Bites at Animal Planet

15 Jan

Thandi the Rhino, Poaching Survivor, Gives Birth

Thandi the rhino — and poaching survivor — gave birth to a calf this past Tuesday at the Kariega Game Reserve in South Africa. ... HOORAY THANDI!

Thandi-calf-Kariega-Jan2015-ASteirn1-sm
Photo: Kariega Game Reserve / Adrian Steirn (www.adriansteirn.com | instagram.com/adriansteirn@adriansteirn

Thandi and two male rhinos were the victims of a horrific attack by poachers armed with machetes in March 2012. Very tragically, the two males died. But, Thandi survived after losing her horn — though she endured many surgeries including a skin graft procedure thanks to Dr. William Fowlds.

Remember Thandi's story? The horrifying attack was featured in the Animal Planet program SAVING AFRICA'S GIANTS WITH YAO MING just this past Fall:

Dr. Fowlds reports this week that after observing Thandi and calf from a distance, both appear to be doing well.

“I am sure that the whole rhino caring community will share in the joy of this amazing birth. Thandi’s story has always been an incredible testimony of the will to survive against all odds. She represents so much of what her species faces under the current poaching crisis. Her survival has already given us inspiration but the birth of her calf brings a new dimension of hope to the crisis showing us that a future generation of life is possible if we put our minds and hearts to it.” - See more at: http://www.kariega.co.za/blog/poaching-survivor-thandi-the-rhino-gives-birth#sthash.g1wozyC8.dpuf
“I am sure that the whole rhino caring community will share in the joy of this amazing birth. Thandi’s story has always been an incredible testimony of the will to survive against all odds. She represents so much of what her species faces under the current poaching crisis. Her survival has already given us inspiration but the birth of her calf brings a new dimension of hope to the crisis showing us that a future generation of life is possible if we put our minds and hearts to it.” - See more at: http://www.kariega.co.za/blog/poaching-survivor-thandi-the-rhino-gives-birth#sthash.g1wozyC8.dpuf

"I am sure that the whole rhino caring community will share in the joy of this amazing birth. Thandi’s story has always been an incredible testimony of the will to survive against all odds. She represents so much of what her species faces under the current poaching crisis. Her survival has already given us inspiration but the birth of her calf brings a new dimension of hope to the crisis showing us that a future generation of life is possible if we put our minds and hearts to it,” Dr. Fowlds said.

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14 Jan

TODAY Show Welcomes a Pup With a Purpose

Today-puppy

This morning, the TODAY Show welcomed another member to their ranks: a puppy with a purpose!

The 10-week-old Yellow Labrador Retreiever, which has yet to be named, is being raised by TODAY anchors, staff and an experienced handler. They've partnered with the nonprofit organization Guiding Eyes for the Blind and will help raise the little guy to become a seeing-eye guide dog.

The show is also holding a contest, which allows viewers to choose what to name the puppy: Wrangler, Waldo, Wes or William. See details for voting in the Tweet below!

Head to Today.com to learn more about the pup and his training.

Want to see other guide dogs in training? Check out this super cute clip from Too Cute!

13 Jan

Take the Challenge to Help 85-Pound Beagle 'Kale Chips' Slim Down

When a sweet beagle was surrendered by his elderly owner to the Chicago Animal Care & Control, the staff had never seen a dog as overweight as the fittingly renamed dog, "Kale Chips."

Kale Chips weighed in at 85 pounds — a healthy, average beagle weighs about 22 to 25 pounds.

Kale-chips-beagle-1
Photo: Courtesy of One Tail at a Time. Visit the One Tail at a Time Facebook page for more photos >>

The organization One Tail at a Time stepped up to help to pup — but, when a representative came to pick him up, he was so heavy, he could barely walk and had to be wheeled out by wagon.

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13 Jan

Crazy Smart Pup Rides Bus to Dog Park, All By Herself

Eclipse, a black Labrador and Bullmastiff mix in Seattle, Wash., rides the bus ... ALONE. Pretty smart, eh?

That's right -- she's learned how to hop on the bus in front of her apartment and carefully watches for her destination, 3 or 4 stops later, at the dog park.

Dog-rides-bus-alone
Photo: KOMO News Video image - Watch the full video report >>

It all started when her owner, Jeff Young, would have a cigarette as they waited for the bus. And one time, when he hadn't finished yet, the bus arrived and she just hopped on. He got on the next bus and caught up with her at the park shortly after.  And, she's been doing her solo ride ever since!

She's totally "urbanized," Young told KOMO News. "She's a bus-riding, sidewalk-walking dog," he said. "Probably once a week I get a phone call. 'Hi. I have your dog Eclipse here on 3rd and Bell,'" he recounted. "I have to tell them, 'no. She's fine.' She knows what she's doing."

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12 Jan

Adorable Tortoise Can Walk Again with Custom Lego Wheelchair

Meet Blade, an adorable little tortoise with a very special story. Blade was born with a metabolic bone disease, gradually leaving him unable to support the weight of his shell.

When his owner Iris Pleste started to notice his slowing pace, she took him to the local veternarian, Dr. Carsten Plischke in Bielefeld, Germany.

Dr. Plischke was able to fashion a very special, custom, "wheelchair" made of Legos.

Blade-turtle-wheelchair
Photo: RuptlyTV via YouTube image

“We mounted Lego wheels on the tortoise Blade because he had a bone metabolism illness and his shell was too heavy and he had a loss of muscles,” Plischke told CNET. “That’s why he couldn’t pick up himself and walk anymore. The bones were like rubber and the musculature had clearly diminished,” Dr. Plischke said, according to a Yahoo News report.

The wheelchair should help strengthen Blade's legs so he can, hopefully, eventually walk on his own one day.

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10 Jan

Wasp vs Tarantula - Who Will Win?

 

My pal Bryan Hughes from Rattlesnake Solutions LLC was recently out in the desert looking for rattlesnakes and came across this epic battle between a large wasp and a tarantula.

The common name for this wasp species is tarantula hawk. As you can see in the video above, it is well-named.

Tarantula hawks specialize in preying on the large spiders that give them their common name. Well, the females do at least. Male and female tarantula hawks actually feed on flower nectar. The female hunts tarantulas so that she can provision her young with a living host upon which to feed.

Wasp
Photo by Ken Bosma via Flickr.

When she finds a suitable victim, a battle like the one in the video ensues. If she's lucky, the female wasp lands a sting to the spider, which doesn't kill it but rather paralyzes it. She then hauls it off to a nest burrow where she lays an egg on it. 

When the wasp larva hatches, it burrows into the still living spider and feeds on the arachnid from the inside out until it pupates and eventually emerges as an adult wasp.

Gruesome, yes, and pretty horrible for the spider, but still it's an evolutionarily genius way to provide an ample food source for your offspring without having to dedicate time and energy to directly feed them while they grow to adulthood.

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.

 

7 Jan

Salmon is King in 'Alaska: Battle on the Bay'

Alaska BoB 2 days
Jade Hoiby works onboard the Jesse N, captained by her uncle Vince Hoiby. (Photo Credit: Animal Planet)

As we’ve witnessed in shows like River Monsters and Off the Hook, fishing incites fire and passion in anyone looking for a big catch.

The same can be said about our new Animal Planet series, Alaska: Battle on the Bay. In it, we’ll follow five boat captains and their crews as they try to make it rich off of fishing for sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where 44 million fish migrate every year.

Get to know them a little better:

Capt. Taran White (The Thunder) is a young brash Bristol Bay native with the fastest boat on the water.

Capt. Luke Swab (The Jimmy Jeff) is a laid-back Detroit native with a fixer-upper vessel that might slow him down.

Capt. Vince Hoiby (The Jesse N) is a long-time veteran with the patience and knowledge to hit it big on the bay.

Capt. Tom Walsh (The Intruder) is a fiery Irishman with a hot temper and a greenhorn crew.

Capt. Leonard Ferrigno (The Deborah Renee) is a family man with his sons on board. But that won’t stop him from using his boat as a battering ram to get what he wants.

Salmon fishing in Bristol Bay isn’t just about the money. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game depends on commercial fishermen to harvest 70 percent of the salmon each season to prevent overpopulation. Without controlled fishing, the sockeye would die due to overcrowding, damaging Bristol Bay’s fragile ecosystem in the process.

Which boat will come out with the most fish at the end of the short season? You’ll have to watch the show to find out! Alaska: Battle on the Bay premieres Thursday, January 8 at 10/9c.

Check out a SNEAK PEEK of the show and visit the Alaska: BoB website for more!

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 5.28.04 PM 

7 Jan

Brave Puppy Battles to Reclaim Bed from Unimpressed Cat

NO ONE should ever mess with someone's bed. EVER. That's just wrong on so many levels -- and this puppy agrees! Watch this cute French bulldog pup attempt to reclaim his bed from his cat sibling:

Though ... we are grateful to you kitty for providing us with the opportunity for one pretty adorable video.  MEOW!

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7 Jan

Shammy the Dwarf Horse Will Melt Your Heart

Shammy the dwarf horse is just about the most adorable thing you'll see. If you aren't overcome with the urge to snuggle him, your heart might be broken.

You can get your regular Shammy fix and follow his exploits by following his page on Facebook.

Shammy
Photo by Michele Lafferty Puryear via Shammy the Dwarf Facebook page.

 

 

6 Jan

Watch a Giant Panda Play in the Snow

We can't help but smile watching Bao Bao, the Smithsonian National Zoo's 16-month-old giant panda, play in the snow during her first ever snow day!

According to the Zoo, the giant panda cub rolled around in the snow, pounced on her mom, Mei Xiang, and climbed some trees. Other animals in the Zoo also enjoyed the two or so inches of snow that fell across the D.C. region.

Want to watch even more adorable animals frolic in the snow? Check out the video below, then watch more in our "Snow-Loving Animals" playlist!

 

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