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Humans Use 'BoarCurling' to Rescue Wild Boars From Slippery Frozen Lake

Curling, the only Olympic sport that involves wielding a cleaning instrument, is not often a heroic pastime. But for a group of Swedish boars, the frozen shuffleboard variant recently became a life-saving procedure. 

Some skaters were out on a guided ice tour on Lake Båven in southeast Sweden when they spotted four wild pigs bumbling around like Bambi on the slippery ice, according to Swedish nature site Natursidan. The boars had somehow gotten themselves stuck in the middle of the lake, and couldn’t get enough traction to move.

As it turns out, boars glide across ice with relative ease, so a few of the skaters simply pushed them to shore with their trekking poles—as if the boars were curling stones and the poles delivery sticks. The animals were too exhausted from trying to struggle off the ice to resist. There were no sweepers on hand to keep the boars moving in a straight line, alas, but they all made it to shore eventually. You can watch one of the boar-rescue operations in the video above.

The look on the boar’s face as he gets pushed across the ice—so sad, so baffled. We’ve all been there, buddy. The delivery sticks of progress are unstoppable. 

*Please note that boars, like most wild animals, can be dangerous under certain circumstances, so we generally do not advise poking them with sticks. Even though we totally, totally wish boar curling was an internationally recognized sport, maybe avoid trying it yourself.

[h/t: Robert Watt]

Banner image screenshot via Vimeo.

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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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