It’s unfortunate, but plastic pollution is becoming a growing threat in our oceans and is claiming the lives of our precious seabirds, according to scientists.

In fact, the US National Academy of Sciences published a study that says over 95 percent of our seabirds will have consumed some type of plastic by the year 2050.

Jane Haakonsson, DOE Terrestrial Research Officer, states that with the extinction of animals, ‘ll such as the Cayman thrush, there is a real risk of the same thing happening again.

If you conduct a search on the internet, you’ll find many photos of dead seabirds being full of plastic debris. This is quite sad and plastic continues to be a threat for our seabirds, an alarming indication that fueled the study. The seabirds are of particular interest in the study, says Haakonsson, and their resident birds will hopefully be studied next year.

Across the world, there is plastic floating in our oceans and our birds are eating it unintentionally thinking it is food. Sadly, it results in their death at times; even in their young.

According to a report by scientists who were studying the Laysan Albatross chicks of the Pacific Ocean on Midway Atoll and the content in their stomachs, they found some results that were very disturbing. They found that 40 percent of these chicks died before they even grew the feathers to fly. After examining the stomachs of these chicks, it was found their bellies were full of plastic trash.

While feeding their young, the adult birds end up regurgitating and passing this debris on to them. In fact, up to 98 percent of two different species of chicks were fed by their parents objects such as synthetic foam, beads, golf tees, aluminum foil, light bulbs and other objects that were accidently swallowed by them at sea.

Our beloved bird’s digestive systems can be damaged by ingested debris, which can impact their foraging and digestive ability and result in starvation, malnutrition, and death.

Looking to start up a two-year study of the Cayman’s resident seabirds, The DOE is hoping to secure funding for it by partnering up with the University of Exeter and the University of Liverpool.

Through the use of GPS tracking devices in this study, they hope to gather up information regarding the seabirds’ habits. The data they collect and learn through this GPS tracking will help them protect these birds for the future. The mobile device is no bigger than a flash drive.

The annual Hot Wheels report through the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) identifies the 10 vehicles which have been stolen the most in the US. This report evaluates vehicle theft data which law enforcement submitted to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). It goes over vehicle model, make, and the model year in 2014 that was reported stolen the most.

The most vehicles stolen for 2014 in the nation include:

  1. Honda Accord having around 51,290 thefts
  2. Honda Civic having around 43,936 thefts
  3. Ford Pickup (Full Size) having around 28,680 thefts
  4. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) having around 23,196 thefts
  5. Toyota Camry having around 14,605 thefts
  6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) having around 11,075 thefts
  7. Dodge Caravan having around 10,483 thefts
  8. Nissan Altima having around 9,109 thefts
  9. Acura Integra having around 6,902 thefts
  10. Nissan Maxima having around 6,586 thefts

Below are the leading ten 2014 model year vehicles that were stolen in 2014:

  1. Ford Pickup (Full Size) consisting of 964 thefts
  2. Toyota Camry consisting of 869 thefts
  3. Ford Fusion consisting of 819 thefts
  4. Chevrolet Impala consisting of 746 thefts
  5. Nissan Altima consisting of 687 thefts
  6. Dodge Charger consisting of 680 thefts
  7. Taotao Industry Co. Scooter/Moped consisting of 592 thefts
  8. Toyota Corolla consisting of 578 thefts
  9. Chevrolet Cruze consisting of 566 thefts
  10. Ford Focus consisting of 505 thefts

Even though vehicle theft has been declining, it’s still a serious economic hardship for people losing their vehicle to theft, particularly for people who do not have insurance on the vehicle. This is why the NICB is constantly asking all drivers to go over their four ‘Layers of Protection” which are included below.

Common Sense

Take your keys and lock your car. This is very simple; however, a lot of thefts happen because the driver makes it too simple for their cars to get stolen by thieves.

Warning Device

Install an audible or visible warning device in your car and use it. This will ensure your vehicle stays where you left it.

Immobilizing Device

It’s safe to say that if your car cannot be started, it most probably won’t be stolen. Among the extremely effective devices are the smart keys, fuel cut-offs and ‘kill’ switches.

Tracking Device

A GPS tracking device will send an alert to you when the car is in movement. These devices are extremely effective in assisting authorities in recovering a stolen vehicle. There are even a few systems that combine wireless technologies and GPS (telematics) for allowing remote monitoring of a car. Should the car get moved, the owner is alerted through the system and they can track their vehicle through a computer.

Take note, if you own a Honda, which was the top stolen car on NICB 2015 Hot Wheels report, be sure to use a GPS tracking device to locate your stolen car.

There has been a significant drop in the number of koalas — going from 30,000 to 20,000 in only 20 years. Only 200 koalas are estimated to be left in the southern highlands.

Twenty koalas will have a GPS tracking device collar attached to their necks by Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project researchers for real-time monitoring their movements and exact position. This project involves the Sydney University, Wingecarribee Council and the Office of Environment and Heritage.

Through a 3G network, these collars transmit data to the base stations, as well as the researchers’ smartphones and laptops.

The data collected will be used for finding out where the koalas live as well as to conserve their habitats, according to Mark Speakman, NSW Environment’s Minister.

He says they be able to determine what the koalas are consuming, where their habitat is located and come up with plans of management for protecting the koalas that are more focused.

Joe Stammers, wildlife conservation officer for Wingecarribee Council, says the data on koala corridors can be included into local environmental plans, which will help to make better assessments and decisions for the future.

The water catchment areas and national parks basically protect the koalas; however, bushfires back in 2013 drew out some of the koalas from these areas and exposed their vulnerability to urban growth, fires, roads and disease.

Also threatening the koala population is Chlamydia.

While visiting a site, Foxtrot, a tagged koala, was captured, weighed, provided a quick health check and then let go.

This koala was stated to have the STI chlamydia, according to David Phalen, vet Associate Professor of University of Sydney, but, it wasn’t presently impacting its health.

He says there has been a decline of koalas in the areas that are located west of the Hume Highway which could be due to chlamydia.

About Koalas

The koala, native to Australia, is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial. They usually are situated in open eucalypt woodlands and their diet mostly consists of the leaves of the trees in these areas. Since their diets are limited of caloric and nutritional content, they tend to sleep around 20 hours a day. Because they are marsupials, they usually give birth to young, underdeveloped koalas which stay in their mothers’ pouches for the first 6 to 7 months of their lives. The young are referred to as joeys and at around a year old, they wean fully from their mothers. Koalas have a few natural parasites and predators, however, are at risk of many pathogens like the koala retrovirus and Chlamydiaceae bacteria, as well as droughts and bushfires.

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