Boulder-sized sunfish washes ashore in Australia

The 1.8 meter (six feet) specimen — believed to be a Mola Mola, or ocean sunfish — washed ashore near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia at the weekend. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Boulder-sized sunfish washes ashore in Australia

  • The enormous creature is distinct for both its size and peculiar shape
  • The fish can weigh up to 2.5 tons (2,200 kilograms)

SYDNEY: A boulder-sized fish of a kind known to “sink yachts” has washed up on an Australian beach.
The 1.8 meter (six feet) specimen — believed to be a Mola Mola, or ocean sunfish — came ashore near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia at the weekend.
The enormous creature is distinct for both its size and peculiar shape featuring a flattened body and fins.
The fish can weigh up to 2.5 tons (2,200 kilogrammes), according to National Geographic.
A photo circulating on social media showed two people on a beach standing over the giant specimen, which had died.
“The amount of news and media from all over the world wanting to report it has been on another level,” Linette Grzelak, who posted the image to Facebook, told AFP.
“Never expected this.”
South Australian Museum fish collection manager Ralph Foster said the fish was actually at the smaller end of the scale for the species.
It earned its name for basking in the sun near the ocean’s surface, but is also known to dive several hundred meters (feet) into the depths, he said.
“I’ve actually had a good look at it, we get three species here and this is actually the rarest one in South Australian waters,” Foster told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“They can get a lot bigger... it’s probably an average-sized one, they can get nearly twice as big as that,” he added.
Mola Mola have also been known to damage vessels, Foster added.
“We get a lot of them hit by boats and some of them are so large they actually sink yachts,” he said.
“We know very little about them, it’s only in the last few years that technology has allowed us to start learning about them.
“They are amazing things, they really are.”


California woman charged with dumping puppies in trash

This Monday, April 22, 2019, photo taken by a Riverside County Animal Services officer shows the arrest of Deborah Sue Culwell at her Coachella, Calif., home. (AP)
Updated 21 min 42 sec ago
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California woman charged with dumping puppies in trash

  • The five male and two female puppies, believed to be terrier mixes, survived after spending about an hour inside a plastic bag in the dumpster, which was open

LOS ANGELES: A California woman could face up to seven years behind bars on a slew of charges filed Tuesday after authorities say surveillance video showed her casually tossing a bag of 3-day-old puppies into a trash can on a sweltering day.
Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was charged with seven felony counts of injuring the palm-sized puppies and seven misdemeanor counts of abandoning them.
The puppies’ mother may have been among 38 dogs found inside Culwell’s home following her arrest, and authorities were determining whether a reunion would be possible, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
Though most of the 38 dogs in the home appeared to be “somewhat healthy,” some were aggressive or fearful, the agency said, adding that the house was in a state of disrepair.
The case drew national attention after surveillance video showed a woman dropping a bag with the puppies into the trash Thursday before taking off in a Jeep Wrangler. Authorities posted the video to social media to help track her down, but they ultimately found Culwell based on a search of the Jeep’s plate number.
It’s unclear if Culwell has an attorney. Her number is unlisted.
Video of the arrest shows Culwell being led from her home as a reporter with KNBC-TV peppers her with questions such as, “Why would you throw those puppies away like trash?” and “Do you have anything to say about your actions?“
A handcuffed Culwell remained silent as she was taken from her home in Coachella, a desert city about 130 miles (210 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
The five male and two female puppies, believed to be terrier mixes, survived after spending about an hour inside a plastic bag in the dumpster, which was open. A man heard them crying and took the puppies to a nearby store, where an employee called authorities.
“If not for the good Samaritan’s actions, the puppies may not have survived much longer,” the animal services agency said in a news release, adding that temperatures in the area had reached the mid-90s on Thursday.
The pups were dehydrated and malnourished and are being cared for by a volunteer who is bottle-feeding them. The volunteer, Noni Boen, posted a video of the puppies cuddling and mewling on Monday, saying they had just been fed and returned to their nap pile.
“There is no excuse for dumping puppies,” Chris Mayer, commander of animal services, said in a statement. “Especially in today’s age when we or other shelters would be willing to get these animals to foster parents or rescue partners. This was a shameful act.”