TIME animals

Watch This Enormous Pit Bull Play With His Newborn Puppies

Hulk the dog weighs 175 pounds

Hulk, whose owner calls him the world’s largest pit bull, is now a father of eight pit bull puppies.

The 175-lb. papa pup lives in New Hampshire with owners Marlon and Lisa Grannan and their young son Jordan. The Grannans breed and train protection dogs like Hulk, and they believe his pups could be worth a lot of money if they take after their dad. “If the litter were all trained as protection dogs,” Marlon said, “they could be worth in excess of half-a-million dollars, absolutely.”

His owners say Hulk is being a good father to the young ones, licking and playing with them.

TIME animals

This Dog Found a Clever Way to Retrieve Her Ball From a Pool Without Getting Wet

Where there's a will there's a way

This dog apparently doesn’t like to swim very much, but that didn’t stop her from retrieving a tennis ball from the middle of a pool. YouTube user Esther Cushway posted a video of “Rosie” fetching the ball from the water by brilliantly using a nearby kiddie pool as a makeshift raft to reach the middle of the pool, then return to safety. Watch as this master of modern physics avoids getting wet as much as possible.

TIME animals

Obama Announces Major Restrictions on Ivory Trade

When implemented, the proposed rule will result in a near total ban on the ivory trade in the U.S.

President Obama announced sweeping new measures to stem the ivory trade on Saturday, including a ban on the interstate sale of most ivory in the U.S. and new restrictions on when the material can be exported. When implemented, the rule would result in a near total ban on the ivory trade in the U.S.

“We’re proposing a new rule that bans the sale of virtually all ivory across state lines,” Obama said at a press conference in Kenya.

Existing U.S. ivory regulations mostly concern the import and export of the material from the country, while allowing some legal trade of the material between states. The new regulation, which will be finalized later this year, would restrict interstate trade to antique items that are over 100 years old or contain a minimal amount of ivory. The proposed rule also contains new restrictions on the international trade.

Prior to the Saturday’s announcement, many animal conservationists had argued that allowing some legal ivory trade provided a cover for criminals who were actually selling illegal ivory. In a 2009 investigation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials seized more than a ton of ivory from a Philadelphia art store that had been manipulated to appear old enough to meet federal standards. Ivory from that seizure was destroyed at a “ivory crush” event in Times Square last month.

“By tightening domestic controls on trade in elephant ivory and allowing only very narrow exceptions, we will close existing avenues that are exploited by traffickers and address ivory trade that poses a threat to elephants in the wild,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe in a press release. “Federal law enforcement agents will have clearer lines by which to demarcate legal from illegal trade.”

Read More: Why Elephant Advocates Crushed a Ton of Ivory in Times Square

The announcement comes as conservation groups have warned about an increase in the prevalence of elephant poaching and a subsequent decline in the number of African elephants. Fewer than 500,000 elephants roam the continent today, and more than 50,000 are killed each year. After China, the U.S. is the world’s second largest market for ivory product sales, according to some estimates.

In addition to protecting elephants, the regulations will promote economic growth in Africa in the many countries rely on wildlife-based tourism, officials said. It will also aid the fight against terrorist groups that fund their efforts with money from the ivory trade.

“This is an issue not just about protecting elephants, but alleviating poverty, spurring economic growth, and fighting off people intent on destroying governments and terrorizing communities,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society, in an emailed statement. “Here’s a case where protecting wildlife is bound inextricably with core concerns about economic and national security.”

TIME animals

Meet an Adorable Baby Giraffe That Was Just Born at the Virginia Zoo

just born giraffe
Virginia Zoo

The newborn weighed in at 152 pounds

The Virginia Zoo welcomed a new baby giraffe on Thursday when a male calf was born to mother Imara and father Billy.

The baby giraffe, as yet unnamed, weighed 152 lbs. and measured 75 in. tall at birth. Since giraffes give birth standing up, their newborns can drop up to 6 ft. during the birthing process—but within a few hours, the calf was on his feet and walking around. So far, mother and son both seem to be healthy.

The zoo says Billy is a “genetically important” father for the Masai giraffe species, and the birth is significant for the giraffe population in North America, which is just over 100. The Masai is the tallest mammal species on Earth, and as a male, this newborn can expect to grow 18 ft. tall.

TIME animals

This Little Owl Faced Off With a Sheriff’s Deputy and Totally Won

Wide eyed Owl
Dan Walter—AP In this July 21, 2015 photo, provided by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Sophie Berman crouches over a small owl, making a brief video before the bird flew away, near Rainbow Lakes, outside Nederland, Colo.

The tiny bird decided it was above the game

This tiny owl may be cute, but don’t let it fool you: it has more sass in its little talon than a Colorado sheriff’s deputy.

Boulder County Sheriff’’s Deputy Sophie Berman came across a wee owl in her patrols on Tuesday and got into a staring contest with the bird while filming it, the Associated Press reports. Her feathered foe stood unwavering for several minutes, making clicking sounds in response to Berman’s words. Finally, the owl decided it was above the game and turned its back on Berman and flew away.


TIME animals

Alligator Found Roaming the Streets of New York City

It was taken to animal control

New York City streets are no stranger no unwelcome and unexpected visitors, but they received a rather unusual one on Thursday when an undersized alligator was discovered roaming around Manhattan.

It’s unknown where the creature came from, but the police that found the alligator brought it to animal control, the New York Times reported. The picture distributed by the NYPD’s 34th precinct made it clear that humans would likely have little to fear from the alligator, given its size:

TIME animals

Rescuers Keep Beached Orca Alive for Hours Until High Tide

The whale was trapped on rocks in British Columbia

Rescuers spent eight hours keeping a beached orca whale alive while waiting for high tide to return the animal to safety.

The Cetacea Lab received a call earlier this week about an orca caught amid rocks on the coast of British Columbia and immediately responded to the scene. Since the whale wouldn’t be able to return to the ocean until high tide lifted the 4- or 5-ton animal off the crags, volunteers spent eight hours keeping her cool, wet and calm. They covered the orca in blankets soaked in seawater and only allowed a few people at a time to approach, to minimize stress.

Hermann Meuter, a co-founder of the lab, was on the scene and tells the Globe and Mail, “because it was just me and the whale for the first couple of hours, it just felt good to talk to her a little bit and give her some comfort.”

When the tide rose, the whale spent about 45 minutes negotiating the rocks before finally escaping to safety.

[Globe and Mail]

TIME animals

A Confused Black Bear Broke Into This Alaska Zoo

The zoo delayed its opening so the bear could come down from a tree

A small black bear paid a visit to the Alaska Zoo in South Anchorage Wednesday morning, delaying the zoo’s opening.

According to Patrick Lampi, executive director of the zoo, the bear was spotted early in the morning by the night watchman, when it went up a tree. The zoo contacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who arrived on the scene with a plan to get the bear safely out of the zoo.

“They have a policy of not darting bears in trees because of the danger to the animal falling out of the tree even if you have nets,” Lampi explained to TIME. “It is best to let the bear come down when it is ready.”

So Lampi delayed the zoo’s opening so the bear, which he estimates was about 3 years old and “recently pushed away by its mother,” could come down from the tree in its own time.

“We wanted to keep that entire area of the zoo quiet so it would feel comfortable coming down,” he said. “We recalled the Amur tigers into their dens so they would not scare the bear.”

The little bear eventually did come down, and was off the zoo grounds by 2 pm.

“Hopefully it learned a lesson on avoiding people,” Lampi said.

TIME animals

Here’s Proof That Cute Puppies Have Always Been Newsworthy

Adorable animal videos were part of the news cycle long before the era of "clickbait"

Historical footage from the Associated Press and British Movietone, two of the world’s most prominent newsreel archives, is now available to watch on YouTube. The more than one million minutes of material, which dates back to 1895, will showcase historical moments in everything from sports to science. It will also showcase cute animals, as you’ll see in the clip above, released by British Movietone.

“In America, they claim to have found the world’s most patient cat,” says the old-timey British voice-over. “Of course cats often put up with a fair amount of rough stuff from children and even puppies, but this one evidently never loses its temper. It’s a puppy’s dream cat.”

What follows is 33 glorious seconds of adorable puppies play-attacking a cat. In other words, you know, the exact thing that is bound to go viral in today’s modern news cycle. Oh, and for more old-timey coverage of cute animals, check out these baby penguins:

TIME animals

The Surprising Way Boa Constrictors Really Kill Their Prey

boa constrictor
Getty Images

It's not what we thought

For decades, scientists thought that boa constrictors suffocated their victims to death by cutting off oxygen. Now, new research suggests that the snake species may actually kill their prey primarily by cutting off the flow of blood through the body’s circulatory system.

Researchers allowed boa constrictors to attack rats while measuring how the prey’s body responded, including taking blood pressure and heart rate measurements. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, suggests that the snake’s grip cuts off circulation almost immediately. The lack of blood flow causes organs like the liver, brain and heart to stop functioning, causing death.

These results don’t mean that prey doesn’t also suffocate, but the loss of blood flow throughout the body kills more quickly than the inability to breathe. “Rather than suffocation, circulatory arrest may be the most proximate cause of death during snake constriction,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers performed the experiment on 24 lab rats that were given anesthesia prior to the test to reduce suffering. Scientists told the BBC that the research could provide insight on how to treat human crush injuries.

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