This is the story of a baby elephant at the Hluhluwe–Umfolozi Game Reserve who was taken to the Vindum Blue Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, that as the name suggests, is dedicated to helping rhinos who are victims of poaching. But this elephant was not a victim of poaching; he was cast away by his herd. Ubuntu the baby elephant was known affectionately as Ellie. There were many attempts to reunite Ellie with his herd, but every single one of them failed.
Elephants are highly social creatures
Elephants are highly social creatures and their chances of survival if they’re cast out from their herd are slim, to say the least. But Ellie’s case was different. He was only a calf and without the help of the herd and particularly his mother, Ellie’s chances were almost nonexistent. Without the ability to feed himself, because he was still weaning and without the protection of her herd Ellie would die in a matter of days. The caretakers at the Vindum Blue Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage were faced basically with two options: Either leave him to his fate, or take him in.
Determined to help the little elephant, they took and nursed him. It wouldn’t be long before they were faced with a terrible difficulty: The calf was seriously ill.
He was left to die by his kin
When they got Ellie to the orphanage they found that he had a huge umbilical hernia with an abscess. This meant that the entire umbilical area or belly button was open and was very infected. The umbilical area has a direct connection to the blood supply. In about 99% cases, an umbilical abscess of that nature is fatal. It took 3 weeks of incredibly intensive 24hr nursing but against all odds, Ellie survived.
A side effect of treatment
Unfortunately, Eddie’s problems were far from over. He developed an intolerance for milk. Unable to gain sustenance at this early stage of his development by ingesting solid food, without milk Ellie would perish by inanition. He would basically starve to death if he didn’t manage to tolerate milk.
They made many attempts to feed Ellie but he simply didn’t tolerate anything they gave him. They asked for help to other orphanages and reserves around Africa. Soon they tried another formula, the one used in Zimbabwe but the elephant didn’t tolerate it either. The formula from Kenya bore the same result. They tried everything, but Ellie was totally intolerant.
Coming up with a new baby elephant formula
After endless trials they begun to despair. They were left with one final resort. The only solution would be to concote a formula for Ellie. Not completely sure why Ellie did not tolerate the baby elephant formula he was given was not very helpful but they decided to come up with a formula that couldn’t possibly be rejected.
They concocted Ellie’s new formula using rice -very well-cooked and gouei- to which they added protein, minerals, dessicated coconut and coconut oil.
The ingredients were unusual but the formula contained everything Ellie could possibly need. Ellie begun slowly accepting this new milk and eventually he begun drinking it with gusto!
They fed his body but they were yet to feed his spirit
Ellie seemed to be doing rather well physically but there was no one that could deny that he looked rather miserable. How would you feel If one day you were deserted by the human race? If you can imagine something so unfeasible you could begin to understand how he felt. Ellie was not just deserted by his family when the herd left him to die -and you can hardly blame them because it’s not as if they had much choice. Ellie, had no other elephants with whom to socialize, play or basically spend some time with. He was, understandably, very depressed and it was really sad to witness. It was as if he didn’t want to live.
Lifting up the spirits of an elephant
The “reserve” where Ellie had found his new residence, didn’t have any other elephants. There were many other species however, ranging from rhinos and crocodiles to hyenas. Ellie showed no interest in getting close to any of them so the experts at the orphanage decided to try something new. They introduced his to a dog named Duma who was German Shepherd, retired from the South African police.
Give me a reason to live…
Duma was a retired police dog and like most police dogs, his life had been more about working and less about playing. Ellie was a baby elephant and his life had been about being sick on the brink of death until now… It might have been that they both had a void that needed to be filled, or maybe it was just that they liked the same games but the fact of the matter is that they hit it off immediately. All it took was a mound of sand. They brought close. to it. After sniffing each other as best they could they begun playing on the mound. Eddie with the sand using his trunk and Duma begun digging holes with his front paws. From that moment they became pals despite their obvious differences.
The rookie and the veteran
Duma, having lived a hard life of work with the Johannesburg police, knew right from the start that even though this creature with whom he had become acquainted with, was many times his size, it was also very young and innocent and it was not very difficult for his paternal instincts to kick in, the same way an old cop becomes protective of a rookie. Ellie would walk around and Duma would follow him running to and fro. Sometimes Duma would pick up some sticks and hand them to Ellie who would grab them with his trunk. Duma and Ellie became almost inseparable.
Ellie was now in high spirits and it showed physically as well. He began gaining weight and after a few months it was hard to tell all he had been through just by looking at him.
Patched up, so what now?
When Ellie was rescued, the idea was to get him “back on her feet” so he could be reintroduced to another herd of elephants. When the extent of his injuries became clear however, no further thought was given to reintroduce him to the wilderness. All efforts were spent into making her healthy again.
Ellie’s health however, improved dramatically. His bond with his canine friend Duma remained strong and strengthened every day. Everyone at the orphanage was happy and the sight of Duma and Ellie taking a walk or playing with dirt raised everyone’s spirits.
Five months after Ellie was brought to the orphanage, he was found collapsed. Duma was right next to him with a look of concern on his eyes. Not without difficulty Ellie was taken indoors to his bed where the vets drew blood and and realized he had septicemia. What they had been dreading from the start, took them by surprise when they thought it vanquished. Karen Trendler, the lead vet at the orphanage, made a desperate appeal over social media asking for intravenous colloids for “a collapsed elephant calf” and sadness overtook everyone around.
Ellie suffered massive organ failure, that caused her untimely death. Duma was sad, the way German shepherds get sad, becoming a little less energetic and playful than usual. Everyone at the orphanage was devastated and condolences were received from all around the world. It was always a “long shot” but they really thought they pulled it off. Emmy was buried deep in the animal reserve where her spirit roams free from disease and worry. Nothing can hurt him now.
Meet Sparrow – The Incredible Service Dog with a Sixth Sense
Service dogs are truly remarkable creatures. They are not just loyal companions; they are also trained to assist people with disabilities, helping them with everyday tasks and even alerting them to potential medical issues. These specially trained pups are like superheroes, always ready to lend a paw when needed.
Sparrow, a Golden Retriever service dog, is a prime example of the extraordinary abilities that these dogs possess. Service dogs are known for their keen sense of awareness and their ability to detect changes in their owner’s health. These furry friends can sense things that might be undetectable to humans, thanks to their heightened senses and training.
One heartwarming story revolves around Sparrow and his owner, Libbi. Libbi was filming a playful moment with Sparrow when something incredible happened. Despite being off-duty and in the midst of playtime, Sparrow suddenly stopped playing and became alert. He sensed that something was amiss. Without hesitation, Sparrow turned his attention to Libbi and alerted her to a medical issue. It’s a reminder that these dogs are always on duty, even when they seem to be having fun.
The heartwarming video of Sparrow’s quick response garnered widespread attention and garnered numerous positive comments. One commenter added a touch of humor to the situation, asking, “Does this count as overtime?” It’s moments like these that showcase not only the incredible bond between service dogs and their owners but also the astounding abilities these dogs possess. Sparrow’s actions remind us that service dogs are not only highly trained companions but also devoted protectors, ready to leap into action whenever their owners need them.
Accidental Discovery: Turning Humid Air into Renewable Power
In May 2023, an exciting article published by UMass Amherst shed light on a remarkable scientific breakthrough. A team of researchers successfully generated a continuous electric current from the humidity present in the air. This unexpected achievement has the potential to open new avenues for renewable power generation. The study’s lead author, Professor Jun Yao, described the discovery as an accidental find during their investigation into creating a simple air humidity sensor.
“To be frank, it was an accident,” Prof. Yao shared. “We were actually interested in making a simple sensor for humidity in the air. But for whatever reason, the student who was working on that forgot to plug in the power.” Much to their surprise, the UMass Amherst team discovered that their device, consisting of an array of microscopic tubes called nanowires, produced an electrical signal despite the absence of an external power source.
Each nanowire was incredibly tiny, less than one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. This size allowed airborne water molecules to enter the tubes, where they would bounce around inside. Remarkably, each bounce created a small charge within the material. As the frequency of these bounces increased, one end of the nanowire became differently charged from the other, similar to the positive and negative terminals of a battery.
Prof. Yao explained the phenomenon, stating, “So it’s really like a battery. You have a positive pull and a negative pull, and when you connect them, the charge is going to flow.” The beauty of this discovery lies in the fact that air is ubiquitous. Even though a thin sheet of the device generates a tiny amount of electricity, it is possible to stack multiple layers vertically to increase the power output.
The potential applications of this accidental discovery are vast. Harnessing the humidity in the air to generate renewable power could pave the way for a more sustainable future. Although the current output is relatively small, with further research and development, this technology could be optimized to provide a significant and reliable source of energy.
The UMass Amherst team’s accidental breakthrough emphasizes the importance of being open to unexpected discoveries in the realm of science. It serves as a reminder that some of the most significant advancements can arise from unexpected events and mistakes. As scientists continue to explore and refine this innovative technology, we can look forward to a future where the air we breathe contributes to our growing renewable energy needs, reducing our reliance on traditional power sources.
This accidental discovery highlights the ingenuity and potential of scientific research. It is a testament to the wonders of nature and the boundless possibilities that lie within the world around us. With continued exploration and development, the conversion of humid air into renewable power could be a game-changer, leading us towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Teacher Finds Affordable Way To Create E-bikes: Old Laptop Batteries
In the bustling city of Nairobi, Kenya, a high school physics teacher named Paul Waweru has found a creative solution to one of the city’s biggest problems – transportation. With the use of old laptop batteries and a little ingenuity, he has started a company called Ecomobilus that is dedicated to creating electric motorbikes out of recycled materials.
Paul’s journey into electric bike production started with a personal experience. When his electric bike’s lead acid batteries stopped working after a few months, he found himself grounded and unable to get to work. Frustrated by the lack of affordable replacement options, he turned to his physics background and started tinkering with old laptop batteries. After sorting them into working and non-working cells, he began using them to power a motor and attached them to an old bike frame. And thus, the first Ecomobilus electric bike was born.
Since then, Paul has been perfecting his design and creating a company that is dedicated to creating sustainable and affordable transportation options. The frames of the bikes are made from old motorbikes with the engine removed, while the laptop batteries power the motor. A fully charged bike battery can travel up to 100 kilometers, making them a great option for commuters.
One of the biggest advantages of the Ecomobilus electric bike is its cost-effectiveness. A fully charged battery costs less than $3, while traditional gasoline-powered motorbikes can cost upwards of $7 per day to run. Additionally, the electric bikes require no maintenance, as there are no mechanical parts that need to be repaired or replaced. This makes them a more affordable and sustainable option for people living in Nairobi.
The Ecomobilus electric bikes have been met with great success in Nairobi, with many people using them for daily commutes and even as taxis. Not only do they provide a more sustainable option for transportation, but they also help to reduce air pollution in the city. With Nairobi being one of the most polluted cities in Africa, this is a much-needed solution.
Hotel Starts Housing Their Employees To Keep Them As Workers￼
Leave it to a pandemic to practically change the way people live and work for years to come. While in some locations companies and businesses are scrambling to find enough workers to staff tables and cook food, the town of Westport in Ireland is struggling to find enough people to staff its hotels. The local industry normally depended on university students out of school to take on the seasonal demand. Coupled with key long-term employees, the hotels in the area kept things running. However, once the pandemic hit, the students stopped showing up and regular employees started reassessing their life path. Long story short, the Westport hotels are scrambling to keep things covered at a minimum level, and tourism hasn’t waned.
Given the loss of expected staffing resources, Westport hotels have instead had to lean on teenagers as well as foreign visa workers to close the gaps in labor needs. Even more interesting, the same hotels have been moving into the real estate market to provide dedicated housing for their staff to make sure that they have their primary needs taken care of and can focus on work even more. The last thing any of the hotel management teams want is to see a new staff-person disappear or not stay on board due to struggling to find a place to rent or similar. Westport is not the exception; seasonal tourist towns all over Ireland are in the same boat and competing for the same worker population.
Restaurants in bigger cities have been just as challenged. Galway, for example, can barely keep the staff in the food-serving industry. Every restaurant owner is fretting because they can’t even stay fully staffed through the normal business week, midday. A restaurant having to skip lunch hours is literally a nightmare in the food business.
Finding enough to hire is bad enough for Irish hospitality, but holding onto experienced help is even worse. At the same time that companies are strapped for new hires, they are losing the ones who know their work their best and have the highest productivity on average. Experienced workers have been reassessing their hospitality careers in droves, no longer willing to work the long hours of a typical shift or taking on evening and graveyard assignments. That leaves the extended hours over-staffed with rookies and new recruits and one or two burnt-out managers trying to keep a lid on things.
Add to the complexity, the number of employees with prior hospitality experience is dwindling as well. Driving competition, bar owners, restaurant owners and hotel owners are shifting to becoming landlords, providing free residence to attract foreign workers to stay during the heavy season. Yet even then, with the added bonus of living accommodations covered, these businesses still find it challenging to attract help to their Irish towns, even with aggressive advertising. It’s a wicked curse; many food businesses cut their hours due to social distancing restrictions, but now they are still cutting hours due to a lack of staff.
As for hospitality in Westport, the local commerce membership is pushing for far more creative thinking. That includes a better, overall strategy on how to attract seasonal workers with support, residence and coordination, benefitting both the employers as well as making it attractive for workers. Many of the owners are comparing notes to similar approaches they’ve seen elsewhere in Europe. At a minimum, Irish local governments are being pressured to get a handle on short-term rentals like AirBnBs and similar. Safety requirements need to be complied with to a business level, not residential, and the residence demand needs to be contained rather than the havoc being seen in Westport and elsewhere currently.
In the short run, locals are hoping the spike wears off and things get back to some level of normalcy. However, the pandemic fundamentally changed how work is provided in Westport and elsewhere in Ireland. And that change is going to be felt for at least a decade forward.
Rescuers Use Excavation Machine To Rescue Injured Croc From Trench
Many people are so afraid of crocodiles or reptiles as a whole that at the mere mention of their names or the fact that one could be nearby, they begin to get anxious.
No surprise there, since these reptiles can grow up to 17 feet long and run up to twenty-two miles per hour.
So what happens when these creatures, which are natural predators, require the assistance of human beings?
Well, we have to muster up the energy and gather a team to do whatever it takes to bring the creature to safety, whether they are big or small.
This was the case for several hundred-kilogram crocodiles that ended up in a ditch recently and had to be saved by humans. The crocodile, estimated to weigh nearly half a ton, was removed using a hydraulic excavator system.
This is a device that utilizes energy from hydraulic cylinders to haul a bucket at the edge of a boom back to the machine via earth or rock, then to lift up the bucket, allowing removal of the dug up away from the excavation.
Here is how that story played out:
There was construction underway in the Vadodara community vicinity, and somehow, the crocodile ventured into the deep drainage line of the construction project. Luckily, several residents spotted the reptile and alerted officials immediately with the hope that it could be rescued in time.
A team of rescuers took out the 12-foot-long crocodile from the 25-foot-deep trench in Asoj village near Vadodara that Saturday.
This was after the local residents alerted the forest officials to the mugger stuck in the under-construction drainage line. The crocodile, estimated to weigh 400 kg, was removed using a hydraulic excavator system, an idea that the quick-thinking rescuers came up with.
Hemant Vadhwana, who headed the team which went to free the crocodile, knew that traditional rescue methods would highly likely have done more harm than good.
He said the team knew that if they were to attempt to pull it out with the ropes, they might have harmed the creature or possibly cause strangulation. With that in mind, they huddled and decided that the best option would be to utilize the hydraulic machine that was already available to them.
At that point, the crocodile had already been injured since it had broken its snout, which they believe transpired when it toppled over into the deep trench.
Vadhwana went on to say that since it is the migration season of crocodiles ahead of their mating and nesting periods in the summer, crocodiles are normal.
Residents know that now and are therefore on the lookout for more crocodiles for more reasons than one. They are concerned about the safety of the creatures passing through the community as well as their own.
The reptile is presently recovering in the Department of Social Forestry of Vadodara.
In the meantime, while the crocodile population has been seriously diminished due to human activity, there are many people who still treasure them for multiple reasons.
One main reason is that they are believed to be the only creatures in existence from the time that dinosaurs roamed the world.
Meanwhile, crocodiles are extremely quick swimmers, which enables them to catch their prey. They are capable of swimming up to twenty miles per hour with the impressive capability of holding their breath for nearly 60 minutes beneath the water.
On land, crocodiles are much slower, running just over ten miles an hour for a very short distance.
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