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Columbus Zoo giving thanks for new polar bear cub

614now Staff

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has a lot to be thankful for with its brand new, healthy polar bear cub!

The cub was born on Thanksgiving Day, to mother, Aurora, and father, Lee. The Animal Care team notes that Aurora is being an attentive mother to her new cub, who has been observed nursing. As Aurora continues to care for her cub, she and her little one will remain in their private denning area behind the scenes until spring.

Oh Baby!! The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is truly thankful to welcome a new polar bear cub born on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, at 12:43 a.m. to mother Aurora and father, Lee! The Animal Care team notes that Aurora is being an attentive mother to her new cub, who has been observed nursing. As Aurora continues to care for her cub, she and her little one will remain in their private denning area behind the scenes until spring.While Aurora is not new to motherhood, having given birth to Nora (Utah's Hogle Zoo) and twins Neva (The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore) and Nuniq (Henry Vilas Zoo), this is the first cub to be sired by male polar bear, Lee. Lee arrived at the Columbus Zoo from Denver Zoo on November 7, 2018. His move was recommended by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a cooperatively managed program designed to maximize the genetic diversity and increase the population sustainability of threatened and endangered species in human care. Both Aurora and her twin sister, Anana, have been denning for several weeks. The Animal Care team observed Aurora frequently resting in her den leading up to the cub’s birth, while Anana has shown more activity, indicating that she may not be preparing for a birth. Because there are no pregnancy tests for polar bears, the team will continue to monitor Anana’s activity as polar bears can give birth from November to early January. Polar bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal due to delayed implantation, during which a fertilized egg does not implant in the uterus for several months to ensure the cub is born to the mother at the best time for survival. In 2008, the polar bear became the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened primarily due to climate change. Since 2008, the Zoo has contributed more than $250,000 to research benefiting polar bears in the Arctic. The Zoo is also designated as an Arctic Ambassador Center by Polar Bears International (PBI). At the Columbus Zoo, visitors are encouraged to do their part to save this amazing species by turning off lights when leaving a room, minimizing their use of heating and cooling units, and other ways to reduce energy consumption. For more information about this significant birth, visit: bit.ly/2OSF2ma

Posted by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Friday, November 29, 2019

In addition to this latest arrival, 13-year-old Aurora has previously given birth to three litters, consisting of three other surviving cubs. Her first cub, Nora, who now lives at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, was born on November 6, 2015 and hand-reared by Animal Care staff who needed to step in to care for her. On November 14, 2016, Aurora then gave birth to twins, female, Neva, and male, Nuniq, and provided them with excellent care. Neva now lives at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore with her half-sister, Amelia Gray (who was born the same year to Anana), and Nuniq lives at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis.

Aurora’s cub born yesterday is the first to be sired by 20-year-old Lee, who arrived at the Columbus Zoo from Denver Zoo on November 7, 2018.

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From mounted cameras, Aurora’s cub was observed being born at 12:43 a.m. The team has been monitoring Aurora and her twin sister, Anana, around the clock as they have both been denning for several weeks. Both females have given birth in the past, and Animal Care staff are very familiar with the bears’ behavior patterns. While Aurora was frequently resting in her den leading up to the cub’s birth, Anana has shown more activity, indicating that she may not be preparing for a birth.

“The birth of this polar bear cub is extremely exciting, of course, but the work of our team isn’t over as the survival rate for a delicate cub during its first few weeks is low based on a variety of factors,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf. “I am also extremely proud of our Animal Care team, who continually show their expertise and dedication as they work day and night to provide the animals with top quality care.”

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Columbus man shares sexual assault allegations against OSU doctor on NBC News

614now Staff

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As sexual assault accusations continue to mount in the case against an Ohio State University sports doctor, one alleged victim shared his story on a national platform.

NBC News recently published an interview with Stephen Snyder-Hill, a Columbus-native, LGBTQ activist, and military veteran who has accused Dr. Richard Strauss of sexually assaulting him as a student over two decades ago.

Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005

Snyder-Hill told NBC after years of trying to suppress the memories of 1995, it all came flooding back when allegations first surfaced against Strauss last year.

Now, Snyder-Hill is among hundreds of men accusing Strauss of sexual abuse, and more than a dozen individuals seeking legal action against the university.

For more on Snyder-Hill's allegations against Strauss, visit nbcnew.com.

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Flying cars coming to Columbus? Local startup shows off drone-like vehicle

Mike Thomas

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From the newly unveiled SmartLane to self-driving shuttles, Columbus is a leader in forward-thinking transit options. Now, it seems a local startup is poised to take your daily commute into the next century—and into the skies!

According to a report from CNBC, Columbus-based company the Workhorse Group showed off its SureFly Octocopter—a drone-like vehicle with room for two passengers—at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this week.

CNBC reports that functional prototypes of the craft are already taking flight as the Workhorse Group pursues certification approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Built almost entirely out of carbon fiber, the autonomous SureFly resembles popular commercial drones already on the market, only much larger. The man-sized drone is powered by a combination of electric motors, diesel, and/or jet fuel.

The Workhorse Group expects production of its vehicles to begin in less than two years and is already taking deposits. When available for sale, the craft is expected to cost around $200,000. For more information, visit the official Surefly website.

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Map: Local man thinks he has the answer to Ohio passenger rail

Regina Fox

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Kevin Verhoff really doesn't like the idea of cars. He believes they're
"highly inefficient," they take up a "ton of space," and they cost a "lot of money," not to mention the "ridiculous amounts of money" Ohio shells out on highways every year.

Instead, Verhoff would like to see the Buckeye State use its resources to build a comprehensive rail network, which looks a little something like this:

"Is this crazy? Yes. Would it be awesome? Yes," wrote Verhoff.

Not only would this proposed network "use technology and processes which are currently available (unlike the hyperloop)," according to Verhoff, there's several more reasons to get onboard, literally:

  • It would serve 23 of Ohio’s 25 largest counties
  • With stops in 44 of Ohio’s counties, it would serve 9.6 Million residents (about 83% of Ohioans).
  • Cleveland to Columbus in about 2.5 hours.
  • Columbus to Cincy in 2 hours.
  • It could be part of a broader regional and national rail network that would connect Ohio to other major cities in the region, along with international connections in Canada.

Verhoff knew he couldn't get this train on the tracks, literally, without a projected cost. He estimates that in total, the 1,800-mile project would bear a $8.98 billion price tag ($5 million per mile), spread out over 20 years.

"That’s about a 10% increase in ODOT’s annual budget!" Verhoff added.

No doubt that's not a number to scoff at, but Verhoff believes the implication of passenger rail in Ohio would be much larger.

"Imagine someone being able to go from Sandusky to Cleveland for cancer treatments or a heart surgery, without having to pay $8000 per year to own a car," he wrote. "Businesses would start to look to Ohio as an innovative place that creates opportunities and links human capital together. More importantly, people would just have more options for getting around. It’s not that expensive, and it would be life-changing for a lot of Ohioans.

"It’s a crazy idea. But, it’s also a really good idea," Verhoff said.

To read more about Verhoff's master plan for passenger rail in Ohio, click here.

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