Geep: Rare ‘goat-sheep’ born on Irish farm
A rare, hybrid animal that is part goat and part sheep has been born on a farm in the Republic of Ireland.
The animal, referred to as a geep, was born about two weeks ago on Paddy Murphy’s farm in County Kildare.
The unexpected arrival is thought to be the result of mating between a goat and one of the sheep farmer’s Cheviot ewes.
Mr Murphy said the cross-breeding was not intentional. He described it as a “pure shock to the system” and said it would be a “one-off” event on his farm.
"I’ve never seem anything like him before," he told the Irish Farmers Journal, adding that his family had been involved in sheep farming for “generations”.
And here’s the full face (again, click to embiggen). I wish the camera caught the paint blending better, but it gives you the basic idea. Not quite done with the entire piece yet, but the painting’s basically done (other than whatever little details I catch over the next couple days).
I have wild love affairs with much of nature these days. I deeply adore the way that water careens down from clouds in the sky, finds the easiest route to the nearest rivulet or storm sewer, and appreciate its brief layover in the pipes and spouts and drains of my home. I caress stones and soil with the reverence of a penitent clutching a holy relic promising salvation. I share intimate breaths with stomata, and I pull leaves and flesh and fruiting bodies into the literal core of my physical form.
These daily sacraments are a source and focus of my wonder and awe at this world I love. But my first love will always be the animals. They were the ones to first escort me into the broader world beyond humans cares and parameters, making me a fan of what we generally call “nature”. And while I marvel at the ways and processes of plants and fungi, stones and water and weather, inside I’m still that seven year old who ran around rattling off the latest facts about animals I’d discovered amid blades of grass and pages of books.
So I think perhaps I take it a little more personally than I might when someone writes off an entire species, genus, even family of animals with a few words.
Photographer Isa Leshko has created a photography series titled “Elderly Animals,” illuminating animals that don’t often make it to the aww-inducing Buzzfeed lists. Yet Leshko’s project bears a heartbreaking message.
Leshko began photographing elderly animals after her own mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The sudden proximity to illness inspired Leshko to confront her own mortality and shed light on other creatures entering the final stages of their lives in the process.
Leshko’s subjects range from horses to dogs to chickens to pigs, all captured in different states of delicate dignity. While some animals were raised on factory farms others spent their lives as beloved pets; the differences in upbringing are written on the subjects’ fur, bodies and faces.
Killer whales cruelly snared by hunters will be put on display at Russia’s Sochi Winter Olympics
Two killer whales cruelly snared by hunters are to be displayed at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The mammals , which can grow up to 22ft long and swim 100 miles a day, are set to be kept in a “small concrete tank” after a 4,614-mile flight from the far east of Russia.
Animal protection advisers said the move to exhibit the orcas – not really whales but members of the dolphin family – was cruel and a “callous attempt to cash in on the Olympics”.
Campaigners say the two killer whales, along with six others, are being held “in small pools” near Vladivostok.
A source told the Sunday People: “This is so wrong. The Sochi Dolphinarium is shamelessly trying to cash in on the Olympics by exploiting these creatures who should be roaming free in the wild.
“It goes against everything the Olympics should be about. It’s sickening.”
By Mark Carnall, on 10 January 2014
When the language of biology meets common parlance there’s often a lot of confusion. Biological nomenclature (often called the scientific name, we are Homo sapiens sapiens* for example) is by and large controlled using strict rules, format and notations but there aren’t quite so strict rules when it comes to the common names of animals or groups of animals. Some animals we refer to by their taxonomic name, for example; Tyrannosaurus rex, Hippopotamus, Octopus** and Bison. For other animals however, their common, useful to most people and widely understood names create all kinds of problems for the pedantic as I’ve written about before when is comes to sea stars vs starfish. My colleague Jack Ashby wrote about when it comes to seals and sea lions. Consider also that a musk ox is a goat-antelope, horseshoe crabs aren’t crabs at all and the Grant Museum favourite: flying lemurs aren’t and don’t.
The idea of ‘true’ and ‘false’ animals can also be misleading and a lot of pub discussions/arguments/bets come from animals which aren’t what they are often called or even named. How do some animals end up as the ‘true’ and ‘false’ versions of their group. Let’s have a look at some ‘true’ animals and see how the philosophical concepts of truth has ended up in our zoological lexicons.
In what will likely be considered one of the biggest (literally) zoological discoveries of the Twenty-First Century, scientists today announced they have discovered a new species of tapir in Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent, although it’s still the smallest living tapir. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for “tapir” in the local Paumari language: “Arabo kabomani.”
Tapirus kabomani, or the Kobomani tapir, is the fifth tapir found in the world and the first to be discovered since 1865. It is also the first mammal in the order Perissodactyla (which includes tapirs, rhinos, and horses) found in over a hundred years. Moreover, this is the largest land mammal to be uncovered in decades: in 1992 scientists discovered the saola in Vietnam and Cambodia, a rainforest bovine that is about the same size as the new tapir.
Found inhabiting open grasslands and forests in the southwest Amazon (the Brazilian states of Rondônia and Amazonas, as well as the Colombian department of Amazonas), the new species is regularly hunted by the Karitiana tribe who call it the “little black tapir.” The new species is most similar to the Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris), but sports darker hair and is significantly smaller: while a Brazilian tapir can weigh up to 320 kilograms (710 pounds), the Kabomani weighs-in around 110 kilograms (240 pounds). Given its relatively small size it likely won’t be long till conservationists christen it the pygmy or dwarf tapir. It also has shorter legs, a distinctly-shaped skull, and a less prominent crest.
"[Indigenous people] traditionally reported seeing what they called ‘a different kind of anta [tapir in Portuguese].’ However, the scientific community has never paid much attention to the fact, stating that it was always the same Tapirus terrestris,” explains lead author Mario Cozzuol, the paleontologist who first started investigating the new species ten years ago. “They did not give value to local knowledge and thought the locals were wrong. Knowledge of the local community needs to be taken into account and that’s what we did in our study, which culminated in the discovery of a new species to science.”
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