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The latest news on Environment from Business Insider

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    Russian meteorite

    Earlier this month, a medium-sized meteoroid entered Earth's atmosphere, leading to an explosion over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk that blew out windows, caused walls to collapse, and injured more than 1,000 people with flying glass shards.

    The fireball was well-documented by Russians, largely due to the widespread use of dashboard cameras.

    A team from Columbia has now used amateur video footage to track down the meteoroid's origin. Their research was published online Tuesday, Feb. 26, on Arxiv.org, a website on which scientists share their research before it is peer-reviewed.

    Researchers calculated the trajectory of the meteoroid once it hit our planet's atmosphere using trigonometry. They used this to reconstruct the orbit of the meteoroid in space before it hit Earth. Researchers used astronomy software, according to the BBC, to trace the meteoroid to a family of near-Earth asteroids known as the Apollo asteroids, their distinguishing factor being they cross Earth's orbit. They make up more than half of the near-Earth (and potential problem-causing) asteroids discovered so far.

    "Although semimajor axis and inclination of the preliminary orbit computed by us are uncertain, the rest of orbital elements are well constrained in this preliminary reconstruction," the scientists write.

    Meanwhile, Russians are scouring the ice and snow for tiny fragments of the meteoroid that landed on Earth, known as meteorites. These little pieces of space rock can fetch thousands of dollars. Local museums have already set up picture exhibits of the meteor explosion and people are offering guided tours of the impact site, according to Russia Today

    Now Watch: 5 Ways The World Is Going To End, According To The Mayan And Other Calendars

     

    SEE ALSO: MAP: Every Meteorite That's Slammed Into Earth

    SEE ALSO: How One Company Plans To Mine An Asteroid

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    Leatherback Turtle

    Turtles are great. They are surprisingly resilient, curious and were once the size of cars. But these hard-shelled creatures are no match for humanity and climate change. 

    Pacific leatherback turtles, the largest turtles on Earth, could go extinct within the next 20 years, a new study finds.  

    According the report, published in the journal Ecosphere, around 75 percent of Pacific leatherback turtles nest at Bird's Head Peninsula in Indonesia. Researchers estimate that only 489 breeding turtles remain on the largest nesting site in the Pacific. That's a 78 percent decline over the last 27 years.

    There are two main causes for the decline: humans and warming beaches.

    Baby leatherback 1Fisherman kill the turtles for meat. The eggs are also harvested for food. Dogs and pigs that roam the beaches also eat some of the eggs. Warmer sand, due to increasing temperatures, can kill the eggs, too.  

    “If the decline continues, within 20 years it will be difficult if not impossible for the leatherback to avoid extinction," Thane Wibbels, a biology professor at the University of Alabama said in a statement

    SEE ALSO: 10 Animals That Were Hunted To Extinction

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    attached image

    Wild insects are better at pollinating crops than captive honeybees trucked into fields by humans, new research suggests. Crashing populations of wild insects could spell disaster for our food supply, the researchers suggest.

    The new study, published online in the journal Science Thursday, Feb. 28.

    Flowering plants produce "male" and "female" varieties. Male plants produce pollen, and female grow flowers, which when pollinated, become fruit. Since plants can't move, insects or other animals are needed to carry pollen from the male plant to the female.

    (Some plants use wind, but they have specialized pollen.)

    Without insects to pollinate them, crops can't make food. To see which were the most important and efficient pollinators, scientists collected and analyzed data from 600 fields of 41 crops, which included fruit, nuts, seeds, and coffee.

    They counted the number of times different insect species visited different flowers, and how much pollen each insect left on the plant.

    They also measured how many flowers on each plant eventually turned into fruit (which happens when pollination is successful).

    Insects to the rescue

    They found that pollination by wild insects (instead of those trucked into the fields, like bees in hives) produces a greater variety and abundance of crops.

    Specifically, wild insects increased productivity in every crop system studied. Farmed bees only increased fruit production in 14 percent of crops.

    attached imagePeople seem to think that we can rely on farmed insects to pollinate our crops, but the data indicates that wild insects are badly needed for continued crop productivity.

    That's bad news for farmers, because habitat loss and pesticides — mostly from agriculture — have led to declines in wild insect populations.

    Some species are undergoing local extinctions — for example parts of Illinois have lost some of their wild bee species.

    "Paradoxically, most common approaches to increase agricultural efficiency, such as cultivation of all available land and the use of pesticides, reduce the abundance and variety of wild insects that could increase production of these crops," study researcher Lawrence Harder, of University of Calgary, said in a press release.

    Future of food

    Three quarters of the world's food comes from pollinated crops like those in the study, and these insect declines will likely lead to worldwide crop shortages and future food instability.

    In the Sichuan region of China, pollinator decline has grown so severe that farmers now pollinate apple flowers with "pollinator sticks" made from cigarette filters and chicken feathers, according to information published online by the European Commission, the central government for the European Union.  

    Some popular crops might be hit particularly hard, the scientists said.

    attached image"Production of many fruit and seed crops that make diets interesting, such as tomatoes, coffee, and watermelon, is limited because their flowers are not adequately pollinated," said Harder.  "We also show that adding more [captive] honey bees often does not fix this problem, but that increased service by wild insects would help."

    The researchers recommended preserving patches of wild area among farmland, adding places for insects to nest, and rethink how farmers use pesticides. These changes would have "financial and opportunity costs", but are in the end well worth it.  

    Without such changes the scientists said, "the on-going loss of wild insects is destined to compromise agricultural yields worldwide."

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    The Coldest Journey

    The last great polar challenge ended for legendary British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes before it even began. 

    Fiennes was forced to withdraw from his historic winter crossing of Antarctica after developing severe frostbite during training at an Antarctic base camp last week. He returned to the UK yesterday, admittedly "very frustrated." 

    The 68-year-old adventurer planned to lead a team of five men on a 2,000-mile trek across the snow-blanketed continent in hopes of becoming the first ever to cross the Antarctic in the winter.

    See The Coldest Journey's progress > 

    The remaining five will continue the unprecedented journey, starting on March 21, but without their fearless leader. This adds risk to an already dangerous journey.

    They will battle temperatures that can plunge to minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit and hidden chasms that can swallow entire tractors.

    Fiennes' injury stands as another reminder of the inherent danger of the expedition, dubbed "The Coldest Journey."

    The team has been chronicling their progress through a series of blog posts and pictures posted to the expedition's website. We already showed you how the team got to Antarctica. Here's what they've been up to since arriving on the continent.  

    The SA Agulhas, the polar ship that would take the The Coldest Journey crew and all their equipment to Antarctica, left London in early December.



    After three weeks on the open Atlantic, the ship stopped in Cape Town to replenish supplies and pick up and the Ice Team, the six men participating in the actual crossing of Antarctica.



    Here's the full Ice Team in London pictured from left to right, skipping over Prince Charles: mechanic Spencer Smirl, Ian Prickett, expedition leader Ranulph Fiennes, traverse manager Brian Newham, mechanic Richmond Dykes, and team doctor Robert Lambert.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    A new study indicates the possible positive in the low sea ice levels throughout the Arctic: a new, faster trans-Atlantic shipping route by 2040.

    The study, published Monday, March 4 in the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, found that by 2040 ships should be able to travel straight through the North Pole in September, without having to worry about getting trapped in sea ice.

    Currently, these areas are permanently shrouded in ice. Using climate model predictions and the historic lows the Arctic has been experiencing in the summers.

    On Aug. 26 this year, the Arctic sea ice reached the lowest levels ever seen, and kept melting. Some other researchers have suggested that the sea ice could be gone within four years.

    The shorter trip could mean cheaper and faster travel between Russia and Europe. It could shave up to 8,000 miles and days of travel off the journey from Shanghai to Europe. This could mean cheaper trade worldwide.

    Here's the new route compared to current trans-Atlantic travel — a key shipping lane along the Russian Arctic coast:

    trans-atlantic shipping routes 2040.

    SEE ALSO:  16 Irrefutable Signs That Climate Change Is Real

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    weather.com snowquester winterstorm saturn forcast

    A big storm is currently covering Chicago in wet snow, and could make its way to major cities in the Northeast later this week. 

    Because it's March, it's likely the snow will be heavy and wet, which could mean wide-spread power outages as downed trees take out power lines. There will probably be tons of flight delays and cancellations out of Washington-Dulles and Reagan National airports.

    Forecasters aren't sure how much snow will accumulate in D.C. — the city could end up just getting rain — or where the snow will land in the Northeast. It should be light in New York City and Philadelphia, starting Wednesday night. In Boston and the rest of New England, the snow will start Thursday and linger into Friday.

    Because the storm is slow moving, it may cause some beach damage in Plum Island, Mass. and Sea Bright, N.J.

    Here are the warnings and watches in effect:

    storm warning march 5 snow winter storm staturn

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    girl wearing sundress

    Summer-lovers rejoice: Climate change will make spring come earlier and summer last longer in the Northeast, new research suggests. Up to five weeks earlier in some cases, if the latest study is right.

    A new study suggests that by 2100 this spring "budburst"— when buds turn into leaves — could be up to five weeks earlier in the Northern areas of the U.S. and would come about a week earlier in the South. These changes would have huge, unpredictable impacts on forest ecosystems.

    (The study focused on these biologically relevant dates that indicate spring, instead of the "official" start of spring, the equinox, March 20.)

    The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. They used data from the USA National Phenology Network and simulated how climate change would impact the "budburst" date of forest trees in different areas.

    Spring is already coming about three days earlier than it did between 1951 and 1980, on March 17 instead of March 20. Fall could even start coming later, as well, extending the summer and the growing season, though there will also be more frequent and more intense drought and heat waves.

    It's not all daises and pollen, though. An earlier spring will most likely cause widespread problems. ClimateCentral.org sums it up nicely:

    If spring comes earlier, some species will adapt more easily than others, throwing that balance off by, for example, disturbing the relationship between animals and their food sources ...

    What they can predict is that “the North is going to become more South-like,” [study author David] Medvigy said. “It could lead to a homogenizing of ecosystems,” in which regional ecosystems that now look very different would begin to look alike. That might, in turn, alter the migratory behavior [of] many species of birds and insects — a ripple effect that could lead to further changes in ecosystems.

    All of these factors will impact how much carbon dioxide forests take up during the growing season and change the makeup of these forests in unpredictable ways.

    SEE ALSO: 16 Irrefutable Signs That Climate Change Is Real

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    Roy Rimmer/The Mammal Society

    Britain's Mammal Society recently announced the winners of its animal photo competition. 

    The purpose is to bring attention to mammals that are often overlooked or under-appreciated, like rats, squirrels and foxes.  

    A perfectly timed image of a brown rat jumping into the air took first place. A fox licking a window nabbed second.

    Leaping dolphins, laughing grey seals and deer were featured in the other finalists' photographs.  

    Harry Martin/Weasel chasing sparrows



    Joel Walley/Play-fighting stoats



    Austin Thomas/Leaping squirrel



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sinkhole

    Last week a 30-foot-wide sinkhole opened in the ground in Florida and swallowed a man and his house.

    Things didn't end up well for the man — the search for him was called off on Sunday night. Clearing of the debris gave us a better look at the hole and the damage it caused.

    This got us wondering, what other places are prone to sinkholes? Luckily for New Yorkers, it's not very likely that a sinkhole would open up in Manhattan's Flatiron district, but some places are more susceptible than others. 

    Missouri sinkhole sink hole collapses map

    Sinkholes are caused when underground water washes away soft rocks like limestone, carbonate rock and salt beds. As the rock or salt are worn away, it leaves behind a cavern under the Earth. When the cavern gets too big, the ground above it collapses, pulling a (usually) circular section of the Earth's "crust" with it.

    The USGS calls areas like this "karst terrain."

    According to the USGS, about 20 percent of U.S. land is susceptible to sinkholes. The most damage from sinkholes tends to occur in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.

    The map below shows areas where underground cavities can form and catastrophic sinkholes can happen. Areas of evaporites (the slash-covered areas — salt, gypsum, and anhydrite) and carbonates (orange areas — limestone and dolomite). Evaporite rocks underlie about 35 to 40 percent of the U.S., though in many areas they are buried at great depths.

    sink hole us sinkhole map

    Most of Florida is on top of limestone karst terrain, and almost every state has some areas with karst terrain, Randall Orndorff of the USGS said in a video. Don't fear though, there's always sinkhole insurance.

    Not all sinkholes are the terrifying cover-collapse sinkholes which develop abruptly and cause catastrophic damage. There are also cover-subsidence sinkholes, which slowly develop and form sunken depressions as the ground under them deflates.

    In the rest of the world, you can find enormous sinkholes in the Khammouan Mountains of Laos and the Mamo Plateau in Papua New Guinea.The largest known sinkholes, formed in sandstone, are in Venezuela. They also occur in areas of China and Mexico, specifically the Yucatan Peninsula and Tamaulipas where you can find the deepest water-filled sinkhole, Zacaton, which is 1,112 feet deep.

    Torrential rains from Storm Agatha caused a huge sinkhole to form in Guatemala in May 2010, and there's the Great Blue Hole in Belize:

    Great Blue Hole, Coast of BelizeThe Murgearea in southern Italy is also sinkhole-prone. There's a sinkhole called the Boesmansgat in South Africa, as well as Lake Kashiba in Zambia, and a sinkhole in the town of Mount Gambier, South Australia. Croatia also has a famous sinkhole called the Red Lake, which is approximately 1,740 feet deep with nearly vertical walls, about half of which is lake.

    Basically, sinkholes are possible almost anywhere you go where there's water and ground. And where there's one sinkhole, there are bound to be others.

    SEE ALSO: The World's Biggest Sinkholes

    SEE ALSO: The Most Terrifying Sinkhole Pictures You've Ever Seen

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    Gallinipper

    If you dislike mosquitoes, you'll really have daggers for the gallinipper — a giant mosquito that is about 20 times the size of a regular mosquito. It's big enough to cover a quarter. 

    The insect lives in low-lying areas that overflow with water. They are native to the eastern half of North America, but come out in large numbers when an area is hit by heavy rain, such as in a tropical storm or hurricane.

    Florida was invaded by the gallinipper last summer after Tropical Storm Debbie. The case is likely to be the same this year, University of Florida entomologist Phil Kaufman said in a statement.

    The whopper of a bug has an equally big bite, which can really hurt when its mouth pierces the skin, says Kaufman. As with other mosquitoes, only the females bite and feed on blood.

    The female gallinipper lays her eggs in soil, in areas that are prone to flooding. The eggs can hang out for several years if they stay dry. The eggs hatch when they get wet caused by heavy rains.  

    Fortunately, the gallinipper is not known to carry diseases. They can be warded off with bug spray, although due their size, the spray may not be as effective as it is with a smaller biting mosquito.

    SEE ALSO: Photographer Captures Perfectly Timed Image Of A Rat Leaping Into The Air

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    olive oil

    Erratic weather, including a devastating drought in Europe and a freak hailstorm in Australia, has left the world with a looming shortage of olive oil.

    In spring of 2012, a late frost hit Spain in the middle of the olive's flowering season, according to the Huffington Post. As a result, Spanish olive trees produced fewer fruits, and those olives the trees did produce were smaller and yielded less oil.

    Spain is the world's largest producer of olive oil, making almost half the global supply, according to the Guardian. But Spain was one of several olive-producing countries hammered by a drought that swept across southern Europe in the summer of 2012.

    While olive growers in Greece, Turkey, Italy and Tunisia all suffered from the drought, none reported losses like the staggering 60 percent drop in olive production that hit Spanish growers, according to the Daily Mail.

    These factors — combined with a severe hailstorm that destroyed roughly 6 percent of Australia's olive crop, according to Australia's ABC.net news service — have left restaurants and food manufacturers worldwide in a tight spot.

    Not only will the olive oil shortage raise prices, but it's also expected to increase the already-rampant illegal doctoring of olive oil, the Daily Mail reports. In 2011, two businessmen in Spain were found guilty of selling extra-virgin olive oil that was, in fact, 75 percent sunflower oil, a cheaper substitute.

    The market for olive oil has grown rapidly in recent years as food scientists have touted the product's health benefits. Studies have shown that the oil can improve cholesterol levels, and it's an important component of the Mediterranean diet, frequently cited as one of the most healthful ways of eating.

    Email Marc Lallanilla or follow him @MarcLallanillaFollow LiveScience on Twitter @livescienceFacebook &Google+Original article on LiveScience.com.

    Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    The image below comes from NASA's Earth Observatory. It was taken on January 29, 2013. It's cool because it shows the three major types of storms that exist all in one photo: Thunderstorms (the smallest), tropical cyclones (larger) and extra-tropical cyclones (the largest). 

    Learn more about different types of storms over at the Earth Observatory website
     

    indianocean_met_201301290800

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    Late winter Snowstorm hits DC   This week a major snowstorm dropped just under 10 inches of snow on Chicago and the surrounding region, before heading east toward Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.

    The capital was mostly spared the worst of it, but coastal cities in Massachusetts and New Jersey were flooded this morning. Pounding surf broke some sand barriers built to keep out the water along the New Jersey shoreline, and filled streets with water.  

    Here is a roundup of images from cities across the Eastern United States that were impacted by the storm, which Weather.com has named Saturn. 

    The storm system is currently headed North to hit upstate New York and the far Northeast. The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories and hazardous weather warnings for areas all over the Northeast.  

    This morning the NWS posted a hazardous weather warning in effect from 6 p.m. this evening until 12 noon tomorrow for  the New York City metropolitan area, southern Connecticut, and northern New Jersey. 

    Here are the images of damage the storm has already done.

    Chicago monument "Cloud Gate," better known as "the bean," wore a layer of snow and ice as the blizzard hit Chicago on Tuesday, March 5.



    A worker used a snow blower to clean the steps in front of the Cloud Gate Sculpture.



    Snowplows had to plow through parking lots at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Locals feared roads would be packed with stranded drivers.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    A new studyabout global temperatures has gotten even the Drudge Report's attention.

    The news aggregation website, run by Matt Drudge, is known to be conservative and aligned with the sort of people who are skeptical of man-made global warming. 

    This morning Drudge tweeted links to AP and New York Times articles about the study, which presents strong evidence of non-natural global warming.

    drudge global warming tweets

    The stories are featured on Drudge's home page along with a picture of coronal mass ejection.

    The study used temperature data from 73 parts of the world to reconstruct the last 11,300 years of our history. The report, published Friday, March 8 in the journal Science, showed that temperatures now are hotter than most of the last 11,000 years. They also show that the last century, temperatures have been rising faster than ever seen since the dawn of civilization.

    "The last century stands out as the anomaly in this record of global temperatures since the end of the last ice age," said Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences.

    They say we will likely see even hotter temperatures in the future, likely higher than ever before seen by 2100. Global warming is real, and it's here to stay.

    global temperatures increase

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    wissard_lake_whillans_view

    A tiny red submarine, about the size of a baseball bat, has allowed researchers to access one of the last unexplored places on Earth: a buried lake in a remote region of Antarctica.

    Lake Whillans is a subglacial lake that sits more than 2,000 feet below the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. In late January, scientists successfully drilled through the ice to reach the lake. The operation is part of the WISSARD project, or Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling.  

    Drilling the borehole was a feat within itself. But that's only part of the expedition. The ability to see beyond the borehole, and survey the lake floor, is what really interests scientists. Access to this environment can tell scientists what kind of life lives down there, and provide a history of changes in climate and ice sheet behavior, NASA said in a statement.

    Alberto Behar, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, worked with students from Arizona State University to develop and test submarine technology that would enable researchers to do this. NASA funded the project.

    The sub is equipped with high-resolution cameras and chemical sensors. It then sends all of this information back through cables attached to a "mothership" that stays on the surface with the scientists.   

    Lake Whillans

    There were technical challenges involved in every part of the process.

    Just to get to the buried lake researchers had to haul a dozen sleds packed with drills, giant camping tents, and other equipment more than 700 miles over 10 days. 

    The borehole is also relatively small (even for a micro-submarine). The team had to get the vehicle down the hole safely, and have it all work at a distance without getting frozen or stuck in the lake. 

    When the submarine finally got to the bottom of the lake, the team used its high-resolution cameras to take pictures. They also measured the salinity and temperature, and collected lake water samples to search for life.  

    wissard_submarine

    "It is an exploration into a new environment never seen by humans, and an ecosystem that could bring forth new organisms never studied before," Behar told Business Insider in an email.  

    The images tell scientists that the lake is filled with something called glacial till, a very fine sediment created by the ice grinding rocks as it flows over them.  

    Researchers had expected the lake to be 10 meters deep from previous measurements, but they found that the lake was only about 1.6 meters deep where they entered, says Behar. They also found microbes living in a nutrient-poor environment, which they had anticipated.

    The tiny submarine isn't limited to exploring subglacial lakes. It can be used to explore any aquatic setting, including lakes and oceans, as long as the currents aren't too strong, says Behar.  

    The next step will be to make the technology even better so they can send it out again at the beginning of next year. 

    Watch the video below to see students testing the robotic submarine:
    Embedded video from
    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

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    Florida Beach

    Tons of South Florida beaches were temporarily closed on Thursday when tens of thousands of sharks were seen swarming near the shores. 

    It's not unusual to spot sharks in Florida's waters, but the stunning event comes during the height of Spring Break, when more people than usual, including college students, flock to the state's sandy beaches.  

    Fortunately this is just a once-a-year occurrence, when the sharks migrate north, triggered by a change in the water's temperature.

    The annual migration typically begins much earlier, in January or February, before peak beach season, shark researcher Steve Kajirua told TCPalm.com.  

    Florida researchers say about 15,000 sharks were seen less than 600 feet from shore, ABC News reports

    It's not all just one species either. Researcher Derek Burkholder tells Discovery News that the cluster "consists primarily of blacktip and spinner sharks, with hammerhead, bull, lemon and tiger sharks also in the mix." 

    Both blacktip and spinner sharks are typically less than 10 feet in length and are not considered dangerous to humans. Blacktips are responsible for about 16 percent of unprovoked attacks in Florida and spinners have been responsible for 13 unprovoked attacks worldwide, according to the International Shark Attack Profile.

    Sharks don't actually like the taste of human flesh, so they aren't built to attack people, but they can bite which is why beaches were shut down as a precaution. 

    The timing of the migration coincides with a new study that found 100 million sharks are killed each year, mostly due to overfishing. So we shouldn't get the idea that the shark population is suddenly booming — we've just gotten better at taking aerial pictures, Mahmood Shivji, director of Save Our Seas Shark Center USA, tells Discovery.  

    The AP captured incredible video of the migration. Watch below:

    SEE ALSO: This Is What The Inside Of A Great White Shark Looks Like

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    Thilafushi

    Thilafushi, located just a few miles west of the Maldivian capital of Malé, is a far cry from the white beaches and turquoise waters that surround it.  

    Once a pristine lagoon, the artificial island now serves as a dumping ground for one of the most exclusive tourist destinations in the world.

    Hundreds of tons of solid waste and toxic material from Malé and luxury hotels on nearby islands are unloaded on Thilafushi every day.

    The amount of waste continues to grow as more and more tourists flock to the islands. 

    Maldivian native Hani Amir captured shocking images of Thilafushi, taken last year, that reveal the ugly side of paradise.  

    The island of Thilafushi is just a short boat ride from Malé, the capital of the Maldives.



    It was originally a lagoon called "Thilafalhu."



    In 1992, the area was reclaimed and transformed into an artificial landfill in order to solve Malé's trash crisis.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Humane Society has posted this heartwarming video of lab chimpanzees stepping outside for the first time after decades of being cooped up in cages (via @pourmecoffee).

    In January the US government said it would release all but 50 chimpanzees used for research. Most of these chimps, some who are more than 50 years old, have never seen sunlight.

    The animals will get a new lease on life at a national sanctuary in Louisiana called Chimp Haven.

    The sanctuary now has more than 100 chimps in their care, who are free to climb trees, run around and groom each other in a five-acre playground.

    Watching the freed chimps step outside for the first time after a lifetime behind bars is a reminder of just how human-like these animals are. You can actually see their jaws drop, which is pretty cute.   

    Watch below: 

    SEE ALSO: Photographer Captures Incredible Human Side Of Animals

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    SharkTens of thousands of sharks have recently been spotted near the shores of South Florida's beaches as part of their annual migration north. 

    Most of the sharks are blacktip and spinner sharks, which are not considered dangerous to humans, although they can bite.

    Many beaches are closed for swimming as a precaution. 

    Fishermen in Palm Beach, however, are taking advantage of this opportunity to catch sharks, wptv.com reports.

    The migration coincides with spring break, when a large number of college students and other visitors head to the beaches to party and relax. The fishermen drew huge crowds as they dragged one shark onto shore.

    The yearly migration generally happens before peak beach season, but started and ended later this year.  

    There's no law that prohibits fishermen from being on the beach, but it still puts beach-goers at unnecessary risk of being bit.  

    The sharks are being caught for research. Once a shark is reeled in, the inside of its mouth is swabbed for bacteria that will be used to develop medicine for shark bites, according to wptv.com.   

    Watch the news clip below:

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    This weekend, over 900 pigs were found floating dead in a river near Shanghai. The count is now up to nearly 3,000 pigs

    The cause of the event is still not known. Authorities did find a virus in a water sample from Huangpu river called porcine cirovirus, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua. The virus affects pigs but does not spread to humans. 

    A video of the clean-up looks like something out of a sci-fi horror film:

    The pigs started turning up on Thursday near a local water treatment plant, but clean-up efforts did not begin until a few days later when the scope of the problem was realized, The Global Times reports

    Huangpu is an important source of drinking water for the city, so workers are moving quickly to remove the bloated carcasses from the river. Pictures show blue-suited men armed with rakes fetching the water-logged animals.   

    According to the FT, tags on the pigs' ears showed that the animals came from Jiaxing, a neighboring province of Shanghai. Farmers from the area are known to dump dead pigs into local rivers, even though Shanghai's agricultural commission has warned against this practice, according to Xinhua.  

    Below are some pictures of the incident: 

    pigs 2

    Pigs 1

    Pigs 3

    Pigs 4

    SEE ALSO: Mysterious Bloated Creatures Found On Beaches

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