Beach-goers warned of biting dolphin

Courtesy of Yasuyuki Nakaze
A diver tries to escape from a dolphin in Echizen, Fukui Prefecture.

Swimmers have been warned to stay away from dolphins in Fukui Prefecture in the wake of attacks on people by what is possibly a single male Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, a species that usually lives in warm waters.

Having installed ultrasonic transmitters on buoys off the coast to repel dolphins, beach officials warned visitors not to approach dolphins even if they look cute.

On July 26, a beach house operator was seen urging people to watch out for dolphins at Koshino beach, located about 20 kilometers west of the Fukui City center. The shallow waters of the beach are popular with families. The 71-year-old man was telling swimmers to come out of the sea immediately if they saw a dolphin.

According to the man, the dolphin began to be spotted around June and has frequently come into the shallow waters where many people bathe since the opening of the beach on July 9.

On July 24, the city received two reports of injuries involving a dolphin, including one in which a swimmer’s hand was bitten and the individual was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

“I’ve been doing my business here for more than 40 years, but there was never a case where a dolphin came so close to people,” he said.

In April, a dolphin began to be spotted at a fishing port more than 10 kilometers north of Koshino beach. A dolphin also showed up at nearby Takasu beach in the city around June.

Injuries began to be reported in early July, when the beach season started. After two men had their hands bitten by a dolphin and incurred wounds at Takasu beach on July 29, swimming at the beach was temporarily banned.

Courtesy of a Yomiuri Shimbun reader
A dolphin is spotted at Takasu beach in Fukui City on July 29.

According to the Fukui municipal government, there have been at least 10 cases of a dolphin biting or ramming swimmers at the two beaches. Ultrasonic transmitters were installed in the sea at both beaches to repel dolphins. A sign was also put up at Koshino beach, warning people not to touch the animals.

Witness reports suggest there is an Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin that are usually found in warm seas around southern islands of Japan such as Amami Oshima island and the Izu Islands. These dolphins, which also live around Australia, are highly curious, and their teeth are sharp so as to catch fish and keep them from escaping.

According to Ryoichi Matsubara, deputy director of Echizen Matsushima Aquarium in Sakai, Fukui Prefecture, the dolphin sightings in the prefecture are all of the same male dolphin.

“In the unlikely event of a life-threatening situation, it could lead to culling the dolphin or the closure of beaches. I hope that people will try to coexist with the animal by coming out of the sea as soon as they see him,” Matsubara said.

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Williamston couple dedicate their lives to wildlife education

WILLIAMSTON, Mich. (WLNS) – Though you wouldn’t be able tell just by looking at it, a Williamston couple’s home has an entire nature center through its doors.

Since meeting in Chicago when they were just teenagers, Jim and Carol McGrath have dedicated themselves to wildlife.

In their backyard caterpillars grow and form cocoons, and turtles sunbathe and swim in a miniature pool. Taking care of the dozens of reptiles and amphibious critters is just a part of their daily routine.

As partners they run Nature Discovery, a Michigan-centric nature reserve and education program where people can visit their home and have a hands-on experience with more than 40 different species of Michigan snakes, turtles, lizards and frogs.

The program has been growing since Jim McGrath first began it as far back as 1987. The couple moved from Illinois to Michigan when Jim McGrath attended Michigan State and never looked back.

Jim McGrath always loved nature, ever since he was a little kid running around outdoors collecting insects.

Witnessing his favorite places to explore being replaced and paved over made him passionate about trying to educate people about what they were missing out on thanks to industrial construction.

“I was seeing environmental destruction. My favorite places to catch butterflies – suddenly, they’d be totally devastated for an apartment complex. By the time I was a teenager, I realized people didn’t know what they were destroying,” McGrath said. “I thought, ‘This is what I need to do with my life.’”

The McGraths frequently take Nature Discovery on the road, traveling across the Midwest, providing fun presentations to students of all ages, from kindergarten to high school.

Kids get to hold snakes and feed bullfrogs, which are capable of leaping halfway across the room when they get excited.

Carol McGrath said providing a highly interactive nature experience with people helps foster a connection between them and the natural wildlife that lives and grows around them.

She believes that connection helps inspire people to be more conscious of their environment and may help spur them to take more steps to protect it.

“That’s the way to reach people. Once they know about the wonderful living resources we have in Michigan and the diversity of life, they feel more connected to it. They want to see its continued existence. Plus, the more you know about them, the more interest your time is outside. It makes going outside for a walk more fun,” Carol McGrath said.

Visitors to Nature Discovery, which is appointment only, can check out a huge variety of Michigan reptiles. In addition to learning all about them and where to find them, guests can also handle the reptiles too – if they’re brave enough.

While feeding a bullfrog, Jim McGrath explains how excited kids get when they get up and close to the animals.

Especially when the frog leaps a few feet into the air and begins to hop across the floor.

“We encourage people to get their hands in there,” Jim McGrath said.

To learn more about Nature Discovery, and check out the McGrath’s monthly nature newsletter, visit naturediscovery.net/

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The Microplastic-Mussel Connection: Part One

Podcast guests Amy V. Uhrin, chief scientist for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, and Ed Johnson, physical scientist with NOAA's Mussel Watch Program. Here, Amy and Ed are shown collecting samples of invasive zebra mussels on a research vessel in Lake Michigan.

In this episode, we hear about a NOAA-funded study that asked an interesting question: what if mussels could be used to learn more about microplastic pollution in our waterways? NOAA already runs a program that monitors chemical contaminants in our coastal waterways and Great Lakes by sampling mussels and oysters called the Mussel Watch program. So wouldn’t it be great to tap into Mussel Watch to also learn more about plastics in our environment? Spoiler alert: the study didn’t turn out quite as expected. This is part one of a two-part episode.

Episode permanent link and show notes

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Drugged Horses Die in Underground Races

Racing Hell:

From June 2021 through April 2022, a team of PETA operatives investigated unregulated Quarter Horse racing in Georgia, primarily at the largest Georgia “bush track,” Rancho El Centenario (south of Atlanta). Well over 100 of these tracks operate all over the U.S., from California to Virginia, flying largely under the radar.


Fast & Furious

Quarter Horses are the fastest breed at running a quarter-mile or less. These “match races” feature two to six horses competing against each other at breakneck speeds on a straightaway track at distances from 5 to 400 yards. A typical race day involves up to 20 races.

PETA discovered a clandestine underworld of crime and cruelty, where racegoers wager hundreds of thousands of dollars and trainers and jockeys drug, whip, and electroshock horses to try to win at any cost.

The ‘Breaking Bad’ of Horse Racing:

Meth and Coke

Investigators were appalled to see race teams injecting horses in the neck shortly before races, often on the racetrack itself. Racers experiment with drug cocktails to rev horses up, mask injuries, and kill pain, in hopes of achieving maximum speed.

horse injected in neck before race

PETA was able to collect 27 syringes and/or needles in total, on six different dates. Testing by a Racing Medication & Testing Consortium–accredited lab revealed that syringes contained cocaine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), and caffeine, sometimes in combination.

underground racing peta investigation

After watching this injection, another trainer jokingly offered his arm for a shot and then shimmied as if he had received a rush from the drug. They all know what’s in these syringes.

horse trainers with syringes

Horses Shocked With Electric Devices and Whipped Relentlessly

Jockeys whipped horses relentlessly—often over 20 times in a row—and other team members even struck the horses from behind as the starting gates opened. Jockeys and handlers also whipped and hit horses before races, during loading, and in the starting gates, as punishment and/or to control fractious behavior in the drugged-up horses.

jockey in starting gates

Jockeys did not limit themselves to whipping—investigators’ close-up footage revealed electric shock devices (aka “batteries,” “buzzers,” “machines,” “chicharras,” or “máquinas”) held in jockeys’ hands or taped to their wrists. They use them to shock the horses in the neck during races, even the many jockeys who also race at mainstream tracks, where using or possessing these devices would result in a multiyear suspension.

Bryan Candanosa

2022 leading money-winner on regulated tracks, Bryan Candanosa, with an electroshock device at a bush track in February

Jockeys Risking Their Own Lives and Limbs

When horses suffer catastrophic breakdowns in races, the jockeys are often badly injured in the falls.

In an incident at Rancho El Centenario in 2021, notorious jockey Roman Chapa (who had been banned from mainstream tracks after he was photographed holding a shocking device) rode a horse who fell and was fatally injured; Chapa later died from his own severe injuries.

jockey injured in fall from horse

The track announcer and security guards tell attendees to stop filming after these gruesome breakdowns, but some videos make it online, and PETA investigators have scrupulously filmed in person and collected numerous other videos of injuries and deaths at Rancho El Centenario.

Osdany Leal

Osdany Leal sustained grave spinal injuries in this fall, and horse La Diosa was killed. Jockeys, who are complicit in overdriving the horses, choose to take these dangerous risks, but the horses don’t have a choice.

PETA also identified underage jockeys who were only 13 and 14 when racing at these Georgia tracks.

Fourteen-year-old jockey with an electric shock device
Fourteen-year-old jockey with an electric shock device


Thirteen-year-old jockey with trainer José Pujol, who was filmed by PETA injecting a horse with cocaine in 2021
Thirteen-year-old jockey with trainer José Pujol, who was filmed by PETA injecting a horse with cocaine in 2021

These crime-ridden underground racetracks are the dark underbelly of the wider Quarter Horse racing industry, which profits from breeding and selling these horses and then looks the other way.

PETA found this carcass of a horse rotting just a few feet away from the track in August 2021
PETA found this carcass of a horse rotting just a few feet away from the track in August 2021.

High-Stakes Gambling

Gambling featured heavily in the operation of these races. In addition to admission fees up to $100, people brazenly wagered what appeared to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. The track announcer stated the “advantages”—match racing’s equivalent of odds. Horses had to win by at least a certain part of the body, for example, the nose, head, girth, backside, or tail (aka picos, cabeza, faja, blanco, and claro) for bettors to win. Multiple bookies circulated among the spectators, collecting wagers in person and via phone. Jockeys, trainers, and owners can often make more money in this lucrative black market racing than they can at mainstream Quarter Horse tracks.


Raced to Death

The doping, whipping, and electroshocking put horses at extreme risk for accidents and fatal injuries. Horses at these “bush tracks” break down frequently, which usually results in death.

breakdown on track

PETA filmed a race in March 2022 in which both participating horses died—one of the horses staggered on a badly broken, dangling leg, before eventually being shot in the head.

horse shot in head

A worker then matter-of-factly dragged the dead horse down the track with a tractor.

horse dragged off track

The “winning” horse died of a heart attack.

PETA has asked local and state law enforcement to investigate and prosecute any illegal conduct so that no more horses will be injected with street drugs or electroshocked or die in gruesome breakdowns. Meanwhile, please join us in urging the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to ban any jockeys, trainers, or owners who participate in unregulated black market races.

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Justice for Kittens Found Dumped in Garbage Truck

40513 Signatures Collected

PETITION TARGET: Pennsylvania State Police Troop L

Helpless, scared, and left for dead, three tiny kittens languished in the bed of a sanitation truck after someone cruelly threw them out like garbage in Pennsylvania, Newsweek reported.

Very fortunately for these victimized kittens, a heroic sanitation worker named Terrence Taylor found and rescued them in time to save their lives.

The kind-hearted garbage man had to remove nearly all the trash in his truck before being able to rescue all three kittens, LebTown reported. If he hadn’t taken such swift action and gone to such thorough lengths, the young cats likely would have been buried alive under massive heaps of trash, and he likely would have missed the third kitten found at the bottom of the trash piles, in water.

The kittens are now recovering in a foster home, but intentional and careless acts of animal cruelty are never acceptable. Authorities must thoroughly investigate this case of severe disregard for the welfare of these vulnerable kittens.

Sign our petition calling on the Pennsylvania State Police to thoroughly investigate this act of animal cruelty, identify the person(s)  responsible and forward applicable animal cruelty charges to a prosecutor.

kittens three 3 white orange

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Rain, the Homeless German Shepherd – Hope For Paws

Rain, the homeless German Shepherd

December 05, 2020 – Eldad Hagar

We received a call about a homeless and scared German Shepherd. 

The poor dog was terrified to the core, even as Loreta tried to convince Rain to trust us by offering her a cheeseburger. As Loreta secured Rain, she began crying out like a human, unlike anything we’ve heard. She was trembling and you could see the fear in her eyes. 

Her ears were being eaten by flies, her coat was filthy, and I can’t imagine what caused her to be so fearful. Eventually, she relaxed and got to enjoy a spa day, but was obviously exhausted from her life on the streets! We can only save lives with your support, please consider donating todayEvery small donation helps pups like Rain find forever homes. 

If you are interested in adopting german shepherds like Rain, check out these loving animals looking for a new family today


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