TechnologyCorsica's 'cat-fox': On the trail of what may be a new species
South Korea opens hiking trails on DMZ
The United Nations Command has approved phase one of South Korea's "Peace Trail" project, which includes plans to open three hiking trails along the DMZ.
"We believe that it's a wild natural species which was known but not scientifically identified because it's an extremely inconspicuous animal with nocturnal habits," says Pierre Benedetti, chief environmental technician of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office (ONCFS).
An extinct bird species has evolved back into existence, study says
It's an example of iterative evolution — when the same ancestral lineage leads to repeated evolution of a species at different points in time . The rare phenomenon means that species can re-emerge over and over, despite past iterations going extinct. The flightless bird — a descendant of a species of flying bird known as the white-throated rail — was completely wiped out when the island disappeared below sea level about 136,000 years ago.
"It's a wonderful discovery," he tells AFP, holding the feline -- called "Ghjattu volpe" in Corsican -- found in Asco forest on the French Mediterranean island.
While resembling a domestic cat in some ways, the ring-tailed feline measures 90 centimetres (35 inches) from head to tail, has "very wide" ears, short whiskers and "highly developed" canine teeth.
Other distinguishing features include the stripes on the front legs, "very dark" hind legs and a russet stomach. The dense, silky coat is a natural repellent for fleas, ticks and lice.
The tail usually has two to four rings and a black tip.
"It's their size and their tail that earned them the name 'cat-fox' across the island," says Benedetti.
Using nonviolent methods, the ONCFS has since 2016 captured 12 of 16 felines seen in the area, releasing them again after a quick examination.
Sheriff says machete used in attacks on Appalachian Trail
A Virginia sheriff says a man attacked two people on the Appalachian Trail with a machete. WJHL reports that the Wythe County Sheriff's Office issued a statement Saturday saying two hikers reported that a man with a machete was assaulting people on the trail in Wythe County. A man and a woman were injured. Their names and conditions weren't immediately available. Deputies arrested a male suspect, whose name wasn't released. Sheriff Keith Dunagan previously said the man was assaulted early Saturday in Wythe County and the woman in Smyth County. The Appalachian Trail runs through the western tip of Wythe County.
Now, they say, they hope to have "this cat recognised and protected" within two to four years.
- Legend has it -
"The cat-fox is part of our shepherd mythology. From generation to generation, they told stories of how the forest cats would attack the udders of their ewes and goats," says Cecchini.
After years of playing cat and mouse, one of the animals "was caught unexpectedly in 2008 in a chicken coop at Olcani in Cap Corse," says Benedetti, who has been researching the species for more than 10 years.
Research got under way and, in 2012, with the help of a method involving essence attractive to cats and a wooden stick which they rub against leaving traces of their fur, they were able to determine its genetic make-up.
"By looking at its DNA, we could tell it apart from the European wildcat, Felis silvestris silvestris. It's close to the African forest cat, Felis silvestris lybica, but its exact identity is still to be determined," Benedetti adds.
Utah man gored, trampled in bison attack while out on trail run
A Utah man was seriously injured over the weekend after he was gored and trampled by a bison while out on a trail run at a state park, according to officials and family members. Kyler Bourgeous, 30, was running along the Frary Peak Trail at Antelope Island State Park when he crested a blind hill and found himself feet away from a pair of bison. “He said, 'I just turned and tried to run, and I could see I wasn’t going to make it,'” his mother Bonnie Bourgeous told FOX13.
With advanced photographic and later physical traps, the researchers captured their first "cat-fox" in 2016.
There are still many mysteries surrounding the cat.
Its diet and reproductive patterns are yet to be studied but Benedetti has a theory that the cat could have been brought to Corsica by farmers 6,500 years BC.
"If the hypothesis is true, its origins are Middle Eastern," he says.
The identification chip in the neck of the animal being shown to AFP helps reveal that it is a male of between four and six years old, already caught a few times before and has a damaged eye caused by a fight with another male.
After examination, the cat with one green eye and one brown eye is free to go, leaving behind its GPS collar with 80 days' data.
Aubrey Trail recants original story while on the stand.
While on the stand Tuesday, Aubrey Trail said the story he told to investigators and to his attorneys was a lie. Shackled in handcuffs and with a visible scar on the right side of his neck, Trail appeared in court for the first time since he slashed at his throat June 24. "You will be restrained for the balance of this trial. If you are disruptive you will be removed from the courtroom," judge Vicky Johnson said. Later, against his attorney's advice, Trail took the stand, explaining his absence during the trial, according to KETV. "I chose not to hear the prosecution because I agree with 85 percent of what they said," Trail said.
Is Corsica's 'cat-fox' a previously unknown feline species? | AFP
In the Asco forest in Corsica, two agents of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office (ONCFS) show AFP what they think is a new feline species. Abonnez-vous à ...
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