Wild “super pigs,” attacking bears, whales return home, snake on the loose

Nov 29, 2023 Episode 166

Wild “super pigs” rampage N America, bears attack in Japan, blue whales return to Indian Ocean and venomous snake loose in N’lands

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week animals dominate the news… with wild pigs on the loose in north America, bears on attack in Japan, whales return to the Indian Ocean and a slithery pet is on the loose in the Netherlands.

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults!


LEELA: I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever, I’m joined by… my producer, aka, my mama!

MAMA: Hello. I’m Lyndee Prickitt

LEELA: This week…  A breed of “super pigs” are creating havoc in North America and causing farmers millions of dollars in damage.

While in Japan bear attacks in the rural north are on the increase.

Blue whales return home… to the Indian Ocean where they’d been wiped out years ago.

And… a slithery pet is on the loose in a Dutch city. Ssssssssssss.

OK, let’s get this animal-friendly podcast underway.

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

LEELA: So, Mama, you’ve heard of Super Girl, and supermarkets.

MAMA: Yes.

LEELA: But have you ever heard of…

MAMA: Dann DAN DAAAAAN… dramatic pause… Okay the pause is over.

LEELA: Okay I’ll continue.

MAMA: So, what I have never heard of

LEELA: Super pigs?

MAMA: Excuse me!

LEELA: Yes I said super pigs, they’re real and they’re causing lots of trouble.

MAMA: So, they’re not at all like Super Girl?

LEELA: Not at all! I’m talking about feral boars…

MAMA: Okay and Feral means to exist in a wild state. And bore is not like me when I’m giving you a lecture. Ha ha. But “boar” is another word for pig. What’s the difference between boars and pigs?

LEELA: Well, a boar is technically any wild members of the pig species, although it sometimes just refers to domesticated male pigs.

MAMA: So, feral boars are basically wild pigs!

LEELA: Yes, wild pigs, or boars, in North America are running AROUND, and causing all sorts of trouble for farmers.

MAMA: What do you mean “causing trouble”?

LEELA: Well for starters, they eat anything and everything. They trample around in corn fields, they dig up potatoes, and smash through soybean and peanut crops.

MAMA: Hmmm. I can only imagine… if they’re eating all those crops, it’s gotta come back out the other end eventually. They must be leaving a mess behind themselves, so to speak!

LEELA: They certainly are! Pig feces, or ummm…

MAMA: Poo. Or poop.

LEELA: Yes, well it can taint water supplies with dangerous bacteria, like E. coli.

MAMA: Well, they sure ARE troublemakers! I guess the “super” means, SUPER naughty!

LEELA: Actually, no. Scientists call them “super pigs” because of how resilient they are.

MAMA: And resilient means that they can withstand difficult conditions and adapt to their environment.

LEELA: Yes!  In fact, there are lots of feral pigs in the U.S. But, this group of “super” wild pigs have come from Canada, where it’s cold. They’ve adapted to the environment by growing furry jackets to keep themselves warm!

MAMA: Ah! That is resilient. What else makes them super?

LEELA: Well, they can reproduce twice a year. That means a wild mother pig can have like 12 babies a year!

MAMA: That gonna be fun. So, we’ve got these furry wild pigs, who have lots of babies, and like to destroy farmland with their big snouts and frumpy bodies. Ugh. They do sound like a pain in the neck!

LEELA: Yes! Scientists call them an ecological train wreck for all the problems they cause… we’re talking 2.5 billion dollars in damages for farmers already!

MAMA: That’s a lot of money loss. So, what’s the plan to eradicate, or get rid of, them?

LEELA: There are a few things local governments are trying. Like large traps called “boar busters.” And they’re also using nets to catch them from helicopters.

MAMA: Ohhh that sounds very hi tech. In fact, these super pigs sound like super villains!

LEELA: Maybe that’s why they’re also called swine.

MAMA: Ha, good one. Well, there was nothing boaaaaaring about this story at all!

LEELA: Eww… Even better one, Mama.

[SOURCE: https://apnews.com/article/wild-pigs-feral-swine-canada-minnesota-border-e59a542efb3c64d5f4b136fc137b7665





MAMA: Well, we’re not done with the puns or the animals – oh, no. Because we’ve got some more “unbearable” animal news, this time in Japan.

LEELA: Ah… You´re talking about the bear attacks, aren´t you? No laughing matter, actually.

MAMA: Yes, sorry, you´re absolutely right. These are serious bear attacks happening in Japan. And people are scared.

LEELA: But what IS happening exactly?

MAMA: Well, in the countryside of rural northern Japan, there aren’t many people that live there but there are a lot of bears and there’ve been several cases of the big, furry mammals approaching, and sometimes attacking, humans.

LEELA: But why? I mean, because they’re hungry, I guess.

MAMA: Yes, but like REALLY really hungry. These bears are preparing to go into hibernation for the winter.

LEELA: Hibernation is when animals, like bears, or groundhogs even, take a super long nap in the winter cause it’s too cold outside to find food.

MAMA: Yes! In fact, there are several stages of “hibernation” and the one right before going to sleep, is eating. And I mean aot of eating. They are SUPER hungry.

LEELA: Right, so, bears eat a lot of food to fatten themselves up so they’re nice and toasty warm for their long winter nap.

MAMA: You got it! And the food they like to eat most at this stage is nuts, especially acorns and beechnuts.

LEELA: Uh, and what’s that got to do with people? Wait – I got this – bears attack humans because… they’re hangry!

MAMA: Hangry. Exactly smart girl! The bears are looking far and wide for these fatty nuts, but they’re not finding any. So, you’ve got a bunch of hangry bears. And so far, this year, around 180 people have been injured and two people have died because of bear attacks.

LEELA: Gosh! what’s gonna happen?

MAMA: Well eventually, the bears will go into hibernation until next season. But until then, people should remember a few tips – never make eye contact with a bear and never try to run away. And keep some pepper spray in your pocket, because bears hate it.

LEELA: Good to know! And good on you mama, for avoiding any additional “bear” puns. I know it’s tough for you.

MAMA: Girl, I barely made it

[SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/29/japan-rise-bear-attacks-food-struggle




WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… it’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”

MAMA: Talks are underway to extend the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. This comes as more Israeli hostages are released by the militant group in exchange for more Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails.

Great news in India where 41 tunnel workers, trapped for 16 days in a collapsed mine, are freed. Rescuers had to clear rocks and rubble by hand in the Himalayan tunnel after high-powered machines failed.

One of the world’s largest icebergs – I’m talking three times the size of New York City – has started.

drifting away from Antarctica. It detached from the Filchner Ice Shelf in 1986 but got stuck to the ocean floor. Now winds and ocean currents are pushing it out.

And in a curious case of a Mother Nature mash-up, a half-red-half-blue lobster has been discovered that’s also half-male and half-female. The curious crustacean was found in waters near Maine is also becoming – of course  a social media sensation.

[SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-middle-east-67562488




LEELA: Well thank you so much for that – wait for it… that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: Anytime, Leela. And, surprise, surprise… we have more of this.

NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The call of nature. Get on your safari suite. Or squeeze into your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarine. Submarine. Because Mother Nature is calling! Nature.”  

MAMA: Yes, and this is a good news story that shows that conservation programs really do work.

LEELA: And it’s a story close to home for us too. Well, ish. I’m talking about further down in the Indian Ocean…

MAMA: Yes, waaaay down off the coast of southern India, off the coast of East Africa, in fact, where you hit a stunning archipelago, as in a collection of islands, called the Seychelles, where blue whales are returning home.

LEELA: Oh, thank goodness. After that news about the iceberg, I was feeling some climate anxiety – no, thank you! I’m sooooo relieved to know there’s some good environmental news too.

MAMA: Yes, we like to share these stories a lot, don’t we? And so, let’s head across to our Environment Correspondent, Tofunmi Fagade, for the details.

TOFUNMI: Thanks, Leela!

So, let’s start at the beginning, let’s say a few hundred, maybe even a few thousand years ago, when the largest animal to ever exist on the planet swam freely in the Indian Ocean.

Yes, I’m talking about blue whales, which are even bigger than the T.rex dinosaur was.

Like twice as big.

That’s around 100 feet long (or 30 meters) – or put another way, the length of THREE school buses.

Well, whales have a lot of blubber – that’s the thick layer of fat under their skin – and so you can imagine that blue whales have TONS of it.

And sadly, that was the problem.

Whalers loved to hunt these massive animals to sell their blubber, along with other parts of their body, to be used to make things like lamp oil, soap, candles and even perfume and make-up.

Well, in the 1960a whalers almost annihilated – as in completely destroyed – the blue whales in the Indian Ocean.

Enter the conservationists.

 They’ve been working to stop whale hunting and lure the big beast back for decades.

And now researchers have captured audio recordings that reveal the animals are spending months in the region, which COULD mean they’re breeding there.

The researchers say this discovery is an amazing win for conservation!

I’m Tofunmi Fagade, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Oh, what a great story, Tofunmi! Mark one up for the environmentalists!

[SOURCE: https://www.independent.co.uk/tv/climate/blue-whales-return-seychelles-whaling-b2452568.html



MAMA: And finally, let’s see what the lucky dip machine has for us this week. Something tells me it’s another animal story…

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: So, Mama, keeping up with the animal theme we’ve had throughout this whole episode, if I say green mamba to you what comes to your mind?

MAMA: A cocktail at a beach party?

LEELA: Mama!

MAMA: Okay, some dance from the 1970s?

LEELA: No… As any reptile-lover would know, a green mamba is a snake. Not just any snake, but a highly venomous snake.

And, as its name suggests. It’s green. Not just any shade of green but we’re talking light, bright, neon green snake that’s native to Africa.

MAMA: OK. Thanks for all those fab as in fabulous facts, Leela. So, what’s up with this African snake then?

LEELA: It’s not in Africa anymore, that’s what! It’s a very long way from home in fact – in the European country of the Netherlands.

MAMA: OK, so a lot of animals don’t live in their native lands.

LEELA: Well, the problem is this one’s not even living in its new land – because it’s run away from home and its owner has no idea where it is!

MAMA: Oh! As in –

LEELA: Yes – red alert: snake on the loose!

MAMA: Yeeeehhhhh… And, uh, where is this exactly?

LEELA: In the Dutch city of Tilburg.

MAMA: Uh oh, that doesn’t sound like fun for Tilburgians.

LEELA: No. Not for the owner who reported it missing (and is, no doubt, totally stressed out). Nor for their neighbors! Or any of the citizens of Tilburg, who are probably freaking out at the prospect of an unexpected slithery guest showing up.

MAMA: Yeah. I would be freaking out.

LEELA: Yes, well luckily for these Dutch residents, it’s winter there and this snake likes warm, dark places. So, while it’s probably hungry and it IS a carnivore –

MAMA: As in it eats mean.

LEELA: Yes, well it’s unlikely to bother you. Unless… you have any rodents or birds, or squirrels, frogs or lizards around – as that’s what it typically feasts on.

MAMA: Well, that’s OK then. Unless, you know, you have a mouse problem…

LEELA: Well, if so, you won’t for long – you’ll have a snake problem!

MAMA: Bad-doomp-doon!

[SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/21/green-mamba-snake-on-the-loose-tilburg-netherlands



FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – A breed of feral boars, which scientists are calling “super pigs,” are wreaking havoc in North America. What does feral mean?

Existing in a wild state.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – And just what’s the difference between boars and pigs?

Boar is any of the wild members of the pig species or just a male domestic pig,

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Bears are on attack in northern world Japan they like to eat fatty nuts before they go into hibernation. Besides acorns, what other nuts the bears love?


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Blue whales – which is the world’s largest animal – are making their home in a part of the Indian Ocean where they were wiped out decades ago. Just how big can a blue whale become?

100 feet long

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A deadly green mamba snake is on the loose in the Netherlands. What does this venomous reptile usually eat?

Rodents, birds, squirrels, frogs and lizards.

LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then HIT that subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.

MAMA: While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review! We’ll read it out loud if you do…

LEELA: Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!