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THURSDAY FAVOURITES - ANIMAL ACTION with HANNAH SARNEY

— Posted on 09.02.2012

WHALE SHARK! Wowzer. Images of the enormous/tremendous/stupendous creature turned up yesterday amid mixed reports about how it came to be suspended in the air in a fishing harbour in Karachi, Pakistan. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea and are generally referred to as “docile” as they cruise around tropical waters dining on plankton. Despite being added to the World Conservation Union’s list of threatened species in 2008, the whale in Karachi has been sold for nearly NZ$23,000. The model in the New York Natural History Museum is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, so I suspect the new owner wants to recreate that scene on top of their mansion.

An orca has been topping headlines in New Zealand ever since it was captured on film being rescued from a crayfish pot rope off the Coromandel Coast. Orca expert Dr Ingrid Visser believes the whale didn’t struggle because she knew the diver was trying to help. Aww.

A federal judge, for the first time in US history, has heard arguments in the case that could determine whether animals earn the same constitutional protection against slavery as human beings. PETA has named five orcas as plaintiffs in the case. I’ve harped on about the plight of the orcas in Sea World in a few editions of Animal Favourites already, but now it’s getting a big legal audience. The ruling could have profound implications that impact on everything from the way the US government uses dogs to sniff out bombs and drugs to how zoos and aquariums operate.

In lighter… well, in more dressed-up news… arts and crafts have been used at Ueon Zoo in Tokyo to stage a rhino escape. There is genuine concern that an earthquake could damage enclosures and allow dangerous animals to run loose and cause mayhem. While I’m not convinced their “get a few people to hold up some netting” approach will be particularly helpful, it is certainly an amusing drill to watch.

A cute little otter pup has been given her first vet exam at the Seattle Aquarium. It seems it is otter mums that get all the treats at the doctors…

A name has finally been given to the tiny baby pygmy marmoset at Wellington Zoo. Meet little Gemini! What the name lacks in pizzazz, it makes up for with named-by-an-11-year-old-girl-ness.

Scientists have been able to reconstruct the song of a cricket that chirped 165-million-years ago by studying a remarkably complete fossil. Meanwhile, a 250-year-old mummified seal has revealed the rapid effects climate change can have in environments like Antarctica.

Gareth Morgan’s Our Far South expedition to Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Islands departs from Bluff tomorrow. Marine biologist Bob Zuur has packed as much filming equipment as possible and will be documenting his travels here over the next month.

Quick animal news top ups (because I really need to get back to reading about the failed debt talks in Greece):


Want to see a tortoise breaking speed eating records? Sure you do.

Now… Toronto Zoo’s polar bear cub and I say “see you next week!”

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