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Drone Captures One of the Largest Swarms Of Sea Turtles Ever Filmed

“This is the only time I’ve seen a video capturing this phenomenon in the water.”

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Drone Captures One of the Largest Swarms Of Sea Turtles Ever Filmed
Photo Credit: National Geographic

Jade Small, The Mind Unleashed 

Nature has the most amazing sights and surprises to offer and being in the right place at the right time while being able to capture it on film is every wildlife photographer’s dream.

Thankfully, wildlife photographers share their amazing work with those who can only dream of experiencing the unique and extraordinary bounty nature has to offer for themselves.

Biologist Vanessa Bézy was studying the olive ridley sea turtles and their reproduction. While flying her drone over the Costa Rica coastline, she captured what is likely to be the largest swarm of sea turtles on film.

Thousands of turtles were swimming across a region off the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge.

Bézy said:

“I immediately knew there was something special going on. To this day I’m still blown away by the video. They look like bumper cars out there.”

Ostional National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1983 specifically for the turtles. Although the olive ridley is the most abundant sea turtle of the seven turtle species in the world, they are considered a vulnerable species and conservationists fear that swarms of this size may be the last ever seen.

Roldán Valverde, scientific director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Florida, said:

“This is the only time I’ve seen a video capturing this phenomenon in the water. Most of the photography documenting this occurs on the beach.”

Bézy’s wish is to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the olive ridley and that her footage will help in the efforts to maintain healthy population numbers.

Few nesting sites remain globally and Bézy is concerned that the booming tourism industry around nesting beaches will have a devastating effect on their numbers, especially since regulations to protect the nesting sites don’t seem to be enough.

Unfortunately, the olive ridley hatchlings survival rate into adulthood is very low which means that any additional threats to the population will likely have a negative impact.

Bézy is investigating the reason for the great numbers of olive ridley sea turtles gathering in that particular area between August and October which could include factors such as the type of sand, the beach orientation, and sea currents. Finding the answer could help put measures in place to increase the survival rate of the species.

Sea turtles swim thousands of miles through our oceans during their lifetimes. They are only able to reproduce after decades and females return to the same beaches where they were born to lay their eggs. Although females often lay hundreds of eggs in one nesting season, few hatchlings will survive their first year of life and those who do face growing human caused threats such as being caught in commercial fishing gear, illegal trade, consumption, climate change, and pollution.

Diminishing numbers in sea turtle populations have devastating effects on marine ecosystems. WWF (World Wildlife Organization) explains their importance:

“Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. They help maintain the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs that benefit commercially valuable species such as shrimp, lobster, and tuna. Sea turtles are the live representatives of a group of reptiles that have existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. Turtles have major cultural significance and tourism value. Five of the seven species are found around the world, mainly in tropical and subtropical waters. The remaining two species, though, have relatively restricted ranges: Kemp’s ridley is found mainly in the Gulf of Mexico and the flatback turtle around northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea.”

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Photographer Captures One In A Million Photo, But Doesn’t Realize It Until He Gets Home

Daniel Biber, a wildlife photographer from Germany, happened to be in the right place at the right time.

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Photographer Captures One In A Million Photo, But Doesn’t Realize It Until He Gets Home
Photo Credit: Daniel Biber

Jade Small, The Mind Unleashed

Just taking a walk in nature can be enough to wash away stress. Nature is never stagnant and those with a keen eye may discover something delightful or observe something awesome that will bring back the sparkle in their eyes.

While we often marvel at the amazing photographs and videos taken by professional wildlife photographers in particular, in addition to having cool equipment and a good eye, they are usually extremely patient and prepared to travel to remote locations and wait, and wait some more for what could truly be that “once in a lifetime” shot.

Daniel Biber, a professional wildlife photographer from Hilzingen in Germany, happened to be in the right place at the right time all thanks to his patience and commitment to returning day after day to the scene where he had witnessed a natural phenomenon but had failed to capture that special shot he was aiming for every time.

The place was Spain’s Costa Brava in the north-eastern part of the country and the phenomenon was the gathering of an unbelievably large flock of starlings. Just before sunset they would start shape-shifting as they flew. Murmuration, as it is called, is in itself not an unusual occurrence but the exceptionally large number of birds over the Costa Brava at that time, moving and twisting in what seemed like a coordinated, single organism, morphing from one shape into another in a matter of seconds, was indeed extraordinary.

…if you look closely at this photo… underneath the bird’s head there is a woman’s head !! What an amazing photo!…

Clare Ennew paylaştı: 21 Mart 2020 Cumartesi

The startling’s shape-shifting swirling and twisting are most likely a natural tactic to confuse predators such as falcons and hawks looking for an easy meal before nightfall. Biber described the event as almost supernatural as the birds turned themselves into shapes resembling a giant bird—apparently thumbing their beaks at the predator as if indicating ‘’we are bigger than you.’’

Biber’s patience had indeed paid off on this day. He had tried for several days and failed to capture the starlings in full flow.

“I’ve tried to photograph the starlings but it never worked out as well as I hoped for,” he said. “I eventually drove to the spot every day for four days in a row in order to capture them. I picked a spot where I thought they would turn up and picked a matching foreground and backdrop in order to put them in a scene.”

Photo Credit: Daniel Biber

Mind Bending Nature paylaştı: 21 Şubat 2020 Cuma

The unique photo earned Biber a prize in an international photography competition. Although at the time, he had no idea that just how unique the shots he captured were. “Only when I checked the pictures on the computer later, I realized what formation the starlings had created,” he told the Daily Mail“I was so concentrated on taking pictures at the time that I hadn’t realized that the starling murmuration had created a giant bird in the sky.”

It is definitely worth the wait to experience the surprising and amazing sights nature reveals, often when we least expect them. Whether your adventures into nature are short of more leisurely, enjoy every minute and remember, keep an eye open for those delightful surprises.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animal World

With India On Lockdown, Endangered Sea Turtles On Course To Lay SIXTY MILLION Eggs This Year

The global pandemic has had some positive effects on the environment.

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Mummified Woman Found Buried In Siberia Wearing Foal-Skin Stockings And Copper Cross
Photo Credit: Mint Press News

Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

While the coronavirus may have sparked one of the biggest crises seen by the planet in modern times, the global pandemic has had some positive effects on the environment.

In India, along the coast of the eastern state Odisha, over 475,000 endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles have come ashore to a roughly 3.75-mile (6-km.) Rushikulya beach to dig their nests and lay eggs.

However, restrictions in place due to the CoViD-19 threat has allowed for hundreds of thousands of endangered turtles to be protected from any human presence—especially the presence of tourists—resulting in what may be their most successful mass nesting in years.

According to the forest service, well over 250,000 mother turtles have taken part in the daytime nesting activity within the past week alone, reports Down to Earth.

Typically, the event would attract hordes of tourists eager to see the miraculous event, straining members of the Forest Department who struggled to keep the crowds at bay. Crows and jackals would also attack the turtles, while local poachers would come afterward to rob turtle eggs and sell them at local village markets.

However, the coronavirus lockdown has prevented any such disturbance of this year’s mass nesting, reports the Hindu, allowing the 25 forest guards and researchers to focus on guarding the turtles.

With another successful mass nesting having taken place at Gahirmatha Beach, which also lies along the Bay of Bengal in Odisha, authorities estimate that roughly 60,000,000 eggs will be laid this year in total.

While thousands of the eggs were destroyed by the mass of mother turtles laying eggs atop nests, such is the norm in the mass nesting’s where each mother lays an average of 80 to 100 eggs each. The eggs should take 45 days to hatch, after which the little hatchlings emerge to make their way out to sea.

It’s a stunning reversal of fortune for the Olive Ridleys who had skipped the beach last year, baffling researchers.

The Forest Department claimed that this year saw the highest number of turtles taking part in the event. They explained:

“Every alternate year is either a bad year or a good year. However, in the last two years we have seen a phenomenal increase in nesting numbers. This year we have estimated that at least 4.75 lakh [475,000] turtles came on to nest on Rushikulya beach.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animal World

Frightened Mobs In Peru Burn Hundreds Of Bats With Torches As Coronavirus Hysteria Grows

Peruvian authorities urged locals to understand that “bats are not our enemies.”

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Frightened Mobs In Peru Burn Hundreds Of Bats With Torches As Coronavirus Hysteria Grows
Photo Credit: Pexels

Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow, misinformation in the form of fake news, rumours, and gossip have continued to feed mass hysteria and panic over the deadly disease.

In Peru, this has resulted in locals attempting to fight CoViD-19 by attacking communities of bats despite the fact that the novel virus still hasn’t been decisively proven to have originated from the winged creature.

On Wednesday, the Peruvian government issued a statement warning residents to stop killing bats after authorities were forced to intervene when roughly half a thousand of the flying mammals came under attack by gangs of peasants hoping to exterminate what they believed were carriers of the disease, reports Peruvian network América Noticias.

Roughly 300 of the creatures were killed in the arson attacks that took place in the small village of Culden, which lies in the Cajamarca region, after mobs attacked the caves where the bat communities dwelled, Peru’s National Service of Wild Forests and Fauna (SERFOR) announced.

About 200 bats were saved from the torch-bearing gangs by members of the wildlife service and National Agrarian Health Service (SENASA) who later released the animals into a distant cave far from Culden.

AFP reports that in a statement, SERFOR said:

“We must not distort the situation due to the pandemic. Bats are not our enemies.”

Continuing, the wildlife agency explained that the bats are actually quite beneficial to humans and are even helping to combat deadly viruses including dengue. Dengue fever outbreaks in Southeast Asia and the Americas have continued unabated while the world’s attention has been fixed on containing the CoViD-19 pandemic.

SERFOR said:

“70% of the [bat] species in the world feed off insects, many of which are harmful to agriculture and our health, like mosquitoes that spread dengue and other diseases”.

Jessica Galvez-Durand, head of wild fauna operations at SERFOR, also used the opportunity to remind Peruvians that they should abstain from eating wild animals or using their flesh for medicinal purposes.

Exotic species are famously seen as delicacies in some Asian and Pacific Island nations due to the often unproven medicinal benefits of eating the wild creatures or because the consumption of exotic and even live animals is seen as a symbol of social status.

However, the misconception that soup made from bat meat is some popular menu item throughout China—and that bat soup is “responsible” for the coronavirus outbreak originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan—has been thoroughly debunked as misinformation that spread through viral fake news stories and social media posts.

Some scientists do believe that the virus may have originated in bat microbes but transformed into deadly human pathogens through an intermediary animal, such as pangolins, whose meat is sometimes used in traditional medicine.

So far, there have been over 400 confirmed CoViD-19 infections and at least nine deaths from the novel virus in Peru.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Morgan Freeman Turns His 124-Acre Ranch Into Huge Honey Bee Sanctuary To Save The Bees

Morgan Freeman converted his 124-acre Mississippi ranch into a gigantic honeybee sanctuary to save threatened bee colonies.

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Morgan Freeman Turns His 124-Acre Ranch Into Huge Honey Bee Sanctuary To Save the Bees
Photo Credit: Truth Theory

Morgan Freeman has long been known for having a voice of gold, using his clout and vocal talents for such worthy causes as environmental conservationist group One Earth. But it has also become apparent that the beloved actor also has a heart of gold–especially now that he has devoted his ranch to helping save honeybees.

The 81-year old actor took up beekeeping on his 124-acre Mississippi ranch as a simple hobby in 2014, largely in reaction to the mass die-offs that were occurring and continue to this day.

To kick off his efforts, he had 26 bee hives shipped to his ranch from Arkansas, where they are fed a healthy diet of sugar and water while surrounded by a wide variety of pollinator friendly plants and flowers.

In an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel, he explained that his relationship with the bees was one of mutual respect.

Freeman explained:

“I have not ever used the beekeeping hat with my bees. They haven’t stung me yet, as right now I am not trying to harvest honey or anything, but I just feed them … I also think that they understand, ‘Hey, don’t bother this guy, he’s got sugar water here.’”

Continuing, Freeman stressed the vital importance of bees to our eco-system and the need to increase efforts to save them. He added:

“There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet … We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation … I have a lot of flowering things, and I have a gardener too.”

“As she takes care of the bees too, all she does is figure out, ‘OK, what would they like to have?’ so we have got acres and acres of clover, and we have some planting stuff like lavender, I have got like, maybe 140 magnolia trees, big blossoms.”

Government agencies like the EPA and the scientific community in general have been sounding the alarm in recent years over Colony Collapse Disorder–a situation many fear could become an existential crisis for bee populations around the globe. Studies have largely blamed the overuse of toxic pesticides called neonicotinoids for the crisis, among other factors.

Just this week, Forbes noted:

“Research, published in the journal Science, links the declining bee populations to a combination of parasites, pesticides and habitat loss. While there is no evidence that bees are going to become extinct anytime soon, the decline of bee populations will continue to have ripple effects on wild vegetation and agricultural crops around the world.”

Under the Trump administration, the EPA has opened the floodgates on the use of bee-killing neonicotinoids by big agriculture, clearing sulfoxaflor–an insecticide considered “very highly toxic” to bees by the agency–for use on over 16 million acres of crops that attract bees. In combination with the proliferation of insect resistant GMO crops, bee populations have continued to plummet worldwide.

While Freeman’s efforts may not be enough on their own to turn back the tide of adverse factors facing bees, his example is an inspiring signal that people are beginning to grow more conscious of the winged pollinators’ importance to humanity.

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