TIME Mexico

Mexican Government Votes to Ban Circus Animals

A tiger jumps through a ring of fire during a performance of the Fuentes Gasca Brothers Circus in Mexico City, June 22, 2014.
Sean Havey—AP A tiger jumps through a ring of fire during a performance of the Fuentes Gasca Brothers Circus in Mexico City, June 22, 2014.

Not certain yet whether President Enrique Peña Nieto will sign bill into law

The Mexican legislature has passed a bill to ban the use of animals in circus performances.

Mexico City has already passed a ban on using animals in the circus, along with six states. The legislature’s lower chamber voted Thursday to ban the use of animals, following an earlier vote by the Senate. The bill requires circuses to make a list of all their animals and make them available to zoos in case they want to take them. It also imposes fines for violation.

President Enrique Peña Nieto hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the bill into law.

 

 

TIME portfolio

50 Astonishing Animal Photos of 2014

TIME looks back over the past 12 months and presents a selection of underreported, astonishing and apparently-implausible animal images

Whether cute and cuddly, wild or exotic, animals seem to endlessly fascinate. Our furry, feathered friends provide us with constant surprises and hours of viral entertainment on an annual basis. And this year was no exception.

Here, TIME looks back over the past 12 months and presents a selection of underreported, astonishing and apparently-implausible animal images—from a bear in a hammock and swans in a boat, to a koala with a camera and a “happy” sloth. Images, we trust, that will maintain their ability to utterly and thoroughly surprise.

TIME viral

Here is a Cat Playing Whac-A-Mole with Its Owner’s Fingers

They don’t allow cats in Chuck E. Cheese’s, after all

Today in pet owners who love their animals enough to risk losing digits, a cat plays Whac-A-Mole with its owner’s fingers as she pokes them through holes in a cardboard box. The cat seems to be having fun at first, but when the owner begins to increase the challenge, the cat gets a look on its face that we can only assume to mean, “why would you do this to me?”

It’s not clear whether this is a creative, homemade scheme for cat entertainment or a form of very benign torture. Either way, the cat’s going to have to try again for a better score.

TIME animals

Sheep in Christmas Sweater Found Wandering the Streets of Omaha

Nebraska Humane Society

Little Bo Peep can call off her search.

It’s not every day you see a sheep roaming free in a city with nearly half a million people. It’s even rarer — unprecedented, really — to see one dressed in an ugly Christmas sweater. But that’s exactly what Omaha animal control came across this weekend, and now the animal is all dressed up with nowhere to go but the Nebraska Humane Society.

The Humane Society is hoping to find the sheep’s owner via Facebook, where the organization announced, “If you’re missing a sheep that enjoys wearing Christmas sweaters he’s here at NHS.” The message seems to indicate that if no owner steps forward, the sheep might become available for adoption. Here’s hoping he’ll make it home for the holidays.

TIME animals

Visionary Bride-to-Be Hopes to Rent Corgis for Her Bridesmaids to Use as Bouquets

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Getty Images These corgis are very important.

Finally, a wedding we'd actually want to attend

In a traditional American wedding, a bunch of bridesmaids, usually in matching dumb dresses, clutch matching dumb bouquets. But one bride-to-be in Boston wants to change things up and task her bridesmaids with holding corgis instead.

Brilliant or beyond brilliant?

Here’s the problem, though: she needs to rent the corgis for this specific purpose — thus, she did what any of us would do. She took to Craigslist. “This next April, I will be getting married to the man of my dreams and we will be having the most wonderful storybook wedding that Boston has ever seen,” she explains in her ad. Then she goes on to explain the whole corgis-as-bouquets idea.

She elaborates a bit more about the logistics of this plan:

Unfortunately, I do not have enough corgis for my bridesmaids. I require six more in order to make this dream come true. I’m looking to rent six corgis for roughly two and a half hours during the ceremony. Because this a my dream wedding, price is negotiable and I appreciate your understanding. Please reach out to me if you have six sociable corgis which you would be willing to rent out. These animals would be treated perfectly, and I would love to get us all together to familiarize ourselves with each other.

Note that she says she needs six more corgis, but fails to mention how many she already has. A reasonable number like one or two? Or does this woman already have, like, eight or nine corgis? Do all six new corgis need to come from the same family? Is she flexible in terms of size/shape/coloring/level of derpiness? And would the ASPCA and Humane Society consider holding the pups as bouquets to be treating them “perfectly?” This ad leaves several questions unanswered — but we’re still dying to attend this ceremony.

(h/t Jezebel)

TIME nature

Minnesota Man Fights Off 525-Pound Bear With a 5-Inch Knife

Asian black bear standing in the forest (Ursus thibetanus)
I.JESKE—De Agostini/Getty Images Asian black bear standing in the forest (Ursus thibetanus)

"It's just going to town on my hand and I just keep stabbing"

A Minnesotan hunter claims to have survived a bear attack by fending off the 525-pound animal with a 5-inch knife.

Brandon Johnson told USA Today that he was tracking a black bear that his friend had shot in a densely forested hunting ground earlier in the day. It was nightfall by the time the bear had caught Johnson off guard. The bear charged, knocking him unconscious. But Johnson awoke moments later and fought back with his hunting knife, he said.

“It’s just going to town on my hand and I just keep stabbing it and stabbing it and stabbing away and I am screaming and yelling,” Johnson told USA Today.

The bear left and charged him on three separate occasions, until Johnson says he stabbed the knife into its open mouth.

He survived with extensive injuries and a slew of medical bills. His friends have set up a fundraising website with the goal of raising $10,000 to help defray the costs.

Read more at USA Today.

 

TIME animals

Grumpy Cat Has Made Way More Money Than You

Grumpy Cat Worth $100 Million
NBC NewsWire—NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Grumpy Cat appears on NBC News' "Today" show .

Internet-famous cat has made over $100M in commercial deals

Not even a multi-million dollar fortune is enough to make Grumpy Cat smile.

The Internet-famous cat, known for her perpetually unamused, angry expression, has raked in $100 million over the past two years, Express reported Sunday — though the cat’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen of Morristown, Ariz. has since refuted that figure. Still, Bundesen said she is astounded by the commercial success of her cat — actually named Tardar Sauce — who has been featured in books, media appearances and a movie ever since she shot to fame in 2012 via Reddit and YouTube.

Grumpy Cat’s latest commercial project is an iced coffee line called Grumppuccino:

“What she’s achieved in such a short time is unimaginable and absolutely mind-blowing,” Bundesen told Express. “I was able to quit my job as a waitress within days of her first appearance on social media and the phone simply hasn’t stopped ringing since.”

Bundesen said the reason Tardar Sauce has a permanent scowl is because she was born with an underbite and dwarfism.

[Express]

TIME animals

2-Faced Cat Named Frank and Louie Dies at Age 15

Two Faced Cat
Steven Senne—AP Frank and Louie, a two-faced cat, is held by its owner in Worcester, Mass., Sept. 28, 2011.

Janus cats, so-called after the two-faced Roman god, usually live for only a few days

The two-faced cat, named Frank and Louie, has died at the ripe old age of 15.

Frank and Louie was rushed to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, where he was diagnosed with a “really bad cancer,” said the cat’s owner, Marty Stevens. Stevens then agreed to have Frank and Louie euthanized, the Telegram of Worcester reported Thursday.

Janus cats, so-called after the two-faced Roman god, usually live for only a few days. The phenomenon doesn’t actually result from what causes conjoined twins — the incomplete separation of two embryos — but instead from the abnormal activity of a protein, which leads to duplication of parts or all of the face.

[Telegram of Worcester]

TIME animals

Here’s Why Wild Giraffes Could Go Extinct

Portrait of Thornicroft's Giraffes (giraffa camelopardalis
Wolfgang Kaehler—LightRocket/Getty Images Giraffes in South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia.

Population down 40% in 15 years, new study shows

Wild giraffes are not just dropping in numbers at an alarmingly high rate–they’re doing so without much attention from governments and other protective agencies, according to a new report.

The population of wild giraffes has dropped by 40% over the last 15 years, according to a new survey by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). The organization calls the problem a potentially “silent extinction” due to a lack of public awareness, which revolves around African elephants, rhinos and gorillas, Mother Nature Network reports.

“Giraffes are the forgotten megafauna,” GCF executive director Julian Fennessy told Scientific American. “They’re really not getting the attention they deserve.”

The giraffe population has fallen due to habitat destruction by humans repurposing land for agricultural uses, according to MNN. Giraffes have also historically been hunted for their durable, patterned skin, a process that has reportedly increased in Tanzania due to a myth that giraffe brains and bone marrow can cure HIV.

But giraffe conservationists hope the wild giraffe population can be restored with some intervention. When the West African giraffe nearly went extinct in the 1990s due to human causes and droughts, conservationists won legal protection for the animals, and their population has since increased five-fold.

[MNN]

TIME animals

Tiny Beauties: Visions From Under the Microscope

A global photography contest produces stunning images from an invisible world

The folks at Olympus know a thing or two about what makes a pretty picture. One thing they appreciate is that the most striking images are often the ones that are too small to see. That’s why they sponsor the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging competition, soliciting photographs captured under the microscope by competitors from around the world. Of the thousands of images they received in 2012, they chose 10 winners. The first place finisher receives either an Olympus microscope or camera equipment, both valued at $5,000. The rest of us get some of the most improbably beautiful sights we’d otherwise never hope to see.

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