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China Plans To Send San Diego Zoo More Pandas This Year, Reintroducing Panda Diplomacy

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China Plans To Send San Diego Zoo More Pandas This Year, Reintroducing Panda Diplomacy

SAN DIEGO — China is to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo, renewing its traditional gesture of friendship with the United States after nearly all of the famed bears on loan to U.U.S.oos were returned as relations between the two countries worsened.

San Diego Zoo officials told The Associated Press that if all licences and other criteria are fulfilled, two male and female bears should arrive by the end of the summer, about five years after the zoo’s last pandas were transferred back to China.

“We’re very excited and hopeful,” said Megan Owen, VP of Wildlife Conservation Science at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “They’ve expressed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to re-initiate panda cooperation starting with the San Diego Zoo.”

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China Plans To Send San Diego Zoo More Pandas This Year, Reintroducing Panda Diplomacy

The China Wildlife Conservation Association announced Thursday that it has signed cooperation agreements with zoos in Madrid, Washington, D.D.C., and Vienna.

According to the organisation, the relationship will encompass illness prevention and habitat protection research, as well as contributions to the creation of China’s national panda park.

“We look forward to further expanding the research outcomes on the conservation of endangered species such as giant pandas, as well as promoting mutual understanding and friendship among peoples through the new round of international cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated in Beijing.

Fears over the future of so-called panda diplomacy grew last year when the zoos in Washington, D.C., and Memphis, Tennessee, sent their pandas to China, leaving only four pandas in the United States, all at the Atlanta Zoo. That financing agreement will expire later this year.

However, in November, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed hope that his country will resume sending pandas to the United States after he and President Joe Biden met in Northern California for their first face-to-face encounter in a year and agreed to work to ease tensions.

According to Owen, a panda behaviour expert who has worked in San Diego and China, China is considering a pair that includes a female descendant of Bai Yun and Gao Gao, two of the zoo’s past residents.

Bai Yun was born in captivity in China and spent more than 20 years at the zoo, where she gave birth to six cubs. She and her son were the last pandas at the zoo, and they returned to China in 2019.

Gao Gao was born in the wild in China and resided at the San Diego Zoo from 2003 to 2018 before being returned.

Decades of wild conservation efforts and captive research spared the giant panda species from extinction, boosting its number from less than 1,000 to more than 1,800 in the wild and captivity.

pandas

China Plans To Send San Diego Zoo More Pandas This Year, Reintroducing Panda Diplomacy

The black-and-white bears have long been associated with the relationship between the United States and China, dating back to 1972, when Beijing donated a pair of pandas to the National Zoo in Washington, D.D.C., ahead of normalising diplomatic relations. China later lent pandas to zoos to assist in breeding cubs and increasing the population.

According to 2022 research by America’s Congressional Research Service, zoos normally pay a $1 million fee yearly for two pandas, with the money going towards China’s conservation efforts.

According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, the United States, Spain, and Austria were among the first countries to collaborate with China on panda conservation, with 28 pandas born in those countries.

Demands for the return of giant pandas, dubbed China’s “national treasure,” surged among the Chinese public as unverified reports of mistreatment by USU.S.oos inundated Chinese social media.

Many loan agreements were for ten years and were frequently extended much longer. However, last year’s attempts to prolong the agreements or send more pandas failed. China observers claimed that Beijing was progressively withdrawing its pandas from Western countries due to poor diplomatic relations with the United States and other nations.

Then, on November 15, 2023, a week after the National Zoo’s pandas left for China, Xi spoke at a dinner with American business executives in downtown San Francisco, hinting that more pandas would be sent. He stated that the San Diego Zoo and the people of California are “very much looking forward to welcoming pandas back.”

“I was told that many American people, especially children, were really reluctant to say goodbye to the pandas and went to the zoo to see them off,” he said.

Even after it no longer housed pandas, the San Diego Zoo continued collaborating with Chinese colleagues.

pandas

China Plans To Send San Diego Zoo More Pandas This Year, Reintroducing Panda Diplomacy

According to Owen, China is particularly interested in exchanging information about the zoo’s successful captive panda breeding programme. Giant pandas are difficult to reproduce, partly because the female’s reproductive window is extremely limited, lasting only 48 to 72 hours per year.

Bai Yun’s first child, Hua Mei, was also the first panda born through artificial insemination to live to adulthood outside of China, and she went on to have 12 cubs on her own after being sent to China.

Meanwhile, Bai Yun stayed at the zoo and gave birth to two more girls and three males. Researchers followed her in her den using webcams, providing a better understanding of maternal care behaviour, according to Owen.

“We have a lot of institutional knowledge and capacity from our last cooperative agreement, which we will be able to parlay into this next chapter, as well as training the next generation of panda conservationists,” she said.

Owen said Chinese experts would accompany the bears to San Diego for several months.

She stated that the bears’ return benefits San Diego and the giant panda’s recovery as a species.

“We do talk about panda diplomacy all the time,” Owen said. “Diplomacy is an essential component of conservation in a variety of circumstances…. If we can’t learn to collaborate in often tough conditions or situations beyond the control of conservationists, we won’t succeed.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Nearly 500 Confirmed Fatalities From Hajj Heatwave As Hundreds More Feared Dead

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The official death toll from this year’s Hajj pilgrimage has risen to around 500, but the true toll could be more than double that, with reports indicating that up to 600 Egyptian worshippers died on the way to Mecca in terrible heat.

At least 14 Malaysians, 165 Indonesians, 75 Jordanians, 35 Pakistanis, 49 Tunisians, 11 Iranians, and 98 Indians have died, according to officials in each nation. Another 27 Jordanians have been hospitalized, while about 14 are still missing, according to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.

The US State Department stated that many US citizens perished on the Hajj trip but did not disclose a specific number. “We can confirm the deaths of several US Americans in Saudi Arabia. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families on their loss,” said a State Department official, adding that the government is ready to provide consular support.

Nearly 500 Confirmed Fatalities From Hajj Heatwave As Hundreds More Feared Dead

Dozens more Iranians have also been hospitalized for heatstroke and other ailments, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.

According to CNN, the current official death toll from this year’s trip is at least 480.

The death toll is expected to grow significantly further, as Saudi Arabia and Egypt have yet to reveal official data. Furthermore, governments only know about pilgrims who have registered and traveled to Mecca as part of their country’s quota; further deaths are expected among unregistered pilgrims.

This year’s pilgrims endured dangerously high temperatures of up to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

According to the Egyptian president, the crisis unit, led by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, will “provide support for families of the deceased.”

According to the statement, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has also directed the unit to “speedy coordination with Saudi Arabian authorities to facilitate the return of the bodies” of those who died.

According to a statement issued by the Egyptian cabinet on Thursday, the official death toll is 28. However, Reuters news agency and other agencies have reported that up to 500 to 600 Egyptians died on the route.

Egyptian officials said they were striving to compile an exact list of victims and missing persons. The disparity originates from the many unregistered pilgrims who are not considered among those who have registered and traveled to Mecca as part of their country’s quota.

Thousands more were treated for heatstroke as an estimated 1.8 million Muslims braved the sweltering weather.

According to The Associated Press, the Saudi Ministry of Health implemented safety measures such as cooling stations along the official route and encouraged pilgrims to use umbrellas and stay hydrated. Despite this, this year’s celebration was marred by tragedy, raising concerns about whether more could have been done to secure people’s safety.

Nearly 500 Confirmed Fatalities From Hajj Heatwave As Hundreds More Feared Dead

It also emphasizes the dangers posed to the many unregistered worshippers who wish to accomplish their religious duty but do not have Hajj permission and do not have access to official facilities.

At least 68 Jordanians who died of heatstroke while conducting Hajj rituals have been granted burial permission to be laid to rest in Mecca at the request of their families, according to Sufian Qudah, Head of the Jordanian Directorate of Operations and Consular Affairs.

Dr. Mohd Na’im Mokhtar, Malaysia’s Minister for Religious Affairs, stated that the majority of pilgrims died from “heart disease, pneumonia, and blood infection,” according to the state-run Bernama News Agency. The Bernama article did not clarify whether the deceased were part of the country’s official Hajj delegation.

On Friday, a spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs revealed the deaths of the 98 Indian nationals, saying: “These deaths have happened on account of natural illness, natural causes, chronic illness, and also old age.”

Nearly 500 Confirmed Fatalities From Hajj Heatwave As Hundreds More Feared Dead

On Saturday, the day when Muslims congregate at Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammed is reputed to have delivered his final sermon, six Indian people perished from high heat, while another four died from “accidents,” according to the spokesperson.

In the aftermath of the fatalities, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied fired the country’s minister of religious affairs. Before his dismissal, Ibrahim Chaibi admitted the possibility of negligence in the care of pilgrims. “The negligence could have occurred. It will be present, and we will review it at the ministry level; whomever fails will face consequences,” Chaibi said on Friday.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Climate Change Made Killer Heat Wave In Mexico, Southwest US Even Warmer And 35 Times More Likely

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Climate | AP news image

Washington — According to a new flash study, human-caused climate change increased the likelihood of this month’s deadly heat in the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America.

Sizzling daytime temperatures that caused heat stroke in parts of the United States were 35 times more likely and 2.5 degrees hotter (1.4 degrees Celsius) as a result of warming caused by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists who conduct rapid and non-peer reviewed climate attribution studies, calculated Thursday.

“It’s an oven here; you can’t stay here,” 82-year-old Margarita Salazar Pérez of Veracruz, Mexico, remarked from her home without air conditioning. Last week, the Sonoran Desert reached 125 degrees (51.9 degrees Celsius), the hottest day in Mexican history, according to research co-author Shel Winkley, a Climate Central meteorologist.

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Climate | AP News Image

Climate Change Made Killer Heat Wave In Mexico, Southwest US Even Warmer And 35 Times More Likely

According to Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London who leads the attribution study team, this heat wave was deadly because it was significantly worse at night. According to her, climate change has increased nighttime temperatures by 2.9 degrees (1.6 degrees Celsius) and the likelihood of extraordinary evening heat by 200 times.

Salazar Pérez explained that there hasn’t been any cold air at night like people are used to. Doctors think cooler night temperatures are essential for surviving a heat wave.

The World Weather Attribution team reports that at least 125 people have died so far.

“This is clearly related to climate change, the level of intensity that we are seeing, these risks,” said research co-author Karina Izquierdo, a Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre urban advisor located in Mexico City.

The most concerning aspect of this heat wave, which is still heating the North American continent, is that it is no longer considered unusual, according to Otto. The group’s previous studies had looked at heat so intense that it was unthinkable without climate change, but this heat wave was not so much.

“From a weather perspective, it wasn’t uncommon, but the consequences were actually very severe,” Otto told The Associated Press in an interview.

climate

Climate | AP news Image

Climate Change Made Killer Heat Wave In Mexico, Southwest US Even Warmer And 35 Times More Likely

“The changes we have seen in the last 20 years, which feels like just yesterday, are so strong,” Otto told me. Her research discovered that this heat wave is now four times more likely to occur than in 2000, when temperatures were roughly a degree (0.5 Celsius) lower than they are now. “It seems sort of far away and a different world.”

While other organizations of worldwide scientists — and the global carbon emissions reduction target agreed by governments in the 2015 Paris climate agreement — relate to warming since pre-industrial times in the mid-nineteenth century, Otto believes comparing what is happening now to the year 2000 is more dramatic.

“We’re looking at a shifting baseline – what was once extreme but rare is becoming increasingly common,” said University of Southern California Marine Studies Chair Carly Kenkel, who did not participate in the attribution team’s research. She stated that the analysis represents “the logical conclusion based on the data.”

The study examined a wide range of the continent, including southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, and Honduras, as well as the hottest five consecutive days and nights. Most of the area experienced those five days from June 3 to 7 and those five nights from June 5 to 9, but peak heat began on May 26 in a few areas, according to Otto.

On June 4, for example, San Angelo, Texas, set a record high temperature of 111 degrees (43.8 Celsius). According to the National Weather Service, from June 2 to June 6, the night temperature at Corpus Christi airport never went below 80 degrees (26.7 degrees Celsius), a record each night, with two days when the thermometer never dropped below 85 degrees (29.4 degrees Celsius).

According to the National Centre for Environmental Information, between June 1 and June 15, more than 1,200 daytime high-temperature records and almost 1,800 nighttime high-temperature records were tied or broken in the United States.

The attribution team utilized current and prior temperature observations to compare what is happening now to what happened in previous heat waves. They then used the scientifically acknowledged method of comparing models of a hypothetical world without human-caused climate change to present reality to determine how much global warming contributed to the 2024 heat wave.

The immediate meteorological culprit was a high-pressure system camped over central Mexico, which hindered cooling storms and clouds before moving to the Southwest of the United States, which is now delivering heat to the East, according to Winkley. Tropical Storm Alberto emerged on Wednesday and is expected to bring rain to northern Mexico and southern Texas, potentially leading to flooding.

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Climate | AP News Image

Climate Change Made Killer Heat Wave In Mexico, Southwest US Even Warmer And 35 Times More Likely

For months, drought, water shortages, and extreme heat have plagued Mexico and other regions. Due to the warmth, monkeys in Mexico have started dropping from trees.

According to Izquierdo and Kenkel, the current heat wave “exacerbates existing inequalities” between rich and poor in the Americas. The inequalities become most obvious in the night heat, as the capacity to cool down with central air conditioning is determined by how financially secure individuals are, according to Kenkel.

That means Salazar Pérez has been very uncomfortable during this heat wave.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Tropical Storm Alberto Weakens Over Northeast Mexico After Heavy Rains Killed 3

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TAMPICO, MEXICO – Tropical Storm Alberto, the season’s first named storm, weakened Thursday as it headed inland across northeast Mexico after dumping torrential rainfall in areas of the arid region and killing at least three.

The storm swiftly faded over land, and the United States National Hurricane Center reduced it to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kmh). Coastal storm watches and warnings in Mexico were withdrawn as Alberto proceeded westward at 18 mph (30 kmh).

However, forecasts predicted several inches of rain were still anticipated inland in Mexico’s Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila states. South Texas was expected to experience less rain on Thursday.

Immediately after it came ashore in Tampico, there was disappointment at the lack of rain. Showers had been irregular throughout the early morning, with the sun occasionally bursting through.

alberto

Alberto | AP news Image

Tropical Storm Alberto Weakens Over Northeast Mexico After Heavy Rains Killed 3

“We hoped it would come because water is so important here, but as far as I can tell, it went somewhere else,” said Tampico resident Marta Alicia Hernández.

The rain Tampico had hoped for could still be arriving from some of the huge system’s outer bands. Heavy rains were reported inland in the adjacent state of Nuevo Leon.

Civil protection authorities reported three deaths as a result of Alberto’s rains. They said that one guy died in the La Silla River in Monterrey, the state capital, while two kids perished from electric shocks in the municipality of Allende. According to local media, the children were riding bicycles in the rain.

Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel García said on social media site X that Monterrey metro and public transportation services would be suspended from Wednesday night until midday Thursday when Alberto dies away.

Alberto had prompted tropical storm advisories for most of the western Gulf of Mexico’s coastline, from Texas to Veracruz. The storm landed with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 km/h).

Schools in Tamaulipas state, where Alberto touched ashore, were closed through Friday. Shelters were set up across the state to accommodate residents fleeing flooding.

alberto

Alberto | AP news Image

Tropical Storm Alberto Weakens Over Northeast Mexico After Heavy Rains Killed 3

According to the hurricane center, some portions of northeast Mexico and southern Texas could receive up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, with higher isolated totals likely. Some higher elevations in Mexico could experience up to 20 inches (50 cm) of rain, causing mudslides and flash flooding, particularly in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon.

Mexican authorities had minimized Alberto’s risk, instead relying on its potential to alleviate the region’s water shortage.

“The (wind) speeds are not such as to consider it a risk,” said Tamaulipas state Secretary of Hydrological Resources Raúl Quiroga Álvarez during a news conference late Wednesday. Instead, he urged people to welcome Alberto cheerfully. “This is what we’ve been waiting for for eight years in all of Tamaulipas.”

Much of Mexico has suffered from severe drought, with northern Mexico particularly heavily afflicted. Quiroga highlighted that the state’s reservoirs were depleted, and Mexico owed the United States a significant water debt for their shared usage of the Rio Grande.

“This is a win-win event for Tamaulipas,” he told reporters.

Alberto was also causing rain and floods along the Texas coast.

According to the National Weather Service, the major hazard for southern coastal Texas is flooding caused by excessive rain. On Wednesday, the NWS stated that there is “a high probability” of flash flooding in southern coastal Texas. Tornadoes and waterspouts are possible.

alberto

Alberto | AP News Image

Tropical Storm Alberto Weakens Over Northeast Mexico After Heavy Rains Killed 3

On Wednesday, areas along the Texas coast experienced road flooding and severe rip currents, while waterspouts were reported offshore.

Octavio González, a Tampico resident, was noticeably disappointed with Alberto’s light rain.

“Very little water fell,” he explained. “We are experiencing severe drought on the south side of Tamaulipas. And the truth is, we have a lot of optimism for rain.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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