TIME animals

Watch Live Video of the Newborn Giraffe at the Dallas Zoo

Animal Planet—Dallas Zoo

Katie the reticulated giraffe gave birth on Friday

Royal baby, who?

The Dallas Zoo’s newest addition is here: Katie the reticulated giraffe—not to be confused with the expectant Kate Middleton—gave birth on Friday. (On the count of three: one, two, three … awww!)

The zoo teamed up with Animal Planet to bring viewers 24/7 coverage via live cam.

Watch the live feed below to see/aww over the calf, whose sex is unknown. Animal Planet will also air a one-hour special, Giraffe Birth Live, Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Katie is one of about 4,700 of her kind, down from an estimated 31,000 in 1998, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. That’s all the more reason to get excited about her little one, in addition to the wardrobe full of giraffe onesies we’re sure Katie stocked up on.

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME animals

This Doggie Photo Booth Is the Cutest Thing You’ll See Today

But it also has a serious job: helping animals find homes

With the help of some professional quality photos, an adorable marketing strategy and social media, the Humane Society of Utah is making sure every dog has its day.

Instead of taking the usual mournful pictures of dogs in their pens, social-media coordinator Guinnevere Shuster, who took the photos, thought about how to make the animals more appealing to potential adopters.

“I was hoping that it would help change people’s options and perceptions of shelter dogs. Showing off the individual personalities of the dogs, instead of the sad ‘behind bars’ images that have become associated with shelter animals,” she tells TIME.

The pictures are posted on the organization’s Facebook and Instagram pages and have been wildly successful, but according to special-event manager Rachel Kelly, they have had a more important impact.

“Since we have started utilizing social media, we had a record-breaking number of adoptions, placing over 10,000 animals into homes in 2014. We are already set to break that record this year … We definitely attribute this photo campaign as a large part of this success, as they capture the unique personality of each animal,” she tells TIME.

Cats have predictably proved to be more difficult, but Shuster says she has an “arsenal of treats and bribes” to give it another go.

TIME animals

When This Multi-Talented Police Horse Isn’t Helping Fight Crime, He’s Painting

What are YOU bringing to the table?

Everyone, say hello to Jacob, a police horse in St. Petersburg, Fla. When he isn’t assisting his human partner, Officer Jason Hughes, with fighting crime and keeping the peace, he’s honing his skills as a painter.

Hughes had noticed that Jacob liked to grab stuff with his mouth, so he thought, “I bet if I gave him a paint brush, and put a canvas in front of it, he’d paint on it.”

As you’ll see in the above video, provided by the St. Petersburg police department, Hughes was right. Jacob is a naturally skilled painter. Why teach him to paint, though? According to Hughes, it keeps Jacob challenged and helps him develop trust with his partner.

Stay tuned for an upcoming charity exhibit featuring Jacob’s work.

TIME animals

Your Pup Will Eat Better Than You at This Five-Course Meal and Drink Pairing For Dogs

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Getty Images

Bone appetit!

British dog owners with a dogged devotion to their pets, take note: A pop-up restaurant called The Curious Canine Kitchen will serve up a five-course organic meal and drink pairing for dogs in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood on April 11 and April 12. This “Doggie Fine Diner” is donating all of the proceeds to Amazon CARES, which promotes wildlife conservation in the Peruvian Amazon region.

According to its website, pampered pooches will get to feast on:

Textures of Tripe with seaweed and kale puree, crispy Paddywack with reishi mushroom flaxseed cream and coconut and blueberry chia pudding with gluten-free cinnamon quinoa ‘dog biscuits’ to name a few. Served alongside refreshments such as Alkaline water, beef consommé and coconut water, the menu will be polished off with a piquant marrowbone, known for its teeth cleaning properties and a ‘Fresh Breath’ herbal tea tonic to aid digestion.

Bow-wow!

TIME curiosities

Meet the Award-Winning Seeing-Eye Cat

Baby the Persian cat won a medal of honor for his service in 1947

We can only imagine the reasons why Carolyn Swanson forewent the traditional seeing-eye dog in favor of a Persian cat named Baby. Perhaps she was allergic, or afraid, or simply too attached to Baby to consider a canine replacement. Whatever the reason, LIFE Magazine dispatched a photographer to capture their special relationship in 1947, creating a series of photographs that never appeared in the magazine’s pages.

Swanson kept the white cat on a tight leash, lest a squirrel send him running. Baby, in turn, guided her over thresholds and across streets. And his service did not go unrecognized. A clipping from a local newspaper announced that Baby was awarded a medal “for faithful devotion to his blind mistress.” Though the cat posed stoically with his medallion, he seemed to favor a more humble reward: a heaping plate of cat food.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME Environment

The Number of Sea Lions Washing Up on Californian Shores Is Higher Than Ever

Sea lions
Rich Lewis—Getty Images/Flickr

Rising sea temperatures mean less food for the mammals

Emaciated sea lions are showing up on beaches in Southern California at unprecedented rates, because rising sea temperatures have reduced the populations of sardines and squid that form their main diet.

The National Marine Fisheries Service reports that a record-breaking 2,250 sea lions, largely young pups, have washed ashore in California so far this year.

That’s double the number seen in 2013 (which was previously the worst winter season for the mammals) and 20 times the stranding rate over the same period during the past decade, Reuters reports.

Read: Why Hundreds of Starving Sea Lion Pups Are Washing Up in California

In March alone, 1,050 sea lions — the highest number recorded in a month — were stranded according to scientists tracking their rates at an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

California’s rescue facilities have been overwhelmed by the surge, with teams working frantically to rehabilitate the starving animals.

[Reuters]

TIME animals

Rare Canine Flu Outbreak Hits Chicago

sick dog
Getty Images

Five dogs have already died, and there are more than 1,000 cases

An unusual outbreak of canine flu around the Chicago area has killed five dogs and led to more than 1,000 cases, according to the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.

The symptoms of canine infectious respiratory disease include lethargic behavior, lax appetite, a lingering cough and a fever, the department notes, with more severe cases showing up in dogs less than a year old and older than seven. Until the outbreak subsides, which the department says may not occur for several weeks, dog owners have been warned to avoid pet-friendly areas like parks, as well as group training and other instances where pups can be in close contact.

A two-shot flu vaccination over three weeks (requiring a yearly booster shot) is available, Dr. Anne Cohen, of the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, told ABC. But it’s not necessary for all dogs. “This isn’t a typical vaccination we give but because of the outbreak we’re recommending it for all high-risk dogs.”

TIME Environment

The Problem with U.S. Wildlife Protection Efforts

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'It’s up to us to make sure these species have a place to live'

Since the Wilderness Act took effect in 1964, the United States government has protected more than 100 million acres of land for the purpose of conservation. About 8% of the continental U.S. is under protection, including natural treasures like Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

But while these efforts have preserved some of the country’s most unique scenery, other areas that may be even richer in animal and plant biodiversity aren’t being protected, finds a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The U.S. has protected many areas, but it has yet to protect many of the most biologically important parts of the country,” says lead study author Clinton Jenkins, a visiting professor at the Institute for Ecological Research in Brazil.

Map biodiversity endangered species
Courtesy of Clinton Jenkins, Institute for Ecological Research

Jenkins and his team analyzed thousands of species of animals and trees to identify areas with the richest endemic biological diversity. Some of those regions, like the Everglades, are already protected, but many others are not. The areas most in need of protection are the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and mountains on the California Coast, the study concluded.

“This is the most important scientific report of at least the last decade on the distribution of America’s parks and biodiversity, with implications for future policy on conservation and land use,” said study editor E.O. Wilson, Harvard University professor emeritus, in a statement.

Read More: Obama Moves to Protect 12 Million Acres of Alaskan Wildlife

Some of these regions might have been overlooked because of conservation policy that stretches back decades, says Jenkins. Land protection in the mid-twentieth century often focused on protecting “big beautiful landscapes, strange ecosystems and odd places,” rather than unique wildlife, Jenkins says. Conservationists also often found it difficult to enact protections on lands that could easily be used for other purposes like development or agriculture, even if they were rich in biodiversity. “There’s not as much competition for using that land,” Jenkins says.

Another factor in conservation policy has been the type of species facing extinction. Many conservation efforts have highlighted endangered mammals and birds while ignoring smaller and less visible reptiles and amphibians. The Southeastern U.S., for instance, is home to a wide variety of salamanders and fish, but has a lower percentage of its land protected than elsewhere in the country.

Jenkins says he hopes that conservation priorities will shift to include neglected regions and species, in part due to research like his. “If the U.S. doesn’t do something, they’re at risk of disappearing,” says Jenkins. “It’s not going to happen over night, but it’s up to us to make sure these species have a place to live.”

TIME animals

You Can Watch Katie the Giraffe Giving Birth on Live-Cam

Warning: giraffe births can be graphic

On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you for Katie’s new addition?

For the uninitiated, that’s not our endearing nickname for Princess Kate – Prince George would be so displeased – as she nears the end of her pregnancy. Rather, Katie, a reticulated giraffe residing at the Dallas Zoo, is due to give birth any day now, and you can watch the circle of life unfold in all its glory right from your own computer, as Mother Nature intended.

Animal Planet teamed up with the zoo to stream the calf countdown via live-cam (watch below) with a 24/7 view of the giraffe’s indoor facilities thanks to eight cameras. Night-vision cameras mean you won’t miss a thing, which is completely necessary, based on the past mesmerizing hour we spent watching Katie snack and pace her pen contemplating motherhood (we’re taking some creative liberties with that last part).

There’s no telling exactly when she’ll welcome her little one, but we think your boss will understand if you keep this cam minimized at all times just in case. (Warning: giraffe births can be graphic; Animal Planet will also air a real-time birth special.)

Katie is one of about 4,700 of her kind, down from an estimated 31,000 in 1998, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. That’s all the more reason to get excited about her birth, in addition to the wardrobe full of giraffe onesies we’re sure Katie stocked up on.

 

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME animals

Dog Lovers Come to Aid of Stray Mutt Bludgeoned and Left for Dead

Theia was victim of botched "mercy killiing" but is now on the road to recovery

A stray dog in Moses Lake, Wash. overcame incredible odds after being hit by a car, bludgeoned and left for dead—and now well-wishers have paid for much-needed surgery thanks to a crowdfunded campaign.

Theia, a bully breed mix, was believed to be hit in the head and left in a ditch as a “mercy killing” after her car accident, but wandered away hungry and covered in dirt, with injuries to her jaw, legs and sinus cavities. She has been temporarily taken in by Sara Mellado, whose friend posted about the dog on Facebook, and who brought Theia to the veterinary teaching hospital at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman for treatment.

Charlie Powell, the public information officer at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, calls the injuries to her head “very consistent with wounds that we see when people try to humanely euthanize a dog—they will routinely miss the brain and hit the sinuses.” Unable to breathe through her nose, she struggles to keep her mouth open when she puts her head down to sleep and needs surgery to fix her nasal passage.

Mellado started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the surgery that has raised nearly $24,000 as Friday afternoon, more than double the needed amount. Powell says Mellado will donate the excess to the hospital’s Good Samaritan Fund, which paid for the dog’s initial treatment.

Theia will get her operation at WSU on April 21, and if all goes well, she’ll hopefully find a new, loving home after that. Powell says there has been a “tremendous outpouring of people who want to adopt this dog.”

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