Wildlife animals can be seen by many people as very interesting and majestic creatures throughout the world. Alligators in particular are one of the more ferocious, deadly and complex creatures roaming thousands of swamps around our nation.
Shows like “Swamp People” does a great job at giving viewers a detailed oriented and first person point of view of alligator hunters in Louisiana.
Meanwhile, in Texas there is a recent alligator capture that is making major headlines and breaking records in the process.
Earlier this month, Texas officials in The Fort Bend County area announced a new state record alligator capture, but did not release the name of the person who captured it, until yesterday.
Officials announced that 18 year old Braxton Bielski has claimed the biggest alligator catch in Texas history. He snagged in a massive gator weighing in well over 800 pounds and stretching just over 14 feet (14 ft. 3.25 inches to be exact).
The Cinco Ranch High School senior has been dubbed the name “Gator Boy” by his friends at school, and is basking in the glory of his catch.
“I’ve always wanted to hunt alligators since I was little, I never thought I would kill an alligator this size and get to spend time with my dad in the process,” Bielski said.
He and his dad, Troy Bielski had to get one of only 10 alligator permits available for a special five-day hunt at the state’s Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area. Once they received their permit it was off to the Choke Canyon Reservoir to try their luck at catching a gator. This was Braxton’s very first time actually being able to hunt for an alligator, so his mom was a bit skeptical about him going.
“I gave her a good hug before I left to calm her nerves and promised her we wouldn’t jump into the water with any of them,” Braxton said. “My dad did a lot of research online about alligator hunting, and we asked a lot of questions prior to leaving out on our own.”
The two of them gathered their 20-gauge shotguns, ammunition, hooks, lines, raw chicken for bait and hopped in their flat bottom boat with hopes of getting a big alligator last week.
Braxton and his dad set lines in areas along the shore where they thought they had the best chance for success. Amazingly, the next morning both lines were submerged, meaning there were gators on each of them.
Troy captured a female alligator measuring 10.5 feet, but it looked pretty small next to his son’s 14 foot male alligator according to Houston.
“He was under the water and we had to pull him with a string up to the boat, that’s when the head bobbed up, the line got some resistance and that’s when we fired the shotguns,” Bielski said. “We had to drag him beside the boat and across the lake to a sandier beach just to lift him into the boat.”
The record setting 14 foot alligator is said to be around 30 t0 50 years old determined by the Texas wildlife agency. As for Braxton he will leave his “Gator Boy” high school charisma and further his education construction science at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Warming Oceans Threaten Global Fisheries, Study Reveals
People have depended on fish and other seafood for sustenance since the prehistoric people learned how to fish. Early civilizations are built in river banks and coastal regions because fishing is much sustainable the hunting. However, as society progress, the more than fishes and other marine animals become at risk. Thanks to climate change.
This reality was revealed by the extensive analysis of recent trends in marine biodiversity. The increasing temperatures in seas have reduced the productivity of some fisheries by 15% to 35% over the last eight decades, although there are fish species that are thriving in warm waters.
According to the study, the net effect is that the world’s oceans cannot produce as much sustainable seafood as before. It also warns that the situation is likely to worsen as the problem is quickly accelerating in the oceans.
However, the study also suggests that well-managed fisheries are thriving and have become more resilient to the rising water temperature, says Rainer Froese, a marine ecologist with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, who was not involved in the work. “We have to stop overfishing to let the gene pool survive, so that [the fish] can adapt to climate change,” he says. “We have to give them a break.”
As cold-blooded animals, fish mirror the temperature of the water they swim in. When the water gets too warm, the enzymes they use for digestion and other functions are less efficient, impairing growth and reproduction. Also, warm water contains less oxygen, a further stressor.
Despite these well-known problems, only a few scientists have looked into the impact of climate change on the world’s oceans in terms of fishery production.
Chris Free, a fisheries scientist, dove into the topic for his dissertation at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He created a computer model of the way fish populations respond to temperature, relying on a large database of scientific assessments of stocks that represent roughly a third of the fish caught around the world. Free, now a postdoc at the University of California, Santa Barbara, looked for patterns of how these stocks had responded to changes in sea surface temperature.
“Managing a stock of fish, in simple terms, is like withdrawing cash from a bank account that earns interest. Each year, a certain amount can be caught by fishing boats without depleting the stock—that portion is known as the maximum sustainable yield. A more productive fishery—where the water temperature is optimal and food plentiful, for example—is like a bank account with a higher interest rate, which means more fish can be sustainably caught.” said Erik Stokstad in an article published in ScienceMag.
The study of Free and his colleagues revealed that: “Out of 235 stocks, Free and his colleagues found a few winners. Nine stocks had become on average 4% more productive. These stocks are in places where rising temperatures have made too-cold water more suitable for fish, such as far north and south of the equator. Off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, for example, the maximum sustainable yield has increased by 14% since 1930. And fishing there could get even better. According to the new research, the productivity of Greenland halibut will increase 51% with each degree Celsius of warming. That’s like getting a big, fat boost to the interest rate on your saving account.”
“This local good news is outweighed by 19 stocks elsewhere that are on average 8% less productive than before. Many of these are around northern Europe and Japan, and they will likely continue to decline as their environment continues to heat up. Boats chasing Atlantic cod in the Irish Sea face a particularly grim future: The maximum sustainable yield of this stock will shrink by 54% for each additional degree of warming, the team reports today in Science.”
According to Free, the overall decline will most likely to steepen. Since 1930, average sea surface temperatures have risen by about 0.5°C. By the end of this century, more than three times that amount of warming will likely happen, and marine heat waves will become more frequent. Although temperatures will become more favorable to fish in higher latitude waters, “those benefits can’t last forever,” Free says. “There probably is a tipping point.”
Fishes, however, are not the only animals that are being threatened by climate change. Scientists have also said that because of a killer fungi, frogs are starting to become extinct. The rapid increase in rainforest temperature even more empowered the killer fungi. Insects are also in fast decline due to climate change. This serves as a scary reminder of the future we reap if we continue our path to unsustainable tomorrow.
11-Meter-Long Dead Whale Found In Brazilian Jungle
On February 22, an 11-meter-long and 6-meters wide humpback whale was found dead in the middle of the undergrowth of the forest of Pará, a Brazilian municipality located on the island of Marajó, at the mouth of the Amazon River.
Yes, a whale was found in the jungle, away from its natural habitat.
The discovery of the dead whale caused the Municipal Secretariat of Health, Sanitation, and Environment to launch an investigation to determine why the marine animal was found in an ecosystem away from its own and in the winter season.
The colossal animal reportedly had no visible wounds and biologists Bicho D’agua, a marine protection NGO, said that an autopsy is required to determine the cause of death.
Humpback whales are fed seasonally; it is possible that not finding food will migrate to the beach and swallowing large amounts of water will suffocate with plastics , being later his body pushed by the waves of the sea into the jungle.
“We only found the whale because of the presence of scavenging birds of prey,” said Dirlene Silva from the Department of Health, Sanitation, and Environment.
‘The vultures were spotted circling above the carcass which was found hidden in the bush some distance from the sea.’
A team of ten biologists struggled to reach the body of the whale at the first attempt and were only able to reach it at the second try.
Biologists from the Bicho D’agua Institute have been called in to collect forensic samples to determine the cause of death.
The gigantic animal was believed to be already dead when it was carried by the waves to the jungle.
‘Along with this astonishing feat, we are baffled as to what a humpback whale is doing on the north coast of Brazil during February because this is a very unusual occurrence.’ the team announced.
According to the expert, humpback whales are typically seen in Bahia on the northeast coast between August to November.
‘We are collecting as much information as we can get and identifying marks and wounds on its body to see if it was caught in a net or hit by a boat.’
For now, there are no plans to remove the hulk due to the size, weight, and location. Instead, researchers intend to bury much of carcass, and the skeleton will be sent to the Goeldi Natural History Museum in Belem for future studies. /apr
Notice Of Extinction: Frogs May Be Next
The team that discovered the case of the ‘amphibian plague’ that has devastated amphibian populations, especially that of frogs and toads, are worried that the worst is yet to come.
They have discovered that a killer fungus known as Bd has triggered a mass amphibian extinction that has spread across every continent and been described as among the worst infectious diseases ever recorded.
Rainforests around the world are left in deafening silence as the plague has successfully eliminated entire populations of local frogs in mere months, a scientist describes.
Since 1970, at least 200 frog species are thought to have been driven to extinction, with particularly heavy losses in B-infested Rainforests of Latin America.
East Asia is thought to have been the source of the disease as it was identified by researchers who traced and determined the condition.
Local conservation advocates have since worked tirelessly to quarantine the fragmented populations that remain.
AMPHIBIAN TRADE MAY CREATE HYBRIB BD
However, the international trade of amphibians has continuously posed a threat to the biodiversity of frogs and has worried the scientist for what the future may bring.
According to scientists, as the trade of amphibious continue, different strains of the fungi are transferred from one local area to another – mixing them together may create a hybrid that can be more powerful and difficult to control.
“If we keep hauling amphibians back and forth, you don’t know what the outcome is going to be, you might get something that’s more pathogenic [capable of causing disease],” said Dr. Joyce Longcore, the scientist who first identified the unusual aquatic fungus known as Bd.
“Unless you stop international travel and international trade, things like this are going to continue, and you can make your rules stronger for trade but if you have any volume at all something is going to get through.” /apr
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