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Canada Bans Whale, Dolphin And Porpoise Captivity

Canada has made history by passing unprecedented legislation to ban entertainment based whale, dolphin and porpoise captivity. Under the new laws, it will also be illegal to trade, posses, capture or breed of cetaceans. The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favor of Bill S-203, which was called “the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act.”

The bill was introduced by Senator Wilfred Moore in 2015, and then later sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair.

Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI/Canada called the passing of the bill a “watershed moment.”

“The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians. Whales and dolphins don’t belong in tanks, and the inherent suffering these highly social and intelligent animals endure in intensive confinement can no longer be tolerated. We congratulate the sponsors of this bill and the Canadian government for showing strong leadership in responding to public will and sound science on this critical issue,” Aldworth said.

The bill was endorsed by a coalition of over 20 leading marine scientists and stakeholder organizations.

Canada Bans Whale, Dolphin And Porpoise Captivity 1

Photo Credit: flickr/davidohmer

Only two facilities in the country currently hold cetaceans in captivity. Those facilities are the Vancouver Aquarium, and Marineland in Niagara Falls. However, now these facilities will no longer be able to breed or import any new cetaceans.

Green Party Leader and Saanic Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May was one of the main supporters of the bill in the House of Commons.

“Canadians have been clear, they want the cruel practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity to end. With the passage of Bill S-203, we have ensured that this will happen,” MP May said.

Senator Wilfred Moore, who sponsored the bill, said that humans have a moral obligation to treat animals humanely.

“We have a moral obligation to phase out the capture and retention of animals for profit and entertainment. Canadians are calling upon us to do better – and we have listened,” Moore said.

Hal Whitehead, a leading marine scientist, said that the conditions that marine animals are currently held in are similar to prisons.

“The living conditions for captive marine mammals cannot compare to their natural ocean environments in size, nor in quality. We thank the federal government and all those involved in the passage of Bill S-203, so that our laws can finally align with the Canadian peoples’ values and end this cruel practice,” Whitehead said.

Canada Bans Whale, Dolphin And Porpoise Captivity 2

Photo Credit: Purfect Paws

For the past few years, animal parks like SeaWorld have been under heavy scrutiny, due to criticism from animal rights activist who say that they mistreat the whales and dolphins that they have in captivity. The theme park has been at the center of controversy since the 2013 release of the documentary “Blackfish”, which exposed the inhumane treatment of its animals.

After years of activism from a variety of groups and individuals, the California Coastal Commission banned captive whale breeding in 2015, and set unprecedented limitations on how the company can hold and transport the animals.

The board also approved the construction of a $100-million project called Project Blue World, which SeaWorld says will greatly improve the quality of life for the whales that they have captive. The new project will reportedly be an expansion of the pools, and an enhanced habitat, but the plan has been criticized by many activists who say that the project is “a joke.”

Canada Bans Whale, Dolphin And Porpoise Captivity 3

Photo Credit: Wikimedia/Diliff

Attendance at parks like this have been dropping so sharply that they are being forced to look for new sources of income, as they face out captivity.

The company announced in 2015 that they have seen an 84% decrease in sales as “continued brand challenges” steer customers away from the park, and things have only gotten worse for the brand. Since the release of the film, it was reported that the company lost more than half of its market value, and was forced to fire many leading executives.

Following the release of Blackfish, it was shown that SeaWorld’s income dropped from $37.4 million $5.8 million in just two years, and attendance dropped by more than 100,000 tickets.

SeaWorld contends that their parks are more like veterinary clinics than zoos, because according to the company, they nurse sick animals back to health and keep them in captivity because they would not be able to survive on their own. However, these claims are mostly rejected by animal rights activists.

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Planet Earth

Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than expected

Credit: University of Leeds / Youtube

Greenland is ceasing to be that vast white territory because it is losing ice at a speed seven times faster than in 1990.

The fatal scenario goes according to the context of global warming of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which would expose 400 million people to coastal flooding in the year 2100.

A joint work of 96 scientists from 50 international organizations has generated the most detailed image so far of the ice loss from Greenland.

The team called Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) used 26 surveys to calculate changes in the Greenland ice sheet mass between 1992 and 2018.

The worst case scenario

The research results show that Greenland has lost so far 3.8 billion tons of ice, since 1992. This thaw is enough to raise the sea level by 10.6 millimeters.

The figures are alarming as they show a seven-fold increase in ice loss in just three decades.

Aerial photograph of icebergs discharging from the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland Credit: William Colgan, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland

In 2013, the IPCC predicted that worldwide sea level would rise 60 centimeters by 2100, leaving 360 million people at risk due to coastal flooding. However, the new study shows that the ice loss is increasing faster than expected, which would generate an increase of even 7 centimeters more at sea level.

Andrew Shepherd in the University of Leeds, lead author of the research, he said in a statement:

As a general rule, for every one-centimeter increase in global sea level, another six million people are exposed to coastal flooding across the planet.

According to current trends, the melting of ice in Greenland will cause 100 million people to flood each year at the end of the century, which adds up to 400 million in total due to all the sea level rise. These are not unlikely events or small impacts; they are happening and will be devastating for coastal communities. ”

Caused by warming

The climate models regionals used by the team of researchers showed that half of the ice loss was due to rising air temperatures. The other half was caused by the rising ocean temperature.

Download glaciers that split icebergs in the waters of the Mogens Heinesen fjord in southwest Greenland. Credit: Benoit Lecavalier

The doctor. Erik Ivins of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA and lead author of the study said in a statement:

Polar ice satellite observations are essential to monitor and predict how the climate change could affect ice losses and sea level rise. While computer simulation allows us to make projections from climate change scenarios, satellite measurements provide irrefutable evidence. ”

The team expects to continue monitoring the ice reduction in Greenland to determine the possible sea surge each year.

The research findings have been published in the journal. Nature.

Source: Leeds University / Phys.org

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Planet Earth

Bright Meteor Fireball Streaks over Phoenix, Arizona

Does it seem like these are on the rise?

via AZ Central:

By now, we all know, it didn’t really happen unless it’s confirmed via social media.

And that’s what was happening Friday night, as numerous Twitter posts surfaced from people who said they saw a bright light streak across the nighttime sky over Phoenix sometime around 9:30 p.m.

The posts described the sight as a green streak or light, possibly a large meteor or “shooting star,” but definitely more than a quick flash that such a phenomenon usually produces.

The Arizona Republic could not immediately confirm the source of the bright light, but several other Twitter posts reported seeing it from vantage points such as 32nd Street and Thomas Road, near the Phoenix Art Museum, or in north Phoenix.

Chris Coppola
AZ Central

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Planet Earth

Life on Earth can be explained by asteroid-eating bacteria

A new study suggests that asteroids can be a food source for living things, more specifically a microorganism called  Metallosphaera sedula , a metal-eating species.

M. sedula Picture: Tetyana Milojevic

Metallosphaera sedula  is a species of bacteria-like microbes, originally isolated from a volcanic field in Italy. The first part of the name can roughly be translated as a “metal mobilizing sphere,” while the word “sedulus” means busy. This describes the efficiency of these organisms in mobilizing metals, including those found in asteroids.

According to research led by University of Vienna astrobiologist Tetyana Milojevic, these microbes derive their energy from inorganic substances through oxidation, and can collect energy sources faster from extraterrestrial rocks than from simple ancient terrestrial minerals. Milojevic explains that the study was conducted to find “microbial fingerprints” left in meteorites. “This should be useful for tracking life-seeking biosignatures in other parts of the universe,” she concludes.

This kind of research, according to the astrobiologist, can provide her colleagues with “little tips” on what they can look for in their search for alien life. “If there was ever life on another planet, similar microbial fingerprints may still be preserved in the geological record,” she said.

The team examined how Metallosphaera sedula  interacts with NWA 1172, a rocky meteorite found in northwest Africa that contains about 30 different metals. Using various spectroscopy techniques and an electron microscope, the researchers documented the signatures left by the organism. Thus, they found that M. sedula  is able to consume extraterrestrial material much faster than it does with terrestrial minerals, resulting in healthier cells.

Inorganic Compounds of Meteorite NWA 1172 (Image: Tetyana Milojevic)

While terrestrial minerals provide only a few nutrients for the microorganism, “NWA 1172 iron is used as an energy source to meet M. sedula’s bioenergetic needs  as microbes breathe due to iron oxidation,” Milojevic explained. The wide range of metals in NWA 1172 can also be used for other metabolic processes, such as accelerating vital chemical reactions within cells. And because the meteorite is so porous, it can promote M. sedula’s improved growth rate.

That means iron meteorites could have brought more metal elements and phosphorus to Earth, making life’s evolution easier, according to Milojevic. In addition, research may also support the panspermia hypothesis, an idea that cannot yet be substantiated, but it is not ruled out either, as scientists have not yet completely unraveled the origin of life on our planet. And Milojevic is interested in exploring this possibility: To do so, her team plans to “test the survival of  M. sedula  under simulated and real environmental conditions from outer space,” the astrobiologist said. The plan, however, will have to find the funding needed to send the microorganisms into space.

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