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Today’s news: A bad year for elephants, a famous hawk passes away, and chimps continue to astound us

January 2, 2012

Here are some fascinating articles that the humans (and animals ) at Current Instincts are reading today. Did we miss something major? Let us know below or send us an email.

1. Violet the red-tailed hawk is dead. The most famous hawk in Manhattan has passed away. Violet, the hawk who had his own webcam and lived in Washington Square Park, died after surgery to amputate an injured foot. Violet is survived by her mate, Bobby, and their offspring, Pip. (New York Times)

2. Chimpanzees consider their audience when communicating. Chimps might do something humans don’t when it comes to communicating – think about who they’re talking to. The study suggests that chimpanizees are aware of what fellow chimps are thinking. For example, when a chimpanzee saw a snake, they made an alert noise only if they knew that another chimp hadn’t seen it yet. (BBC)

3. 2011 was the worst year ever for elephants. A wildlife trade monitoring group has determined through ivory sales, that 2011 might have been the worst year for elephants since a ban on ivory went into effect in 1989. A record number of seizures of ivory tusks shows that at least 2,500 were killed. Let’s step our game up in 2012, shall we? (MSNBC)

4. How beavers shaped America. We know every ethnic group who has lived in America has shaped our country. But apparently there is another group of unsung heroes who did a lot to make the U.S. what it is today – beavers. Beaver activity (hehehe) thousands of years ago shaped sediment that left a lasting mark on our territory. (Discovery News)

5. Scientists test sick Alaska seals for radiation. Sick seals in Alaska are being tested to see if they’ve been contaminated with radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. Ring seals have been washing ashore either dead or sick with bleeding lesions and hair loss. Test results will be available in a couple weeks. (MSNBC)

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