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Friday, December 31, 2010

Rescued from an icy grave: Temmy the mare who went walkabout and plunged into a frozen lake


Rescuers cut their way through the thick ice to reach Temmy as she stuggles to keep her head out of the water

Rescuers who battled through thick ice to haul a pet horse to safety after she had plunged into a frozen lake was showered with praise by her relieved owner today.

Fire and Rescue crews cut a 20-metre path through thick ice to rescue Tempest , a 17-year-old grey mare who had been grazing on fields in Rhosneigr, North Wales, before wandering onto the lake on Boxing Day.

Temmy, as she is affectionately known, crashed through the ice, sparking a dramatic hour-long rescue as she struggled to keep her head above water.

A path is finally cut through the ice to reach Temmy and the rescue team begin the difficult task of coaxing her back to dry land

A 20-strong team from Rhosneigr, Bangor and Colwyn Bay, including a water incident unit and an animal rescue crew, raced to the scene and used axes to hack through the ice and pull the 17-year-old horse to safety .

Mona Summerfield, owner of the Ty Hen holiday park in Anglesey, said: 'I was unable to show my thanks to the fire crew because once Temmy was out of the water she slipped her harness and ran off.

'I had to run after her with the animal rescue team to catch and calm Temmy. We then went straight to the stable with the vet.

'I just want to say thank you to the team for all their hard work and professionalism. I would also like to thank Jane Honey who lead the rescue, and the many locals that helped, especially the lady and her daughter from Llanfaelog who raised the alarm.'

Ms Summerfield said: 'Luckily the women were walking around the lake and raised the alarm with our neighbours who told my son, John.'

Temmy wades from the frozen lake looking none the worse for wear following her dramatic rescue

He called the fire service, but while they were waiting some of the family and a few locals made their own attempt to rescue her, while her owner ventured out on to the ice to comfort the horse.

When the fire crews arrived they were 'firmly but politely' told to get off the ice, while the professionals took over.

Temmy emerged from her icy encounter almost completely unharmed.

'While she was in there she kept moving and her ears were up so we were cautiously optimistic,' Ms Summerfield said.

'Considering the amount of time she spent treading water in the lake, she seems completely nonplussed. We were all more upset than she was'

After a good rub down and some extra tender loving care, the horse is now back out grazing in her favourite field ... and the lake has melted.

source: dailymail

'Micro' pig that wasn't the squeal deal: Shelter condemns woman for dumping unwanted animal... after she realised how big it would grow


Macro pig: This animal was dumped at a shelter after its owner realised it was going to grow much bigger

With a happy and inquisitive nature and an endearing need for companionship, Hilda seemed like the perfect pet.

What’s more, the micro pig would be easy to care for because they grow no bigger than a small spaniel.

But this pig’s tale took an unfortunate twist after her owner realised she was a normal pig which would soon become too big to look after.

On top of that, the ten-week-old was so desperate to socialise with other pigs that she started squealing loudly, annoying the neighbours. As a result, she was left with an animal shelter on Christmas Eve.

Hilda is one of hundreds of animals that have been left with Wood Green Animal Shelters in recent weeks as people struggle to look after their pets in the economic downturn.

The charity’s three centres, at Wood Green, North London, and Heydon and Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire, have seen an 11 per cent increase in arrivals in four months compared to the same time last year.

Wanted: Hilda with Michelle Kelly who works on the field section at Wood Green Animal shelter

Hilda, who belonged to a woman in Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, was handed in to the Godmanchester site. Linda Cantle, deputy head of animal welfare, said: ‘The woman absolutely adored her. But pigs need companionship and Hilda had become quite vocal.

‘The neighbours were angry and her owner had no choice but to give her up. She was also a bit misguided. She thought it was a micro pig and it almost certainly isn’t.’

Last month the Daily Mail told how Melissa White, 22, bought a micro pig who at first fitted in her hand. He had since grown into a 10st, 2ft tall beast and had caused thousands of pounds of damage at her home in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

In the last four months Wood Green Animal Shelters have taken in 3,196 animals, including dogs, cats and rabbits.

source: dailymail

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The smile that says rescued Mely the orangutan loves her new home

New life: Mely was freed after 15 years of being chained by the neck in a remote village on the island of Borneo

Three months ago, she was in shackles, with a chain clamped around her neck and desperation in her eyes.

After being neglected and held captive for 15 years, Mely the orangutan struggled to walk, climb or feed herself. But what a difference 12 weeks – and the generosity of Daily Mail readers – makes.

Now, playing happily in her nest and eating fruit and leaves, the look on Mely’s face clearly shows she is enjoying every moment of her new life after being rescued from a riverside shack in Borneo.

‘When Mely first arrived her steps were very calculated and slow since she had to learn how to walk and climb,’ said Carolynn Fitterer, a volunteer with the charity International Animal Rescue.

Report: From the Mail, October 30

‘But now she has become quite playful, and I always see her weaving in and out of tyre swings and ropes suspended in mid air.’

As a baby, Mely was taken as a pet by a fisherman who shot her mother as a trophy.

But as she grew into an adult, he lost interest, leaving her chained to the balcony as a tourist attraction and surviving on scraps of unsuitable food that were thrown to her.

After Mely’s plight featured in the Mail, readers raised more than £8,000 to help International Animal Rescue seize her.

She travelled by river, road and air to get to the forest sanctuary in Ketapang, Indonesia.

Miss Fitterer said: ‘Mely’s personality is so sweet I never would have guessed she came from such a horrific background. She always comes over to say hello, and she is incredibly gentle.

'Mely got to do so many things for the first time here, like touch the hand of another orangutan, climb higher than one metre off the ground, and sleep in a bed of leaves.’

source: dailymail

Scrambled eggs for breakfast, his own wardrobe, bubble baths and a daily moisturise, Clarins of course: Is Prince the pup Britain's most pampered pet?


Emma Buttarrazzi with her heavily pampered dog Prince, who she spends £250 a month on as she attends to his every need

He has a wardrobe of designer clothes, lovingly cooked meals and regular beauty treatments.

Meet Prince, the most pampered dog in Britain.

The one-year-old Chinese crested is spoiled rotten by his devoted owner, Emma Butarrazzi, who spends £250 a month attending to his every need.

Every day after dinner Emma brushes and flosses Prince's teeth before putting him to bed

Every day Prince enjoys a long bubble bath, while she applies shampoo and conditioner to his hair, followed by a lathering of Clarins moisturising lotion.

He is then dressed up in one of his 200 outfits, and enjoys a breakfast of warm scrambled eggs.

Lunch is a refreshing fruit and vegetable salad, and after more dog biscuits for dinner, she brushes and flosses his teeth for bed.

Miss Butarazzi, 19, who runs an internet business from her home in Loughborough, spends all day entertaining Prince at home with his array of dog toys, including a doggy skateboard, and he enjoys going for drives in his special car seat.

She and her boyfriend James Powdrill, a 23-year-old chef, even let him sleep in their bed at night, and never go on holiday abroad as they would have to leave him behind.

Prince with his wardrobe full of clothes. His outfits include hats, hoodies, tracksuits, fancy dress costumes and a £120 navy blue coat from Harrods

‘I just love him so much, we both do’, she said. ‘I grew up with dogs and we loved them like children, but I’ve always wanted to have my own and really spoil him.

‘He’s got a lovely nature and I just want him to have the best of everything. I scour the internet to find him new outfits and toys from America.

‘I spent hours looking after him and want to spend my money on him. He comes with me everywhere, I never leave him on his own.

‘We bought him a bed, but he won’t sleep in it, he likes to be with us.’

Prince’s outfits - including coats, hats, hoodies, tracksuits and fancy dress costumes - cost £30-£40 each, although his most expensive is a £120 navy blue coat from Harrods.

As well as clothes he has an array of toys. His clothes and spa treatments every month cost £200 and his pet insurance and dog food another £50.

The dog has an array of Christmas costumes including an elf outfit which he wears from December 1

Miss Buttarazzi has spent £1,000 on his Christmas presents - which she started buying in August - including a sleeping bag to keep him warm in bed and a personalised bathrobe, as well as more jumpers, vests, hats and scarves.

He has an array of Christmas costumes including an elf outfit which he wears from December 1. .

His owner added: ‘Prince is so friendly unlike a lot of small dogs, and most people who meet him think its great that he’s always dressed up.

‘Some people think its cruel to dress dogs up, but he loves it and always puts his arms up for me to put his clothes on in the morning.

‘He’s a hairless breed and feels the cold terribly, he even shivers around the house, so its better for him to wear something.

‘In the summer and on holiday, he wears light t-shirts and vests.’

Emma takes Prince for a walk in his pushchair

Miss Buttarazzi’s boyfriend and parents are just as devoted. She said: ‘I was poorly recently and couldn’t look after him so James did it all, as we’d never let him go without.

‘We always go on holiday in the UK so we can take Prince with us. We went away to Tenerife once and just missed him terribly, so although my parents have offered to look after him, we wouldn’t do it again.’

Prince does not get on well with other dogs however.

Miss Buttarazzi spent £1,000 on Prince's Christmas presents - which she started buying in August - including a sleeping bag to keep him warm in bed and a personalised bathrobe, as well as more jumpers, vests, hats and scarves

‘In the park, they are always a bit mean and try to bite him, so I try to keep him away from them now.

‘I wouldn’t get another dog as it would really take up all my time and I think Prince would find it difficult.

‘I’ve thought about a cat, but I still wonder if he might get jealous.’

Prince is nominated for the Drontal’s My Pet Superstar Competition, to find the top dog or cat in the UK.

source: dailymail

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dew-covered damselflies glitter like jewels in the morning sunshine


Beautiful: Dew drops on the damselflys in the dawn sun makes them shimmer like jewels

These sparkling objects look more like dazzling jewels than humble damselflies.

But the beautiful creations are actually insects covered in early morning dew, a combination which creates a jaw-dropping natural effect in the morning sunshine.

The incredible images were captured on camera by photographer Patrick Goossens.

Early riser: Goosens gets up before dawn every morning to take his pictures

The Belgian insect expert has dedicated years to getting the perfect shot, studying dragonfly and damselfly behaviour to help him get closer to the creatures.

Goossens, 50, gets up before sunrise to catch the dew-covered insects in their best light and has just minutes to capture the sparkling creatures before the wind and sun cause the tiny drops of water to evaporate.

The photographer, from St-Martens-Bodegem, near Brussels, said: 'My interest in dragonflies and damselflies started five years ago, when I was forced to stay at home for a few months after a severe work accident.

Routine: Goossens likes to be in position 15 minutes before the sun comes up to capture the natural effect

Conditions: The best chance of dew comes from May to June and from September to October

'While I was sitting in my garden next to my pond, a dragonfly was landing in front of me.

'It was beautiful, but I didn't know much about them.

'I looked them up on the internet and bought some books about their behaviour, before joining a dragonfly association.

'The first year my photos were really bad, but the more I learnt about their behaviour the easier it was to approach them and the better my photos were.

'Then one morning I found some damselflies completely covered with dew.
'They looked awesome and I started to photograph them as much as I could.

Make it snappy: Goossens has to work quickly because wind blows the dew from the damselflies

'I have to get up early to find the dragonflies while they're still covered in dew and I like to be on the spot 15 minutes before sunrise.

'The best chances for dew are in the months of May to June and September to October. If there is some ground mist, that will add to the amount of drops.

'I have to be very careful when setting up my tripod and camera, so as not to hit the grass or vegetation and cause the dewdrops to fall.

'I have to work fast, because once the sun comes up the wind is picking up also, and the dew will be gone very quickly.

'Dragonflies and damselflies have become my passion.

'The thrill of capturing them on camera in their full glory is very exciting for me and I hope it will encourage other people to take an interest in them.'

source: dailymail

'I can't bear to be without you': Inseparable cubs play together in Alaskan national park


Laughing matter: Two brown bear cubs playfight on the beach at Lake Clark National Park near Port Alsworth, Alaska

Life's a beach for this pair of unlikely sunbathers.

Frolicking in the surf without a care in the world, these bear cubs are inseparable as they play together in Alaska's Lake Clark National Park.

Rambling along the waterfront hunting for food, these beach-loving brown bears provide an intimate record into the families of bear which frequent the area.

Tiring work this: The two cubs rest side by side on the shoreline as photographer Doug Merrick was able to get within 12ft of them

British photographer Doug Merrick spent two weeks at Silver Salmon Creek observing the playful cubs mirroring the hunting techniques of their mother during the salmon spawning season.

Mr Merrick, 75, from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, completed a lifelong ambition to photograph the animals up close.

He said: 'I have been planning the trip for 12 years. I have always wanted to get really close to bears in their native wild environment.

'Most places have raised observation platforms which I've used in the past and I wasn't happy with the results.

'This time I was determined to be on the ground with them and take the kind of shots I love, kneeling down in front of them as low as possible.'

Taking a private plane from Soldotna, Alaska, Mr Merrick landed on the beach at Silver Salmon Creek - a premier holiday destination for fishing, bear viewing and wildlife photography.

Mine! The two cubs share a salmon after copying their mother to catch the fish in the water

He was able to creep up to within just a few feet of the bears.

'It was important for me to get as close to the bears as I could and to do this I had to travel the bears' territory independently on foot,' he said.

'At one point, I was only 12ft away from the mighty female, but I knew as long as I remained out in the open I would be safe.

'Bears are so powerful they could decapitate a person with a single swipe of their huge paws - but only if they chose to.

'Both solitary bears and families gather during the low tide of the early morning because salmon battling to reach their spawning grounds upriver become stranded.'

There are more than 200,000 brown bears in the wild, which can grow up to 10ft tall and weigh more than 100 stone.

Mr Merrick plans to revisit the area in June for the mating season.

He added: 'They usually live in the hills beyond the tree line in dens and the trees themselves.

'There have been no recorded attacks on humans in the 15 years that Silver Salmon Creek has been accessible.

'Only in the tree line would I have been a bother to them as the cover adds the element of surprise.'

Watch with mother: The two cubs sit next to each other as the adult bear catches salmon in Silver Salmon Creek

source: dailymail

We've found Nemo! Stunning shark picture looks exactly like 'Bruce' from Pixar blockbuster


A school of pilot fish swarming around a oceanic whitetip shark. The two species co-exist - he smaller fish get protection from larger predators while the shark gets freedom from parasites

Just like Finding Nemo this hungry shark looks like it has learnt 'fish are friends not food'.

In the Pixar blockbuster, great white shark Bruce gives up his fish-munching ways at an alcoholics anonymous style, self help meet.

And as this incredible real life image shows, sharks in the real world seem to be following in Bruce's fin-steps.

The image taken by underwater photographer Daniel Selmeczi, shows a school of pilot fish swarming around an oceanic whitetip shark.

Pilot fish are carniverous and are often found in the company of sharks, manta ray and giant turtles.

The relationship is mutually beneficial - the fish gain protection from the larger predators known as 'mutualism' where different species exist side-by-side while the shark is kept clear of parasites.

The oceanic whitetip is the pilot fish's preferred companion, eating 'ectoparasites' from the sides of their body.

A similar harmonious co-existance can be seen on land with birds entering the mouths of crocodiles to clean it out without fear of being eaten alive.

Pilot fish are also carnivores so they have the added benefit that when a shark tears its meal to pieces they can share it and eat the scrap bits that fall off.

The name given to the pilot fish either comes from the belief that they helped to guide ships safely to shore in shallower waters or they helped sharks towards food.

Such is the close relationship between the two different species that sailors have reported the pilot fish staying with a boat for up to six weeks after their host shark has been caught.

The image bears an uncanny resemblance to the poster for the film Finding Nemo, which features Bruce the shark surrounded by hundreds of fish and other marine life.

The Finding Nemo poster which resembles Daniel Selmeczis underwater photograph

Daniel, 32, from Hungary took the image while diving in the Red Sea in Egypt.

He said: 'I have been taking underwater photographs since 2002 and have travelled to Egypt, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Indonesia and Malaysia in search of the perfect photograph.

'And this one is one of my favourites, it's rare to capture fish surrounding a shark quite like this.

'I was shocked when someone pointed out my picture looked like a scene from Finding Nemo, I love the film so it has just made me like my image even more.'

'Luckily this shark is friendly, just like Bruce, so I was in no danger photographing it.

'Many people are terrified of sharks especially with the attacks in Egypt recently but Oceanic Whitetip sharks don't eat humans, they eat fish, so I vote we save the sharks.'

source: dailymail

A bear with a sore head - and an empty belly: Polar bear that fancied snacking on a seagull ends up biting off more than he can chew


Bear bites back: The polar bear surfaces immediately behind the unsuspecting gull and clamps its jaws into the bird's back

This brave seagull heroically took on a polar bear in an epic battle of David v Goliath - and won.

The ten-minute encounter between bird and beast stunned onlookers as the seagull dramatically escaped with its feathers intact.

After the scrap the shame-faced half tonne bear scampered off in search of easier prey to pick a fight with.

Bird fights back: The gull pecks its attacker in the eye in a desperate attempt to get away

Photographer Ole Jorgen Liodden was shocked when he captured the incredible moments on film.

Before the bruising encounter Ole had been happily snapping away at the Glaucous gull as it gently bobbed on the water minding its business.

The polar bear appeared from nowhere and unusually, instead of hunting for its preferred prey of seals, decided to dive into the water and swim up to the bird.

Where's he gone? Temporarily blinded, the bear appears to have lost sight of his quarry

The bear launched a ferocious attack on the gull by biting it on its back and following up with a flurry of blows.

However, this gull was no bird brain and, using its beak, instinctively landed a few hits of its own to the bear's sensitive eyes and nose.

Sensing the bird was not about to become dinner, the bear swum off and the fearless gull was able to make a getaway.

On a wing and a prayer: The seagull managed to fend off the bear for several minutes

On the back foot: The polar bear is on the defensive as the tussling pair move into shallow water

Ole, 37, from Norway, took the photos in the north of the country, in Svalbard.

'This was our second photo expedition to Svalbard and we experienced an incredibly rare situation between a polar bear and a Glaucous gull,' he said.

'The bear suddenly dived and swam a good ten to 15 metres underwater before it attacked the surprised young gull.

'I have never seen anything like this on previous expeditions and the fight was more interesting than I had expected.

'Usually a polar bear can easily kill a 100kg seal, and a gull weighing in at 1.5 kg should be an easy catch.

'After the first bite to the back of the gull, the bear continued its attack in the water.

'The gull fought heroically, and with its bill managed several direct hits to the bear's eyes and nose.

'This made the bear back off and the gull escaped after ten minutes.'

Everything but the gull: Polar bears may be at the top of the food chain, but the only thing this bear got to swallow was its pride

source: dailymail

Zen and the art of fish tank maintenance: 'Aquascapers' herald the end for treasures chests and shipwrecks with arty installations


The seemingly mundane world of fish keeping has now received an arty makeover with the emergence of the 'Aqueous Art Movement'

A new trend of creating amazing living pictures in fish tanks has emerged from a group of enthusiasts - and is fast becoming a major art movement.

And it could spell the end to the traditional treasure chest, shipwreck and diver that adorn the usual British fish tanks.

Members of the Aqueous Art Movement design incredible scenes - or aquascapes - beneath the water that are described as moving pictures.

The plants, stone, lighting and types of fish are carefully selected to make the tanks genuine works of art.

The arty fish fans who base their minimalist designs on Zen gardens from Japan

The meticulous design of the Aquascapers take months to construct and the position of each rock, plant and bit and gravel is vital to the brotherhood of four designers who founded the movement. George Farmer's 'Zen Symbiance'

Graeme Edwards at work creating an Aquascape: The fishy works of art take up to 12months to complete

Some are based on Japanese styles and others influenced by Zen Buddhism - and they've even appeared at the Chelsea Flower show.

Even the character of the fish is important because calming designs require slow swimming fish.

They can take up to a year to design and build and the idea is that once set up the plants continue to grow and the fish take the eye around the whole picture.

They are so admired that the movement has held an exhibition at a top London gallery.

James Starr-Marshall, 36, a teacher, said: 'We were all fish keepers and about 15 years ago we came across a guy from Japan who is the father of aquascapes.

'For six or seven years we experimented to get the plants growing. It is a careful balance between nutrients, lighting and Co2.

'After we learned the methods we were able to apply the creative side.

'We use natural materials and tropical plants that grow solely beneath the water. We want to create paintings that grow and evolve.

'The fish are there to comliment the scene and the size, colour and behaviour of the fish are all taken into account.

'The fish help move you eye around the picture.

'Some designs have a Japanese influence, others are based on Zen and others are based on real places - such as Durdle Door in Dorset.

'We can offer to create tanks for people or organisations and the reactions we get are very positive.'

source: dailymail

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In a hole lot of trouble: The inquisitive pup who put his nose where it wasn't wanted


Now what? Eight-month-old Rebel ended up in a tight spot after his curiosity got the better of him

Dogs may be inquisitive by nature, but this eight-month-old German Shepherd was heading for trouble when he decided to check out this hole in the wall.

Rebel somehow squeezed his head into a tight spot in the 18in wall in his garden at home in Los Angeles, California, and got well and truly stuck.

It was only when a friend of the owner, who was out at the time, heard Rebel whimpering that he found the pup was in a bit of a tight spot and called the authorities.

County Animal Services officers arrived and decided the dog was not in serious danger. They also concluded that if Rebel could get his head into the hole, they would be able to pull him out, but their main concern was doing so without hurting him.

With officers on either side of the wall, they tucked in the pup’s ears and nudged him back and forth for about 30 minutes before freeing him none the worse for wear.

Phew! Rebel with one of the Animal Services officers who helped free him from the wall unharmed

source: dailymail

Blind woman breaks TWO world records on holiday after being taught to fish by her husband


Great catch: Sheila Penfold, 59, (right) caught this 214lb giant catfish in the River Ebro, near Barcelona. It was the largest catfish ever caught by a woman. Husband Alan (left) has not managed to better his partially-sighted wife's efforts

A fisherman who introduced his blind wife to fishing has been upstaged twice - as he watched her break two world records for catching giant catfish.

Retired gardener Alan Penfold, 63, decided to start bringing wife Sheila along on his fishing trips four years ago but wouldn't have expected to be upstaged by his partially-sighted partner.

She has broken the record for the biggest catfish ever caught by a woman and then hooked the largest albino catfish ever caught in two fishing holidays.

Whopper: This 192lb albino catfish that Sheila caught was comfortably the largest one ever hooked - and her second world record

Alan and Sheila regularly take trips to the famous River Ebro, near Barcelona, Spain to fish - but Mr Penfold could be forgiven for thinking that his wife's degenerative eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa would prevent her matching him.

The great grandmother's first big catch came when she caught a 214lb monster catfish in 2009 - the largest ever caught by a woman. The amateur angler had to be directed where to place her bait.

Weighing the equivalent of 15.3 stones - around twice the weight of X Factor judge Cheryl Cole - she posed for a photo with the beast before putting it back into the water.

Husband Alan, who has caught dozens of catfish that are almost as big but never managed anything as large, vowed to snare a bigger monster when the pair flew out for a two week break two months ago.

Within days of the couple arriving in Spain, Alan managed to hook another mammoth catfish - but when he put it on the scales it came to just 2lb under his wife's 2009 record at 212lb.

He then reeled in another giant of the deep, but again he failed to beat his wife's catch after it came in on the nose at exactly the same as his wife's catch the year before - 214lb.

The biggest catfish ever caught in the world by a man is a staggering 646lb - or 46 stone - Giant Mekong Catfish caught in Thailand in 2005.

source: dailymail

The pony and the very patient robin: Little bird forced to queue for food after being barged out of the way by foraging horse


Out of my way: The tiny robin is forced to queue after the Dartmoor pony nuzzled it aside while they both were foraging for food in the snow ion Boxing Day

They say it’s the early bird that catches the worm.

But this robin had to wait its turn after a Dartmoor pony got in first as he hunted for food.

The brave, little bird had been pecking through the snow for scraps near Ashburton in Devon when the pony pushed it out of the way as it too foraged for something to eat.

Undeterred, the cheeky robin stationed itself next to the pony’s hooves in the hope of a tasty morsel turning up.

Like many British songbirds, robins have been hit hard by the icy weather. Charities have warned that they could be ‘near extinction’ because of the snow and frost. Clive Sherwood, of SongBird Survival, said: ‘Hard winters can have a greater effect than pesticides or any of the other actions of man on the numbers of songbirds.

‘The smaller birds weigh only an ounce and they just cannot maintain their body heat.’

Dartmoor ponies have also had a difficult winter. It was revealed this month that more than 100 healthy ponies have been slaughtered and sold to zoos as animal feed because a fall in market price has left breeders struggling to sell them.

Including unhealthy ones, 700 Dartmoor ponies have been killed in the last 12 months.

source: dailymail

Enjoying his winter playground, the zoo elephant who likes to make snowballs with his trunk - and then eat them


Asian elephant Ko Raya played in the snow, coating herself in the white stuff

The elephants got a taste of a German winter at the Berlin Zoo this week as they played in the snow, getting into play fights and sampling a bit of the frozen treat.

Ko Raya, an Asian elephant, even rolled around in the snow in her enclosure at Zoologischer Garten, where temperatures have been staying below zero.

An elephant lifts a snowball it made with its trunk at the Berlin zoo on Monday

Unfortunately, if the elephant was trying to get clean, the snow will be less effective than throwing water on himself

And hopefully she liked it, as even more snow has been predicted in the German capital. Germany got 12 inches of snow on Christmas night alone.

Asian elephants in the wild don't often see snow, as they are found primarily in countries like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, parts of Nepal and Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia.

But, Ko Raya has never known a different climate, as she was born at the Berlin zoo in March 2009.

Even in the frigid weather, she bring a touch of sunshine as she is named after an island in Thailand.

The elephant then threw the snowball with its trunk

DELICIOUS! An elephant slips a snowball into his mouth as forecasters predicted even more snow in the German capital

Snow fight! These three pictures, taken in sequence, show the Berlin elephants throwing snow on one another

source: dailymail

Monday, December 27, 2010

The saddest puppy: Princess has never been cuddled and can never go outside... now she's looking for a loving home


Heartrending: Six-month-old puppy Princess, a bull-breed-greyhound cross, prepares for her special bath

An ultra-cute bald pup was abandoned and rescued earlier this month suffering from a severe medical condition that has left her with no hair.

Staring sadly at the big outdoors through a window, her illness means that she can never go outside, and these pictures show her receiving her first ever cuddle.

With such delicate skin she can't wear a jacket to keep her warm enough for the outdoors - even in summer.

Puppy love: Princess gets her first ever hug from Sallie Conroy, Dog Isolation Staff member, at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary days before Christmas

And she's so fragile nobody - until her treatment began at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary near Edenfield, Lancs - had ever touched her.

Carers at the centre are hoping she will respond to bath medicine Aludex but it's likely she will need £10,000 of expensive tablets for the rest of her life to make her happy.

The six-month-old, a bull-breed-greyhound cross, was discovered abandoned in Colne, Lancashire. Rescue organisation Bleakholt took her on and are now battling to help her recover.

Manager Neil Martin, 56, said: 'She's the saddest looking dog we have ever seen.

Princess suffers from a very advanced case of demodectic mange - one of the worst cases we have ever seen.

'It's not infectious, but is passed through prolonged contact, so we think she probably caught this from her mother.

So delicate: The puppy suffers from a severe medical condition called demodectic mange that has left her with no hair. With her delicate skin she can't stay warm enough to go outdoors, even in summer

A bit of TLC: Sallie Conroy gives Princess an Aludex bath which staff hope will help her condition, but they say she may need £10,000 to treat her with Atopica

'She has a very sad story, so it's no wonder she looks so sad. When she came to us it was clear she had never had any love. She has been emotionally starved and she didn't know how to take affection.

'Our staff are all in love with her but it's only recently that she's started learning how to enjoy a cuddle. She didn't even know how to play.

'We tried to get her to cheer up with some toys but she was scared of them. We're a long, long way from having a happy and trusting puppy who is wagging her tail and doing everything a dog should be doing.

'It will also be a long time before she can ever go outside and enjoy running around or chasing a ball.

Even in the summer she cannot go outside without any hair. And we need her to recover significantly before we can put a coat on her to keep her warm.'

Demodectic mange is caused by tiny mites burrowing into the hair follicles, which stops hair from growing.

To make Princess a happy dog, charity Bleakholt could be facing a huge five-figure bill.

'We are trying a more basic skin treatment to see if she responds,' said Neil. 'But for the last dog we had with a condition as severe as hers it didn't work. She might need Atopica, which is very expensive.'

Atopica is a drug used to treat skin conditions which is also taken by humans. As a relatively new drug, it can cost as much as £12 per day and sufferers stay on it for life.

Neil added: 'The last dog we treated with Atopica is now happy, healthy and has been re-homed in a loving, caring household. It's the ultimate goal for all the animals we take in.

'All we want to do is turn Princess' sad face into a happy one. We want to fix her problem and give her a new life. It will be very expensive but we will not stop short of what she needs.'

To help Princess and other animals like her donate at www.bleakholt.org

source: dailymail

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