Nature

Birds, wildlife, ...etc.

Wildlife in urban areas: Local beavers cause controversy

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While beavers are common in Southern Ontario conservation areas, two recent incidents caused controversy because they are right in urban areas. Beavers on the University of Waterloo campus has gnawed several trees, posing a danger to those who use the trails. The University then paid a trapper to drown the beavers. Four of them were killed that way. There was a public outcry, from the students, as well as Waterloo residents. This caused the university to revise its policy and start a task force headed by the dean of Environmental Studies. Even that task force is being debated.

Desert Truffles الكمأة - الفقع - خلاسي - زبيدي

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Desert truffles are an unusual desert crop related to European truffles, found in France and Italy. It can be found in North Africa from Morocco to Egypt, and in Syria, and Arabia.

Names and History

Its classical name is Kama' كمأ - كمأة but today is known as faqa' فقع or by the local variants zubaydi زبيدي -khalasi خلاسي in Arabia, to terfas in Egypt, and terfezia in Morocco.

They have been said to be served for Pharoahs, as well as Fatimid rules from the Muqattam mountain.

It has been known to Arabs for millenia, since the prophet is reported to have said: "Kama' is from manna, and its water is a cure for the [diseases of the] eye". 

Human encounters in Canada with bear, bison, cougar, and wolf

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Here is a quick overview of notable encounters between humans and wildlife in Canada for 2006.

Bear

In July, A man canoeing in Northern Ontario killed a bear with a knife when it attacked his dog.

Bison

In August, a North West Territories community is suffering from bully bison.

Cougar

Later in August, a boy was attacked by a cougar on Vancouver Island. The boy's father kicked the cougar and saved his son, who suffered only a deep wound in the scalp.

Harankash, Physalis الست المستحية - الست المستخبية - حرنكش

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A typically Egyptian fruit seems to have its origin from faraway places.

Known as Harankash حرنكش or الست المستحية or الست المستخبية (the shy woman), it is sold by street vendors. It has an orange color, and sweetish taste that has a tangy sour tone.

The scientific name is Physalis peruviana It belongs to the Solanacea family, and is closely related to the tomatoes. Its native land is Central America, Peru and Chile, from which it has been transplanted to parts of Africa, including Egypt.

The fruit is wrapped in a papery husk, giving it its name. It is eaten as a casual fruit in Egypt, and said to be on the menu for diplomatic receptions, as a distinctive Egyptian fruit.

Sycamore Fig: an Egyptian tree and fruit (Mulberry fig, Egyptian sycamore, cumbez, جميز)

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One of the less common fruits in Egypt is the sycamore fig, known locally as gemeiz جميز. In English, it is known as Sycamore, Sycomore, Fig Mulberry. In Turkish, it is known as cumbez.

Botanical Information

The Sycamore fig tree should not be confused with other trees called sycamore in northern Europe, which are actually maples.

The sycamore fig tree (Ficus sycomorus sycomorus, and F. sycomorus gnaphalocarpa) belong to the fig family, which includes the common edible fig (Ficus carica), and the Banyan tree.

Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter and venomous stingrays

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Steve Irwin, better known from the TV program Crocodile Hunter, is dead.

Steve Irwin

I personally did not like the fact that his TV programs focused mainly on sensationalist handling of dangerous animals in various stunts.

However, there is another side of Irwin that is mainly conservation and environmentalism. He quietly lobbied the government and prevented the establishment of a game hunting tourism industry for salt water crocodiles in the North West of Australia, and bought vast tracts of land for conservation.

Stingrays and food

Irwin's death was not brought on by a crocodile, but rather a stingray, while diving in Australia's barrier reef.

On Stray Narwhals In The Mediterranean And Their Tusks

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The Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is an arctic whale, very similar to the Beluga whale. Both have the same body shape, the "melon" at the front of the head, a finless back. The differences are mainly in the coloring, whereas adult belugas are white, the narwhals are mottled.

The most striking feature lacking from the beluga though is the tusk that male narwhals sport. It originates from the upper part of the left jaw into a spiral helix that can be up to 3 meters long.

In medieval times, narwhal tusks were sold as unicorn horns, fetching their weight in gold. It seems that the spiral tusk were the origin of the unicorn myth, not unlike how dinosaur fossils gave rise to dragon myths around the world.

Amazing Pictures of Lava Waterfalls From Mount Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

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Here are some really stunning pictures of molten lava from Mt. Kilauea's volcano flowing into the ocean. These were caused by a part from  the wall of the volcano collapsing.

Cranes migration over Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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Cranes in migration is a sight to behold.I recall seeing cranes in Istanbul Turkey in the early 1990s, circling and calling over the city. Also, in Jeddah, I saw cranesseveral times, where it is a stop on their route from Eurasia to Africa. Jeddah must be a conspicuous marker on the Red Sea coast, and among the Hijaz mountain range, and the deserts around it. They are seen over the al-Andalus district (Palestine Road), and the Old Airportarea. I have a video tape of them somewhere.

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