Gobar Times

cowpats - February 15 2010

About swine flu and sharks

No, the shark population is not about to catch the dreaded flu. But they may well face extinction because of it. Shark liver oil is a key ingredient of the flu antidote, and its spiralling demand has emerged as a major threat to sharks. Shark oil contains Squalene, which is used to produce a substance called Adjuvant, that reportedly boosts immunity. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the pharma giant, has admitted to receiving an order for atleast 440 million doses of Adjuvant. Its primary source is the liver of Gulper, a deepwater shark. Being on the Red list of IUCN, the Gulper shark is already a species nearing extinction. Another reason for you to pull out the swine flu mask and keep wearing it!!

Trees covered

Monitoring forests has just been made easier. You can now keep track of the woodlands by checking online the status of forests across the globe.

Google, the internet search engine, collaborated with two scientists to develop a software which can detect activities in a forest using satellite images. Greg Asner of  Carnegie Institution for Science and Carlos Souza of Imazon had developed small scale versions to do so. Forest conservation organisations across Latin America were using Greg’s Carnegie Landsat Analysis System (CLASlite) and Carlos’ program, Sistema de Alerta de Deforestation (SAD) to monitor the areas. This new software was unveiled at Copenhagen. It will help monitor health of forests, which double up as carbon sinks and help prevent global warming. Great convenience for tree lovers! Now just get clicking to stop the chopping.

Because wolves can kill

Scandavian wolves, that had once become extinct in Sweden, grew to a healthy number of 240, with painstaking conservation efforts. While noted conservationists like Mike Karlsson still consider it to be “critically endangered”, the Swedish Environment Protection Agency thinks differently. It moved the parliament to “control population of wolves” and to restrict the number to 210 for the next five years as their rising numbers could be dangerous for humans and livestock. This policy decision sealed the fate of 27 wolves, or 10 per cent of the population. These now had to be be hunted down and killed within period of one and a half months starting January 2, 2010. The culling had to be completed by mid-February before the mating season of the wolves would  commence.More than10 thousand hunters registered. Trigger-happy, they killed more than half of the permitted number on the first day, and all 27 by the third day. Hurray! Now we don’t have any ‘danger from them. P.S. Wolves have never killed any Sweden in the past 200 years.


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