Country Life Today: Man’s best friend holds the secret to longevity

In today's round-up we bring you sad news about the humpback whale spotted in The Thames, an interesting study looking into the benefits of canine companions, and plans to create a new forest in Northumberland.

Owning a dog may be the secret to living longer

It seems we have even more reasons to be grateful for man’s best friend, as a study has revealed canine companions promote better health in their owners.

Researchers have found owning a dog can lead to improved cardiovascular outcomes, especially for heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone.

The study combined patient data of 3.8 million people from multiple studies, including England.

Scientists at the American Heart Association said dog owners experienced a 24% reduced risk of mortality and are 65% less likely to die after a heart attack.

A separate  recent study carried out by Sweden’s Uppsala University also highlighted the health benefits of dog ownership. It found a 33% reduced risk of death for heart attack patients living alone after being released from hospital if they owned a dog.

‘These two studies provide good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause mortality,’ said Glenn N Levine of the American Heart Association.

Full story (The Telegraph)

Humpback whale in River Thames dies

Alamy Stock Photo

A 30ft humpback whale spotted in the River Thames over the weekend has died.

Volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue said they saw the whale lying motionless at Greenhithe yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.

The Port of London Authority will attempt to recover the animal’s body for examinations by whale experts.

It was believed is believed to be the first of its kind in the River Thames for 10 years.

On this day…

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford on opening night. Photo By Adam Scull/PHOTOlink/MediaPunch

On 9 October, 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera premiered in London, starring Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. The world-renowned musical continues to captivate audiences at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End after thousands of performances.

Plans to plant one million trees in Northumberland

Northumberland’s Kielder Forest Park. The county is set to benefit from new areas of woodland.

The planting of a new forest in Northumberland will begin next year.

Great Northumberland Forest will encompass three new areas of woodland, covering 500 hectares with up to a million new trees by 2024.

The planting scheme is among the government’s efforts to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

Other measures include providing £1 billion to boost the production of green technologies in the car industry, updating building regulations so that new homes have fewer carbon emissions and building a fusion power plant.

Study finds badger culls risk increased spread of TB

New research has suggested culling badgers drives them further afield, dispersing tuberculosis over a larger area.

Rosie Woodroffe, from the Zoological Society of London, said the results backed the scientific consensus that culling could potentially accelerate infection.

‘There is an expectation from some farmers that the cull will be a silver bullet and it will make everything much better. But these results explain why those expectations are so misplaced,’ Proffessor Woodroffe told BBC News.

Full story (BBC News)

And finally… A curious cat

A tabby cat from Helensburgh, Scotland, has gained thousands of followers thanks to his solo escapades on buses and trains.

The friendly feline, named George, has also been spotted in numerous homes in his neighbourhood as well as local businesses.

His owners, Eliazbeth and Dennis Royal, have set up a Facebook page to follow his movements, with fans tracking his adventures with pictures and videos.

We wonder where his next trip will take him…