TIME animals

Hot Wheels! Paraplegic Porcupine Gets Wheelchair Made from Plumbing Pipes

Too cute

A wheelchair made out of plumbing pipes is giving a paraplegic porcupine in Brazil a new chance at life.

KTVU reports via RuptlyTV that the disabled animal at a Piracicaba city zoo in Sao Paulo had been rescued from a nightclub about a month ago. It was going to be put down, but then zoo workers figured out how to make the wheelchair, which reportedly only cost $5 to put together.

Perhaps it won’t be long before some Internet user takes this footage and does a Chamillionaire remix.

TIME animals

Don’t Worry, Shark Attacks Are Still Incredibly Rare

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water ... it is

A swimmer’s run-in with a great white shark at California’s Manhattan Beach on Saturday may trigger the Jaws theme in nervous beach-goers’ heads, but there’s no need to be afraid of the water — shark attacks are still incredibly uncommon.

There have only been 12 people killed by shark attacks between the years 2001 and 2013, and as National Geographic notes in the video above, you’re much more likely to get injured by your own toilet or a room freshener.

TIME animals

14 of The Most Patriotic Pets in America

Paw-sitively festive

Zachary Harris, 5, of Moore, Okla., dressed as Uncle Sam, walks with his dog, Brutus, dressed as “Lady Liberty” in the Downtown Salute Parade, July 4, 2005, in Oklahoma City, as part of the parade’s Most Patriotic Dog Competition. Bill Waugh / The Oklahoman – AP
Bill waits to compete in the Mutt Strutt patriotic dog contest during an Independence Day celebration in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday, July 4, 2008. Geoff Crimmins/Moscow-Pullman Daily News – AP
Stretch, a Corgi from Odenton, Maryland, marched as part of the doggie drill team from Greenbelt dog training at Takoma Park’s 122nd Fourth of July celebration in 2011. Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post – Getty Images
A dog decked out for the annual I’On Community Independence Day Parade in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina, July 4, 2012. Richard Ellis – Getty Images
A chihuahua at the 4th of July parade in the McKinney, Texas, town square. Michael Prengler – AP
TIME animals

VIDEO: Watch a Jaguar Take Down a Crocodile

Not the food chain you might predict

What’s that brownish lump floating on the surface of the river? A turtle? Some kind of plant matter? Oh no wait, it’s a jaguar, and it’s jumping out of the water and sneaking up behind that crocodile! OMG and clamping its mouth around the crocodile’s neck and dragging it back through the water like a proud house cat with a captured mouse.

Well, guess we know who wins this battle of the animals.

 

TIME China

African-Elephant Poaching Soars as Ivory Prices Triple in China

Officials and guests including Hong Kong's Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing are shown seized ivory displayed in Hong Kong
Officials and guests, including Hong Kong's Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing, are shown seized ivory in Hong Kong on May 15, 2014 Reuters

Nigeria and Angola sell the greatest amount of ivory products in Africa

The price African ivory fetches in China has tripled in the past four years, causing the dissident militias and organized-crime groups that monopolize the trade to ramp up illicit poaching, according to a report released on Thursday.

Increased demand spurred by Beijing’s lax ivory laws has seen ivory prices rocket from $750 in 2010 to $2,100 in 2014, meaning the widespread slaughter of African elephants “shows little sign of abating,” according to Save the Elephants. The campaign group estimates 33,000 elephants were slaughtered annually between 2010 and 2012.

China has long had a fascination with ivory that harks back hundreds of years to traditional ivory carvings. In modern times, wealthy Chinese value ivory as a status symbol or to use as gifts to sweeten potential business deals, reports the BBC.

Conservationists say communities in Nigeria and Angola sell the greatest amount of ivory products in Africa. “Without concerted international action to reduce the demand for ivory, measures to reduce the killing of elephants for ivory will fail,” Save the Elephants founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton tells AFP.

TIME animals

Yet Another Bear Channels Winnie the Pooh and Gets Head Stuck in Cookie Jar

NJ Department of Environmental Protection / AP

An animal crackers jar, appropriately enough

A bear cub got its head stuck trying to eat the crumbs at the bottom of a plastic jar of animal crackers while dumpster diving in a northern New Jersey town on Friday, June 27.

Officials from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection rescued the animal, which had climbed up a tree in Ringwood. It was tranquilized, then brought down, so firefighters could cut off the jar.

In April, a story about a bear that got its head stuck in a plastic birdseed bucket and wandered around the town of Lively in Ontario, Canada, went viral. Both incidents produced paw-sitively adorable photos.

TIME animals

Red Panda That Escaped From The National Zoo Is Now a Dad

The mother, Shama, looks especially bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in this video

The Smithsonian National Zoo announced Wednesday that its red pandas Rusty and Shama have given birth to three cubs — and they have already weaseled their way into our hearts. The video above shows Shama cuddling with her babies after giving birth on June 26.

“All four red panda pairs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., successfully bred and had cubs this year,” according to the National Zoo’s website. “Of the 10 cubs, more born at SCBI than any other year, seven have survived.”

You may remember Rusty as the little dude that literally had zoo officials seeing red when he escaped from his enclosure in the Asia Trail section last summer. Rusty was later found in Adams Morgan, a D.C. neighborhood known for its nightlife. Time will only tell whether the cubs will inherit their father’s penchant for party animal antics.

(h/t DCist)

TIME animals

DNA Study Proves Bigfoot Never Existed

Juuuuust in case...
Juuuuust in case... Lynn Janes, Photonica; Getty

Curse you, reliable DNA studies! Must you spoil all the fun?

In a stunning finding that set off shock waves of grieving through much of the world, University of Oxford researchers announced that the beloved bipedal cryptid known globally as Bigfoot is dead—or, more specifically, that he never existed.

Mr. Foot, who also went by the name Sasquatch, or Sásq’ets in the original Halkomelem, was 4,000 years old. Or maybe not.

The Oxford finding was the result of a three-year study that began in 2012 when researchers issued an open call for hair samples held in museums and private collections that were said to come from “an anomalous primate,” which is the kind of term scientists from a place like Oxford University often use when they’re publishing a peer-reviewed paper on, you know, Bigfoot, and don’t want to be snickered at by other Oxford University scientists in the faculty lounge. Thirty-six samples from the U.S., Russia, Indonesia, India, Bhutan and Nepal were ultimately submitted, a geographical range that suggested a) there was more than one “anomalous primate” out there, b) there is only one, but he is really, really well-traveled, c) there’s a teensy-weensy chance the hairs came from something else.

To find out, the investigators conducted DNA analyses on the samples and compared their findings to those of known species of animals. As it turned out they got some hits—a lot of them actually. The samples, the investigators found, came from animals as diverse as bears, wolves, raccoons, porcupine, deer, sheep, at least one human, and a cow. Again, that’s a cow.

The news was met with something less than universal acceptance that the long-rumored 10-ft. tall, 500-lb. creature with a two-ft. footprint, a coat of reddish brown hair, the sagittal crest of a gorilla and an unpleasant smell just might not exist. “The fact that none of these samples turned out to be [Bigfoot] doesn’t mean the next one won’t,” said no less a person than Bryan Sykes, the Oxford researcher who led the study, according to the Associated Press.

The Guardian headlined its story on the announcement “DNA analysis indicates Bigfoot may be a big fake,” begging the question of what it might take to warrant a headline that Bigfoot is a big fake.

None of that will do much to relieve the grief in the parts of Bigfoot-loving community that do, reluctantly, accept the Oxford team’s findings. As yet, Bigfoot intimates Kraken, Wendigo, Yeti and The Loch Ness Monster have issued no statement and have not returned calls or e-mails requesting comments. That could, scientific literalists suggest, indicate that they don’t exist either. But really, they’ve probably just gone into seclusion.

TIME animals

DNA Analysis Debunks Bigfoot Myth, Points to Unknown Bear Species

Legend of Bigfoot roadside attraction outside Richardson State Park.
Legend of Bigfoot roadside attraction outside Richardson State Park, Calif. National Geographic/Getty Images

Bad news for cryptozoologists, good news for zoologists

The legend of the enormous creature variously known as a yeti, Bigfoot or Sasquatch has long been a source of mystery. But now a study of supposed Bigfoot hair samples has revealed that they actually derive from known mammals including bears, cows, dogs or horses.

A team of scientists led by Bryan Sykes, a human genetics professor at the University of Oxford, analyzed DNA from 30 samples of Bigfoot hair donated by museums and enthusiasts. Although this may come as a blow to cryptozoologists — those who search for creatures whose existence is unproven — the analysis may herald the discovery of a new species of bear.

Two hairs from India and Bhutan show an unknown species that could be a distant cousin of the polar bear or a hybrid of local species and a brown bear. “If these bears are widely distributed in the Himalayas, they may well contribute to the biological foundation of the yeti legend,” the authors said in the study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Although the search for the illusive Bigfoot will likely continue, scientists hope believers will at least step up their game. “The techniques described here put an end to decades of ambiguity about species identification of anomalous primate samples and set a rigorous standard against which to judge any future claims,” researchers said in the study. DNA analysis even revealed that a clump of hair found in Texas actually belonged to a hairy human.

TIME climate change

Climate Change Threatens Antarctica’s Emperor Penguin Population

A pair of Adelie penguins are pictured at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica on Dec. 28, 2009.
A pair of Adelie penguins are pictured at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica on Dec. 28, 2009. Reuters

The greatest hazard comes from warming temperatures' impact on sea-ice cover, which the penguins rely on for travel and hunting

New research suggests that Antarctica’s population of emperor penguins will be cut down by a fifth by the end of the century as a result of changing climates, which will impact the species’ feeding and mating patterns.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, there are currently about 600,000 emperor penguins living in Antarctica. Researchers, anticipating a 19% to 33% drop in their numbers, have encouraged governments across the world to list the species as endangered. Doing so would place restrictions on tourism, fishing and other activities that may prove further detrimental to their survival.

Still, the greatest hazard comes from warming temperatures’ impact on sea-ice cover, which the penguins rely on for travel and hunting.

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