Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gorillas in a tryst! Tired Rigo has to lie down after mating with four females in a day following 16 years in a cage on his own


Time for bed: Rigo sleeping at Melbourne Zoo after a roll in the hay with four females

It is a tough, and clearly tiring job, but somebody has got to do it.

Sleepy Rigo has just mated with four females in one day and takes on a very human pose afterwards to grab a well-earned snooze.

After 16 years on his own in a cage the 41-year-old silverback is being allowed to hang around with other primates at Melbourne Zoo in Australia.

Gentle: Julia sits with body-language just like a human as she stretches her legs in the midday sun

Keepers hope he will continue to get to know the females there better and produce offspring as they are all part of the endangered Western Lowland species.

And he has a bevy of beauties to choose from, including Julia, Yakini and Yuska, who despite their serious expressions are all keen to become a mum.

These beautiful photos, taken by Australian photographer Arthur Xanthropoulos, show the very gentle side to the animals, which have been hunted to the edge of extinction.

Gentle: Silverback Yuska is one of four females at the zoo and originally comes from central Africa

'He has been introduced to eight other gorillas, four of them females, so he can continue his species. The hope is the females may trigger his instinctive behaviour,' he said.

His mission is to show the human-like qualities of gorillas at Melbourne Zoo as part of his project, which he calls 97 Percent Human.

The zoo has housed gorillas since 1980 and most of them have been rescued from poachers and exotic animal smugglers.

Despite being legally protected the tiny gorilla population are often captured by criminal gangs and sold for huge sums to unscrupulous foreign zoos and private collectors.

Pondering: A thoughtful Yakini sits in the grass, and it is hoped she will help continue the endangered species by mating with Rigo

'My project, which I call 97 percent human was designed to capture the humanistic side of primates,' Arthur said.

'Many primate species share 97 percent their genetic make up with humans.
'But it wasn't simply about photographing these animals.

'More importantly it was about capturing a side to them that complimented that close genetic make up evident in their behaviour, expression and interactions.

'Ultimately my hope and intent has been to use these unique captures to create an environmental awareness of how endangered these animals are in the wild.

'The zoo environment allows me to do just that as the animals are readily accessible to the viewing public.'

source: dailymail

Could this be a chupacabra? Homeowner thinks animal he shot dead is mythical creature


Strange: Is this the mythical chupacabra or just an emaciated dog? Truitt Barnard gunned the beast down in his Simpson County garden after spying it from 130 yards

With its blue hairless body, rounded ears and scarily sharp teeth, this strange creature has been creating quite a stir.

Shot dead by a Mississippi homeowner, it has re-opened the debate as to the very existence of the mythical chupacabra - which is said to hunt livestock by sucking the blood out of animals.

Truitt Barnard, who gunned the beast down in his Simpson County garden after spying it from 130 yards, said: 'Strangest animal I've ever seen. I've been hunting 50 years.

Identical: Truitt Barnard said the beast's 3/4 inch long double canines were the same as those seen by others on the mythical chupacabra

'It had a long face, no hair, red rough hide, his ears were rounded, and had double canines which were 3/4 inch long.'

He added: 'I saw the ones [that are said to be chupacabras] in Texas that look identical to it, the pictures are identical to it with the rounded ears and all of it.'

Astonished: Truitt Barnard (pictured) said that it was the strangest animal he had ever seen in 50 years of hunting

Dubbed the 'Bigfoot of Latin culture', the chupacabras - which means goat sucker in Spanish - have been reportedly seen since 1995.

Popular legend uses the phrase to describe unknown animals that attack livestock, usually goats, and allegedly drink the animal's blood.

Doubtful: But vet Troy Majure said he thought the animal was not a chupacabra and was more likely to be a dog (pictured)

Descriptions of them vary from reptilian with spikes or quills on its back to hairless dogs with fangs and claws.

But Jackson vet Troy Majure said Mr Barnard's unusual find was probably not the mythical animal.

He said: 'All the cases I know it would be a type of canine, whether it's a fox coyote dog.'

He revealed it also could be a hybrid of the animals, and said: 'This one looks like it's pretty emaciated as well, when I say emaciated it looks like it could use a good meal.

'Chronic mange will actually cause blue in color and give the appearance that you see with the so called Chupacabra.'

source: dailymail

Friday, October 7, 2011

Leap of faith: The moment polar bear jumped between two melting ice caps


Bouncing beast: A polar bear leaps from one piece of pack ice to the next off the coast of Svalbard, Norway

With ice in the polar regions disappearing at record speed this hunting polar bear is literally taking a leap of faith jumping between two ice caps.

The amazing picture was taken by American wildlife photographer Rebcecca Jackrel during a 22-day sailing expedition to capture the bears in their natural environment. The photographer, from San Francisco, travelled to the islands of Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet in the independent archipelago of Svalbard to stake out her subjects.

There she spent three weeks in a tiny boat watching more than twenty different bears go about their daily routine of hunting from the ocean What emerged is a fascinating insight into the behaviour of these often maligned animals in their natural habitat.

Coming in to land: The bear was bounding about as was out hunting seals

Just me and my reflection: A bear yawns in preparation for a nap on the sea ice

Rebecca explained: 'We never slept for more than 4 hours at a time and had someone posted on watch round the clock.

'We ate when there was no activity, sometimes dinner was at 6pm and sometimes 2am so it was a very different, very intense trip. 'I don't believe many polar bear were able to slip past us undetected.' Despite having to contend with the biting cold and the knowledge that the an attack from a wild animal was ever-present Rebecca revealed the real challenge of her mission was the clothes she was forced to wear.

'By the time you get all the layers of clothing on to keep you from freezing or developing frostbite it's almost impossible to move,' she explained.

'Anyone who ever wore a snowsuit as a child knows how hard it is to put your arms down once you are geared up. 'Finding a tiny shutter button through thick gloves? Impossible.'

However, behind the striking photography of a species perfectly adapted to its frozen environment, Rebecca wishes to raise awareness about the perilous future the bears face.

Slippery business: A bear slides off the snow bank, left, while another, right, surveys the sea for seals while standing on a perilous icy perch

'While polar bear are incredible swimmers - some have been tracked swimming continuously for over 100km - they tend to get into trouble when the sea gets choppy. 'Sea ice tends to settle the sea, blocking the wind from creating large waves and without that protection the wave grow and break over the bears as the swim.

'The more they have to fight to keep their head above water for air the more tired they become and without ice or land to haul out on, eventually they will drown.'

Taking a dip: The bear enjoys a midnight swim in Smeerenburgfjorden in Svalbard

source: dailymail

Lock up your pets! Dog owners warned as giant 6ft Eagle Owl is spotted in Devon


Surprise visitor: Residents were stunned when they caught sight of this Eagle Owl sitting perched on the window ledge of a terraced house in Westward Ho! near Bideford, Devon

It is not something you expect to see while walking down a busy high street.

But passers-by were forced to believe their eyes when this giant Eagle Owl was spotted perched on a the window ledge of a terraced house in Westward Ho!, near Bideford, Devon yesterday.

The enormous bird - one of the world's largest species of owl, has a wingspan of two metres (6ft) and has been known to prey on animals as big as roe deer.

Huge: The scale of the Eagle Owl can be seen here as it rested on the window ledge of a house for more than an hour before flying off

If hungry enough, the owl could easily pounce on small animals like dogs and cats, and residents have been told to report the animal if they spot it.

Passers-by were stunned when the bird was first seen at around 4.30pm yesterday. It sat there an hour-and-a-half but flew off before animal welfare officers could catch it.

Local, Nina Wickmann, 31, who took these photographs of the awesome bird said: 'Some people were looking up and wondering what it was.

'It just sat there until it opened its huge wings and flew to the ledge where I photographed it.

'It was an incredible sight. It's not every day you see a giant bird of prey in a busy street.

'When it flew off, it unleashed this huge wingspan. I would be a little nervous if I had a small dog or cat.'

Eagle owls are not listed as a British species and it is believed the bird may have escaped from a private collection.

It is feared the animal will die in the wild unless rescued and reunited with its owner.

Nina added: 'This is the first time I have seen an eagle owl and it would be nice to see it returned to its home.'

Huge wingspan: The Eagle Owl is large enough to pick up cats and small dogs

David Rampling, from the Milky Way Bird of Prey Centre in nearby Clovelly, Devon, said: 'If anyone sees this owl please call me and I will do my best to catch it in the most humane way possible.

'Unfortunately some eagle owl owners don't realise the amount of work and experience needed to keep a bird of this type.

'They are difficult to train and it's not uncommon for them to escape'.
The Milky Way Bird of Prey Centre can be contacted on 01237 431 255.

source: dailymail

Not such a Pretty Woman! Hilarious video emerges of dog who runs away at the sight of Julia Roberts


Beautiful: Most people wouldn't mind being shown a picture of Julia Roberts

She has been one of the world's most desirable women for the last 20 years.
But the mere sight Julia Roberts in a magazine is enough to send one dog running for its life.

A hilarious video has emerged on YouTube showing four-legged Optimus looking decidedly scared every time the dog's owner holds up a picture of the Oscar-winning actress.

It has caused a stir on the site, attracting more than 400,000 views.

Get ready: The dog's ears prick up when its is shown the advert of Roberts

Fearful: The dog takes an initial glance at the Hollywood movie star

First the man shows a full-page advert using her face to the camera, before closing it.

Then he calls Optimus over and opens the magazine in front of the dog's eyes.

The dog instantly backs away, keeping its sights locked on Roberts, then edges towards the door, seemingly petrified.

Hiding: The dog then scuttles off to a safe distance and refuses to come closer while the picture of Julia Roberts is being shown

Optimus's owner calls the dog back a second time and repeats the trick.

This time the dog's ears prick up and it runs off instantly, scrambling for the haven of the next room.

Maybe Optimus has heard Roberts is scheduled to play the Wicked Witch in next year's Snow White movie.

Terrifying: Quite why the dog would be so scared of Roberts is unclear

source: dailymail

The uplifting tail of the dolphin taught to swim with the world's first artificial fin has been made into a film


Inspirational: Winter with her prosthetic tail

This is the tale of a tail. A story which is a tribute to human ingenuity and the courage of one very special mammal who, for the past six years, has astonished thousands of visitors to her Florida aquarium.

For Winter the dolphin has a custom-built plastic and silicone prosthetic tail with which she has learned to swim — and with which she has inspired many men, women and children who have lost limbs.

Now, millions have learned about this remarkable story after it was turned into the Hollywood film currently sweeping all before it at the American box office and which opens in the UK next week.

Fishy tale: A worker at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida holds the prosthetic tail

Dolphin Tale, which stars Morgan Freeman as the man who crafted the tail for Winter, recreates a real-life saga which began one December morning in 2005, when Florida fishermen found a three-month-old dolphin caught by its tail in a crab trap.

The creature, so badly hurt that her mother had abandoned her, was taken to the nearby Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a rehabilitation centre for injured sealife. But a rope in the trap which had snaked around the young dolphin's tail had cut off the blood supply, with devastating consequences.

Named Winter by aquarium staff, she lost her tail and two vertebrae, but at least survived. Slowly, she found a way to swim, albeit far more slowly and with the side-to-side motion of a shark rather than the typical up-and-down movement used by dolphins.

Maimed: Winter before her artificial tail was fitted

'She has a way of connecting with injured people. Someone missing a limb is obvious, but she seems to be able to pick up on anyone with a physical challenge and somehow connect with them.'

Dolphins learn how to survive from their parents. Having lost her mother so young, Winter cannot be released into the wild. But in her newly-built 80,000-gallon aquarium pool, the resilience of this rather marvellous creature is enriching the lives of those who are lucky enough to meet her.

source :dailymail

Fish kebab! Incredible pictures capture the moment a bird skewers its dinner before swallowing it whole


Ouch! This fish meets a spikey end when a bird spears it using its beak

This hungry bird has given a new meaning to the term spear fishing after she turned her unlucky prey into a kebab.

The Anhinga bird spotted the fish swimming in a river near Miami, Florida.
She then chased it through the water after setting her sights on it for dinner.

Down the hatch: Photographer Alfred Forns captured the amazing tussle near his home in Miami

Watch the birdie: The hungry Anhinga shows off its catch to the camera

After taking a dip, the beautiful bird expertly skewered the fish with her beak.
But the predator then shook it free before throwing it into the air and catching it in her mouth, swallowing it down in one.

Open wide: The crafty Anhinga can swim like a U-boat with its body submerged below the waterline and only its neck protruding like a periscope to creep up on its unsuspecting prey before spearing its target with a sudden thrust

The crafty Anhinga can swim like a U-boat with its body submerged below the waterline and only its neck protruding like a periscope to creep up on its unsuspecting prey before spearing its target with a sudden thrust.

The incredible scene was caught on camera by Alfred Forns, a 64-year-old dentist also from Florida.

The hunt: This tiny fish had his chips after being speared by a hungry Anhinga bird in a saltwater lake in Florida

Gulp: The predator shook its meal free before throwing it into the air and catching it in her mouth, swallowing it down in one

source: dailymail

The dog with a painful skin condition whose life was saved by PYJAMAS


They call me Mr Bojangles: 'Bo' shows off the pyjamas that stop him from scratching and biting himself. He was hours away from being put to sleep when an animal charity in Burton, Staffs, came to his rescue

A dog with a painful skin condition has been saved hours before he was due to be put down - thanks to some new pyjamas.

Mr Bojangles, a five-month-old crossbreed, was due to be put to sleep but was rescued by a charity from Burton, Staffordshire, in the nick of time.

They gave him 'dog pyjamas' to stop him scratching and he is now making a good recovery.

Life savers: The pyjamas prevent Mr Bojangles from scratching himself, giving his skin a chance to heal while he is treated for the painful skin condition Demodex mange

It turned out that Mr Bojangles has Demodex mange - a contagious skin disease caused by mites - which had not been treated, leading to him scratching and biting his own body to relieve the discomfort.

The charity Impawtant Pups Rescue rescued Mr Bojangles from a dog pound in Cambridgeshire.

Neglected: Mr Bojangles' raw and painful legs show just how bad the condition had become, with some wounds open to infection

Charity worker Emma Nicholson said: 'We went down on Sunday to get him straight away and now he is settled in, with his own sets of pyjamas to keep his wounds covered.'
She said that he is an affectionate dog who gets on well with the others at the pound.

It is hoped that Mr Bojangles will find a new home some time in the future but for now the charity is trying to raise money for treatment.

source: dailymail

Down here! Baby tortoise hatches that is 3,000 times smaller than its mother


Hello titch: This newborn Galapagos hatchling weighed just 87 grams when it was born and will take 30 years to get to the same size as its mother

This newborn Galapagos tortoise looks tiny as it stands next to its massive mum - who is a staggering 3,000 times bigger.

The hatchling weighed just 87 grams when it was born and will take 30 years to get to the same size as its mother, who is a massive 256 kilos.

Keepers will not know if it is male or female for several years so have given it the unisex name NJ.

The tortoise - who is barely the size of its mum's foot - can expect to live to 150 years.

Hungry fella: Keepers will not know if the Galapagos addition is male or female for several years so have given it the unisex name NJ

Its mum has become a first-time mother at the age of 90 but will play no role in its up-bringing.

As soon as a Galapagos tortoise is born they are left to fend for themselves.
The youngster is now roaming around its pen and nibbling on fruit and flowers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia.

Keeper Jennifer Conaghan said: 'A Galapagos tortoise can live between 100 and 150 years so we expect NJ to be around long after we have all gone.

'It loves exploring the outside environment and is especially active on warm sunny days.

source: dailymail

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The ultimate in teacher cutbacks? Primary school children told to read to a LABRADOR to improve their public speaking skills


Story time: Ten-year-old, Hollie the labrador listening to Ethan Moss, and Erin Jennings, both five and Ellie Moss 10, to help improve their literacy skills

Story time just got more exciting for school children who have a new reading partner.
Ten-year-old labrador, Hollie has been drafted in to help children at Gawsworth Primary in Macclesfield, Cheshire improve their literacy skills.

The black pooch will visit the school for one afternoon each week to quietly sit and listen to the children read her their favourite books.

The project is part of a programme launched by the charity Pets As Therapy (PAT), which provide animals for therapeutic visits in schools, hospitals and hospices.

Ellie Moss, 10, reads to Hollie who listens patiently

Headteacher Pam Childs said: 'Research has shown that many children find reading aloud a daunting experience but when reading to a PAT dog they often become less stressed and self-conscious.

'Hollie passed her temperament test with flying colours and is extremely friendly. We are really looking forward to the successful results it promises to bring.'

Pupil Lucy Holland, nine, said: 'I love her, she's absolutely gorgeous. I would like to read to her.'

Hollie's owner, mum-of-two, Frances Gregory, 50, found out about the charity when she was at Crufts and decided it would be the perfect job for mild-tempered Hollie.

source: dailymail

Sorry, this is a trunk road! Elephant causes safari park jam by lying down in front of traffic


Ready for my close-up: Five the elephant strikes a pose in front of a queue of traffic at a safari park in the West Midlands

The recent heatwave all got a bit much for this elephant who decided this was as good a spot as any to take the weight off.

The African elephant, named Five, plonked himself down in front of a queue of traffic at the safari park and stretched out earlier this month.

Bewildered visitors were left with no choice but to wait until nap-time was over and the 11,000lb creature wandered off to find a quieter spot to sleep in the West Midlands.

Big laughs: Zoo keeper Andy Plumb managed to capture the comic snaps of Five the elephant at the safari park

The comic pictures were taken by head keeper Andy Plumb, who rushed to grab his camera when he spotted Five.

He said: 'There was a bit of a traffic jam which lasted a fair amount of time as Five was out for the count and there are rocks along the road to stop drivers leaving the track.

'I think the sun was getting a bit too much for him and he simply had no energy left and just settled down where he was.

'When I arrived there was a queue of traffic forming and it just got bigger - he's a bit of a character so I'm not surprised he decided to crash out on a road.

'When he eventually woke up I don't think he knew what all the fuss was about. There was a big cheer and he just wandered off looking for somewhere else to sleep.

'We all had a good laugh about it for the rest of the day.'

source: dailymail

Monkeys trained to move and feel through thought in study that could help paralysed patients


Two rhesus monkeys learned to operate a virtual arm with their brain power - It was the first ever demonstration of a primate brain operating a machine

Monkeys have been trained to move and feel virtual objects using thought alone in a scientific breakthrough that could help paralysed patients.

Two rhesus monkeys learned to operate a virtual arm with their brain power and were able to differentiate between the textures of virtual objects.

It is hoped this could pave the way for the development of a "robotic exoskeleton" to be worn by severely paralysed people, helping them move and experience the world around them using brainwaves, the senior author of the American study said.

Without moving any part of their real bodies the two monkeys used their electrical brain activity to direct the virtual hands of a computer character

Miguel Nicolelis, co-director of the Duke University Centre for Neuroengineering in Durham, North Carolina, said: "Someday in the near future, quadriplegic patients will take advantage of this technology not only to move their arms and hands and to walk again, but also to sense the texture of objects placed in their hands, or experience the nuances of the terrain on which they stroll with the help of a wearable robotic exoskeleton."

The virtual hands were then used to explore the surface of three virtual objects

The electrical brain activity of the two rhesus monkeys trained at the centre was used to direct the hands of a virtual monkey shown on a screen - without them moving any part of their real bodies.

The virtual hands were then used to explore the surface of three virtual objects, which looked the same but had been designed to have different textures, which were expressed as tiny electrical signals sent back to the monkeys' brains.

It is hoped this could pave the way for the development of a 'robotic exoskeleton' to be worn by severely paralysed people (picture posed by model)

Professor Nicolelis added: "The remarkable success with non-human primates is what makes us believe that humans could accomplish the same task much more easily in the near future."

The monkeys taught to use the virtual arm were rhesus monkeys (library image of that species)

source: dailymail

Bored girlfriend who only took up fishing to spend more time with her man smashes his record catch with a 215lb catfish


Delight! Alexa Turness, 28, pictured holding the huge fish she hooked while on holiday in Spain after battling to reel it in for half an hour. It was later released back into the water

When you go on holiday with your long-time angling boyfriend it is perhaps not a good idea to show him up.

But Alexa Turness managed it in dramatic style when she became a record holder after reeling in a 215lbs catfish.

She managed to outdo boyfriend Kim Hamilton who could only muster a fish weighing 189lbs.

The 28-year-old, who only took up fishing to see more of her boyfriend, hooked the catch while on holiday in Spain after battling to reel it in for half an hour.

Whopper: Alexa with the fish which was more than 1.5 times her weight and at 8ft 4in, stretched longer than her entire body

The catfish was more than 1.5 times her weight and at 8ft 4in, stretched longer than the length of her body.

It was so big her boyfriend and tour guides feared she might get dragged into the river, and stood guard to catch her as she reeled it in.

Heave! The fish was so big Alexa's boyfriend and tour guides feared she might get dragged into the river, and stood guard to catch her as she reeled it in, pictured

It is the biggest freshwater fish ever caught by a British woman anywhere in the world and beat the previous record by just one pound.

The pair were spending a week with Catfish Tours on the River Segre in northern Spain and caught the fish on the third day.

Record breaker: The fish is the biggest freshwater fish ever caught by a British woman in the world. Miss Turness outdid boyfriend Kim Hamilton, pictured, who could only muster a fish weighing 189lbs during the trip

'All we could say was 'fish, fish, fish' and of course it was Lex's turn on the rod - just luck of the draw. The fish was going mental, the drag was as tight as it could be without causing a problem.

'We were all stood around Lex ready to catch her in case the monster pulled her in.
'It was an amazing, crazy night, but now I have to accept that my missus has a bigger one than me - and that's hard to take.'

source: dailymail

Pregnant cat thrown out of moving car gives birth in a barn... and then leads RSPCA man to her kittens


RSPCA Inspector Jon Knight with Jolie who led him to her kittens

A pregnant cat rescued after being hurled from a moving car has stunned an RSPCA inspector by leading him from the scene of the crime to her kittens.

The one-year-old black cat was thrown out of the window of a vehicle in March, Cambridgeshire, last month.

A passerby spotted her being hurled from the vehicle and kept an eye on her for two weeks before managing to coax her into her greenhouse.

She was taken to the vets for treatment for her grazed face but was returned to the scene as it was clear she had very recently had kittens.

Happy family: Jolie safe and sound with her kittens at Block Fen RSPCA centre in Wimblington, Cambridgeshire

Inspector Jon Knight said when he took the cat to the scene of the crime she began 'mewling' loudly.

Jolie only stopped crying out when Inspector Knight began to follow her and she led him for over 300m through a back garden, across a field and into a farm yard.

She finally took him into an old barn where he found her four kittens.

Inspector Knight said the one-week-old kittens, left alone while Jolie was being treated, would have died of dehydration without the action of their mother.

Maternal: Jolie was rushed to a vet for treatment after a woman saw her being thrown out of the window of a vehicle. She is being looked after by the RSPCA

He said: 'To dump a pregnant cat is cruel but to throw one out of a moving car is just callous. She was only a young cat herself and she is so beautiful and friendly.

'The only thing we could do was take her back to the location where she was dumped. I try not to humanise animals but Jolie wanted me to follow her.

'We knew she had kittens from her medical check and it is quite normal for cats to call out to their kittens to tell them they are home or to call older ones to them.

Jolie is now feeding her kittens at an RSPCA centre and they will be put up for adoption after they have been weened.

source: dailymail

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants For Single Moms