Marie is young, but she’s been through a lot. The alpaca baby survived a difficult birth that resulted in both his mother and sister dying. He was also born with two badly damaged hind legs. But that didn’t stop Ronja Pohl from helping Marie get up.
The 20-year-old woman took Marie to the vet, where one of her legs was amputated. Ronja could see that Marie had a fighting spirit from birth, so she got into action.
She contacted a company that makes wheelchairs for animals with disabilities, and since then, Maria has been traveling. She is now as happy as being able to explore a farm German and greet other animals with the help of a special wheelchair.
There are plans in the future to get a prosthetic leg for Marie, but for now, because she’s getting the love and support she needs, she’s happy and thriving.
In the fight against child exploitation, New Hampshire has a secret weapon.
Niko is an “electronic storage device” (ESD) dog, trained to sniff out anything that can store digital images. She has proven a key asset in law enforcement pursuits of cases involving the distribution and possession of child sexual abuse (CSAM) material.
Since last May, the kind-hearted golden retriever / Labrador cross has been a partner with Matt Fleming, the deputy in the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department who is the investigator for the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
Fleming took up the job after retiring in 2019 as a detective in the Bedford police department, where he worked on CSAM cases for many years. “I just feel like someone has to fight for the kids, and I’m not done fighting yet,” he said.
The task force bought 2-year-old Niko with a state grant from Jordan Detection Canine in Indiana, which has trained ESD dogs for police agencies across the country.
Niko’s job was to accompany Fleming in carrying out search orders anywhere in the state and looking for evidence. While police investigators may have missed something well-hidden, Niko is trained to detect certain chemicals that keep electronic storage devices like cell phones, thumb drives, and tablets from overheating.
Since Niko joined last May, she has participated in 70 quests.
He’s been inventing electronics all the time.
“Every time I train the dog, I really feel humbled by his abilities,” said Fleming. “It’s something until you see it you would never believe a dog could do it.”
“He can find hard drives, flash drives, micro SD cards, cell phones, iPads, iPods. If they can keep something, he can find it, “he said.
When he found something, Niko alerted the handler by sitting near the hidden object. “Show me,” Fleming told the dog, and Niko placed her nose exactly where the smell was.
Niko’s reward for her work is food – something that half the Lab has enthusiastically received from her, says Fleming.
Lt. Eric Kinsman, commander of the ICAC, said the ESD dogs found things that humans may have missed.
“Because humans are constantly reasoning and are constantly in a state of inferring what may or may not exist in a place, sometimes things are overlooked,” Kinsman said.
Dogs don’t make judgments about whether hiding places make sense, he said. “All the dogs work, everything they care about, work for the reward,” he said.
Niko was originally slated to become an eye-seeing dog but that wasn’t his destiny, said Fleming. “We never said they failed, because it means something,” he said. They call this “career change.”
Fleming spent several weeks in Indiana last spring, learning how to work with Niko, and the team was recertified for ESD work this year.
As a certified therapy dog, Niko is also trained to provide comfort to every young person at the search site, said Fleming. “Sometimes it helps shed tears from the children in the neighborhood,” he said.
Fleming said Niko had become an invaluable member of the ICAC. “We say Niko is our employee, but he is probably our best friend and teammate too,” he said.
Nicole Thorspecken, assistant district attorney for Hillsborough County who heads the region’s cybercrime unit, said New Hampshire was “very fortunate” to have Niko work for the ICAC.
Technology is always changing, and law enforcement has to keep up, he said.
“Everything is now connected to the internet, so any type of electronic device could have criminal evidence of possession, distribution or creation of child sexual abuse imagery,” he said.
Portsmouth Police Lt. Eric Kinsman, commander of the ICAC, said investigators, prosecutors and caseworkers handling such gruesome cases “are doing God’s work.”
And Niko is doing her part to help them, he said.
“Taking Niko for a walk around the office is a nice break,” said Kinsman.
“He will come and rest his head on your lap and let you forget a few things for a moment.”
Niko is a frequent visitor to the lab where forensic examiners have to see gruesome images of children being abused, said her handler, Fleming.
“They can sit on the floor with him, play with him. They can try to forget that what they see on the computer screen is probably something that no one should see, “he said. “Niko offers them a chance to keep them away from that.”
Attorney Thorspecken said handling such cases has never been easier. “It is always difficult to see a child at their worst times and capture and reminisce on a permanent basis,” he said.
He refers to Niko as a “best friend”.
“I hate doing picture reviews,” he said. “I can tell you based on my experience, it’s much easier if you have an adorable dog sitting next to you.”
One very difficult day, he said, Niko put his front paws on his chair, “took the mask off my face and gave me a big kiss.”
Niko’s contribution, said Fleming, “was much bigger than a dog could find a cell phone.”
“He has saved investigators,” he said. He has saved the children.
Kangaroo Island, AUSTRALIA – During the Southern Hemisphere’s 2019-20 summer, the world watched as eastern and southern Australia battled some of the country’s worst bushfires in generations.
Most of the fighting took place on land, but among the worst-affected areas was Kangaroo Island, home to a small community off the country’s southern coast, where hell burned more than half of its 440,000 hectares.
Kangaroo Island is famous for its native wildlife, including sea lions, koalas and, of course, kangaroos. But it is estimated that up to 90% of the island’s koala population, which previously numbered 50,000, died as fire swept through eucalyptus plantations.
The koalas at the Hanson Bay Wildlife Refuge have fared better. More than a year later, Jim Geddes displayed a gray-brown hairy ball pinned to a eucalyptus tree branch in the car park of the wildlife sanctuary, which sits on the western tip of the most badly damaged island.
“Did you meet my Parking Inspector?” Geddes, co-owner and founder of the wildlife sanctuary, said with a laugh.
With one talon burned, the massive male is among the handful of wild koalas who have survived the bushfires.
Geddes said about 99% of the more than 2,000 hectares of wildlife sanctuary was affected by the fires, which started as lightning strikes in Flinders Chase National Park, just four kilometers from the highway.
Firefighters said the weather conditions were very strong winds, a continuous day where temperatures rose above 40 degrees Celsius and low humidity kept the fire out of control.
“Driving back through the burning ground, right after the fire broke out, there were no buildings, or cars, or living things there,” said Andy Wood, the Fire Service brigade captain and one of the commanders during the fire. “I’ve never seen such devastation before.”
Regardless of the conditions, Geddes estimates that only 30% of the koalas on his property have been killed. However, the loss of bush habitat means survivors will struggle for food and shelter, while the orphaned joey will need additional human support.
As a result, Geddes and his team decided to move 28 younger animals, whose chances in the wild were uncertain, to a wildlife park on mainland Australia.
“It is a bitter moment for us because they will be taken prisoner. But it’s also very important and very historic because we don’t know what the long-term impact of fires will have on the local koala population, “he said.
The relocation of koalas to Cleland Wildlife Park on the outskirts of Adelaide, South Australia, is also historic for mainland koalas in Australia, whose populations are heavily affected by infectious and genetic diseases.
“Kangaroo Island is very important because it has animals that do not have two types of disease: chlamydia and retroviruses,” explained Chris Daniels, former director of Cleland Wildlife Park and CEO of Koala Life, a non-profit organization dedicated to koala conservation and research.
Daniels said the fires on Kangaroo Island meant “it looks like the most important koala population in the country – and therefore the world” – could have been wiped out, so they made the swift decision to relocate the group that would serve as “koala ark” for the mainland population.
Kangaroo Island’s koala disease-free status thanks to the animals being geographically isolated from their mainland counterparts for generations. However, this same isolation results in a lack of genetic diversity. It has caused a disease called oxalate nephrosis, which causes kidney collapse, to become widespread among the population.
As an intervention, Daniels and the Koala Life team plan to breed the chlamydia-free Kangaroo Island koalas with a more genetically diverse group of males from neighboring Victoria to create a generation of “super koalas”.
“We will end up with a koala that is not only free of infectious disease but also free of oxalate nephrosis … in that case, you have the healthiest, strongest and toughest koalas you can possibly have,” said Daniels.
Across mainland Australia, koala populations are under increasing pressure, not only from disease and natural disasters, but also from human intervention through building roads and housing in highly territorial areas of animal habitat.
In Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales, some experts predict wild koalas will become extinct by 2050 unless more is done to protect the iconic mammal.
Despite minor differences between the two Australian varieties – the Northern and Southern koalas – Daniels believes there is “absolutely no reason” why disease-free southern koalas from South Australia could not be reintroduced further north.
“They will do very well there. Even though there is a size difference between North and South, the genetic difference is very small, “he said.
The relocation and resettlement of koalas on Kangaroo Island was an “effective military operation,” with army personnel assisting park staff with routine koala feeding and health checks.
In addition to monitoring any injuries sustained in a fire, the handler must help the animal adapt to the new diet of the different varieties of eucalyptus leaves.
“Even if it’s the same species (eucalyptus)… koalas can get stomachaches. And if they have a stomachache, they lose their condition very quickly, and they can become dehydrated and die, ”said Daniels.
“Really, only soldiers can do it,” he said, “because in the same way the koalas quickly get used to it all the time.
“The stress of killing koalas,” Daniels explained, adding that by establishing routines early the relocation was successful.
Although five koalas died during the relocation, the other two were later found carrying a small joey the size of a jelly bean in their pouch.
“It hurts when you think of (the fact that) fires are burning around these mothers, and they are giving birth at the same time in these trees,” said Daniels, describing witnessing the survival of two joey, Breezy and Phoenix, as a “sensation. outstanding”.
Returning to Kangaroo Island, Geddes, the founder of the wildlife sanctuary, has also seen the remaining koalas bounce back from the fires – with at least five joey seen in recent months.
“They are all natural wonders as far as I know,” said Geddes.
“They say this is one fire in 200 years. So, given that everything – all the plants and animals in Australia – has evolved with regular wildfires, we are now seeing a recovery of one in 200 years. “
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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued notices to the secretary of the provincial head, the Karachi commissioner, the Sindh Food Authority and others about a petition against the sale of milk at an increased price.
Petitioner Abdul Sattar Hakim submitted in his petition that the high court had previously set the price of milk at Rs90 per liter as per government notification; however, milk vendors in various parts of the city sold milk for Rs140 per liter in violation of court orders.
The petitioner said complaints had been filed with the Sindh Food Authority and the Office of the Commissioner against the sale of milk at a higher price but no action had been taken and instead the Commissioner’s Office had given freedom to the association of milk sellers to sell milk at a higher price. rates.
The applicant’s attorney notified SHC that the Office of the Commissioner had failed to fulfill its legal obligation to ensure that milk was sold at the declared price in the city. He added that the sale of illegal milk at higher rates has had a negative impact on the lives of the general public, especially children and babies.
The high court was asked to direct the food authorities and the Office of the Commissioner to ensure that milk is sold at the declared price, and detain milk sellers from selling milk at a higher price.
The applicant also asked SHC to direct the Sindh Food Authority to ensure that the milk available in the shop is chemical free so that it does not harm children and others.
A bench in the SHC division headed by Judge Mohammad Ali Mazhar, after the initial hearing of the petition, issued notices to the Karachi commissioner, the Sindh Food Authority and others, and summoned their comments.
Application for zoo animals
The SHC has directed the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the conservators’ wildlife department to submit comments on a petition calling for the provision of natural habitats for animals at the Karachi Zoo.
Petitioner S Yahya Ahmed, a representative from a non-governmental organization, stated that the zoo manager was responsible for significant damage to the animals currently being kept at the zoo.
He said there have been reports of deaths and diseases of animals living in the zoo, but the government is reluctant to disclose information about the health and welfare of these animals.
The petitioner argued that the lioness in the zoo looked very tired while the monkeys also lived in a very small enclosure and were not properly groomed. He said the zoo administration was not trying to re-create the tigers’ natural habitat and that the enclosures served as cages rather than shelters.
He said zoo administration should be accountable to the public at large and ordered to reform its practices and procedures to improve zoos to international standards.
According to the petitioner, the animals in the zoo are subjected to inhuman conditions and their treatment violates Article 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890.
The SHC was asked to direct the zoo administration to provide a list of all the animals present as well as those that have died over the past decade, and disclose their medical records. The petitioner also asked the high court to convert the zoo’s status to a wildlife reserve and to hire an experienced independent veterinarian to carry out a health assessment of all the animals currently residing there.
KMC and wildlife department officials appeared before the court and asked for time to submit comments on the petition.