Freckle the eagle ray gives birth through rare reproductive process despite nine years alone

A female stingray has given birth to a baby at a Sydney aquarium - despite not having contact with a male in nine years.

Freckle, an 11-year-old eagle ray who lives at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, went through parthenogenesis, a "very rare reproductive strategy where an embro develops without fertilisation," Macquarie University's Adam Stow explained to Nine News.

"It is a rare occurrence among vertebrates such as eagle rays, so this is a very special arrival."

Senior aquarist Libby Eyre said the team noticed something was going on several months ago, but "initially dismissed pregnancy" due to the lack of male eagle rays.

In late July, Freckle's baby Ani - short for Anakin Skywalker, otherwise known as Darth Vader - was born.

The now four-week-old ray was named after the movie villain due to their lack of fathers.

"There were screams of excitement from the staff - everyone was amazed at the process of having produced a little ray with no males in the tank," Ms Eyre said.




Marine experts are stunned by what happened to Freckle at Sealife Sydney Aquarium. Source: 1 NEWS



Strawberry needle scandal creating a booming trade for one food safety company

The strawberry scandal’s costing the industry millions of dollars, but it’s created a booming trade for one food safety company.

A&D Australasia provides metal detectors to food production companies, and their sales in the last week - including in New Zealand - have skyrocketed.

Spokesperson for the company Julian Horsley says he’s sold a year’s worth of products in just four days.

“There's an element of panic obviously because customers are saying we can't buy your product until this and this are in line - so that's obviously a commercial panic to them” he said.

Each detector costs around $22,000, but Horsley says growers are viewing them as an investment.

"For these guys it's either put my produce in the rubbish bin, or supply it to the customers.”

A&D Australasia provides metal detectors to food production companies, and their sales have gone through the roof. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Police volunteer saves dog that was being dragged along road by truck

A volunteer for an Arizona sheriff's office has probably saved the life of a dog that was tied to a semitrailer truck as it pulled out of a parking lot.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office says on its Facebook page that a sheriff's office volunteer Patrol-VIP "Volunteer in Protection" was at a gas station in Ash Fork this month when he saw the truck starting to leave with a dog leashed to the trailer bumper.

The dog was trying to keep pace with the truck as it headed toward an interstate highway. The patrol put on his flashers and siren and managed to stop the truck in time.

The close call was caught on the deputy's dashcam video.

The driver says he was distracted and forgot to unleash his dog. Charges aren't being considered. The dog was unharmed.


A volunteer for Arizona police has probably saved the life of a dog that was tied to a semitrailer truck as it pulled out of a petrol station. Source: Associated Press


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Samoa's damning domestic violence inquiry seeks to lift 'veil of silence' - what's next?

A damning inquiry into domestic violence in Samoa has attempted to pull back the "veil of silence" that shrouds the issue.

Worrying new homicide figures highlight the prominence of domestic violence in NZ.
Source: 1 NEWS

Last week, the Commission of Inquiry released its 300-page report into what it called a crisis in the country.

But the problems identified are well known to many in Samoa.

Now, people are asking, what next?

The inquiry's findings were damning: one in five women will be raped in their lifetime, while nine out of every 10 Samoans will have had some experience with violence in the home.

Listen to more on Dateline PacificSamoa's ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma, who also heads the National Human Rights Institute (NHRI), said a national conversation was sorely needed.

Between 2012 and 2015 the number of reported cases more than trebled.

They've continued to worsen said Maiava.

"In spite of all the efforts we are making. We're making a lot of efforts," he said.

"The courts have been very innovative and all sorts of agencies are trying to address the problem of domestic violence, but it just gets worse."

In December 2016 the Inquiry was launched by Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi with Maiava as the chairperson.

Its initial focus was violence against women and girls, said Maiava.

"But in the process we found that violence in the disciplining and upbringing of children is a factor that in a crucial way plays into violence that women and girls face later in life and into violence in general in society."

The Commission spent 2017 listening to the accounts of Samoa's people attempting to understand the problem.

Mostly victims but some perpetrators as well.

Going from village to village throughout the country, they asked people for their stories and what they thought the solutions might be.

Launching the report last week the Prime Minister said the inquiry was, "a Samoan effort to look at the problem in Samoa with a view to formulating Samoan solutions".

Violence in the aiga - the family - violates core principles

Violence in the aiga - the family - violated the core principles of both Fa'asamoa and faith, said Tuila'epa.

"Family Violence in Samoa as the report highlights, sits behind a veil of silence which allows it to continue to menace the lives of our people especially the most vulnerable among us."

But the inquiry didn't hold back in its criticism of the government.

It called it out for tasking the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) with addressing domestic violence, but not giving it the power nor the budget to act.

In a submission to the inquiry the MWCSD said domestic violence was a "national crisis", however, "our legal mandate does not provide us with the necessary legal provisions or resources to be able to respond to domestic violence fully".

A lack of government funding for any victim support services has made the situation worse still.

It's crucial, said the inquiry chair Maiava, that the government invest wisely in victim support.

"It's important that the government provides support to NGO's doing work in this space," he said.

"Because government is not and they are reaching out to the community where help is needed."

There are currently no telephone helplines and the only service, Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG), is run on donations and volunteers' goodwill.

SVSG was set-up in 2005 with a focus on children but its offering grew to meet the needs of the community and today they provide the country's only shelter for family member seeking refuge from violence.

The nature of violence in Samoa is more serious today

The nature of violence in Samoa is more serious today according to SVSG's president, Siliniu Lina Chang.

"Perpetrators are becoming more innovative in the way they carry out violent acts," she said in a submission to the inquiry.

"In the old days it was just a case of scaring their wife but now it is about killing them".

In his address at the report's launch, Tuila'epa said the seeds of the crisis had been sown by many generations, and hinted that - finally - the government might take action.

"We are all complicit. Blame does not fall on the perpetrators alone. We all are party to a degree unknowingly," said the prime minister.

"Now, for the sake of the future, it is up to us and especially those in positions of power to stand up and be counted."

The report outlined 39 key recommendations, the first being the creation of a special agency to deal with domestic violence.

The government must take the lead, said the Inquiry Chair Maiava Iulai Toma, with the support of traditional institutions like the village fono.

"So effort will be concentrated and focused at the governmental level by and through the DVO," he said referring to the proposed new Domestic Violence Office.

"Effort will be concentrated and focused at the village level in the DV committees."

The church was not immune from criticism by the Inquiry and Maiava said it must also work to address the problems.

"I hope this report and its recommendations will lead to a concerted Samoan effort to address this problem."

What is clear to everyone, though, is that the need for action is urgent.

The inquiry is the first of a kind for the Pacific, and in a region where violence in the home is rampant, other countries will be looking to learn from Samoa's example.

- Reporting by Dominic Godfrey, RNZ Pacific Journalist

www.rnz.co.nz


Topics


'Should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake' - Engineer casts doubt over plane typo

Cathay Pacific are not shying away from a huge mistake – a typo to be exact.

The airline had a Boeing 777-367 on the ground at Hong Kong airport emblazoned with “Cathay Paciic” after leaving the f out of its name.

The airline referenced the error on its Twitter account but an engineer for sister company, Haeco, cast doubt over the typo.

“The spacing is too on-point for a mishap. We have stencils. Should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake I think,” the engineer told the South China Morning Post.

The Boeing 777 was snapped in Hong Kong this week with the major error for all to see. Source: Breakfast