Bites at Animal Planet

28 Mar

Don't Forget the Bags: DNA Links Owners to Un-Picked Up Poop

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Boyan Dimitrov/Veer

Thought you could get away with leaving your dog’s poo on the sidewalk when going for your morning jog? Well think again.  

In the new age of technology, science has made it possible to use dog poop DNA samples to track down owners who don’t clean up after their canine friends. Yup, you read right. According to a Discovery News article, an organization called “Poo Prints” makes it possible to get DNA samples from dog poo to match to their owners. After finding out the DNA of the dog and who it belongs to, the owner can be fined hundreds of dollars for the leftover mess! In fact, many apartment complex owners require residential dog owners to get their dog's DNA samples stored in a lab specifically so they will have the ability to track dog poop to the owner if it is left in an unauthorized area.

So before you let your dog mark his territory, make sure you bring something to clean up, or you might just be paying for it.

Watch more Bad Dogs:

For more animal crime news, check out Crime Feed.

30 Jul

Gator Boys: All New Season!

This Sunday, August 3rd, the wait is finally over! The Gator Boys are back for an all new season and it's all being kicked off with a special two part season premiere beginning at 8PM E/P! This season will be sure not to disappoint as the team continues their work to capture gators, move them to more suitable homes, and educate the public about these fascinating creatures.

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Sunday's two-part premiere will also mark a Gator Boys first as the team travels to Mexico. Gator Boys leader, Paul Bedard has been asked to help an aquarium in Mazaltan start up thier own no-kill crocodile resuce and also to help with the hunt for  the legendary monster-croc, "El Diablo,"  which has terrorized the locals for quite some time now.

The adventure never stops for the Gator Boys, so be sure to tune in every Sunday at 8 PM E/P to find out what Paul, Jimmy, and the rest of the team are up to. Until then, take a look back and enjoy this compliation of some of the team's best catches!

29 Jul

Tigers in our Backyards

Contributed by Leigh Henry, Senior Policy Advisor, Wildlife Conservation Program, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

There’s a shocking fact to share today, on Global Tiger Day: there are more tigers living in American backyards than in the wild.

It is estimated that 5,000 captive tigers are kept in the U.S. — compared with as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild.

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Research has shown that the majority of these tigers are owned by individuals, not zoos.  What’s even more shocking is that of those people who privately own tigers here in the U.S., most are not trained to care for animals in general, let alone a tiger.

Even worse, there is no complete record of captive tigers in America. The exact number of tigers living in captivity outside of zoos and accredited institutions in the U.S. isn’t clear — some say it could be double what is estimated. No one knows how many there are, where they are, or what happens to them when they die. 

What we do know is that it is significantly more than the number of wild tigers in Asia, and that needs to change.

Currently, poaching is the biggest threat faced by wild tigers. Every part of a tiger — from its whiskers to its bones — are traded in illegal wildlife markets. Tiger parts are used for traditional medicine, folk remedies and are increasingly being seen as a status symbol in some Asian cultures.  Tiger skins are also used for rugs and other ornamentation.

If parts and products from the estimated 5,000 tigers in the United States are allowed to filter onto the illegal market, this will only serve to perpetuate that market and sustain the demand for tiger parts.  This demand, in turn, perpetuates the main threat to tigers in the wild — poaching for illegal trade.

In looking at the issue here in the U.S., captive tigers are also a matter of public safety. Remember the Zanesville case? In 2011, local authorities in this Ohio town were forced to shoot more than 10 captive tigers and other exotic animals after their owner let them loose into the community. In some instances, with the current loopholes in regulation, it can be easier to buy a pet tiger than adopt a dog from a shelter.

At World Wildlife Fund (WWF) we seek to be the voice for those creatures who have no voice and that means conserving tigers and their habitat in the wild, where they are meant to be.  It’s also important to call on the U.S. government to implement regulations that keep U.S. captive tigers from being a threat to their wild counterparts and regulate private ownership of tigers. You can do your part by signing WWF’s petition to keep tigers out of American backyards here!

 

 

29 Jul

Pit Bull Saves Deaf Teen From a Burning Building

Three cheers for Ace the pit bull! This daring dog saved his 13-year-old human, Nick Lamb, from a house fire. Nick was taking a nap when the fire started. You may be thinking, "shouldn't he have heard the fire alarms? Doesn't his family have fire alarms in their house?" Well, Nick is deaf and took out his cochlear implants while he was sleeping, so he couldn't hear the fire alarms.

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Photo Credit: Indianapolis Fire Department

But Ace could. So, he woke up the sleeping teenager by continuously licking his face. It was then that Nick realized that the house was on fire. Nick told ABC 6, "I took a breath and I went downstairs with Ace and the whole house was covered in smoke and a little bit of fire."

Nick and Ace safely made it outside where Nick called his mother and the fire department. While the house was severely damaged, no one was hurt and Ace is now a hero!

In an interview with Fox 59, Nick's mom, Lindsay Bernard said, "Pit bulls get bad reps, he loves his family," Nick's mom, Lindsay Bernard, told Fox 59 in the video above. "If it wasn't for him, I could have lost my little boy."

Learn more about these amazing dogs, and other bully breeds, here:

 

28 Jul

Zoo Elephants Said to Have Too Much Junk in Their Trunk

Zoo keepers and researchers are faced with a very big problem. African elephants in captivity are reportedly becoming obese, which could have serious consequences for the species.  

Similar to what we see with humans, this obesity can lead to “the development of heart disease, arthritis, a shorter lifespan and infertility,” said Daniella Chusyd, M.A., a doctoral student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Nutrition Sciences. Because elephants in the wild are continuously threatened by loss of habitat and poaching, the infertility found in elephants in captivity is the most troubling side effect of the rising obesity issue.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

With the threats that animals face in the wild, zoos remain one of the few ways to protect species from extinction. In the United States specifically, zoos need to average about six elephant births each year in order to maintain their current population. Currently, the birthrate is only about three births per year, which has raised worry that the elephants could disappear from zoos within the next 50 years, as reported by LiveScience.

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25 Jul

Go Off The Grid With Ice Lake Rebels

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Meet Stephan Hervieux and Allyce Rattray, two of the stars from Animal Planet's new series, Ice Lake Rebels! (Photo Credit: David Johnson and Discovery Communications)

Picture living in a world without any laws or government. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s the reality for a group of settlers living in northern Canada in Animal Planet’s new show, Ice Lake Rebels.

In the series, premiering Sunday, July 27 at 10/9c, we’ll follow the community of Great Slave Lake, the picturesque land where the inhabitants are free from taxation and Canadian law. It sounds like paradise, but living in a lawless utopia comes with a price.

“Off the grid to us…is being 100 percent self sufficient off the world’s services,” said Stephan Hervieux, one of the Rebels. “We’re providing our own water, power, and sewage.”

Think they can just go to the grocery store on a whim? Think again.

“We fish whatever we can, we grow whatever we can,” said Allyce Rattray, Stephan’s girlfriend.

Stephan and Allyce’s resilience will be tested in Sunday’s season premiere when an emergency to their houseboat forces them to stop at nothing to keep it from sinking. Over the course of several episodes, we’ll witness the ups and downs Great Slave Lake houseboaters face living on their own terms.

It isn’t an easy way to live, but these rebels wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I thank God every time I cross the water,” Stephan said. “I don’t take my life for granted anymore.”

See what unfolds and tune in for Ice Lake Rebels, premiering Sunday, July 27 at 10/9c, only on Animal Planet!

24 Jul

Finding Bigfoot: Four States, Four Times the Level of Squatch

In Sunday's season finale of Finding Bigfoot, beginning at 8 PM E/P, the team travels to the Four Corners area of the United States to conduct one of the widest investigations to date. Here, Bobo, Cliff, Matt and Ranae split up to cover ground in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico and review more evidence and meet with more witnesses than any previous expedition. 

Before they split up, however, the team explores some photographic evidence from two investigators in New Mexico, who found some intriguing footprints along the San Juan River. The team thinks these footprints could be from a juvenile sasquatch, but it will take seeing the casts in person to make a final assessment.

  

After an initial night search as a team, Bobo, Cliff, Matt and Ranae split up and begin their own investigations in separate states. Matt heads out to New Mexico, Ranae to Utah, Bobo to the snowy mountains of Colorado and Cliff to Arizona. 

In Cliff's solo adventure, he investigates casts and photographs collected by two residents in Arizona. The three later conduct a successful night investigation that leads Cliff to believe that Arizona will be the best place for the team to regroup and conduct one final night expedition.

 

Tune in to Finding Bigfoot Sunday at 8 PM for a special two-hour episode where the team’s investigation casts the widest net ever. With four states instead of one, there will be four times the chances for the team to find what they are looking for! Don't miss it!

23 Jul

Alligator Crashes Teens' Camping Trip

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S'mores, spooky stories and a campfire make up a typical, safe, night of camping.

For a group of teens in Texarkana, TX, things became truly spooky when a large guest decided to join the fun. The kids heard something perusing around their tent, but didn't know the size of the visitor until the next day.

The next morning, while swimming in a pond, they were chased out by an eight-foot-long, 300-pound alligator. A wildlife expert said the alligator could have seen the kids as prey, if the gator was indeed following them. 

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This isn't the only time someone has been chased from a nice swim! Watch when Paul and Jimmy, from Gator Boys, had to rescue a gator from someone's pool. 

Make sure to tune in to an ALL NEW season of Gator Boys, August 3rd at 8/7c!

22 Jul

Pete Nelson's 'Be in a Treehouse' is Just the Inspiration You Need

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Photo by David Johnson

You may not realize how much you want your own treehouse until you’ve been exposed to the tons of beautiful pictures and building inspiration in Pete Nelson's new book, Be in a Treehouse. The host of Treehouse Masters has outdone himself as he provides readers with everything they may need to be inspired for their own treehouse build.

You will be taken on a walk down memory lane as Pete recounts the journey that was the creation of Treehouse Point, a Treehouse Bed and Breakfast run by him and his family. While many may consider the treehouse building life a glamorous one, Pete explains the struggles they all went through as they learned the hard way the importance of working with the local building authorities and ensuring everything is up to code. His story proves that good things come to those who stick with it, as Treehouse Point now has seven beautiful treehouses and is host to many weddings, retreats, and special stays all throughout the year.  

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22 Jul

Ed Stafford 'Marooned' in Desolate Enviroments

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On the back of his incredible 860 day feat crossing the jungle for Walking the Amazon, and 60 days spent alone with just a camera on a deserted island for Naked Castaway – Ed Stafford truly is one man marooned.

Marooned, airing TONIGHT at 8/7c, sees Ed strive to prove to himself that he can tackle the challenges of any environment, once again with nothing except his camera – and find everything he needs to not just survive, but thrive in some of the world’s toughest environments.

Shot in the mysterious Gran Sabana mountains of Venezuela, the dangerous Okavango Delta in Botswana and the unforgiving coast of Western Australia - each location presents a unique and deadly test which could kill Ed within hours. Completely exposed, he’s alone with nothing; no food, no water, not even a knife. Ed pits himself against nature and the elements and has 10 days to succeed against the odds – or succumb to everything Mother Nature has to throw at him.

Tune in to the Animal Planet special of Marooned on Tuesday July 22 8/7c!

Learn more about Ed Stafford HERE!

 

21 Jul

Dukey's Last Day on Earth

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You may have heard about Dukey the dog who had an amazing last day on Earth. You may have wanted to avoid it because of the threat of tears. But, it is an amazing photo tribute to an obviously loved dog. The beautiful photos and blog piece were done by Houston photographer and friend of Dukey's owner, Robyn Arouty. She also wrote a follow-up piece about Dukey and his life, titled "Dukey Broke the Internet," which you can read here.We want to thank Robyn for sharing this story and encourage you to look through her touching photos in this gallery, then head over for the full story on Arouty's blog.

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Welcome to the Bites @ Animal Planet, where you can connect with the people who bring Animal Planet to life. Find out what's in the works here at Animal Planet, share your feedback with the team and see what's getting our attention online and in the news.

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