Cancer in elephant is being treated with unprecedented approach

An Asian elephant in the El Paso Zoo in Texas has undergone two successful rounds of electrochemotherapy.

The elephant, 50-year-old Juno, underwent her second successful treatment Friday. She was diagnosed with a malignant mass in her right mammary gland in January; she underwent her first electrochemotherapy treatment in March.

“The El Paso Zoo is on the cutting edge in terms of the cancer treatment they are providing Juno,” Dr. Jospeh Impellizeri, of Veterinary Oncology Services, said in a statement. “This type of treatment on large, exotic animals isn’t getting done anywhere else—not even Europe. It’s incredible.”

The treatment was performed by Impellizeri, along with two veterinarians from the El Paso Zoo and the zoo’s staff.

According to the zoo, this is only the second recorded case of a cancerous mass in an elephant.

“The make up of elephants is that they’re able to sequester those tumors and they don’t metastasize all over their body. But we did want to treat this cancer simply because it was uncomfortable for her,” said El Paso Zoo Director Steve Marshall.

THE WORLD OF ANIMALS

The electrochemotherapy treatment uses a chemotherapy drug that’s infused into the tumor before an electric pulse draws the chemotherapy directly into the cancer cells. Juno was put under anesthesia for an hour and a half for the treatment but is now alert and walking, according to the zoo.

The tumor is very big and the zoo said the electrochemotherapy allows for multiple treatments, unlike invasive surgery.

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“We broke the tumor down into four quadrants and treated each quadrant with the electrochemotherapy,” Impellizeri said in March after the first treatment. “This is an extremely large tumor, the largest I’ve ever treated, but if you break it down into quadrants, you can treat it like four or five smaller tumors.”

Treating the tumor and giving an accurate prognosis is a challenge for the zoo. There is no record of a malignant mammary gland tumor in all of veterinary literature, and cancer of any kind is extremely rare in elephants, according to the zoo.  As a result, the zoo can’t predict how the cancer will progress and using ultrasounds and x-rays to determine if the cancer is spreading isn’t possible because of Juno’s size. However, the zoo expects Juno to survive.

“It does not take on the characteristics of a tumor that’s going to spread throughout her body, but it was growing in size,” said Marshall.

Juno’s treatment was featured on Nat Geo Wild’s show Animal ER in August.

Gorgeous, majestic white giraffes spotted, captured on video for first time ever

A pair of rare white giraffes were spotted in Kenya and captured on film for the first time ever.

The giraffes, a mother and its child, have white skin due to a condition known as lueucism. The condition prevents pigmentation in skin cells and causes skin to turn white and pale.

The giraffes were filmed walking around the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservacy in Kenya’s Garissa county. Several times during the video, the mother giraffe appears to recognize she is being filmed and looks directly at the camera.

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In a blog post, Hirola Conservancy said this was the first time the white giraffes had been spotted by a number of its community rangers. The post also noted that the giraffes were first reported by a local villager.

“The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes,” the post read.

White giraffes have been spotted twice before. In January 2016, the first report of a white giraffe came from Tarangire National park, Tanzania. The second time was in March of 2016 in Ishaqbini conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.

This is the first time the creatures are believed to have ever been captured on video.

‘Harvey the Hurricane Hawk’ released back into the wild

Harvey the Hurricane Hawk is back in the skies over North Texas.

The bird became famous after taking refuge in a Houston man’s taxi during Hurricane Harvey refusing to leave. She was featured in a series of YouTube videos and became an instant viral sensation.

The taxi driver took care of Harvey until she could be turned over to the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition.

The Houston-based animal care facility then took Harvey to the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center in Lucas for rehabilitation.

“Cooper hawks eat songbirds and other types of birds,” said Jess Glotzbach of the Raptor Center. “And with all the flooding down [in Houston], the food source wasn’t like what they wanted it to be. So they said, ‘Let’s release it in Dallas, where we know everything is fine.'”

Harvey was released Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of Oak Point Amphitheater in Plano.

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Walruses show up early in Alaska as ice recedes

Sign of the times? Several hundred Pacific walruses began amassing on an island off Alaska’s northwest coast in the first week of August in what wildlife officials say is the earliest date yet for their annual “haulout.” The culprit appears to be shrinking Arctic ice.

Walruses tend to head ashore two weeks after warm temperatures cause sea ice to recede too far north for them in the Chukchi Sea. This year, it happened earlier than ever.

Walruses typically use sea ice for protection and as a home base, particularly for juveniles, while adults dive to the ocean floor for food. But “when that ice retreats to the deeper water, they can’t do that,” Fish and Wildlife rep Andrea Medeiros tells Alaska Public Media.

For the past several years, a barrier island near Point Lay has served as an alternative home base. Last year, thousands of walruses had arrived there by Oct. 7.

This year, however, the haulout was observed beginning on Aug. 3—a full two weeks ahead of the next earliest date observed back in 2011, reports Alaska Dispatch News.

Medeiros tells the AP that last week some 2,000 walruses were observed on the island, where they’re expected to stay until the fall. Hoping to head north to observe the animals? Officials would rather you not.

Not only is it illegal to disturb them, the walruses are known to stampede to the water in response to plane and boat activity in the area, which spells bad news for juvenile walruses.

This article originally appeared on Newser: Walruses Show Up Early in Alaska as Ice Recedes

Fisherman films great white shark leaping from water, stealing fish off line

Captain Hap Farrell says Saturday’s fishing trip was “nothing special,” but the footage he captured from his boat seems to suggest otherwise.

Farrell, who charters a fishing vessel out of Cape Cod, Mass., took two groups of clients out for fishing expeditions near Orleans, and both of them were thwarted by hungry great white sharks. During the latter trip, one of the sharks even leapt from the water — quite dramatically, too — to snag a striped bass off the fishing line.

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“It’s not an unusual occurrence, but the fact that I had a video camera at the time, I was able to get the shot,” Farrell told The Boston Globe. “You can’t plan something like that.”

Farrell later shared the footage of the day’s events on Facebook, where they’ve been viewed close to 200,000 times as of Tuesday morning.

In the first part of the clip, Farrell explains that one of his clients can be seen reeling in a striped bass when a shark chomps it off the line from underwaterprivacy. At Farrell’s urging, the group proceeds to reel in what’s left of their catch: the head of what was once a “decent”-sized fish.

“He chomped your fish!” said one of the young clients to the woman holding the line.

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But during Farrell’s second trip of the day, the captain calmly says he “had another surprise,” and this one wasn’t content to hide beneath the surface of the water.

As seen in the latter portion of the clip, Farrell’s charter group is seen sitting on the stern of the boat, reeling in another fish. But just before they can yank it in, a great white breaches from the water, trapping their catch in mid-air before ripping it off the line and disappearing back beneath the water.

“Whoa!” Farrell hollers as the rest of the group jumps backward at the awesome sight.

However, Farrell later revealed to CBS Boston that the trip wasn’t all that noteworthy for a boat captain such as himself.

“Remember I’ve caught sharks before, so it was nothing special for me,” said the fisherman of 37 years.

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Furthermore, Farrell says he isn’t all that frightened by his close encounters out on the Cape Cod Bay.

“It’s funny about nature,” he added to CBS Boston. “If you don’t play around with it or act scared of it or anything like that, you can pretty much get along with anything.”

Monster croc the size of an SUV caught in Australia

An image of a monster crocodile caught by Outback Wrangler Matt Wright has gone viral, with some animal lovers criticizing the use of duct tape to bind the animal’s snout shut.

Mr Wright uploaded a snap of the saltie to his Facebook page on Saturday, and it has already attracted more than 4,000 likes and hundreds of shares and comments.

Many people were quick to point out the thick layers of tape covering the croc’s snout and eyes.

Tom Miller estimated it would have taken 10 rolls of duct tape to cover the saltie’s mouth.

“Did you get enough tape on him?” Sally-Jo Famlonga said. “Hope that’s not staying on for too long poor boy.”

Dean Adermann said he could see no reason why the monster was caught in the first place. “Leave the poor animal alone,” he said.

Others were quick to jump to Mr Wright’s defence.

“It’s a crocodile, they’ve been around since the dinosaurs,” Jay Ryan said.

“I’m sure he doesn’t mind a bit of tape on his snout.”

Rebecca De Vries praised the Wrangler’s team for catching the saltie and keeping the community safe.

Andrew Buckley pointed out croc catchers moved on salties so they didn’t pose a threat in populated areas, or risk being shot by people.

“Most times these crocs are being relocated as they have clashed with humans/livestock and so if good people don’t relocate them, some redneck will just shoot it,” he said.

When asked about the photo, Wright’s publicist told Fox News:

“As a crocodile conservationist, one of Matt’s efforts is to help relocate crocs that are in danger of being killed by the property owners,” Wright’s representatives said via email. “In this instance, this particular croc was a major threat to nearby people and livestock and had to be relocated. The crocodile’s safety and welfare is always a priority and this method is the recommended way to secure the crocodile’s snout by Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife.”

This story originally appeared in news.com.au with additional reporting by Fox News. 

Monster alligator steals fish off kid’s line in viral video

Bummer…

Everyone has lost a fish, but I’ll hazard a guess that few anglers have lost one like the kid in this video.

In the clip—first published in February—a boy named Connor has hooked a large redfish, and at first, everything seems to be going to plan. But then the man standing next to him says, “He’s right here.” Then the cameraman repeats, “He’s right here!” And the men were not referring to the redfish.

As Connor reels the fish toward the dock, a huge alligator suddenly appears in frame, swims up, and casually snatches the redfish.

Turning slightly, the gator moseys toward the far shore, with the hooked redfish hanging from its jaws. Finally, one of the men tells Connor, “Dude, you need to cut your line,” as the gator continues across the lake.

Texas alligator lassoed after trespassing on cattle ranch

East Texas cowboys are seen in a video roping a monster-size alligator threatening livestock.

Cattle rancher Hal Canover rounded up a group of friends when the 10-foot creature wandered onto his land in Hawkins last week, Fox 4 Dallas reports.

“He was a dangerous one,” Conover said. “But he was leaving the place — dead or alive.”

Canover and his buddies lassoed the beast and then waited for help.

Licensed alligator trappers showed up to haul it away.

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The alligator wasn’t willing to go easy.

During the struggle to get the alligator into a trailer one of the trappers was bitten.

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Conover said the man’s injury was only a flesh wound.

The alligator was driven Gator Farms in Grand Saline, according to the station.

Rare alligator gar caught in Indiana

An Indiana angler was surprised to reel in a prehistoric fish more than five feet long earlier this month.

One glance at the thick-scaled alligator gar in question could easily lead many to believe gators have moved beyond their storied home of Florida. But while an alligator gar is something entirely different than the reptile of the same name, it carries its own legend.

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So-called because of its toothy mouth and broad snout, the alligator gar is a fish that bears a   remarkable resemblance to four-legged alligators. According to National Geographic, they can grow to a length of up to 10 feet and weigh nearly 300 pounds. The fish captured was just over 5 feet and weighed 55 pounds.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says the fish aren’t normally found in Indiana waters. More common to the state are shortnose, longnose and spotted gar.

The rare catch is the first alligator gar verified by Indiana biologists in recent history. Indiana is at the northern edge of the fish’s historic range which includes much of the coastal U.S Southeast.

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A National Geographic profile states alligator gar “inhabit waters as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, as far north as the Mississippi River Basin and the lower Ohio and Missouri river systems, and southern drainages well into Mexico.”

The DNR is examining the fish to determine its age and source—nearby states Illinois and Kentucky have current alligator gar stocking programs. Indiana does not currently have a restoration program in place.

Despite the unusual catch, the bowfisherman who seized the alligator gar faces no legal action since Indiana has “no regulations on take of alligator gar.”

Great white shark spotted lurking near popular California beach

NOW PLAYINGGreat white shark spotted off coast of San Diego beach

Just a day after a shark attack left a San Diego County woman fighting for her life, a drone pilot captured video of a juvenile great white shark swimming less than a quarter of a mile  from where dozens of people were swimming in the surf.

William Steele, a surfboard maker from Capistrano Beach, was surfing at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point Monday morning. He was thinking about sharks after the weekend shark attack at San Onofre State Beach, several miles to the south. While surfing, he noticed dozens of stingrays in the shallows.

“I said, ‘I’ll bet you (sharks) are out here eating stingrays,'” Steele told FOX 5.

More from FOX 5 San Diego

  • North County woman ‘fighting for her life’ after shark attack

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Steele, who lives near the beach, rode his bicycle back to his house and brought his drone down to the beach. Sure enough, within five minutes of launching the drone, he located a shark swimming less than 100 yards offshore. He said it was clearly a juvenile great white.

“They’re around for sure. They’ve been around forever,” he said. “They are out here hunting stingrays and seals. When they hit a person, it’s an accident.”

Steele believes Sunday’s attack on Leeanne Ericson, a mother of three from Vista, was just such a case of mistaken identity. Accident or not, the result was tragic, he said.

More from FOX 5 San Diego.