A North Carolina Animal Rescue Group Is Using Old Bras to Save Injured Turtles

Michael Martin, iStock/Getty Images Plus
Michael Martin, iStock/Getty Images Plus

Do you have a pile of old bras sitting in a dust-gathering dresser drawer or forgotten bin in the back of your closet? They could save a turtle’s life.

Last week, a North Carolina animal rescue center posted on Facebook requesting that people donate bras—specifically, just the clasps on bras—for them to use in mending cracked turtle shells.

Here’s how it works: You glue the broken shell back together, then glue the bra clasps to either side of the crack, and then wind wire around the clasps to ensure that the shell is held in place. It's like setting a human bone, Jennifer Gordon, director of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, told CNN. After the shell heals, the turtle is released back into the wild with nothing but a great story to tell.


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Carolina Waterfowl Rescue provides aid to quite a few birds; according to its website, it helps over 1000 every year, covering nearly 40 different species. It also supports pigs, opossums, owls, and more.

Turtles, though, are especially susceptible to injury around this time of year, since they’re venturing beyond the safety of their normal wetlands habitats to lay their eggs along shorelines or to escape heavy rains. Also, warmer weather means more dogs, lawn mowers, and cars—perhaps the most dangerous foe of all.

According to CNN, CWR is a friend to all shapes and sizes of the beloved slow-and-steady reptiles, from 14-inch common snapping turtles to the much smaller eastern box turtle, which can fit in your hand.

Responses to the call for clasps have been so numerous that the rescue center has pledged to donate any still-usable bras to Common Heart, a nearby thrift store and food pantry, and they’re now asking for donations of $3 or $5 in lieu of sending the clasps themselves.

[h/t CNN]

England Is Being Invaded By a Swarm of Flying Ants That Can Be Seen From Space

Digoarpi/iStock via Getty Images
Digoarpi/iStock via Getty Images

Last week, the UK's weather service registered what seemed like a system of rain showers moving along the nation’s southern coast. But it wasn’t rain—it was a swarm of flying ants.

Though it sounds like something out of a horror film or the Old Testament, it’s actually a completely normal phenomenon that occurs in the UK every summer when a bout of hot, humid weather follows a period of rainfall, The Guardian reports. Flying ants decide it’s a good time to mate, and the queen takes to the sky, emitting pheromones that attract males.

From there, it’s survival of the fittest. The queen will out-fly most of her suitors, leaving only the strongest males to catch up and mate with her, which ensures the strength of her offspring. The others either lose their wings and fall to the ground, or become bird food. (The ants produce formic acid in their bodies as a defense mechanism, which may make gulls that eat them seem loopy.)

According to Smithsonian.com, the queen will chew off her wings after mating and fall to the ground to start a new colony, and the sperm she collected from that one flight will fertilize her eggs for the rest of her life (which could be up to 15 years in the wild).

The official, rather-romantic term for the annual aerial antics is “nuptial flight,” but locals often refer to it simply as “flying ant day.” It sometimes lasts for weeks, during which billions of the harmless insects can be seen in the skies.

A representative from the Met Office explained that its weather satellites mistook the ants for rain clouds because the radar detects the ants in the same way it sees raindrops. Dr. Adam Hart, an entomologist at the University of Gloucestershire, told The Guardian that he thinks the reason the radar registered the ants this year was a result of better satellite technology rather than an increase in the flying ant population.

[h/t Smithsonian.com]

A Retirement Home for Orcas Could Be Opening in Washington's San Juan Islands

MarkMalleson/iStock via Getty Images
MarkMalleson/iStock via Getty Images

Governments and organizations around the world are taking steps to keep whales out of captivity. Earlier this year, Canada passed a "Free Willy bill" that makes it illegal to hold whale, dolphins, and other cetaceans captive for entertainment. But such laws do little to help the animals that have spent their whole lives performing in places like SeaWorld and are ill-suited to life in the wild. To help them, the Whale Sanctuary Project wants to build a $15 million sanctuary in Washington state's San Juan Islands where formerly captive orcas (also known as killer whales) can thrive, The Seattle Times reports.

The retirement home for whales would allow the creatures to live in their natural ocean habitat while receiving they same care and protection they became accustomed to while in captivity. Instead of living in tanks, they would swim freely around a 60- to 100-acre netted-off cove. Veterinarians would be available to provide the orcas with emergency care, short-term rehabilitation, and food.

The Whale Sanctuary Project plans to start with six to eight orcas in the facility, with the first arriving in late 2020 or early 2021. In order for that to happen, though, the organization needs to get the permits necessary to build the facility off the Washington coast and raise millions of dollars to fund it. In addition to the estimated $15 million construction costs, the veterinary staff would cost $2 million a year.

The plan is ambitious, but it's not unprecedented. In June, the world's first open-water beluga sanctuary—located in Iceland—received its first residents. The two whales, named Little Grey and Little White, were rescued from a Sea World-like attraction in China. The Whale Sanctuary Project is considering building a similar sanctuary for beluga whales in addition to the one for orcas. Before it moves forward with either project, the nonprofit will hold a series of public meetings around the Washington coast to garner support.

[h/t The Seattle Times]

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