Friday

Hero volunteers have rescued six dogs found abandoned in a locked cage in North Carolina, where they nearly drowned in the Hurricane Florence's fast-rising flood waters.

Video of the heroic rescue has gone viral and shows the dogs barking and standing on their hind legs, desperate for someone to let them out of the cage.

The dogs were rescued from a property in Leland, North Carolina where their owners left them as they fled Hurricane Florence, without thinking of how the animals would fare in the violent storm.

'Rescued six dogs in Leland, NC, after the owner LEFT THEM locked in an outdoor cage that filled with flood water that was rapidly rising,' Journalist Marcus DiPaola posted on Twitter on Sunday.

'We got them out, but by the time we left, the water was so high that they would have drowned. BRING YOUR PETS WITH YOU! #HurricaneFlorence,' he added.

The videos sees the dogs whimper as they see a volunteer rescuer Ryan Nichols of Longview, Texas wade in the knee-deep water towards them to come to their aid.


Seconds after Nichols unlocks the chain link fence closing them into the cage, the dogs swim out, whimpering and howling.

The dogs then scamper into a nearby wooded area followed by the rescue volunteers.

North Carolina saw flood waters reach four feet in height on Sunday and it's steadily rising.


Flooding near the Yadkin river in Jonesville is forecast to crest at 26.6 feet, according to accuweather.com.



VIDEO

Wednesday

A long, long time ago, someone in southern Louisiana, or perhaps several people, cut down a cypress tree and made a boat.

Well, not a “boat” per se, but a dugout canoe. It wasn’t an Acadian, ousted from their home in Nova Scotia, who fashioned it; nor was it a living member of the many Native Americans living in the swamps and bayous when the Cajuns arrived. But it was one of their ancestors.

Just south of Donaldsonville, Louisiana in Belle River, Jamie Ponville owns a dirt-fill business that he excavates from a very large and deep site. Last October, the excavator’s bucket struck something and Ponville knew what it was on sight.

“My father and brother were moving some material for me,” Ponville said. “I had a little puddle of water that was standing in the middle of the pit and I wanted to get it out to my drainage ditch. So I just started scraping the ground, just about an inch at a time…and I exposed, in the ground, about a six-inch piece. It was a perfect V, about six inches on each side. And right away, the feeling that came over me, it’s unexplainable.”

The 16-foot-long canoe has been carbon-dated at well over a thousand years old.

He knew what it was. “I called my wife, and I said, ‘Baby, start heading to the dirt pit because I just uncovered a dugout canoe.”


No one can know whose hands felled that tree or shaped and hollowed that log, likely used for fishing and visiting neighboring villages of the Chitimacha nation, who pre-contact occupied about a third of southern Louisiana. No one can know if it was grounded there, or washed away by a tide, or lost by its maker, or discarded when it was time to build another.

But in some way, it found its place not far from Bayou Lafourche, which the very earliest European explorers named, “River of the Chitimachas.”


The vessel Ponville discovered lay some 30-foot lower than the surrounding terrain.

They are the only Louisiana tribe that still reside on a sliver of their ancestral lands and waters. “Chitimacha” is a Europeanized derivation of Siti imaxa, meaning “people of the many waters.” Upon that third of Louisiana they occupied pre-contact, most of it was water, and vessels such as the one Ponville discovered were abundant.


Scientists have various estimations of how long these people have lived in the southern reaches of Louisiana. Artifacts and evidence provide some indications, but if you ask most Chitimacha, they will likely say, “We have always been here.”

Perhaps new discoveries await, in the ground, beneath the waters, that will one day show they were right all long.
Source



Native American tribes in Montana and South Dakota sued the Trump administration today, claiming it approved an oil pipeline from Canada without considering potential damage to cultural sites from spills and construction.

Attorneys for the Rosebud Sioux tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Reservation asked U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls, Montana, to rescind the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, issued last year by the U.S. State Department.

The tribes argue President Donald Trump brushed aside their rights and put their members at risk when he reversed President Barack Obama’s rejection of the $8 billion TransCanada Corp. project.

The line would carry up to 830,000 barrels (35 million gallons) of crude daily along a 1,184-mile path from Canada to Nebraska. The route passes through the ancestral homelands of the Rosebud Sioux in central South Dakota and the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes in Montana.

“The tribes are talking about cultural sites, archaeological sites, burial grounds, graveyards — none of that has been surveyed and it’s in the way of the pipeline,” said Natalie Landreth, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, which is representing the tribes.

The tribes said a spill from the line could damage a South Dakota water supply system that serves more than 51,000 people including on the Rosebud, Pine Ridge and Lower Brule Indian Reservations.


An existing TransCanada pipeline, also called Keystone, suffered a spill last year that released almost 10,000 barrels (407,000 gallons) of oil near Amherst, South Dakota.

State Department spokeswoman Julia Mason said the agency had no public response to the lawsuit. The department has jurisdiction over the pipeline because it would cross the U.S.-Canadian border.

Calgary-based TransCanada does not comment on litigation and was not named as a party in the case.

In August, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ordered the State Department to conduct a more thorough review of Keystone XL’s path through Nebraska. The move came in response to litigation from environmentalists and after state regulators changed the route.


In yet another lawsuit involving the line, the American Civil Liberties Union and its Montana affiliate sued the U.S. government last week for the release of details related to preparations for anticipated protests against the line.

The groups cited confrontations between law enforcement and protesters, including many Native Americans, which turned violent during construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through South Dakota.
Source

Saturday

Typical aerial photographs of the Amazon rainforest show a green expanse of trees so thick you can’t see ground. But the ones Ernesto Benavides captures are almost entirely brown, revealing a wasteland pocked by muddy, gaping holes where trees once fought for light.

Benavides’s images depict illegal gold mining camps inside the Tambopata National Reserve, a 1,061-square-mile park where more than 12,000 species of plants, insects, and animals make their home. Benavides photographs them from the open doors of helicopters manned by armed police. "From the air, you can see the whole ecosystem has been affected," he says. "It's sick."

Tens of thousands of miners operate thousands of small-scale settlements. They raze trees and create pit mines, using dredgers, pumps, and other machinery to extract the riches beneath the soil.

The consequences have been devastating: The Madre de Dios region of Peru, which includes Tambopata, has lost an estimated 148,000 acres of forest. Liquid mercury from the mining process also makes its way into the Madre de Dios River, poisoning tens of thousands of people living along it.

The rate of forest loss has more than quadrupled since 1999. Experts blame the soaring gold prices that followed the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the construction of the Interoceanic Highway, which allows prospectors to transport heavy equipment into the heart of the jungle.

The government does what it can to fight it. Since 2012, police have carried out hundreds of raids on the mining camps—more than 200 last year alone. They burn buildings and blow up millions of dollars worth of equipment, but the miners return. "This cancer is still growing, and the Amazon is really threatened by these gold fields," Benavides says.


Benavides lives in Lima, Peru's arid desert capital. He started visiting Madre de Dios a decade ago for various photographic assignments. But he never dared visit a gold mining camp until 2015, when Agence France-Presse sent him on a helicopter spin arranged by the Ministry of the Interior. It shocked him. "At the beginning you see a huge field of green," he says, "then suddenly it begins to appear: holes and mud, a man-made desert."


He has shadowed the police three more times on raids to La Pampa, the area inside Tambopata where the camps are located, and plans to go back. Benavides shoots out the helicopter’s open door, a strap holding him tight as he cranes his upper body far enough out to point his Nikon D4 straight down. It's loud and windy, requiring a shutter speed of 1/5000 to counter the camera shake. The scene below is often deserted, as the miners, on a tip, cleared out before they arrived.


His jaw-dropping images make the extent of the destruction clear. But it’s on the ground, when the wind from the chopper dies down and the heat of the place envelops him, that Benavides says he feels it most. "The jungle is hot, but you always have the shade of trees," he says. In this jungle, there are none.
Source





While bald eagles aren’t an uncommon sight along the shorelines of Padilla Bay or throughout the region, at least one with unusual coloring has been spotted this summer in the Bay View area.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff believe the eagle — which has an almost white, marbled appearance — has genetic mutations that prevent it from developing the brown hues seen on other bald eagles.

These types of mostly white eagles, as well as eagles with spots of white, are called leucistic.

“The plumage of leucistic birds might be completely white, or the white might be distributed irregularly over the bird,” said Michael Green, deputy chief of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Migratory Birds & Habitat Program.

In the case of this eagle, a lack of pigmentation throughout the body and wings gives it “a frosted look,” he said after reviewing photos taken of the eagle along Bayview-Edison road.

Lance Douglas of Blakely Island has twice seen and photographed the eagle along the road, near the south end of the Padilla Bay Shore Trail.


He said both times he was driving along Bayview-Edison road when the eagle caught his attention.

“The closer I got the weirder it looked and it just didn’t look right,” Douglas said of the first time he saw it, perched on a telephone pole. “I slowed down, saw it, snapped a few pictures and said ‘Wow.’ It was very obviously just something different.”

A few days later, he saw it again, this time perched in a tree.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Douglas said. “I’ve been looking at eagles for 60 years and I’ve never had one that made me stop my car on the road.”

He said he guessed that the white head of the eagle indicates it’s an adult.

The experts at the federal Migratory Birds & Habitat Program agreed.

“It takes four years for bald eagles to grow in the white head and tail feathers typical of adults, and this bird’s white head and tail appear to be white by age,” Green said.


Because the typical brown pigmentation adds resilience to feathers, leucistic eagles are believed to be at a disadvantage for survival, Green said. But this eagle may have beaten the odds.

“I would say this bird has survived well despite its abnormal coloration,” he said.

Eagles and birds of other species have been noted with full or partial leucisism, but each can be different and interesting to see.

“Personally, I’ve never seen a bald eagle this light ... I would consider this a relatively rare sighting,” said Matthew Stuber, Pacific region eagle coordinator for the Fish & Wildlife Service.

Tim Manns of the Skagit Audubon Society said leucistic bald eagles have been seen in the area before.

“I know that leucistic bald eagles show up in Skagit County from time to time,” he said. “I recall seeing one 10 or so years ago around March Point, and that bird was being seen and noticed by a lot of people. I’ve heard of instances since then too.”

A spotted bald eagle also suspected of being leucisistic was documented near Bellingham in the winter of 2013, according to a National Geographic report.
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