Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Higgs Bison exisitence confirmed at Fota

Bison calf at Fota this week
A baby bison at Fota Wildlife Park in Ireland has been named 'Higgs', in honour (apparently) of Peter Higgs, the scientist who correctly, it now turns out, predicted the existence of a new particle - the Higgs boson.

The Higgs Bison was named after a public appeal for help in naming the calf by the park. The birth of the calf came in the same week that the calf's father Boris, the dominant male in the Fota group, died.

Willy Duffy head warden at Fota Wildlife Park said “it is great to see a calf born just as the summer is about to begin but it is also sad to be losing Boris as he has been with us since we introduced the herd of Bison in 1999”.

The baby bison is the 16th offspring from Boris which included 3 calves that were introduced into Komaneza Forest in Poland in 2008 as part of a reintroduction programme into the wild.

The Park has been part of a European-wide breeding programme ever since Bison first arrived in Cork in 1999. A significant number of calves have been born in the years since and many have been sent overseas to aid in programmes being developed elsewhere.

After a week of polling on the park's Facebook page, the animal was named alongside two other bison - now named Tyson and Bressie.

The news garnered some really positive reaction online after I tweeted about it:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fascination of Plants Day 2013

'Plant Evolution' at JFK Arboretum, Ireland.
Today marks Fascination of Plants Day 2013 around the World. 

It's a day to get as many people as possible enthused about the importance of plants for agriculture, food production, horticulture, forestry, energy production, production of pharmaceuticals and the variety of other ways that plants impact on all our lives.

The celebration is spearheaded by the European Plant Science Organisation but, in just two years, has already spread beyond Europe and events this year will take place as far away as Australia and Zambia.

For a full list of events taking place around the World, see the Fascination of Plants website.

To mark Fascination of Plants Day, I've written a column for The Journal today on the importance of plants to our society and economy. Read it here

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