Bites at Animal Planet

17 Nov

Here's How Yao Ming Is Helping. Now It's Your Turn.


Alison Kim Perry reports on what YOU can do to help end the poaching crisis in Africa. It's not entirely hopeless — so, read up and do you part!

Yes, it is true that a big difference can be made one person at a time. Elephants are being killed every day for their ivory tusks (their incisor teeth). To elephants, tusks are an essential body part. To poachers, they are a financial gold mine.

Photo: Kristian Schmidt/WildAid

You have the power to speak out for those who cannot speak out for themselves. Here are just a few ways to help you get started:

Donate. While many of us may not have the time or means to head to Africa, every dollar DOES count you can make even the smallest contribution to the cause without even having to board a plane. Groups like WildAid and the World Wildlife Fund are focused on ending illegal wildlife trade. Hop over to their websites (links preceding), read about the organizations, and see if donating to them is a good fit for you.

Ask. Before you purchase those “pretty” ivory beads, chess sets and toy elephants to sit in your armoire, ask yourself  and more importantly, the retailer  if it’s worth the lives of the elephants that were taken to add these pearly trinkets to your collection. If there were not a huge consumer demand for ivory, there would be no need to wage a war against poachers.

March. The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos puts on various events around the globe including of simultaneous marches in 137 cites in October. The group posts many opportunities for people to get involved in various events on their facebook page. Log on to their website or Facebook page to find the closest event to you.

Post. We all love to share stories about cute kittens playing the piano on our Facebook page. And, who doesn’t post the pic of the rigatoni dish you ate for lunch on Instagram? So why not use the power of Social Media for meaningful content? Like, share and post news stories and web pieces about the illegal sale of ivory to make sure this topic spreads like wildfire to everyone in your circle and beyond. And, be sure to use the hashtag #IvoryFree to spread the word and encourage your network to sign the Ivory Free pledge!

Read. Many of us are not even aware that with the fast rate of poaching, elephants, rhinoceros and even tigers in Africa and Asia face the possibility of extinction in our lifetime. Imagine this: man could ultimately be responsible for the demise of these creatures. Get to know the history of these beautiful mammals and gain knowledge about the grave nature of their endangered statuses. Learn about the real implications of illegal wildlife trade. The World Wildlife Fund released the 10th edition of their Living Planet Index, reporting that we've lost half of our planet's wildlife in the last 40 years. Their full report would be a good place to start reading >>

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14 Nov

Finding Bigfoot: The Team Brings in Reinforcements

In Sunday's all-new episode of Finding Bigfoot the team enlists the help of fellow Squatchers to see how much ground they can cover in Idaho. Among the stories and evidence they explore is an eyewitness account that took place near a casino.

Two men claim to have seen a large creature in the distance picking debris up off the ground and tossing it in the air. After the sighting, the two ventured to the location where they saw the potential Squatch and found some very interesting - and very large - footprints.


And this is just one of the accounts the team investigates in this episode. Don't miss Sunday's premiere. Tune in at 10 PM E/P for some serious Squatchin'!

12 Nov

Chinese Leaders Accused Of Smuggling Absurd Amount Of Illegal Ivory

Reports from last week revealed that Chinese officials and business leaders, part of a delegation on a state visit with President Xi Jinping to Tanzania, was used to smuggle massive amounts of illegal ivory — the obscene demand causing local prices to double. Read The Dodo's in-depth report below.

Photo: Matt Bidulph/Flickr vis The Dodo


By Melissa Cronin

A Chinese presidential delegation has been accused of recently trafficking a huge amount of illegal ivory out of the country worst hit by elephant poaching.

During a March 2013 visit to Tanzania, Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, brought a large entourage along with him. The group was there to purportedly promote relations between their two countries. But, according to a new report, that wasn’t their only goal. Local traders allege that the arrival of the delegation caused local ivory prices to skyrocket because they bought so much of it.

Continue to the Full Report at The Dodo >>



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11 Nov

Animal Friends Salute Our Vets

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:

11 Nov

Elephants Get Ahold Of GoPro, Create Perfect Short Film

When elephants stumble across a GoPro left by tourists, they react just like any human would.  Find out about Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, where the adorable close-ups happened and read The Dodo's full account of the encounter.

Photo: YouTube video by Sue Bowern Zambezi Safaris

By Melissa Cronin

When a herd of elephants at a watering hole in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, stumbled across a tourist's GoPro camera, they reacted, understandably, like the rest of us would: by rushing over to touch it. One hurried over immediately.

Continue to the Full Report at The Dodo >>


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10 Nov

Sweet, Compassionate Dog Tries to Save His Fish Friends

When a few poor, unfortunate fish are stuck high and dry, one sweet pup takes action to try and save them! This video is a true testament of the heart of man's best friend:

Good boy — we LOVE you, puppy!! You're a HERO!

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8 Nov

Meet Munchkin, the Cutest Shih Tzu in a Teddy Bear Costume EVER

Miss Halloween? Well, fortunately, dressing up pets in TOO CUTE costumes is totally OK year-round — we promise! Meet Munchkin — the most adorable teddy bear Shih-tzu we have ever seen! Watch and melt:

He even has a Facebook page so you can keep up with all the ADORABLE teddy action! Like his page >>

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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

©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."

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

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5 Nov

Wildlife Photographers of the Year Named: See the Photos

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!

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

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