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Look: Baboons Took A Dip In A Private Pool In South Africa

Photo: Greg Scales | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

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With global warming, the summer heat is hotter than ever. As creatures of this planet, we all need to change and adapt to survive. In South Africa, the baboons found a new way to beat the summer heat by taking a dip in a family and resort pools.

Recently, there have been viral videos on the internet about fun-loving monkeys quietly going inside backyards and having their pool parties when humans are not around.

An owner of an exclusive retreat in Betty’s Bay, South Africa named Garth Bradley, released the first video on Facebook last May 14, 2019. According to him, he was in his office when he saw an alpha male baboon walking in his backyard.

He immediately rushed to check if the kitchen door is closed since he thought these baboons invaded his home in search of food. After a few minutes, he observed that the baboon and its young friend was playing in the pool. He was able to take a video of the primates.

Bradley said that this was the first time that the monkeys are in the pool. Usually, they would go in the backyard every other week to search for something to eat. The primates had a wonderful time in the pool for an estimated five minutes, and Bradley said that it was marvelous to watch.

Another video about the water-loving monkeys was uploaded on YouTube last May 16, 2019, by a family from Marloth Park, Northeastern South Africa. At first, they suspected that some strangers were using their pool at home when no one was around. They installed a camera to see who it was and to apprehend the intruders. But to their surprise, they caught a group of baboons having a short summer outing.

The videos may be fun to watch, and it shows us, humans, the playful side of baboons/Asian monkeys. But the fact that these monkeys decided to go to human territories to take a bath and search for food proves that their natural habitat is collapsing. Or, they thought that we humans intruded their natural habitats (during town expansions).

These goofy monkeys are facing some severe problems, and they need our help. Groups of Baboon that live near human settlements have lesser adult males compared to the ones who live in their natural territories. Since there are no natural predators, males are most likely killed when a direct conflict occurs between humans. This is because males are usually the ones who protect the whole group from danger. Experts have warned that the removal of male baboons can potentially lead to the population’s destruction.

Baboons. Photo: Derek Keats | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Furthermore, killing males leads to more problems. New males can join the group which is mostly composed of biologically related females and their children from the previous Alpha male who has passed away. If this scenario occurs, the new male usually kills all of the children of the prior husband. A research reported that of all the baby monkeys born, 53% died within their first year. The male monkey does this type of behavior because males can mate sooner with females who don’t have an infant to take care.

Although some species of baboons are notorious troublemakers and can be dangerous to be around, we humans pose a more significant threat to them. According to reports, humans have taken over key areas where vast populations of baboons usually live. Currently, their population is decreasing.

In Cape Town, some baboons are infamous for bullying people and stealing their food. But when you think about it, with their natural home destroyed and their limited sources of food, aren’t they just doing what they can to adapt and survive?

Baboons invading human territory. Photo: Jean & Nathalie | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

So what can we do help them? We need to raise awareness that just like us, these monkeys are living in their traditional habitats. If we happened to have an unfriendly encounter with them, if possible, we should resort to non-lethal strategies.

We need to start respecting nature, always keep in mind that wild creatures will stay wild. Government-owned areas, private reserves, and parks must consider protecting these animals. Conservation efforts should be increased to protect specific species with lower population since Baboons are not certainly protected in the so-called protected areas.

Don’t feed wild baboons. Baboons are considered to be part of the South African heritage. We must do our part to help these goofy creatures so that the future generation can see them live and not only via textbooks or old videos.

I've been contributing news since 2010, both online and print. Aside from Z6Mag, I manage independent news blogs that provide awareness on a diverse list of topics to every reader.

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Editors' Pick

Wave Spell Music Festival Returning to Belden, California

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 The small town of Belden, in Northern California, will host the Wave Spell music and arts festival later this month for the second year in a row.  The annual festival is held and curated by the veteran electro-jam group, Sound Tribe Sector 9, or STS9 to those familiar.   The festival begins on August 15th.

Sound Tribe, originally known as simply “Sector 9”, began their career around Atlanta in 1999 and is now based out of Santa Cruz, California, although they spend a significant amount of time on the road as one of the top touring acts in the game.

The Wave Spell festival is now in its second year, both being held in Belden-a small town on California’s Feather River with a population of only 22 people (as of 2010). With the inaugural year being a success by consensus of fans and insiders alike, there was much anticipation and delight among STS9 constituents with the announcement of another year in Belden.  Fans especially found great excitement at the idea of returning to the banks of the Feather River for Wave Spell.

In hosting the event, Sound Tribe Sector 9 will offer their own unique sound as the headlining entertainment and backbone of the weekend.  Just as they did last year, the band will play 9 sets of original music over three nights in Belden.  Among these performances, three sets will consist of completely improvised music by STS9, dubbed the “Wave Spell Sets”.  This format mimics the first year and is the festival’s namesake. 

Last year, Sound Tribe introduced the concept of their Wave Spell Sets and eventually brought them to the stage, getting an extremely enthusiastic response from their devoted fan base.  The band has presented only a handful of these improvisational performances, both at the festival and on the road, adding to the allure for their followers.

While STS9 is the main attraction in Belden, Wave Spell also boasts a heady lineup of other musical acts, as well as visual artists for festival attendees to enjoy.  Live music is promised until at least 5 A.M. every morning of the event, and early morning performances are known as “sunrise sets” suggest that music will go deep into the day.  As it did last year, the festival will also feature installations from painters as well as live painting during musical performances.  A new addition to the festival this year even offers a display of geological specimens billed as “Crystals by Isometrica”. 

The very small town of Belden, California plays host to several festivals a year.  These events take up the entirety of the town, which consists of only a few homes, a hotel/lodge, a few cabins, and a beach along the river.  The scenic grounds offer camping space for the 1,200 or so festival-goers as well as limited space for RV’s.  For a VIP experience, and at a VIP price, fans can also rent one of the cabins for the weekend or get one of the few rooms in the lodge.  The lodge is also home to a diner-style restaurant and a small convenience store where attendees can purchase supplies. 

The beach in Belden offers not only a beautiful space to relax on the river, but during the Wave Spell festival, it also provides the Beach Stage, where fans can enjoy live music throughout the day.  The beach stage is also the site for the fan-favorite “Sunrise Sets”, starting shortly before dawn and going on through the sunrise and into early morning daylight. 

Last year, in the festivals first year, the Beach Stage quickly became a favorite spot for STS9 fans, who loaded up the area of the Feather River directly in front of the stage with giant inflatable lounge apparatuses shaped like unicorns, ducks, and even a slice of pizza.  The river quickly became a large cluster of floaties, all of which were responsibly retrieved at the end of the weekend by the environmentally conscious crowd. 

The lineup for the second year of Wave Spell is almost entirely fresh.  Aside from STS9, only a few of the groups performing are returning from last year.  Among the veterans of the festival coming back is the Portland, Oregon electronic trio, Yak Attack, who were standouts at the first Wave Spell.  For the most part, however, festival-goers will experience a brand new roster of acts. 

For electronic music fans, Wave Spell submits an exciting schedule of artists and groups.  Amid the lineup of live electronic performers, a legend of the genre promises to be one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend.  DJ Mark Farina will take the stage in Belden to provide the crowd with his now iconic style of sound, dubbed by Farina as “Mushroom Jazz”.  Farina and his Mushroom Jazz have become synonymous and his sound has held the attention of the electronic music world for nearly three decades, dating back to his first Mushroom Jazz compilation in 1992. 

Over on the Beach Stage, early morning sunrise sets have become a popular fixture in the electronic music festival scene.  Often specially assembled to go along with the experience of watching the sun come up in the morning, these sunrise sets have become a favorite among fans. 

A new addition to the Wave Spell lineup this year almost seems to specialize in this type of first thing in the morning/end of the night performances.  Hailing from the San Francisco underground, Random Rab has seemingly perfected the art of the sunrise set.  A Burning Man legend in his own right, Rab seems to fully understand the important mix of laid back and beautiful along with intense and spiritual that makes for a fantastic sunrise set.  His early morning performances have become one of the most sought after in the game. 

Also returning to Wave Spell this year, diehard STS9 fans are particularly excited for solo performances from members of the headlining band.  On the festival schedule for the weekend are special solo sets from David Phipps (Keyboard/Piano) and Zach Velmer (Drums), of Sound Tribe Sector 9.  Along with Phipps and Velmer, STS9 bassist, Alana Rocklin also has something special in store for fans.  Rocklin’s previous band, Sub ID, will be reuniting for a set at Wave Spell.  This will be only the second Sub ID performance since Rocklin joined STS9 in 2014.

Wave Spell Live music festival will be held August 15-18, 2019 in Belden, California.  Tickets can be purchased at:

https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1836953

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All You Need To Know About The #AgeChallenge Meme

The new meme is taking over social media and allows you to see what your 40 or 50-years-old self look like.

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Photo: Charlene Mcbride | Flickr.com | CC BY 2.0
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A new meme challenge is making rounds on the Internet. Faceapp, an artificial intelligence-based photo app that edits your selfies to show how you look like when you’ve aged, is starting the #AgeChallenge trend.

Also known as the #FaceAppChallenge, the meme uses AI to augment a portrait photo to look old. Also, users can choose between the app’s templates to quickly edit a photo. Are they not smiling in a photo? You can select the Smile template to add a smile across their face. Users can also choose a different hairstyle or make themselves look younger using the app.

FaceApp does not require users to use their camera to take a selfie before using the filters. Users can upload pictures of other people then apply the filter of your choice.

In Twitter, netizens are having quite the fun in uploading pictures using the Age filter. Users trade pictures of how each other will look like in 40-50 years.

Pictures of celebrities like Tom Holland, Jennifer Aniston, and the cast of the Harry Potter film franchise are also making rounds on Twitter. Fans are ecstatic to see their favorite actors and actresses age beautifully.

Athletes such as Dwayne Wade and Kevin Love are also joining in, posting a picture of themselves on Instagram and Twitter. An England soccer team named Tottenham Hotspurs posted photos of their team members using the age filter in their official account.

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🤔🤷🏾‍♂️ Grandpa Wade huh

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FaceApp was initially released on iOS and Android last January and February 2017, respectively. The app is free to download but has options for in-app purchases.

Because of the meme challenge, FaceApp has since top the charts for ‘Most Downloaded’ in the App Store this week.

This year, SnapChat also released new filters that change a photo’s gender. A person could view what he or she looks like if he or she was born of the opposite gender using the app’s Female and Male filters. It also has one that turns a person’s face into a baby version of themselves.

Issues on Privacy

However, questions on the app’s privacy security are now being raised, as the app’s popularity started to rise.

Speculations on the app extracting photos directly from the user’s phone without extra permissions started when Joshua Nozzi, a software developer based in the US, posted his speculations on Twitter.

The developer based in Virginia claims that it seems that the app was uploading all of his photos when the app started listing all of his pictures one row at a time. The instance resembled a network delay, which Nozzi took for the app getting access to his camera phone storage.

Because he was alarmed, Nozzi turned on his Airplane mode and realized that the app doesn’t let him proceed without an internet connection.

After Nozzi posted his claims last Monday, cybersecurity experts like Will Strafach and Baptiste Robert tested the app and refuted Nozzi’s claims.

Strafach shared in his Twitter that the FaceApp does not upload a user’s full camera roll to remote servers. However, he does mention that when a user selects a photo to apply the filter, the picture is uploaded in the app’s server so that the filters can be used.

Robert also called out Noozi for his claims without sharing any pieces of evidence. Robert looked at the traffic when using the app. Similar to Strafach’s findings; the app does upload your selected photo from your phone. He emphasized that the app only uploads “one photo” in their server.

Aside from calling out Noozi, Robert also reminded the public and the media to verify their claims to avoid spreading panic based solely on speculations.

Another concern raised against the app is its vague Terms and Conditions. However, Robert also mentioned that the FaceApp’s Terms and Conditions are not different from the other apps in one’s phone. He asked the public to check out Snapchat’s Terms and Conditions if they are concerned.

FaceApp’s developer company is based in Russia. Twitter users also submitted questions to Robert if that is a factor for possible concern. The French cybersecurity researcher stated that there’s no need to worry because there are a lot of legitimate developers in Russia. “I don’t see why the nationality of the developers is an issue,” he writes in a tweet.

Further reports from Forbes verify that the photos are uploaded in servers in America, not Russia as speculated by some.

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Look: France’s ‘Cat-Fox’ — The New Unidentified Specie

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Cat Fox
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Recently, the team from France’s National Hunting and Wildlife Office (ONCFS) released the news of a formerly unknown species of wildcat called the Cat-Fox or “chat-renard” in French. At first, it was only believed to be part of the French Island of Corsica’ local legend as ghjattuvolpe, a nocturnal beast which attacks sheep and goats.

During an interview with AFP, the ONCFS chief environmental technician Pierre Benedetti stated that “We believe that it’s a wild natural species which was known but not scientifically identified because it’s an extremely inconspicuous animal with nocturnal habits,” Benedetti has been studying the species for more than ten years already.

How is it different from our pet cats?

These cats have black ringed tails that are fox-like, “highly developed” canine teeth, “very wide” ears, short whiskers. And they are bigger. Cat foxes can grow up to 90 centimeters (35 inches) from head to tail-tip, while normal cats usually grow up only to 76 centimeters. They are nocturnal (active/awake at night). Also, they have stripes on their front legs, “very-dark” hind legs and a russet-colored stomach. Their silky and thick coat is designed to repel ticks, fleas, and lice naturally.

Why is it called Cat fox?

It’s not a type of fox, neither, is it a combination of a cat and a fox. But it is believed to be a wild cat. “It’s their size and their tail that earned them the name ‘cat-fox’ across the island,” says Benedetti. Some experts stated that its ears and tail resemble a fox, but its fur and facial characteristics are somehow similar to a typical cat.

Its existence was first popularly known last 2008 when a single cat-fox was caught by accident in a hen house at Olcani in Cap Corse.

Last 2012, to get and determine the golden stripped creature’s DNA, the team created traps with wooden sticks that have an irresistible smell to cats. As a result, they were able to get its fur, when the cats rubbed their bodies against the sticks.

After some analysis, they discovered through its DNA, that it is somehow related (but can be differentiated) from the European wildcat, Felis silvestris. It’s closely related to the African forest cat, F. silvestris lybica. However, it’s “exact identity is still to be determined,” Benedetti added.

The first cat was captured in 2016 using modernized photographic traps. Afterward, the team was able to catch 12 of the 16 total cats that they’ve seen using non-violent methods.

According to an ONCFS field agent, Carlu-Antone Cecchini, the cats were found in a location where “water and plant cover offering protection against its main predator, the golden eagle.” After examining and tagging the cats with electronic chips to track their adventures, the ONCFS releases them to the wild unharmed. One of the cats they’ve captured is a male cat with a one golden and one brown eye — a result of a cat fight.

The cat-fox may turn out like the mysterious wolf-like dog found in Montana last May 2018. It was revealed that it’s just an old type of wolf.

Today, it is still uncertain whether the cat-fox is new species or an old species that hasn’t been formally recognized. But some people argue that this may be a new species which is a combination of two types of species (species hybridisation). This hybridization is possible since a new bird species was discovered in the Galapagos.

The answer behind the lineage of these cats is one of the mysteries that are yet to be known. It’s diet, and ways of reproduction, are however to be discovered and learned in the future. Also, Benedetti has a theory that these cats may have been living on the French island of Corsica since 6,500 years BC.

He added that farmers might have brought these cats in the island. Meanwhile, Scientists believe that the cat could have originated from Africa or the Middle East.

According to CNN, the wildlife rangers from ONCFS expect that by catching, studying and tagging the cat foxes, they can somehow help these cute furry friends to be known and protected shortly, hopefully in two to four years.

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