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18 Nov

Be Ivory Free. Saving Africa's Giants with Yao Ming Premieres Tonight at 10/9c

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Can one person change the habits and mindset of an entire country? For most people, the answer is no. But when that one person in question is basketball superstar Yao Ming, then it’s time to believe in the impossible.

Yao Ming is teaming up with WildAid and using his celebrity to stop ivory demand in China, the world’s biggest ivory consumer. In Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming, airing tonight at 10/9c, Yao ventures to Kenya to learn more about elephants, rhinos and how the ivory trade affects not only the wildlife, but also mankind.

Yao’s image has already made an impact in a country with over one billion people. His work with WildAid to end the shark fin market in China resulted in a 50 percent to 70 percent decrease in shark fin consumption, which leads us to believe history can repeat itself this time around.

Still, it’s important to lend our voices to the cause. There’s a lot we can do individually to help fuel change, and one way to start is to recognize the demand for ivory and rhino horn will do more harm than good. More than 33,000 African elephants are killed every year for their ivory, and if the trend continues, the species may go extinct by 2020. Three species of rhinos are classified as critically endangered, including the Northern white rhino.

Knowing that, will you join us in being Ivory Free? Sign WildAid’s Ivory Free pledge, and see what other ways you can incite change.

11 Nov

Animal Friends Salute Our Vets

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Ty, a 13-year-old male California Sea Lion, provides a salute to America’s veterans. A popular resident pinniped of Shedd Aquarium’s Abbott Oceanarium, Ty spent his first four years as a member of the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, before receiving the equivalent of a medical discharge due to his limited vision. Shedd aquarium adopted him in 2005, where he has been thriving in their care ever since. (©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez)

We're following Ty's lead and saluting our veterans today. Ty himself is a veteran having served in the U.S. Navy's Marine Mammal Program in San Diego. When he was discharged due to limited vision, he came to live at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium in 2005.

See more animals who have served their country:

7 Nov

Finding Bigfoot: Searching for Squatch in the Wilds of Alaska

The Finding Bigfoot Team is back Sunday, at 9 PM E/P, for an all-new season of squatching. First up in their travels is Alaska. Its vast terrain has been the home of Bigfoot lore for years. Recent reports from locals range from enormous creatures seen in the distance to up-close-and-personal encounters while camping in the middle of the night.

Some of the most compelling evidence is this video footage that a local from Fairbanks captured while out exploring. It shows giant footprints in the mud of a riverbank that dwarf the local man's metal detector.

 

Could this evidence prove Bigfoot's existence in the Land of the Midnight Sun? Tune in Sunday at 9 PM for the special two-hour season premiere of Finding Bigfoot to find out.

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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5 Nov

Wildlife Photographers of the Year Named: See the Photos

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Duchess of Cambridge with overall winner Michael Nichols. © Trustees of NHM, London

Photographers from 96 countries contributed over 42,000 submissions for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition - and the winners have now been announced! The United States' Michael "Nick" Nichols won the overall award for his black and white photo of lions resting atTanzania's Serengeti National Park. Eight-year-old Carlos Perez Naval of Spain took home the Young Wildlife Photographer of the year award for his photo of a common yellow scorpion against the background of a shining sun.

Check out the other winners and finalists below!

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Winner - Black and White / Overall Winner - Wildlife Photographer of the Year: "The last great picture" by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols (USA) 
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Winner - 10 Years and Under/Overall Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Stinger in the sun - Carlos Perez Naval (Spain)

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23 Oct

Which Breed is the 'Hot Dog'? New Book Tracks Data

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Click to see a higher-res version. Courtesy of HarperCollins

In addition to being animal lovers, most of us here at Animal Planet are creative types who find inspiration from a variety of places - the news, the Web, other TV, books - you name it! So when David McCandless's new book Knowledge is Beautiful came across our desks, we obviously geeked out.

Even greater was that McCandless's visually appealing infographics played to our animal-loving-side as well. We loved looking through his "Best in Show" graphic (shown above) to learn more about specific dog breeds. Using data that ranked dogs by popularity, intelligence, etc., McCandless was able to show which breeds come out on top, which ones are perhaps overlooked and others that were rightly ignored. It's an interesting look at how breeds "rank" compared to one another. Perhaps we can see about adding in his information to our Dog Breed Selector...

To see more of McCandless's beautiful infographics, check out his blog. You can also purchase your own copy here.

Learn more about the Border Collie, the "Hot Dog!" in the above infographic, below!

20 Oct

Special Testing Begins To See If Texas Dog Has Ebola

More than one week after going into quarantine, the dog of a Dallas nurse that contracted Ebola has begun the testing phase to determine whether or not he has the virus.

Bentley, a one-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, was moved into a special kennel where officials can watch him and periodically collect samples of his waste for testing, according to a statement from the City of Dallas. Like humans exposed to the Ebola virus, Bentley will be monitored for 21 days.

The dog’s ordeal began earlier this month when his owner, Nina Pham, was diagnosed with Ebola after contracting the virus from a patient at a Dallas hospital. Pham has since been transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland for continued monitoring.

To learn more about Ebola and its tie to dogs, be sure to watch a CNN interview with Monsters Inside Me host Dan Riskin. And if you’re interested in diseases tied to animals and parasites, visit the Monsters Inside Me page on AnimalPlanet.com for photos, videos and more. You can also watch a new episode this Thursday at 10/9c.

14 Oct

Dog Survives Euthanasia Attempt

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AP Photo/Jay Reeves

In what many are calling a miracle, an Alabama dog is surviving and thriving despite a euthanasia attempt last month.

The dog, now named Lazarus, was surrendered to a shelter Aug. 19 after its owner said they could no longer care for him. The dog was also injured having been hit by a vehicle, according to People. When nobody stepped up to adopt the dog despite several attempts via social media, he was set to be euthanized Sept. 10. According to the People article, an animal control officer witnessed the contract veterinarian administering the lethal dose of drugs and saw the dog put back into a kennel. When volunteers came back the next day, Lazarus was awake and had moved to an outdoor pen linked to the interior kennel.

No one is quite sure how Lazarus managed to escape death. Some claim it's a miracle. Other theories suggest that an improper dose was given or a vein dodged the needle. Either way, Lazarus is living a happy life with a foster family in Birmingham, Alabama.

Meet another miracle dog >>

Learn About the Michelson Found Animals Saving Pets Challenge >>

13 Oct

Dog In Texas Put Into Quarantine After Owner Gets Ebola

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A makeshift shrine was made outside Excalibur's home. A sign above reads "Excalibur. You are free now. Rest in peace" (Photo Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Last week in Spain, a dog was euthanized out of precaution after his owner was diagnosed with Ebola. This week in Texas, a different dog will be spared from a similar fate.

Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings announced that a dog owned by a nurse with Ebola will be quarantined, according to The Dodo. The Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center will oversee the dog's care with assitance from government officials, as mentioned on Twitter.

The decision comes less than a week after Spanish officials decided to euthanize a dog named Excalibur after his owner became infected, despite protests and a petition signed by around 400,000 people.

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9 Oct

Dog Euthanized in Spain After Owner Is Diagnosed With Ebola

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Excalibur barks from the balcony of his owner's residence. He was euthnized October 8. (Photo Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

The Ebola virus that has resulted in more than 3,000 deaths this year has now claimed the life of a dog.

It wasn’t virus itself that resulted in the mutt’s death, but rather a decision by Spanish authorities to euthanize the dog, named Excalibur, after his owner became ill.

Despite protests and a petition signed by around 400,000 people, Excalibur was euthanized in his home Wednesday, as reported by CNN. His owner, María Teresa Romero Ramos, tested positive for Ebola after treating a priest who had been brought back to Spain after working with Ebola patients in West Africa. She has been hospitalized in Madrid, while her husband is under observation for any symptoms.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola is transmitted to humans through “blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.” And while fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus, Ebola has been documented in infected chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. Ebola is then spread through direct human-to-human contact with “the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people.”

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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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