World News Roundup: March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017
Maureen McKinney

Among this week’s news stories are the discovery of a potentially age-reversing drug, the death of a coin-eating turtle in Thailand, and the extreme measures one Czech zoo is taking to protect its rhinos. Also important, especially for cat owners: an easier way to medicate cats.

The Drug That Turns Back Time? (BBC)

A group of researchers in the Netherlands has “created a drug that selectively killed senescent cells”—those that release inflammation-causing chemicals and have been implicated in the aging process. In mice that were “the equivalent of 90 in mouse years,” the drug “rejuvenated old mice to restore their stamina, coat of fur and even some organ function.”

Coin-Eating Thai Sea Turtle Has Died (BBC)

Following up on a story we presented in the roundup on March 12, the sea turtle in Thailand that ate more than 1000 coins has died. The 25-year-old turtle, named “Piggy Bank,” underwent a lengthy surgery to remove 11 pounds of coins from her stomach, then required a second procedure after developing intestinal problems. It was after this second procedure that the turtle fell into a coma and died as a result of blood poisoning.

A New Way to Medicate Cats? (Science Daily)

“Of all pets, cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate. Very small minitablets with flavors or flavor coatings can help cat owners commit to the treatment and make cats more compliant to it, while making it easier to regulate dosage and administer medication flexibly.”

Tourists Courting Danger at Beijing Wild Animal Park (The Beijinger)

A number of deaths, clear warning signs, and extra media scrutiny doesn’t seem to be stopping tourists at wild animal parks in China from exiting their vehicles. A number of deaths and near-misses have resulted. “It seems irresponsible to walk among giant wild carnivores, [but] animal park attack victims aren't taking the blame.”

TB Research in Animals May Help Humans (Stellenbosch University)

"You cannot only look at one part of the picture regarding the organisms that cause TB,” said Professor Michele Miller, the National Research Foundation's research chair in animal tuberculosis. “Humans, animals, and the diseases they might share operate in a complex system that is impacted by the environment they live in. We need to look at the full picture, including how the pathogens change as well as host adaptations, to prevent and manage TB in animals and humans."

Yellow Fever Obliterating Howler Monkeys in Brazil (New Atlas)

"I am very surprised at the speed with which the outbreak is advancing … and by how the virus can jump from one patch of forest to another, even if they are hundreds of meters apart," said Sérgio Lucena Mendes, a professor of animal biology at the Universidade Federal de Espirito. She and others “will now undertake a count of the remaining monkeys and study how the societal arrangements of the survivors will change with their normal social groups eliminated.”

Czech Zoo Saws Off Rhino Horns (CNN)

Following the recent shooting of a young white rhino for its horns at a Paris animal preserve, “a zoo in the Czech Republic has begun removing the horns of all its rhinos, saying it is better to leave the animals with stumps than risk them being killed by poachers.” The decision to remove the horn was “difficult and sad,” said the zoo’s director of international projects.