be placed on the fact that you need to give your pet their own space. Get a bed for them and don’t be surprised if they snub it at first. Remember, it takes time for pets to get used to change, and if you want them off your bed or couch, then you will have to be consistent about teaching them to sit or sleep in their own cozy little bed. 

Keep away Cleaners

Animals are curious creatures so you need to treat them like children. You cannot expect them to stay clear of stuff, like cleaners for instance, so you might as well remove them from their sight. Since some cleaners consist of harmful chemicals, you can’t let this one slide. 

Cats love licking themselves clean, not excluding their paws, which would come in contact with the floor you just cleaned with chemicals. So the next time you go shopping for cleaning products, take your pet into consideration. You should look into “green alternatives”, or better yet, you can concoct your own with a hot water and vinegar solution.  

Prepare to Clean… A lot!

Living with a pet in an apartment means you should be ready for anything. You will have to deal with expected as well as unexpected cleanups. 

Keep a lint roller within your reach to remove fur stuck to your furniture. As for the carpets, get new ones installed, the kind that comes with a unique stain resistant technology. It may cost you a bit, but it will make cleaning accidents a breeze. 

There are a lot of great ways you can pet-proof your apartment, so it is up to you to decide what will work and what won’t. Since you know your pet better, adapt and overcome challenges as they come your way. But remember, your pet’s safety should be your top priority. 

The aforementioned tips should be part of your apartment move in checklist if you have a pet, or you are getting a pet in the apartment for the first time. No matter the case, make it a point to do a bit of homework on your own to ensure you are not getting in way over your head. 

If you need help, ask your friends or family, especially those who already know how to deal with pets. Pet-proofing your home may seem difficult at first, but it does not require much time or effort to pull off, so don’t get overwhelmed. 

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It is a useful document and one that would find itself valuable in the right situation.

For your reference Jenny included her bio. It is as follow:

Jenny Harrison is a passionate home and lifestyle blogger. She loves to engage with readers who are seeking home and lifestyle-related information on the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community. Currently, she is associated with New York moving company ‘All Around Moving Services Company Inc.’ Specializes in arranging and assembling services of professional and skilled local movers locally in New York City as well as areas in New Jersey, Connecticut and the Miami Dale area in South Florida. Follow her on twitter @MJennyHarrison for more updates.

Helping those shelters

Helping us all help others.

In yesterday’s post there were a number of links to charities that are working so hard to help the dogs and cats in the face of Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence will bring tropical storm conditions to North Carolina and South Carolina on Thursday and hurricane conditions on Friday. This satellite image was captured around 1:45 p.m. ET Wednesday.
NOAA/STAR

Here are the details if any of you wish to support them.

Grenville Humane Society

Their website is here: https://www.greenvillehumane.com

Pender County Animal Shelter

Their Facebook page is here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Animal-Shelter/Pender-County-Animal-Shelter-Pender-Pets-1431469803817297/

Atlanta Humane Society

Their website is here: https://atlantahumane.org

Best Friends Animal Society

Their Facebook page is here:  https://www.facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety/

Please, dear people, if you know of others that should be on this list then please add it as a comment. I will update the post with those details and leave this post up for both today, Friday, and tomorrow.

Finally here is the website address for The Humane Society of the United States. I know that they are also active in the area.

http://www.humanesociety.org

Spot and Me, Part Two

The second part of Colette’s essay on training Spot!

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Chapter Four – Training Time

Tom had told me that Spot now knew ‘heel,’ ‘this way’ (left), and ‘that way’ (right), as commands.
So, while Tom’s indicators for right and left were a bit vague, I worked with them.

All verbal commands are totally useless to a dog.

Dogs do not communicate verbally, except as aggression or warning barks. The rest of their social behaviour is non-verbal, reading body language, facial expression (which is the key difference between them and wolves, who do not read human faces), and some measure of reading intention into the non-verbal pictures in their heads. So to train a dog one needs hand signalling accompanied by verbal cues which dogs learn by rote (constant repetition).

Spot looked at me quizzically as I went to fetch the rope harness, then a devilish glint caught his eye as he jumped trying to catch it in his mouth. I snatched it behind my back and hid it from his view, whilst making him sit!

First treat for a good result.

As soon as the choke rope appeared again, the same thing! Spot jumped for it.  So I repeated hiding it and commanded, “Spot, Sit“. On the third try, Spot stayed seated as commanded by my gesture with my hand held out, palm down to indicate that I wanted him to “Spot stay“. As I slipped the loop of the choke rope over his head, he received a treat and a ‘Good Boy!’ fussing to indicate that this is what I wanted.

A dog soon realises that he is not the Alpha when your hand signals dictate what should be done and how. A dog like Spot takes time as he has yet to learn all the hand movements and facial expressions we make when wanting our wishes followed by our doggy friends. Treat rewards are the reinforcement initially, but the “good boy” and hug is also given. Eventually replacing the constant treats as it is more of a reward and helps the dog to feel secure in its actions.

Spot learned through repetition to look up at the face of Tom, to know what to do. Now he had to learn to do the same with me. I always preceded the commands with “Spot.” He recognised his name, so it focused his attention for each new gesture and word.

He soon got the hang of it. We trotted around the house together with Spot enjoying the game of walking slowly, this way and that.

We progressed to the Yard, and due to Tom’s diligence, Spot did well here too, only occasionally forgetting to stay to ‘heel,’ as a distraction caught his attention. Tom had done really well in just four days.

I took Spot to the gate and opened it. Here, Spot lost his head entirely, trying to speed out through the opening and up the roadway, nearly strangling himself in the process. I brought him back in through the gate, and went to fetch the new, larger, black harness that I had purchased before arriving.

Harness’s are not the best thing to have on a dog. People use them for two reasons. The first is because their dog pulls and trys to go faster than their people, and they, of course, don’t want to see their dog choking. The second reason, somewhat related to the first, is that the harness offers a bit of protection if a dog falls from a height and the lead gets caught. This latter reason for a harness is actually not as good a solution as having a loose collar that the dog can wriggle free from.

I prefer a loose collar, but the amount of pulling that Spot is doing is too much and needs to be trained out first so I put his new harness on preempting Spot’s desire to chew it with a quick routine that didn’t give him time to think about it.

Now normally, I would use a lead in two hands. The left, keeping the lead straight up to my hand (in other words, no slack) where I keep a ‘short lead’ to keep the dog next to me. The slack is taken up across me, holding the handle in my right hand. This allows an ability to give a bit more length quickly when needed, but also to quickly retrieve it when you need a ‘short lead’ again.

Pauline had requested that I train to her right hand, rather than left, so the above principles were easily reversed.

Tom had already shown me how sore his hands had become, trying to keep Spot on a short lead with my preferred method. After I experienced just how hard Spot pulled I put him on a doubled chain lead, to shorten it, that I found in Pauline’s drawer for failed apparatus. Clipping it to his harness, it would give me the control I needed without causing hurt to either Spot or Me!

In addition to the harness chain, I repositioned the choke rope around Spot’s neck. We set out again through the gate. Spot immediately began to pull, so a new command of “Spot Round” came into force. I swept my arm around me indicating that Spot had to turn back. He quickly got this but was confused as to why.

As I brought him around, I brought him in to face a barrier; my legs. “Spot Stay!” I said, holding my hand palm out to his face. There I would keep him (obviously with a treat reward) until he calmed down. Then we would try again. The rope choke transmitted from me the subtle indicators as I requested movements from Spot to move accordingly.

Spot gradually got it and his walking slowed considerably but not enough for Pauline to cope with on a walk. Asthma had turned Pauline into a ‘shuffler’ so trying to walk like Pauline I incorporated the words “slowly, slowly” using a hand sign that we all use to slow traffic. Spot learned this really well.

All this new stuff was tiring for Spot. So when we reached the area where frogs and cats were lurking about he could no longer concentrate. True to Tom’s words, Spot went bonkers, yelping, pulling, slavering and not listening at all. Time to head home. Spot ate his breakfast of dry dog food and chicken (refused earlier in the day) and then after some happy wag tails, curled up in his bed and went to sleep.

Chapter Five – Frogs, Cats, Dogs and Goats

Spot’s home was in a rural location and a goat herder regularly brought his small herd past the house.
Pauline was afraid that Spot would catch some horrible disease from them so had always tried to shut Spot away in the house as soon as they appeared. Spot had developed a pathological nervousness that translated into apoplectic barking and jumping at the windows whenever the goats appeared. Pauline was convinced that the goat herder intentionally goaded Spot by whistling. In reality, his dogs were distracted by a maniacal dog jumping up at a window so the goat herder whistled to call them to attention again. He couldn’t herd his goats without his dogs.

I heard the clanking of the goat bells just as Spot launched into his tirade at the window. Normally, Pauline would yell at him to stop barking, usually in vain. I went over to the window that Spot was now paddling with his front paws. I looked over at the herd and then held Spot firmly under his legs stilling his jumping. I was calm and said “Spot – Goats are Friends.

Now this in itself is not enough, because Spot does not understand words. But Spot, like most dogs, does understand intentions. I focused my mind on goats being good animals worthy of kindness and cuddled Spot, saying “It’s OK! Thank you for telling me!

Gradually, Spot learned that ‘Friend’ meant kindness and not a threat to him or anyone else. Even on this first attempt, Spot stopped barking and instead enjoyed the cuddle, and gradually, over time, Spot realised that “Thank you for telling me” meant that I was now in control of the situation and he could step down and let me be the Alpha to deal with it.
Later on, the goats bells never even raised a whisker as soon as I said “It’s OK, Friends!

On some of our walks, we met loose dogs. One was friendly, but the rest were rural farm dogs and they all had a tendency to protect their farm territory including the roadway.
I would not let Spot interact with these dogs. Spot knew my commands and the little tug indicators on the choke rope kept us walking past with Spot not making eye contact with these dogs. Nor did I. There was no conflict! The friendly dog came up and sniffed Spot, but again, I kept the interaction short and Spot carried on walking.

Cats were a different prospect. For some reason, Spot only wanted to give chase and I could only think that he had been encouraged to be so determined a chaser. When the cats appeared, I stopped Spot from walking. The cats came nearer and sat about two feet away. Spot shook from head to toes as he whimpered. I held him steady, getting down next to him to cuddle him.

While he was behaved, he was too over-excited even to accept his treat. He was like a wound-up spring ready to explode. Lip licking and yawning told me that he was stressed. “Friends” I said, stroking Spot to calm him. That was as far as we got. It was time to take him away from this ‘threat’ and take him home. But the progress had been in him not barking, yelping or trying to chase the kitties.

It was a similar thing with frogs in a little roadside culvert. They splashed and swam in the shallow water. Spot was fascinated, but the word “Friends” stopped him short of going in to catch them. He was learning.

Chapter Six – Getting beyond the Gate

Pauline was terrified of losing her dog. She had a specific routine around the gate; a locked sliding edifice that really took the strength of two hands to pull open. She would pick Spot up and wedge him under her arm whilst struggling, almost one-armed, to push the gate.

I trained Spot to stand still and “wait” until I had opened the gate and then the “OK!” command was given for him to move. Training treats worked really well to get a perfect score rate on this command. I used it every day to open and to close the gate for our walks. It didn’t matter if Spot was off the lead, it still worked. The biggest key to this was consistency. I never changed the command and kept it a constant reminder for whenever Pauline needed Spot to wait for her, wherever he was.

I used “wait” as different from “stay.” Tom said that he couldn’t see the difference. I explained that “stay” meant to stay in position, i.e. to stay sitting, or to stay lying down. “Wait”, indicated with slightly waving fingers, was to indicate that he wasn’t to go on further without me, (or Pauline), but didn’t dictate a position. If Spot spent his time waiting, sniffing the ground or scratching, it didn’t matter as long as he waited to continue his walk only when I was ready.

I also trained Spot to “stay” while I walked away from him. This was gradually at increased distances. When I was ready, I would pat my knees and give the “Spot Come” command. He would spring into action and bound towards me as fast as a greyhound for his reward of a little food treat and a big hug human-style, gradually weaning him on to only the hug. I taught Spot these commands for his safety. With just this handful of commands, Pauline could keep Spot safe if there was traffic on the road and be sure he would come to her once any threat was gone. The gate would never be a problem again.

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Even as I was reading it when preparing today’s post I was thinking of how much I was learning from Colette’s advice. Thankfully, all our dogs are incredibly easy to manage. Indeed, if ‘manage’ is the right word for on a day-to-day basis the dogs intuitively know how our/their days pan out.

The final part of this most interesting essay will be along tomorrow!

The Sound of Sadness!

Why is is that some things so profoundly affect one?

In working my way through magazines and other stuff that I wanted to read following being away for nearly three weeks, I came across a report published by the University of Exeter, back in England, about the effect of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.

Deteriorating Great Barrier Reef hushed: young fish no longer hear their way home

Degraded coral reefs are far quieter than five years ago, and no longer sound like a suitable habitat to young fish searching for a place to live and breed, according to research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Baby fish looking for a home can use noisy coral reef sounds including snapping shrimp clicks, damselfish chirps, and clownfish chattering to locate and select suitable habitat. But that “coral reef orchestra” has been quietened following recent cyclone and coral-bleaching damage on the Great Barrier Reef, raising fears that young fish may no longer hear their way home.

An international team of scientists, led by the University of Exeter, carried out field experiments on the Northern Great Barrier Reef and found that reefs sound much quieter and less acoustically diverse than they did before three years of cyclones and coral bleaching.

The soundscapes of these recently-degraded reefs are less attractive to juvenile fishes attracting 40% fewer fish compared to the sound of previous healthy reefs.

Lead author Tim Gordon, a marine biologist at the University of Exeter, said: “It’s heart-breaking to hear. The usual pops, chirps, snaps and chatters of countless fish and invertebrates have disappeared. The symphony of the sea is being silenced.”

This loss of attractiveness of reef sounds to fish in the sea could have devastating consequences for reefs.

I know I am far from being alone in feeling great sadness at this aspect of our changing planet.

So before I republish the rest of that University of Exeter paper take a few minutes and watch this YouTube video about the Australian Barrier Reef

Then listen to this mp3 file that is a recording of the sounds of a healthy reef.

This is the balance of that news item published by the University.

Fish communities are instrumental to maintaining healthy reefs by removing algae, facilitating coral growth, contributing to nutrient cycles and keeping food webs in balance. Damaged reefs with healthy fish populations recover faster than reefs that have lost their fish.

Harry Harding, co-author from the University of Bristol, explains: “If fish aren’t hearing their way home anymore, that could be bad news for the recovery prospects of reefs. Fish play critical roles on coral reefs, grazing away harmful algae and allowing coral to grow. A reef without fish is a reef that’s in trouble.”

Coral reef animals produce a dazzling array of sounds to communicate with each other while hunting, to warn each other about the approach of predators and to impress each other during courtship. Together, these sounds combine to form a soundscape that can be heard for miles around. This soundscape provides a valuable cue for young fish to locate and select habitat after a period of early development in the open ocean.

Gordon said: “Being able to hear the difference really drives home the fact that our coral reefs are being decimated. Some of the most beautiful places on Earth are dying due to human activity, and it is up to us to fix it.”

The scientists from the University of Exeter, University of Bristol, Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), Duke University (USA), the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University (Australia) built experimental reefs from coral rubble on sand flats, then used underwater loudspeakers to broadcast healthy coral reef sounds or degraded coral reef sounds, to see which sounds attracted more young fish.

Senior author Steve Simpson, Associate Professor in Marine Biology & Global Change at the University of Exeter, said: “Over the last 15 years my research group have discovered how important sound can be for fish to locate and select specific reefs. We have marvelled at the remarkable diversity and complexity of coral reef soundscapes. But in the last few years the reefs we know and love have died before our eyes. And the deserted and crumbling rubble fields have turned eerily quiet.”

Professor Simpson added: “If the reefs have gone quiet, then the chances of the next generation of fish recolonising the reefs are much reduced. Without fish, the reefs can’t recover.”

Warming seas increase the frequency and severity of coral bleaching events worldwide, as higher temperatures cause a breakdown in the relationship between corals and the zooxanthellae that they host in their tissue, providing their energy through photosynthesis.

This bleaching recently killed up to 80% of corals in some areas of the Great Barrier Reef, and bleaching events of this nature are happening worldwide four times more frequently than they used to.

Reductions in carbon emissions are needed to reduce this damage, as Gordon explains: “The damage we’ve done to reefs worldwide is horrific, but the fight isn’t over yet. If we can fulfil our international commitments to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, it’s still possible to protect some of the reefs that are left. The time for action is now.”

Date: 30 April 2018

Dear people, the time for action is now!

Our internet safety!

Completely overwhelmed by all you wonderful followers.

Yesterday, around mid-morning time, the number of good persons who are following this blog reached 3,000!

That is both wonderful and hugely generous of each and every one of you that ‘subscribes’ to this place.

I was going to publish another guest post but will delay that for twenty-four hours.

For as a mark of respect for all of you online people who have signed up to follow Learning from Dogs I want to republish a recent item that appeared on The Conversation site.

Here it is. Republished within the terms of The Conversation.

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Improve your internet safety: 4 essential reads

by    Science + Technology Editor, The Conversation US

On Feb. 6, technology companies, educators and others mark Safer Internet Day and urge people to improve their online safety. Many scholars and academic researchers around the U.S. are studying aspects of cybersecurity and have identified ways people can help themselves stay safe online. Here are a few highlights from their work.

1. Passwords are a weakness

With all the advice to make passwords long, complex and unique – and not reused from site to site – remembering passwords becomes a problem, but there’s help, writes Elon University computer scientist Megan Squire:

“The average internet user has 19 different passwords. … Software can help! The job of password management software is to take care of generating and remembering unique, hard-to-crack passwords for each website and application.”

That’s a good start.

2. Use a physical key

To add another layer of protection, keep your most important accounts locked with an actual physical key, writes Penn State-Altoona information sciences and technology professor Jungwoo Ryoo:

“A new, even more secure method is gaining popularity, and it’s a lot like an old-fashioned metal key. It’s a computer chip in a small portable physical form that makes it easy to carry around. The chip itself contains a method of authenticating itself.”

Just don’t leave your keys on the table at home.

3. Protect your data in the cloud

Many people store documents, photos and even sensitive private information in cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud. That’s not always the safest practice because of where the data’s encryption keys are stored, explains computer scientist Haibin Zhang at University of Maryland, Baltimore County:

“Just like regular keys, if someone else has them, they might be stolen or misused without the data owner knowing. And some services might have flaws in their security practices that leave users’ data vulnerable.”

So check with your provider, and consider where to best store your most important data.

4. Don’t forget about the rest of the world

Sadly, in the digital age, nowhere is truly safe. Jeremy Straub from North Dakota State University explains how physical objects can be used to hijack your smartphone:

“Attackers may find it very attractive to embed malicious software in the physical world, just waiting for unsuspecting people to scan it with a smartphone or a more specialized device. Hidden in plain sight, the malicious software becomes a sort of ‘sleeper agent’ that can avoid detection until it reaches its target.”

It’s a reminder that using the internet more safely isn’t just a one-day effort.

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So be safe all of you! It’s a very different world to that of twenty or more years ago!