Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Meet Hercules the Liger!

May 28, 2008

Ligers have been joked about by some, but they are real.

Meet Hercules:

Hercules the Liger

Hercules the Amazing Liger

Hercules the Amazing Liger

From the Snopes website:

The word liger, documented as entering the English language in 1938, describes a real feline, the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. (The opposite case, the offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, is known as a tigon.

Both ligers and tigons exist in captivity, and the pictures and description reproduced above do correspond to one such example of the former, a liger named Hercules who lives at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species in Myrtle Beach…

Hercules was the result of an accident rather than deliberate breeding. (In the pictures) he is three years old, stands 10 feet tall on his hind legs, and weighs about 1,000 lbs.

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Recommend Viewing:

May 22, 2008

Three species and one amazing eight-minute battle… Perhaps the most famous animal video on YouTube and the web is “Battle at Kruger”:

If you are not familiar with the video, it’s an action-packed fight between crocodiles, lions, and buffaloes at a South African watering hole — all captured on a tourist’s vacation video.

National Geographic has now put together a great program — Caught on Safari: Battle at Kruger — that deconstructs this incredible fight through the yes of wildlife experts. Be sure to look for repeated airings on the National Geographic Channel.

You might also be interested in reading a story (“You’ve Seen the YouTube Video; Now Try the Documentary“) in the New York Times that provides a backstory to the video and the special program. Key passages:

The documentary dissects the primal behavior of the animals and answers a question that aspiring videographers have asked: how did he get that shot?

The “battle” happened in September 2004, during Mr. Budzinski’s first visit to Africa, at the Kruger National Park in the northeastern corner of South Africa. Mr. Budzinski, who works as a supply manager for Chevron in Houston, was riding in the back of a sport utility vehicle with his wife, two other tourists and a tour guide. The guide, spotting lions sunning themselves by a watering hole near where a herd of buffalo was walking by, decided to see what would happen. Before long the lions attacked the herd, singling out a buffalo calf and overwhelming it by the water’s edge.

Kittens Are Scary! (If you are a Black Bear)

April 4, 2008

In Florida, a pair of kittens defended their new home and cornered a bear that ran up a tree.

Bear Scare

Click here to watch the cute video.

A Friendly Polar Bear!?!?

April 1, 2008

Polar bears and dogs can apparently get along!

The Daily Mail has a beautiful story and series of photographs about a “chance encounter” between a team of huskies and a polar bear — “Killer polar bear? I’m just a big teddy, really!

Polar Bear and Huskie Friends

There’s a great YouTube video that goes along with the story too…

AMAZING Animal Crossing!

January 4, 2008

Wildlife photographer Steve Bloom captured the extraordinary image below that shows some of the nearly 1.5 million animals that migrate across the Mara River in Kenya every year.

Amazing Zebra Crossing
(Click on the image to enlarge.)

Most of the animals are wildebeest — almost half of the 1.5 million animals. They are accompanied by 500,000 gazelle and 200,000 zebra.

The crossing is dangerous… Hundreds of crocodiles wait in the water. And once the animals get through that danger, they need to avoid lions, hyenas, leopards and jackals on the other side!

An article from the Daily Mail describes the migration:

They are travelling South to reach the new grasslands of the Serengeti, leaving behind the now parched woodland of the Masai Mara National Park.

Once they arrive in February, they will spend the wet season here on their breeding ground.

Come next June they will undertake the journey north once more, to the now rejuvenated forests of Masai Mara.

It is one of nature’s most remarkable cycles, replenishing the vegetation of Northern Africa. A 500km round trip, it is undoubtedly one of the natural world’s most astonishing phenomena.

Recommended Visit: the American Museum of Natural History’s Dioramas

November 4, 2007

One of my favorite spots in New York City, in addition to the Bronx Zoo, is the American Museum of Natural History. The Museum always has wonderful temporary exhibits, but I still get excited by the amazing habitat dioramas that are central to the spirit of the great museum. They bring you up close to beautiful wildlife, a rare treat and often difficult to do while visiting a zoo. Sadly, some of the dioramas depict scenes that no longer exist due to the encroachment of man on animal’s territories.

On a recent visit, I wanted to capture some of the excitement of these beautiful dioramas. The first set of pictures below features animals from the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Ostriches:

Ostrich at AMNH

Nyalas:

Nyala at AMNH

White Rhinos:

White Rhinoceros at AMNH

Gemsbok:

Gemsbok at AMNH

African Elephant:

African Elephant at AMNH

Impalas:

Impala at AMNH

Restless Tiger 1, Audience Member 0

October 24, 2007

In the spirit of our previous post (Gibbon 1, Tigers 0), we now present a video of a tiger playing.

Nobody was harmed in this video, just roughed up a little bit…

Gibbon 1, Tigers 0

October 22, 2007

I adore this cute video of a gibbon “monkeying” around with two tiger cubs:

I also love the quote at the end — “Worn out, Pang and Sua leave Taloum’s territory.”

Good Dog, Bad Cat

October 12, 2007

In two recent posts, we noted the intelligence and loyalty of Labrador Retrievers. I just came across this great story about Thumper, yet another amazing Lab:

Thumper, a black Labrador retriever, is getting credit for saving a Greenville man when a fire swept through his home.

Roland Cote says his wife and their 7-year-old grandson were away when the blaze started early Sunday in a converted two-story garage. He says Thumper grabbed him by the arm to wake him, leaving just enough time for him to dial 911 before fleeing the fast-moving fire.

While the dog is the hero, a cat is the bad guy in this story.

Cote says the fire marshal investigator believes the blaze was started when Princess, the family cat, tipped over a kerosene lantern. Cote says he and his pets escaped safely, but he says Princess did get her tail singed by the flames.

Meet Endal, an Incredible Labrador Retriever

October 7, 2007

In a recent posting on Labrador Retrievers, we noted the intelligence and skill of this amazing breed of dog.

CNN recently published a great article about Endal, an amazing example of the love and caring that Labs are capable of.

Endal is a Labrador and companion to Parton, aformer Royal Navy sailor that has been wheelchair-bound since 1991. About nine years ago, Endal was introduced to Parton and has served as his “arms and legs” and best animal friend.

Endal helps with the weekly shopping, stops his master from rolling out into the road, and knows how to deal with any number of buttons, switches, levers and knobs.“If I fall unconscious, he can put me in the recovery position,” says Parton. “He can cover me with a blanket, then hit the emergency phone. He’s very aware of my body position — what I’m doing.”

The article describes the incredible training the dogs receive — nearly 18 months!

“You start when they are young and giggly and bouncy, and then you teach them how to use their nose, their mouth and their paws, and to use them in combo,” says Bondarenko. “We call it trial and success, because every time the puppy tries something, we make it successful for the puppy.”

Unsuccessful behavior is ignored, and daring work is approved with a noisemaker that clicks. Soon, puppies realize that the clicking sound means they’ve done something really clever.

“So he wants to do it again and again,” Bondarenko explains. “At about 12-, 14-months, we’re working in wheelchairs and we say ‘OK, now it’s for real.'”