We might have missed last week, but we’re back this week in full force! Lots of stuff went on this week, and chances are you might have heard of a few of them. I’m talking about natural gas leaks, new sharks, and giant squids. But don’t worry, there’s also some pure-ly awesome bison news and a crazy hungry Chinese zookeeper, both of which may be news to you. So here’s what happened this week while the Earth grew a year older.
Firstly, I want to talk about the methane-rich natural gas leak disaster in California. For those of you not in the know, here are the facts. For the past few months methane-rich natural gas has been leaking out of the ground at a rate of 1,300 metric tons a day. To date, almost 76,000 metric tons (check it out in real time) of methane gas has been released, wreaking havoc on the environment, and will continue to do so until it gets plugged in March. To put this in perspective, the leak is adding the same amount of green house gases into the air, daily, as seven million cars. It’s so bad that Erin Brockovich has come back out of the woodwork to condemn this as another environmental catastrophe, on par with the BP oil spill. Honestly, it’s potentially the worst environmental catastrophe of the decade… Yay…
Moving on to happier news, a new species of lanternshark was discovered this week, and it’s super cool. Found off of the coast of Costa Rica, the new lanternshark lives at a depth of 1 km, is completely black, about the size of a housecat, and is covered in glowing organs called photophores. Plus it’s common name is the ninja lanternshark, because it’s so elusive, and it’s scientific name is Etmopterus benchleyi, named after the author of Jaws- Peter Benchley- making it that much cooler. Seriously, I’m kinda in love with the idea of an elusive glowing shark living in the depths of the Pacific, that uses it’s photophores to (potentially) communicate and attract unsuspecting fish to eat. What’s not to like?
Continuing on the vein of new animals, a herd of genetically pure bison have been found in Utah, making them the only known herd of 100% pure bison left. Found in the Henry Mountains, these bison are so special because all other bison have been cross bred with cattle- a move that was meant to help both preserve the species, and make them easier to raise as livestock. What’s even better about this herd, is that they are disease free, something the other cross bred bison aren’t, thanks in part to their cattle genes. All in all, this news is pretty great, and gives us a way to protect and sustain actual bison.
Now for the weird and messed up. A zookeeper in China was arrested this week for killing and eating endangered animals. Now, fortunately he wasn’t eating the animals he worked with at the zoo, as he works with giant pandas. He was just eating the endangered eagles and falcons he keeps at his house. To make this story even more ridiculous, his weird appetite was found out after he posted pictures of his “pets” and “meals” to Weibo- China’s Twitter- with the caption, “too delicious”. The bird eater, known only as Mr. He, is claiming that the birds pictured were actually being rehabilitated for release back into the wild. What I want to know, however, is how cooking them will get them ready for the great outdoors?…
And finally, giant squids. If you haven’t heard, a juvenile giant squid made an appearance in a Japanese harbour this week, where it was videotaped by diver Akinobu Kimura. The video of the 14 foot behemoth is the closest, most detailed video we have of the species to date (the only other images we have come from camera traps). Apparently Kimura was too interested and amazed to be afraid, and just jumped right into the water once he saw it, and thank God he did, cause the video is pretty damn cool.
That’s it though for the weekly round up. Hope you’ve had a wonderful New Years Eve, and enjoy everything 2016 has to offer.