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Little Pygmy Possum Found on Kangaroo Island After Fears of Extinction In Bushfire

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The discovery of tiny animal fuels hopes for its post-blaze survival but ‘right now they’re at their most vulnerable.’ For the first time since bushfires destroyed much of their habitat in the destructive blaze of last summer, a little pygmy possum has been discovered on Kangaroo Island.

There were fears the pygmy, considered one of the smallest possums in the world, had all but disappeared from the South Australian island.

But in the aftermath of the 2019-20 bushfire, the conservation organization Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife discovered the little pygmy as part of a broader conservationist campaign around the island. In December and January, nearly half of the 440,500-hectare island was incinerated.

A little pygmy possum

Picture: The Guardian UK

Fauna ecologist Pat Hodgens said the finding on the west of the island was important for Guardian Australia. This capture is the first record of post-fire surviving species recorded,” he said.”

“The fire did burn through about 88 percent of that species’ predicted range, so we really weren’t sure what the impact of the fires would be but it’s pretty obvious the population would have been pretty severely impacted.

“In addition to Kangaroo Island, the little pygmy possum, weighing less than 10 grams, is found in Tasmania and occasionally mainland South Australia and Victoria.

Typically, given its size and restricted range, the creature is a difficult species to study. When it came to knowing the possum, Hodgens said there was a data deficiency.

He said he was hopeful the little pygmy possum would now live on Kangaroo Island but work was required to preserve what was left of the population. Feral cats have now become the greatest threat, with many pygmy possums in their stomachs.

“They are highly compromised as a species right now,” said the ecologist of the fauna. “They are still not out of the woods because they are at their most vulnerable right now because they are still very exposed to natural and introduced predators as the bushland regenerates.

“Twenty separate locations on the island were surveyed by Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife and found southern brown bandicoots, native bush rats, brush-tailed possums, tammar wallabies, and the more common western pygmy possums, as well as the only small pygmy possum.

Two people died and nearly 90 homes were destroyed last summer in forest fires that burned through almost half of the island, killing a large amount of wildlife.

Hodgens said It impacted all walks of life across the island and in our community.”

“For us, it’s still almost a year on, really early to even guess what the impact on many of these species has been.”

Hodgens said it may have been years or even decades before their populations were restored by the local fauna.

There are still a number of species where we don’t know how their populations did during the fires, and we don’t know how they’re going to fare in the long run.

“We owe it to these species to do all we can to protect them and ensure that for future generations they are around.”

Source: The Guardian

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Separated Since Babies, This Identical Twins Finally Reunite After 36 Years

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Identical twins Molly Sinert and Emily Bushnell were separated at birth in South Korea and adopted by different families. Molly went on living in Florida while Emily in Pennsylvania. The siblings spent most of their lives totally unaware of each other’s existence and little information about their birth family.

But everything changes after Emily’s 11-year-old daughter, Isabel wanted to make a DNA test to explore her heritage.

Isabel said, “I wanted to do the DNA test because she was adopted. I wanted to find out if I had more family on her side.”

Meanwhile in Florida, Molly also decided she wanted to take a DNA test to find out more about her mother’s history. The database confirmed her relations with Emily.

“(The results said:) ‘You share 49.96% DNA with this person. We predict that she’s your daughter’. This is obviously not right because I’ve never gone into labor, I don’t have children.”

Shortly after, she figured out that she must be her sister. They contacted each other but decided not to have a video call until they met in person.

Even though Emily didn’t feel comfortable taking the test, but finding out about her twin makes everything so clear.

“Although I have family who loves me and has been wonderful, there was always a feeling of disconnection. Finding out that I had an identical twin sister just made everything so clear. It all makes sense.”

As the twins got to know each other, they discovered more and more similarities between themselves.

Emily added: “Our senior prom picture…we were both wearing a beaded dress with a strapless style and our hair was exactly the same.

Emily concluded by describing the reunion as ‘the happiest moment of her life’.

Source: Daily Star

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‘Sinomacrops Bondei’, The Newest Species of Pterosaur Found In China

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Paleontologists in China have discovered the fossil skeleton of Sinomacrops bondei, a new species of pterosaur. Scientists, mostly from China and Japan, found the fossil skeleton of the ruined creature in a rock preserved in China’s Hubei Province and realized that it was a new species of pterosaur.

The name Sinomacrops bondei is taken from the Greek word for Chinese which is Sino, combined with the words for large, macro, and eyes.

The researchers chose Bondei in honor of paleontologist Niels Bonde, for his many scholarly contributions and for being an inspiration to us.

Using x-ray imaging, the team was able to reconstruct the long-extinct pterosaur and illustrations were made to show how it looks like.

“Despite being crushed to the point of obliterating many details, the specimen is rather complete and provides new information for the group,” wrote the researchers on their reports.

The illustration made depicts the creature that looks like a flying squirrel but instead of a rodent’s body, its shaft looks more like a salamander with large membrane wings protruding from each side. This new species also has gaping eyes, a wide smile, and a small tail between a pair of legs.

Sinomacrops bondei are also likely to be hairy but not with hair or feathers. Scientists argue that it is covered by tufted ‘pycnofibers’, a completely different shape of the cover and evolving independently.

A paleontologist from Baylor University in Texas, Megan Jacobs who was not involved with the research, said the findings are interesting because pterosaur fossils are so rare because their thin, hollow bones cannot be preserved like other creatures.

“It’s very round with large, forward-facing eyes. Most pterosaurs of this period have elongated snouts full of little teeth.

“Finding these early pterosaurs really gives us an insight into how they started to adapt and alter aspects of their skeletons,” said Jacobs.

Source: 9Gag, New York Post

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Government Amends National Trust Fund Act

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 21  — The government has approved amendments to the National Trust Fund (KWAN) Act 1988 (Act 339), which allows funds from KWAN to be used for the procurement of vaccines and any expenditure incurred in relation to the vaccines.

This is based on the Emergency (National Trust Fund) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, which comes into operation today, through the Federal Government Gazette published by the Attorney General’s Chambers today.

The ordinance, amended in Section 6, was promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, on April 14 pursuant to Clause (2B) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that immediate action is required to amend the National Trust Fund Act 1988.

The new subsection states that “the procurement of vaccines and any expenditure incurred in relation to the vaccines for an epidemic of any infectious disease as specified under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342)”.

On Jan 12, Istana Negara, in a statement, announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to the Proclamation of Emergency to be implemented nationwide until Aug 1, as a proactive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Sources: BERNAMA

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