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Monday, October 31, 2011

A new home at last for the blind Great Dane and her devoted guide dog

-Couple decided to take in Lily and Maddison after reading about them in the Daily Mail
-Dogs can now look forward to holidays in France and the Lake District

By Daily Mail Reporter

Happy ending: Len Williams and his wife Anne with blind Lily and her guide dog Maddison. The couple have taken in the two dogs after reading about them in the Daily Mail

It’s the happy ending that Lily the blind great dane and her trusty friend turned guide dog Maddison deserve.

When the Daily Mail featured the heart-warming tale of the two great danes, who were looking for a new home, more than 2,000 dog lovers responded by offering to take them.

Now Lily and Maddison are moving from the Dogs Trust centre in Shrewsbury to live with the Williams family 35 miles away in Crewe, Cheshire.

Lily, six, was barely a puppy when she was struck down by a condition that caused her eyelashes to grow into her eyeballs, damaging them beyond repair.

Thankfully her friend Maddison, seven, became her new eyes and led her everywhere.

The two have become inseparable and Lily follows Maddison, almost touching her as they walk so she knows where to go.

But in July their owner could no longer cope with them and they were sent to the re-homing centre.

Forever friends: Lily, left, being guided while walking with Maddison right. The pair have been inseparable since Lily lost her sight

Anne Williams, 52, and her husband Len, 53, a retired fireman, fell in love with the dogs when they read about them in the Mail and their offer was accepted by the trust.

Mrs Williams, a business manager for an insurance company, said: ‘We've always had two dogs together, I like them to have company and so taking on two of them wasn't a daunting prospect.

'My daughter moved out five months ago, taking her two English setters with her, so the house has felt a little quiet without them.

Playful: Lily's lack of sight has heightened her other senses so she can often tell if Maddison is nearby without the pair touching

‘We live in the countryside and I miss having a reason to go for a walk - I can't wait to take the dogs out with us. We've also got a lovely big garden so it's the perfect setting for two huge dogs.’

The couple plan to take the great danes on holidays to France and the Lake District and ensure they both enjoy life with their new family.

Louise Campbell, manager of the Dogs Trust in Shrewsbury, said: ‘This is the happy ending we were all hoping for and everyone is delighted for Lily and Maddison.

‘The Williams family were the perfect match and we know they'll give the dogs all the love and fuss they so deserve.’


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tiny seal pup is nursed back to health after rescuers find it abandoned and shivering in aftermath of huge storm

By Mary Mcconnell

Orphaned: Barnacle the seal pup was found clinging to rocks after being injured during last week's storms

A cute grey seal found clinging to rocks after being orphaned during last week's gales and torrential rain is being nursed back to health.

The tiny all-white seal was found cowering and shivering after storms battered its breeding grounds, separating it from its mother on the Channel Island of Jersey.

Too young to fend for itself, the week old pup - nicknamed Barnacle - was taken in before being flown to an RSPCA animal centre, where it was yesterday being nursed back to full health.

Shivering: The seal was found clinging to rocks in the Channel Islands

Rescue: The seal was taken from Jersey to an animal rescue centre in Taunton, Somerset

The West Hatch Animal Centre in Taunton, Somerset, takes rescued animals from all around the UK and has specialist facilities for seals.

Vet David Cooper said: 'It's likely the animal was separated from its mother due to heavy storms. 'Barnie was bought in with a cuts and abrasions, including one to its chin, but is looking as though he will make a full recovery.

'Pups can be separated from their mothers during periods of heavy winds and waves, which is what we think happened to Barney. "He will have been too weak to fend for himself.'

On the road to recovery: The seal is being looked after at The West Hatch Animal Centre in Taunton, Somerset

Animal hospital: Staff at the rescue centre in Taunton have named the seal Barnacle

Shut-eye: Barnacle the seal pup has a rest at The West Hatch RSPCA centre in Somerset

The pup, which still has its fine pure white coat, will spend up to three months at the centre before being released off the north coast of Devon when fully fit.
Barnie is currently being fed a fish soup of Herring, which is fed intravenously, and will move onto sword fish within a matter of weeks. Grey seal pupping season runs from September to November. Pups do not start learning how to fish for themselves until they are at least four weeks old.


Easy tiger! Moment huge beast tried to play pat-a-cake with a toddler (but don't worry, they're separated by glass)

By Daily Mail Reporter

Tender moment: Rather than banging against the glass, the tiger gently put its paw up to the little girl's hand

These breathtaking photographs capture the remarkable moments when a tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl.

Photographer Dyrk Daniels noticed the 370lb Golden Bengal Tiger had taken an interest in the child, who was leaning against his glass enclosure.

As the tiger, called Taj, headed over to her, Mr Daniels got his camera ready, expecting him to snarl and bang against the glass.

But amazingly the tiger hung his head, stretched a paw out to her hand and rubbed his cheek against where the girl's face was.

Father-of-two Dyrk Daniels, 47, from Washington, America, went to Cougar Mountain Zoo to photograph the Bengal tigers.

When he got to the enclosure there were several children and families in the area, so he decided to let them see the tigers first before he tried to photograph them himself.

‘That is when I noticed this little girl was leaning against the glass with both hands out stretched staring at the ‘big kitties’,’ he said.

Gentle giant: As the tiger headed over to the glass partition towards the little girl, photographer Dyrk Daniels thought the big cat would snarl and frighten her

Bonding: The tiger put its face right down so the little girl could look it straight in the eye

‘I noticed that Taj had taken an interest in the girl and was heading towards her.

‘I thought for certain that the little girl would need therapy after the encounter and fear cats for the rest of her life.

‘I could not believe my eyes when Taj approached the girl, bowed his head and then placed his huge right paw exactly in front of where the little girl's left hand was.

‘It was incredible to watch. Taj let down his right paw, rubbed his cheek against the glass where the little girl's face was and moved off.’

Far from being scared, the little girl was so excited that she started clapping as she walked back afterwards towards her mother.

‘I have never seen such tenderness from such a large predator,’ Mr Daniels said.


Squirrel Nutkin? No I'm Squirrel Pumpkin: The grey critter getting into the Halloween spirit

By Mail On Sunday Reporter

What's this? The squirrel admires the pumpkin hanging in mid-air from a string before sticking his head inside to see if it's a trick or treat

Meet the grey squirrel who’s going nuts about Halloween...

It is fascinated by Vicky Freeman’s hollowed-out pumpkin, trying to work out whether it’s a treat to get its teeth into or a mere trick suspended by a piece of string.

For minutes on end, it jumps inside the pumpkin, then out again.

Hanging on: The squirrel uses his paws to suspend himself from the inside of the cut out pumpkin

‘Since I put the pumpkin out, the squirrel’s been visiting my garden every day,’ said Mrs Freeman, 53, of Fareham, Hampshire.

'I always hang up a pumpkin in the garden for my grandchildren at Halloween but I didn't expect such an inquisitive squirrel to try it on.'

While this squirrel has developed a taste for pumpkin, previously two squirrels in Fareham took a shine to coconuts places in a resident's garden.

Jane Roberts put the coconuts out for the squirrels, who much like the creature above loved stick their heads into them to get at the tasty treat inside.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Anyone see a seal? The spectacular moment killer whales emerged through hole in Arctic ice for a breather

-Landmark series has captivated millions with its portrait of the frozen world
-Stunning images give a glimpse of what is to come on the BBC documentary

By Kerry Mcqueeney

Coming up for air: This stunning image shows a pod of fish-eating KIller whales spyhopping among the breaking sea ice in Antarctica

It has already captivated millions, taking viewers on a spectacular polar expedition to the frozen wildernesses of the Arctic and the Antarctic.

And now the makers of the landmark BBC series Frozen Planet, bringing the natural world of the North and South Poles to the small screen, has given a tantalising glimpse of things to come with these stunning images from future episodes.

These incredible stills from the series reveal the frozen world as you have never seen it before - and may never see again, thanks to the onset of global warming.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the series explores the effects of slimate change on the polar regions - and the lengths scientists are going to understand it.

The next episode in the seven-part series is to be screened on BBC 1 next Wednesday, November 2, at 9pm.

Scroll down to see more images from Frozen Planet.

Cracked surface: The largest ice cap in the Eurasian Arctic - Austfonna in Svalbard - is 150 miles long with a thousand waterfalls in the summer

Not alone: Cameraman Mark Smith (left) with just the penguins for company while a this polar bear looks ready for action as she prepares to launch herself from the ice

Bear hug: A mother nurses her two cubs, caught on camera in a stunning aerial shot. Her milk reserves are running low as she has not eaten for five months whilst in the den

Awesome spectacle: Bones break and tonnes of blubber slam into each other as two male elephant seals fight amidst a beach of king penguins

Hitching a ride: Adélie penguins on an iceberg surrounded by masses of floating ice, in western Antarctica (left), while the sky over the Arctic peninsula turns a deep shade of pink as the sun sets on another day

On reflection: A stunning scene shows penguins standing at the shore against a dramatic mountainous landscape, their images mirrored in the water

Lone wolf: A rare Arctic species on Ellesmere Island in Canada. These wolves are extremely remote and unused to humans (left), while an elephant sea flicks wet sand on to its back (right) to keep cool as king penguins on the shore in South Georgia look on

Close encounter: Filming killer whales from a boat in the Antarctic Peninsula. Some orcas are mammal hunters - they kill seals by working as a team to generate large waves that wash them off ice floes

Intrepid: Frozen Planet presenter Sir David Attenborough at the North Pole (left) while two bears test their strength during the autumn in Hudson Bay, Canada (right)

Lonely landscape: The first sunrise of the year in the High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is on February 15 or 16, after being beneath the horizon for several months

Breaking free: A frozen Arctic river flows after six months locked in ice. The immense release of freshwater from the Arctic's waterways into the Arctic Ocean triggers the annual sea ice melt and fuels the mass migration of fish, birds and whales

Showing them the way: A polar bear leads her cubs across the desolate landscape, perhaps in search of food

I spy: A group of penguins appear to be startled by the sudden emergence of an orca spyhopping through the broken ice

A nest built for two: A male Adélie penguin puts the stones in place and prepares for some female company (left) while the fur flies between these two bull seals as they battle it out for mating rights on the beach

Leap of faith: Cubs jumping into the water as the pack ice breaks up in the summer. Polar bears are actually marine mammals and are completely at home in the water as adults

Solitary swimmer: A polar bear gliding through the water in front of the Austfonna ice cap in Svalbard. Polar bears can swim for 60 miles in a day

Deep freeze: The melting ice forms elegant ice sculptures which float across a glacial fjord in Svalbard

Not too close: A crew film a polar bear from a boat in pack ice. Frozen Planet is the first series to adapt a stabilised aerial camera and mount it to the front of boats, enabling filmmakers to get close to polar bears in their melting summer ice world

Gliding over the waves: A black-browed albatross off the coast of South Georgia (left) while a grey wolf pup (right) sticks close to mum on Ellesmere Island, Canada

Caught in the act: Adélie penguins - a species common along the Antarctic coast - collect stones for their nests. Thieves try to steal them, but this one has been rumbled

Outnumbered: Cameraman Mark Smith is surrounded by penguins as he films in harsh weather conditions. Frequent snow storms and winds of up to 150mph kept film crews on their toes throughout their four months working alone at Cape Crozier, Antarctica


Ready to fly on Halloween, the rescued bats who've had their torn wings fixed

By Jessica Satherley

Getting ready for Halloween: The little bats are getting their wings repaired at the Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire

Wounded bats should be ready to fly in time for Halloween after an RSPCA centre discovered a new treatment to repair their wing injuries.

Sarah Goodwin led the study in Cheshire, which found that just a bit of rest and recuperation for the bats meant tears in their wings would heal by themselves.

She said the usual veterinary technique of stitching or gluing tears to the wings back together could cause issues with the bats removing stitches or glue when grooming.

Instead, she decided to care for the nocturnal mammals which came into her care by keeping them warm, giving them antibiotics and feeding them vitamin and mineral-rich food - the veterinary nurse also restricted their flight and gave them time to rest and heal.

In nearly all cases she found that the wings on the animal had healed back together of their own accord.

Sarah, from the Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire, said: "I just couldn't believe how fast the wings grew back together.

"It was amazing. All they needed was a bit of rest and care and their wing membranes healed all by themselves - ready for them to fly back safely into the wild."

Repairing the wings: Some rest and recuperation for the bats meant tears in their wings would heal by themselves

The wings: On average it took around eight weeks for the healing process to work

The bats used in the 'Heal to Fly' project had been injured in various ways, including attacks from cats, out of the nine bats which have been admitted with severe wing tears over the past year, five have been returned to the wild, and two died from other injuries.

A remaining pair are still in care at the RSPCA centre but Sarah is hopeful that they can be returned to the wild soon.

On average it took around eight weeks for the healing process to work, before they were released back to the wild, the bats were given increasing flight practise to build up their strength.

Filling up on nutrients: The bats were fed a diet of vitamin-rich foods to recover

Injured: The bats used in the 'Heal to Fly' project had been injured in various ways - some by cats

Since they were all adults, it is hoped their chances of survival back in nature are equivalent to those who have not been injured.

Sarah said: "They already knew how to fly before they were injured, and would not have lost this skill despite their time in captivity.

"We are all really excited by the results so far. They will have far reaching consequences to the way we and other bat carers care for bats and will give bats with such injuries a second chance."


Friday, October 28, 2011

Hero dog drags his owner home after he is knocked unconscious by lightning bolt

-Mayor of Redruth would have died if not for his wellington boots

By Nadia Gilani

Saviours: Ian Thomas with Monty at his home in Redruth, Cornwall, and the wellington boots that saved his life

A faithful dog rescued his owner by dragging him home after he was struck by an enormous lightning bolt.

Ian Thomas, 64, was taking his German schnauzer Monty out for an early morning walk when he was struck by a bolt so powerful he would have been killed if he had not been wearing wellington boots.

The bolt threw Mr Thomas, who is the Mayor of Redruth in Cornwall, into the air and knocked him out.

He regained consciousness when five-year-old Monty, who had also been struck, began licking his face.

Mr Thomas struggled to stand but only managed to stagger several paces before he collapsed.

He managed to wrap his arms around Monty, who responded by dragging him the 100 yards home.

Faithful friends: Mr Thomas, knocked out by the lightning strike, only regained consciousness when Monty, a German schnauzer, started licking his face

Mr Thomas' shocked wife Sharen, 42, then took him straight him to hospital.

He told the Daily Mirror: 'I heard what seemed like an explosion in my head and the dog scream.

'He makes that noise when he rubs his nose on electrical fences so I think he may have been hit too.

'I saw my legs shoot out in front of me and I was thrown into the air.

'Some time after I came to my senses and found myself curled up in a ball on the ground with my fists clenched.

Ian Thomas, left, with the wellington boots that helped save him, and Monty, right, who managed to drag his injured master home

'I knew I wasn't dead because I could feel excruciating pain. I just trusted my instincts, reached out and grabbed hold of Monty'.

When Mr Thomas stumbled through the door his terrified wife thought he was having a heart attack.

Mrs Thomas, 42, told the Daily Express: 'He just walked in the front door and collapsed. I just knew we had to get him straight to hospital.

'He was confused and looked in pain. Monty was frightened too and ran into the house and covered his face with his paw'.

Doctors said the electrical charge of the bolt that hit Mr Thomas on October 17 was so huge that it would have killed him if it were not for his rubber wellies.

Mr Thomas suffered burns to his head and hip and had to spend four days in hospital but has since made a full recovery.


Elephant gives birth after a two year pregnancy - the longest ever recorded at a British zoo

Baby the smallest recorded at Whipsnade Zoo
Calf so small he struggled to reach mother's milk

By Oliver Pickup

Scroll down to watch the baby elephants playing at Whipsnade Zoo this week

Mother Azizah and the newest addition to the zoo's Asian elephant herd - a baby elephant born after the longest pregnancy recorded at Whipsnade

Elephants are notorious for their long memories, but now they will be renowned for their lengthy pregnancies.

Long-suffering Asian elephant Azizah was carrying her baby for 700 days - 84 longer than the average - and finally gave birth at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, last Tuesday.

It is believed to be the longest pregnancy ever recorded at the British zoo - nearly two extra months over the normal gestation period of 22 months.

And the baby, at just 16 stone (104kg) at birth, is the smallest in Whipshade's history.

Keepers were so concerned about the diminutive size of the newborn - yet to be named - they thought he wouldn't be able to reach his mother's milk.

But the clever calf, Azizah's third, soon solved the problem by learning to stand on his tip-toes.

Elephant keeper Lee Sambrook said: 'Azizah took to him straight away and the rest of the herd are so excited to be around the baby and touch it.

You took your time! It took Azizah 700 to give birth to her third baby

Big hello: The tiny calf, which is yet to be named, was born last Tuesday and weighed just 16 stone - the smallest recorded at the zoo

'Elephants are social animals and having youngsters joining the herd is what elephant life is about.'

The calf is now venturing out of the elephant barn with the rest of the heard.

And visitors are flocking to the zoo so as to catch a glimpse of him playing with his siblings and suckling his mother, who will not forget the lengthy pregnancy in a hurry.


Dog tired! Baby Matilda snuggles with four sleeping Chihuahuas (but photographer admits dreamy shot was a bit of a nightmare)

By Mail Foreign Service

Baby's best friend: Eight-day-old Matilda rests her head on a sleeping Chihuahua puppy in this heartwarming shot by portrait photographer Richard Barry

This heartwarming photograph, of an eight-day-old baby nestling in for a sleep with four five-week-old puppies, was five hours in the making.

Photographer Richard Barry captured the endearing image after a stressful photoshoot in a room at the home of newborn Matilda's family.

Mr Barry, 44, who specialises in baby portrait photography, said: 'The objective was to get the baby and the chihuahua puppies all asleep on a beanbag at the same time.

It is undoubtedly the most difficult photo I have ever taken.

'The baby's grandmother had won a prize on my website for a free photo shoot and she gave it to her daughter. I jumped at the opportunity because I used to work at the RSPCA, and animals and babies are two of my favourite photographic subjects.'

Mr Barry, 44, from Perth, Australia, said the most difficult thing was getting them all to sleep at the same time.

He added: 'At five weeks, the puppies were far more lively than I expected at that age. Baby Matilda was also in quite a lively mood!

'We turned up the heating in the room we were using as a studio, and Matilda's mum Jessica managed to get her asleep. We had seven puppies to choose from, all in a box.

'And as they fell asleep as well, I carefully lifted four of them out.'

It took Mr Barry about 30 attempts to get all four pups onto the bean bag beside Matilda, without waking them or the baby.

He added: 'The final image was captured in just two frames, and catches the moment Matilda leant in to one of the puppies. One second later the puppy woke up, and the shoot was over.'


Thursday, October 27, 2011

King of the swingers: Gutsy gibbon ditches the monkey bars to show off his tightrope walking skills

By Jessica Satherley

Acrobatics: The Gibbon balancing on the Liana vine in the Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo, Indonesia

Forget monkey bars, this gutsy gibbon clearly prefers the trickier task of the tightrope.

The playful primate looked footloose and fancy free as he strutted his stuff on a branch in Borneo - mimicking the movements of an acrobat.

The Hylobates agilis, also known as the Black-Handed Gibbon or the lesser ape, captivated tourists with his agile antics.

As he sprinted skillfully back and forth across a branch, wildlife photographer Thomas Marent, captured the entire comic episode on camera.

The 45-year-old from Baden, near Zurich, Switzerland was shooting orangutans at the Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesia when the talented gibbon came into view.

Thomas said: "The gibbon didn't seem to trust us at first but as soon as he saw a crowd gathering the shyness just seemed to go.

"Our tour guide had pieces of banana and each time the gibbon would run across the branch to get to it.

Show off: The confident gibbon strutted his stuff on the branch in front of tourists and was photographed by Thomas Marent.

Motivation: The tour guide had pieces of banana and each time the gibbon would run across the branch to get to it

"That's when we saw what an amazing talent he had and I managed to get the shot I was aiming for.

"He seemed to really enjoy showing off and went back and forth several times.

"This made the shoot easy despite the dark dense canopy of the rainforest.

"I know Gibbons are the acrobats among the Asian primates but I have never seen anything like this before. It was spectacular.

"I started making a living from photography five years ago and have photographed landscapes, architecture and people but nothing could ever fascinate me as much as wildlife."


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