CHAKHCHAKH, Russia: Dressed in a red and silver sequined jacket and trousers, 13-year-old Muhamed Balikhanov holds a long pole as he slowly rides an old red bicycle along a tightrope suspended several metres off the ground.In his remote village of Chakhchakh in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, Balikhanov is one of the few to continue a tradition of tightrope walking that dates back hundreds of years.For locals in the mountainous North Caucasus region, tightrope walking began centuries ago as a way to take shortcuts between precipitously placed villages with no roads between them."In Dagestan, tightrope walking has always been the 'road of the highlander' because there were no roads. That's how tightrope walking was invented," said Askhabali Gasanov, who heads a circus studio in the regional capital of Makhachkala.Dagestan's tightrope walkers later gained fame by performing daring feats in circuses. During the Soviet era, a troupe of artistes from Dagestan performed in … [Read more...] about Tightrope tradition teeters on verge of extinction in Russia’s Dagestan
Verge of extinction
Ahead of May Day, AFP reporters, video and photo teams spoke to men and women around the globe whose jobs are becoming increasingly rare, particularly as technology transforms societies. - The last street clerks of Bogota - Inserting a blank sheet into her Remington Sperry, Candelaria Pinilla de Gomez starts typing. One of Bogota's street clerks, she has spent the last 40 years typing up countless thousands of documents. Aged 63, she is the only woman among the street clerks who have set up their tiny tables on the pavement outside a modern office block in Bogota. Wearing suits but no ties, the writers work in the open air, under a parasol, seated on a plastic chair with the typewriter on their knees. Once upon a time, these clerks played an essential role -- with public deeds, tax documents and contracts all passing through their hands. Pinilla de Gomez learned the trade from her husband when they arrived in the Colombian capital in the 1960s. He had a farm "but the … [Read more...] about The disappearing jobs of yesterday
The zoo’s new male Aldabra Giant Tortoise weighs 250 kilograms and boasts a high dome-shaped carapace 120 centimetres long, while the female weighs 150 kilograms and has a 90cm-long carapace Aldabra giant tortoises originate in the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles Although among the longest-lived animals on the planet – individual tortoises can live well over 100 years – Aldabra giant tortoises are on the verge of extinction in the wild They are listed as “vulnerable” under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species Aldabra giant tortoises eat grasses and leaves Before Dusit Zoo was opened to the public in 1938, it was a private zoo of King Rama V, who ordered its construction in 1895 and named it Khao Din Vana, a name commonly used by Thais until today The zoo holds around 1,000 animals and attracts 2 million visitors a year, generating Bt130 million in annual income Dusit Zoo is in process … [Read more...] about Dusit Zoo visitors meet pair of giant Aldabra tortoises
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), Singapore said more than 105 cases have been reported in the country since 2013 where people possessed illegal exotic pets including snakes and geckos. Snakes and geckos are wild animals, and possessing them as pets is a grave crime in the country. Crime which negatively impacts nature The officials have in the past seized animals including hedgehogs, wild python, ball pythons, star tortoises, leopard geckos, and sugar gliders. Most of these exotic animals are species who are facing the fear of extinction from the planet. These animals are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). Singapore, a signatory of CITES, has to comply with the agreement to make sure that illegal trade of these animals are not happening in the country and that they can be protected from the verge of extinction. Even though these animals are allowed to keep as pets in some countries, Singapore has … [Read more...] about Illegal exotic pet possession of snakes, reptiles on rise in Singapore
A new study conducted by an International team of researchers has successfully sequenced genomes of extinct and living elephant species. The team which included researchers from McMaster University, Harvard Medical School, Uppsala University, and the University of Potsdam sequenced fourteen genomes of several ancient elephant species including mammoth and mastodons which lived millions of years ago. During the study, researchers found that ancient elephants had a very complicated history, characterized by widespread interbreeding. However, the researchers made it clear that interbreeding is not happening among elephants which roam the modern world, adding to the growing fears of the future of a few species which remains on earth. Interbreeding often helps to survive The researchers said that it was the interbreeding behaviour prevalent among mammoths which helped them to become so successful over such long periods of adverse and diverse conditions. While interbreeding may help … [Read more...] about Interbreeding not happening among modern-day elephants, are they on verge of extinction?