Tens of thousands of dead fish have washed up on a 25-mile stretch of Lake Erie's northern shore, and Ontario environmental officials say they could be victims of a natural phenomenon called a lake inversion.
The inversion brings cold water, which has lower oxygen levels, to the lake's surface and fish suffocate.
"Essentially it's a rolling over of the lake," Ontario Ministry of the Environment spokeswoman Kate Jordan told The Chatham Daily News. "Something – whether it be a storm, or cooler temperatures at night, or strong winds – triggers a temperature change in the lake."
Jordan said it was windy and choppy on the lake Friday night, according to a report in The Windsor Star. The fish kill was reported Saturday.
Ten beached pilot whales were rescued Sunday in Scotland, but 16 others could not be saved, the local newspaper The Scotsman reported.
The stranding occurred between Pittenweem and Anstruther at the mouth of the bay called the Firth of Forth on the North Sea.
Rescuers took advantage of high tide to get 10 whales out of trouble about 4:30 p.m., but the rest, including three calves, died, the paper said. A 17th whale died Monday, BBC reported.
The Fife Coastguard, Fire Brigade, British Divers Marine Life Rescue team, and Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were joined by local veterinarians and volunteers in the rescue effort, The Scotsman reported. Large crowds gathered but were urged not to interfere with the rescuers.
A group of whales believed to be the ones that were refloated was spotted Monday near North Queensferry, across the Firth of Forth from the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, BBC reported. They were being monitored for signs of stranding as low tide approached. About two dozen other whales, believed to be from the same pod, were seen in shallow water a short distance away.
Bob McLellan, Fife Council's head of transport and environmental services, told BBC the whale carcasses are in a hard-to-reach place and may have to be winched up the cliff face for disposal.
California sea lions, gray seals and brown pelicans are just a few of an impressive list of animals on display in the nation's capital. The National Zoo in Washington on Saturday held its grand opening of the remodeled "American Trail" exhibit, which features only species from the United States and Canada.
"We tend to highlight a lot of pandas and African species and those kinds of exotics," said Rebecca Miller, an animal keeper at the National Zoo. "But we have some really great animals here (in this exhibit) that people can see ... American-born," she said.
In the first sign that the Fukushima nuclear disaster may be changing life around it, scientists say they've found mutant butterflies.
Some of the butterflies had abnormalities in their legs, antennae, and abdomens, and dents in their eyes, according to the study published in Scientific Reports, an online journal from the team behind Nature. Researchers also found that some affected butterflies had broken or wrinkled wings, changes in wing size, color pattern changes, and spots disappearing or increasing on the butterflies.
The study began two months after an earthquake and tsunami devastated swaths of northeastern Japan in March 2011, triggering a nuclear disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi plant spewed radiation and displaced tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area in the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
In May 2011, researchers collected more than 100 pale grass blue butterflies in and around the Fukushima prefecture and found that 12% of them had abnormalities or mutations. When those butterflies mated, the rate of mutations in the offspring rose to 18%, according to the study, which added that some died before reaching adulthood. When the offspring mated with healthy butterflies that weren't affected by the nuclear crisis, the abnormality rate rose to 34%, indicating that the mutations were being passed on through genes to offspring at high rates even when one of the parent butterflies was healthy.
The scientists wanted to find out how things stood after a longer amount of time and again collected more than 200 butterflies last September. Twenty-eight percent of the butterflies showed abnormalities, but the rate of mutated offspring jumped to 52%, according to researchers. The study indicated that second-generation butterflies, the ones collected in September, likely saw higher numbers of mutations because they were exposed to the radiation either as larvae or earlier than adult butterflies first collected.
To make sure that the nuclear disaster was in fact the cause of the mutations, researchers collected butterflies that had not been affected by radiation and gave them low-dose exposures of radiation and found similar results.
"We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused physiological and genetic damage to this species," the study said.
The former stepmother of the Wisconsin temple shooter talks to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about Wade Michael Page's life as a child, before he joined the military.
Kyung Lah shares what she saw in the courtroom when Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to the mass shooting outside a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket.
Piers Morgan talks to a man who survived an encounter with a great white shark off Cape Cod.
Call it an orangutan detox facility.
It's an island in the middle of a lake in Indonesia's Taru Jurug Zoo, and it's where Tori, the smoking orangutan, will be spending her days.
The 13-year-old primate picked up the habit by grabbing still-burning butts discarded in her enclosure by zoo visitors and imitating their actions, zoo officials told the Jakarta Globe.
Signs warned against the practice, but zoo visitors paid no heed, the zoo's director, Lilik Kristianto, told the Globe.
“A common problem for zoos in Indonesia are naughty visitors,” the director is quoted as saying. “Although there are sign prohibiting them from giving food or cigarettes to the animals, they keep on doing it. It is not rare that visitors even hurt the animals.”
Besides keeping puffing visitors at a safe distance, the island will have other advantages over the concrete cage Tori has called home at the zoo in Solo.
“Tori can climb five big trees on the island. This might be the best orangutan enclosure in Indonesia,” the zoo director is quoted as saying.
Tori isn't alone on the island. A male, Didik, has joined her.
But Didik has no need for rehab. While Tori would puff on the butts, Didik used to stamp them out, the Globe reported.
There's no shortage of puppycams on the Internet these days. Thousands of people spend hours watching Shiba Inus romp around and then fall asleep.
This is perhaps why a few groups are teaming up to try to turn the guilty pleasure of watching pups all day into a way to help disabled veterans.
Explore.org, in conjunction with DogBlessYou.org, has put up its own puppycam and says that for every 1,000 likes of the DogBlessYou Facebook, Pinterest and/or Tumblr pages, the group will donate a therapy dog to a disabled war veteran.
"The mission of explore.org is to champion the selfless acts of others, to create a portal into the soul of humanity and to inspire life long learning. What is the easiest way to do this? Through dogs – they see our souls like no other," founder Charlie Annenberg says on the the DogBlessYou Facebook page. "That is why as we build Dog Bless You, I believe that its mission should be to champion the selfless acts of animals."
It's no secret that a big push for veterans has included enlisting man's best friend in hopes of helping heal some of the wounds of war. Like guide dogs for the blind, psychiatric service dogs aid people with mental illnesses, from anxiety disorder to bipolar disorder to PTSD. The dogs are trained to know when their owners are depressed or having a panic attack, for example, and the animals might calm them down by curling up in their lap or giving a nudge.
Check out the pups playing around and visit the links above if you want to like the group's efforts to help veterans. Do you know of a similar effort? Let us know in the comments.
A Chinese city has canceled a $157 bounty on piranha after people killed too many other fish in a four-day hunt, Chinese state media reported Friday.
Government officials in the southern city of Liuzhou had offered a 1,000-yuan ($157) reward for every piranha caught after at least three of the sharp-toothed fish attacked two swimmers in the Liujiang River over the weekend, biting off parts of one person's finger, state-run agency Xinhua reported.
But no one caught any piranha in the four-day river hunt, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.
And too many local fish breeds were being killed, including in nets, prompting concern about the river's ecological balance, the head of the local fishery bureau told China Daily.
Forget “Jaws.” We’ve seen all sorts of real-life shark encounters in the last few weeks. Whether people are fishing, diving, or kayaking, sharks seem to be showing up everywhere. You’ve Gotta Watch these incredible videos. Have you ever had a close call with a shark? Let us know in the comments below.
Two friends who were spear fishing off the coast of Australia got a nasty surprise when a great white shark came between them and their boat. See how many times the sharks circled the swimmers.
Fishers in South Carolina and Australia both had sharks appear out of nowhere to snatch a fish off their lines. It's hard to say what's better: the footage of the sharks or the reaction from the people fishing.
Multiple sightings of great white sharks off Cape Cod have visitors worried. See the incredible shots of a great white shark stalking a kayaker.
Fishermen in Sydney captured unbelievable video of an 18-foot great white biting the smaller blue shark that was on their line. You’ve got to see this huge beast shoot out of the water.
[Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET] Hundreds of endangered leatherback turtle hatchlings and eggs were crushed over the weekend when attempts to stop erosion on a tourist beach in Trinidad went badly wrong, according to conservationists.
Workers were redirecting a river that was endangering a major nesting habitat for leatherback turtles and encroaching on local hotels and businesses in Grande Riviere, a popular tourist spot on the Caribbean island's north coast.
However, the workers severely damaged a nesting area with a bulldozer and an excavator, killing or harming hundreds of unhatched turtle eggs, the local conservation groups said.
A statement from the Environmental Management Authority acknowledged that hundreds of turtles had been killed during attempts to divert the river's course.
"If left on its current course, the existing route of the river would have caused more erosion and loss to previous nesting sites," the EMA said. "The EMA believes that this emergency action will have some positive impact on the overall population of leatherback turtles nestling in Grande Riviere."
A Florida teenager lost part of his arm in an alligator attack on Monday, but the boy's family says the outcome could have been worse if the 17-year-old hadn't been a fan of the National Geographic show "Swamp Men."
Kaleb "Fred" Langdale was swimming with friends in in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven in southwest Florida when an 11-foot alligator attacked, according to a report from CNN affliate WINK-TV.
"As soon as he'd seen Fred, the gator was coming after him. On top of the water, as fast as he could pedal, his tail was wagging back and forth, he was coming," Langdale's friend Gary Beck told WINK.
That's when the teen's TV gator knowledge kicked in, his sister, Rebecca Langdale, said in an interview with the Fort Myers News Press.
South Korea is considering hunting whales in the waters off its shores for scientific purposes, drawing condemnation from environmental groups.
Citing calls from fishermen for a resumption of limited whaling, the head of the South Korean delegation to the International Whaling Commission, Kang Joon-suk, said Wednesday that Seoul was working on a proposal to hunt minke whales migrating off the Korean Peninsula.
Korean fishermen complain that the whales are disrupting their fishing activities and eating fish stocks, Kang said at the commission's annual meeting in Panama.
Nonlethal measures are not enough to assess the whales' numbers and feeding habits, he said.
But environmental organizations are skeptical about the South Korean explanation.
"We believe this move is a thinly veiled attempt by Korea to conduct commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research, similar to hunts conducted by Japan in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary," said Wendy Elliott, head of WWF's delegation to the whaling commission.FULL STORY
An American student is in critical condition after undergoing two operations after chimpanzees tore apart his body in front of tourists at a South African animal sanctuary, a hospital spokeswoman told CNN on Tuesday.
Andrew Oberle, a primatology student from University of Texas at San Antonio, was being treated at a Johannesburg hospital after two chimps attacked him Thursday, spokeswoman Robyn Baard said.
Oberle had been at the Jane Goodall Institute's Chimp Eden since May, according to Eugene Cussons, the facility's managing director. Oberle was at the sanctuary, near Nelspruit, South Africa, for the second time after training and volunteering there in 2010. His training included an explanation about "no-go" areas - spaces for animals where people are not supposed to go.
Witnesses to the attack said that Oberle went into a no-go area because he seemed to want to remove a stone close to one of the animals that could have been picked up and thrown around, Cussons told CNN.
Oberle crossed one barrier and approached a second one, which is a main fence with 24 strands of electrical wiring, Cussons said. Two male chimps grabbed Oberle and tried to drag him under the fence, but were not able to yank him into their enclosure.
Cussons said he estimates the attack lasted 15 minutes.
At some point, people tried to stop the chimps, and Cussons shot two rounds in the air to see if that might get them to retreat, he said. One of the chimps then charged at Cussons, he said. Cussons shot that chimp in the abdomen, he told CNN, and it seemed to shriek as a kind of signal to other chimps that there was a more powerful threat present. The chimps then backed off, he said.
Oberle was rescued and transported for medical care.
None of the 13 tourists - most of them from local areas – were harmed, officials said.
The chimp that was shot had an operation at the Johannesburg zoo to repair damage to his small and large intestines.
Hospital spokeswoman Baard declined to discuss the nature of Oberle's wounds. She said the student's parents had requested privacy, adding that they are "quite traumatized."
The sanctuary, which is featured in the Animal Planet program "Escape to Chimp Eden," remains closed and its staff is receiving counseling, executive director David Oosthuizen said.
There are no plans right now to euthanize the chimps involved in the attack, said Dries Pienaar, who is leading the investigation into the incident. He works for a parks agency that makes sure zoos, sanctuaries and breeding projects comply with the law. Pienaar told CNN that his preliminary findings are that human error is to blame, but he cautioned that his investigation is not complete and that he wants to interview Oberle. He hasn't spoken to all of the tourists yet, either.
Chimp Eden was established as a home for rescued chimpanzees. Many of the primates have suffered "horrible injuries and abuse from humans," according to the sanctuary.
Dave Salmoni, an expert in large predators for the television channel Animal Planet, said abused and captive chimpanzees can be particularly dangerous, likening the chimps to troubled prison inmates.
"Now this is a very nice prison, but it's a prison nonetheless," he said Monday. "And that's why you can see a lot of acting out behavior, and in some cases, with chimpanzees, they act out just because they can."
Oberle was passionate about studying chimpanzees, his friend Anthony Reimherr told CNN affiliate KXAN-TV. He said it was "intriguing" to listen to Oberle when he spoke about the animals.
"It's just something that he loved to do, and I think it's something that he'll always continue to do," Reimherr said.FULL STORY
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Azaria Chamberlain was just 2 months old when she disappeared from a tent during a family trip to Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. A coroner ruled Tuesday that a dingo, a wild dog native to Australia, caused her death. The girl's mother, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, was sentenced to life in jail; the conviction was later overturned. Meryl Streep starred in a movie about the incident, burning the cries of "the dingo's got my baby" into popular consciousness. Chamberlain-Creighton said she was "relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga."
Readers debated the case, the animal in question, justice and popular culture references to the case.
For many, this new development in the dingo saga brings a sense of closure.
Leigh2: "What a hard life that poor woman has had. You can see it in her face. She and her husband may have won money from a lawsuit, but she and her family have paid dearly themselves over the accusations of murdering their own baby. Besides their child being snatched by a big canine and knowing their baby died a horrible death, that all had to be an immense strain on them. I saw the movie based on what happened years ago. It was a very emotional and upsetting movie. One that I vowed to only view once. So sad. :-("
Plenty of other readers talked about the impact of "A Cry in the Dark," the movie about the incident.
dfwenigma: "When I saw 'A Cry in the Dark' I was completely overwhelmed. This couple was simply trying to make a go of it. Personally I think living out there in the middle of nowhere was probably not a great decision for a couple with a baby, however, they absolutely had the right to do so ... let's lay off the politics in these postings - a child lost her life thirty years ago - and the mother is finally vindicated. That calls for celebration for her - and mourning for the poor child."
NanookoftheNorth: "I feel the same about 'Sophie's Choice' ... only saw it once and it has left a life-time impression on me. Like 'A Cry In The Dark', both movies starred the young and just starting out in her career, Meryl Streep. We could see then that brillant actress was going places ... the Katharine Hepburn of our time !"
This reader was critical of the way the case was portrayed. FULL POST
A rare event is said to happen once in a blue moon. But a blue moon has nothing on a blue lobster.
Canadian lobster boat captain Bobby Stoddard said he and his crew were hauling in their lobster traps one day in early May when one of the men called out, "Hey, we got a pretty one in this trap!"
"I turned around and said, 'Holy smoke!' " said Stoddard, 51, of Clarks Harbour, Nova Scotia.
In the trap with three other, ordinary greenish-brown lobsters was a remarkably bright blue one, the first lobster of that hue Stoddard had seen in his 33 years of fishing for a living.
"This is the only one that I've ever seen," he told CNN. "And my dad has been a lobsterman of about 55 years, and he caught one about 45 years ago, but hadn't seen one since." FULL POST
This Saturday, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I'll Have Another is looking to win horse racing's first Triple Crown victory in 34 years at the Belmont Stakes. And for the first time in three races, oddsmakers say the horse is actually favored to win at odds of 4-5, according to the New York Racing Association.
I'll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez have come from behind to earn close, dramatic finishes in the previous two races in this year's Triple Crown, surprising nearly everyone, according to the Daily Racing Form.
The horse was "lightly raced" and only competed in two prep races leading up to the Derby. He competed in the shadow of Bodemeister, who was predicted to win the Kentucky Derby.
Bodemeister also set a "sizzling pace" at Preakness that I'll Have Another surprisingly beat by digging in and surging ahead. But with Bodemeister not running in the Belmont, the Form says I'll Have Another is the best horse that will enter a starting gate on Saturday.
In fact, I'll Have Another's only disappointing appearance was at Saratoga for the Hopeful Stakes in September 2011. The track became a "quagmire" due to heavy rains and the horse suffered because of it, DRF reported.
While I'll Have Another isn't expected to beat 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat's world record time for a 1.5 mile race on dirt, a Belmont win could cement legend status for the horse.
"That's the measuring stick for a champion," Daily Racing Forum's Dan Illman said. FULL POST
Bear sightings caught on video!
We expect bears to wander through the wilderness or even parade inside a zoo. See what happens when the "unexpected" happens and a bear is caught wading in a family's pool. We've obtained video of bears crashing a TV news set and bumping into an unexpected man texting on his phone, too.
A bear in California decides to "cool off" and take a dip in a family's pool.
Four bears walked into WNEP's outdoor weather set seconds before the start of a live forecast.
A California man comes face to face with a 400-pound black bear scouring a busy neighborhood in search of food.
A half-million pigs on a Chilean farm will be destroyed after the facility was closed for several days during a dispute with local residents.
Jose Guzman, chief executive of Agrosuper, which owns the farm, said the animals would be killed rather than moved, according to a report from Agence-France Presse.
"They are going to be slaughtered. They are not going to another farm, nor to another plant," Guzman is quoted as saying.
The events that precipitated the slaughter began this month when villagers from Freirina blockaded the farm after months of protests about foul odors and disease-infested water they said emanated from the farm and its slaughterhouse. The 500,000 pigs went unattended for five days, prompting the Chilean government to declare a sanitary emergency, according to a report from MercoPress.
Agrosuper was given six months to move the pigs and remedy the sanitary problems with the plant, MercoPress reported.
When a 1-year-old Humboldt penguin that escaped from a Tokyo aquarium three months ago dared to set foot on land in Ichikawa on Thursday night, it was captured by hand and finally collared, The Japan Times reported.
An aquarium employee was walking alongside the Edogawa River in Chiba Prefecture at 5:30 p.m. and spotted the fugitive penguin, which escaped in March.
The penguin was seen swimming in the river near the Kanamachi water purification plant in Katsushika Ward earlier in the week. Last week, people also saw it thriving and snacking on small fish in Tokyo Bay. It was assumed that the bird was finding some place to rest onshore at night.
The fugitive bird, known as Penguin 337, somehow scaled a 13-foot wall and got through a barbed-wire fence to get into the bay. Aquarium officials believe it escaped through small gaps that cats and frogs can pass through.
Officials from Tokyo Sea Life Park feared the penguin would not survive in the waters of the bay, busy with marine traffic headed for densely populated Tokyo.
"It didn't look like it has gotten thinner over the past two months, or been without food. It doesn't seem to be any weaker. So it looks as if it's been living quite happily in the middle of Tokyo Bay," Kazuhiro Sakamoto, deputy director of the park, told Reuters.
The penguin was filmed by a Japanese coast guard patrol craft on May 7, but the crew was unable to catch it then.
Penguin 337 is one of 135 penguins at Tokyo Sea Life Park.
A horse, a deer and a dog don’t belong in the water but, in these unusual cases, they were spotted miles from land. The people who helped them had to figure out some tricky logistics to save them. You’ve gotta watch these animal rescues.
A 7-year-old horse got spooked at a photo shoot in Southern California and ran into the ocean. The Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol spotted it two miles offshore. Watch how they towed it back in.
It started out as a normal father and son fishing trip, but it had an unusual ending. They spotted a drowning fawn two miles from shore. See how the ordeal changed the dad’s outlook.
A kayaker went fishing in the gulf and ended up catching a dog named Barney. Sadly, this mystery has an unhappy ending. Learn why the dog was in the ocean in the first place.