Study finds more evidence that new coronavirus is linked to bats
By Jackie Salo

February 3, 2020 | 11:51am | Updated

There’s growing evidence that bats sparked the new coronavirus that has killed more than 350 people, researchers said Monday.

Two new studies published Monday in the journal Nature reveal that genetic makeup for the new virus taken from several patients was closely related to a bat coronavirus.

In one study, researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China analyzed samples from seven patients, six of whom were workers at a seafood market in Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was believed to have originated.

The genome sequences of the new strain — dubbed 2019-nCoV — were 96% identical to coronaviruses found in bats, suggesting that they were the likely hosts of the disease, researchers said.

SARS was believed to have emerged from bats, although it spread to civet cats before infecting humans during the 2003 outbreak.

In the second study, researchers from China’s Fudan University looked at a 41-year-old man admitted to the hospital Dec. 26 with symptoms of respiratory illness.

He was found to have the new coronavirus and a sample taken from his lungs shared an 89.1% similarity in genome sequences with the SARS-like coronavirus from bats.

The study said it wasn’t possible to pinpoint the source of the outbreak from one patient, but the findings have been corroborated by investigations on others with the new virus.

The latest research comes after a study published in the journal The Lancet determined that 10 genome sequences of the deadly virus had a nearly identical genetic sequence to bats.

The virus has already spread to more than 17,300 people in 24 countries across the world.

“In essence, it’s a version of SARS that spreads more easily but causes less damage,” said Ian Jones, a professor at University of Reading in the UK who was not connected to the two studies.

“The virus also uses the same receptor, the door used to get into human cells, which explains transmission and why it causes pneumonia,” he said in a statement.

With Post wires

Leaping Kitty

Take me home…

Take Action—oppose Idaho’s proposal to expand “opportunities” to kill wolves – intheshadowofthewolf

Legislation was introduced on a party-line vote in the Senate Resources Committee to allow any Idahoan with a hunting license and a wolf tag to shoot wolves year-round in designated “wolf free zones” in the state.

Please sign the petition by deadline February 10th 2020

Continue reading here…

An Incident Impacting your Account Identity

Contact us
Twitter Privacy Center
February 03, 2020
An Incident Impacting your Account Identity

On December 24, 2019 we became aware that someone was using a large network of fake accounts to exploit our API and match usernames to phone numbers. We immediately suspended these accounts and are disclosing the details of our investigation to you today because we believe it’s important that you are aware of what happened, and how we fixed it.

During our investigation, we discovered additional accounts that we believe may have been exploiting this same API endpoint beyond its intended use case. While we identified accounts located in a wide range of countries engaging in these behaviors, we observed a particularly high volume of requests coming from individual IP addresses located within Iran, Israel, and Malaysia. It is possible that some of these IP addresses may have ties to state-sponsored actors. We are disclosing this out of an abundance of caution and as a matter of principle.

When used as intended, this endpoint makes it easier for new account holders to find people they may already know on Twitter. The endpoint matches phone numbers to Twitter accounts for those people who have enabled the “Let people who have your phone number find you on Twitter” option and who have a phone number associated with their Twitter account. People who did not have this setting enabled or do not have a phone number associated with their account were not exposed by this vulnerability.

After our investigation, we immediately made a number of changes to this endpoint so that it could no longer return specific account names in response to queries. Additionally, we suspended any account we believe to have been exploiting this endpoint.

Protecting the privacy and safety of the people who use Twitter is our number one priority and we remain focused on stopping abuse of Twitter’s API as quickly as possible. You can learn more about our efforts to protect Twitter from platform manipulation and state-backed activity in the Twitter Transparency Report.

We’re very sorry this happened. We recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us, and are committed to earning that trust every day. You can reach out to our Office of Data Protection through this form if you have questions.
© 2020 Twitter, Inc.

Sign Petition: Thank This Wildlife Hero For Saving Yellowstone’s Grizzlies From Heartless Hunters!

by: Eric Rardin
recipient: U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen

This awesome judge restored endangered species protections for grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park.

Add your name if you want to send him a powerful message of gratitude, for all the wonderful work he has done!

“A federal judge has restored Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

“In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen said the federal government didn’t use the best available science when it removed the bears from the threatened-species list last year.

“The ruling puts a stop to proposed grizzly hunts in Wyoming and Idaho,” according to NPR.

“When you commit to recovering a species in the Lower 48 you should do that,” said Matthew Bishop, an environmental attorney representing WildEarth Guardians.

I agree 100%, and so did Judge Christensen.

“The Service cannot abuse its power to delist an already-protected species by balkanization,” he said.

“According to Wyoming Fish & Game, roughly 700 grizzly bears are thought to exist in the core of the 20 million-plus protected acres of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks,” reported the Jackson Hole Traveler.

“Prior to the ruling, wildlife agencies in Wyoming and Idaho planned to let hunters kill up to 23 grizzlies during its first hunting season for the bears in three decades,” reported NPR.

But thanks to Judge Christensen, those bears still have a chance to live free and happy, in one of the most wild places in the United States.

Isn’t this judge a true life hero?

Don’t you want to send him a HUGE message of thanks, letting him know how much we appreciate all the work he’s doing?

Then add your name to be included when we send this petition to U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen, along with our deepest gratitude for the work he has done to protect endangered grizzlies and other precious animals!

Oklahoma exotic animals park owner will serve 25 years in prison for killing 5 tigers, trying to hire hit man to kill rival

FILE – This file photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic, tried to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue. Lurors were shown a Facebook video Tuesday, March 26, 2019, that depicts Maldonado-Passage shooting a blow-up “Carole” doll in the head. Other videos show him pretending to dig a grave for Baskin and threatening to mail her rattlesnakes. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File)

FILE – This file photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic, tried to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue. Lurors were shown a Facebook video Tuesday, March 26, 2019, that depicts Maldonado-Passage shooting a blow-up “Carole” doll in the head. Other videos show him pretending to dig a grave for Baskin and threatening to mail her rattlesnakes. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File)

He called himself Joe Exotic and once lorded over a popular exotic animal park in Oklahoma.

Then he shot and killed five tigers, sold baby lemurs and falsified paperwork to say they were donated, and tried to pay a hit man $3,000 to kill a rival.

Now, the man once known as the “Tiger King” is going to prison for 22 years.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage was sentenced Wednesday for the murder-for-hire plot and several wildlife violations.

A federal jury found Maldonado-Passage guilty in April of trying to hire someone to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin in November 2017, according to the US Attorney’s Office Western District of Oklahoma.

During trial, a jury heard evidence that he paid a man $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to Florida to kill Baskin, with a promise to pay thousands more after she was dead, the court said.

Baskin, who was a vocal critic of Maldonado-Passage’s animal park, owns a tiger sanctuary in Florida and had secured a million-dollar judgment against him.

Maldonado-Passage had tried to find someone to kill her since July 2016, and had unknowingly met with an undercover FBI agent to discuss details of the planned murder, according to the court.

“Because of his constant threats to kill me, I have found myself seeing every bystander as a potential threat. There is no where that I have felt safe, and worse, no way that I feel I can safeguard those around me,” Baskin said in a statement. “So many of his threats involved blowing me up, so that he could thrill over seeing me burn to death.”

In addition to the murder-for-hire plot, he falsified forms involving the sale of wildlife in interstate commerce, killed five tigers in October 2017, and sold or offered to sell tiger cubs in interstate commerce.

While transporting animals, he designated on delivery forms and veterinary inspection certificates that they were being donated or transported for exhibition only, but they were instead being sold in interstate commerce, the court said. The animals involved included tigers, lemurs and lions.

“Because tigers are an endangered species, these alleged killings and sales violated the Endangered Species Act,” the court said.

The jury convicted him of two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of violating the Lacey Act for falsifying wildlife records, and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act, US Attorney Timothy J. Downing said.

“The self-described Tiger King was not above the law,” First Assistant US Attorney Robert J. Troester said.

Roving band of herpes-ridden monkeys now roaming northeast Florida
By Paula Froelich

February 1, 2020 | 3:43pm
rhesus macaques monkey Florida

A rhesus macaques monkey is pictured in Silver Springs, Fla. in 2017. AP

Forget Florida man, now there’s Florida monkeys.

A roving band of feral, herpes-ridden monkeys is now roaming across northeast Florida.

The STD-addled rhesus macaques had previously been confined to Silver Springs State Park near Ocala, Florida, but are now being spotted miles away in Jacksonville, St. Johns, St. Augustine, Palatka, Welaka and Elkton, Florida according to a local ABC affiliate, First Coast News.

Even more worrying: over a quarter of the 300 feral macaques — an invasive species native to south and southeast Asia — carry herpes B, according to a 2018 survey, National Geographic reported.

The monkeys were introduced to the area in the 1930s by a local cruise operator, Colonel Tooey’s Jungle Cruise, which released 12 monkeys over a series of years onto a man-made island inside Silver Springs State Park. The monkeys swam to freedom and reproduced at alarming rates and are now wandering around residential areas.

“The potential ramifications are really dire,” University of Florida primate scientist Dr. Steve Johnson told First Coast News. “A big male … that’s an extremely strong, potentially dangerous animal.”

In 1984, the then-Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission allowed licensed trappers to cull the monkey population by trapping and hunting. Over a thousand of the monkeys ended up in zoos or research facilities — or were simply killed. It was “a program that proved deeply unpopular with the public,” FCN noted. Since 2012 there has been no active management of the monkey population.

Greta Mealey, who works for DuMond Conservancy for Primates & Tropical Forests in Miami, told FCN that the monkeys are not a major threat to humans. “They’re not going to come up to us and interact with us. They would be more fearful.”

But, she added, “It’s not the kind of animal you probably want hanging around.”

Mealey’s grandson, Jason Parks, 8, of Julington Creek, saw one of the monkeys and described it as “being about chest high with ‘sharp claws and stuff. … My sister named him George.’”