This is a wild fox who lives in the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone in Ukraine. And here, you can watch him assemble a “five-decker sandwich.”According to the BBC, a team from Radio Free Europe had encountered the fox after stopping their cars near the nuclear power plant. The humans tossed the fox some bread and pieces of sausage, and the animal promptly — and expertly — went about creating a “quintuple-decker sandwich.”Radio Free Europe notes that humans haven’t occupied the exclusion zone since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. “There now appears to be an increasing number of foxes, wolves, and bears” in the area, the news outlet writes.The video of the fox has gone viral this week, as netizens everywhere praise the animal for his sandwich-making skills.“Who needs opposable thumbs when you have teeth?” quipped Time.com.
Life is tough when you’re an especially large edible crab with fishermen looming nearby.One lucky crustacean, however, was recently saved from becoming someone’s dinner when a seafood merchant showed some compassion.The massive brown crab (also known as edible crab) was recently caught off the coast of Portsmouth, U.K. According to The Portsmouth News, it topped nine pounds and measured 21.6 inches across, with its claws outstretched.The fisherman who nabbed the crab turned it into Viviers Fish Market, but a worker there, amazed at the crab’s size, asked the nearby Blue Reef Aquarium if it was interested.The acquarium happily accepted and is now looking for a tank large enough to house its newest resident.”For an edible crab he is pretty sizable,” Rob Davidson, Blue Reef Aquarium staff member, told the Portsmouth News. “They can actually get a tiny bit bigger than this, according to most records, but I have never seen one this large.”Brown crabs have been known to catch their prey by trapping it under their abdomen and crushing it with their powerful claws.”He’s a fantastic-looking specimen with an awesome set of fist-sized claws,” Lindsay Holloway, general manager of the aquarium, told ITV.com. “It is clear that he has been around for a long time and it would be a shame for such an impressive-looking crab to end up as someone’s lunch.”Aquarium staff have nicknamed the crab “The Beast.””He’ll be looked after and provided with everything he needs,” Holloway said. “And there’s the added bonus that he won’t have the temptation of any crab pots!”
After years of abuse in a traveling circus, Cholita the spectacled bear has returned to the wild on Sunday. The successful rehabilitation is the result of months of hard work by Animal Defenders International (ADI), who rescued the bear as part of a circus raid in March. When ADI first found 25-year-old Cholita, she wasn’t in good shape. From her declawed fingers to her strained lungs, the hairless bear looked tired and worn. Animal Defenders International Animal Defenders International Animal Defen
Poachers Are Hunting Down the World’s Last Wild Sumatran RhinosThe arrival in Indonesia of a rhino named Harapan from an American zoo could offer hope for the species.(Photo: Supri/Reuters)NOV 12, 2015John R. Platt covers the environment, technology, philanthropy, and more for Scientific American, Conservation, Lion, and other publications.Bio Is there any hope for the Sumatran rhino?Only about 100 of these small, hairy rhinos remain on the planet, and the few that exist in the wild are almost impossible to find. They live solitary lives, scattered among the rainforests on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Scientists are lucky to spot one or two on camera traps every couple of years.Like all other rhino species, Sumatran rhinos have been poached into near extinction for their valuable horns, which are used in traditional Asian medicine and can sell at prices that rival gold. Although rhino horn has no medicinal effects, it is used to “treat” everything from cancer to hangovers.(See Pete Bethune and his team investigate Sumatran rhino poaching in this week’s episode of The Operatives, which airs on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Pivot, the television network owned by Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company. Join the Operatives on their missions, and take action to protect all wildlife, by clicking here.) That it’s so hard to find the last wild Sumatran rhinos doesn’t stop poachers from trying. Earlier this year the species was declared extinct in the wild in the Malaysian portion of Borneo. A year earlier, conservationists rescued what now appears to have been the last wild Bornean rhino in Malaysia from a poacher’s pit trap. That rhino, a female named Iman, was briefly thought to be a sign of hope for the species. At the time of her rescue, it appeared that she was pregnant. That didn’t turn out to be the case. Examinations revealed that she—like many of the remaining females in her species—carried a collection of tumors inside her uterus that would permanently prevent her from becoming pregnant. The tumors grow when the animals do not spend enough time mating or breeding.RELATED: Moves That Could Save the Nearly Extinct Sumatran RhinoAnother sign of hope arrived this month. A Sumatran rhino named Harapan—whose name means “hope”—arrived in Indonesia as part of an anticipated captive-breeding program. Harapan was born in the United States and was the last Sumatran rhino living in the U.S. before his transfer from the Cincinnati Zoo.“Harapan brings hope for captive breeding of this species,” said Wulan Pusparini, species conservation specialist with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Indonesia. The American rhino joins his older brother, Andalas, who arrived in Sumatra in 2007 and fathered a rhino in 2012. All previous captive-breeding efforts in Indonesia failed—for 140 years—until Andalas arrived. Andalas’ mate, Ratu, is now expecting her second calf.RELATEDThe ‘Hairy Rhino’ Is Now Extinct in MalaysiaEvery potential new birth comes coupled with the fact that the remaining Sumatran rhinos have a very limited genetic diversity, which could create health problems in later generations. “One has to be concerned about the small genetic variation,” Pusparini said. “All new offspring will share similar genetic line from single male, Ipuh, the father of Andalas and Harapan.”Any captive-born rhinos would also not help the remaining wild animals, because they probably won’t be able to be released into the jungle after being raised among humans. That means protecting the few wild rhinos remains important.“Threats to Sumatran rhinos include poaching, habitat loss, and a fragmented population,” said Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group. He said the Indonesian government needs to create more safe habitats to help ensure the rhinos have a place to live. The animals prefer dense forests where they can’t be seen easily and travel great distances while they graze. Protecting large amounts of habitat may also allow the scattered wild rhinos to find each other and breed, something they may not have the opportunity to do otherwise.Although the Sumatran rhino population is incredibly low and the animals are hard to find, Pusparini said she feels poaching is their greatest threat. “The threat from poaching remains omnipresent,” she said. “For example, the Javan rhino in Vietnam was poached until the very last individual was killed.”He fears the same fate could befall the Sumatran rhino.
“It’s harder to eat meat when you know the animal’s name,” Jon Stewart, who recently adopted his own pigs, confessed on “The Daily Show” Monday night. “They’re not different than cats and dogs, in terms of their desire to be friends with us,” interviewee Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, added. His sanctuaries take rescue animals from factory farms and allow people to meet the animals in person. “If you can live well and be happy without causing unnecessary harm, why wouldn’t you?” Baur asks in his
Life just got a little easier for homeless families with pets near Salem, Oregon.Last week saw the opening of a new cat and dog boarding facility for families in transitional housing.That means that Betty Hargens and her great-grandson, who lost their home after medical expenses for Hargens’ late husband became too much to bear, don’t have to be separated from their beloved Chihuahua, Chloe.“I adopted her out of a veterinarian’s office I worked in, and she is so dear to me,” Hargens told the Statesman Journal. “She means everything to me and my great-grandson.”Previously, Hargens had to wrap Chloe in a blanket and leave her in the car while she and her great-grandson slept inside churches converted into shelters.The new facility, which is has space for six dogs and two cats, is the ninth of its kind by the PetSmart Promise program, a collaboration between PetSmart and Family Promise, a nonprofit organization that serves homeless families. It’s attached to the West Salem day center, which is part of The Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, a Family Promise affiliate. Pet owners care for and play with their pets during the day, while volunteers take over the animals’ care at night while the owners sleep at churches that are part of the network. The first PetSmart Promise shelter opened in 2012 in Phoenix.“Most homeless shelters don’t accept pets, so families were choosing to live in their cars or on the street in order to stay with their pet,” a PetSmart spokesperson told The Huffington Post. “Pets provide an invaluable comfort to their family members. For the children of these homeless families, their pet may be the only constant part of their life. It’s important for their well-being that they not have to give up their pet too.”The difficulties of being homeless with pets are well-documented. Earlier this year, Oregon man Bob Brokaw told the Associated Press that he won’t seek a warm bed in cold weather because most shelters won’t allow his best friend, a border collie who has been by his side for eight years, inside.“I’m not getting rid of my dog to go indoors,” he said. Brokaw noted he does all he can to care for his pet.“He eats what I eat and every time I have something extra, he gets it,” he told the AP.Brokaw’s predicament isn’t that unusual. An estimated 5 to 10 percent of homeless people have cats or dogs, according to Pets of the Homeless, a nonprofit that connects homeless pet owners with pet food and veterinary care. And that means many people choose not to seek shelter, instead of abandoning their animal companions, the organization writes:”The major problem for a homeless person is housing. Many shelters, motels and other assisted housing programs do not want to have pets on their property, due to health department restrictions and safety of the others they serve. So they live in their cars, in RVs and in tent camps.”Victims of domestic violence often find themselves in similar predicaments, since many domestic violence shelters also don’t accept pets. However, more and more facilities are beginning to recognize the issue and offer living quarters for companion animals.“These people are faced with terrible, gut-wrenching decisions,” Esperanza Zuniga of pet rescue group Red Rover told HuffPost in May. “[They are] faced with, ‘do I leave this dangerous situation and leave my pet behind to face more danger?'”
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, and this little piggy — well, she went totally berserk when she encountered a pile of crisp and crunchy fall leaves.According to YouTuber Tammy Scheers, this is Willow the mini pig’s “first pile of leaves” ever.Ah, what a thrill.
VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC./ROBERT PICKETT VIA GETTY IMAGESCome on… rats are pretty cute.Musophobes, quit reading now.Archaeologists with the Australian National University have discovered the fossils of seven different species of giant rats, one of which could grow to be up to 10 times the size of the critters that scurry through New York City subways.”The biggest one is about five kilos, the size of a small dog,” Dr. Julien Louys of the ANU School of Culture, History and Language said Friday in a press release.Archaeologists found the fossils in East Timor while working on a project examining early human movement in Southeast Asia. These fossils are around 44,000 years old, according to The Washington Post. Evidence suggest that humans, who lived in Timor as much as 46,000 years ago, would hunt and eat the mega-rats.It’s not clear exactly when archaeologists first found the fossils, and ANU didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.Researchers say one of the most interesting aspects of the rats is how scientists suspect they died out — and the implications that could have for life today.”The funny thing is that [humans and rats] are co-existing up until about a thousand years ago. The reason we think they became extinct is because that was when metal tools started to be introduced in Timor, people could start to clear forests at a much larger scale,” Louys said in the statement.He further explained the link between habitat destruction and extinction during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Company.”It’s not the presence of human hunters using traditional weapons that’s causing the extinctions of these giant rats,” he said. “It’s actually this massive deforestation and land clearing. When you think there’s actually similar things happening now in land areas in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, it’s really important to keep in mind the effects of this deforestation might actually cause many more extinctions.”
Much has been written about the plight of orangutans clinging to life in the dwindling forests of Indonesia. But where words fail, a single image can say so much. Volunteers from International Animal Rescue (IAR) have been working on the ground in Borneo to save the lives of animals affected by a massive wildfire ravaging the island’s forests. The group recently came to the rescue of a desperate orangutan and her baby — victims not only of the blaze, but of human cruelty as well. “They were forced out of
A rescue group has found a comforting way to help an orphaned bat. Volunteers wrapped the little bat in a special snuggie that helps the baby feel like she’s curled up in her mother’s wings.