Showing posts from April, 2012

People 'Worried' to Report Dolphin Deaths

By Michelle Robinson & Kirsty Johnston People are still afraid to report on dolphin deaths due to repercussions from the fishing industry, a University of Otago zoology professor says. A critically endangered Maui's dolphin was found dead by a member of the public in Taranaki last week. The dolphin, of which only 54 are believed to be left, was found by a member of the public on Thursday or Friday on a beach near Pungarehu, south of New Plymouth. It was collected by the Department of Conservation and taken to Massey University for an autopsy. It's not yet known if the dead dolphin is a Maui or closely related Hector's dolphin. A latest population survey found a couple of Hector's mingling further north than usual with the Maui's dolphin. Otago professor Liz Slooten said it would be "hard to get information out of the tiny community of Parihaka''. It would be the second Maui's dolphin found dead in Taranaki this year. Another, a fe

Buzz Over Drugged Up Bee Study

SLOW BUZZ: Honey bees have shown their usually impeccable sense of time is slowed under general anaesthesia. An Auckland study using honey bees to prove the jet-lag effects of anaesthesia is creating quite a buzz. Drugged-up honey bees were used in tests at Cornwall Park and Mangere to show how their usually impeccable sense of time was slowed under general anaesthesia, with the results of the Auckland University study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' latest issue. "It sounds unusual to you, but it's quite sensible to use bees," lead researcher from the Department of Anaesthesiology and School of Biological Sciences, Dr Guy Warman, said. "They have a time sense unlike any other creatures. They can know exactly what time of the day they think it is by a range of functions including their 'waggle' dance and by following the direction of the sun." The bees were trained to travel to a specific food source

Unclean School Toilets Exposed

Kiwi kids are being confronted with substandard school toilets. A survey of 68 Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill primary school found some without soap, hot water or disposable towels or hand dryers. One school had no soap, five had no toilet paper in any toilets, six had no way to dry hands – and 49 had "deficient hygiene facilities". "Good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways of preventing infectious diseases," Southern District Health Board medical officer Dr Marion Poore said. "But it's hard to expect people to wash their hands if the facilities aren't clean and tidy. In the southern climate, having only cold water can be a turn-off to hand washing." The Otago University and health board research assessed availability, functionality and provision of hand basins, soap and hand dryers. The results were published in Oxford University's Journal of Public Health this month. The Ministry of Education recommen