Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

Wildlife

North Pole’s Reindeer Population Plummets

Reindeer populations worldwide are decreasing, according to the authors of a new study who hope that measures soon will be taken to save the majestic and iconic winter holiday animals.

Strengthening reindeer populations would have far reaching effects, according to the study, published in the Journal for Nature Conservation. Ecosystems, local economies and even climate change are just some of the matters that could be impacted, and not just in the northernmost polar region.

There are two subspecies of reindeer in the world: tundra reindeer and woodland reindeer. Some are wild or feral, while others are considered to be “semi-domesticated.” The various types, also known as caribou, appear to be experiencing population decreases.

The researchers, however, believe that at least six factors are causing the reindeer population to decline.

The first is inbreeding. Since reindeer populations here and in other locations are low, there is a greater risk for genetic deterioration. The second factor is poaching, often for the very same antlers that grab our attention on holiday cards. The third are natural predators. As the scientists mention, “Bears, wolves and lynx are the three main predators of reindeer, and may kill as many as a third of reindeer calves each year.

Lack of herders and breeders, climate change, and changes to the tourism industry round out the list. To attract more tourists, herders have been moving closer to where people tend to congregate, putting reindeer at risk from traffic, the aforementioned poaching and other problems.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Wp201422

Tropical Storm 22w (Hagupit), located approximately 533 nm east-northeast of Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, and is tracking westward at 9 knots.

NewsBytes:

Greece – Flash floods in Thessalonika, Greece have claimed the lives of at least two people and prompted an alert along a river that divides Greece and Turkey.

Disease

Whooping Cough in California.

The whooping cough has come back to California in full force, with the state confirming 9,935 cases by the end of last month, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak has been deemed as the state’s worst in 70 years.

With nearly 1,000 more cases reported than the state’s last major whooping cough outbreak in 2010, the highly contagious bacterial disease is considered to be cyclical because cases peak every three to five years.

The disease, also known as pertussis, is known to especially attack infants by causing uncontrollable, violent coughing. Even though it can be cured by a vaccine called TDaP, children are not required to take the vaccine until they are 2 months old.