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Current Affairs

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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13 Jun

Are Cat People Smarter Than Dog People?

Your preference of dogs versus cats could say a lot about you. 

A recent study by Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis., found that "dog people" and "cat people" each have distinctive personality traits. 

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600 college students answered questions about what types of pets they preferred, what qualities they liked most about their pets, as well as questions about their own personalitites. Those who identified as "dog people" were found to be more entergetic, outgoing, and enjoyed companionship.  "Cat people", however, proved to be more introverted, open-minded, and sensitive.  Most notably, the results of this study, presented at the Annual Convention for the APS, found "cat people" to be more intelligent than "dog people".

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10 May

Moms, Always There to Show Us the Way…

Contributed by Amal Omer, World Wildlife Fund

8pkgs…sometimes with a little needed push! This rare footage shows a wild panda with her cub in China’s Anzihe Nature Reserve. The reserve is in the Sichuan province of China and a core panda habitat. The two pandas appear in the frame, where you can see the mom grab her cub by the neck to lead the baby into the bamboo jungle, as the little one gets distracted and stops to sit down. Pandas live mainly in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo and eat about 26 to 84 pounds of it every day.
 
World Wildlife Fund works with the Chinese government’s National Conservation Program to help protect the giant panda and its habitat. The footage – even though it’s totally worthy of being your favorite cute animal video of the week – is actually a valuable conservation tool that helps scientist monitor panda populations and develop strategies to save the world’s rarest bear.
 
Happy Mother’s Day!

See even more animal moms in action!

22 Apr

VIDEO: Google Glass – A News Lens for Conservation in Nepal

Contributed By Shubash Lohani, Deputy Director, Eastern Himalayas Program, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

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Last month, I wrote about Nepal’s tremendous feat of zero poaching of rhinos, tigers and elephants for an entire year. Today, we are at 429 days and counting…

The main reason Nepal has been so successful in curbing poaching within its borders, as I mentioned in my previous post, is the strong collaboration between the government, NGOs and local communities. Nepal is also at the forefront of using new technologies that have helped them achieve these kinds of conservation results. From satellite based GPS collaring to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to biogas stoves for rural families, Nepal has been a testing ground for cutting-edge innovations and ideas that could help turn the tide in favor of global conservation efforts.

Recently, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had the opportunity to take part in another tech “exploration” in Nepal. Selected to participate in Google’s Giving Through Glass program, we had the opportunity to brainstorm creative ways and test how Glass – Google’s wearable smart glasses – could help us do our work more efficiently in the field. While still early in the process, one thing we’ve been working on is a new Glass-specific app (“Glassware”) that could help field researchers take notes hands-free during rhino monitoring by recording information on a rhino’s condition, habitat, activity, location and other key data, and then uploading the information so that it can be easily shared among members of the research team. While the Glassware is still in beta phase and we’re still early in the process of testing it out, such a tool could be very helpful to field biologists and conservationists working to protect rhinos and other threatened species.

You can see Google Glass in action in this short video featuring my colleague Sabita Malla – senior research officer at WWF-Nepal – testing it in the field.

12 Mar

Animal Planet #MEOWS in Austin

By Matthew Windsor, Publicist for Animal Planet

Over the weekend, Animal Planet clawed it’s way to Austin, Texas and left a gigantic sized scratch mark on the SXSW scene with it’s participation in a "paw-some panel," Cat Cash: The Economy of Cats, and with a celebration of all things feline at the Cats Live Here party.

On Saturday, Grace Suriel, social media director of Animal Planet, appeared on the feline themed panel to discuss the network’s role in the global phenomenon that is internet cat videos. Grace mentioned Animal Planet’s dedication to cats on-air runs the gamut from shamelessly cute with the likes of TOO CUTE! KITTENS and LIL BUB’S SPECIAL SPECIAL, to ferociously frightening with MY CAT FROM HELL. In addition, she touted the success of APL L!VES’ Kitten Cam and the network’s role in changing the perception of cat ladies online. Gracel was joined by Scott Stulen, of the Cat Vid Fest, of which Animal Planet is the exclusive sponsor, Will Braden, creator of Henri Le Chat Noir, and Ben Lashes, manager of famous feline’s Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat and Grumpy Cat, who made a surprise appearance at the panel and sent social media into a frenzy. The panel was also covered by The Guardian, OnlineVideo.net and The Star Online.

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30 Oct

Animal Oddities: Zombies vs. Animals: Who Would Win?

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From David Mizejewski, Animal Oddities

Between Halloween and the latest season of The Walking Dead, the zombie craze is in full-force.

Zombies are scary. We humans are evolutionarily pre-programmed to abhor the dead bodies of our own species. It's a natural reaction that helps healthy individuals avoid picking up potentially fatal pathogens. The thought of being eaten alive is another totally natural fear, and when it's your own species doing the eating, it's somehow even more terrifying.

So, when you're lying in bed after watching The Walking Dead, unable to fall asleep with the vague anxiety of half-rotten corpses getting you in the dark, remember this: if there was ever a zombie apocalypse, wildlife would kick some serious zombie [butt].

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Photo by Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

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22 Oct

Penguin Receives First Ever MRI at U of M Veterinary Medical Center

Meet Fluffy. Fluffy is the first ever known penguin to receive an MRI.

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When Fluffy arrived at University of Minnesota's Veterinary Medical Center he was having trouble balancing, standing and waddling. When veterinarians couldn't find the root cause they turned to a diagnostic first for penguins: An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. As a result Fluffy was diagnosed with encephalitis, properly treated and four weeks later is nearly fully recovered.

Click here to read the full story from the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center

Can't get enough of penguins? Check out our LIVE Penguin Cam brought to you in partnership with the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

 

17 Oct

Deadly Wasp Attacks on the Decline in China

 

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Imaginechina/Corbis

Here's some good news for the people of Ankang, a city in China's Shaanxi province. Deadly wasps, whose stings have taken the lives of 42 people, seem to be on the decline as the number of cases of severe stings has decreased over the last week. The number of cases was as high as 40 per day in September and were now down to about 10 per day in early October. No cases have been reported in the last five days.

According to CNN, the wasp, formally known as Vespa mandarinia, carries a venom that destroys red blood cells. Yet, as with any stinging insect, allergic reaction to the sting is just as dangerous, if not more so, than the venom.

Want to learn more? Read up on wasps then take our wasp quiz!

Watch how Turtleman (Ernie) traps wasps safely and effectively with his homemade bottle trap:

20 Sep

The Importance of Foster Homes: Sir Stuffington's Story

Earlier today we were introduced to a very brave kitten named Sir Stuffington. Our little friend has been through the unimaginable in his short little life and is currently recuperating in a foster home in Oregon.

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Photo Credit: Multnomah County Animal Services

Sir Stuffington will be ready for adoption in a few months. On behalf of Animal Planet we'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to foster mom Blazer Schaffer for caring for Sir Stuffington until he is at a healthy and adoptable weight. We'd also like to thank all of the pet foster moms and dads out there. You are all an essential part of ensuring that all animals find happy and healty forever homes. Check out Sir Stuffington's Facebook page to follow his progress. 

 

Click here to learn more about Sir Stuffington! 

Click here to learn more about unique pets! 

 

19 Sep

BFFs: Bubbles the Elephant and Bella the Dog are Best Friends

 

Sometimes friendships are totally unexpected — but there's no denying true love and connection between two kindred souls.  Meet Bubbles the elephant and Bella the dog — they're BFFs. And, it's ADORABLE.  Check out the photo gallery >>

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And, watch the video of the adorable pair:

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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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