Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5 Animals you won’t expect to see in Cumbria


1. African Spurred Tortoises

African Spurred Tortoises
African Spurred Tortoises are the largest tortoises of the African mainland, beaten in size only by Galapagos and Aldabra (an african island) giant tortoises. Some are captured for the pet trade, but they grow rapidly when young and are soon too large for most keepers. They are vulnerable and are threatened by habitat loss and grazing competition from livestock, and to some extent capture for eastern medicine.
Snow Leopards

2. Snow Leopards

Snow Leopards
Snow Leopards are an elusive, solitary big cat native to the mountain ranges of central Asia. They are adapted well to their cold habitat, as they have thick fur, large fluffy paws, long thick tail and an enlarged nasal cavity. These keep them warm by insulating against the cold, or by warming the air they breathe through the nasal cavity.
 
3. Cotton-Topped Tamarin

Cotton-Topped Tamarin
This species is found in tropical rainforest edges and secondary forests. It has been found in a variety of habitats from wetland tropical forest, to moist woodland forest and dry thorn forest savannah.
Brown Spider Monkey

4. Brown Spider Monkey

Brown Spider Monkey
Brown Spider Monkey are social monkeys known for having a prehensile tail that acts as a fifth limb. They live in social mixed gender groups of 3-22 that split into smaller groups for foraging, where they primarily search for ripe fruit.
Scarlet ibises

5. Scarlet ibises

Scarlet ibises
Scarlet ibises are a distinctive red ibis native to South America. They are brown as juveniles, but as they grow they develop red patches until they are entirely red, except for a couple of black wing tip feathers, and mature.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 Cats That Cost A Fortune


People have been spending money on cats since the dawn of time. Egyptian Pharaohs and rulers would spoil their feline friends with gold and luxury goods. And modern pet owners are known to let their cats live lavishly too.

While many people may have pampered pets, there are a few cats that cost a small fortune just to own. Buying one of these could even cost as much as getting a new house!

Below are the five most expensive cat breeds in the world.

1. The Rare Ashera
This is a “hybrid” cat breed. The Ashera is made up of genes from the African Serval, Asian Leopard Cut, and domestic house cat. As a result, this feline acts like a regular cat but looks just like a leopard. It’s a unique look and one that many people will pay top dollar for.

To buy an Ashera you must place your order through the Lifestyle Pets Company. This business only breeds five Ashera cats a year. Because of how rare these cats are, expect to pay anywhere between $22,000 and $125,000.

While these cats may be expensive to buy, the price tag hasn’t deterred customers. Ashera cats are incredibly popular and the Lifestyle Pets Company usually sells out of them.

2. The Pricey Bengal


Unlike other cats on this list, Bengals are not rare. There are over 60,000 of them world wide and they’re quite a common pet.

Despite not being very “exclusive,” Bengals can still go for a high price. One English woman, named Cindy Jackson, paid $42,000 for her cat. Jackson bought her Bengal, named Fur Ball, because she was blown away by its beauty.

The Bengal is a hybrid between the Asian Leopard Cat and the Prionailurus Bengalensis Bengalensis. While it has the body of a house cat, the Bengal’s fur looks just like a leopard’s coat.

3. The Spotted Savannah

This is a very unique looking cat that is well known for its eye catching and distinct body. The Spotted Savannah is a hybrid of the African Serval and domestic house cat. This unique mix gives the Spotted Savannah an impressive size and the ability to leap huge distances.

While people pay all kinds of different amounts for this cat, the most expensive Spotted Savannah ever sold went for $22,000.

Lastly, if you plan to buy a Spotted Savannah, you’ll want to check with your local animal board first. In some countries, such as Australia, these cats are actually illegal.

4. The Hairless Sphynx


Many people know this breed by its nickname of “the alien cat.” When it comes to pets, the Sphynx has one of the most distinct looks of all time. This cat looks like it is hairless, has an oddly shaped head, and usually sports an over sized potbelly.

Sphynx cats are incredibly smart and require very little personal care. However, there are very friendly and love to curl up next to people.

Unlike some of the other cats on this list, the Sphynx is comparatively inexpensive. Many owners have been able to get theirs for as little as $3,000

5. The Energetic Peterbald

This is a Russian cat known for its high energy and bright blue eyes. Peterbald cats are also incredibly loyal and will follow their owners whenever they go.

The Peterbald is very similar to the Sphynx except for the fact that it has webbed feet and oval paws. Intrestingly, these unique paws give the Peterbald the ability to open doors and even pick things up.


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scientists Discover Creatures That Haven’t Been Exposed to Sunlight for More Than 5.5 Million Years in a Romanian Cave


Throughout history, great explorers and scientists have worked hard to uncovered so many things on the planet over the last thousand years, so it looks like there are no great discoveries anymore. Is our planet still a mystery, or do we know everything about it? Has everything been discovered?

Lucky for us, that's not true, and when you see these photos, you'll understand why! Scientists found some creatures that are 5 million years old. Take a look and get ready to have your mind blown by this freaky discovery.
One of those amazing things that are yet to be completely uncovered is the Movile cave. This cave can be found in the country of Romania and was discovered in 1986.

Still, only a few people have been inside the cave.

Creatures in the Darkness 

This little part of our world was hidden from the sunlight for millions of years, so evolution was completely different there.

Several really bizarre species live there, never having seen the light of day. Because of this, they had to adapt to the conditions.
Since there's no sunlight, the creatures do not need pigment to protect them from it. Also, most of them do not have an eyesight and the ability to see because they never needed it in the dark conditions.
But because they have evolved differently, they have some other body parts that are baffling scientists.

They discovered that these species have special limbs and antennae that help them navigate around in the dark.

A Scientific Mystery 

What scientists are wondering about is how this place became so isolated and how any creature got inside the cave at all.

It's incredibly rare and strange that scientists found a 5.5 million-year-old species that we never even knew about.

J. Colin Murrell Shares His Expert Opinion 

A microbiologist from the University of East Anglia said: “It’s very likely that the bacteria have been there a lot longer than five million years, but that the insects became trapped there around that time."

"They could have simply fallen in and become trapped when the limestone cast dropped, sealing the cave until it was discovered again in 1986,” he continued.
This place surely gives scientists a chance to find some new great discoveries, especially in the field of evolutionary biology, making it possible to understand evolution in general while they discover what took place here and why the creatures are there.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

10 Animals With Amazing Hearing


Humans may be king of the animal world when it comes to evolution, but we are flailing down the hearing ranks. Although our hearing isn't as sensitive as some of these guys below (ours is a limited 2 to 5 kiloherz) - the way our brain processes vibrations into sound that then does amazing things to our memory and processing banks, evoking emotions is nothing less than magical. But, how does it all work? For more information on how humans hear, check out www.hiddenhearing.co.uk. However, let's not take away the glory from these hearing heavyweights, here's the top 10 animals with amazing hearing:

1. The greater wax moth
The greater wax moth
This little guy has the hearing crown, with a hearing frequency of up to 300 kiloherz, it can hear 150 times more than us and can even hear 100 herz above a bat (but as the bat is its number one predator it's going to need to outwit it somehow). Dr. Hannah Moir, told The Daily Mail: "Many species of moth have evolved ultrasound-sensitive ears owing to the predation pressure of echo-locating bats - this system is one of the best known examples of an evolutionary 'arms-race' between predator and prey."

2. Elephants
Elephants
It's no surprise really, with ears that big, that the elephant is going to be in the top 10! Their hearing frequency is somewhere in between 16 herz to 12 kiloherz which is a huge range and they can hear at a frequency 20 times lower than us.

3. Bats
Bats
Bats come second only to the moth. They use a biological sonar system called echolocation to find their way around in the pitch black. Their frequency level is around 212 kiloherz.

4. Dolphins
Dolphins
Like bats, dolphins use echolocation, waiting for sound to bounce back, so it's like seeing with sound. Their frequency range is 75 herz to 150 kiloherz.

5. Cats
Cats
Cats have a good frequency range - at 45 herz to 64 kiloherz it's far better than ours, so there's no point trying to sneak up on your cat!

6. Dogs
Dogs
A dog's hearing is similar to a cat, they hear better at a higher pitch and can even differentiate between their owner's footsteps and strangers. People have reported that their dogs know they are coming home before they even get there!

7. Owl

Owl
An owl's frequency range is between 200 herz to 12 kiloherz, and with their excellent eyesight and a head that can nearly turn 360 degrees you really don't want to be its potential prey!

8. Rat

Rat
Our friendly rodent has a better hearing range than the cat, which is just as well for them. At 200 herz to 76 kiloherz they can hear an incy-wincy spider coming down the drain pipe.

9. Horse

Horse
Horses need to have a good hearing as well as they actually have many predators in the wild - they are a flight animal and rely heavily on their hearing, which is much better than their sight. Their frequency range is 55 herz to 33 kiloherz. They can move their ears in the direction of the sound.

10. Pigeons


Pigeons
Pigeons have an incredibly low hearing frequency, something like 0.5 herz! This helps them to hear sound over long distance and to detect storms and helps them to navigate over long distances. According to OneKind they are only one of four animals that can recognize themselves in a mirror which was worth a mention in itself!
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Monday, May 8, 2017

8 Animals That Get Their Color From Food


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gives new meaning to “you are what you eat.” In the classic kids’ book, a girl named Violet Beauregarde chews some experimental blueberry-flavored gum—and it turns her blueberry-blue. But for some animals, that’s not too far from the truth: they get their colors from the food they eat. Here are eight critters that get their hues from their diet, plus two honorable mentions: a bird that’s shinier when it eats bugs, and a garden plant that switches between pink and blue.

1. BLUE-FOOTED BOOBIES

BLUE-FOOTED BOOBIES
Native to warm waters of the eastern Pacific, blue-footed boobies (above) have, well, bright blue feet. They use this fancy footwear to attract mates via an awkward dance. The blue color comes directly from carotenoid pigments in their fishy diet, and healthier birds can afford to expend more pigment to intensify their foot coloration. So, a bird with brighter feet is a more attractive partner.

2. EASTERN EMERALD ELYSIAS

EASTERN EMERALD ELYSIAS
Its name is straight out of a fantasy novel, and that’s not even the coolest thing about this marine slug-like animal. The eastern emerald elysia has turned itself, at least in part, into a plant. It’s green, it’s shaped almost exactly like a leaf, and it can do something that animals usually can’t do: make food from the sun.

Plants are green because their cells have special green parts called chloroplasts that make energy from the sun. When the eastern emerald elysia eats some algae, it adds insult to injury by stealing the algae’s chloroplasts. Then it basks in the sunlight and absorbs the food that the chloroplasts make. It’s able to keep these stolen parts functioning for nearly a year—enough time so that it may never need to eat algae again.

3. SALMON


SALMON
Salmon flesh has such a lovely hue that we call it, well, salmon pink. These fish get their color from the small shellfish they eat. Farmed salmon are fed natural or synthetic pigments so that their meat retains this familiar tint.

4. FLAMINGOS


FLAMINGOS
Everyone knows that flamingos are pink and bluebirds are blue, right? Well, not really: Flamingos are definitely pink, but bluebirds’ blue color is an illusion.

Birds have different ways of looking colorful. A bluebird’s feathers have special structures that break up light and reflect just the blue parts. This makes them look blue—but only when light is hitting them in just the right way. If you take a bluebird feather and shine a light behind it, the feather will appear brown. The same is true of most other blue and green birds, from blue jays to green parrots.

Flamingos, on the other hand, have feathers that stay pink no matter which way you look at them. That’s because they’re full of pink-red pigments called carotenoids—carrots are orange because they contain a type of carotenoid. Flamingos get this pink stuff from the shrimp that they eat. If they don’t consume the right food, they’ll turn grayer. Zookeepers have to feed their flamingos food with the right pigments to keep them rosy.

5. GOLDFINCHES


GOLDFINCHES
Many other birds get their hues from carotenoid pigments. That’s true of American goldfinches, which are blazing yellow in breeding season. Female goldfinches size up males based on the vibrancy of their yellow: Brighter males are healthier and have better diets, so they’re more attractive.

6. CEDAR WAXWINGS

CEDAR WAXWINGS
Cedar waxwings are small, sleek songbirds. Their tails usually have yellow tips—but some have red tails, and it’s all our fault.

Cedar waxwings are native to North America, and they love eating berries. A few decades ago, people brought Asian honeysuckle varieties to North America. These plants spread throughout the forests, and they produce big red berries that are impossible for a hungry waxwing to resist. The berries are rich in a reddish pigment that builds up in waxwing tails, turning them from yellow to orange.

7. NUDIBRANCHS

NUDIBRANCHS
Related to snails, nudibranchs live in the ocean, and they’re mind-blowingly colorful. Really: feast your eyes on these hues. They’re so colorful, in fact, that there’s a blog matching different species to David Bowie’s outfits.

Many nudibranchs get their bright colors from their prey. One species, the red sponge dorid, is bright red and probably gets its pigment from the red sponges it eats. This has the added benefit of giving the red sponge dorid some amazing camouflage when it’s crawling on its spongy food.

8. FRILLED DRAGONS


FRILLED DRAGONS
Remember that scene in Jurassic Park when a neck-frilled dinosaur terrifies the hapless hacker Dennis Nedry, then spits poison on him? The movie’s creators got their inspiration from Australia and New Guinea’s frilled dragons—also known as frill-necked lizards. These remarkable reptiles flare their huge frills when they’re scared, or as part of territorial or courtship displays.

Frilled dragons’ frills come in different colors, from red to orange to yellow. The colors depend on their geographical location—and the variation is probably because of the different amounts of pigment in their prey.
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk


If you want to meet some of SA’s iconic nocturnal animals, now’s the time to book in for a night tour at Cleland.

It may sound surprising but one of the best times to visit Cleland Wildlife Park is after dark. That’s when the park’s many nocturnal residents are up and about.

While some animals are strictly nocturnal, like possums and bandicoots, others just seem to be more active at night.

Night walks are a great way to meet some of these cute creatures and learn more about them from an experienced guide.

Equally adorable during the day and at night, here are seven of Cleland Wildlife Park’s native night owls:

1. Potoroo

These little marsupials are some of the friendliest animals in the Australian bush and while they’re not strictly nocturnal, these guys are still up and at em’ overnight. Often confused with rats, they’re actually more like mini kangaroos. Potoroo mums even carry joeys around in their pouch.

2. Tasmanian devil

Both ferocious and cute, the critically endangered Tasmanian devil has the largest bite force to body size ratio of any animal in the world. It’s only slightly less powerful than a pitbull. They use their keen sense of smell to scavenge for food and being awake through the night means they’re no stranger to a midnight snack.

3. Bandicoot


The southern brown bandicoot is nocturnal but can also be seen out and about during the day. Female bandicoots can have up to five litters of between two and three joeys every year, generally in the second half of the year.

4. Microbat

Lurking in the dark and hardly making a sound, bats are true creatures of the night. While you’re getting your beauty sleep, bats are working as nature’s exterminators. They play a vital role in controlling insect numbers, eating about half their bodyweight in insects each night. At the top of the menu? Mosquitoes and moths.

5. Tawny frogmouth

Not to be confused with an owl, this bird has a clever method for catching insects at night. A tawny frogmouth will sit still with its mouth open, allowing the moonlight to make the inside of its beak glow. This attracts insects who fly right in. Despite its demure appearance the frogmouth’s hunting techniques are anything but. Larger prey, such as mice, are picked up and knocked repeatedly against a tree branch.

6. Koala

Snoozing in the sun is how koalas spend most of their day – in between munching on eucalyptus leaves. Did you know they eat approximately 10 per cent of their body weight in leaves each day? That’s about 1,000 leaves per koala per day. At this rate, each koala needs access to around 60 trees a year. You’ll often hear them at night growling and grunting, but it’s not a good idea to approach a wild koala. Despite their cute and fuzzy exterior, koalas will lash out with teeth and claws if they feel threatened.

7. Possum

Arguably the most common native night walkers, possums are the only marsupial able to thrive in urban environments – using sheds and roof spaces as makeshift tree hollows. There’s the ringtail possum, which lives almost exclusively in trees, and the brushtail varieties, that come to ground to feed making them a common victim on our roads. Both species are leaf eaters, and aren’t afraid to sneak into your veggie patch or fruit trees overnight to satisfy their bellies.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

A rare albino orangutan has been rescued from captivity in Indonesia


 The 5-year-old female albino orangutan was being held captive in a remote village in Indonesia. She's now safe at a rehabilitation centre and will be soon released back into the wild.
A group of activists of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) have rescued an albino organgutan from captivity. The rare primate was being held captive in a remote village in Kapuas Hulu, on the island of Kalimantan in the Indonesian Borneo.
An extremely rare organgutan

The 5-year-old female orangutan has blue eyes and white hair that make her different from her fellow orangutans, which usually have brown eyes and reddish-brown hair. According to volunteers at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, albino orangutans are extremely rare – 1 out of 10,000 individuals. Indeed, this is the first albino orangutan the organisation has seen in 25 years of activity.
Orango albino, Borneo

The 5-year-old albino female orangutan was rescued on 29 April © AFP /Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation
Back into the wild

The albino orangutan has been brought to the BOSF rehabilitation centre for being examined and assessed. “We will continue to observe her and conduct routine health tests,” BOSF said in a statement. As the orangutan “still displays wild behaviours”, she will be soon released back into the wild.
A hard life for orangutans

Sadly, orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) are just a step away from extinction and are listed as “critically endangered” by the IUCN Red List. These peaceful primates are threatened by the unbridled deforestation carried out in Bornean and Sumatran forests that is wiping out their habitat. The IUCN estimates that around 100,000 orangutans now survive in the wild (in 1973 there were 288,500) and their population is expected to further decrease to up to 47,000 individuals by 2025.
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

10 Endangered Ocean Species and Marine Animals


Our eco-system is comprised of interdependent animals and plants which constitute a complex web of life, where the extinction of a single species may affect the whole biological system pertaining to life and living things. Unfortunately the unprecedented unnatural extinction of many marine species including marine mammals, sea turtles and salmonids has not only endangered functioning of the ecosystem but also affected the ecological issues by large extent. The reasons for this threat to marine life are varied but mostly due to irrational human behaviour and activities.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists three hundred and sixty eight marine species which are either endangered already or vulnerable of becoming endangered very soon. Some of these majorly endangered and recognizable marine species are named here. Take a look:

1. Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate)
Hawksbill Turtle
Found in the tropical regions of all the world’s oceans, gulfs and seas, this Hawksbill Turtle’s population has been estimated to have declined by 80% over the last century. Known to be a subject of heavy trafficking in the tourist trade in tropical regions for its meat and shells, these are being killed mercilessly for quite a period of time.

Even though in many countries harvesting of its eggs is banned, the practice could not be ceased completely. The declination of its population has also resulted due to the degradation of coral reef species which the Hawksbill Turtle primarily feed on.

2.    Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
Steller Sea Lion
Evidently the largest member of the Otariid family and the fourth largest of all seal species, these eared seal could be located in the cold coastal waters of the North Pacific. But since 1960s its population has declined by more than 60% due to both natural and human threats.

The high risk of predation by Killer Whales and fishing and harvest by Native Alaskans and Canadians for meat, oil, hides and other by-products make this marine life vulnerable to endanger.

3. Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
Hammerhead Shark
Traced in the tropical regions of the oceans around the world, these are subjected to being victimized for its fin. Even the process itself is horrifying as the sharks are caught by fishermen, dragged on board and is cut off their fins while they are still breathing.

The remaining carcass is thrown into the water and eventually it bleeds to death. Albeit there is a ban imposed upon shark finning in many countries, the result has been abortive as the demand and high price paid for it in the Asian market drives the illegal harvest system, endangering these marine species’ survival.

4.    Vaquita (Phoeocna sinus)
Vaquita
An inhabitant of the shallow, murky waters off the shore of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, Vaquita is the world’s smallest and most endangered cetacean. Extensive use of gill-netting for fishing has endangered this marine species, resulting in a gradual drop in population since 1940s.

The gill-netting operation may have been ceased to exist in 1970, but the population fall persist for as much as 15% every year. With an estimated 500-600 individual the Vaquita is soon to be found extinct if the declination prevails.

5.    Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
Blue Whale
The largest living mammal on earth, the blue whale could be found migrating from both poles in the oceans around the world. But the excessive commercial hunting has helped its population decrease drastically and now has posed a threat to its mere existence even though an international ban was constituted in 1966.

A study says around 200,000 blue whales have been killed which has left them with an existing number of 3000-5000. Conservation efforts and security measures in effort to save this marine species have been undertaken.

6.    Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
Florida Manatee
The largest of all living sirenians, the Florida Manatee resides in fresh water rivers, in estuaries, and in the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Loss of habitat, high rate of stillbirths and intoxication by pesticides and herbicides are the main concern for this endangered ocean animal.

They also often killed accidentally by sailing boats because of their slow pace and covertness. Approximately only 3,200 Florida Manatees are believed to be alive.

7.    Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi)
Hawaiian Monk Seal
Found mostly found around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, these seals have been facing threats from disturbing human activities for the sake of meat, oil and skin, the ciguatera poisoning, dominating number of males than females, starvation, predation of Tiger sharks and Galapagos sharks etc which have eventually endangered their species.

Hawaiian Monk Seals often get entangled in fishing nets and debris and get killed. Only about an 1100 number of seals are left striving for existence.

8.    Kemp’s Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Kemp’s Ridley Turtle
Migrating between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the rarest sea turtle and is endangered to a severe degree. Only 500 of this marine species are believed to be surviving the habitat loss, marine pollution, and entanglement in fishing nets.
Credits: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region/ wikipedia.org

Credits: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region/ wikipedia.org

Harvesting of eggs have been made illegal and research projects of incubating and hatching the eggs in temperature-controlled rooms have been undertaken to save this endangered marine species.

9.    Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Humpback Whale
One of the larger rorqual species, these baleen whales are found in oceans and seas around the globe and can migrate up to 25,000 kilometres a year. Before the introduction of whaling moratorium in 1966 these species ere hunt to extinction for its fur and flesh for meat, while the population dropped by 90%.

Today it is believed to be surviving with a number of around 2,500 worldwide. However accidental entanglement in shrimping gear, collisions with vessels, and marine pollution still remain main concerns for its endangerment.

10.  Fraser’s Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei)
Fraser’s Dolphin
Found mostly in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean and to lesser extent in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, this cetacean in the Delphinidae family is poised against the threats of Hunting, entanglement in fishing nets and marine environmental changes. However until late 1970s it was believed this marine species were vulnerable and endangered.

Recent conservation measures depicts that it is not too much to worry about. The Fraser’s dolphins are hunted illegally for commercial shipping business with their meat. There are still remains more to be explored about its marine life.

A Word of Caution-

Apart from these mammals and turtles, salmonids and seabirds too have confronted the menace of endangered ocean species. The Maritime Mammal Protection Act (MMPA-1972) and The Endangered Species Act (ESA-1973) have contributed so far to salvage this ocean life but it requires adequate knowledge about these issues and the transcendence of the human behaviour in accordance to that, which can inevitably make a difference for these ocean endangered species.
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