Odd and Entertaining Environmental News Roundup

“Chupacabra” Mystery Solved
Nelson County, Kentucky, residents can rest easy: the hairless, sharp-toothed creature killed by a homeowner recently is not the mythical “Chupacabra,” or goat sucker, biologists say. Hard as it may be to believe, the animal is a raccoon. “It is no doubt a hideous creature,” wildlife biologist Steve Dobey told CNN. The skeletal features, particularly paws, indicate that it’s a raccoon. But biologists are still stumped as to why it’s hairless. They’ve ruled out mange, and are investigating other possibilities. There have been other such sightings, like the one featured in this video from last January. In some instances, the creatures have turned out to be hairless coyotes.
[Source: CNN]


Pricey Pigeons

A colony of 218 racing pigeons sold for a whopping 1.368 million Euros, or about $1.8 million, in an auction in Belgium. The prized bird, named Blue Prince, fetched 150,000 Euros alone ($200,000). The big bidders were wealthy buyers from China, where the sport of pigeon racing has taken off. It’s big here, too—Mike Tyson has a pigeon-racing reality show in the works. In the competition, birds are released as far as 700 miles from their loft; the first one home wins.
[Source: AP ]

Photo: Wastewater Compliance Systems

Named for their ability to treat wastewater and their igloo-like shapes, Poo-Gloos have been installed in several towns across the country at existing wastewater treatment facilities that need to meet stricter environmental standards. The structures, lined with bacterial biofilm, are placed in existing lagoons to clean the water. "The whole idea is to provide a home specifically designed for bacteria," Kraig Johnson, chief technology officer for Wastewater Compliance Systems, the Salt Lake City, Utah-based startup that makes the devices, told Discover. Building a new treatment facility costs millions, while installing these devises runs about $100,000 to $200,000. That’s nothing to pooh-pooh.
[Source: Discovery]

Wacky Weather
Every State, with the exception of Florida, currently has snow on the ground. This includes Hawaii where about seven inches of snow is atop Mauna Kea. As of Jan. 11, 69.4 percent of the contiguous United States is covered by snow - this is more than double the snow cover from last month. This week's snow storm in Southern states has allowed for this unusual occurrence.
[Source: National Weather Service]

Finally, the heavy rain in south-eastern Queensland, Australia generated a “deadly torrent of water that swept people off their feet, cars down city streets and houses off their foundations in the Darling Downs city of Toowoomba,” ABC reports. A bystander captured rising water empty a parking lot in this gripping video. [Source: ABC]

While scientists stop short of blaming individual weather events on global climate change, extreme weather events occurring with greater frequency and intensity are expected as the planet warms.

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