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Tag: china

A bear of a mistake in China

Another case of a wild animal who was mistakenly thought to be a dog has surfaced in China — and this one’s a doozie.

Just a few days after news broke that a woman found out the spitz she bought from a Chinese pet store last year is actually a fox, another woman is telling the story of how her dog was actually a bear.

What a Tibetan Mastiff pup looks like

What a Tibetan Mastiff pup looks like

According to The Independent, Su Yun, from Kunming in the Yunnan province of China, bought the animal from a roadside dealer while on vacation two years ago, believing it to be a Tibetan Mastiff.

Yun and her family were impressed by their pet’s massive appetite — on a typical day, it would eat a box fruit and two buckets of noodles.

The family realized their mistake when the pet did not stop growing — to 250 pounds — and started showing a talent for walking on his hind legs.

“The more he grew, the more like a bear he looked,” said Yun. “I am a little scared of bears.”

The animal — once confirmed that he was an Asiatic black bear — has now been taken into by the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Staff were so intimidated by the animal – which had lived in the family home – they sedated it before transportation.

Woman in China finds out her spitz is a fox

foxIt only took a few months for Ms. Wang to start noticing her “dog” was a little odd.

The woman bought the fluffy white pup from a pet store in China about 10 months ago.

She thought she’d bought a spitz.

But in the months ahead she noticed its tail was growing longer and fluffier than that of the average spitz.

And when it was three months old, it stopped eating dog food, preferring fruit and produce.

And its snout grew more pointy.

And the “dog” never barked.

Then there was the reaction other dogs had to it when they went out on walks. They seemed a little scared.

Eventually, Ms. Wang took her doubts and her pet to Taiyuan Zoo, where she was informed that what she’d been living with was a fox.

“Based on the size, it is a domesticated fox,” the zoo’s Sun Letian told Shanxi Network Television. “It carries a smell in their body and the smell can get stronger as it grows older.”

The fox is currently about a foot long and is expected to grow larger.

Ms. Wang gave the fox to the zoo, where after a month in quarantine, it will live in the fox enclosure.

She was invited to come visit it anytime.

Dogs in space: China reveals it tried it too

chinaspacedogs

Back in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s, the race to space featured two main players — the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Both, in preparation for manned space flight, were experimenting with animals first — in the Soviet Union’s case, most notably dogs, the most famous of which was Laika, who died during the 1957 Sputnik 2 mission, but not until after becoming the first Earth creature to enter outer space.

Now it has been revealed that China was sending dogs into space, too, though its attempts were shrouded in secrecy.

In 1966 at a secret military base in southeast China, a small dog called Little Leopard was chosen from more than 100 other “volunteers” to be launched into orbit. Orbit wasn’t achieved, but at least Little Leopard survived.

The previously unknown details of China’s secret program to launch dogs into space more than half a century ago were revealed last week in an article published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The academy said that, to usher in the Year of the Dog, it wanted to “commemorate their legendary journey into the sky,” according to the South China Morning Post

Little Leopard was chosen from more than 100 puppies bred for the task, all the offspring of performers in an animal circus.

“They were chosen for their looks – the scientists insisted they had to be ‘cute’ — and put through a series of tests that included being shut in a room and subjected to noise at more than 100 decibels to see whether they could tolerate the sound of a rocket blast,” the article says.

Little Leopard and a three-year-old dog named Shan Shan — both mixed-breeds — were selected as the toughest and most intelligent of the group.

But one thing was overlooked by the scientists, and it became apparent soon after Little Leopard was hoisted to the rocket in a basket. He was afraid of heights.

The scientists struggled to get him in the hatch of the 20-story high rocket for take-off.

Once inside, he was attached to equipment to monitor his breathing, circulation, heart rate and body temperature at various stages of the flight. A sensor was inserted in the main artery of his neck to get precise readings of the blood supply to his brain.

Strapped tight inside the capsule, the article says, he “endured unspeakable pain and deafening noise in the 20 minutes that followed. The force of acceleration was up to 12 times the pull of gravity, causing pressure, or G-force, that prevented the dog’s heart from pumping enough blood to his head.”

While that monitoring equipment worked just fine, the rocket didn’t — not entirely. It failed to reach orbit.

chinapsacedogs2As it neared earth, the capsule was ejected and parachute-landed on a mountain not far from the launch site, where Little Leopard was fetched by a helicopter. A crowd gathered at the launch site to welcome his return, according to the academy.

Shan Shan’s journey into space, two weeks later, was even more problematic. It never reached orbit, either, and the equipment that was monitoring her vital signs malfunctioned.

Little Leopard and Shan Shan were the first and only large animals used by China to gather biological data for the human space flight program.

After the experiment, the Chinese space authorities decided to stop sending animals into space.

Both dogs were returned to Beijing where government officials presented them with honorary awards. It’s not known what happened to the dogs after that, and the Chinese space program bit the dust during the chaos and violence of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76).

(Photos: Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Chinese scientists clone the world’s first primate; two macaque monkeys are born

monkeys_16x9leashes1

Nearly 13 years after the cloning of a dog, the species man is emotionally closest to, Chinese scientists have announced the first successful cloning of the animal man is physically closest to — the monkey.

Using the same basic technique that created Dolly the sheep in Scotland, the world’s first cloned mammal, and Snuppy the Afghan hound in South Korea, scientists in China produced two identical clones of a macaque, reigniting concerns among some that attempts to clone man are on the horizon.

The newborns — the world’s first cloned primates — were named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, after a Mandarin term for the Chinese nation and people.

The two healthy baby macaques were the only ones to survive to birth out of 127 altered egg cells implanted into more than 60 surrogate mothers.

The scientists behind the project said they followed the techniques of somatic cell nuclear transfer, but made a few refinements along the way. Unlike with Dolly and Snuppy, fetal cells were used rather than adult ones

Mu-ming Poo, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’s Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai, who led the work, said further refinement of their methods would lead to higher success rates, Combining the cloning with gene editing will allow researchers to create “ideal nonhuman primate models” for studying disease mechanisms and screening drugs, he said.

So in answer to the seldom asked (at least by scientists) question — why clone monkeys? — that’s your immediate answer: As fodder for laboratory experiments.

The team behind the monkey cloning acknowledges that the work raises ethical questions, but Poo said he doubted it would lead to cloning man: “I would think society and the general public and governments will not allow extension of this method from nonhuman primates to humans.”

Science magazine reports that ethicists are also concerned about the monkeys themselves. “At present, it has not been sufficiently demonstrated that there are no alternatives to using macaque monkeys for such research,” Peter Dabrock, an ethicist at Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany, wrote in a statement.

Using nonhuman primates for research is more accepted in China than in the West, Poo said, adding “Once we demonstrate the cloned monkey’s usefulness in curing disease, I hope [Western societies] will gradually change their minds.”

He said the group is following international guidelines for the treatment and care of their monkeys.

Scientists around the world have cloned more than 20 species since Dolly the sheep was created in 1996, including dog, cat, horses, pigs, cows, rabbits, rats and mice,

Attempts to clone primates, however, had been unsuccessful, and some experts suspected primates might be resistant to the procedure.

The Chinese team reported in the Feb. 8 edition of the journal Cell that it’s difficult, but possible. The team succeeded, after many attempts, by using modulators to switch on or off certain genes that were inhibiting embryo development.

In all, it took more than 100 egg cells — merged with donor cells and implanted into surrogates — to produce two live macaque births.

Using adult cells, they achieved 22 pregnancies in 42 surrogates. That produced two births but neither survived. When they cloned using fetal monkey cells, six pregnancies were confirmed in 21 surrogates and yielded two healthy babies.

While the scientists celebrate their achievement, animal welfare groups, including PETA, condemned it.

“Cloning is a horror show: A waste of lives, time, and money – and the suffering that such experiments cause is unimaginable,” said Dr. Julia Baines, Science Policy Adviser at PETA UK. “Because cloning has a failure rate of at least 90 per cent, these two monkeys represent misery and death on an enormous scale.”

(Photo: Qiang Sun and Mu-ming Poo/Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Two men jailed in China after insulting police officer who clubbed a dog to death

(The video above is disturbing and may offend some readers.)

 

Two men served five days in jail in China after publicly insulting a police officer who killed a golden retriever on a street in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province.

The arrests were made Dec. 31, the same day one of the men posted pictures and personal details about the policeman on a Twitter-like social media platform called Weibo.

The second man was arrested on charges of publicly insulting the officer.

The policeman was filmed beating the leashed dog to death with a wooden club.

According to Changsha Police’s social media account, each of the two men was given a five-day detention for disclosing confidential information of a police officer and showing disrespect to a police officer.

The policeman’s actions were praised by some, the Daily Mail reported, while others criticized the “cruel” and “heartless” manner he employed to kill the dog.

The leashed dog had lunged at several people walking by on the sidewalk where he was tethered and bitten at least two of them.

The officer said he did not have access to a tranquilizing gun and decided to use a wooden club to kill the canine instead.

Trump featured in Chinese statue that celebrates the Year of the Dog

yearofdog

For the second year in a row, a shopping mall in China is honoring the Chinese New Year with a giant statue of President Trump, this time as a dog.

For 2018 — the Year of the Dog — it will display a Donald Trump dog, with golden hair, golden eyebrows, a stern expression and an index finger pointed toward the sky.

The Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, is celebrated based on the lunar-solar Chinese calendar and its corresponding zodiac animal.

For 2017, the Year of the Rooster, the mall erected a 32-foot tall statue of a Donald Trump rooster.

For the upcoming celebration for the arrival of the Year of the Dog (Feb. 16), FashionWalk, a shopping mall in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, has erected the Trump-inspired dog at its entrance, Newsweek reports.

The dog is also the Chinese zodiac sign of Trump, who was born in 1946.

Last year’s rooster, which also shared Trump’s golden hair and pointed index finger, led to the manufacturing of small replicas that were sold as gifts, according to The South China Morning Post.

If the tradition of transforming Trump into a zodiac cartoon continues, Newsweek notes, Trump would be depicted as a pig in 2019 and a rat in 2020.

(Photo: From China Plus News, via Twitter)

Chinese scientists clone dogs with heart disease — and call it an achievement

longlong

China says it has managed to join South Korea as a world leader in canine cloning — by managing to create a clone of a sick dog.

Longlong, a beagle, was born with a blood-clotting disorder, and that was just what the scientists were hoping for.

The pup is a clone of Apple, a different dog whose genome was edited to develop the disease atherosclerosis, CNN reported.

longlong1By cloning the bioengineered dog, the scientists ensured they will have a good supply of diseased dogs for experiments they say could lead to cures for the condition that causes strokes and heart disease in humans.

Longlong was created by the Beijing-based biotech company Sinogene, which is boasting about having created the world’s first dog cloned from a gene-edited donor.

With Longlong’s birth, and two more clones of the bio-engineered dog being born since then, the scientists claimed that China had matched South Korea as a leader in canine cloning technology. South Korean scientists cloned the first dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy, in 2005.

“Dogs share the most inheritable diseases with human beings, which makes them the best disease models to study,” says Feng Chong, technical director at Sinogene.

While the pups haven’t shown any signs of cardiovascular disease yet, their cloning ensures they will get it. Experimental drugs to treat cardiovascular diseases are already being tested on them.

Longlong’s birth combined two technologies: A gene-editing tool called CRISPR with somatic cell cloning technology, the method used to clone Dolly the sheep and later, Snuppy.

Zhao Jianping, vice manager of Sinogene, says the company’s success in dog cloning is about 50%. Two surrogate dogs out of four gave birth to three cloned puppies. The other two did not get pregnant.

Scientists at Sinogene believe their work aids the future of pharmaceutical development and biomedical research and it plans to produce more cloned dogs like Longlong.

“Gene-edited dogs are very useful for pharmaceutical companies,” said Feng. “The supply falls short of the demand every year.”

(Poor little pharmaceutical companies.)

The scientists also say cloning bio-engineered dogs to create puppy clones that will be born with the disease is kinder than the previous method of creating atherosclerosis in lab dogs — namely, force feeding with meals high in sugar.

Scientists, in case you haven’t noticed, have also invented a way to justify just about anything they want to do.

So if you want to hail this as a great achievement in technology, go ahead. I prefer to see it as scientists taking another giant stride toward playing God — giveth-ing life to dogs, only to taketh it away. Mankind may benefit (or at least live a longlong time), but rest assured the biggest gains will go to pharmaceutical companies.

(Photos: CNN)