Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 Earthquake hits the Flores region, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical Storm Amanda is located approximately 595 mi (960 km) SSW of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and is moving northeast near 2 mph (4 kph).

The hurricane’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 70 mph (110 kph).

Wildlife

Endangered Polar Bears Mating With Brown Bears Because Of Global Warming?

Polar bears are mating with brown bears, producing a rare hybrid! With the climate change slowly melting the North Pole ice cap, polar bears are forced southwards where they are now beginning to live on brown grizzly bears’ territories. Scientists in Canada have found these hybrids wandering in the polar circles and have named them pizzilies and grolar bears, fun portmanteaus of polar bear and grizzlies.

The first sighting, documented by Spiegel, was on Victoria Island, 313 miles from the grizzlies’ normal habitat on the Canadian mainland. The scientists thought that they were looking at a polar bear, but upon closer examination, they saw that the bear had a dark stripe on its back, a shaded snout and a much larger head with a hump behind its shoulders, which is characteristic of brown bears. These bears also had longer claws, which are strange to see on polar bears. A DNA analysis reported by National Geographic confirmed that a bear in the Canadian Arctic is indeed a polar bear and grizzly hybrid. While these hybrids have happened in captivity, it is the first time that cross-breeding has happened in the wild.

These hybrids are believed to be a result of global warming and human activity. The melting polar ice cap is forcing polar bears onto dry land and road construction, mining and deforestation is pushing the brown bears north.

Pizzilies and grolar bears may look cool, but in fact hybridization is a serious matter. As these gene pools mix, the genetic diversity will decrease. Also, this may also decrease the production of actual grizzlies and polar bears as the bears waste the time and resources to produce infertile hybrids. In fact, the hybrids may pose threats to polar bears, which are known to be less aggressive.

Pizzlies

Disease

Haiti Chikungunya Outbreak Spikes To Over 1,500 Cases

According to Haiti’s health ministry, at least 1,529 cases of the chikungunya virus have been confirmed. Of these, about 900 of them, were found in the west department, where the capital of Port-au-Prince is located. Another 300 cases were confirmed in northwestern Haiti, the Associated Press reports.

This is up dramatically from the 14 confirmed cases just less than a week ago.

Dar Es Salaam Dengue Outbreak Sickens 400

After first being reported in the Tanzanian capital in January, government officials now say the dengue fever outbreak in Dar es Salaam has sickened 400 people and is being attributed to the deaths of three.

According to a Press report, Health Ministry officials say the outbreak in the capital is unprecedented and caught them off-guard; however, they are doing everything they can to get it under control.