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7 Nov

Prepare Yourself for Cute Overload: Shedd Aquarium Rescues Orphaned Sea Otter Pup

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©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

We couldn't send you off into the weekend without something ridiculously cute to look at, so enjoy awwing at the cuteness of Otter 681, who just arrived at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium as part of a joint rescue effort with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the United States Fish and Wildlife Services.

The orphaned six-pound female pup arrived at Shedd last Tuesday after living the first four weeks of her life at Monterey Bay in order to make sure was stabilized.

"Pup 681’s situation was urgent. As an organization dedicated to marine mammal care and conservation, we were perfectly positioned to ensure that this little pup had a home, providing the long-term care needed to survive," Tim Binder, Vice President of Animal Collections for Shedd, said in a statement. "This rescued animal provides an opportunity for us to learn more about the biological and behavioral attributes of this threatened species and to encourage people to preserve and protect them in the wild."

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©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

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23 Sep

5 Facts You Otter Know About Sea Otters

Happy Sea Otter Awareness Week
Photo Credit: Rolf Hicker/Getty Images

It's Sea Otter Awareness Week, and we're otterly excited to put the spotlight on these amazingly cute and intelligent superstars of the marine world! On Animal Planet L!VE, we invite you to take a look into the natural habitat of California's southern sea otter on the LIVE Sea Otter Cam, powered by our partners at seaotters.com. While you watch wild sea otters swim, play and socialize on the cam, here are 5 exciting facts you otter know about sea otters!

1. Sea otters are social animals and a group of them is called a raft.

To humans, rafting is a sport or a leisurely weekend activity, but to otters rafting is a way of life!  If you see one otter, there’s a good chance that many more are swimming nearby.  Sea otters prefer to swim in same-sex groups called rafts. These groups can range from just ten otters to larger groups of hundreds or thousands. Something cute to note is that rafting sea otters can often be seen holding each others' paws to prevent themselves from floating apart while sleeping.

 

sea otter pup
Photo Credit: Arthur Morris/Corbis

 

2. Baby sea otters are absolutely adorable, but it’s hard work being a sea otter mom.

Can you imagine being a new mother and having to swim through waves with an infant sleeping on your stomach? Sea otter moms do it all the time.

 

Born in the water with only the ability to float, sea otter pups cannot swim until they reach 2 months old and shed their newborn fur coat (lanugo).  During this time frame, the female otter serves as her baby’s crib, ferry, groomer, and feeder

 

At 2 months old, an otter pup will learn to swim and dive on its own, but life doesn’t get any easier for mom until the pup is weaned after 6 months of age. This is due mainly to the fact that sea otters do not have blubber to keep them warm. In order to regulate temperature, an adult otter must eat approximately 25% of their body weight each day and that doesn't even include the additional amounts mothers need to eat to nurse their babies.

 

According to a June 2014 research study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, a female sea otter requires 14 hours of hunting per day to gain enough energy and nutrition to care for a 6 month old pup. Unfortunately, this means that otter mothers are more suceptible to health issues and mortality by the time the pup can be weaned. Some otters will abandon their babies to ensure their own survival, particularly when faced with food limitations within an area.

 

Since sea otters normally give birth to one pup every year, an otter mom's job really is never done!

 

3. Sea Otters are one of the few mammals on earth that use tools to hunt and eat.

Most of us will admire sea otters for their cute looks and silly antics, but they're also a smart species. They belong to a small club of mammals that use tools to hunt and eat. Since shellfish like clams and crab make up a large portion of their diet, sea otters have to find clever ways to crack their shells open. This is usually done by finding a rock, placing it on their stomach, and then hammering the shellfish into the rock until it yields the meat within.

 

Even cooler is the fact that sea otters have their own convenient hiding places for their favorite rocks. Each of their forelegs has a pocket of skin which can be used to safely store the otter's tool of choice and their freshly caught prey while diving to and from the surface.

 

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12 Aug

Honoring Earth’s Majestic Giants on World Elephant Day

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Can you imagine a world without elephants? How about a day when children will learn about them only in a state of extinction like their ancient predecessors: the Wooly Mammoths? It may surprise you to hear that this day is frighteningly close with some major wildlife conservation organizations predicting that the majority of the earth’s elephants will be extinct in the next two decades.

 

Thirty-five years ago in 1979, African Elephant populations were estimated to be at 1.3 million which itself was drastically down from about 10 million at the start of the 20th century. Today, those numbers are even smaller at less than 400,000 due largely in part to anthropogenic (human-related) causes. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants campaign, poachers kill 96 elephants per day in Africa in order to sell their tusks in international markets. This continues despite a 1989 ban on the ivory trade from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Last year, CITES’ research revealed that 22,000 African elephants died as the result of poaching in 2012.

 

Similar declines are evident in Asia where there are only 40,000 Asian elephants left, and 30% of those elephants live in captivity, as reported by the World Wildlife Fund.

 

To put a spotlight on the insurmountable damage poaching, habitat loss, and other factors impose upon the elephant populations in Africa and Asia, the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation launchedWorld Elephant Day in 2012. Celebrating its third year on August 12, 2014, World Elephant Day's main goal is “to help conserve and protect elephants from the numerous threats they face.”

 

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

 

So what can you do this World Elephant Day to spread awareness about the plight of the world’s largest land mammal and give these species a chance at survival? Here are five great places to start:

 

1. Support the cause from home. The first step to helping elephant conservation efforts is to prevent the sale of ivory and lessen its value as a commodity in countries around the world, but you can start the change by advocating locally. Sign a petition and write to your local legislators telling them that you want laws passed that stop the sale of ivory in your state. Of the 50 states in the USA, only one has done just that with New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie signing a bill banning the sales statewide on August 5, 2014.

 

2. Go Grey! Many zoos and organizations participating in the 96 Elephants campaign and World Elephant Day events are encouraging elephant lovers to wear grey for the day and share their “Elphies”--selfies with real elephants, photographs, or homemade artwork-- on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using #elphies.

 

4. Learn more fascinating elephant facts and share them with friends, family, and even strangers you may meet. For example, did you know that an elephant drinks up to 50 gallons of water per day and has an innate ability to find and dig for it underground? The holes they make are often used by other animals to quench their thirst in dry seasons.

 

Impress others with your knowledge by checking out 10 Things You Should Know about the Elephant Crisis and the Summer of Fun Safari elephant profile.

5. Go elephant watching on Animal Planet L!VE’s newAfrican Watering Hole Cam. Located in Kenya, one of the countries with the largest surviving elephant population, this cam brought to you by the multimedia organization explore.org and the Mpala Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation puts you in the midst of their native habitat. During its online hours between 11:30pm and 12:30pm ET, you may catch a glimpse of elephants and other animals coming to this bustling watering hole for a drink. At other times, enjoy highlights of recent elephant visits.

On August 12th, Explore.org will also hold a special live chat at 12pm ET with renowned elephant expert Simon Hedges of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Make sure to tune in!

There's no time to waste. Honor the earth's majestic giants and take a stand against poaching today on World Elephant Day!

 
See more LIVE cams like this African Watering Hole Cam on Animal Planet L!VE, where great moments like this happen all the time.

 

8 Jul

Get the Scoop on Dairy from APL!VE's Calf & Chick Chats

It’s the dog days of summer, and for most of us that means a lot more time spent outside soaking up sun beams. However, there comes a time when the heat gets the best of us, and we all need to cool down and reach for a sweet, icy treat. Chances are there’s one cool, creamy dessert that you'll reach for first: Ice Cream! Its refreshing creaminess makes the mouth water and is nearly undeniable after a long day in the sun, but when was the last time you stopped to think about what it takes to deliver a cone full of milky deliciousness to your hand (and stomach)?

 

Well, this summer Animal Planet L!VE has the scoop with the re-introduction of Calves and Chicks Chats starting Wednesday, July 9 at 10:30AM EST!

 

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Meet us on Calves and Chicks Cams each week to find out fascinating information on the animals that provide the basic ingredients for all of your favorite dairy and egg treats. For example, did you know that a calf weighs 90 pounds when born but will grow up to be over 1,000 when it reaches adulthood? Or that a single adult cow will produce between 5 to 12 gallons of milk per day?

 

Each week, you'll have the chance to learn more fun facts like these from the staff of the South Mountain Creamery. They'll be in the chat room to answer viewers’ questions about what life is like for calves and chicks growing up on the farm and to give tidbits into what it requires to produce the dairy products we consume daily. As you chat, you’ll also be entertained by the antics of our cute APL!VE Calf and Chicks cam stars.  Be sure to join us!

Our first chat is on Calf Cam so get moooo-ving over to APL!VE. >>

Don't forget the other APL!VE cam chats you can participate in including Puppies, Kittens, Sharks, Tamarins, Sloths, and Bunnies! Go to apl.tv for the full chats schedule.

 

 

2 Jul

Animal Planet L!VE Gets Patriotic!

It’s almost the 4th of July and that means our Animal Planet L!VE cams are getting decked out in all things red, white and blue to celebrate. Whether it be bunting in the cam's corner or an all-American blow out (here’s looking at you, Kitten Cam), Animal Planet L!VE is ready for the Fourth! Our ants on Ant Cam are even marching on to some classic patriotic music! Need more convincing? Here are some highlights of what you’ll find over at Animal Planet L!VE this Fourth of July weekend!

Kitty in a Hat
Our Kitten Cam is all dressed up and ready to party.

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6 Jun

Explore the Wonders of the Caribbean Reef on APL!VE's Newest Live Cam

 

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Spotted eagle rays are one of the many inhabitants of the Caribbean Sea. Credit: Thinkstock

 

Want to follow the majestic fluid movements of a spotted eagle ray as it swims by? To immerse yourself in the midst of a massive school of surgeonfish? To observe aquatic life from an exclusive spot on the ocean floor without even needing to strap on scuba gear?

Animal Planet L!VE invites you to take a dive into the clear blue waters of the Grand Cayman Islands through the gaze of the new Caribbean Reef Cam.  Provided by our partners at ReefCam and broadcasting live from a cleaning station, your live underwater adventure is certain to put you on eye-level with the most fascinating marine animals you'll ever see outside of an aquarium setting.

 

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Screenshot from APL!VE Caribbean Reef Cam

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4 Jun

Zoo Atlanta Resident & APL!VE Star Okra the Sloth Expecting!

SLOTH WEEK has begun!  Tune in Friday, June 20 to Tuesday, June 24 for plenty of fun sloth online content on Animalist and AnimalPlanet.com. Animal Planet will also air a special mini-marathon of Meet the Sloths on June 21st from 8am to 11am ET/PT.

 

 

Expecting-sloth-zoo-atlanta-500x500What happens when you mix Cocoa and Okra together? You get a baby sloth apparently!

 

Zoo Atlanta announced last week that their 19-year-old Hoffman's two-toed sloth, Okra Mae, is expecting. An ultrasound conducted by the zoo’s Animal Management and Veterinary Teams successfully revealed the pregnancy on May 23rd.

 

Like many things when sloths are involved, this pregnancy is long awaited at the zoo. It is the result of matching done in collaboration with the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which recommended 21-year-old male Cocoa as a viable mate for both of the zoo’s female sloths, Okra and Bonnie. Cocoa was introduced into the zoo’s sloth exhibit during the summer of 2013, and all signs point to his and Okra Mae’s slow-mance beginning not long after his arrival.

With a lengthy gestation period of 11 to 12 months, Okra Mae and Cocoa’s baby is predicted to be born in early June or July 2014.  He or she will be the first sloth born at Zoo Atlanta, and a welcome sight for viewers of Animal Planet L!VE’s Sloth Cam, which streams live daily from inside the sloth exhibit.

As we all wait for the impending birth of Okra Mae and Cocoa's bundle of joy, follow the leisurely upside-down lives of the zoo’s sloth trio on Sloth Cam, and tune in every other Wednesday at 1:30pm EST for Sloth Chats with the staff at Zoo Atlanta.

Update 6/20/14: Zoo Atlanta reported today that while Okra Mae did go into labor, the baby did not survive. In a press release, Zoo Atlanta's President and CEO Raymond B. King stated, "We’re disappointed about Okra Mae’s baby. This would have been a first for us at Zoo Atlanta, and we were looking forward to the birth with great excitement. While this birth had a sad outcome, we’re encouraged by the success of our sloth program so far and are optimistic that Okra Mae will produce other offspring in the future.”

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Zoo Atlanta at this time.

8 May

Nest Watch 2014 Update: More APL!VE Couples Egg-specting!

In late March, we told you about the 2014 nest watch happening now on Animal Planet L!VE. In the weeks since, we’ve welcomed 10 baby birds to their respective nests and even more are on the way!

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Black Eagle sitting in nest on Africam's Black Eagle Cam

This spring two familiar faces returned to APL!VE, and they're happily expecting as of last week when 2 eggs were laid in their nest. If you watched Black Eagle Cam last year, you might remember Emoyeni and her mate Thulane from their 2013 nesting season. Thanks to our partners at Africam, viewers were given a bird's eye view from 164-feet above ground of the daily happenings and nesting struggles of this black eagle couple.

Despite laying a clutch of eggs in the spring of 2013, it was feared that Emoyeni and Thulane would not have an eaglet to raise when their eggs' due dates passed in June without a single hatch. As summer arrived with its hot temperatures, it seemed more likely that the pair's nest would remain empty for the season, but Emoyeni and Thulane fortunately had other things in mind. They defied the odds and finally welcomed an eaglet in late September. This eaglet came to be known as Nessi, and those viewers who tuned in to the cam daily were rewarded with the opportunity to watch him grow and eventually fledge this past December. Nessi has since left his parents' nest for good, but we can only hope that this will be a better year for his family, and we'll see the birth of Nessi's siblings in the next few weeks on Black Eagle Cam.

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View of Rachel & Steve's nest on explore.org's Osprey Cam on APL!VE

Our next pair of expectant parents is Rachel and Steve who are returning for another year on explore.org's Osprey Cam. These ospreys are currently watching over 3 eggs in their nest at the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine.

With an incubation period of five weeks, we expect a debut of their chicks around the first week of June, but that doesn't mean there will be nothing to watch until that time. See these doting raptor parents share nesting duties, bring in and devour fish, and protect their eggs against the elements and predators until hatch day!

If you'd like to see more Ospreys, we also suggest you stop by the Pennsylvania Osprey Cam from WildEarth where the first of three eggs is expected to hatch on May 20.

Want to see bundles of feathery joy now? Visit APL!VE for a glimpse into all of our current nests cams including Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles.

 

 

11 Apr

Sonic Who? Watch Peanut the Hedgehog Speeding onto APL!VE

Look out, Sonic! There’s a new guy on the scene and he’s aiming to dethrone you as the speediest, spikiest hedgehog of all time! Weighing in at a healthy 375 grams, 2-year old Peanut has his racing paws on and is allowing Animal Planet L!VE to follow his bold quest on Hedgehog Cam.

http://i.imgur.com/gojKZsp.gifBeing a pint-sized athlete isn’t easy, but Peanut sure doesn’t let it show. By day, he’s like any other nocturnal creature. He spends his days sleeping and burrowing deep into his bed at Tru Chance Hedgehog Rescue & Rehab. But once the sun goes down and the lights go off, Peanut is raring to go. His nightly regimen consists of runs on the wheel, bulking up on mealworms, keeping hydrated, and then showing off for the camera!

 

You can watch Peanut’s training sessions each night thanks to our partners at Tru Chance Hedgehog Rescue & Rehab, an approved rescue with the Hedgehog Welfare Society. Tru Chance is dedicated to caring for all hedgehogs that come through their door, placing some in loving new homes, permanently housing those who are not able to be adopted due to medical or temperament issues, and teaching others how to responsibly care for these often misunderstood exotic animals.  They are currently the home to 14 hedgehogs including the dynamic and speedy Peanut!

Meet Peanut the Hedgehog after dark on APL!VE.>>

 

 Not quite dark yet?  Learn more about Hedgehogs by watching this clip from Pets 101:

 

 

5 Apr

Hop On Down the Bunny Trail to the Newest Live Cam

Are you searching for something to put a hop in your step and a smile on your face?  Look no further because Animal Planet L!VE just teamed up with the House Rabbit Society to give life to your newest obsession: Bunny Cam!

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Credit: zzcapture/Veer

This spring APL!VE is absolutely bouncing with cuteness with the addition of Bunny Cam to our growing collection of adorable animal cams. Brighten your day by watching sweet bunnies munch, jump, and play around in their very own bunny castle.  With Easter just weeks away, this is a cam that you're going to want to share with friends and family.

It's also an excellent opportunity to get to know one of America’s most popular household pets. To help you understand exactly what welcoming a bunny into the family means, we're hosting weekly chats with our partners at the House Rabbit Society, an international non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing abandoned rabbits, finding them forever homes, and educating people on the responsibilities of rabbit ownership. Join us on Bunny Cam every Wednesday at 3PM ET for Bunny Chats!

Hippity-hop over to APL!VE where floppy ears and bushy tails await you!>>

 

 

Need more bunnies to fill your day?  Check out this playlist of the Hoppiest Bunny Videos!

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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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