TIME animals

There Will Be No Live-Possum Drop in Brasstown, N.C., This New Year’s Eve

Possum Drop in Brasstown, North Carolina
A sign honoring the possums of Brasstown is seen during the 20th annual Possum Drop on New Year's Eve at Clay's Corner in Brasstown, North Carolina, Dec. 31, 2013. Erik S. Lesser—EPA

The organizer will drop a dead one, instead

A North Carolina town will drop its tradition of dropping a live possum this New Year’s Eve.

Following an injunction won by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Clay Logan, of Brasstown, N.C., has decided not to use a live animal in his annual Possum Drop, the Charlotte Observer reports. Instead, the possum Logan will lower to the ground in a tinsel-decorated plexiglass cage this year will be roadkill or, perhaps, the main ingredient in a pot of possum stew.

PETA and Logan have been at loggerheads for more than a year over the event, an annual rite in this town of 240 people that includes a full evening of marsupial-themed activities. PETA has accused Logan of subjecting a shy animal to noise and confusion, while Logan has defended the tradition as “good clean family fun, a good old redneck good time” that doesn’t harm the tiny animal, who is released into the wild afterward.

It’s unclear if this battle will be dropped for good come 2015, however. The injunction just requires Logan to get a state permit to use a live possum, and Logan told the Associated Press that he simply didn’t have time to get one this year.

[Charlotte Observer]

TIME animals

This Video of a Dog at Home Without His Owner May Break Your Heart

Warning, pet owners: you're never going to want to leave the house again

Most dog owners assume that when they leave the house, their pooch just lies around napping and dreaming about meats and looking out the window at squirrels — you know, just normal dog things.

But a YouTube user who goes by the name Mike the Intern decided to investigate this by strapping a GoPro to his Goldendoodle to see what he does all day. Unfortunately, the results are really quite upsetting. As soon as Mike leaves, the pooch gets incredibly anxious, staring at the door for a while before moving to the window and then back to the door. He yelps and howls as he paces around the rest of the house.

Beware: if you have a pet, you may never want to leave them alone again. Better start queueing up Seamless.

TIME animals

Smithsonian’s Panda Cub Climbs Down From Tree for Christmas

Bao Bao is seen in the panda exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington
Bao Bao, a 44-pound female panda bear cub, is seen in the panda exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington August 23, 2014. Reuters

The cub's return to the ground was a relief to her many fans

The Smithsonian National Zoo’s giant panda cub has climbed down from a tree just in time for Christmas.

Bao Bao came down from the tree in the Washington D.C. zoo sometime on Christmas Eve, after touching a “hot wire’ in her yard on Tuesday and scuttling as far as she could get from that wire: up a tree, the Washington Post reports. Panda-cam images from Christmas Eve show the pudgy cub safely on the ground and enjoying a bamboo feast with its mother, Mei.

Reverent panda-cam watchers had been alarmed for the 16-month-old’s well-being, though the zoo had said in a statement on Wednesday that Bao Bao’s decision to seek refuge in a tree was “predictable” and had reassured the public that there was no reason for concern. The zoo said it had stationed a zookeeper in the panda house overnight and had let Mei also spent the night in the outdoor panda yard.

“Bao Bao is perfectly fine and like all zoo animals, she is still learning the boundaries of her habitat,” the zoo had said, adding it was “confident that Bao Bao will come down when she is ready.”

TIME animals

Hero Monkey Revives Simian Pal Electrocuted in India

He performed C.P.Awwww

Passengers at a train station in India Sunday watched a monkey attempt to revive a fellow monkey that was shocked unconscious by electrical wires.

The simian rescue occurred after one of the monkeys was electrocuted while walking on high-voltage wires, according to Reuters.

In this video footage from Kanpur in India, the monkey appears to try to wake up the other monkey by patting it and dragging it into a pool of water, while ticket-holders standing on the platform just watched and snapped photos with their smartphones.

After about 20 minutes, passengers could be heard cheering when the unconscious monkey seemed to come back to life.

[Reuters]

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TIME animals

Antarctic Tourism Could Expose Penguins to New Diseases, Study Warns

Antarctica, South Orkney Islands, Laurie Island, Gentoo
Getty Images

Scientists sound the alarm after foreign pathogens sweep through penguin colonies

A boom in Antarctic tourism could introduce new, infectious diseases to the continent’s penguin colonies, scientists warned in a new study released Friday.

More than 37,000 tourists trekked out to the frozen continent in 2013, more than quadrupling the number of visitors two decades earlier, according to a report in New Scientist first spotted by The Atlantic.

Researchers warned that these well-intentioned visitors could be the unwitting carriers of foreign pathogens. Avian flu, for instance, has caused deadly outbreaks among photogenic colonies of gentoo penguins, killing hundreds in 2006 and 2008. Researchers say that the origin of the virus remains unknown, and that it could also have been introduced by migratory birds flocking to the region.

“The effects of both a growing tourism industry and research presence will not be without consequences,” Wray Grimaldi of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand told the New Scientist.

TIME animals

This Ad Featuring Pets Eating With Human Hands Is Terrifying

Isn’t it every pet’s dream to be able to eat at the dining room table alongside humans? This ad for pet food company Freshpet replaces the heads of 14 humans sitting around the dining room table with the heads of 13 dogs and one cat. The animals use their human hands to do what many humans do at dinner, play with their iPhones at the table or sneak a sip of booze from a flask underneath the table. The one thing they do not do is talk. Frankly, people watching this spot who have to have dinner with chatty relatives over the holidays might envy that part.

TIME animals

Birds Sensed Tornadoes Coming a Day Early, Study Finds

Golden-winged warbler
Golden-winged warbler Getty Images

Ecologists say birds could hear the oncoming storm from over 100 miles away

Five golden-winged warblers left their nests one day before devastating tornadoes in the central U.S. in April, suggesting they could sense the storms coming, according to new tracking data.

These migrant songbirds may be able to sense extreme weather events with low frequency hearing, a new study in the Journal of Current Biology says. The warblers left their nesting area when the storm was still over 100 miles away and weather conditions in the area were normal. Ecologists say they could likely hear an “infrasound” signaling the approach of the storm, which humans cannot hear.

The birds left their nesting area just days after completing their seasonal migration. Geolocators show them flying from the Appalachians 400 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The stormfront consisted of 84 tornadoes that led to 35 fatalities and over $1 billion in property damage.

TIME animals

French Police Tase Rogue Monkey for Stealing Candy from Kids

Now being cared for by vets

A monkey who was terrorizing citizens in the French city of Marseille has finally been tackled by police, who used a taser gun to subdue the animal.

Authorities believe the monkey came from Algeria, Gibraltar or Morocco, was raised illegally and then abandoned in the city, according to reports in La Provence. It appears to have been maltreated and malnourished, subsisting largely on Kinder chocolate bars.

That may have led to a craving for sugar that turned nasty. Last week, it sparked panic in an elementary school, biting and scratching some of the children on repeated occasions as it hunted for sugary snacks.

The police finally managed to capture the animal, which was over 2 and a half feet tall, by tasering him into submission. During the intervention, the monkey bit one police officer’s hand, but is now being looked after by vets.

[La Provence]

TIME animals

Carnivore Comeback: Wolves, Bears and Lynx Thrive in Europe

A Siberian lynx sits inside an open-air cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk
A Siberian lynx sits inside an open-air cage at the Royev Ruchey zoo on the suburbs of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, May 18, 2013 Ilya Naymushin—Reuters

Data was pulled from all over Europe

Despite having half the land area of the contiguous United States and double the population density, Europe is home to twice as many wolves. A new study finds that Europe’s other large carnivores are experiencing a resurgence in their numbers, too — and mostly in nonprotected areas where the animals coexist alongside humans.

The success is owed to cross-border cooperation, strong regulations and a public attitude that brings wildlife into the fold with human society, rather than banishing it to the wilderness, according to study leader Guillaume Chapron, a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences’ Grimsö Wildlife Research Station…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Canada

Canadian Driver Who Stopped Car to Rescue Ducklings Gets Jail Time

Emma Czornobaj
Emma Czornobaj, shown here in this June 3, 2014, file photo at the Montreal Courthouse in Canada, was found guilty in the deaths of two motorcyclists who collided with her car after she stopped for ducks on a Montreal-area highway. On Thursday, a judge sentenced her to 90 days in jail. Graham Hughes—AP

Motorcyclist and his daughter died after crashing into Emma Czornobaj's stationary vehicle

A Canadian woman who stopped her car on the highway to rescue ducklings, inadvertently causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his daughter, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and banned from driving for 10 years on Thursday.

Emma Czornobaj, a 26-year-old woman from the Montreal suburb of Chateauguay, was sentenced Thursday to serve three months of jail time on the weekends, CBC reports. She was convicted in July on two counts of criminal negligence in the deaths of Andre Roy, 50, and his 16-year-old daughter Jessie, and had faced a possible life sentence.

In June 2010, Czornobaj parked her Honda Civic in the left lane of a highway in a Montreal suburb after seeing seven ducklings in the road. She said she was trying to gather the ducks and take them home. As she left her parked car to round up the ducklings, Roy crashed his motorcycle into the back of the stationary vehicle.

The incident has been divisive in Canada. A petition on Change.org signed by thousands of people pushed for the country’s legal system to be lenient on a woman who they believe only had the best of intentions in saving the ducks. The victim’s family members, however, have expressed frustration with Czornobaj over the fact that she hasn’t reached out to them.

[CBC]

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