Posts tagged with "Good News Network"

Bear rescued from abandoned zoo in Ukraine finds new home in UK

January 17, 2024

A bear trapped in a zoo in Ukraine that had been hit by shelling was recently saved by Scottish zookeepers, reports the Good News Network.

The Asiatic black bear was discovered when Ukrainian soldiers entered the village of Yampil, which had been under Russian occupation for five months.

The bear, given the same name as the village, was concussed from the shelling and had to be carried out of the rubble by soldiers on a tarp. Once out of the warzone, Yampil the bear eventually reached Belgium, where he was cared for by the wildlife charity Natuurhulpcentrum.

Staff at Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian, Scotland heard about Yampil from the charity, and they decided to fly down to visit him, unsure of what to expect.

“Bears can often suffer mental health problems after going through a traumatic experience, and so it was really important we understood Yampil and what to expect from him,” said Garry Curran, the head of Carnivores at Five Sisters.

Speaking to The Guardian, Curran recounted that the team breathed a collective sigh of relief when they saw the bear contentedly chomping on a cucumber when they arrived: “Although he appeared a little nervous at first, he seems to have adapted surprisingly well and didn’t actually show any concerning stress-related behaviors. He seems to be a calm and gentle individual, which was reassuring for all of us.”

Arrangements were made to transport the bear to Scotland, and after travelling 690 miles over 12 hours, Yampil arrived at his new home on Friday, January 12.

Now, Five Sisters Zoo is fundraising to finish construction of a permanent enclosure for Yampil. The zoo has raised £60,000 (US$76,000) through their efforts so far, and are hoping to reach their target of £200,000, (US$253,000), which will be used to fund Yampil’s specialist enclosure, care and upkeep. Any interested readers can donate through their appeal link here.

Staff at the zoo are grateful for the money raised so far through donations from individuals and for the materials donated from local businesses used to construct the enclosure.

“We have rescued bears before and have some terrific facilities,” said the owner of Five Sisters, Brian Curran. “However, Yampil is the first rescued Asiatic black bear we will care for, and he requires a whole new enclosure to match his special needs.”

Curran said that, if Yampil feels comfortable in his temporary surroundings, he may go into hibernation, which would allow the construction to proceed at a more tranquil pace.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Reef adoption program by 4ocean: Every bracelet plants a coral and removes ocean plastic

November 22, 2023

On Sunday, November 19, 4ocean announced a new partnership to help restore damaged coral reefs while removing trash from oceans, rivers, and coastlines, reports Good News Network.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based for-profit organization—founded by two 20-something surfers, Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper, with a vision of cleaning the ocean and coastlines, one pound at a time—has been making bracelets from the 30 million pounds of plastic they’ve remove from waterways.

And through the new partnership, French Polynesia-based Coral Gardeners will plant a baby coral onto a damaged reef with every bracelet purchased.

Customers can choose from one of five colors, each representing a different coral species to be planted—and with a live streaming camera, can watch them grow.

In fact, buyers can track each coral’s growth until it is outplanted onto a reef in French Polynesia. The money for each bracelet will also pay for the removal of five pounds of trash.

Coral reefs are known as the rainforests of the sea and play a critical role in global ocean health. Unfortunately, scientists estimate that climate change and other human-induced factors have led to the loss of many of the planet’s coral reefs in the past 30 years.

The Restoration Collection from 4ocean and Coral Gardeners will help restore some of these damaged reefs through a coral adoption program. Every bracelet sold will plant a specific species of coral on the island of Mo’orea in French Polynesia.

The bracelets are handmade by 4ocean artisans in Bali using 100% recycled ocean plastic cord collected by 4ocean captains and crews. Each bracelet features a recycled glass bead and secondary colors that represent each planted coral.

“The Restoration Collection is one of the most exciting campaigns that 4ocean has been a part of to date and will have a huge impact on the ocean,” says 4ocean CEO and Co-founder Alex Schulze.

“We are thrilled to join forces with 4ocean to protect and restore the ocean. With this collaboration, everyone can join the movement and be able to watch their coral grow via our nursery livestream.” says Titouan Bernicot, Founder of Coral Gardeners.

The Restoration Collection of four bracelets start at $34 each—or as a box set for $150. Visit 4ocean.com to order and learn more.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Implantable artificial kidney that frees patients from dialysis on horizon after successful trial

September 7, 2023

Victims of kidney failure now can look forward to a future without dialysis or a long waits for an organ transplant, thanks to efforts from the University of California–San Francisco that produced an implantable device that mimics the organ’s daily functions, reports the Good News Network.

Their first clinical trial showed that kidney cells, housed within the device called a bioreactor, can work quietly in the background, like a pacemaker, and does not trigger the recipient’s immune system to go on the attack—a major stumbling block for patients who need to take harsh immunity-suppressing drugs after receive donor transplants.

More than 500,000 people in the U.S. require dialysis several times a week, during which their blood is filtered by a machine. Many seek kidney transplants—but there are not enough donors, and only about 20,000 people receive them each year. An implantable artificial kidney would be a boon.

The device, developed by the university’s Kidney Project, has been successfully implanted and tested in pigs for seven days. The next step will be a month-long trial—first in animals and then humans.

The scientists plan to fill the bioreactor with additional kidney cells that can mimic all the functions—such as balancing the body’s fluids and releasing hormones to regulate blood pressure. Then, a full artificial kidney will be born.

“The bioartificial kidney will make treatment for kidney disease more effective and also much more tolerable and comfortable,” says Dr. Shuvo Roy, a bioengineering professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

“We needed to prove that a functional bioreactor will not require immunosuppressant drugs, and we did. We had no complications and can now iterate up, reaching for the whole panel of kidney functions at the human scale.”

In a study published in the journal, Nature Communications, the team details how the engineered bioreactor can connect directly to blood vessels and veins, allowing the passage of nutrients and oxygen, much like a transplanted kidney would.

Silicon membranes keep the kidney cells inside the bioreactor safe from attack by the recipient’s immune cells.

The team used a type of kidney cell called a proximal tubule cell, which regulates water and salt, as a test case. Co-author H. David Humes, MD, from the University of Michigan, had previously used these cells to help dialysis patients in the intensive care unit with life-saving results.

They tracked data from the kidney cells inside the bioreactor and the recipient animals for seven days after transplantation and both did well.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

70 million people cheer on young Texas boy who rang a doorbell asking for help finding friends

July 28, 2023

Get ready to fall in love with the sincerity of an 11-year-old Texan boy who went to a neighbor’s house asking if they knew any kids in the area because he really needed some new friends, reports the Good News Network.

The heartbreaking-then-heartwarming interaction between Shayden Walker and his neighbor Brennan Ray was caught via a doorbell security camera—and trigged a viral storm of offers for friendship on social media.

“Um, I just wanted to see if you knew any kids around like 11 or 12, maybe,” the boy can be heard saying in the video. “I need some friends, like really bad.”

Ray suggests some kids in their area of Amarillo Texas, but Shayden replies that he doesn’t see them anymore “because they’re bullies.”

Ray then says that if Shayden wanted to he could play with his daughter, but she was only 2 years old, to which the young man replies “Oh great! I love 2-year-olds, to be honest, they’re like the most cutest things I’ve ever known.”

Ray was struck by Shayden’s honesty and demeanor and took to TikTok to try and solve his conundrum.

“You never know what people are going through until you get a chance to talk to them. This young man is well-mannered, kind, and brave. So, TikTok, can we help Shayden make some friends?” Ray captioned the video, which garnered an absolutely staggering 69 million views.

“I figured I could post it and some local people would see it and help me connect to them,” he told USA Today.

Shayden has been diagnosed with several mental disorders and his mom said he’s always had trouble maintaining friends—but after the TikTok video he now has friends in China, the UK, Hawaii, and Australia.

At first, admits mom Kimberly, she thought the video would lead to more ridicule.

“When that didn’t happen, the relief that washed over me and the pure joy that people actually were showing compassion, that was huge,” she said.

Shayden also told USA Today and said he felt drawn to visit the Rays because their dog ran into his yard one day, and when the Rays come over to get him they seemed like nice people.

Ray and his wife thought they could use all the publicity to help Shayden, so they started a GoFundMe which raised $37,000 for whatever he wants—a clause stipulated in the fundraiser.

The families are extremely close after the ordeal, and Shayden does in fact play with the Rays’ daughter, despite all his new friends.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Rare species of feline dubbed the ‘original grumpy cat’ found living on Mount Everest

February 13, 2023

A DNA analysis has confirmed that the rare and little-known Pallas’ cat lives on the body of Mount Everest—three miles above sea level, reports the Good News Network.

The discovery was made along Sagarmatha National Park on Mount Everest’s Southern Flank in Nepal after a month-long expedition collecting environmental samples. Scat recovered from the two separate sites located 3.7 miles apart at 16,765 feet and 17,027 feet, respectively, above sea level confirmed there were Pallas’ cats in the area.

Known as the “original grumpy cat” before the famous internet meme cat was born, Otocolobus manual or Pallas’ cat stands among the most charismatic and unique wild felines on Earth. This mountain specialist is found at high elevations across Asia and is a super predator of small mammals.

Indeed, the analysis of the animal’s scat showed the feline was feeding on pika and mountain weasel, which delighted the scientists; as these were also unknown in the national park, which is a UNESCO Natural Heritage site.

“It is phenomenal to discover proof of this rare and remarkable species at the top of the world,” said Dr. Tracie Seimon, of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoological Health Program, and leader of the expedition, which took place in 2019.

“The nearly four-week journey was extremely rewarding not just for our team but for the larger scientific community. The discovery of Pallas’ cat on Everest illuminates the rich biodiversity of this remote high-alpine ecosystem and extends the known range of this species to eastern Nepal.”

It is notable that Pallas’ cat went undetected in this park until 2019, and the new study demonstrates how conservation genetics and environmental sampling can be utilized as a powerful approach to discover and study elusive species like Pallas’ cat.

Currently classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species of no concern, it’s one of the few small wild cat species that is currently unimperiled. Small wild cats receive a paltry sum of the overall conservation dollars spent to protect wild cats; with the larger tiger, lion, cheetah, and leopard nearly monopolizing the revenue.

Future research combining camera trap surveys and the collection of additional scat samples would help to better define the Pallas’ cat population, range, density, and diet in Sagarmatha National Park.\

Sponsored by National Geographic, the research team included members from eight countries. Seventeen Nepalese scientists conducted research in biology, glaciology, meteorology, geology, and mapping, to better understand the changing of their high-altitude world.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Astounding ‘wave clouds’ surge over Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains

December 30, 2022

An astonishing display of atmospheric variability came as giant ocean waves of clouds drifted over the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming earlier this month, reports the Good News Network.

The incredible scene was captured by photographer Rachel Gordon, who shared them on the Wyoming through The Lens Facebook group, and is a textbook example of the phenomenon known as “Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability.”

KHI results from differences in air density between the various layers of the sky—in this case probably from sun heating pockets of air between mountain saddles which rose rapidly into both colder air and strong winds.

“I think everyone should see this beautiful phenomenon,” Gordon wrote to the group.

The Washington Post reported that wave clouds from KHI are not uncommon, but they are fleeting. Perfect examples like the one photographed by Rachel are rare.

Another group member caught a time-lapse video of their movement, which shows them hold their shape as they move across the horizon like tidal waves ready to smash into the coast.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Green monsters? Otherworldly scenes show plants breathing in close-up detail

December 22, 2022

It looks like a scene from a horror movie, but eerie research shows plants breathing in close-up detail. Indeed, a new study provides new insights into the intricate process of plant respiration, with big implications for how to feed the world in the future, reports Good News Network.

Researchers from UC-San Diego, Estonia, and Finland, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), have found an elusive molecular pathway that plants use to direct their “inhalation” of carbon dioxide.

Knowing how plants sense carbon dioxide to signal their ‘mouths’—stomata—to open and close in response to changing carbon dioxide levels could enable scientists to produce crops robust enough for a changing environment.

“The researchers hope that harnessing this mechanism could lead to future engineering of plant water use efficiency and carbon intake—critical as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration continues to increase,” said Jared Dashoff, an National Science Foundation spokesperson.

“In fact, the researchers have filed a patent and are examining ways to translate their findings into tools for crop breeders and farmers.”

The process, described in research published in Science Advances, becomes clearer on the microscopic level.

On the underside of leaves and elsewhere, depending on the plant, are tiny openings called stomata—thousands of them per leaf with variations by plant species.

Like little castle gates, pairs of cells on the sides of the stomatal pore known as guard cells, open their central pore to take in the carbon dioxide.

“However, when stomata are open, the inside of the plant is exposed to the elements and water from the plant is lost into the surrounding air, which can dry out the plant,” said Dashoff. “Plants, therefore, must balance the intake of carbon dioxide with water vapor loss by controlling how long the stomata remain open.”

If plants—especially crops like wheat, rice and corn—cannot strike a new balance, they risk drying out, farmers risk losing valuable output, and more people across the world risk going hungry.

As the climate changes, both atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and temperature increase, affecting the balance between carbon dioxide entry and water vapor loss through the stomata.

“Scientists have long understood stomata and the balance between carbon dioxide intake and water loss. What they haven’t known, until now, is how plants sense carbon dioxide to signal stomata to open and close in response to changing carbon dioxide levels,” said Dashoff.

“Knowing this will now enable researchers to edit those signals—so plants can strike the right balance between taking in carbon dioxide versus losing water—and allow scientists and plant breeders to produce crops robust enough for the environment of the future.”

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Danish artist hides enormous trolls made of recycled wood in forests worldwide

December 7, 2022

Far out in Western Australia, the tranquil wetland forests are about to shake with the footsteps of giants. That’s because a Danish artist has built a community of giant trolls out of recycled natural material for an exhibit that weaves Aboriginal tradition, modern eco-consciousness, pure childhood creative expression, and joy together, reports the Good News Network.

 

Thomas Dambo is the mastermind behind Giants of Mandurah, a cultural tourism attraction set in the Mandurah region of Western Australia about an hour south of Perth. The giant trolls, named Little Lui, Vivi Cirklestone, Seba, and Santi Ikto, are all made of recycled wood, just like the dozens of other giants that Dambo has built in forests around the world. 

 

Their limbs are made of pallet wood, their bodies and other more detailed features are chopped up cast away furniture. Together they tell the creation story of the Bindjareb Noongar people, and the waterways and wetlands of their home region.

“I grew up surrounded by fairytales and stories, and the troll is an important part of Danish folklore,” Dambo told The Guardian.

 

“For me, trolls represent the voice of nature. Sometimes they can be gentle and quiet. Other times they can be really violent and brutal, and that’s how nature is. If you’re not careful, nature will knock your whole house over.”

 

“Why build in a warehouse if you can build here? It’s the best office in the world,” he said. “And coming from Denmark, the nature here is so different, it’s almost a bit trippy and unreal, like being in a fairytale.”

 

Stemming from a childhood spent obsessively building things in the yard, amongst his theater seamstress mother and blacksmith father, Dambo’s adult creations can be found in China, Wyoming, Colorado, Maine, Copenhagen, Chile, and beyond.

But it was the beautiful natural scenery of Mandurah that drew him in particular to this spot.

 

“Mandurah is a city renowned across Australia for its natural beauty, making it the perfect home for Thomas Dambo’s celebrated artworks,” said Mayor Rhys Williams, adding, “Thomas’ unique approach to promoting the protection of the natural world fits beautifully with our Mandurah story, and we feel very privileged to be part of such a special project.”

 

He’s even fashioned it into a game, called the Rhythm of Raindrops which is a little like the plotline of an Indiana Jones movie, involving searching for clues to the location of a hidden giant.

 

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Nation’s largest no-kill rescue shelter opens in Alabama; aims to save 5,000 dogs a year

November 22, 2022

Macon County Dog Kennels— newly opened in Alabama to help combat a pet overpopulation crisis in the southeastern United States—has become the largest no-kill rescue shelter in America, reports Good News Network.

The facility, which has been in operation since earlier this month, was renovated from an old greyhound training center into a shelter that has the capacity to save, rehabilitate, and adopt out up to 5,000 dogs per year.

The intention of the founders was to service a region encompassing eight states, including Florida, and to help dogs find new homes across America.

“The opening of a second Big Dog Ranch Rescue location is something I’ve prayed for over the years,” Big Dog Ranch Rescue Founder and CEO Lauree Simmons said. “It’s a great day for us and, more importantly, it’s a great day for the dogs.”

Ironcally, Big Dog Ranch Rescue hasn’t always had this big dog ranch. Since starting work in 2008, the staff estimates that they’ve saved 53,000 dogs from being euthanized.

Currently its three renovated buildings include space for 100 dogs and a veterinary center, but a further 13 kennels are still undergoing work.

The 33-acre campus also includes work centers for several admirable programs, including one that unites veterans suffering from PTSD with abandoned service dogs, and a senior dog center that will pair pooches who’ve lost their elderly owners with other senior citizens looking for a new friend.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Photos of Victorians meticulously rebuilding Stonehenge in 1901 are rewriting the guidebooks

November 9, 2022

Photos are shedding light on the painstaking rebuilding of Stonehenge by Victorians in 1901—depicting engineers trying to move the tallest stones back into their intricate prehistoric positions, reports Good News Network.

Britain’s most famous ancient monument on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire was built around 2500 BC, but after thousands of years spent standing, some of the stones had fallen out of place.

Most guidebooks since the 1970s had made no mention of the facelift provided during the Victorian era—or other restorations completed around 1920, 1959, and 1964. But the fascinating photos found by a researcher of history at the University of the West of England show the repairs in 1901.

The photo above shows stone #56, one of the tallest of them all, at 21 feet, 6 inches. It had fallen over, and work was undertaken to push it back up into its original position using pulleys and ropes. A ‘bobble’ called a tenon in the upright stones fit into holes made in the horizontal lintels.

It is believed that 14 of the stones were also set in concrete during these early renovations and concealed under the turf—and only seven are in their original sockets.

English Heritage, which oversees Stonehenge, vowed 20 years ago to rewrite the official guidebooks to make sure the rebuilding is part of the story told to the one million visitors each year who come to marvel at the engineering prowess of our early ancestors.

“The work is a very important part of the history of Stonehenge and when people are told about it they are fascinated,” said English Heritage senior archaeologist Dave Batchelor.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork