Tigers Kill Drone–video

 

WATCH: In The War Between Tigers And Drone, Chalk One Up For Tigers

 VIDEO:  Click on full-screen box, lower right.
YouTube

Never underestimate a tiger, no matter how fat.

It’s an enduring truth we’d all do well to remember — and one that attendants at a tiger enclosure at the Siberian Tiger Park in China’s Heilongjiang province have learned all over again.

They scrambled a flying drone to catch the attention of some of the, let’s say, bigger big cats and get them some exercise. Trouble is, the tigers managed to track down the drone and bat it out of the air.

Then, naturally, the Siberian tigers tried to eat it.

Happily, all of it was caught on film, which you can watch above, courtesy of China Central Television. From the dramatic chase to the quadcopter’s grim end … to the quadcopter’s revenge from beyond the grave, when it startled the tigers as it started smoking. Eventually, the staff retrieved it from the tigers’ big mitts.

As NPR’s Bill Chappell reported last year, this isn’t the only small victory tigers have recently racked up. In 2016, the World Wildlife Fund announced that for the first time in a century the population of tigers in the wild rose, getting a 20 percent boost in numbers since 2010.

That said, National Geographic notes that Siberian tigers remain endangered, threatened by poaching and loss of habitat.

Pronghorn Encounter

 

I enjoy seeing pronghorns, maybe because they’re pretty with interesting marking like their incomplete neck bands, because they’re small, 32 -41 inches, and because they’re innocent, vegetarians–unlike some animals we admire.

On one  trip, we had gotten into Utah, west of the Rockies, without seeing even one pronghorn, and I was disappointed. Until I saw a group of animals lying on the ground ahead of us, just beyond a fence.

Could be, yes!  Alice, STOP.

Momentum took our car beyond the dozen  pronghorns, so I started walking back, watching the one standing, probably a guard?  Then another stood up, Some others raised their heads.  One by one they all stood . . . and then they were gone, tight group of white butts growing smaller quickly at 55 miles an hour.

Maybe a half mile away, they stopped and stood.  Looking back at me, the great threat?  I don’t remember.

Why are pronghorns often seen close to a fence?  I think because they can’t jump it.  They are classified closer to giraffes and goats than to the beautiful jumpers, the antelopes.  

VIDEO

STILL PHOTOS

MORE INFO

RJN

 

 

Fastest Animal? Answer

Beyond doubt, the fastest animal in the world is the human, who can sail at 500 MPH, 4 miles above the Earth, and enjoy free peanuts and bottled water and a nap on the way.

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Susan is right of course in that the cheetah is the fastest land animal.    But there are birds up there and fish down there.  This list considers everybody.

For the greatest momentary speed, not considering distance, endurance, survival, we have ( source)

10 Fastest Animals On Earth

 How fast can you run? Research suggests that human beings could run as fast as 40 miles an hour—in theory—but sprint speeds average to closer to 12-15 mph.

You may be thinking, “that’s not too shabby,” but as you will see, a 15 mph sprint would not be enough to win a race with any of the fastest animals on earth. Many animals can go much faster than we can—some of them predatory. What is the fastest animal on earth? Let’s find out.

1. Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon (Wikimedia)

Peregrine Falcon (Wikimedia)

Birds have something of an advantage when it comes to speed, for obvious reasons. The peregrine falcon is particularly swift, capable of reaching speeds of up to 200 mph while at a dive, making it a fearsome hunter. ( diving on lunch is called “stooping” RJN))  The rest of the time it does not fly this fast, but that hardly matters to its prey. It is the fastest animal on the planet when in a dive.

2. Frigate Bird

Frigate Bird (Wikimedia)

Frigate Bird (Wikimedia)

This spectacular avian makes the peregrine falcon look slow by comparison. It can reach speeds of up to 95 miles per hour—much faster than you drive on the highway. It has the largest wingspan to body weight ratio and can stay in the air for intensely long periods. Sometimes these birds do not touch down for over week at a time. How’s that for speed and endurance?

3. Sail Fish

Sail Fish (Wikimedia)

Sail Fish (Wikimedia)

What is the fastest sea animal? That honor goes to the sail fish, which can read speeds up to 68 miles per hour—again possibly faster than you are used to driving on the highway. Can you imagine a fish racing alongside your vehicle and keeping up with you? That’s one fast sea animal. The characteristic sail is used when the fish is frightened in order to intimidate threatening animals. The rest of the time, it is kept folded up.

4. Cheetah

Cheetah (Wikimedia)

Cheetah (Wikimedia)

The fastest animal in the world is of course the cheetah. This animal is actually only slightly faster than the pronghorn antelope, and can reach speeds of up to 61 miles per hour. This record was set by an 11 year old cheetah in 2012 named Sarah. Unlike most of the other animals on this list, the cheetah is a predator. It represents a serious threat to animals on this list that inhabit the same geographic areas (not just grasslands, but forest environments as well).

The cheetah is a sprinter, not a long distance runner, but pairs agility with speed for deadly attack runs. Cheetahs are also very fast accelerators, and can ramp up their speed four times faster than human beings can. They can also pull to a stop extremely fast. It is also interesting to note that the speed and agility of the cheetah is not matched by strength. The cheetah is fairly fragile and will lose in most fights with other predators. As a result, they will quickly surrender prey to competitors. An injured cheetah may not be able to run quickly, which can put its life in danger.  (The cheetah will stalk their prey to within 100–300 m (330–980 ft); it will try to approach it as closely as possible while concealing itself in cover, sometimes even up to 60 m (200 ft) of the prey. The cheetah will crouch and move slowly while stalking, occasionally becoming motionless.[14] The chase usually lasts less than a minute; if the cheetah fails to make a kill quickly, it will give up. Cheetahs have an average hunting success rate of 40 to 50%. Wikipedia)

5. Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope (Wikimedia)

Pronghorn Antelope (Wikimedia)

This antelope (not an antelope though lots of Americans call it that.  RJN) takes second place among land animals for speed. It can easily out-sprint most predators at speeds as high as 60 miles per hour. Interestingly enough, a pronghorn antelope is not actually an old world antelope, and is native to North America. Actual antelopes are quite fast as well, but not as fast as the pronghorn. Also curious is the fact that the pronghorn is far faster than the predators which inhabit North America. This seems to indicate that it evolved its great speed at some point in the past under the threat of a now-extinct predator, perhaps the American cheetah.

The pronghorn has a number of special adaptations that allow it to function at high speeds, including cushioned, pointed toes to absorb shock, and extra large organs that assist with air intake.

6. Blue Wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest (Wikimedia)

Blue Wildebeest (Wikimedia)

Another swift land animal which also inhabits the plains is the blue wildebeest. They are not quite as fast as the pronghorn, but are still pretty impressive at around 50 miles per hour.

7. Lion

Lion (Wikimedia)

Lion (Wikimedia)

Unfortunately for the blue wildebeest, the lion’s fastest speed almost exactly matches. Lions can chase down their prey at around 50 miles per hour, making them extremely deadly predators on the plains.

8. Thomson’s Gazelle

Thomson’s Gazelle (Wikimedia)

Thomson’s Gazelle (Wikimedia)

This is another creature in the same category as wildebeests and lions, also capable of running at around 50 miles per hour. Chases between lions and cheetahs and gazelles can be quite intense as a result of the close speed matching. Unfortunately for Thomson’s gazelles, they are the preferred prey of cheetahs, the fastest animal on our list.

9. Brown Hare

Brown Hare (Wikimedia)

Brown Hare (Wikimedia)

One of the smallest animals on our list is the brown hare. This little creature can run extremely fast, reaching speeds of up to 47 miles per hour. The story of the tortoise and the hare is famous for a reason. Hares really are incredibly fast creatures, and they are capable of outrunning the majority of other animals.

10. Elk

Elk (Wikimedia)

Elk (Wikimedia)

There are a number of animals which run faster than the elk, but the elk deserves a mention because it is a good deal larger and less “swift” looking than a gazelle or antelope. Elks can be quite large, but their size and build should not deceive you. The elk is capable of running at speeds as high as 45 miles per hour. Do not make an elk angry. If it charges you, it is going to win.

As you can see, there are some impressively fast animals on the land, as well as in the sea and air. These remarkable animals showcase the many different ways that creatures can adapt to fulfill the role of either predator or herbivore. While we may be at the top of the food chain thanks to our tools and inventions, we are easily outclassed when it comes to speed. Many of these creatures are as fast as the cars we have constructed to get from place to place at a reasonable pace. If that isn’t a humbling thought, what is?

VIDEO

Here’s another way of looking at the whole question.

 

 

 

Homes for Retired Animals ?


After show, housing animals is circus

Finding sites hard with U.S. awash in ex-performers

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s elephants are already retired, living on the company’s conservation center in Florida. (Orlando Sentinel)

By Karin Brulliard  The Washington Post (Chicago Tribune 1.27.17

When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey folds its circus tents in May, about 400 people will be out of a job.

So will dozens of animals.

The show’s famous elephants are already retired, now living out their days on the company’s conservation center in Florida.

Some acts, like the dogs and the lions, are owned by their handlers and will remain with them.

But the kangaroos, horses, camels, tigers and others belong to Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling, which has said it will find them suitable homes.

Stephen Payne, a spokesman, said those locations have not yet been chosen, but that wherever the creatures land will “have to meet our high animal care standards.”

Their options include zoos and private owners, but former circus animals often end up at the animal sanctuaries that dot the nation, which vary widely in quality. Those might not have much trouble taking in horses or kangaroos, but tigers, bears and other large carnivores are another matter.

Failed roadside zoos and refuges, abandoned exotic pets and crackdowns on circuses have created a swelling menagerie of wild animals that need homes with lots of land, lots of food and proper enclosures.

Payne said Feld owns about 18 tigers, which will likely join a steady stream of big cats in search of shelter.

“We will do anything we can do to help them place their tigers, I’ll say that right now,” said Ed Stewart, the president of the California-based Performing Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS, a longtime Ringling adversary that this month took in eight tigers from a failed sanctuary in Colorado.

“But it’s not going to be easy, because all legitimate sanctuaries are full of tigers right now.”

The demand for wild animal accommodation is rising out of trends that animal welfare activists and sanctuary owners welcome, such as an increasing public distaste for entertainment and research involving animals and bans against circuses in U.S. cities and several Latin American countries.

But they say it is also a sign of the shocking ease with which Americans can acquire exotic animals, as well as the big money involved in breeding bear cubs and other creatures that sell for thousands of dollars.

Tigers are the emblems of this crisis of homeless wild animals, though bears are also “ridiculously hard to place,” said Kellie Heckman, executive director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, which has accredited 132 U.S. sanctuaries, only 11 of which accommodate big cats.

Ordinary people adopt cubs as pets, and some zoos and refuges let visitors take photos with them, a practice animal welfare advocates condemn.

But cute cubs grow into aggressive adolescents within a matter of months, and those used for entertainment often don’t perform for many years.

U.S. officials and conservation groups estimate 5,000 to 10,000 tigers live in the United States, far more than in the wild. Until recently, dozens of them resided at Serenity Springs, an unaccredited Colorado sanctuary that bred big cats, offered photos with cubs and had been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for animal welfare violations.

Last fall, it was sold to a respected sanctuary in Arkansas, which has since been finding new homes for 110 animals, mostly cats.

“The sanctuary community cannot continue to be the dumping ground for all of those that make a profit off animals — whether that is using them for cub photos, circus acts or any commercial purpose. There just isn’t enough capacity,” Heckman said. “Building more sanctuary enclosures is not the answer. We need to regulate who can have exotic animals and for what purposes.”

Laws vary by animal and by state.

Some states have bans or require permits, while five do not restrict keeping dangerous wild animals. Last year, the federal government finalized two regulations aimed at increasing oversight of the American tiger population.

Advocates say they are hopeful the Ringling closure might generate momentum for two federal bills, which the company opposed, to ban private ownership and breeding of big cats as well as the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows.

Representatives of accredited sanctuaries say they’re eager to help find homes for the Ringling animals. Susan Bass, the spokeswoman for Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, said its founder had offered assistance in an email to chief executive Kenneth Feld. The sanctuary would be able to add some of the tigers to its population of 80 cats big and small, Bass said.

Among the Big Cat Rescue animals are five tigers from Serenity Springs, as well as Hoover, a recently arrived tiger that had spent his life traveling Peru in a circus wagon. That country banned performing exotic animals in 2011.

Feeding and caring for each tiger costs the sanctuary about $10,000 a year, Bass said.

“As far as we know, (Hoover had) never been able to roll around on the grass or have access to a body of water to play in,” Bass said. The tiger, who today lives on an acre of land with lakefront access, seemed startled when he first dipped his paw in the lake, but “he swims day and night now.”

Such initial bewilderment is common to circus animals, many of which have never had room to roam, said Pat Craig, executive director of the Wild Animal Sanctuary, a 720-acre Colorado spread that is home to 450 large carnivores. It recently took in two tigers from Mexico, part of an influx created after exotic animals in circuses were outlawed there. After Bolivia passed a similar ban, the sanctuary had received 25 lions.

One of the Mexico tigers, Craig said, is nearly paralyzed, probably because of an injury. For years it had been housed in a crate.

“It’s a huge load for our medical team to work on her, to get her back into shape,” he said.

But that tiger is lucky: Although the sanctuary takes in more than 100 animals each year, resource limitations force him to turn down 50 percent of the animals he’s asked to take.

Still, Craig emphasized that he could find space for Ringling animals.

Stewart, the California sanctuary director, echoed that. His main 2,300-acre facility houses a former Ringling elephant, one of three retired circus elephants on the property. Another used to ride a tricycle during the Hawthorn Corp.’s circuses.

Other animals under PAWS care, which include lynxes and monkeys, have complicated back stories, having been passed from owner to owner, he said.

“There’s no line between, ‘This is a pet animal, a roadside zoo animal, a circus animal,’ ” Stewart said. “They could be any one of those categories in their lifetime. They’re just a commodity.”

 

MICHAEL and the BEES

Alice’s son, Michael Foote,  his wife, Rachel Brodie, and their little son, River, live on their mountain-side farm in northern Vermont.  The upper part of their land is level with a vegetable garden, berry patch, and pasture for visiting horses. The property is wooded below that, falling to a stream that supported a beaver family until a neighbor shot them. Last Christmas, they gave jars of honey to friends and family with this letter.  RJN

___________________________________

Christmas, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Here is a jar of pure, unfiltered, naturally crystallized honey from my bees on Swamp Road to you.

Rachel thinks the rest of this letter makes me sound like an old Vermonter.  I take that as a compliment, so here we go!

Then: my brother Jesse and I received a grant while undergrads to buy bees, and we started the hives at Dartmouth College. The next summer, we drove them to Scout camp to offer the bee-keeping merit badge as well as to continue our study.

Now: It’s been a fun little adventure to get to this point–from buying a box of bees to where I actually have honey in containers.  This is my fourth year keeping bees.  The first year was a disaster.  I tried to be a little too creative, testing an alternative hive method before I knew enough to be doing that.

Displaying Top bar hive.jpgTop bar hive: My first hive, an alternative method, didn’t last the winter.

My first hive did not survive the winter, succumbing to an overwintering mouse.  If a mouse gets into a hive in winter, it can exhaust the honey reserve.  The mouse was cute, but seeing the pile of dead bees in spring was heartbreaking.

I started with the basics the second year, using a tried-and-true structure for raising bees.   I purchased mail-order bees (Italian and Carniolan bees) and dumped them into a couple of hives I had built from kits.  I was always worried about them.  When it was cold out, I assumed they were cold.  I wrapped them in insulation and anxiously pressed my ears up to the hives to hear the telltale buzz of life.  When it rained for several days, I assumed they would be in need of food, so I fed them sugar water and a pollen substitute.  I didn’t let them just be bees.  Still, whether my parenting style had anything to do with it, my bees did thrive that year.

In my third year, I purchased a Vermont mongrel hive that had been bred to thrive in northern climates.  I liked the Italian bees, but the Carniolan bees have been grumpy, so I was looking for a more docile, better adapted bee.  I relaxed a bit, and still the hives did very well, each producing about 200 pounds of honey.

Displaying Apiary.JPGApiary: A photo of three of my hives in the bee yard.

Going into my fourth, most recent yearI attempted to split some of my hives in two and start the summer with 8.  All but one split thrived and I took about 150 pounds of honey in all.  Not much, but a newly split hive must build its comb as well as store honey.

Displaying Splitting.JPG  Splitting: I made two hives from one, simply be splitting it in two. The queenless hive made a new queen to become “queen right.”

Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen.

Displaying New home.JPG·        Swarm: One of my hives sent out a swarm, which I then caught and put in a new hive. Unfortunately it didn’t stay.

Displaying Swarm.JPG

I tried to capture a couple of swarms this year.  A swarm of bees lingers near its original hive for only a short period before moving to its new home.  I was late.

 

Displaying Very active.JPG  Very active: A warm summer day, lots of food to collect.

Luckily, in this neck of the woods, I don’t have the problem of the well-publicized colony collapse disorder where hives oddly become active in the middle of winter, leave, and die.  From my reading, I understand that saturation of the environment with pesticides and other chemicals, including neo-nicotinoids, is to blame.  Neo-nicotinoids are a major factor in the decimation of pollinators everywhere and in the build-up of chemicals in our own bodies.  Our nearby town of Richmond is aware of these chemicals and fairly progressive, to the benefit of my bees. Their honey is probably safer for us to eat than some produced elsewhere.

Future: I hope to try my hand at queen-rearing this coming spring to boost my hive numbers.  (You grow a queen, give the queen a couple frames of bees, and your hive takes off.)  I’m also hoping to plant a half-acre of Anise Hyssop for the bees to give their honey a hint of anise flavor.

I plan to pursue organic certification eventually, but, for the time being, I’m doing as much as I can to be environment- and health-conscious, as in buying hive wood from a responsible lumber yard down the road and using organic sugar feed when possible.

I should be clear–there’s no money in this business, but I love it.  I love to work outside, and I find the bees fascinating:  their complex social structure, their numbers (more than 50,000 in a hive), their communication systems (dancing, wiggling, pheromones, electric fields), and their ability to make wax, propolis, royal jelly and … honey!  I could watch my bees all day long as they go back and forth with little baskets on their legs filled with pollen.  I can’t wait until River is old enough to join me.

I rarely get stung, mostly because the bees are gentle. Still, when I’m opening their hives, I make sure to put on protective gear and use a smoker.  Smoke makes the bees think a fire is coming and they move into the hive to eat honey in case they need to leave,  After eating, the bees are pretty lazy and have a hard time bending their bodies to sting.  I still run away when they get angry and have no shame doing the bee dance, an awkward combination of flailing, running, and yelling when a bee gets under my mask.  When I do get stung I just bear it and feel tough.

Rachel supports my bee work and hasn’t complained about the cost of building an apiary.  She grows a little tired of finding everything sticky in the kitchen. I try to protect life at home and at work from losing to the bees.  I sneak out during River’s naps and get up early to do hive maintenance during the months March through October.  In winter I can enjoy dreaming about what I will do with the bees the next year.

I aspire to sell honey on the roadside this spring and to guests in our rental unit to earn enough money to build a little bee shed so that I don’t have to do all my honey extraction in the house.

Let me know when you need more honey!  Happy holidays.  Bee well.

More info

Note:  My honey, like all honey, naturally crystalizes, preserving flavor and quality (considered premium quality because it is not blended with other substances), yielding richer taste in cooking, and spreading well enough  Because I don’t filter or heat the honey, crystalization is quicker. Filtering honey removes a lot of the pollens and propolis that add to he nutritional value, and heating denatures the proteins,

Michael

To liquify honey, it is heated in a jar in a pot of hot water and stirred frequently until it is liquid.   For storage, honey is best kept at 50 degrees prevent fermentation, though the very old alcoholic drink made with honey, mead, seems to gaining popularity.

Emphasis added, RJN

 

 

 

 

 

City Stable Closing

Image result for horse carriage chicago photo
As Old Town stable faces demolition, carriage owners see tenuous future
Elyssa CherneyContact Reporter  Chicago Tribune  12.9.16

The sprawling, two-story stable that sits in the middle of a residential block in Old Town has overcome its share of hurdles.

Since debuting as a riding school in 1871, the red-brick building has survived multiple bankrupted owners, a business license debacle, a horse heist by a former employee and two fires — the most recent was ruled arson.

But the Noble Horse Theatre, regarded as Chicago’s last original stable, may finally meet its end when a developer seeks approval Thursday to erect a seven-story apartment building in its place.

The likely demolition of Noble Horse represents the latest blow to an already beleaguered industry, business owners said. In addition to rising property prices, the horse carriage companies grapple with a number of challenges in Chicago, they said, including restrictions on carriage stand locations and a rush-hour ban.

“It’s hard to see that the city, and society in general, no longer values the entertainment, the contribution and the amazingness of horses,” said Wendy Burtt, Antique Coach & Carriage, one of two companies that housed animals and equipment at Noble Horse until this past spring. “It’s the history of the building that’s so amazing.”

Across from the Brown Line “L” tracks, trash, leaves and stale horse pellets littered the stable grounds Thursday. A gap in the metal fence around the property allowed access to the multibuilding campus, where insulation hung from the ceilings and the walls peeled. Neon spray-painted graffiti was scribbled in a dark hallway that led to a riding arena.

LG Development Group is seeking a zoning change to construct a 252-unit complex at the intersections of North Orleans, West Schiller and North Sedgewick streets and is scheduled to appear before the Chicago Plan Commission next week. LG Development did not respond to a request for comment.

Now Antique Coach and the second business that used the space, Great Lakes Horse & Carriage, have been forced to find lodging elsewhere. Burtt relocated to a warehouse in Lincoln Park, converting it to a stable. Jim Rogers, owner of Great Lakes, said he trucks his horses in from northwest Indiana.

“We are victims of gentrification just like every other small business,” said Burtt, spokeswoman and driver for Antique Coach. “We’re a dying industry. At some point, real estate will be out of our financial reach.”

The 1-acre lot that Noble Horse occupies was worth $500,000 in 1991, according to the Cook County recorder of deeds. In April, when it was sold for development purposes, the land went for at least $7.8 million, records show.

For some Old Town residents, Noble Horse Theatre is a relic of how the neighborhood was in the 1990s before — as one woman walking her dog put it — “it was all fancy with condos.”

Maurice Simpson, 53, who has lived nearby since the 1960s, said he never went inside the stable but is sad to see it go. One of his friends rented a carriage for his wedding eight years ago, Simpson said.

“I’m against any sort of demolition in the old neighborhood,” he said. “But we are undergoing massive changes. Some people don’t see the [stable] as necessary.”

Some younger residents who were newer to the area weren’t familiar with the property and wondered about its purpose. After learning about Noble Horse from a Chicago Tribune reporter, Allison Hammer, a 31-year-old nurse, said she would have been curious to know more.

“Historical landmarks are an important part of preserving the city,” said Hammer, who’s lived in Old Town for three years.

The carriage operators have mixed reactions about the fate of Noble Horse. Burtt will mourn the loss of a city gem. Rogers, however, is more concerned with practicalities.

Rogers said he got six months’ notice to vacate but has struggled finding another affordable space to rent where landlords don’t mind livestock. In his 20 years of running the company, Rogers said, he’s relocated at least eight times. He operates three horse-drawn carriages in the city.

“It was extremely inconvenient, but it’s just like another change of address,” he said. “It’s a great place, and it’s too bad.”

Burtt and Ortega, who run 10 carriages each, said their operations are too large to transport by truck. They need to house the horses close to downtown so the animals can walk to Michigan Avenue, where throngs of eager tourists make up the heart of their profits.

Ortega, whose stable is in an industrial area at North Kingsbury and West Willow streets, was among the first to rent stable space at Noble Horse in 1981. That was when the property straddled the troubled Cabrini-Green housing project and gunshots frequently rang out, recalled Ortega.

“When I started there, it was dirt poor,” he said. “There were shootings there in the middle of the street, and the neighbors were happy we moved onto the street because we brought some civility and they felt they could come out at night.”

Dan Sampson, who used to run the city’s largest carriage company, operated the Noble Horse then. He took it over in 1984 and revived the stable over 25 years, offering riding lessons, the carriage service and eventually a dinner-show production. He also pushed a $2.5 million renovation, adding 300 seats to the arena in 2003.

But Sampson also faced adversity. The stable was nearly bankrupt in 1991, a real estate company threatened to bulldoze it in 1997 and a fire ravaged the interior in the same year.

As Sampson built the business, the neighborhood changed. Cabrini Green shuttered for good in 2011. Gentrification continued as swanky restaurants popped up, and The Second City comedy club attracted an artsy crowd to settle nearby, though the 2008 economic crisis stalled some of the development.

At its height in the ’80s and ’90s, there were 60 horse-drawn carriages clopping the streets of downtown — compared with the 23 in use now. Though the current companies have converted some spaces to serve as stables, they say the Noble Horse building is the last standing stable originally built for that purpose.

By 2009, Sampson could not sustain his carriage and dinner-show business, blaming the city’s regulations for a hand in its demise. Afterward, Burtt and Rogers rented space from the property owner, real-estate developer Sheldon Baskin.

The most recent blaze in February, which damaged 13 horse-drawn carriages, appears to have been set by animal rights extremists, according to the FBI. Graffiti typically associated with that movement — spray-painted messages of “Save the horses” and “freedom” — was discovered in the barn, said the FBI, which is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Burtt said the industry can’t afford to fight the Noble Horse closure and said she had to emotionally detach from the property. She filmed as the last horse rode out of the barn for the final time April 1, chronicling what she calls the end of an era.

“There are kids in the city who will never have contact with horses like ours if we’re gone,” Burtt said. “Tourism in Chicago is a No. 1 industry, and we bring a very important aspect to the tourism industry, but they are forgetting about us … We’re not big business companies, we’re not corporate finance. We’re just small people trying to do our thing.”

Restoring Wild Habitat Here

Restoration boosting turtles, other wildlife

Nonprofit, scientists work together  to benefit several riverbank habitats

A great blue heron sits on a branch this week at the Skokie Lagoons nature preserve in Glencoe. Friends of the Chicago River worked on 8 acres there. (GARY MIDDENDORF/DAILY SOUTHTOWN)

By Patrick M. O’Connel   Chicago Tribune  11.26.16

A collaboration between a nonprofit group and forest preserve scientists aims to boost the area turtle population, while also benefiting bats, ospreys and riverbank habitats throughout the Chicago region.

While projects to help native species have been ongoing for decades, an effort led by Friends of the Chicago River has led to immediate improvements in turtle nesting areas in Cook County’s wetlands and woods.

“I’m thrilled out of my mind,” said Chris Anchor, a wildlife biologist with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

By clearing forest lands of invasive plants such as buckthorn — which choke out native sedges, rushes and reeds and also block sunlight from reaching the ground — the group and the forest preserve have improved soil conditions in wetlands along the Chicago and Calumet rivers, essential land for turtles to lay their eggs.

Transmitters placed on turtles let scientists know that the animals were returning quickly to cleared native habitat. (ERIN HOOLEY/CHICAGO TRIBUNE )
 Turtles, including the snapping, painted, stinkpot and soft-shell varieties, need soft soil in protected, sunlit areas for successful nests, Anchor said. When the riverbank areas are under siege from invasive plants, the turtles are forced to find other open spaces, often along busy roads and trails. Those locations make the nests easy targets for predators such as raccoons and opossums, who lurk to eat the eggs, Anchor said.

Using an anonymous $750,000 gift, the Friends of Chicago River partnered with the forest preserve on a three-year effort to restore acres of land to native conditions. Since 2014, staff and volunteers have cleared about 78 acres of brush at area forest preserves.

Group members earlier this week worked on 8 acres at the Skokie Lagoons, near the East Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River. The Friends also have worked clearing areas of Chipilly Woods south of Dundee Road in northern Cook County, Watersmeet Woods near Northfield, Wampum Lake Woods near Thornton and in the Sag Quarries area near Lemont.

The habitat restoration efforts improve the conditions of woods, prairie lands and wetlands, in addition to helping bats and osprey. As part of the project, the Friends and forest preserve have been building bat houses and platforms for ospreys, which are hawklike birds who often nest atop trees near rivers, creeks and lakes.

“We enable them to reproduce more successfully. That’s the foundation of the whole thing,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. “What they’re lacking is actual maternity habitats. These are species that with relatively little intervention, we can help them.”

Berries are seen on a tree stump this week at the Skokie Lagoons nature preserve in Glencoe. (GARY MIDDENDORF/DAILY SOUTHTOWN)

The restoration project also has the trickle-down effect of helping attract butterflies and bees, while aiding storm runoff, Frisbie said.

The forest preserve has worked hand in hand with Friends and has aided the efforts with prescribed burns and additional brush clearings throughout the county. While Friends took part in a prairie seeding effort this week at Skokie Lagoons, Anchor said manual seeding after clearing is usually unnecessary. Many native wetland plants have hard-capsule seeds that can rest in the ground for 40 to 80 years, waiting for the appropriate time to grow.

“That’s the beautiful thing about the wetlands,” Anchor said.

Anchor, who has worked with the forest preserve since 1981, said this was a rare example of an organization following through on its idea, bringing muscle to the project in the form of dollars and manpower.

He said the restoration efforts at Chipilly Woods reaped nearly immediate dividends. Using a pair of turtle-tracking devices, Anchor discovered two female snapping turtles that had been laying eggs along Dundee Road quickly found the newly cleared native habitat in the woods and safely made nests.

“The response was immediate,” he said. “It was fantastic.”

poconnell@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @pmocwriter

Bring Back Bulls?

Spanish Court Overturns Catalonia’s Ban on Bullfighting  source                                                                                  Julia Zorthian @jzorth Oct. 20, 2016

The Constitutional Court of Spain overturned Catalonia’s 2010 ban on bullfightingi in a ruling on Thursday.

(  Catalonia, in the northeast of Spain, including the seaside city of Barcelona, is one of 17 autonomous communities in Spain and is officially designated a natiionality.  It has its own language and other cultural distinctions. In 2014, 81% of votes cast in a referendum, were YES for separatiion from Spain, but only 41% of eligible voters took part,  Several years ago, a festival of Catalan literature was being planned, and there was an argument as to whether just any writers in the Catalan language could participate or only those who were Catalonian citizens,

Readers may want to see our  May 14, 2014,   blog post “Our Bullfight” about the one Alice and I suffered with six bulls in Spain.  Enter “bullfighting” in the search box, upper righthand corner of page.

RJN  )

The decision angered Catalonian separatists and animal activists

 

spain overturn catalonia bullfighting ban

Bullfighter Jose Tomas performs during the last bullfight at the La Monumental on September 25, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, following the vote by the Catalan regional Parliament to ban bullfighting.   David Ramos—Getty Images

The court ruled that the ban Catalonia’s parliament enacted six years ago violated a national ruling that bullfighting is an integral part of Spain’s heritage and identity. The decision angered Catalonian separatists and animal activists, as both groups supported the region’s ban on the practice, the AP reports.

The ruling stated that Catalonia could regulate bullfighting, but would not be able to ban it outright due to the region’s responsibility to preserve “common cultural heritage.”

“The constitutional court can decide what they want, but we have already decided that there will be no bullfights in Catalonia,” Catalan Minister for Public Works Josep Rull said in a statement. “We want a country where it is not possible to make a public spectacle of death and suffering to an animal.

Within the region, some see this as a way for Spain to undermine Catalonia’s authority. Catalonia was the second region in Spain to ban bullfighting, following the Canary Islands in 1991, but Rull pointed out that Spain’s constitutional court did not move to overturn that ruling.

[AP]

Walrus are Here!

 

Image result for photos walrus herd

Alaskan Town: Walruses Are Here, Now Stay Away

By Associated Press    Oct 14 2016 06:56 AM EDT  weather.com

source  with VIDEO

Alaskan Town Awash with Walruses

A small town in Alaska urges tourists to stay away, as hordes of walruses invade the area. 

Instead of trying to attract visitors, Point Lay, a remote village on Alaska’s northwest coast, has begun a reverse tourism campaign urging people to stay away. 

In recent years, Pacific walrus by the thousands have come ashore in early fall near the Inupiat village of Point Lay, including about 6,000 last week. People have dropped by in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the marine mammal phenomenon brought on by climate change and disappearing summer sea ice in the Chukchi Sea.

However, the small town of 270 people has no hotel or restaurants and walruses are a major food source for the residents, not a curiosity. Disturbances by boats or airplanes can spook the animals into stampedes that crush the smallest walruses.

So Point Lay is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on an information campaign: Thanks for the interest, but please don’t stop by.

“They’ve had people come and had no place to accommodate them and they ended up having to tell the person to get back on the plane and head out,” said Andrea Medeiros, spokeswoman for the agency in Anchorage. “I would imagine it’s a very awkward situation for them.”

The walrus can’t even be seen from the village.

“You have to travel across a cove to get to where the animals are,” Medeiros said. Visitors would need a ride from a resident and the trip can be hazardous.

“They’re actually on a barrier island,” she said.

In the September 2013 photo above, walruses gather to rest on the shores of the Chukchi Sea near the coastal village of Point Lay, Alaska.(Ryan Kingsbery/United States Geological Survey via AP)

Walrus started coming ashore on the northwest Alaska coast in 2007. In September last year, 35,000 packed a rocky beach near Point Lay. The carcasses of more than 130 mostly young walruses were counted after a stampede in September 2009 at Icy Cape.

Walrus prefer spreading out on sea ice, where they can monitor the approach of predators such as polar bears.

Many adult male walrus stay south of the Bering Strait year-round. However, females with calves stay on the edge of pack ice, where the young can rest as mothers dive for clams.

As the sea ice melts, the edge moves north, providing a moving platform over the shallow Bering and Chukchi seas.

In recent years, as Arctic temperatures have warmed, the edge of the sea ice has receded far to the north over water too deep for walrus to dive and reach the ocean bottom. Walrus have the choice of resting on ice over deep water or moving to shore, joined by thousands of other animals.

Remnant ice floating in the Chukchi gave walrus a safe platform this year until Friday, when about 6,000 of them came ashore near Point Lay. They appear to have since moved on, likely to Russia, Joel Garlich-Miller, a walrus biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a Tuesday statement.

Leo Ferreira, Point Lay Tribal Council president, in an interview with Sitka radio station KCAW last year urged the media to keep its distance and reacted angrily when a photographer flew near the walrus. He issued a statement Friday reiterating a “no media” policy while walrus are on shore.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with the Federal Aviation Administration to discourage airplanes from flying near walrus.

The agency also has received a two-year, $140,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help Point Lay.

The grant will pay to train Point Lay young people in photography, videography and film production that could be used on a website about walrus coming ashore. The goal is to keep people informed while warning them of the hazards and discouraging them from visiting.

The grant also will pay for villagers to monitor walrus coming ashore over about 50 miles of ocean beach, and to collect data including the age, sex and cause of any walrus deaths.

Walrus herds are just one change brought to Point Lay by climate change. The frozen ground on which the village is built is melting. Over the summer, soil weakened ground between a river and the lake where Point Lay drew water. A canal developed and drained the lake. The community has water in storage tanks that should last about a year, giving residents time to find a new water source.

Point Lay residents are trying to adapt.