Stowaway snake found under plane seat

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UK news
Scotland

Stowaway snake found under plane seat

Mexican serpent is named Furtivo after being found by Glasgow airport staff under seats of flight from Cancún

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Associated Press
The Guardian, Friday 26 October 2012 14.49 EDT

Furtivo, the Mexican snake found on a plane at Glasgow airport
Furtivo, the Mexican snake found on a plane at Glasgow airport. Photograph: Scottish SPCA/PA

Scottish airport staff got a surprise when they stumbled on a Mexican serpent stowaway under a seat.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says quick-thinking workers at Glasgow airport remained “remarkably calm” when they discovered the 18-inch (45-centimetre) snake on Tuesday under seats in the passenger cabin of a flight from Cancún.

The society says the young snake was taken to its Glasgow animal centre, and named Furtivo, Spanish for “sneak”.

Furtivo, a member of the Dryadophis family of snakes, is apparently not venomous but “feisty”.

The snake may have sneaked on to the plane before takeoff, or hitched a ride in a passenger’s hand luggage.

The society says Furtivo will remain in its care until an expert home can be found.

Stowaway snake found under plane seat | UK news | The Guardian

Feds want to add 15 Hawaii species to endangered list

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing protecting 13 Big Island plants, a picture-wing fly and a shrimp as endangered species.

The agency said Wednesday invasive plants, agriculture, urban development and feral animals like pigs, sheep and goats are threatening the plants and animals by destroying their habitat.

It’s accepting comments on the proposal through Dec. 17.

More than 400 species around Hawaii are already listed as endangered or threatened.

The agency says its proposal is part of a court-approved work plan to resolve a series of lawsuits over the agency’s listing of species.

The agency says the agreement aims to reduce work driven by lawsuits.

Feds want to add 15 Hawaii species to endangered list – Hawaii News – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

See HGP at our booth at the MALP 17th Annual Lawn and Garden Fair

CLICK HERE for complete MALP 2012 Land Garden Fair information

Please Contact Susi Mastroianni if you would like to place a business card ad. Cost is $175.00 and will appear in the Maui News the Sunday before the Lawn and Garden Fair. Contact her at email address with your business card email: gardencreationsmaui@mac.com. CLICK HERE for a sample on how the ad is done–from the Maui Contractors Association ad.

CLICK HERE for a MALP Artscapes Application

Group asks for help fighting alien frogs on Oahu

The Oahu Invasive Species Committee is asking Oahu residents to participate tonight in “Go Out and Listen Night!” to help listen for invasive coqui frogs and report if they hear coqui frogs in their area or not.

Twenty coqui frogs have been captured on Oahu since the beginning of 2012, the committee said.

The frogs are known for their sharp “ko-Kee” calls. There are no established populations of coqui frogs on Oahu, but they continue to “hitchhike” to the island in shipments from the Big Island.

The Oahu Invasive Species Committee is asking residents with smartphones to go outside tonight between 7:30 and 8 p.m., listen for 15 minutes for the signature “ko-KEE” call of the coqui frog, and report what they heard using the free “Honolulu 311” smartphone app. The group is asking residents to report if they did or did not hear a coqui frog in their area.

Details on how to participate, what a coqui frog sounds and looks like, and step by step instructions on how to use the “Honolulu 311” app can be found at www.coqui311.blogspot.com.

Residents without a smartphone can report coqui frogs by emailing the Oahu Invasive Species Committee at oisc@hawaii.edu or by calling the State Pest Hotline, 643-PEST (643-7378).

Group asks for help fighting alien frogs on Oahu – Hawaii News – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Coquis taking a toll on Hawaii island bug life

Invasive coqui frogs are subtly altering the ecosystem of Hawaii island as they gobble up mites, ants and other bugs and leave behind droppings that attract flies, scientists conclude.

While the tiny frogs, native of Puerto Rico, are known for their loud and often maddening cries, they also are taking a toll on the Hawaii island environment, according to Ryan Choi and Karen Beard, with the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State.

Researchers with headlamps fanned out across the island over four months in 2009, collecting frogs, and analyzed their stomach contents.

They also collected “leaf litter” at sites where coquis are abundant and also where they are not. Dead leaves are where many of the bugs that coquis eat reside, but the teams also collected bugs that live in foliage.

The results, published in the May issue of the journal Biological Invasions: Where coqui populations are dense, the number of leaf litter bugs fell by 27 percent and mites alone by 36 percent.

The number of flies was nearly one-fifth greater where coquis are prevalent, Choi and Beard found.

The research teams collected leaf litter in 10-inch-by-10-inch patches and extracted the bugs, which they then identified using a dissecting microscope. They also used vacuums to suck up the bugs for analysis.

Flies were collected with sticky traps.

In all, they collected 21,382 invertebrates (not all of them insects) at the coqui-populous sites and 28,184 from the largely coqui-free sites.

“Across 15 sites on the island of Hawaii, we found that coqui frogs were associated with a reduction in the total number of leaf-litter invertebrates, primarily Acari,” the scientists reported, referring to the group of arachnids that includes mites and ticks.

New law prohibits having or releasing feral deer in Hawaii

A bill prohibiting having feral deer or releasing them into the wild was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Senate Bill 3001 was passed by the Legislature as a measure to prevent the spread of Axis deer.

The deer have thrived on Maui, causing an estimated $1 million in damage to farms, ranches and tourist resorts. There has been environmental damage on Molokai and Lanai as well. And recently on Hawaii island, they have caused damage to ranch grasslands, farm crops and plants that are vital to maintain watershed areas.

The new law aims to stop the deliberate spread of wild or feral deer and establishes penalties for the intentional possession or interisland transportation or release of wild or feral deer.

“It is imperative that Hawai’i’s environment and local industry be protected from the devastating effects that non-native species can pose to the health of our local economy and ecosystem, ” said Sen. Gilbert Kahele (District 2- Ka’u, Puna, Hilo), who introduced the measure. “This measure establishes the regulations needed to prevent the unwanted spread of Axis Deer so that our environment and businesses can continue to grow and prosper,” he said in a press release.

New law prohibits having or releasing feral deer in Hawaii – Hawaii News – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Panel should be appointed to address deer problem

Before the problem gets any worse on Maui, Mayor Alan Arakawa should appoint a blue-ribbon axis deer panel to come up with a comprehensive plan on how the county can deal with the alarming increase of deer on Maui and the significant damage that is being done to our forests, farm vegetables, ecosystem and other vegetative life on the island.

The panel should include farmers, ranchers, hunters, environmentalists, government representatives and others who have been negatively impacted by these four-legged foreign invaders.

Because the problem is so widespread and a workable solution very difficult to achieve, the mayor is in the best position to bring together the necessary experienced people to come up with ideas on how we can deal with this growing menace.

Jimmy Gomes, operations manager at Ulupalakua Ranch, describes the problem (The Maui News, May 27) by stating that he’s seen a thousand at a time and has had to wait several minutes for a herd of deer to pass before he can ride through them on horseback. Gomes went on to say that gun club members and ranch employees have killed more than 1,000 deer on the ranch this year, but it hasn’t made a dent in their numbers.

Mr. Mayor, the county needs to take action now before it is too late.

William T. Kinaka
Wailuku

Panel should be appointed to address deer problem – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

Invasive species ride tsunami debris to U.S. shore

When a floating dock the size of a boxcar washed up on a sandy beach in Oregon, beachcombers got excited because it was the largest piece of debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan to show up on the West Coast.

But scientists worried it represented a whole new way for invasive species of seaweed, crabs and other marine organisms to break the earth’s natural barriers and further muck up the West Coast’s marine environments. And more invasive species could be hitching rides on tsunami debris expected to arrive in the weeks and months to come.

“We know extinctions occur with invasions,” said John Chapman, assistant professor of fisheries and invasive species specialist at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. “This is like arrows shot into the dark. Some of them could hit a mark.”

Though the global economy has accelerated the process in recent decades by the sheer volume of ships, most from Asia, entering West Coast ports, the marine invasion has been in full swing since 1869, when the transcontinental railroad brought the first shipment of East Coast oysters packed in seaweed and mud to San Francisco, said Andrew Cohen, director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions in Richmond, Calif. For nearly a century before then, ships sailing up the coast carried barnacles and seaweeds.

Barents Crabs Suffer From Soviet Legacy

Soviet botanist Ivan Machurin’s immortal phrase “We cannot wait for favors from nature. To take them from it — that is our task” could be the all-encompassing slogan by which Russia’s resource-driven economy now lives.

Even though the early 20th-century scientist was primarily referring to creating plant hybrids, his philosophy underpinned many of the Soviet Union’s ambitious experiments with nature — from reversing river flows to the Kamchatka crabs that were transplanted to the Barents Sea in the 1960s in an effort to increase the productivity of the northern sea.

Half a century later, the spiny giants are the region’s most lucrative catch — but this experiment with biodiversity has had a string of economic, environmental and social effects on the fishing communities of the Barents Sea.
No Accidental Tourist

With a life span of up to 30 years and growing up to 2 meters across, the Kamchatka crab — also called the red king crab — is a hardy native of the North Pacific, taking its name from the peninsula where Russians first encountered it.

Between 1961 and 1969, scientists seeking to boost the commercial productivity of Russia’s Arctic Sea released 13,000 of the creatures and 1.6 million larvae into Kolafjord in the east Barents Sea — thousands of miles from their Pacific home.

The results of the experiment were at first disappointing. Although Norwegian fishermen soon began to find Kamchatka crabs in their nets with increasing regularity — the crabs appear to have marched toward Norway against the warm Gulf Stream current soon after being introduced — at first their presence in Soviet waters was negligible.

But the crustaceans were only biding their time.