Custom Search

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Try getting past this lot! Elephants huddle round female to protect her from prowling hyenas while she gives birth

By Daniel Miller

Teamwork: The caring elephants create an impenetrable barrier protecting the mother as she gives birth to a calf in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya

When it comes to bodyguards, you really couldn't do much better than these guys.

In a heartwarming display, a mighty herd of elephants huddles around a female to protect her from prowling lions and hyenas as she gives birth.

The amazing pictures were taken in the early hours at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya at the start of the month.

Wildlife photographer Paolo Torchio noticed the unusual behaviour on a morning drive and was staggered as he watched the drama unfold over the course of an hour.

The protective group circled the mother, scratching the soil with their enormous feet and closing any gap between them to block the view of any potential predators.

Moments after the birth, the calf can be seen clutching the tusk of an adult with its trunk as it staggers to its feet for the very first time.

You're having a laugh: A prowling hyena is forced to slink away after members of the herd stamp and sling dust into the air to ward it off

Do not disturb: The herd throws grass and soil all over the area. Photographer Paolo Torchio believes this behaviour may be to hide the smell of the blood and the placenta, and to ward off predators like hyenas and lions

Bodyguards: An animal would have to be either very brave or very stupid to tangle with this lot
Paolo said: 'We observed an unusual tight congregation.

'All those elephants were in high agitation, seriously nervous, and closing the formation shoulder to shoulder.

'A strong wall of muscles and tusks that can scare any kind of other animal.

'This is the formation they are normally taking in only two cases: under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.'

'After 22 months of pregnancy the moment arrived'.

The Amboseli National Park covers 3,100 square miles across the Kenya-Tanzania border.

The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants.

Paolo added: 'It was incredible, because to witness the birth of an elephant in the wild is almost impossible.

'This is because it is impossible to predict the exact moment.

Curious: The mother and other adult elephants hover over the calf moments after it is born

Let's have a look: The herd circles around to catch a first glimpse of the new arrival

I'm down here: The calf raises its little head and trunk off the ground for the first time as the other elephants continue to keep guard

Give us a hand: The newborn clutches the tusk of an older elephant as it staggers to its feet for the very first time

Hello mum: The new arrival pops up to give its mother a tender kiss on the cheek

'It is almost impossible to determine if an elephant is pregnant or not. So, what was happening in front of us was really the most intimate and secret event in the elephant's life.'

'At about 7:30 am the elephants started trumpeting as though they were welcoming the new arrival,' said Paolo.

'Five minutes later we had the first glimpse of the new born between the legs of the giant animals.'

Huddled shoulder to shoulder in close formation, the elephants began thrusting mud around, it is believed, to put off predators off the scent of blood.

Now hear this: The herd proudly trumpets the arrival of their latest member

'All the elephants were very, very, exited, and were digging the soil with the tusks and feet,' said Paolo.

'Also they were throwing grass and soil all over in an attempt , I can only suppose, to hide the smell of the blood and the placenta, and confuse possible predators.'

Creating an impenetrable wall around the calf, the adults, which included other females, attempted to help the youngster to its feet.

'It was amazing to observe the unity of the family, with all the other female trying to help the new born,

'At 8:15 am, almost one hour after birth, finally the new born elephant stood up with his mother and got a deserved dose of milk!'


Exposed: The cruel dog-spinning ritual to 'ward off rabies' that is STILL being practised Bulgaria

By Graham Smith

Bizarre tradition: An annual ritual that involves spinning dogs on a rope above a river in rural Bulgaria to ward off rabies was last weekend thwarted by animal rights activists six years after it was banned

Animal rights activists have managed to thwart a bizarre traditional that involves spinning dogs on a rope above a river in rural Bulgaria to ward off rabies.

For hundreds of years, locals in the remote town of Brodilovo in the south-east of the country have carried out the annual Spring ritual.

It involves twisting dogs a rope stretched out over a river until it is taut and then threading a dog through a noose at its end.

Cruel: The pagan tradition was banned by law in 2006, but still carried out. These photos are from last year

The local residents then let the animal go and it spins out of control until it tumbles into the water below.

The terrified dogs reach such high speeds that by the time they land in the river they are unable to swim.

But the pagan tradition - banned by law in 2006, but still carried out - was thwarted this year after animal rights activists mounted a campaign to expose the cruelty.

Members of Animal Rights Sofia guarded the banks of the Veleka River last weekend to make sure locals kept to the new guidelines.

The tradition involves twisting a piece or rope until it is as taut as can be and then threading a dog through a noose at its end....

... the local residents then let the animal go and it spins out of control until it tumbles into the water below...

... the terrified dogs reach such high speeds that by the time they land in the river some are unable to swim

Under these, the dogs are simply thrown into the water and can swim to safety on the other side.

A spokesman for the town's mayor Petko Arnaoudov said: 'It is not ideal, but it is better than it was.

'Some of these traditions have taken root over hundreds of years. You don't change them overnight.

'You cannot stop a traditional custom with a simple order.'


Baa baa baa baa baa black sheep! One-in-a-million lamb quintuplets born to one very tired mother

By Tom Gardner

First steps: Despite being only a few hours old, the incredibly rare quintuplets are already steady on their feet

Snuggled next to each other on a bale of hay, these are the adorable one-in-a-million five black lambs that have been born just in time for Spring.

The identical rare breed sheep are only a few hours old but are already playing blissfully with each other, unaware of the fuss surrounding their arrival.

The lambs are thought to be the only quintuplets in the UK and maybe the world.

They are set to become the star attraction at Umberslade Farm Park in Tanworth near Arden, Warwickshire.

Odd one out: Some of the new arrivals seem more keen to have a little lie down than explore their surroundings

Director Ollie Muntz said: 'It is a one-in-a-million birth. It’s a UK first and maybe even a world first.

‘They are all healthy. It is quite a timely arrival with Easter approaching although they were a little bit early.’

The cute lambs were born to their Romney Marsh mother called Romto and sired by a Jacob, an ancient breed of horned sheep.

Farm worker Gemma Webb added: ‘It is very rare that this happens. Normally a sheep would have twins or triplets - it is extremely rare to have five lambs.’

The lambs will need to be bottle fed as Rom will only have enough milk for a couple of them.

Gemma, 27, added: ‘All the kids can come and feed them.

‘They should attract thousands of visitors, who wouldn’t want to feed these adorable little things.

‘There certainly going to be a lot of interest in them and luckily there’s five of them so there’s plenty to go around.’

The adorable lambs all have little white spots on their heads and are adapting to their new surroundings.

Cute: The adorable lambs are and extremely rare breed of horned sheep

Spot the difference: The five black lambs all have little white spots on their heads which makes telling who is who quite tricky

Three-year-old Rom had five lambs last year but one of them died but this year’s innocent newborns are all healthy.

Visitor Jill South, 39, took along her eight-year-old neice to the farm and was one of the first to see the newborn lambs.

She said: ‘They are absolutely adorable. My neice Jemima loved them. They look like they are still getting used to their surroundings, but they seem happy and healthy and its a wonderful sign that spring is almost upon us.

‘I had no idea how rare it was either, which makes the visit that little bit more special.’

Adorable: The quintuplets are set to attract thousands of visitors keen to feed the rare but very cute little lambs


Doggy paddle? I prefer MOGGY paddle: Cat caught on camera swimming in the sea

Video of cat taking a dip with its owner goes viral on YouTube

By Kerry Mcqueeney

Taking a dip: The cat tentatively steps into the water ready for the swim ahead

They will normally do anything to avoid the water. However, not only has this cat learned how to swim, it seems to have perfected the doggy paddle.

This hilarious video shows a cat in Russia walking into the water and taking a dip with its owner.

It has since become an internet sensation after the video was uploaded to YouTube and went viral.


Moggy paddle: It launches itself into the water, seemingly unafraid of the water

Far from being afraid of the water, the cat voluntarily walks into it.

The footage shows the black and white moggie taking tentative steps from the shore into the water.

Encouraged by its owner, it starts to paddle, its tail trailing behind it on the water's surface.

It is then joined by the woman, who swims alongside her pet cat as the pair make their way toward some rocks.

The moggie shows no signs of distress throughout the short clip and seems relaxed after its dip.

Little is known about the cat, except that the footage was filmed in Russia.

Swimming buddies: The cat is joined by its owner and the pair swim alongside each other

Feline fine: The cat seems relaxed after its dip as it dries off in the sun


That's totally barking! Breeder welcomes 27 puppies after two of her dogs give birth in the same week

By Daily Mail Reporter

Group hug: The 27 puppies were born in the space on three days - a new record for their breeder

A German dog breeder has found herself with a wealth of puppies - after 27 were born in the space of three days.

Beatrice Oswald, from Aken, who has been breeding dogs since 2004, is now the owner of the large litter after two of her canines went into labour one after the other.

Such was the sheer volume of pups, that both mothers are struggling to produce enough milk to feed all of the bumper brood.

New arrivals: The tiny puppies are being bottle fed as their mothers are unable to produce enough milk to cater to the entire litter

Oswald's two-year-old dog Elfi of Tara was the first to give birth, producing 11 adorable puppies and soon after, three-and-a-half-year-old Anny Bonny yielded a litter of 16.

Beatrice has been relying on friends and volunteers to assist in the bottle feeding that has been ongoing around the clock.

She will continue to care for the puppies for the next few months until they are old enough to be sold.

Centre of attention: Whilst a group of siblings from one litter attempt to take a nap, one energetic pup clearly has other ideas


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'It came so close it sniffed his hoodie': Tourists reveal the terrifying moment a grizzly bear charged at them... and they didn't even flinch

-Sightseers had no choice but to sit still when bear charged at them
-Group had been observing the grizzlies fishing in the river

By Kerry Mcqueeney

Too close for comfort: The tourists had no option but to sit perfectly still as the bear investigated their presence

It must have sounded like the experience of a lifetime - an opportunity to observe Alaska's grizzly bears in the wild.

However, it could have very easily come to a grisly end after one of the bears charged at this group of tourists as they sat in camping chairs - and there was not a thing they could do about it.

The group of 10 had no option but to sit perfectly still as the fearsome bear bounded over to them before circling their camp and coming in for a closer inspection.

At one point the bear even sniffed the hood of one of the tourists as he sat in his chair.

Petrified: The frightened eye of one woman appears in the corner of this shot as the bear is clearly seen sniffing another member of the group

The hair-raising encounter happened as the sightseers visited the Katmai National Park in Alaska as part of a trip to observe the animals.

They were told they would be watching a group of grizzlies 'from a safe distance' as the bears fished in a river. However they were stunned when one of them broke loose and charged at them along the water's edge.

Sitting in camping chairs, the men and women had little choice but to stay perfectly still while the 40 stone bear came within inches of them. At one stage it even sniffed the hood of one of the group.

Their guide advised none of the party to jump up or ran away as that would have prompted the creature to go on the attack.

Charge: This grizzly bear bolts through the water towards the tourists... and there's not a thing they can do about it

Ferocious: The bear's razor-sharp claws are seen as he breaks away from the main grizzly group and fearlessly approaches the invaders

Instead the bear circled the group several times before wandering off when it lost interest. Larry Griffith, 59, and wife Cindy, 57, were part of the group.

Mr Griffith, from New Mexico, U.S., said: 'There were eight others with us and we were allowed four hours in two different locations to view the bears.

'We had a safety class before hand about what to do if we encountered a bear.

'All the bears were catching fish when this particular bear circled our group several times, wanting us to leave his fishing spot. This was not supposed to happen.

Coming in for a closer look: The group were advised not to run away as it could have caused the bear to go on the attack

The men and women were stunned as the bear started sniffing around their camp

Backing off: The bear saunters away after deciding the group was not a threat, as some of the tourists capture the extraordinary moment on camera

'Our guide said he saw this as a bluff charge, trying to scare us, which he did!

'We were all in shock but were happy that no-one in our group jumped up, ran away or screamed for their lives.

'The bear actually smelled the hoodie of one of us, then walked behind us all within three feet.

'We were all frozen and I couldn't breathe. In the end the bear lost interest or got the message and left us alone.

'It was terrifying walking back through the grass to our boat-plane. I counted 30-40 different bears.'

'We were all frozen and I couldn't breathe': The defenceless group had to wait until the bear lost interest before they could get up and leave

Dangerous: The bear circled the group several times before wandering off


Race against the tide: Bravery of young mother who stayed by her horse's side for THREE HOURS after getting trapped in mud 'like quicksand'

-Panic as 78-stone show horse is 'swallowed-up' by mud
-Mother freed her daughter and another horse before returning to trapped animal
-Astro was freed just minutes before the tide closed in

By Kerry Mcqueeney

'Like quicksand': Both Miss Graham and her horse were stuck up to their waists in the mud as the tide was closing in

This was the terrifying moment a brave young mother battled to keep her beloved horse calm as sea water closed in on the animal after he became trapped in mud 'like quicksand'.

Exhausted and mud-splattered, Nicole Graham clung to her trapped horse Astro for three hours keeping his head high in a race against the tide.

The 78-stone show horse had sunk into quagmire-like mud and was facing the prospect of drowning as the water rose around them.

Desperation: Nicole Graham comforts her 18-year-old show horse Astro after he gets stuck in coastal mud

Swallowed up: Astro was stuck fast and Miss Graham's efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire

Miss Graham had been out on an afternoon ride with her daughter along the coast near Geelong, south of Melbourne, when 18-year-old Astro suddenly sank into the mud.

Before she could shout a warning, the smaller horse her daughter Paris was riding was also partially swallowed up by the mud.

After dragging herself through the mire, Miss Graham helped her daughter and the other horse on to firmer ground.

However, Astro was stuck fast and her efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire.

To the rescue: Vet Stacey Sullivan prepares to sedate Astro in a bid to get him out safely

Tidal terror: The brave mother tries to keep the horse calm as rescuers work how out to free the animal

Emotional: Miss Graham said it was heartbreaking to see her horse so exhausted and struggling

As Paris ran to their car and phoned for help, Miss Graham stayed at her horse’s side. She courageously clung on to his neck, terrified that he would not be freed before the tide came in.

After three 'terrifying' hours, rescuers managed to pull Astro and Miss Graham from the mud.

Miss Graham, who owns more than 10 horses and runs an equine dentistry business, told the Geelong Advertiser how a peaceful afternoon's ride had turned to terror.

She said: ‘It was terrifying. It was also heartbreaking to see my horse exhausted and struggling.

Race against the tide: The water is seen getting closer to the horse as the group battles to free him

Stuck fast: Rescuers look for ways to free the stricken horse as time is slowly running out for him

Pulled free: Astro is dragged from the mud with the aid of a farmer's tractor

‘We went straight down and under. There was mud everywhere and every time I moved it sucked me back down. It wouldn’t let us go.'

After ensuring her daughter and her horse were safe, she returned to Astro and prayed that rescuers would arrive before the tide engulfed the horse.

She added: ‘I’ve been riding here for 20 years and never had a drama. I’ve never seen any signs and didn’t realise it was so boggy.

‘When I saw the dust from the rescue trucks I was so relieved. I was starting to get overwhelmed.’

Fire lieutenant Roger Buckle, who was among a team of helpers, said: ‘It was like a quicksand.’

Fire crews worked with a local farmer, who provided a tractor, and a veterinary team. The firemen used hoses and a winch, but none of this equipment was successful.

Sedated and exhausted: Astro collapses on the ground after he is pulled free of the mud, to the relief of rescuers

Saved: Vet Stacey Sullivan helps Astro to his feet as the effects of the sedation wear off

A local helicopter was put on standby as a last resort at pulling Astro from the mud.

The combined rescue effort paid off. With minutes to spare before the water reached him, Astro - who had been sedated by vet Stacey Sullivan - was dragged from the mud with the aid of the farmer’s tractor.

‘It was a race against the tide and fortunately we won,’ said Lieut Buckle, who praised everyone efforts, including those of Miss Sullivan whose work in sedating Astro made it easier to pull him free.

Miss Sullivan said Astro was dehydrated but had coped well.

‘A lot of horses don’t make it and I think without the owner there the chance of survival would have been a lot lower,’ she said.

It's all over: Miss Graham leads her horses away from the beach after the traumatic rescue

Aftermath: Astro and Miss Graham are led to safety after the drama. The vet said the horse may not have made it had it not been for the efforts of his owner


Prancing on ice: Tigers try out their tango in spectacular show at Vienna zoo

By Daily Mail Reporter

Twinkle-toed: The two tigers look as if they're attempting a tango on ice at Vienna's Tiergarten Schvnbrunn Zoo

These stunning pictures have captured the moment two Siberian tigers were caught dancing on ice.

The pair look perfectly co-ordinated as they play in the snow at Vienna's Tiergarten Schvnbrunn Zoo.

In one picture, the big cats look as though they are in the middle of a furious tango as they hold their paws up to each other.

The series of snapshots taken by photographer Jutta Kirchner are as striking as they are interesting.

With the bright orange and black of the tigers' coats against the backdrop of white snow.

Jutta said: 'I love taking pictures of animals so I try to go to the zoo as often as possible.

'When I arrived at the tiger enclosure they were just playing around, so I got out my camera and decided to take some pictures.

'But at the moment I took the photos it looked like they were dancing. One of them rose up on his hind legs and the other one did the same.

'Their paws met and it looked like they were dancing ballroom style. A group gathered and some people reached for their cameras but they were too late by the time they got them out.

Unusual: The pair attempt to get a hold on each other as they prance on their back legs

'These images were very lucky, as you can't expect or predict this situation.

Sometimes it takes much patience and time to get photos like this and sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time.

The Siberian tiger is a tiger subspecies inhabiting mainly the Sikhote Alin mountain region in east Russia.

In 2005 there were under 400 adult Siberian tigers left in the region with an adult breeding population of about 250.

The population has been stable for more than a decade due to intensive conservation efforts.

Play time: The pair look a little more aggressive in this shot as they fool around in the snow

Display: The Siberian tigers were photographed by Jutta Kirchner who was visiting the zoo


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger