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Scientists name snake species after Harrison Ford
The snake lives in the Andes mountains.

Actor jokes that it’s always scary animals named after him.

A new species of snake, discovered by researchers in the Peruvian Andes, has been named after the Hollywood actor Harrison Ford.

Tachymenoides harrisonford, a type of slender snake, is pale yellowish-brown and black, colours which help it to remain camouflaged in its mountain habitat. The specimen found was
41cm long.

The snake was discovered in a remote location in the Otishi National Park, in an area that has not yet been thoroughly scientifically surveyed due to a combination of steep mountains and dangers posed by the illegal drugs trade.

The researchers have chosen to name the snake after the star of the Indiana Jones films because of his support for wildlife conservation. Mr Ford is vice-chair of the not-for-profit environmental organisation Conservation International.

It is the third species to be named after the actor, joining a species of ant (Pheidole harrisonfordi) and a type of spider (Calponia harrisonfordi).

Mr Ford said: “These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it’s always the ones that terrify children. I don’t understand. I spend my free time cross-stitching. I sing lullabies to my basil plants, so they won’t fear the night.”

“In all seriousness, this discovery is humbling. It’s a reminder that there’s still so much to learn about our wild world — and that humans are one small part of an impossibly vast biosphere.

“On this planet, all fates are intertwined, and right now, one million species are teetering on the edge of oblivion. We have an existential mandate to mend our broken relationship with nature and protect the places that sustain life.”

The full description of the snake has been published this month in the journal Salamandra.


Image (C) Edgar Lehr/Conservation International

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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Duchess of York stars in charity calendar

The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals (NFRSA) has released its charity calendar for 2024, featuring Sarah, Duchess of York and a selection of the retired service animals the charity supports.

The 12 images were taken by animal photographer Gerry Slade and include retired police dogs and horses, a former border force detector dog, and a retired fire investigation and urban search and rescue dog.

Sarah, Duchess of York, who is a patron of the charity, appears alongside retired police dog Jessie in the photograph for December.

So far this year, the charity has given more than 40,000 in grants to help former service animals with their veterinary care. After retirement, they receive no financial support from the Government and obtaining affordable insurance can be difficult.