Monday, January 11, 2016

Animals up close at The Dubai Mall

Otters, rays and crocodiles, oh my! Go behind the scenes and explore what animals get up to with the new Animal Encounter Experience at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in the Dubai Mall. The encounter will showcase the marvels of the aquatic world, with guests will having the opportunity to get up close and personal with three incredible species - otters, rays and salt-water crocodiles.
Each encounter will offer information on how the animals are cared for at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and highlight several species conservation initiatives.

Animal Encounters are held every hour, daily from 11am to 10pm. Each Animal Encounter is priced Dhs200 per person.

Book online as there is limited space available. For more information, visit:
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

These Animals Are Helping to Slow Climate Change—But They’re Dying

Animals play a key role keeping forests healthy

The decline in animal populations in tropical forests may play a role in accelerating climate change, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, shows how the loss of animals reduces the ability of forests to store carbon that would otherwise accelerate global warming. Large animals like large primates, tapirs and toucans play a key role distributing the seeds of the large trees that store the most carbon and in turn ensuring a healthy forest. The researchers note that tropical forests store 40% of the world’s carbon, but that carbon is released into the air when forests are degraded or destroyed. The decline in those animal populations thus has a tangible effect on how well their habitat can prevent carbon from reaching the atmosphere.

Deforestation has been a hot topic in discussions about how to reduce climate change, but the focus on animals has been less prominent. The new research adds relevance to campaigns to protect endangered animals in tropical forest areas where populations are on the decline due to everything from hunting to logging.
The study also adds to a growing area of research focused on how to address climate change by restoring nature.
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Monday, December 14, 2015

Queensland farm a haven for injured animals

Storybook Farm provides a secure home for animals with disabilities, injuries and special needs.
Storybook Farm provides a home and care for injured animals.
Storybook Farm provides a home and care for injured animals.

A little farm with a big heart is helping three-legged dogs, blind horses and anxious donkeys live long and happy lives.

Storybook Farm, in south-east Queensland, houses animals of all shapes and sizes with special needs on a small plot of land in the Scenic Rim.

Lisa Jane Cameron along with her family have been helping animals for more than 30 years.

The one-of-a-kind farm began after their family dog, Mr Waddles, became paralysed and they could not find a support service for disabled animals.

“Since then we’ve welcomed brain-damaged whippets, Matthew a blind staffy and Krumb our wheelchair-bound dachshund,” she said.

“If the animals have the will, we will find a way and that’s what it’s about.”

A passion for problem solving
It is not just the animals that Ms Cameron has to assist.

Owners of the animals turn to her for emotional support too.

“Our main aim is to keep families together where possible, and if not we visit the families with their pet,” she said.

“For many of the people we help their pet is the only living thing they have seen all day and if you remove that it’s detrimental to the person as well.

“We’ve seen families who thought it was the end and they were traumatised families and now they are back together again.

“We do it because we love it and we want to help.”
One of the goats is being nursed back to health after breaking his leg. Photo: ABC

The small sanctuary focuses on giving a new lease on life to special needs animals and also severe cruelty cases.

“We’re developing wheels that can be used on the beach [for disabled dogs],” Ms Cameron said.

“With the blind dogs, we’ve learnt to place furniture in the right places and we teach them about different sounds.

“For the dogs that can’t walk we have drag bags and we’re inventing better ones that are cooler for Queensland – we’re problem solvers and we do it every day.”
Krumb the dog is one of the well-known characters on the farm. Photo: ABC

Helping animals with a strong will to live

Ms Cameron has been called many things including Molly from A Country Practice and Doctor Doolittle.

She sees her work as a way to give back to the community – and to animals too.

“Animals do so much for us, they protect us, they’re therapy dogs, they help us see and help with cancer patients,” she said.
LJ Cameron holds one of the whippet dogs who has an injured skull. Photo: ABC
“People’s blood pressure lowers when they pat a cat and nursing homes are better with an animal in it.

“We’re not here to save all animals but if they have a strong will to live we will give them a way.”

Ms Cameron’s children, Alex and Jonah, help on a daily basis with feeding, walking and working closely with each of the animals.

“I couldn’t do it without my children,” she said.

“It has taught them to respond. It makes them better people as they are more compassionate, tolerant and they have understanding.”

Making a difference

When people ask Ms Cameron why she does what she does, she tells them that she wants to make a difference.

“You get up and you make a difference, as I think that’s what we’re here for,” she said.

“I think we owe the animals more than they owe us.

Alex Cameron nurses one of the blind goats on the farm. Photo: ABC

“We find many people find the dogs confronting, especially the dogs in wheelchairs – as they see the wheelchair, not the dog in the wheelchair.

“I let people spend time with them and within minutes people are in tears.”
The blind dogs on the arm have collars detailing their vision-impairment. Photo: ABC
The future for Storybook Farm

In the future, Ms Cameron hopes to bring literacy and her animals together with storytelling sessions for children to be held at the farm.

She also hopes to register Storybook as a charity in 2016 and find more people to come onboard and help.

“Inside each bit of fur, feather or scale there’s a someone and it’s not a Disney-fied sort of attitude,” she said.
One of the three-legged dogs running around the farm. Photo: ABC
“My aim is to build the sanctuary and make it secure and strong enough that it’s a legacy that goes way past me.

“We hope to get a stable property to set-up a permanent base and we want to go to more schools and hospitals next year.”
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Friday, December 11, 2015

Steamy Calendar With Vet Students And Animals Is All We Want For Christmas

With this calendar, you'll never have a bad month.
Omega Tau Sigma veterinary fraternity at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine recently released its 2016 Men of Vet School calendar to the public. The steamy calendar, which is an annual project, features students alongside adorable animals.

Vet Students And Animals
Omega Tau Sigma/Cornell University
And as if that wasn't splendid enough, 15 percent of the calendar's profits will go toward the Patient Assistance Fund to help owners in need afford veterinary care for their pets.

Vet Students And Animals
Omega Tau Sigma/Cornell University
Samantha Lovering, this year's calendar chair, told The Huffington Post that the calendar features 33 veterinary school students, and took a few months to shoot. She also mentioned that hours of brainstorming went into creating each scene. The toughest one was the November shoot, which incorporated chickens.

Vet Students And Animals
Omega Tau Sigma/Cornell University
"We had never done a shoot with chickens before and thought it would be fun and interesting," Lovering said. "But they were a challenge to hold onto!"
Of course the calendar wasn't just hard work -- it ended up being a blast to work on for many involved.

Vet Students And Animals
Omega Tau Sigma/Cornell University
"As veterinary students, we always love working with animals!" Lovering told HuffPost. "Many of the animals are owned by members of Omega Tau Sigma, and everyone is always excited to have their animals photographed."

Vet Students And Animals
Omega Tau Sigma/Cornell University
Well, now we know what to get the animal lover in our lives for Christmas!
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Monday, December 7, 2015

Australian Zoo Animals Enjoy Christmas Treats!

Animals at Sydney's Taronga Zoo enjoyed an early delivery from Santa this year and were treated to edible Christmas presents Friday.
aussie zoo christmas treats
Animals at Sydney's Taronga Zoo enjoyed an early delivery from Santa this year and were treated to edible Christmas presents Friday.
The Taronga Zoo said the chimpanzees, including babies Fumo and Sudi, woke to find gift-wrapped food treats prepared by keepers and volunteers, inside their enclosure.
Local media reported that Fumo, a 15-month-old baby chimpanzee, spent the day playing with Christmas paper and boxes.

According to the zoo, Esmeralda the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, who is the zoo's oldest resident, also enjoyed a festive treat in the form of watermelons carved in the shape of Christmas trees.
Zoo officials said the treats, while edible, were also educational in nature, designed to challenge and encourage the animals' natural skills.
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The Reindeer

The first thing you need to know about reindeer is that, like a spy or a pro wrestler, they go by different names depending on where they are. If you're reading this in the Russian taiga or in the fjords of Lapland, you're familiar with reindeer, rangifer tarandus, the antlered species of deer that roam around munching on lichens and growing a crown of antlers that can range in size from cute to terrifying. If you're reading this in Greenland or the Canadian tundra, however, you only know of Caribou, rangifer tarandus, those hooved cuties that roam around avoiding wolves and hanging out in sometimes massive herds.
 Just kidding! Everyone knows about reindeer. Due to their place in the pagan-Christian Santa Claus mythology of the western world, they are a pop culturally protected species, disproportionately beloved and sought after, especially in the winter months. There's the song, of course, then there's the Rankin/Bass Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, then there's the 1989 film Prancer which I remember sending me into a spiral of existential despair sometime in the second grade. There's also a reindeer sidekick in the extraordinarily popular Disney film Frozen, which you know kicked up its numbers on Google Trends.
But what's really the difference between a reindeer and a caribou? This should be obvious by now: a reindeer is a charismatic and charming celebrity animal, a caribou is that gross moose type thing you skip at the zoo.

That's not the only thing reindeer have going for themselves. Reindeer get to live in objectively the best part of the world (the Arctic circle), and unlike some of their neighbors up there, they're not even close to endangered. Part of this is just because most of their predators (wolves, bears) only pick off the smallest and weakest of the herd, and part of this is that like so many deer species, reindeer have a handy way of breeding way past the point of practicality. I mean, if you were this cute and glamorous, you would too.

But back to the predators — why will nobody step to the reindeer? Is it their antlers? I mean, if you think about it, antlers are pretty fucking crazy. Just close your eyes, and forget that reindeer have antlers and moose have antlers and there are antlers on the wall of that artisanal whiskey bar in your neighborhood. Now open your eyes and look at a reindeer.

Antlers are so weird! What are antlers, you ask? Well, they're just a bone like any other bone ... if any other bone grew into a massive biological chandelier covered in a soft layer of skin which then molted off. And if that bone then died and hung around on top of your head for a while before falling off. And if that happened every year. Antlers are used for combat and sexual selection (a.k.a. fightin' and fuckin'), two of the greatest hobbies of the animal kingdom.
So maybe that's freaking out all the would-be reindeer eaters. But you know who's not freaked out? Mosquitoes.
Yes, believe it or not, one of the greatest threats to the modern reindeer are mosquitos. Not bears. Not wolves. Not idiot humans looking for decorations for their billiard rooms. Mosquito bites, especially in the summer, can cause so much stress to reindeer that they stop feeding — both adults and calves. Here is a picture of some reindeer huddling on snow to avoid their bites. Look at it and try to imagine anything more pathetic.


Look, I can sympathize. I'm the kind of person who gets ten times as many bug bites as everyone else during an average summer picnic; when I cry out in disgust and shame at my befouled limbs, at least one person always says, "aw, it's just ‘cause you're so sweet." I'm sure all those reindeer have heard the same line. Well, guess what: just because you're sweet and wonderful doesn't mean that's an invitation for bloodsuckers and users to feed off all your positive energy. Maybe it's not the toughest thing to be brought low by a tiny biting insect, but the stress is real.

But the fact that this is one of the only real Achilles heels of the reindeer just goes to show how resilient they are. And did I even mention how many flavors they come in? My personal favorite is the Svalbard reindeer, one of the northernmost subspecies, which looks like a sporty little dog or jackalope. Look at it go!

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Are Wild Animals Really Grateful When People Rescue Them?

We’ve all seen those heartwarming viral videos where a deer tangled in a fence or a fox with its head stuck in a jar suddenly become calm and “grateful” when a human approaches to save them from their predicament.
For example, take this rescue of a wild deer:

But, as much as we might like to believe that these wild animals are indeed showing gratitude for their rescuer, experts say that’s not really the case.

“Since the animal that is being rescued rarely feels better immediately, it is unlikely that they understand they are being helped,” Dave Zahniser, rescue manager at the Marine Mammal Center, told

The reason the animal becomes so calm could be due to something called “capture myopathy syndrome,” which is a form of shock.

This is not, however, the cause of that well-known frozen “deer-caught-in-headlights” look, which is due to a deer’s inability to see in bright light, causing it to freeze. It is also not why some animals, like possums, “play dead.” Scientifically referred to as thanatosis, animals use this as a defense mechanism only when escape from a predator is impossible.

So what exactly is capture myopathy?
According to “Zoo & Wild Animal Medicine” by University of California, Davis researcher Murray Fowler, it is “probably an inherent mechanism that hastens the death of an animal following capture by a predator, thereby reducing pain in the prey and conserving energy for the predator — a mechanism which is, in a way, beneficial to both.”

Karen Emanuelson, director of veterinary services at the Oakland Zoo in California, told the syndrome causes an animal to go into a form of shock that “may fill their lungs with fluid and lead to later death, even if they are saved from an immediate threat.”

But what about those cases where wild animals seek out humans to help them like in the video above?
Emanuelson told those animals have usually already become habituated around people.

For example, Emanuelson said that two years ago, a dolphin caught in a hook approached people on a night dive in Hawaii. The divers helped the dolphin free itself. She said the dolphins there “have learned people have capabilities that could benefit them.”

And in those cases of, say, a mother duck quacking loudly when one of her ducklings falls into a sewer, the experts say that’s just a mother’s natural instinct. She is not necessarily trying to get the attention of a potential human rescuer, but merely attempting to maintain communication with her offspring.

Although it might go against our instincts, the experts warn us civilians not to go near wild animals in distress.
“An animal that is injured, ill or orphaned is already experiencing great stress,” notes Wildlife International. “It may be in pain, dehydrated, starving and fearful.”

To minimize further stress, “be prepared and have a plan of action, as well as all the necessary equipment,” Wildlife International recommends.

“A well-meaning action to assist could actually even be illegal, depending on the species and location,” Zahniser told, “so always call a local rescue hotline or animal control to assist.”
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Animals that hate humans for no reason

We assume all animals like all humans but unfortunately after watching this video you will realise that this is not the case.

Animals that hate humans for no reason
What is that famous saying again?

‘Some people aren't animal people and some animals aren't people animals.’

This hilarious compilation of animals that hate humans was captured on film for our entertainment.

Warning: Do not ever and we mean ever mess with an angry goat.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Origami Animals Spring To Life From One Piece Of Paper

It's like the tale of a superhero: By day, Gonzalo García Calvo is a musician in Madrid, but by night, he's an amateur origami artisan.

You might be familiar with the art of origami from reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes in elementary school, or from folding our own clumsy frogs and cranes and flowers as kids. But the vast array of objects and creatures that can be summoned from one piece of origami paper is truly unfathomable to the non-expert.
Origami Duck, design by Katsuta Kyohei

Origami Rooster, original design by Satoshi Kamiya
There's no design too complicated and out-there for Calvo to attempt; he says it takes around "three hours for a complex model, and maybe more for the most detailed ones." At this point, he's been practicing his folds for four years.

Calvo told The Huffington Post via email, "I find it fascinating that by changing the steps in the folding process you end up with a totally different model, so in essence, a square of paper has inside of it all the possibilities to be anything you can imagine." 

As demanded by the rules of the art form, only folding of the paper is allowed to achieve the stunning transformations, making the results all the more remarkable. "You can fold almost anything with a single square of paper without gluing or cutting it," he said.
Origami Mammoth, design by Artur Biernacki

Origami Papillon Dog, design by Miyajima Noboru

Origami Simple Dragon, design by Shuki Kato

Origami Hippocampus, design by Román Dí­az

Origami Tree Frog, original design by Satoshi Kamiya

Origami Common Loon, design by Artur Biernacki

Origami Wolf Spider, design by Brian Chan
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See Giant LEGO animal sculptures unveiled in new trail

A collection of giant LEGO birds have been unveiled today at WWT Martin Mere. The 10 characters that form part of a LEGO brick animal trail were made from 123,200 LEGO bricks and took over 965 hours to build. This is the first time these amazing sculptures, especially created for WWT, have been seen in the North West among the real life animals which inspired them. A brand new addition to the trail was also unveiled, Kate the Kingfisher, who the CBBC Blue Peter presenter Barney Harwood helped to build. She has been made especially for the Martin Mere trail and is being featured on Blue Peter, along with her other giant brick friends who Barney also helped put out on the trail on CBBC on Thursday, December 3.
Through the giant brick animal trail, the nature reserve in Burscough, Lancashire is using the world’s most popular toy to encourage kids to build a better future for nature.

What animals can you see on the trail?

Visitors to Martin Mere Wetland Centre can enjoy the 10 individually-designed LEGO brick characters revealed for nine weeks over the winter including the Christmas holidays from this Saturday, November 28 to Sunday, January 31.
You will be able to see all sorts of animals including:
  • Kate the Kingfisher
  • Flavia the Andean flamingo
  • Benedict the Bewick’s swan
  • Emily the Emperor dragonfly
  • Lottie the otter
  • Bruce the Red Breasted goose

Lottie the Otter
Nick Brooks, Martin Mere’s general manager said: “Here at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, we take particular pride in helping to conserve the Hawaiian goose (Nene) the world’s rarest goose, which was originally identified as a species that needed protecting by our founder Sir Peter Scott.
“Today, we are using LEGO bricks to inspire the next generation to continue Sir Peter’s work of saving threatened wildlife.”

Mac the Mallard

What else can you do when you visit the trail?

As well as the trail, budding sculptors can take part in creative fun and games at exclusive LEGO brick workshops at weekends and daily through the Christmas holidays, build minifigures and buy limited edition mini LEGO brick animal models, only available at WWT.
All proceeds will support WWT’s essential conservation work in the UK and around the world.
There is no extra cost to meet the giant LEGO brick animals at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, the trail is included in the admission price.

Hannah Clifford from WWT Martin Mere with Kate the Kingfisher
Places for the workshops can be pre-booked online HERE.
To find out more about the Giant LEGO brick animals and other brick activities visit or follow #LEGOBrickAnimals.

Win a LEGO experience day at WWT Martin Mere

The prize is free entry to Martin Mere for a family of four, a Lego animal kit, free Lego workshop for the children (one hour at the centre doing fun activities plus build your own Lego duckling to take home) plus lunch at the centre.
Five runners up will win family tickets to visit the centre to see the Lego brick animals. The competition closes at 3pm on Friday, December 4. Winners will be informed by email.
The prize must be redeemed anytime on or before January 31, 2016.

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