Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ultimate Fighter Rescues a Baby Dolphin

While you were sleeping in on Sunday morning, Ultimate Fighter 19 competitor Cathal Pendred was out for a walk on the beach with his girlfriend when he spotted a group of people looking into the ocean at a distressing situation.  As it turns out the crowd was gathered because a baby dolphin had washed up on shore, injured and frightened, unable to get back into the ocean without the currents pushing him onto the beach.  Pendred decided to offer a hand along with another onlooker to help the baby dolphin get back into the water safely.  "I was at a wedding down the countryside on the west coast of Ireland on Saturday. The next day, myself and my girlfriend went for a walk on the beach which was tight beside the hotel we were staying in," Pendred told FOX Sports.

-Igor Purlantov

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Video: Cats Annoyed by Doggie Friends

We've all been there. Someone really wants to be your friend and you find them totally...slobbery. They get in your face, smiling like they can't possibly understand why you're not in the mood to hang out. They think you're looking for something to do, when in fact sitting quietly is a perfectly enjoyable activity. They seem to have interminable energy and optimism. It's just so exhausting.  Cats get it. Why can't dogs?

-Igor Purlantov

Monday, April 28, 2014

Africa Land Grabs Endanger Elephants

Political and military elites are seizing protected areas in one of Africa's last bastions for elephants, putting broad swaths of Zimbabwe at risk of becoming fronts for ivory poaching, according to a nonprofit research group's report that examines government collusion in wildlife trafficking.  Zimbabwe has maintained robust elephant populations compared with other countries on the continent. But economic penalties imposed by the United States and Europe have led Zimbabweans with ties to President Robert Mugabe's ruling party to find new methods of making money. The report, set for release Monday, says they may be turning to elephants' highly valued ivory tusks.  Zimbabwe's embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

-Igor Purlantov

Friday, April 25, 2014

America's First Cat Cafe Opens in NYC

Toss your toy mice in the air: North America has its first cat cafe.  The Cat Cafe by Purina ONE opens its kitty door (and its human-size doors) to New Yorkers on April 24, and will remain open for four days. Curious cat lovers will have the chance to sip complimentary "cat'achinos" with 16 adoptable and adorable cats. And, no, visitors don't need to use a box as a toilet.

-Igor Purlantov

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Animals Are Persons Too

How does a thing become a person? In December 2013, the lawyer Steven Wise showed the world how, with a little legal jujitsu, an animal can transition from a thing without rights to a person with legal protections. This Op-Doc video follows Mr. Wise on his path to filing the first-ever lawsuits in the United States demanding limited “personhood” rights for certain animals, on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State.

-Igor Purlantov

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Very Smart Ape Demonstrates How to Roast Marshmallows

For one very talented ape, having no trainer and no assistance is no problem when it comes to making a favorite fireside snack.  Kanzi the bonobo is not your average animal. The ape knows some American Sign Language, can create stone tools, and apparently cooks. That last trait is highlighted in a viral video from BBC One. The U.K. network's show "Monkey Planet" explores "your animal family as you've never seen it before." In the series, the characteristics that primates share with humans are explored. A shining example comes courtesy of Kanzi.  George McGavin, the host of the show, narrates the video. In the minute-long clip published to the BBC's YouTube channel, Kanzi is shown building a fire. The bonobo breaks debris and wood before piling the pieces neatly. He then lights a match and uses a small branch to ignite the fire.

-Igor Purlantov

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

11 Cat Breeds You've Probably Never Heard Of

Cats might be the darlings of the Internet, but you don't often see them out and about with their humans, lounging at coffee shops or parks like their canine counterparts. So unless you're a cat breeder, a regular reader of our cat breed profile pages or a faithful cat show attendee, chances are there are many cat breeds and varieties you've never heard of.  Whether you're looking to bring home a new kitty or simply want to impress your friends with your superior feline knowledge, here are 11 rare or lesser-known cat breeds you should know about.

-Igor Purlantov

Monday, April 21, 2014

Baby Squirrel Wears a Cast for Broken Ankle

After falling 75 feet from a tree onto concrete, an adorable baby squirrel is on the mend, with a super cute cast on her broken ankle.   The injured squirrel was found by a private citizen on April 8, who took her to Animal Control Services in the District of Columbia. She was then brought to City Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center in Washington, D.C., where she was treated.

-Igor Purlantov

Friday, April 18, 2014

How Zebras Got Their Stripes

How did the zebra get its stripes? It sounds like the theme for a “Just So” story that Rudyard Kipling never got around to writing. You would think that someone would have come up with the definitive answer by now, but, in fact, the reason zebras have stripes remains a biological mystery. The laws of evolution suggest that the random emergence of stripes on the ancestors of modern zebras must have had some sort of advantage that allowed them to reproduce more prolifically than their unstriped brethren. The striped animals would have become more common with each generation, ultimately outlasting the ones without stripes.

-Igor Purlantov

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dog Chosen for Jury Duty

It’s kinda strange."  That was New Jersey resident Barrett Griner's first thought when he checked his mail last week and found that one of the mail items from his local county clerk's office was not for him. It was for his 5-year-old German Shepherd dog, IV.  "I got the mail and I look at it, and I’m like IV Griner, this is my dog’s name," he said.  "I’m wondering like, What is this? Something from the county office about her vaccinations or something? Like, why is my dog getting mail?"

-Igor Purlantov

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Animals Associated With Easter

Easter is a holiday that celebrates the coming of spring and the birth of new life. Hence, many images of Easter are synonymous with images of springtime such as flowers, gentle colors and baby animals. Although decorated eggs, Easter baskets (usually filled with candy), and the Easter Bunny are the most iconic Easter imagery, baby animals are also ever-present symbols in the holiday’s décor.

-Igor Purlantov

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family Adopts Dog That Raced Train

A daring dog that raced alongside a Metro-North train from the South Bronx to Manhattan last week as passengers and crew cringed in fear she would get hurt has been adopted, officials said Monday.  The dog, named Tie by MTA workers for all the railroad ties she ran across, went home to her new family on Sunday, according to Animal Care & Control.

-Igor Purlantov

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lives of Animals, Disabled and Otherwise

Fans of the PBS series “Nature” are used to having their breath taken away by the photography, but they’re less accustomed to having their heartstrings tugged. Wednesday’s installment, “My Bionic Pet,” about animals with disabilities, goes for the emotions. It’s one of three programs this week that prove that television about nonhuman creatures can be more than mere pretty pictures or idiotic turtle wrangling.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thousands Of Ukraine's Zoo Animals May Soon Starve

As political unrest continues to threaten the peace in Ukraine, thousands of animals at one of the country's zoos are at the brink of starvation, an international conservation group announced this week.  The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization, a nonprofit headquartered in South Africa, told The Huffington Post there has been a severe scarcity of food and medical supplies for the estimated 5,700 animals at the 104-year-old Nikolaev Zoo, located in southern Ukraine, since government funding for the zoo dried up a few weeks ago.  "The fact is, they were just two days away from totally running out of food for the carnivores when we found out about this and began providing meat," the organization's international president, Barbara Wiseman, told HuffPost via email. "The rest of the animals were just two weeks away from running out of food."

-Igor Purlantov

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Animals Feel Pleasure

Do dogs feel pleasure? How about crocodiles? Jonathan Balcombe says yes, they do. And not just dogs and crocodiles, but also fish, monkeys, pigs and chickens.  "Why wouldn’t they?" he says. "Pleasure is nature’s way of saying 'Good behavior!' It encourages us to do it again. Little wonder, then, that food, play, sex and friendships feel so good. Fishes line up for a spa service from cleaner-fishes, crocodiles love to bask in the sun, as do chickens, and if you haven’t seen a pig eat a pumpkin then it’s time you turned your lights on."

-Igor Purlantov

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dog Races and Chases Metro North Train

A feisty little pooch took on a 400-ton Metro-North train on Tuesday — bravely running with it from the South Bronx to Manhattan.  “She was just running like she didn’t have a care in the world,” said engineer Joseph Delia, 52, who was at the controls of the 10:39 a.m. Hudson Line train to Grand Central.  The speedy pup began the epic chase at the busy Mott Haven Junction, racing alongside the train as it made its way out of The Bronx.

-Igor Purlantov

Monday, April 7, 2014

Do Animals Foretell Comings Events?

Our pets are more than an extension of our family; they are many times at the pinnacle of the family. And so it is no surprise when an emergent situation arises and they are there with a keen eye and sometimes the correct answer. Recently there have been articles regarding the animals of Yellowstone leaving the Nation Park due (in some beliefs) to earthquake activity. While if we pay attention to any natural disaster, we hear of animals who seem to be acting strangely or doing something really quite unusual just prior to an event. Is this a foretelling of the event?
-Igor Purlantov

Friday, April 4, 2014

Video: Baby Animals Taking Their First Steps

Animals may come in all shapes and sizes, but there's one thing they have in common: They all stumble on their first few steps.  In an adorable video posted to YouTube last month, baby animals take their first steps. Most of the younglings struggle to find their balance, while others quickly get the hang of it.  Though the baby animals in the video have twice the number of legs to deal with, it just goes to show that we're all a little unsteady at first.

-Igor Purlantov

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Animals Fleeing Yellowstone National Park

Reports across social media that animals are allegedly fleeing Yellowstone National Park have caused Yellowstone Volcano to trend on Google today.  The reports of animals fleeing started to surface April 2nd following a series of low level earthquakes in the world famous park March 30th. The park sits on top of the Yellowstone Caldera and Super Volcano, and although not having erupted for 640,000 years, is still an active hotspot.  For those who have never read a Super Volcano thriller (Harry Turtledove’s Super Volcano series is a good read) or studied science, there remains a real danger that the Yellowstone Caldera could explode in the future, although whether that’s tomorrow or 500,000 years from now is something science is yet to answer.

-Igor Purlantov

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Evolving View of Animals

The portrait has a blunt simplicity. A chimpanzee sits with his back facing the camera. His gently lit body is nearly hairless from alopecia, and only a few strands of gray hair remain on his sandpapery scalp. A spotlight on his head reveals a reddish scar that has yet to fully heal.  Tim Flach, a London-based photographer who has been documenting exotic animals for the past two decades, said he deliberately captured the back of the chimp’s body to provoke his viewers to question the striking similarities — and differences — between their own bodies and the chimp’s.
-Igor Purlantov

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Whale of a Ruling

It’s rare that animal abuse ends with one blow to the head. Typically, it takes a thousand strikes before the perpetrator—whether it’s an industry, a nation, or an individual—moves on. That’s been the case with all of the major breakthroughs in civil rights, women’s rights, and so many other important causes. Such is the case, too, with the movement to stop the commercial slaughter of the biggest animals, with the biggest brains, who have ever lived on the planet: the many species of whales that swim the world’s oceans.

Igor Purlantov