Monkeys steal Covid-19 test samples from health worker in India | India | The Guardian

Monkeys eating fruit on a street in Delhi

Blood samples later recovered undamaged after fears incident could have helped spread virus

Agence France-PresseFri 29 May 2020 10.06 EDT

Monkeys mobbed an Indian health worker and made off with blood samples from coronavirus tests, prompting fears they could have spread the virus in the local area.

After making off with the three samples this week in Meerut, near Delhi, the monkeys scampered up nearby trees and one then tried to chew its plunder.

The sample boxes were later recovered and had not been damaged, the Meerut medical college superintendent, Dheeraj Raj, told AFP on Friday after footage of the incident went viral on social media.

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“They were still intact and we don’t think there is any risk of contamination or spread,” Raj said. He said the three people whose samples were stolen had been retested for the virus.https://interactive.guim.co.uk/2020-embeds/2020/03/country/embed/main.html?country=India#amp=1

Coronavirus has been detected in animals, though there has been no confirmation that the disease can be passed to humans from them.

India’s coronavirus death toll passed that of neighbouring China on Friday, with 175 new deaths in 24 hours taking the total to 4,706, according to official data.

India, home to some of the world’s most densely populated cities and a creaking healthcare system, is emerging as a new hotspot with record jumps in new cases in recent days.

In many rural areas, farmers regularly lose crops to monkey populations and have demanded local governments intervene to check their populations.

City authorities in Delhi have used long-tailed langur monkeys to scare away smaller primates from around the Indian parliament.

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Horned screamer, facts and photos

api.nationalgeographic.com

By Jason Bittel 5-6 minutes

PUBLISHED May 28, 2020

A horned screamer (Anhima cornuta) at the National Aviary of Colombia.Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Common Name: Horned screamers

Scientific Name: Anhima cornuta

Type: Birds

Diet: Herbivore

Size: About the size of a turkey

Weight: Up to seven pounds

Current Population Trend: 

Unknown


What is a horned screamer?

Horned screamers are the unicorns of the bird world.

Over the course of their lives, these birds grow long, white spines of cartilage in the middle of their foreheads. Some birds possess horns approaching six inches in length. No other birds on earth have anything like it.

Unlike with rams and rhinos, the screamer’s horn doesn’t seem to be a weapon, because it is only loosely attached to the skull and known to snap offonce it grows too long. In time, broken horns even grow back. This leads scientists to believe the horns serve an ornamental purpose rather than a functional one.

While the horns are harmless, the screamers are not. Each bird sports a pair of sharpened bone spurs on its wings. These are used to defend territory and battle with each other for mates. After particularly nasty encounters, scientists have even found pieces of spur broken off and lodged in other birds’ chest like shrapnel.

Aside from their strange horns, these birds also possess some interesting anatomy below the surface. Inside their bones and skin are tons of tiny air sacs that reduce the weight of these large birds, which is thought to help them soar long distances without using muscle energy. These air sacs sometimes collapse simultaneously when the horned screamer takes off, creating a loud crackling noise.

As its name suggests, this bird is also known for the loud calls it creates. The main one is described as sounding like, “mo-coo-ca,” leading some indigenous peoples to call the birds “mahooka.” This call sounds a bit like a goose, a close relative of horned screamers.

Habitat and diet

Horned screamers can be found from Colombia and Ecuador down to south-central Brazil. Like their close cousins, ducks, geese, and swans, these birds prefer wet habitats, such as freshwater lagoons, tropical wet savannas, and lakes.

As herbivores, horned screamers spend much of the day grazing on grasses found in and around water. The birds have also been observed nibbling leaves, stems, flowers, and vines, as well as digging in mud.

Reproduction

While it can take some fighting to win a mate, a horned screamer partnership can last a lifetime. The male and female spend all year together, constantly preening each other to maintain the pair bond. They also take turns incubating the eggs they create, with females tending to sit on the brood during the day and males taking the night shift. Once the chicks hatch, both parents also provide food for their young.

Relatives and conservation

Horned screamers (Anhima cornuta) are one of three species of screamers, all of which reside in the wetlands of South America. Horned screamers and southern screamers (Chauna torquata) are not considered to be in danger of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However, the northern screamer (C. chavaria) is listed as near threatened, which is thought to be due to loss of habitat in its geographic range at the northwestern tip of the continent.

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Rough start to the year for Mexican gray wolves, cattle

abqjournal.com

FILE - This Jan. 30, 2020, file photo, shows members of the Mexican gray wolf recovery team preparing to load a wolf into a helicopter in Reserve, N.M., so it can be released after being processed during an annual survey. One Mexican gray wolf died after being caught in a trap in April and another was found dead in the wild, bringing the total to more than a dozen of the endangered predators that have died so far this year in New Mexico and Arizona. Environmentalists say a combination of lethal management by U.S. wildlife officials and private trapping is making it difficult to recover the species. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

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FILE – This Jan. 30, 2020, file photo, shows members of the Mexican gray wolf recovery team preparing to load a wolf into a helicopter in Reserve, N.M., so it can be released after being processed during an annual survey. One Mexican gray wolf died after being caught in a trap in April and another was found dead in the wild, bringing the total to more than a dozen of the endangered predators that have died so far this year in New Mexico and Arizona. Environmentalists say a combination of lethal management by U.S. wildlife officials and private trapping is making it difficult to recover the species. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

More photos

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One Mexican gray wolf died after being caught in a trap in April and another was found dead in the wild, bringing the total to more than a dozen of the endangered predators that died in the first four months of the year in New Mexico and Arizona.

Environmentalists say a combination of lethal management by U.S. wildlife officials and private trapping is making it difficult to recover the species.

But ranchers say they face constant pressure from the wolves, pointing to the more than two dozen cattle that were killed just last month.

The latest wolf and livestock deaths come as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begins wading through the process of revamping a rule that guides management of wolves in the Southwest.

The public has until June 15 to comment on the issues to be considered by officials. So far, nearly 800 comments have been submitted.

Some say it’s shaping up to be a deadly year for the wolf following an encouraging survey that found more wolves in the wild last year than at any time since efforts began more than two decades ago to reintroduce wolves along the New Mexico-Arizona border.

At least 163 wolves were counted during the survey that wrapped up in February. That marks a nearly 25% jump in the population from the previous year and puts wildlife managers about halfway to meeting the goal set for declaring the species recovered.

Monthly reports show 10 wolves have died in the first four months of 2020. That doesn’t include the alpha female of the Prieto Pack of wolves in New Mexico that died after being trapped in late April and four others that were killed in March due to livestock issues.

“It demonstrates the vagaries of the program and how quickly things can turn bad for the wolves,” Bryan Bird, the southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife, said Tuesday.

He said changes to the management rule now under revision could address these ups and downs by limiting the circumstances in which wolves can be lethally or non-lethally removed from the wild and addressing trapping on public lands in the wolf recovery area.

Michael Robinson with the Center for Biological Diversity said one problem that has been ongoing for years is the wolves feeding on live cattle after being drawn in by the carcasses of cows that die from other causes. He’s among those who have been pushing for a requirement for ranchers to remove carcasses as one way to avoid conflict.

“Though the feds claim they’re looking at the population as a whole, this recurring mismanagement is precisely why the Mexican wolf is in worse genetic shape now than when reintroduction began more than two decades ago,” he said.

Some ranchers say they have tried everything from hiring cowboys on horseback to installing flagging and other devices to scare away the wolves. But they are still having problems.

Last year marked a record year for livestock kills. Several dozen kills have been reported so far this year.

The Arizona House last week passed a Senate-approved measure that would allow a board set up to reimburse ranchers for livestock losses to also compensate ranchers for things like range riders to keep wolves away from their herds.The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey for his consideration.

Federal officials say they conducted 24 days of hazing efforts in April, removed two carcasses, set up several food caches in hopes of diverting the wolves and talked with dozens of ranchers via phone, text and email in an effort to reduce the conflicts.

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