Saving the hamster

There are only a few hundred Great Hamsters of Alsace left in Alsace. The only wild hamster in Europe, the Great Hamster of Alsace (also known as the European Hamster), grows to be about 10 inches long and has adorable black and white markings.

But being cute, as has been proven time and again, doesn’t save a species from extinction. (Although, it doesn’t hurt when battling against other species for conservation funding.)

Once considered a farmyard pest, the Great Hamster was systematically killed to the point where only 200 were left in the wild. Then, in 2011, the European Court of Justice intervened, threatening France with fines as high as $24.6 million if they didn’t protect the hamster.

So, now France is protecting the hamster.

Here is the endangered little critter:

Common / European Hamster (Cricetus cricetus)

Is this the culprit?


Brooks Falls – Brown Bear & Salmon Cam – Bears

Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska is a favorite salmon fishing spot for brown bears. During the fishing season, a live cam shows the bear activity 24/7. Due to the time difference and Alaska’s long spring and summer days, you can tune in all through the day and see several bears fishing.

I’m watching the Brooks Falls #bearcam on, streaming live from @Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska:.

UPDATE: I was mistaken; the camera isn’t live yet. They are apparently showing old video, but I still find it fascinating!


Cormorants on the pond this morning

There were several cormorants (water turkeys to us in Louisiana) on our little lake this morning, along the dam and out in the middle. Some were sitting with their wings outstretched, which is supposedly to dry their wings after diving. The birds in the middle were too far away for a cell phone photo to show you, but were facing into the fairly stiff breeze, providing enough lift to get the cormorant’s whole body out of the water.

This one was close enough to get a decent picture, on an old piling along the bank. We also have a fair number of coots and ducks; the mallards are pairing up, and we will have ducklings soon.


Teensy weensy spider…

Mazda is recalling 42,000 Mazda6 cars in the U.S. because spiders can weave a web in a vent hose and cause the fuel tank to crack.

The yellow sac spider is apparently a gasoline huffer, and builds webs in the evaporative canister vent hose, allowing pressure to build in the fuel tank. There is a potential for explosion and fire, although that has never happened.

I was unable to find out if these cars all come from one factory, or why only Mazdas have this problem.