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Endangered giant tortoises have staged a remarkable population comeback on Espanola Island in the Galapagos. Credit: Getty Creative A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE reports that giant tortoises on the island now number about 1,000 self-sustaining creatures, after nearly disappearing in the 1960s, when just 15 were counted. "The population is secure," said James P. Gibbs, professor of vertebrate conservation biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and lead author of the paper, in a press release. "It's a rare example of how biologists and managers can collaborate to recover a species from the brink of extinction." PHOTOS: Lonesome George and Animals...

WASHINGTON - Loss of habitat and prey are putting African lions in danger of extinction, and the majestic creatures need protection in order to save their species, the US government said Monday. Credit: Martin Pettitt/Flickr "Following a review of the best available scientific information, the US Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act," the FWS said in a statement. "The agency's analysis found that lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future." Such protection would allow US authorities to toughen enforcement and monitoring of imports and international trade, the FWS said. Listing an animal under...

Rare Beaked Whale Washes Up in Australia

SYDNEY - A rare beaked whale washed up in Australia Tuesday, exciting researchers who know little about an animal that spends much of its time diving at depth far from shore. Baird's Beaked Whale. Credit: Fred Hochstaedter/Flickr The three-to-four metre (10-13 feet) long whale was found dead at Redhead Beach, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of Sydney, with experts examining it and taking specimens before sending its head to the Australian Museum in Sydney. "It is sad but also exciting as we can learn so much more about the animal," Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia president Ronny Ling told AFP. "We don't know much about them, we rarely get to see...

Does your dog ever behave in what appears to be a jealous manner when you interact with a friend's canine companion? How about his behaviors around toys or food? Does your dog suddenly become more interested in his playthings or meals in the presence of another pooch? Credit: Getty Creative I have certainly seen my own dog, Cardiff, exhibit such above behaviors. When another dog comes over to our home, he becomes more interested in interacting with me in a manner that limits the guest pooch's access to my attention. Cardiff also strives to prevent that dog's access to his toys and may growl or posture in an intimidating manner toward our canine guest. I've actually welcomed the presence of...

PARIS - Chimpanzees can be lethally violent to each other but this stems from an inherent streak and not, as some have suggested, from human interference, a study said on Wednesday. Credit: Getty Creative Zoologists, led by the famed Jane Goodall, have speculated for years on the causes of "chimpanzee wars" among Man's genetically-closest relatives. One theory is that the apes are made more aggressive as a result of human influence: loss of habitat or food creates ever-greater competition for resources. But new research, published in the journal Nature, said coordinated violence by Pan troglodytes is an evolutionary strategy. Chimps kill to wipe out rivals, thus gaining territory,...

PARIS - There is the riddle of the Bermuda Triangle. The unresolved identity of Jack the Ripper. The enigma of how the Universe developed beyond a quark-gluon soup following the Big Bang. And then there is the Sheepdog Mystery. Credit: Getty Creative A puzzle that has niggled mathematical minds for years, the Mystery is this: how does a single dog get so many selfish sheep to move so efficiently in the same direction? The answer, revealed on Tuesday in a journal published by Britain's prestigious Royal Society, is that sheepdogs cleverly follow a simple rulebook. Researchers fitted highly accurate GPS tracking devices into backpacks that were then placed on a trained Australian Kelpie...