Can the search for monsters and mystery creatures please become a reputable branch of science? Scientific American has a report on a meeting of experts who take the matter very seriously. Maybe…

KennyVia Prose Before Hos:

Kenny is a white tiger ‘selectively’ inbred while in captivity in the United States. As zoo’s and exotic pet stores have increased the demand for white tigers, breeders have attempted to recreate the ideal white tiger — large snout, blue eyes, white fur — through relying on a limited pool of captive white tigers.

The result? An astoundingly high rate of deformities and health issues. For example, Kenny is mentally retarded and has significant physical limitations.

A poisonous Egyptian cobra slipped out of its cage this weekend, the New York Daily News reports. By this time, it may have caught a downtown 6 train to Greenwich Village or…

Two Headed CalfVia Armenian News (NEWS.am)

On January 25, at 10:00 a.m. a two-headed calf was born in Sotk village, Gegharkunik region of Armenia in the cowhouse of Hakob and Alina Avetyans. Hakob is an electrician and his spouse is a housewife. The couple has been living together for 25 years and has been engaged in livestock breeding for 20 years.

According to Avetyans, the cow gave birth to a calf with a difficulty. The calf is fed artificially 3 times a day. According to local veterinarians, if the calf lives three days, there will not be life threats. They stressed the animal has gender characteristics of both sexes.

Charlie The Smoking ChimpVia Reuters:

JOHANNESBURG — A chimpanzee once hooked on smoking by visitors offering it cigarettes has died at a South African zoo at the relatively advanced age of 52, officials said on Wednesday.
“He appears to have died of old age,” said municipal spokesman Qondile Khedama. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

“Charlie the smoking chimp” used to put two fingers to his mouth to mimic smoking and reach out with his other hand to bum cigarette butts from visitors at Bloemfontein Zoo. But when videos of him puffing away circulated globally a few years ago, zoo officials moved to cut off the supply of smokes.

The nickname stuck even though the cigarette habit faded.

The life expectancy for chimps in the wild is about 15 years and only 7 percent of wild chimps live past 40, a Harvard University report published in 2007 said.

Hey, I guess if you’re one of the last of your kind, you must try to propagate the species by any means possible. Too bad that this zoologist’s head looks like one of this bird’s kind. From the BBC program Last Chance to See:

Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine head to the ends of the earth in search of animals on the edge of extinction. In New Zealand the travellers make their way through one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. They are on a journey to find the last remaining kakapo, a fat, flightless parrot which, when threatened with attack, adopts a strategy of standing very still indeed.

OysterOK if it’s not global warming related (a very contentious issue on disinfo.com), what the hell has been f#cking these oysters? Rachel Kaufman writes on National Geographic News:

New strain can kill 80 percent of an oyster bed in a week, experts say. Don’t worry — oyster herpes isn’t a new side effect of eating “the food of love.”

The incurable, deadly virus is, however, alarming fishing communities in Europe, where oyster herpes seems to be spreading — and could go on spreading as seas continue to warm, experts say.

In July lab testing of farmed oysters detected the first known United Kingdom cases of herpes in the shellfish. The virus has already killed between 20 to 100 percent of breeding Pacific oysters in some French beds in 2008, 2009, and 2010, according to the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea.

ChimpanzeeTim Barribeau writes on io9.com:

Chimpanzees are our closest primate relative, and have a number of behaviors we once thought were human only: they empathize, cooperate, and have a sense of self. But how do they deal with the most distressing event possible — death?

Two studies this being published in Current Biology this week show a remarkable amount about how chimpanzees mourn, and the effect that death has on them — sometimes in ways very similar to us, sometimes shockingly different.

In what is an incredibly rare occurrence, cameras recorded the death and mourning of two groups of chimps — one with an elderly female, and the other with the death of two infants. When an adult chimp dies unexpectedly or traumatically, the tribe’s reaction is often loud and violent. Both times here, the reaction from those close to the dead was very different.