Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday accused Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and other BJP leaders, who win elections from Naxalism-affected areas, of striking a “deal” with the guerrillas.“I have said this before and am repeating, that Raman Singh and all those BJP leaders who have won from Naxalism-hit areas have struck a deal with Naxals and there is some exchange between them,” he said.Mr. Singh said Naxalism could not be wiped out till the State government took tribals and those living in these areas into confidence and spoke to them. “You cannot end Naxalism till the time you talk to all,” he said.The “inability” of the State government in fighting Naxalism lay in the “lack of will” of the Chief Minister, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. He took a swipe at BJP president Amit Shah over his party’s expansion plan.
Two people have been arrested in connection with the attack on 30 dogs at a private shelter in Punjab’s Mohali in which one canine was killed and several others were injured, animal rights body PETA on Thursday said.The Punjab Police have arrested the duo for allegedly attacking the dogs with sticks and acid on Tuesday, while their third associate is still at large, it said.“The attack resulted in death of one dog, 19 missing, probably killed, and 11 with grievous injuries.“Following the complaint by PETA, Punjab police arrested two of the three attackers and filed an FIR. The third attacker is on the run and police expect to nab him soon,” the animal rights body said in a statement.People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India had shot off a letter to Punjab Director of General of Police (DGP) demanding immediate action against the attackers.PETA had come to know about the incident through news reports besides calls and emails from various concerned citizens.In the letter, PETA India pointed out that causing animals to suffer in this manner is a punishable offence under law and attracts imprisonment for a term of five to seven years, and the guilty is also liable for fine.It had urged the DGP to take steps to help ensure that the strongest police action is taken by registering an FIR against the attackers of the dogs under the IPC.PETA had also asked the Punjab police to ensure that the attackers undergo psychiatric counselling and evaluation.“PETA commends and thanks Punjab police for devoting the serious attention to this case that it deserves. The attackers may now be prevented from harming more animals and humans thanks to the police.“PETA encourage everyone to stop and speak up for animals who are subjected to pain or suffering, because if you don’t, maybe no one else will,” said Meet Ashar, PETA India’s Emergency Response Coordinator.Currently, the penalty for cruelty to animals under the PCA Act, 1960, is between Rs 10 and 50 for the first offence, which may go up to a mere Rs 100 or up to three months in prison for a subsequent offence.Lately, numerous extreme cruelty to animals cases have come to light —— including one from Bangalore where a woman killed eight puppies, Chennai where medical students threw a puppy from a roof, and Vellore where medical students killed a monkey —— proving the need for stronger penalties.
Illegal telephone exchanges routing telephone calls via a computer network and allegedly being used by Pakistani intelligence agencies to access sensitive military information have been busted in Latur district of Maharashtra, the police said on Saturday.Two persons, Shankar Biradar (33) and Ravi Sabde (27), have been arrested in this connection.They were making use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology that allows a person to make voice calls using an Internet connection instead of a regular phone line.The telephone exchanges were busted on Friday during raids conducted by a joint team of the Maharashtra ATS, Latur police and telecommunication department officials at three places in the district on a tip-off from a Jammu and Kashmir-based military intelligence agency, a police official said.According to police sources, these type of illegal VoIP exchanges were used by Pakistan intelligence agencies to acquire sensitive military information.These exchanges were being run since last six months from Prakash Nagar, Deoni taluka and Chakur taluka areas in the district, the official said.The accused used to receive an overseas call over the Internet and transfer that voice call to receivers in India through an illegal international gateway.The system deployed was interconnecting Internet/VoIP and mobile connections which is not permitted as per India’s telecom laws.After the raids, equipment worth Rs 4,60,000 were seized, the official said.Most of the seizures were made on the premises of the two arrested accused, the police said.While Shankar ran an illegal telecommunication junction from his house in Prakash Nagar, Ravi operated from a rented room in Chakur taluka.About 96 sim cards, a computer, a CPU and three call transforming machines were seized from Shankar’s house after the raid.The Deoni taluka exchange was being run from a shop, the police said.As per Telecommunication Department officials, these illegal exchanges have caused a revenue loss of Rs 15 crore to the country.Offences have been registered at Shivaji Nagar and MIDC police station in the district under relevant sections of the Indian Telegraph Act, Indian Wirless and Telegraph Act and Indian Penal Code.
Kashmir remained on the edge on Saturday as bodies of three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants, including commander Junaid Matto, were recovered from the Arwani encounter site in south Kashmir. Scores of armed militants participated in their funerals.The bodies of the militants were spotted in the debris in the morning. “Junaid’s killing is a great achievement for us and a blow to LeT,” said Director General of Police (DGP) S.P. Vaid.According to the police, Junaid was a district commander and involved in a number of terror activities, including three attacks on policemen.The bodies of two others, Nasir Wani and Adil Mushtaq Mir, both locals in their twenties, were found in the debris of two civilian residential houses, where they were holed up. They had joined the militancy last year, said the police.“Arms and ammunition, including AK rifles, magazines and grenades, have been recovered from the Arwani site,” said the police.Hundreds of locals attended the funerals of the slain LeT militants as they were buried in their respective hometowns in Pampore, Shopian and Kulgam.Scores of armed militants were spotted at these funerals. Eyewitnesses said these militants offered gun salutes to the slain militants and were seen hugging their bodies as people jostled to catch glimpse of them on their mobile phones. Anti-India slogans raisedPeople raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans during the funerals.Top LeT commander Saddam Padder and his associates were also seen at the funeral of the slain Nasir Wani at Shopian’s Heff area. He was seen loading his AK-47 and open fire in the air as mourners ducked to stay safe. He raised anti-India and pro-Islam slogans before vanishing into the crowd.“India must pay for its crimes on humanity,” said LeT chief Mahmood Shah.Meanwhile, there were emotional scenes as two civilians hit by bullets were buried in their respective villages. The civilians were killed when the security force opened fire to disperse the locals who were converging on the encounter site.The separatists’ shutdown and the authorities’ restrictions impacted daily life in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday. Large deployments were made in all sensitive locations in Srinagar and parts of south Kashmir. Traffic remained off the roads and train services in south Kashmir were suspended.
NAGPUR: The Nagpur police will host a day-long inter-State police coordination meet on Monday to formulate a strategy to check crime across borders.“IPS officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Eastern Maharashtra will participate in the coordination meeting on August 28. This meeting is an initiative of Nagpur Commissioner of Police K. Venkateshan. The aim is to discuss and formulate a strategy to check criminal activities and criminals operating in these three adjoining areas,” Nagpur Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bodkhe said at a press conference on Saturday.Mr. Bodhkhe said the police have observed that miscreants commit the crime in one of these regions, and go into hiding into the neighbouring region. “This meeting will see the exchange of information about such crimes and criminals. Nagpur is emerging as a transport hub, and the city is expected to see an increase in the population of migrants. Most of the districts in eastern Maharashtra share borders with districts in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The districts adjoining Chhattisgarh also witness Maoist activities, so it is important to share information and improve coordination,” he said.The Additional Director General of Police of the Crime Investigation Department of Madhya Pradesh police and the Inspector General of Police of Chhattisgarh’s Durg range will represent their States at this meeting. In all 22 IPS officers, including the SPs of Rajnandgoan, Kanker, Balaghat and Gadchiroli districts, will take part.
Gearing up for the coming Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress on Thursday announced the constitution of a screening committee for selecting candidates.The panel will be headed by Balasaheb Thorat, former Maharashtra Minister, and it will also have three members. “Congress president Sonia Gandhi has constituted the screening committee for the Gujarat Assembly elections, with Mr. Thorat as its chairman. Former MP Meenakshi Natarajan, Congress Legislature Party leader in U.P. Ajay Lallu and AICC Secretary Girish Chodankar will be its members,” AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in a statement. The party has already set up various committees, including the State election committee headed by PCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki, for the polls.The Congress, which has been out of power in Gujarat for the past two decades, is very keen to wrest power from the BJP.Though the party is buoyed by the recent Rajya Sabha election results, it has suffered a blow recently when Shankarsinh Vaghela quit the Congress along with some MLAs.The Congress would soon launch campaign and vice-president Rahul Gandhi will attend a workers’ conference in Ahmedabad on September 4.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar presented the State’s annual budget on Thursday morning within hours of being discharged from Lilavati hospital, Mumbai, .Mr. Parrikar spoke for around eight minutes before tabling the budget, and thanked the people of Goa for all their wishes and prayers for his recovery.Mr. Parrikar, who arrived accompanied by his son Utpal, was greeted by top officials, Ministers and ruling MLAs. Parrikar tables BudgetMr. Parrikar tabled a State budget with a gross expenditure of ₹ 17,123.28 crore and fiscal deficit of ₹ 763.68 crores.No additional revenue mobilisation initiatives were announced in the budget, which has focused on generating employment in various sectors.The Chief Minister informed the Speaker that he could not write the Budget speech on account of his health condition.Mr. Parrikar was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital on February 15. Mr. Parrikar’s decision to present the annual budget came as a surprise even to his Cabinet colleagues and legislators. Police and bureaucracy had to make last-minute arrangements and security. Brief speechIn his brief speech while tabling the budget, Mr. Parrikar said: “I thank everyone who wished me for my speedy recovery through messages, letters and prayers at various temples, churches, mosques and in other way. I am overwhelmed by your love and affection. It fortifies my conviction that Goa and Goans are my extended family. It is your wishes and prayers which have helped me to recover speedily and return to Goa”. “For complete recovery, I have been advised by the doctors some precautions in the immediate short term. During this period, my interaction with the public will be limited. However, I will be discharging my regular duties and obligations as the Chief Minister of the State,” Mr. Parrikar said. Parrikar thanks coalition governmentAfter a brief Cabinet meeting, where Mr. Parrikar thanked his coalition government Ministers for their concern and promised to meet them again. Secretary for Finance Daulat Havildar told The Hindu that the Chief Minster has directed officials to get his files to his residence and was due to hold his next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “We are happy to have him back. He has told us that the next cabinet meeting will be convened on coming Wednesday,” said Minister for Power Pandurang Madkaikar. Opposition leader Chandrakant Kavlekar also said that the Assembly was glad to have Mr. Parrikar back. “We are glad to see him and we hope he recovers fully,” Mr. Kavlekar said. To a question from a reporter seeking to know his health status, Mr. Parrikar said, “Nothing is wrong with me. I have been asked not to maintain close contact”.
Over 73,000 farmers from six districts were given debt relief certificates worth ₹.485.69 crore at a function in Rampura, Sangrur district, on Thursday. The relief was provided under the farm debt waiver scheme of the Punjab government.SAD flayedHanding over certificates to 14 farmers as a token gesture, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal used the occasion to hit out at the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, accusing its leadership of trying to “tarnish the image” of the Congress government through false propaganda.“They (SAD) failed to do anything for the farmers during their 10-year rule and now they are indulging in propagating false information among people about the Congress,” he said.Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar accused the Akalis of “destroying” the State to promote their vested interests. “The hue and cry over the debt waiver scheme was being made only by influential defaulters, most of whom belonged to the SAD,” he claimed, urging Chief Minister Amarinder Singh not to consider their case and initiate action against them for wilful default.Farmers from Sangrur, Barnala, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, SAS Nagar and Rupnagar districts were the beneficiaries in the current phase of the implementation of the farm debt waiver scheme.
The death toll in violence during the West Bengal panchayat elections increased to 20 on TuesdayAt Ranaghat in Nadia, the husband of a Trinamool Congress candidate was dragged out his house and beaten to death. Trinamool Congress supporters and leaders were killed in Cooch Behar, Uttar Dinjapur and North 24 Parganas and Malda district in poll related and post poll violence. Of the 20 casualties reported in the past 48 hours, half of them belonged to the Trinamool Congress. The TMC supporters and leaders were killed in both intra and inter-party feuds and there were instances of lynching of ruling party supporters when they went for booth capturing. TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said that while Opposition was claiming of attacks on their supporters, it was the ruling party which had suffered most in the violence. Half a dozen of supporters of the CPI (M) and a couple of BJP supporters had also been killed in the violence. The representatives of CPI(M) and Party for Democratic Secularism ( PDS) approached Calcutta High Court on the violence and were directed to file fresh petitions by the Court. There were protests outside the office of State Election Commission by Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment who have fielded candidates at Bhangar against the TMC.Re-polling was ordered in 568 booths in the State.The State Election Commission ordered re-polling in 568 polling booths on Wednesday. The highest number of booths where re-poll would be be held were in Uttar Dinajur, Malda, Murshidabad ad North 24 Parganas districts. The results of the rural polls would be announced on May 17.
A resolution seeking creation of a Legislative Council in Odisha was passed in the State Assembly on Thursday.The resolution moved by State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha was passed with as many as 104 of the total 147 legislators casting their votes in its favour. The ruling Biju Janata Dal has 117 members in the House.The legislators of opposition Congress and BJP staged a walkout before the resolution was put to vote. While Congress had opposed the idea of creation of the Council, the BJP had alleged that the government was moving ahead with the proposal to accommodate the sitting BJD legislators who will not be given tickets to contest the 2019 elections.The resolution will be sent to the Centre for approval of Parliament to facilitate creation of the Legislative Council.Wider consultationsAfter the passing of the resolution, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the creation of the Council will be of great help as wider consultations are required to accelerate the growth momentum that the State has picked up.A proposal for creation of the Legislative Council in Odisha was passed by the State Cabinet on August 24.The proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the total members of the State Assembly.The Odisha government had set up a committee in 2015 to study the Legislative Councils in other States and recommend for establishment of one in the State.
Tribal groups in Rajasthan have demanded that the next elected government in the State reveal the status of each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with reference to tribal communities and declare their status targets. The activists said that no political party had depicted its commitment to work for sustainable development of tribal people.A manifesto for rights of the tribal population, residing mainly in southern Rajasthan, has demanded that they be recognised as “custodians of ecosystem, nature and traditions” and paid an honorarium for their contribution to preservation of natural resources. Their environment-friendly practices were also highlighted in the charter of demands.The document was released by the Tribal Development Forum, Vaagdhara, and other institutions working for tribal rights and food security here last week. Vaagdhara secretary Jayesh Joshi said on Thursday that the manifesto was handed over to the ruling BJP and all Opposition parties for its inclusion in their agenda for the Assembly election.Sustainable farmingMr. Joshi said though 70% population in the tribal area depended on agriculture, which was primarily rain-fed, most of the government’s investment towards agriculture was dedicated to the irrigated crop area. “A sustainable integrated farming system needs to be developed for benefiting small and marginal tribal farmers. Besides, agricultural subsidies should be broadened to promote traditional farming,” he said.A monitoring mechanism should be dedicated to the SDG index in the tribal village panchayats, blocks and districts, said Mr. Joshi. Besides, the next government should take serious steps for stopping the migration cycle triggered by lack of education and skills and large family size, which contributed to tribal people’s poverty, forcing them to leave forests and villages.Rajasthan’s tribal population mainly resides in Udaipur, Sirohi, Dungarpur, Banswara and Pratapgarh districts.
A cross-border motor rally to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is arriving in Agartala from Bangladesh on Tuesday afternoon. The rally, which got underway at Rajghat in New Delhi on February 4, will culminate on February 24 at Yangon in Myanmar.The Border Security Force (BSF) has made arrangements to support the itinerary of the motorists on the border. The rally entered Bangladesh from Kolkata on Monday, sources in BSF said.“We will facilitate the rally to the Agartala Check Post from Bangladesh. The Ministry of Transport and Highways has organised the rally,” senior BSF official of the Tripura Frontier Arun Kumar Verma told The Hindu.Government officials said the rally would travel 7,250 km before it reaches Yangon. It will cover places historically associated with Mahatma Gandhi, both in India as well as in Bangladesh and Myanmar.Officials said the ultimate aim of the rally is to spread the values of Mahatma Gandhi throughout route of the rally. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is supporting the event.
There Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists, involved in Friday’s attack on a police post here, have been arrested, police said in Srinagar on Sunday. “We have arrested three persons so far in connection with the Chanapora attack case,” senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Srinagar Haseeb Mughal told reporters in Srinagar. The SSP identified the arrested terrorists as Mushtaq, Junaid and Latief.Mr. Mughal said the three belonged to JeM and were involved in the attack on the Chanapora police post in which a sentry was injured. They had also made a failed attempt to snatch his rifle. “We collected the digital evidence and strengthened the intelligence grid after the attack. We focussed on the suspects already on our radar. We picked them up, questioned them and during questioning, one of them confessed and gave us further details about the group, he said. Giving details of the attack, the SSP said the three came to Chanapora on a motorcycle, but left it some distance away from the police post. One of them, named Junaid, went inside the police post with the excuse of tracking the status of passport verification. He checked the place and when he saw that the sentry there had no visible backup, he came out and told his accomplices that perhaps there is no backup for the sentry, so he (sentry) can be targeted. Then he came back to the post and was accompanied by another person named Mushtaq who was wearing a pheran and a helmet. When Mushtaq was asked to remove the pheran for undergoing search, he took out a pistol and fired on the sentry, the SSP said, adding the sentry was injured and is undergoing treatment at SKIMS Hospital at Soura. The senior police official said the terrorists also tried to snatch the rifle of the injured sentry but had to leave it because the gun was clamped with a chain to his belt. In the meantime, the other policemen fired and they fled from the spot, he said. He said police have recovered a Chinese pistol, two magazines and six live rounds from them. The motorcycle has also been recovered, he said, adding further investigations in the case were on.Mr. Mughal said Mushtaq, a postgraduate from Kashmir University, was in touch with a JeM cadre, named Sameer from Pulwama district of south Kashmir, and has been associated with the group for about a year. “Sameer and Mushtaq were classmates in KU. It was on Sameer’s direction that they tried to loot weapons in Srinagar, he said. Junaid, the SSP said, was involved in a number of stone-pelting cases, while Lateef is an overground worker (OGW) of the militants and helped them with logistics. He said the three were arrested from different places in Budgam district in cental Kashmir.
Just before nabbing an insect, a bat emits a rapid series of ultrasonic calls whose echoes back pinpoint the prey’s exact location. Scientists call these sounds “the feeding buzz,” and they’re known to attract other bats presumably in search of a meal. When another bat arrives, it can jam the hunter’s buzz, according to a new study, much like someone blocking a radio signal. That causes the original bat to miss its meal, allowing its competitor to swoop in to grab the insect instead.“It’s a thrilling finding,” says Mirjam Knörnschild, a behavioral ecologist and bat vocalization expert at the University of Ulm in Germany, who was not involved in the study. “Sonar interference has always been an exciting possible explanation … for the fact that certain bat species are highly vocal, and this elegantly designed study is a convincing demonstration.”Aaron Corcoran, a biologist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, first detected the jamming call while recording bat-moth interactions in Arizona. Other researchers had previously discovered that Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) make at least 15 types of social calls and even adjust their ultrasonic vocalizations to avoid interfering with those of others. To find out how the bats were using this call, the scientists recorded their competitive bouts on video and with an array of ultrasonic microphones at field sites in Arizona and New Mexico. They matched up the calls to the bats’ flight paths so that they could see at what point hunters made the feeding buzz and competitors emitted a blocking signal. From this 3D reconstruction, Corcoran and William Conner, a biologist also at Wake Forest University, realized that the bats were more competitive than cooperative, and readily wielded their highly effective and disruptive jamming call. “They use it at the moment of truth, when the hunter is zeroing in on its prey,” Conner says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The jamming call works by overlapping the competitor’s final frenzied feeding buzz, creating sound waves that confuse the processing done by the bat’s auditory neurons and ability to target the prey’s position with its ultrasonic clicks, a process known as echolocation. Still, a jammed bat can turn the tables on its competitor and use the same method to interfere with its hunt. “They whiz back and forth, back and forth, fighting over the prey, until one finally gives up,” Conner says.In Arizona, the scientists documented 145 bat attacks on insects; 85.9% of these attempts failed when another bat emitted the jamming call. Without a competitor to interfere, the bats’ success rate jumped to 30%. The researchers also tested bats with controlled playback experiments. They tethered a moth to a monofilament line about 5 meters above the ground, then played a recorded jamming call just as a hunting bat targeted the insect with its feeding buzz. The bats’ capture success rate dropped by 73.5% compared with when they hunted without interference from the recording, the team reports online today in Science.Five years ago, Corcoran and Conner showed that tiger moths can jam the hunting sonar of brown bats. But this is the first time that this type of competitive interference among individuals of the same species has been discovered in animals, they say.Other researchers had previously heard similar calls from different bat species, including male big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), and suggested that the sound might be used in cooperative foraging, or to claim food. “It’s clearly not for cooperating,” says Cynthia Moss, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, whose team proposed the food-claiming explanation—and is sticking to it. “There is evidence for both claiming and jamming,” she says, noting that her group “didn’t see the timing of the call the way” that Corcoran and Conner did, consistently overlapping that rapid, terminal feeding buzz. “While this paper is very provocative, interesting, and important, it is not the last word.”Still, the very idea that bats have not only sonar but also a jamming signal is “cool,” Conner says. “We think engineers are pretty clever when they use a signal to jam sonar and radar. But bats came up with this idea 65 million years earlier.” Now, he and Corcoran wonder if other echolocating species such as dolphins engage in competitive jamming bouts as well.
Killer whales wouldn’t get far without their old ladies. A 9-year study of orcas summering off the southern tip of Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest finds that menopausal females usually lead their families to find salmon, particularly when the fish are scarce. Older females’ years of foraging experience may help their clans survive in years of famine, an evolutionary benefit that could explain why—like humans—female orcas live for decades past their reproductive prime.“Menopause is a really bizarre trait. Evolutionarily it doesn’t make sense,” says biologist Lauren Brent of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, who led the new study. Most animals keep having babies until they drop, part of the evolutionary drive to spread their genes as widely as possible. Only female humans, pilot whales, and killer whales are known to go through menopause: At a certain age, they stop reproducing, but continue to lead long, productive lives. Like humans, female killer whales stop giving birth by about 40, but can live into their 90s.Anthropologists have proposed a controversial explanation for menopause in humans: that grandmothers contribute to their genetic legacies by helping their children and grandchildren survive and reproduce. In hunter-gatherer and other societies, elders find extra food, babysit, and remember tribal lore about how to live through floods, famines, and other hardships. According to the “grandmother hypothesis,” this contribution is so valuable that it helped spur the evolution of women’s long postreproductive lives. Orcas too depend on their elders: Adult killer whales’ mortality rates skyrocket after their elderly mothers die. But how the menopausal whales might help their children survive was not clear, Brent says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“We had an inkling that maybe it had to do with information,” says senior author Darren Croft, a University of Exeter behavioral ecologist. He wondered if orca elders might use their years of experience to lead their families to the best places to find food. This could certainly mean the difference between life and death. The whales almost exclusively eat Chinook salmon during the summer, and their fortunes rise and fall with the salmon runs, Croft says. “These whales live on the knife edge.”Brent, Croft, and colleagues studied the “southern resident” killer whale population, which spends its summers hunting salmon in the Salish Sea between British Columbia and Washington state. As a result of 35 years of observation, marine biologists at the nonprofit Center for Whale Research can identify each orca’s unique markings and know its biography and family tree. Brent and colleagues perused hundreds of hours of video footage of groups of foraging whales, noting which individuals went along for each hunting expedition and who was leading the pack (see clip). Using a statistical analysis to test whether age, sex, family relationships, or other factors predicted leadership, the researchers confirmed that menopausal females were most likely to be at the front of these hunting parties. Big males stayed closest to their mothers, the researchers found, perhaps because they need to eat much more than their sisters to avoid starvation.The researchers compared their leadership observations with data from local Chinook fisheries and found that elderly females were most likely to lead killer whale foraging trips in years when salmon runs were at their lowest. The results imply that menopausal killer whales use their experience to help their families find food in times of hardship, the researchers report online today in Current Biology. “This is the first study to show that these postreproductive females play a key role in their society by storing ecological knowledge,” Croft claims. “With killer whales we’re still looking at a species where information is stored in individuals—it’s not stored in the Internet or books,” he says. The whales may “give us some insight into what forces may have shaped our own evolutionary history.”The team’s approach has impressed some whale researchers. “I really liked the way they did it,” says whale ecologist Hal Whitehead of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. “Nowadays there’s a huge emphasis on using new technology, some new gizmo or lab technique to discover something. This study is really based on just spending lots of time watching the animals.”(Video credit: Brent et al., Current Biology/Center for Whale Research)
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