First Wolf Sighted in Belgium in 100 Years Was Likely Shot With Her Cubs
"The death of the wolf and her pups is a shame for Belgium," the Belgian office of WWF said in a statement reported by AFP.
Hunters believed to have 'shot dead' Belgium's first wild wolf in more than 100 years. The wolf "Naya" made intern… https://t.co/qAWZmnc0bo— Wolf Conservation Center (@Wolf Conservation Center)1569851316.0
The evidence that Naya was killed illegally by hunters is extensive. For one thing, her mate, August, who joined her in the country in August 2018, is now acting like a lone wolf.
"He hunts less, walks in different directions. It is clear that he no longer has to deal with his partner or his children," Jan Loos of WelkomWolf (Welcome Wolf) told the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper, as The Telegraph reported.
Furthermore, female wolves do not die in childbirth or move away from a territory after giving birth, Sil Janssen of the Natuurhulpcentrum animal shelter in Oudsbergen, near Naya's Eastern Flemish territory, said. And if she had been hit by a car, it would have been discovered.
"I am 100 percent sure that Naya was shot. It is the only plausible explanation," Janssen told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper, as The Telegraph reported.
An ANB investigation pointed out that Naya lived in a hard-to-access, off-limits area, which further suggested that the killing was the planned work of professionals.
"It can be assumed that if the wolf was killed. The perpetrators deliberately invaded the den to search for and deliberately kill the wolf with its young," the agency concluded, according to The Brussels Times.
However, hunting groups have pushed back against the accusations.
"This is pure suspicion and an attempt to blacken an entire sector without having the necessary material evidence. Has he seen remains?" Geert Van den Bosch, the director of Flemish hunting association Hubertus Vereniging Vlaanderen, said in response to Janssen's remarks, according to The Telegraph.
The Dutch group Animal Rights is offering €5,000 ($5,500) to anyone who can help solve the mystery.
"The illegal killing of an animal is a crime and must, therefore, be punished severely," the group said in a statement reported by The Brussels Times Tuesday. "It is not possible that hunters place themselves above the law and simply get away with it too."
Wolves once roamed across Western Europe, but were driven away by hunting, urbanization and industrialization, The Telegraph explained. They have begun to make a comeback in recent years. Belgium was the only country that had not reported a wolf sighting before Naya arrived in 2018, after traveling 310 miles in 10 days from Germany through the Netherlands.In April, ecologists announced that a wolf had officially established herself in the Netherlands for the first time in 140 years.
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In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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