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Monday, April 30, 2012

The day the ducks fought back: Chick-eating seagull goes back for a second helping - but gets chased away by the furious mother

-The dramatic defence took place in Herbert Park, Dublin

By Ted Thornhill

Foiled: The seagull scoops the chick out of the water, but drops it when the mother swoops in

A murderous seagull that gobbled up a duckling got more than it bargained for when it returned for another helping.

It swooped on the ducklings as they swam with their parents in Herbert Park, Dublin, last week.

But the mother duck, who initially had eleven ducklings in tow, finally forced the gull away by aggressively flapping her wings.

Brave: The fearless mother is not deterred by the seagull's size advantage

In a flap: The angry mother proved she was no sitting duck and chased the attacker away

Taking flight: The seagull is in no mood to hang around

Photographer Paul Hughes said: ‘I was taking pictures in the park and saw this gull watching the young family.

‘This is the time of year ducks raise their young, so predatory birds like gulls are always on the look out for an easy meal.

‘The gull was waiting for one of the ducklings to stray from the group and when it finally spotted one it swooped in for the kill.

Murder most fowl: The seagull successfully securing a first course

‘The gull was able to grab hold of a duckling in its beak.

‘But when it came back for a second helping mum was ready and fought the gull away until it had to turn tail and fly off.

‘The chick ducked under the water. There was a lot of quacking and squawking going on.

‘It was a stressful moment for the mother, but in the end she saved her family.’

Happy family: The ducklings with their protective mother


Introducing Disney's leading lions: Intimate photographs show the stars of hit-film African Cats at work, rest and play

By Daily Mail Reporter

Soggy moggies: Some of the stars of Disney's new African Cats movie

Move over Wills and Kate - it's time to meet the real stars behind Disney's African Cats movie.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge may have been the star attraction last week when the film's premiere rolled into town - but Paul Goldstein's pictures of the cute kitten-like Kenyan lions and cheetahs show the four-pawed princes and princess now want their turn in the limelight.

The wildlife photographer and Exodus tour guide worked alongside the Disney team in pinpointing the position of the animals on the Masai Mara.

Cute: Tour guide Paul Goldstein worked alongside the Disney team in Kenya, often pinpointing the position of animals on the Masai Mara

Intimate: While the film crew has captured the two featured animal families on film, Paul has shot the animals he knows almost intimately through the lens of his camera

And while the film crew have captured the two featured animal families on film, Paul has shot the animals he knows almost intimately through the lens of his camera.

Paul said: 'I knew a few of the Disney crew anyway and on several occasions we found the cheetah and cubs first and let them know. Their camp was virtually next to mine.'

African Cats is a nature documentary film about several lions and cheetahs trying to survive on the African savannah.

Using real-life footage, it focuses on a mother cheetah named Sita who is raising five newborns, and Fang, the leader of Mara defending his family from a banished lion.

Grubs up: African Cats is a nature documentary film about several lions and cheetahs trying to survive on the African savannah

Reservoir big cats: Using real-life footage, it focuses on a mother cheetah named Sita who is raising five
newborns, and Fang, the leader of Mara defending his family from a banished lion

Paul, 49, is very familiar with the big screen big cats, having shown hundreds of tourists the animals in their natural habitat.

His amazing images of Sita show the close bond between the mother and her cubs.

Atmospheric shots show her huddled together with her offspring as the rain falls.

Paul added: 'There is no giant cat flap on the plains for any cheetah to retreat through during rain.

'She always does the same: sitting it out, her eyes closing momentarily before opening to check for danger, it is often a long and saturated vigil.

'Cubs at this tender age of a few months are very vulnerable, the mum barely ever sleeps.'

Stunning: The amazing images of Sita show the close bond between the mother and her cubs

source: dailymail

Best of friends... or the worst of enemies: Fox strikes up unlikely friendship with cockatoo (or is he just planning his next meal?)

By Daily Mail Reporter

Despite claims this adorable baby fox and cockatoo are the best of friends, these photos seem like they are anything but.

In fact Smokey, the silver crested cockatoo, looks more like he is about to become a light snack for the recovering fox, called Sadie, who is being nurtured back to health at an animal home in Lincolnshire.

But staff at the Exotic Pet Refuge, in Deeping St James, say the pair have a struck up an unlikely friendship.

My what big teeth you've got: The eight-month-old fox cub eyes up Smokey the cockatoo

Pam Mansfield, owner of the centre, said: 'Smokey is really friendly. She started standing on the top of the little cub's cage as soon as she was in there.

'They developed a bond then and have been close ever since. Smokey is always by the cage checking on her.'

The lucky eight-week-old cub was found trapped and crying at the bottom of a quarry.

It is thought the fox's mum had to leave her down the hole to care for her other little ones, leaving the cub to its fate.

Best of friends: Volunteer Jana Syrova from the Exotic Pet Refuge with Sadie the fox cub and Smokey

Cheek-to-cheek: Concerned Smokey has been regularly checking on poorly eight-week-old Sadie

But thankfully staff at the quarry in Ketton, Lincolnshire, heard her cries and she was brought up safe and well.

She is now living at the Exotic Pet Refuge where she is recovering.

Jane Syrova, animal manager at the centre which houses all sorts of unwanted exotic pets, said: 'She had a bit of a bump on her head but other than that she seemed to be fine.

'It was lucky. I don't think she was down there for too long.

'But she is lovely, very tame and really friendly.

Chums: Jane Syrova from the Exotic Pet Refuge holding Sadie the fox cub while Smokey looks on

'We think she might stay here but it depends. She might become friends with the foxes we already have.

'We can't release her into the wild if she doesn't get any experience of the wild so we will have to see about that.'

The little fox has now been weaned off goats milk and onto ordinary cat food.

Pam added: 'When she came in she had very few teeth, so when she was ready to start eating meat the cat food was perfect for her as it was soft.

Dinner date: Smokey the cockatoo wants to be pals with eight-week-old Sadie who was rescued

'She started to move onto chicks and some rabbit now so she'll be ready to head out of the centre in a few months.'

The centre will provide somewhere for the cub to hide and hunt around for food.

Later she will be released into a larger pen within the refuge.

RSPCA Inspector Jason Stubbs, who picked her up from the quarry, was delighted about the happy ending.

He said: 'They are very good on animal welfare at the quarry and rang me as soon as she was rescued.

'I'm not sure how they got her out but she was in very good condition. She was a little dehydrated, which is to be expected, but she seemed okay.

'It's a lovely story.'


Sunday, April 29, 2012

That's some welcome home! Adorable video shows the gleeful reunion of a lovesick dog and his soldier owner after he returns from combat in Afghanistan

By Daily Mail Reporter

Just another day in the yard: Ranger and a man play fetch with his favourite toy

This heartwarming video shows the moment a dog is reunited with his military master, having returned from service in Afghanistan.

The footage captures Ranger, a German Shepherd, and a man playing fetch with the pooch's favourite toy, Green Monster.

He happily bounds around the yard after the toy but gets an unexpected surprise when he chases a particularly far throw and returns to find his owner back from deployment.

Go fetch! Ranger bounds off after his Green Monster toy which is thrown beyond the tree

Ranger immediately switches his course, originally bound for the ball-thrower, to smother the soldier in pup-love.

He wags his tail frantically circling round and round the soldier who is crouched on the floor, pausing every so often for a quick hug, then continuing to check out his old pal from every angle.

Ranger barks excitedly, letting the soldier know how much he has missed him.

Surprise: When Ranger returns with the toy there is an unexpected visitor waiting for him

See ya! Ranger makes a snap decision to ignore the ball thrower and heads straight for his owner

Overwhelmed: Ranger circles round and round the soldier, visibly thrilled by his return

'Where you been, where you been buddy?' the soldier asks affectionately, ruffling the dog's fur and wrapping his arms around him.

Ranger is so overwhelmed he forgets to drop 'Green Monster' but eventually barks with such force that his jaws open and the beloved toy falls to the ground.

The pooch turns his full attention to the soldier, showing that a dog really is a man's best friend.

The video is one of many touching videos posted onto the military homecoming blog and has attracted 362,516 hits on YouTube.

Touching: The soldier embraces his old pal in a huge hug, but Ranger doesn't stay still for long - he's too excited!

Look who's back! Ranger clearly wants to show off the soldier's return, looking around eagerly for acknowledgement

Sacrifice: Eventually Ranger drops his toy - the soldier is far more important to him


Now that's emusing! Hungry bird on the lookout for a snack photobombs couple on farm visit

By Jane Bunce

Sloths do it, seals do it – and now the worldwide craze of animal photobombing has spread all the way to giant Australian native birds.

A hungry emu has photobombed a holidaying couple after they stopped feeding it to pay attention to other animals on the farm they were visiting.

The emu, a flightless bird, was not ready to give up on its meal when the man and his wife instead moved on to pat a llama.

Photobombed: The smiling couple pose for the camera, but the hungry emu has his eye on more treats

The emu popped its head into the photo in an apparent bid to seek out another snack.

The emu is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich, reaching up to two metres in height. In the wild they normally eat plants and insects.

The sloth gatecrashes a group's holiday snap in the Costa Rica jungle

'This photo is at a farm with a lot of animals including the emu you see here. We had been feeding it crackers, and it wasn't shy about trying to see if we had any more,' a writer, who claims to be the man in the photo, comments on the website Reddit.

It just happened to stick its face in front of the camera at the right time!'

P-p-p-please don't spoil it: A cheeky seal steals the limelight in an unidentified location

The emu is just the latest in a line of animals who have been caught photobombing – ruining someone’s photo by jumping into the shot.

In Costa Rica, a sloth lowered himself into the frame just as an International Student Volunteers expedition snapped a group shot.

Cheese: A slightly chilling llama looks directly into the camera at Machu Picchu

A seal was determined to grab the attention from a flock of penguins by waddling into the photo, while - in a photo entered into National Geographic's photo contest last yea - a cheeky llama steals the spotlight in what was supposed to be a landscape photograph of Macchu Picchu in Peru.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meet Georgie, the puppy found whimpering in a dog waste bin after being callously dumped on St George's Day

By Gareth Dorrian

A tiny puppy with huge saucer eyes was found dumped in a bin meant for dog waste.

The little Labrador cross, named Georgie by her RSPCA carers, was discovered by a family who were passing by and were startled by rustling and whimpering sounds coming from the bin.

She was rescued on St George’s Day in Nottingham and took her name from England's patron saint.

Georgie (pictured) was heard crying in a bin (pictured right) meant for dog waste in Nottingham

The shocked family took the six-week-old pup to their nearby home and warmed her with blankets before contacting the RSPCA.

Georgie was shivering and extremely shaken by her ordeal.

RSPCA inspector Chris Shaw said: 'It is absolutely ridiculous that someone would dump a defenceless puppy in a bin meant for dog waste.

'Thankfully Georgie was found, but what would have happened to her if she hadn’t have been?

'She was taken to a vet for a check up and has since been transferred into the care of staff at the RSPCA Radcliffe on Trent Animal Shelter; we think she is only around six to eight weeks old.'

RSPCA shelter manager Ella Herring: 'She is very small so she is going to be fostered with a staff member rather than keep her in the kennels at the moment.

'She is coming round and her little personality is shining through, she is quite feisty.'

'She has been weaned, but we are keeping a close eye on her and she is being fed small meals little and often.

Six-week-old puppy Georgie, who was dumped in a dog waste bin in Nottingham

Georgie is pictured with Trent Animal Shelter manager Ella Herring

'Despite her terrible ordeal she is now a lot brighter and has perked up and has more energy. I just don’t understand why someone would dump her in a dog waste bin; they must have thought it was some kind of a sick, stupid joke.'

Georgie will be put up for rehoming at a later date.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Water way to monkey around: While we grumble about the rain, primates party in the puddles at Longleat Safari Park

By Phil Vinter

The recent heavy downpours may have left many of us once again bemoaning the British weather, but for these inquisitive characters it was cause for a party.

The monkeys at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park made the most of large puddles which formed following the bad weather to get down to some serious monkey business.

Far from heading for cover, the huge pools of water became a temporary play area for the rhesus monkeys as some were delighted by their own reflections.

Making waves: A rhesus monkey plays in a huge puddle of water that has been created by the recent heavy rainfall at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire

Longleat's deputy head keeper Ian Turner, who took the photographs, said: 'Watching them jumping about in the puddles and even throwing stones and other objects into the water to see how big a splash they can make has been great.

'It's obvious they genuinely enjoy themselves, even if the rest of us are finding the rain less entertaining.'

He added: 'I was particularly interested to observe them watching their reflections in the water. They seemed to be captivated by their own image and it really brings home how intelligent they are.'

The monkeys are among more than 100 rhesus macaques at Longleat who normally spend their days leaping from car to car, hitching free rides on the thousands of vehicles that pass through their enclosure each day.

Double vision: This rhesus monkey enjoys making ripples as he rests on a rock at the edge of a giant puddle

New experience: This inquisitive chappy appears to be checking out his reflection in the water before creating a big splash

Waterworld: Fascinated by their wet surroundings, it is a new experience for some of the younger members of the group

Splish splash: The monkeys normally spend their days leaping from car to car, hitching free rides on the thousands of vehicles

Found throughout south-east Asia and across the Indian subcontinent, rhesus monkeys thrive in a wide variety of habitats and climates.

In some parts of India they are believed to be sacred, with the result that they have lived in close contact with humans for centuries, particularly in and around Buddhist and Hindu temples.

Rhesus monkeys are extremely intelligent, naturally inquisitive animals who can learn to manipulate simple tools and distinguish colours and shapes.


Look out below! Incredible video shows black bear falling 15 feet from tree after being TRANQUILISED at crowded university campus

By Beth Stebner

Raining cats and bears: A tranquilised black bear fell from a tree on the University of Colorado - Boulder's campus Thursday

A large black bear who wandered up into a tree at the University of Colorado - Boulder, is again safe after wildlife department officials managed to get him out of a sticky situation.

The 200-pound male was seen ambling around a residence hall area before he attempted to scale a tree.

The wildlife officers tranquilised the bear while he was up in the branches and, after a short wait, the bear safely landed on his back.

Scroll down for video

At ease: A wildlife official runs to secure the male black bear after he fell

Bearly legal: The wild animal had scaled a tree on UC's campus and was up there for about two hours, officials said

The bear had spent the better part of the day on campus, students said, and climbed about 15 feet into a tree near the University of Colorado’s Williams Village dormitories.

Wildlife officials shot two darts into the bear around 10am as curious students looked on, the Denver Post reported.

CU Police Department Spokesman Ryan Huff told the paper that they chose to sedate him because of his close proximity to students and the potential danger that held.

‘He was just resting up in the tree probably for a good two hours,’ Mr Huff told thedenverchannel.com.

In preparation for the beast’s tumble, wildlife officials set up a large black mat under the tree.

Photos and video capture the bear freefalling 15 feet and onto the mats. His paws were comically outstretched as he fell through the air.

Andy Dunn of cuindependent.com captured a delightfully surreal image of the bear tumbling from the tree, surrounded by vigilant campus police and wildlife officials.

Centre of attention: The bear looked woozy and seemed to be enjoying his time on the mat

Strange co-ed: UC students looked on at the bear in the cage - some were brave enough to pet its paws

Bear necessities: The black bear was tagged and released into the mountains north of Boulder

For a few minutes, the bear was allowed to rest on the mat and looked dazed, if not comfortable. Students looked on and captured the bizarre moment with their smart phones and cameras.

Workers then moved the creature into a large cage around 10:45am.

Some students were brave enough to stick their fingers through the cage and stroke the tranquilised bear’s foot.

Jennifer Churchill, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told the Post that the woozy bear was tagged and released in the mountains west of Boulder.

She added that black bears often come out of hibernation around this time, and come looking to more populated areas for food.

Watch video here:


Quackers! The man who takes his pet duck Boris everywhere... even on holiday (and carries the bird over his head when it rains)

By Lyle Brennan

Sun cream, beach towel, toothbrush... duck?

When Wayne O'Donnell jets off to Spain's Costa Brava each summer, his feathered friend Boris is the one thing he wouldn't leave home without.

Back in Romsey, Hampshire, the pair are inseparable, and Boris, an Aylesbury duck, wanders loyally down the street with his owner, like a dog being taken for a walk.

Best friends: Wayne O'Donnell and his Aylesbury duck Boris are inseparable

He even enjoys sipping beer in bars, taking a ride in the passenger seat of Mr O'Donnell's car and perching on the top his owner’s head.

In fact, there’s only one thing the pet duck doesn’t like - and that’s swimming in water.

Caravan technician Mr O'Donnell, 41, takes Boris with him whenever he heads off to spend his summer holidays at a villa in Barcelona.

They go for strolls along the sandy beaches in the Spanish sun and are the talk of local bars and restaurants.

Mr O'Donnell said: 'People sort of look gobsmacked when they see me and Boris, they can’t work it out.

'Intelligent creatures': The duck follows his owner through the streets of Romsey, Hampshire, like a dog. In the four years they have been together, Mr O'Donnell has taught Boris to lie on his head

Riding shotgun: Boris sits happily in the passenger seat of Mr O'Donnell's caruff

'But it’s the dogs that really can’t work it out - they sit there and think "what are you?". But Boris is not worried at all by them.

'He doesn’t think he’s a duck. He is an unusual pet, but they’re very intelligent creatures.

'People say to me "why have you got a duck?" and I say "why have you got a dog?".'

Mr O'Donnell named Boris - who he has had since he was a day-old hatchling - after the village in Ireland where he first had a pet duck.

And in the near-four years since, they have become inseparable, with one of the duck’s favourite tricks being to lie on his owner’s head.

When Mr O'Donnell takes his pet out for walks, Boris happily waddles alongside him without the need for a lead to keep him under control.

He said: 'I try to take him out for walks every day.

'It’s what attracted me to Romsey, because it’s a lot quieter and easier to take him out than it was when I lived in Bath, Somerset.'

Keeps the rain off: The 41-year-old caravan technician shows off Boris's favourite trick

'He doesn't think he's a duck': Boris hates water and was never taught to swim, preferring human pursuits such as going for a quiet drink down the pub or jetting off to the Costa Brava for a stroll along the beach

And not liking to be apart from his pet has even led Mr O'Donnell to take Boris with him for a holiday on the Spanish Costa Brava.

He said: 'I’ve got friends there and they didn’t believe I had a duck that walked around with me, so I thought "right, I’ll prove it".

'I hired a villa which was brilliant for him, but he stayed in two hotels in France on the drive down.

'It was brilliant because I could take him everywhere - the streets were narrow so he could walk around, he even came on the beach.

'But before I left the authorities wanted to treat him as if he was going in the food chain and test him for salmonella.

'I said anyone who eats him deserves all they get - he’s a pet.'

And although Boris took to foreign travel like a duck to water, water is the one thing he’s not so keen on.

Mr O’Donnell added: 'Unfortunately, I didn’t teach him how to swim.

'I used to take him out on canal boats and he stayed on the deck because he doesn’t like getting in water.'

Travelling companion: Mr O'Donnell said the port authorities in France and Spain were wary of Boris and were convinced he was going to enter the food chain


'He wakes up happy every day': Meet Roosevelt the collie who uses a wheelchair after being born with deformed front legs

By Daily Mail Reporter

Energetic: Roosevelt the collie relies on a custom-built wheelchair after he was born with deformed front legs. He was named after one of the most famous wheelchair users, President Franklin D. Roosevelt

He may have been forced to rely upon a wheelchair after contracting polio, yet President Franklin D. Roosevelt remained famously upbeat, using 'Happy Days Are Here Again' as his campaign song.

And, as well as his name, this positive outlook is something Roosevelt the collie dog has adopted - after he was born with deformed legs and also needs a wheelchair to get around.

His owner Stephanie Fox, from Portland, Maine, bought her pet the $900 custom-built two-wheel cart that straps underneath his body and stands in for his two front legs.

On a roll: Roosevelt, who has been trained to respond without a leash, walks ahead of owner Stephanie Fox

'People think he should have been put down because they think he’s suffering,' Fox told the Bangor Daily News in Maine. 'But he wakes up happy every day.'

Roosevelt only uses the wheelchair during longer walks, but relies on his exceptionally strong back legs while around the house. He is able to hop up steps and balances like a kangaroo.

But the wheels allow him to live up to his energetic and inquisitive breed, and he is trained to walk without a leash. 'It's a front-wheel drive,' Fox said.

Fox adopted Roosevelt from New England Border Collie Rescue three years ago when he was a puppy. From the outset she had a plan she knew would work and invested in the wheels.

Bounding ahead: While not on walks, Roosevelt relies on his strong back legs to hop around like a kangaroo

All in his stride: He can hop up steps and play with other dogs. 'He doesn't know he's different,' his owner said

'If you had a child with a disability you’d try to enrich them, give them opportunities,' she told the Daily News. 'So why not do the same with a dog?'

She added: 'The only difference between Roosevelt and other dogs is that instead of a collar, I snap on his wheels to take him out.'

Like his namesake, Roosevelt doesn't let his disability hold him back and bounds ahead on walks with other dogs and enjoys playing catch with his owner.

'He doesn't know he's any different,' she said.

Dogged enthusiasm: He bounds out of the $900 wheelchair after a walk. Fox adopted him three years ago

Woman's best friend: 'You'd give a disabled child opportunities, so why not a dog?' Stephanie Fox asked


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