Chester Zoo has rescued a three-legged Ploughshare tortoise from illegal smugglers in Hong Kong, and he’s said to be one of the rarest in the world.
The newest’s tortoise resident – who has been named Hope – is one of the world’s rarest animals, with fewer than 300 remaining in the wild, and he now calls the UK’s largest charity zoo his home after being rescued by customs officials from a would-be wildlife trader who was found with a suitcase concealing 57 live and endangered tortoises when travelling from the Comoro Islands off the coast of East Africa in 2019.
Only 63 specimens of Ploughshare tortoise are said to “exist legally” outside of Madagascar as part of vital conservation breeding programmes battling to save the species.
“Chester Zoo is now home to four of these,” a spokesperson for the zoo said.
He added that the tortoise species was “highly prized for their distinctive gold and black shells”, and are known to fetch “exceptionally high prices” on the black market.
After being rescued, Hope was immediately transferred into the care of conservationists at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden Wild Animal Rescue Centre in Hong Kong, where he was found to be missing his front left leg and claws on its hind left leg, which were said to possibly be due to a birth defect, or injury picked up when very young.
Experts in Hong Kong decided to fit support rollers under Hope’s lower shell to help with his balance and movement, and further modifications were then made to the rollers at Chester Zoo after he arrived in the UK.
Dr Gerardo Garcia, Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates at Chester Zoo, said Hope’s prosthetic mobility support has been “specially-fitted to help him get around”.
“It works wonderfully well – he moves even quicker than his three neighbours.”
Conservationists at Chester Zoo now say they’re looking for Hope to live up to his name and eventually join an important European conservation-breeding programme – which is playing a vital role in saving this critically-endangered species from extinction.
“He’s settling in nicely to his new home,” Dr Garcia added.
“Hopefully, in several years’ time once he’s more developed, he’ll go on to produce offspring and contribute to the survival of the species thanks to the vital insurance population in conservation zoos.”
“This is a species that’s sadly under huge pressure for its survival and there’s a very real possibility that this species could be lost forever,” added Mike Jordan – Director of Animals and Plants at Chester Zoo.
“That’s why Hope is such an important addition to the zoo.
“We refuse to sit back and see this incredible species disappear and so our aim now is to maintain an ark population, by coming together with some of the world’s other leading conservation zoos to breed a genetically viable safety net population and prevent its extinction.”
The species is listed under the highest protection category of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) – which prohibits all forms of international commercial trade – and is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) having been poached to the very brink of extinction.
Featured Image – Chester Zoo
Crown Paints hit with more than 100 complaints over new ‘misogynistic’ and ‘offensive’ advert
A Northern-based paint company has been hit with more than 100 complaints over its new TV advert, which has been branded “offensive”.
Crown Paints – which is based in Darwen in Lancashire – released the advert in question earlier this month, and through a cast of actors, singers, and spoken word performers, it tells the story of a young couple named Hannah and Dave.
The couple were said to have met at an illegal rave, and are now expecting their first child together.
Lyrics from the advert’s jingle include: “Now a baby’s coming and they don’t know what it is. Hannah’s hoping for a girl, Dave’s just hoping that it’s his.
“They’re happy that their spare room’s no longer grey because there’s a baby on the way.”
Since its release and airing on TV screens across the UK, an Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) spokesman said it had received 150 complaints about the advert – which it is “currently assessing to determine if there is a potential problem under our rules and, if so, whether there are grounds for further action”.
The ASA says the majority of complaints are mainly focused on whether the content in the advert is appropriate to be shown on television, as well as many taking to social media and calling it out for being “totally derogatory” towards women.
Comedian Jennie Eclair was one of the more prominent figures to complain to Crown Paints on social media earlier this week, tweeting: “Hey Crown Paints, get that offensive baby ad off air – what were you thinking!!!? What on earth possessed you?”
Author and podcast host, Daisy Buchanan, was one of the many people to welcome Eclair’s tweet and say in response: “I honestly thought it was me being mad”.
One viewer took to Twitter and said: “Totally derogatory of women, questioning her fidelity. Take it off because it won’t sell much paint.”
Others said it was “offensive”, “misogynistic”, and a “serious error of judgement”.
Crown Paints then responded to Eclair’s tweet saying: “Our ads are intended to give a humorous account of our characters’ stories. We appreciate that people have differing tastes when it comes to humour and whilst the ad has been broadly well received, we apologise if the remark has caused offence to anyone.”
But Eclair still said she felt that the advert “set up a scenario that implies a woman has possibly conned a man into fatherhood”.
Following both the growing online backlash, and the 150 official complaints about the advert, Crown Paints has issued a formal statement addressing the claims.
A spokesperson said: “This ad is one in a series that is intended to celebrate special moments in life in a humorous way.
“The characters of Hannah and Dave are shown to be in a happy relationship and preparing for their new arrival. There are no negative connotations intended from any of the lyrics and whilst the ad has been broadly well received, we recognise that people have differing tastes in humour.
“We apologise if any of the lines have caused offence.”
Featured Image – Crown Paints
Experts warn that Flying Ant Day is imminent and it could be ‘any day’ now – but what is it?
Gardening experts are warning that the annual phenomenon known as Flying Ant Day is right around the corner, and it could be “any day” now.
Flying Ant Day is apparently on its way too, and it could be here before we know it.
As a thunderstorm warning now in place for much of the country, with heavy rain, wind, and general stormy conditions forecast set to bring potential flooding, damage to buildings, and disruption, the change in weather could also bring flying ants.
Post-heatwave is usually considered to be the ideal time of year for the creatures fill the air in swarms, according to experts, but while the annual occurrence is called Flying Ant Day, most of the time, it isn’t just a one-day thing.
But what actually is Flying Ant Day? What should we be expecting? And is there any way to make sure flying ants don’t get inside our homes?
What is Flying Ant Day?
To sum it up simply, Flying Ant Day – which is scientifically referred to as nuptial flight – is a natural annual event that sees countless of the flying insects take to the skies in a bid to avoid the heat.
It marks the day or time of year where virgin queens mate with males to start new colonies.
While it’s impossible to predict an exact day for the annual occurrence, there have been warnings that 2022’s Flying Ant Day could take place any time from 15 August, so we’re already a day overdue and it’s worth keeping an eye out.
What are the experts saying?
“Most of us have been enjoying the heatwave, but while we’ve been making the most of the sun, a storm has been brewing,” explained Chris Bonnett – founder of Gardening Express.
“There is no specific day for Flying Ant Day, it’s usually just around mid to late August and it typically happens after a heatwave [and] the reason for this being that ants prefer humid weather and they use this time to get on the lookout for a new home and whilst that’s all well and good, it becomes a real nuisance for those of us who enjoy spending time in our gardens and outdoors.
“Ants in the UK aren’t dangerous, but they can be extremely irritating.”
How can I stop flying ants getting into my home?
Gardening Express has also given a handful of top tips to keep flying ants outside and stop them from entering into our homes.