Disappearing and Reappearing of Asian Giant Softshell Turtle

Sunday, May 31, 2020
A softshell freshwater turtle

Asian giant softshell turtle with scientific name Pelochelys cantorii could reach 100 cm or 1 meter (3.3 feet) length size. One of biggest freshwater turtles known.

Pelochelys cantorii lives in South East Asia region, generally in Mekong River, Cambodia. This turtle may be found in the habitats such as:
- lakes
- estuarine
- seacoasts
- streams

The softshell is due to its cartilaginous carapaces which is “covered in leathery skin.”

This turtle has disappeared in 2003, then, scientists thought the animal was extinct. Luckily, turtles reappeared in 2007.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) enlists Cambodian softshell as endangered species.

Softshell freshwater turtles distribute worldwide, they may be found in the regions such as Asia, Africa and America.

However, the particular species of Asian Giant Softshell Turtle has been observed in the following countries:
- Cambodia
- China
- Bangladesh
- India
- Philippines
- Thailand
- Vietnam
- Malaysia
- Myanmar
- Indonesia
- Laos

Have you seen any Softshell Turtles in your areas?

Rising and Falling of Prices during Covid-19 Pandemic – Virus 13

Sunday, May 24, 2020
One of Japanese foods, just for illustration

Last two shopping trips at grocery stores, we noticed price increasing. Yes, we heard news from mainstream medias about price increasing of grocery items. We are not aware so much in real life.

It is said that grocery prices have been increased by average of 2.6%. But, we believe several items more expensive, may be more than 3.5%. Some of them:

- eggs (We saw supply shortages).
- bread
- doughnut
- muffin
- cookies
- fruits (oranges, apples, citrus)
- soft drinks, juice
- protein sources (chicken, fish, meat)
- vegetables, especially canned vegetables

Clothes inside Walmart supermarket

Panic shopping is the reason price increase at the beginning of Covid-19 Pandemic, now, here two prominent reasons:

- disrupting of “food supply chains” which include production, processing and delivery systems from farmers (producers) to stores across the nation.

- demand keep continue, even higher in some foods after panic shopping, but supply chains such as meat processing are closing, thus causes food shortages.

However, we have good news that rising and falling in price come together. I noticed these items are getting lower in price:
- sausage
- butter
- tomatoes
- cupcakes

In addition to groceries, following items and services are dropping in prices as well:
- gasoline (raw and at stations)
- clothes
- car and car insurances
- airfare (travel tickets)

Do you notice any increasing and tumbling in prices in your areas? What items and services?

Virus relate postings

Why Friendship may Improve Healthy Heart? - Heart 7

Sunday, May 17, 2020
Building a friendship (source: Exposure)

We all know that good friendship or socializing contributes to our mental health as mentioned in many literatures.

Several sources noticed about significant relationship between socializing and improvement of our physical health.

Some benefits of good quality friendship are:
- increase memory
- sharpen cognitive abilities
- not feel lonely
- improve happiness
- likely to live longer

The two specific advantages, make me surprising about socializing that:
- friendship through technology (social media) as important as in person.
- may reduce cardiovascular diseases.

The connections between friendship and heart diseases are following:
- no friendship means live lonely
- loneliness causes stress
- stress increases hormone cortisol production.

Positive friendship either in person or online or both means lower hormone cortisol production, lower blood pressure, lower damaging to our blood vessels, hence, improve our healthy heart.

Hope, our friendship may lead to healthy live, both mentally and physically even through online (blogging) only.

Relevant posts:

Do You Know that an Owl Flies Without Sounds?

Friday, May 15, 2020
An owl siting on the branch of tree

I saw owls in my backyard sometimes, but I never know that they fly so smoothly without sound.

To have an idea, you may compare an owl and other birds while they are flying in this video: Experiment! How Does An Owl Fly So Silently?

It is clear that other birds produce sound while their wings flap. The noise is due to air turbulence created by flapping wings.

In case of owl, no sound is produced is relating to at least to three following factors:
- the structure of two wings resemble to the comb
- wings have great quality of velvet feathers to form soft layers
- owl’s feathers form the ragged fringe on the wing trailing edge.

The combination of these 3 factors is believed to reduce turbulence noise while owl flying.

Another reason that owl has broad wings, thus make its gliding more, but flapping less. Gliding more means no noise, silent.

Flying silently make owls to be efficient predator in the night, their prey can not able to detect dangerous warning.

In many palm plantations, owls have been used to reduce damages due to rodent pests. They could catch 3 to 5 rats per night. Success story of using silent flying predator.

Updates of Vaccines to Combat Covid-19 – Virus 12

Monday, May 11, 2020
Vaccine candidates

Since my first post about vaccine (When Will Vaccine for Covid-19 Available? - Virus 4 | Tanza Erlambang Update), the development is so fast.

We have about 20’s vaccine candidates at the beginning, then developed to be 70’s, then, at least 100 vaccine candidates now.

The vaccines belong to government, private and even NGO research institutes around the globe.

At least four countries have been involved in vaccine development and test its with quite clear steps:

1. Germany
- Vaccine called “BNT162” has been injected to 200 human volunteer with doses 1 to 100 microgram. No result was reported yet.

2. China
- This country has conducted clinical trial to 108 volunteer with vaccine called Ad5-nCoV, but no report yet.

3. USA
- USA had completed first clinical trial with “progression well” results. Vaccine called mRNA-1273 has been shot to two initial groups of 28 and 17 volunteer.
- Other 60 adults will be included in the trials.
- Second shot has been administered and will be followed about 13 months whether the vaccine is safe and effective.

4. United Kingdom
- Vaccine called ChAdOx1 has been success to cure infected monkeys with Corona virus.
- Then, 550 volunteers have been injected with vaccine. The temporary results shown that vaccine is safe to human.

Since ChAdOx1, UK vaccine is the most promising so far, moreover, one of largest pharmaceutical companies in the world ask for the production license.

This Indian based drug company intends to produce ChAdOx1 (vaccine) as soon as possible, might be by next month or no later than September this year.

However, UK government and scientists do not quite sure about timetable of mass production.

Research is still on going, not complete yet. It might be by the end of this year year (2020) or early 2021 for production.

We just wait and see. 

Why We Should not Feed Monkeys with Banana?

Saturday, May 9, 2020
Monkey eats banana

We might wonder with the title: Why We Should not Feed Monkeys with Banana? Actually, there are two types of banana generally:

- commercial banana which we buy from groceries, and eat almost everyday.
- wild banana in the forest or jungle

Our cultivated banana contains more sugar and a lot of calories, suitable for human being only.

If this commercial banana is given to a monkey, it will give them equal to sweet foods such as chocolate, cheesecake and pop tarts.

Many zoos in several countries prohibited to feed monkeys with grocery bananas, its because the fruit likely:
- causing damage to monkey’s teeth
- leading to diabetes.
- causing gastrointestinal problems

The question then, do monkeys eat wild banana which are plenty in the forests and jungles?

No, Monkeys do not eat wild bananas. It was humans first introduced monkey with banana in 1936. Since then, monkeys have been associated with bananas.

Wild monkeys eat both plants and animal protein such as:
- plant based foods include fruits, nuts and seeds
- animal protein based foods that are insects, spiders, bird’s eggs and lizards.

Finally, yes, some animals consume wild bananas, they are:
- birds
- elephants
- bats

Is Remdesivir a Potential Drug Against Covid-19? - Virus 11

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
A potential drug to combat Corona Virus
(credit to Daily Mail)

At previous posted, we discussed about the time length to produce possible vaccine of Covid-19 (When Will Vaccine for Covid-19 Available? - Virus 4 | Tanza Erlambang Update).

We just listening and watching “good news” about prospect to combat SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 in recent days.

Drug called “Remdesivir” was designated to control the Ebola virus, but the effect “not so good.”

Since its able to block “the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase” enzyme which is used by virus to replicate itself (by helping from human cells), the “Remdesivir” then applied to combat SARS and MERS viruses.

Remdesivir ables to control both SARS and MERS viruses in the laboratory and animal experiments.

In case of Covid-19, the drug has been given to 1,063 patients in 22 countries, include:
- China
- Japan
- UK and other several European countries.

Reported from several resources showed that drugs have positive effects on:
- shorten recovery from 15 days to 11 days.
- reducing mortality rate from 11% to 8%.

Yes, the result was “promising,” but not significant statistically, thus it needs to be further analyzed, and the trial might be expanded.

However, CEO of Gilead Sciences, the company which produced “Remdesivir,” has planned to supply the drugs to hospitals in the USA by next week.

The drugs will be used to treat about 200,000 infected patients. If success, the drugs will be developed into three forms:
- administered through IV
- by injection
- pills

We wait and pray for the best, hope, Covid-19 disappears soon.

Do You Know this Kind of Animal? - Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise - part 2

Sunday, May 3, 2020
You can see the feet (credit to YouTube)

From previous post (Do You Know this Kind of Animal? - part 1 | Tanza Erlambang Update), you may see its feet now.

Yes, two prominent characters of birds are able to dance in addition to sing to attract females for mates.

Its English name quite strange for me, “Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise,” but recently called as “Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise,” and Lophorina niedda as a scientific name.

The fact, birds of paradise inhabit two countries:
- New Guinea (Papua New Guinea)
- Papua, Indonesia.

In Papua, Indonesia, the paradise bird is well known as member of “Cendrawasih,” distributes mainly in the mountains and rain forest, West Part of Papua island. 

Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise”
(credit to Telengana Today).

Both two pictures display of mating dance, where blue eyes mean attractive smiling to a female.

Female usually produces eggs 1 to 3 eggs, then lay them in the nest. The time for hatching is about 2 to 4 weeks.

Many paradise birds in the endanger species list, luckily “Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise” considered as population stable.