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29 Jul

This is Why Cecil the Lion's Death Matters

Cecil_the_lion_in__3388298b
Photo: Bryan Orford/YouTube

A beloved and well-known lion who called protected land in Zimbabwe his home for 13 years, was killed earlier this month in actions that have now brought poaching charges against a hunting guide and land owner, The Washington Post reports. An American dentist, Walter Palmer, has released a statement saying he regrets having killed Cecil the lion during what he believed was a legal hunt, but it is yet to be determined whether charges will be filed against him as well, the BBC reports. Zimbabwe officials are looking for Palmer whose whereabouts are currently unknown, according to Slate.

"He was beautiful — one of the most beautiful animals you’d ever see,” Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force told The Washington Post in a phone interview. "… Nine times out of 10, doing the safari drive, you’d come across him walking with his family. He was one of the animals it was guaranteed you were going to see. Thousands have seen him. Instead of protecting it — a good marketing tool — they go ahead and kill it."

Cecil's death has reignited conversations about controversial big game hunting, particularly because Cecil was lured off protected land with bait, tracked for two days, killed once he was weakened from his wounds, beheaded and skinned. Officials were able to track Cecil's movements during his final days due in part to the GPS tracker he was wearing as part of an Oxford study to track the impact of hunting in the area surrounding Hwange National Park.

While Cecil's death has outraged many, including Jimmy Kimmel, who got choked up while talking about the lion on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, the greatest impact will likely be on the pride he's left behind. According to UPI, Cecil had a coalition pride with another male lion, Jericho. Between the two prides, there were six lionesses and about a dozen cubs. Without Cecil, Jericho will be weakened and potentially unable to protect the two prides from other male lions and their cubs.

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28 Jul

Man Films Himself Throwing Cat at Wall, Gets Arrested

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Solon Kelleher from thedodo.com)

"I hate cats," reads the caption of a video showing a young cat being violently hurled at a wall, according to KWCH of Hutchinson, Kansas.

The video was sent out via social photo-sharing site, Snapchat, by the alleged abuser, a 28-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas, according to a Wichita Police Department (WPD) press conference held on Monday morning.

The short video reveals what must have been the most terrifying few seconds of this poor cat's young life. The video opens by showing the face of the distressed and helpless cat. The abuser seems to be holding the cat with one hand and filming with the other.

Then the cat is held out of frame as the abuser winds up in preparation to throw her, followed by a sudden thud. Immediately, we see the cat return to the video frame as she falls to the ground and scrambles away, meowing in what appears to be pain and torment.

Her hind legs appear to be functionless as she drags herself across the floor using only her front legs.

The video has since been removed from social media. 

KWCH

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16 Jul

Fed-Up Circus Elephants Rally Together

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from thedodo.com)

A dramatic video has emerged showing the heartbreaking moment three circus elephants rallied together, defying their captors in a desperate bid to end the abuse

On Saturday, the animals were being paraded before a crowd of onlookers through the streets of Karrebæksminde, Denmark, when things took a shocking turn. After a handler from Cirkus Arenas reportedly began beating one of the elephants, all three broke from their sad march to lash back against those mistreating them.

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15 Jul

Dogs Just Learned How to Drive?

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from thedodo.com)

I don't have my driver's license yet — but apparently a bunch of dogs have beat me to it. That's right. A group of dogs from the SPCA were deemed to be so smart someone thought it would be totally doable to teach them how to drive.

They were right. These dogs absolutely learned how to drive. The genius dogs are Monty, Ginny and Porter. In the video, Porter is the one we watch as he starts up the car, drives along and even practices turning.

After a quick safety check behind the wheel of his Mini Cooper, Porter is ready to get this show on the road. 

Porter takes it slow at first, driving down a straight lane ...

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15 Jul

Baby Orangutan's Rescue Will Make You Sob

Dodo Circular

 

(Guest post by Christina M. Russo from thedodo.com)

Sometime in 2012, an infant orangutan was kidnapped in the forests of Indonesia.

During the incident, the orangutan's mother was likely murdered: the bond between a mother orangutan and her child is powerful, and a mother won't let her baby be taken from her without a fight.

The captors — who were local fishermen — immediately sold the fragile infant to an employee of a large palm oil plantation company situated in the area, Jessica McKelson, director of the quarantine station at the conservation group Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), told The Dodo.

The transaction was not uncommon. Nor was it expensive: The cost of the life of the mother and the illegal sale of the orangutan was less than $8, McKelson says.

SOCP, along with local police, eventually rescued the little orangutan from his predicament and named him Gokong.

Gokong was weak, dehydrated and malnourished. He was in such bad condition that, although he was a year old, "he had the appearance and weight of a 5-month-old and weighed only 800 grams," according to SOCP's senior veterinarian Yenny Saraswati.

Gokong was immediately brought to SOCP's Batu Mbelin Care Centre (the quarantine station which is part of the center) in February 2013, and joined a group of nearly 300 orangutans who have been rescued, rehabilitated and sometimes released back into the wild since the center's inception in 2002.(read this recent article in Mongabay about the rare prosecution of a wildlife trader, caught with a baby orangutan in a bag.)

"We refer to these orangutans," says McKelson, "as the 'lucky survivors.'"

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14 Jul

Four Baby Leopards Stranded in Fire Get the Sweetest Reunion

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Ameena Schelling from thedodo.com)

Four tiny leopard cubs have been reunited with their anxious mother after being saved from near-certain death.

Warning: Graphic images below.

Farmers in Maharashtra, India, were burning a sugarcane field recently — a common practice used to clear fields after a harvest — when they were shocked to hear what sounded like cat screams.

Wildlife SOS

They found a group of four little leopard babies lying in the field. Their mother had apparently been frightened away by the fire. Rescue group Wildlife SOS and the local Forest Department jumped into action, hurrying the babies away from the fire and to safety.

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13 Jul

Rare Cat Appears Where No One's Ever Seen Him Before

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Solon Kelleher from thedodo.com)  

rarely-seen endangered species was just spotted in a region where it has never been documented before.

The endangered snow leopard has been photographed for the first time in the Kumaon Himalayas of Northern India. The photograph was captured 4,100 meters above sea level in Bageshwar, reports Hindustan Times.

With the leopard's newly documented presence, the forest department will be able to "prepare [a] better conservation strategy" for this wild cat, according to Vipul Maurya, who studies snow leopards.

Uttarakhand Forest Department

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10 Jul

Pigs Rescued from Lab Feel Sunlight for the Very First Time

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from thedodo.com)

At first, they didn't know what to do — they huddled in their carriers, divided from each other, the way the were used to being kept in the lab, the only place they'd ever known.

New Life Animal Sanctuary

In what's being called the largest rescue of pigs from a laboratory to date, 31 pigs were rescued from a biomedical lab in San Francisco, which was planning on having them killed after they were done with them.

New Life Animal Sanctuary

Thankfully, New Life Animal Sanctuary came to the rescue, with the help of Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, who is helping to house some of the pigs while their permanent home is being set up.

Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary

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9 Jul

Tiny Newborn Rhino Refuses to Give Up After Losing His Mom

(Guest post by Christina M. Russo from thedodo.com)

A tiny rhino calf less than one week old is receiving round-the-clock care at a sanctuary in India after being found next to a stream without his mother.

The calf was only three days old when he was rescued by the Kaziranga Forest Department on July 6 and shuttled quickly to the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), a regional sanctuary jointly operated by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). 

Subhamoy Bhattacharjee

Subhamoy Bhattacharjee

"The calf was discovered near a torrential stream, swollen due to heavy rain," Rupu Gandhi Chaudhury, joint director for WTI, told The Dodo. "The mother may have crossed over or gone ahead. All attempts were made by the rescue team to look for the mother, but she was not found."

The calf was obviously not strong enough to keep up with his mother against the floodwaters, she added.

Subhamoy Bhattacharjee

Although poaching is a significant problem in the Kaziranga region, Chaudhury said there is no evidence that the mother was killed for her horn at this time.

Continue reading >

26 Jun

If it's Hot Outside, it's Even Hotter in Your Car: Protect Your Pet

Hot-car

There's nothing quite as wonderful as having your dog (or cat!) in the car seat next to you, cruising along with you as you run errands and travel. But before you head out this summer, keep in mind that keeping any pet inside a car on a hot day, even with the windows cracked, could be dangerous for the animal.

Did you know that a car can climb from 85 degrees to 120 degrees in only 30 minutes? The ASPCA provides some great tips above and on their website. A quick trip to the grocery store may not be quick enough on an extremely hot day.

The Partnership for Animal Welfare has some great tips for avoiding a deadly situation for your furry best friend:

  • Leave your dog at home on warm days.
  • On trips with your pet, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and bowl.
  • Don't let dogs ride loose in pick-up truck beds. The hot metal can burn a dog's paws, the sun and flying debris can hurt the dog, the dog can accidentally be thrown out of the truck if the brakes are suddenly applied, and the dog can jump out if scared or upon seeing something interesting to chase. Instead, use a crate to create a safer space for the dog if you can't fit the dog inside the truck cab.
  • Take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area, or to the vet if you see signs of heat exhaustion, which include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness, or lack of coordination. To lower body temperature gradually, give the animal water to drink, place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool (not cold) water. Call your veterinarian.

Consider, too, that even leaving air conditioning running may not always solve the problem. If a car overheats or the AC falters, it could create an even more dangerous situation for your pet.

In most states and local governments, it's against the law to leave a pet in a hot car, so if you see an animal unattended in a warm car on a hot, sunny day, try to locate the owner. If that's not possible, contact your local authorities who will be able to help you.

Watch as an animal control officer rescues a dog overheating in a car:

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