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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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22 Oct

Meet the Hellbender

Just in time for Halloween, I introduce you to the hellbender.

No, it's not one of Satan's minions or a CGI monster. It's a type of salamander native to the streams and rivers of eastern North America.  Despite its demonic-sounding name, this spectacular amphibian is completely harmless to people. Yet the species is rapidly declining due to human activity such as deforestation, erosion and chemical runoff into our streams--which is the real horror story.

Watch this video put out by the Forest Service and partners about one of North America's most fascinating and little-known wild animals.

 

The Last Dragons - Protecting Appalachia's Hellbenders from Freshwaters Illustrated on Vimeo.

Here's a close up of the ancient beauty of the hellbender, an animal perfectly adapted to and camouflaged in its environment.

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Photo by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr Creative Commons. 

Save Appalachian streams and the hellbenders that live in them with National Wildlife Federation.

26 Sep

“Werewolf” Cat Breed Raises Questions And Curiosities

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Lykoi Cat (Photo by: Nelius Rademan/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

At first glance, werewolves and housecats go together like oil and water. But breeders have bridged the two into a new cat: the Lykoi.

The breed’s distinct look is due to a natural mutant gene variation that interferes with hair growth, resulting in a sparse, patchy coat, according to Nautilus. Not only does the Lykoi resemble a werewolf, it shares some similarities with dogs. Lykoi cats are particularly affectionate and known to follow their owners around.

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25 Sep

Guess What a Vet Finds 43 1/2 of in a Great Dane's Stomach?

When one family's beloved Great Dane fell ill, they raced him off to the DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon. After examination and x-rays, the vet found this:

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Photo: Courtesy of DoveLewis

Oh, what's THAT, you ask? Well, on surgery and extraction, THIS:

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16 Sep

Loch Ness Monster Flees to England Ahead of Scotland's Independence Vote?

Is ol' Nessie making her own political statement by fleeing to England? Or, could this be a distant English cousin, "Bownessie"? ... Orrrr, just another HOAX?

Just days away from a historic vote to determine Scotland's future as part of the United Kingdom, photos of a lake monster spotted in England have been circulating the interwebs.  The photo was captured at the Lake District in Windermere, where sightings have been reported since 2006.  If it is Nessie, well, she's a good 300 or so miles away from her Scottish home. 

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Photo Credit: REX USA/Autographer/Rex

Twenty-four-year-old photographer Ellie Williams had set up her camera to snap a few pics on timer of the lovely changing foliage.  Upon reviewing her images, she noticed her serendipitous capture:

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Photo Credit: REX USA/Autographer/Rex

What do you think? Hoax or REAL?  Post your theory in the Comments section below.

 

In the meantime, watch what Jeremy Wade's investigation into the Loch Ness monster uncovered:

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6 Sep

Poop-Eating Pika Makes History

My friend and National Wildlife Federation colleague Beth Pratt-Bergstrom is a self-avowed pika lover. Pikas are small mammals that live in high-elevation cool mountains west of the Rocky Mountains in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. They are very, very cute.

Even though they look like it, pikas are not rodents. They belong to the taxonomic order called Lagomorpha and are closely related to rabbits and hares. They feed on on grasses and other vegetation, and spend much of their time gathering and hoarding plants in their rocky burrows, which they feed on during the long winter. You can often see them with their furry little faces stuffed with a huge amont of vegetation, scurrying through the rocks.

Apparently, that's not all they collect. Beth snapped this picture of a pika with what looks like a poop pellet in its mouth. She thought it was a funny and odd photo (right on both counts) but there's more the story than that. 

  

Pika Poop
Photo by Beth Pratt-Bergstrom.

 

From Beth:

Wow! Just heard from top pika researcher and my hero Eric Beever and he said I made a pika discovery! "I think this photo is the first photographic evidence of pikas moving / consuming fecal pellets of marmots." My contribution to science involves poop! How fitting.

Marmots are large members of the squirrel family that share the pika's habitat. Perhaps there's still available nutrients in the marmot droppings, and in nature such resources rarely go to waste. Lagomorphs are known for their coprophagia (poop-eating), and pikas are no exception, but usually it's their own droppings that they feed upon. More study is required to figure out what's going on with pikas in this regard. Science is cool!

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3 Sep

R.O.A.R. To Their Rescue - Calling All Pet Pics! Send Us Your Adoption Stories

Sept. 1 marked the launch of the R.O.A.R. To Their Rescue program where Animal Planet is teaming up with the ASPCA® to cover adoption fees in Austin, Texas; Miami, Fla.; and Cleveland, Ohio. You can get the details all about the initiative and partner organizations here! >>

To celebrate the launch, we want to hear from Animal Planet fans, far and wide — and we want to know all about your beautiful adoption stories!

Send us your adoption stories and photos and we'll feature our favorites right here on AnimalPlanet.com at the R.O.A.R. website and share them with the hashtag #ROARToTheirRescue.  To submit, email us at animalplanetdotcom@gmail.com. Be sure to send us:

  • Your Name
  • Where You Live (City/State)
  • Your Pet's Name
  • At Least 1 Photo of Your Pet (and any other family members)
  • Your Adoption Story — Tell us why you chose to adopt and how you found your pet soulmate! <3

See additional rules about photo submissions below ... And, stay tuned for YOUR stories!

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21 Jul

Dukey's Last Day on Earth

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You may have heard about Dukey the dog who had an amazing last day on Earth. You may have wanted to avoid it because of the threat of tears. But, it is an amazing photo tribute to an obviously loved dog. The beautiful photos and blog piece were done by Houston photographer and friend of Dukey's owner, Robyn Arouty. She also wrote a follow-up piece about Dukey and his life, titled "Dukey Broke the Internet," which you can read here.We want to thank Robyn for sharing this story and encourage you to look through her touching photos in this gallery, then head over for the full story on Arouty's blog.

18 Jul

National Zoo Welcomes New Red Panda Cubs!

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Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. has welcomed four new litters of red panda cubs! However, you won't be able to see them just yet, as they are living at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, or SCBI, in Front Royal, Virginia. This is where the zoo does much of its research concerning animal reproduction. According to The Washington Post, four pairs of red pandas live there, all of which have had babies within the last year. That means 10 babies, more than the zoo has ever had in one year!

The little guy pictured above was born to Regan and Rocco. The cub is currently being hand-reared to increase its chance of survival, as Regan has been known to neglect cubs in the past. However, zookeepers are working hard to keep these cubs alive as well as care for the parents. In about 12 months, the cubs will be full grown and the size of a house cat!

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Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Out of these panda pairs, one of the fathers is Rusty, the infamous red panda who escaped the zoo and ran the streets of D.C. last summer! Hopefully his babies won't be as mischievous. 

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15 Jul

Animal Rescue: Hope Finds a Way!

Hope

Photo Credit: Kira Stackhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the spring of 2013, a one-year-old pit bull was found tied to a tree by an Oakland animal control officer. She was underweight and had no fur due to a condition called Demodex, a form of mange. She was bright pink, hot to the touch, and starving with no owner in sight when she was brought to Oakland Animal Services, the local animal shelter. Due to the extent of her condition and a lack of shelter resources, there wasn’t much they could do for her.

However, through the love and care of two different foster parents, Steve LaChapelle and Pat Luchak, the aptly-named Hope started to recover. They took her in and took turns administering oral medications and giving her medicated baths to treat the mange, which was exacerbated by stress. Hope didn’t just need medicine; she needed love and care to help eradicate the mange and get her fur to grow back!

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Photo Credit: Steve LaChapelle

Just when things started looking up for this pit bull pup, bad news struck again: Hope was diagnosed with Valvular Pulmonic Stenosis, a congenital heart problem that would kill her within the year without surgery. Surgery isn’t cheap and again, things were looking dire for this brave pup. However, through the compassion of her humans, the money for the surgery was raised. How, you may ask?

Steve and the Friends of Oakland Animal Services set up a crowd-funding campaign through Razoo, with the ambitious goal of $5,000 to cover Hope’s surgery and various other medical expenses. Steve shared it with his friends and family, asking for any little bit they could donate, while the campaign was also promoted on Hope’s own Facebook page. In just three days, the campaign had been shared all over the world and raised almost $6,000, well over the original goal. Hope was now on her way to surgery and a happy, healthy life.

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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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