Adopt an Animal - News

Husky Pack Adopts Kitten As One Of Their Own

Husky Pack Adopts Kitten As One Of Their Own

Three Huskies living together in California have started to raise a cat that was rescued as one of their own the owner of the dogs says. The three Siberian Huskies, Miko, Infinity and Lilo have become best of friends with the cat who is named Rosie. Thoa Bui who is the owner of the animals says they do everything together including eating, sleeping and playing.

Leader of the pack

According to Ms. Bui Lilo is the de facto leader of the Husky pack and acted as a surrogate mother to Rosie. Rosie was found by Ms. Bui and her sisters when she was just 3 weeks old and in an extremely malnourished state and close to death. They decided to take a chance and place the kitten with Lilo the Husky and he ended up saving her life. Apparently Lilo never once left Rosie’s side and comforted the scared kitten until she was able to drink from a bottle.

Mother daughter relationship

Rosie eventually tried to suckle on Lilo which marked the start of their so called mother-daughter relationship Ms. Bui said. She adds that Rosie started looking up to Lilo for guidance and bean mimicking everything the Husky did. When she saw the dogs went outdoors to relieve themselves, she also started behaving the same way and when they were put on leashes to go for a walk, Rosie wanted the same treatment.

Slowly introduced to the rest of the group

Rosie was then slowly introduced to Lilo’s brother Miko and their sister infinity and is now firmly part of the pack. Ms. Bui says that because Lilo is the leader of the pack the other two Huskies simply accepted Rosie and they are all now good friends. The four animals drink from the same bowls and eat together. They also play with one another and even take naps together. Rosie seems to have adopted a lot of husky traits, she enjoys going on hikes and is extremely brave. Unlike other cats Rosie is not afraid of water says Ms. Bui.

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Great White Shark Dies In Captivity At Japanese Aquarium

Great White Shark

A big great white shark that was put on display at a Japanese aquarium in a move that was heavily criticised globally on social media died less than three days after the move took place. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium stated on its website in red letters that its great white shark exhibit “has been terminated.” The Wall Street Journal reported the shark died citing information provided by one of the exhibit keepers.

Swimming eratically

The shark which measured 11.5 feet was recently captured by fishermen who donated the predator to the aquarium. Since going on public display, the shark had been swimming erratically in the “Sea of dangerous sharks” exhibit. The shark was reported not to be eating prompting the aquarium to post a statement saying that depending on the condition of the shark, the exhibit could close.

Cause of death still being investigated

Exhibiting the shark was incredibly controversial because historically great white sharks do not do well in captivity. The only aquarium to successfully display great white sharks for extended periods without them dying is the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. However those sharks were much smaller than the one in Japan and were first acclimatised in open pens before they were put on display. Those sharks were also immediately released the minute they began to show signs of stress or bad health. The cause of death in Japan is still being investigated.

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Lion Rescued In Kruger National Park With Help Of Social Media

Lion Rescued In Kruger National Park With Help Of Social Media

Recently a male lion was seen in Kruger National Park with a wire snare that was deeply embedded around his neck. Fortunately for the lion, park rangers tracked it over two days and rescued it. The incident unfortunately highlights the fact that there are many risks animals in the wild face at the hands of poachers in both South Africa and wilderness reserves.

Animals at risk of poaching

The incident underscores the perils wild animals face at the hands of poachers in South Africa and its vast wilderness reserves. The lion which is being called Percy by some was first seen on a road that is located in a remote part of the park prompted a search effort that was led by social media. Fortunately the lion was located, sedated, treated and released in good health.

Social media was a big help

A Facebook page that is run by activist group Enough is Enough ran a statement praising the lion, saying the animal really showed some perseverance and gave its thanks to everyone that was involved with the rescue. Many groups took to social networks to share sighting information with park rangers who were frantically searching for the animal which was a risk of dying as more and more time passed.

Percy the lion was found quickly

We still don’t know exactly how long Percy was roaming with the snare attached to his neck but he was certainly not an easy lion to catch. A spokesperson for Enough Is Enough said she was one of the first people to learn about the lion’s situation. Lize Roose Bester said the lions was first spotted on a Saturday evening and the group immediately took action to locate Percy and give him the help he needed. Ultimately it took rangers two days to find the animal.

Vets were surprised by Percy’s condition

Lesley Nyawo a spokesperson for Kruger National Park was quoted as saying that shortly after the snare was removed the Percy began to roam freely in the bush. Vets were surprised by the relative health of the animal and were actually preparing to euthanise him. However once they took a look at the wound they found it was not as bad as they thought it was going to be.

Many people angry

Whilst this particular story does have a happy ending, many people are still angry that poaching the animal had been attempted and continues to occur in and around Kruger and other parks. Ms. Bester says all types of animals are targeted. Hyenas typically suffer the most followed by elephants. Percy was the second incident involving the poaching of a lion the groups has heard of since forming in September.

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Endangered Fur Seals Stranded Off The Coast Of California

Endangered Fur Seals Stranded Off The Coast Of California

During 2015 as many as eighty fur seals were found either dead or stranded on the coast of California which according to scientists is eight times more than normal. 42 of the seals were found dead and the rest were found half starving but alive said the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Unusual Mortality Event

Because there were so many deaths and strandings the agency declared an Unusual Mortality Event. The designation allows the Federal government to allocate more money to help with conservation of the threatened species. Teneya Norris who works at the Marine Mammal Centre which is caring for some of the seals that were found stranded said the reason behind the strandings was a warming ocean which produces changes in food availability.

“These stranded animals are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of animals affected by the unusually warm water temperatures we’ve been seeing off the coast,” Norris said.

Hunted to near extinction

Fur seals were nearly hunted to extinction during the late 19th century and narrowly escaped disappearing altogether. Today there are approximately 10,000 that remain. The species almost exclusively breeds on Guadalupe Island which lies off the coast of Mexico and very little is known about the fur seal. In 2013 NOAA also issued a warning over California’s sea lions after it was found that hundreds had become stranded on the coast.

Big warning sign

Ms. Norris did stress that though the number of fur seals that had been stranded was much lower than the 1,300 sea lions that were rescued in 2015, the number was still concerning. Ms. Norris said that whilst the number of stranded fur seals stranded might not seem like a lot for a species that is under a threat, it still remained a big warning sign that we need to pay attention to what is happening to the oceans.

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Study Finds Monkeys And Humans Perceive Illusions In The Same Way

Study Finds Monkeys And Humans Perceive Illusions In The Same Way

Results of a new study suggest that monkeys perceive visual illusions in much the same way as great apes and humans do. According to the research both humans and monkeys internalise the world in a similar fashion which reflects resemblances in the way these species interpret the world they live in. The study examined rhesus monkeys and capuchin monkeys, finding that both saw the Delbouef illusion in the same way adult humans did.

The Delbouef Illusion

The Delbouef illusion involves a dot that is surrounded by a large ring which humans perceive to be smaller than a same sized dot that is surrounded by a small ring. This is because the ring constructs a context in which the dots are perceived. Most visuals illusions use this technique, which involves presenting information that gets misperceived on the basis of presentation style or surrounding context.

Computerised testing

The particular illusion that was used in the study has been examined in humans extensively but has only been presented to animal species on only one previous occasion. Audrey Parrish who conducted the research said the results clearly show that monkeys and humans do share similarities in their perceptual systems. The researchers undertook two computer experiments with monkeys and adult humans. The humans were tested at computer workstations and were rewarded for their correct answers with written feedback. The monkeys were first trained to use joysticks so they could also be tested using computers and were rewarded for correct answers with banana-flavoured pellets.

Researchers had to run two experiments

The monkeys and humans were then asked to choose the larger of two central dots that on different occasions were surrounded by a Delboeuf ring. Humans perceived the illusion routinely overestimating central dots when they were surrounded by small rings and underestimating the size of the dot when a big ring surrounded it. The monkeys however did not show any evidence that they perceived the illusion in the same way so the researchers ran a second experiment.

Humans and monkeys performed the same

The second experiment involved humans and monkeys playing a computer game which required them to classify a central dot as big or small. On some occasions the dot was surrounded by a thin ring of variable size. The results suggest that both species perceived the Delboeuf illusion. The monkeys like humans categorised dots that were shown in large rings as being small more often than the same size dot was shown inside small rings. The results clearly show that the context created by the ring which should have been ignored does indeed generate a visual illusion for both monkeys and humans.

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Climate Change Will Force The Snow Leopard Into Extinction

Climate Change Will Force The Snow Leopard Into Extinction

Rising temperatures will result in a loss of habitat of the snow leopard which will adversely affect their fight against extinction a new report suggests. WWF says over a third of the species mountain living areas could become unsuitable for them to live as a result of climate change. The WWF report says that warmer temperatures means that plants and trees in those areas will not be able to survive.  The report describes the snow leopard not only as being beautiful and enigmatic but also one of the most elusive and endangered of the big cats.

Multiple threats

According to WWF report the species faces a number of threats aside from climate change which include habitat fragmentation as  humans encroach on areas where they live in the Eastern Himalayas. Another problem is a decline in the natural prey which forces snow leopards into attacking livestock which can result in locals killing them in retaliation. The illegal wildlife trade does not help either with the species being poached for its body parts.

All of these threats are exacerbated by climate change the report says which will add to the existing pressure on snow leopards reducing their numbers to levels which will not sustain maintainable populations in many areas.

“The Himalayas region will face a major crisis if we choose to ignore climate change. Not only do we risk losing majestic species such as the snow leopard, but hundreds of millions of people who rely on water flowing from these mountains may be affected,” WWF-UK’s Snow Leopard Programme Lead Rebecca May said.

Facts About The Snow Leopard

  • Snow leopards live in the mountains of Central and South Asia. WWF estimates that there are between 4,000 to 6000 snow leopards left worldwide.
  • The snow leopard is a solitary animal, typically they tend to hunt at dusk and dawn and have the ability to take down prey three times their body weight.
  • Generally the snow leopard hunts wild animals but when they are unavailable will also feed on livestock.
  • The spotted coat of the snow leopard changes with the seasons and goes from a thick white fur during winter which keeps them both warm and camouflaged to a fine yellow-grey coat in the summer.

 

 

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Lion Populations Could Drop By Half Within 20 Years Researchers Warn

Lion Populations Could Drop By Half Within 20 Years Researchers Warn

Lion populations could drop by as much as 50 per cent within two decades across much of the African continent according to the results of a new study. The study warns that lions living in West Africa are most at risk of being wiped out as a result of hunting and human encroachment. The study took twenty years and will be published by the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Lions in Southern Africa doing well

The exceptions to the warning are in the countries of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia where lion populations are intensively managed and their numbers are rising. Researchers estimate that in the mid 20th century there were as many as 200,000 lions spread throughout the African continent which is ten times more than the 20,000 lions left today.

“Many lion populations are either now gone or expected to disappear within the next few decades, to the extent that the intensively managed populations in southern Africa may soon supersede the iconic savannah landscapes in East Africa as the most successful sites for lion conservation,” the study said.

West African lions are at most risk

Philipp Henschel a co-author of the study says that the lions that remain can be found in just a quarter of the territory which they used to roam. The study also found the West African situation was most critical. Based on the decline in numbers since 1990, the West African lion population which consists of two large groups are expected to see their numbers fall by 50 per cent within 20 per cent.

“Already recognized as critically endangered in West Africa, our analysis supports listing (lions) as regionally endangered in Central and East Africa,” where they are currently classified as “vulnerable”, the report’s authors said.

Humans are the main culprits

Falling lion numbers can be blamed squarely on humans who are either encroaching on their habitat through agriculture or hunting them, illustrated by the recent case of Cecil the lion. Some lions are hunted for their skins which are seen as valuable medicine in China, often used to replace tiger bone which is now very rare. The researchers say the efforts required to protect the lion will be massive and require lots of money.

“A recent study showed that it takes around $2,000 dollars per square kilometre per year to properly protect the lions,” said Henschel.

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Wolves Make A Come Back In Poland

Wolves Make A Come Back In Poland

Wolves have made a comeback to a large national park on the edge of Warsaw decades after the species was wiped out by a large hunt organised by communists running the country. A spokesperson for Kampinos national park which measures 150 square miles says they are very happy the species has returned. Park officials are pleased that the species returning following their disappearance in the 1960’s means that nature is rejuvenating itself and is in good health.

First wolf spotted in 2013

An employee of the park first spotted a wolf in 2013 however it appeared that the animal was just transiting through the park. It now appears there are more than just a few and the species appears to have settled in for the long haul. Recently a young male wolf was seen on camera and following that sighting another male wolf was spotted at a watering hole.

Mass cull during the 60’s

The communist regime in Poland organised a mass culling of the wolf during the 60’s because they were worried about the danger the species posed. Residents were paid for every wolf shot and killed and the last wolf pack was exterminated in 1964. Officials added the wolf to Poland’s list of endangered species in the 1990’s. The species is rare or extinct throughout much of Western Europe. Animal rights activists such as the former French actress Bridgette Bardot and other ecologists were responsible for the addition. Because the wolf has been added to the list, the species has managed to re-establish itself in certain areas of Poland and it is estimated there are now about a 1,000 left in the country today.

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Rare Northern White Rhino Dies Leaving Only Four Left On The Planet

Rare Northern White Rhino Dies Leaving Only Four Left On The Planet

Recently a Northern white rhino, which was just one of four left on the planet died at the San Diego Zoo. The incredibly rare animal succumbed to a bacterial infection and was also very old. The 41 year old rhino named Nola came to the zoo back in 1989 to participate in a breeding program. Unfortunately her health took a turn for the worse following a surgical procedure the zoo said in a statement. After her appetite and activity levels declined the 4000 pound rhino was placed under watch. Veterinary workers decided she needed to be euthanised after her condition deteriorated significantly.

“Nola was an iconic animal, not only at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but worldwide. Through the years, millions of people learned about Nola and the plight of rhinos in the wild through visits to the Safari Park, numerous media stories and social media posts.” the zoo said in a statement.

Species extinct

In 2008 the Northern white rhino was officially declared extinct. The species had been poached for their horns which were extremely valuable on the black market because in some cultures it is believed that the rhino horn has medicinal properties. Nola was the only Northern white rhino left in the Western Hemisphere. Following her death there are now just three others remaining at a conservation zoo in Kenya.

Breeding with close relatives

Nola was actually captured in the wild when she was just 2 years old and came to San Diego from a zoo in the Czech Republic. Her death comes in the wake of six Southern white rhinos, arriving at the San Diego Zoo from South Africa in order to try and get Nola to breed with her close cousins. Scientists are not certain whether Northern white rhinos and Southern white rhinos are distinct species or sub species.

Southern white rhino also in danger

Studies are being conducted to work out whether the estimated 20,000 Southern white rhinos left in the wild are close enough genetically to act maternal surrogates for implanted embryos that can be developed from the DNA of the Northern white rhino according to Christina Simmons a spokeswoman for the zoo. Conservationists are also worried about the Southern white rhino which are being killed by poacher at the rate of three a day.

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Emperor Penguins Can Be Too Hot In Freezing Antarctic Winter

Emperor Penguins Can Be Too Hot In Freezing Antarctic Winter

One of nature’s great survivors are emperor penguins because they have the ability to endure the Antarctic winters which are frigid cold and where temperatures fall to as low as -20 °C or below. In order to avoid freezing to death, emperor penguins huddle together in groups that are tightly packed to conserve heat and provide shelter from the intensely cold wind.

Huddles can get too hot

According to the latest research it would appear that these huddles can perform their task of keeping emperor penguins warm rather to well. The science is easy to understand, the penguins on the outside of the huddle are directly hit by icy wind chill of Antarctica. On the inside the complete opposite is happening, the penguins there are getting too hot so after some time they require a little room to cool off.

Hot penguins break apart huddles

In a new paper in the journal Animal Behaviour, researchers say that penguins looking to reduce their body heat actually break huddles apart. Inside the huddles, the penguins lose very little heat at all. The little heat that is lost comes from either their heads or from breathing the frigid air. This means they are often in warm temperatures of as high as 37.5 °C, which is far warmer than they would like.

“As a consequence, birds face the paradox that in a cold physical environment they sometimes need to dissipate excess heat,” the team report.

The research team closely analysed penguin huddles and found that huddles are constantly changing both in response to overheated penguins and in response to the outside temperature. Prior to the latest study it was assumes that penguin huddles were static structures which has now proven to not be the case.

The process keeps repeating

Andre Ancel of the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Strasbourg, lead author of the report says that birds join huddles when they need to be warmed, however when their body temperature reaches positive values, they break from the huddle. Once they are on the outside again, they clean their feathers and eat fresh snow and when they feel cold again they repeat the process.

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