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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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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."