Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rubber Animal Farm

Inflatable rubber whale helps scientists rescue stranded whales. Story below.

Screw politics! The Rubber Betty Blog gives you all the news that actually matters. Rubber animals are taking over the world, and the media expects me to care about Hillary Clinton? When she starts wearing latex pantsuits on her campaign trail, I'll take notice. But for now, let's take a trip to the rubber animal farm.

Rubber duck armada nears Britain -- article from

The first of 29,000 rubber ducks which have been circling the world's oceans for 15 years are expected to wash up on a British beach soon.

The ducks fell overboard from a container ship bound for Seattle from China in 1992, reports the BBC.

Their journey since has given scientists a valuable insight into surface currents as they have been far more widely reported than the floats scientists use.

"The ducks went around the North Pacific in three years - all the way from the spill site to Alaska, over to Japan and back to North America," said Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer based in Seattle.
"This was twice as fast as the water at the surface - so I began to call them hyper-ducks."

The floating ducks are expected to wash up on the Cornish coast this summer, battered and bleached by their journey through the waters of the Arctic, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

They have floated along the Alaskan coast, reaching the Bering Strait in 1995. It is thought they were trapped by slow moving ice for several years as it then took them until 2000 to reach the Atlantic ocean.

A year later, they were tracked in the area of the north Atlantic where the Titanic sank. Some broke away and headed for Europe, others have surfaced in Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia and South America.

Two children's books have been written about the toys which have become collectors' items, selling on eBay for £1,000.

Beachcombers will know whether these are the genuine rubber ducks as they will have the words "The First Years" stamped upon them.

Rubber ducks' global journey of discovery from the Daily Mail

Read more about our adventurous rubber--well, technically plastic--friends at here.

Rubber whale helps train rescuers -- article from BBC News

A lifesize two-tonne pilot whale, made of rubber, is helping to train groups of marine rescue volunteers in Gwynedd.

The course in Barmouth is being run with groups involved in rescuing seals and dolphins that become beached or injured.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue Group (BDMLR), which tried to rescue a whale trapped on the Thames in London last year, is running the training.

The course aims to form a group of volunteers to be on 24-hour standby.

Wales coordinator for the BDMLR Phil Lewis said: "The north Wales coast receives a number of strandings of marine mammals each year and we are keen to boost the numbers of trained medics to respond to these strandings."

The course includes lectures on marine mammal biology and first aid and then practical exercises on rescue techniques at the nearby beach.

These include handling injured and stranded animals, first aid, assessing injuries and the refloating of dolphins and whales using the rescue group's specialist equipment.

Three different inflatables will be used during the course, including a dolphin and a seal pup.

Mr Lewis added: "The water-filled inflatable mammals we use are so lifelike that when the course has been run in the past, members of the public have offered to help, thinking they were real!"

He said that the group dealt with around 12 live strandings a year.

"Some are due to disorientation, some are through sickness, some could be pure accident where they have taken a wrong turning out at sea and come into an area where there's no feeding for them," said Mr Lewis.

"We learn a lot with every rescue that we attend, we always learn from things.

"We know from an assessment we can tell whether or not it is a reasonable thing to put the animal back into the water to refloat it or whether or not it does need to be humanely put to sleep."

Veterinarian gives dog a rubber eye -- article from

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) — One family's golden retriever is getting a new look at life, thanks to a veterinarian who specializes in making prosthetic eyes for cats and dogs.

Lucky lost an eye to glaucoma, and the Needell family of Boca Raton decided to have the diseased eye replaced by a black silicone ball.

The prosthetic doesn't help Lucky see any better, but the family says the nine-and-a-half-year-old dog doesn't look any different, and the fake eye even moves like a real one would.

Lucky's vet says she implanted 25 of the rubber eyes last year, mostly in dogs.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says the prosthetics eyes are considered cosmetic — and they're not the only silicone implants available for animals. Vets say testicular implants for male dogs who have been neutered have been available for years, but they never caught on with owners.

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