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animals

Whether it's got fur, feathers or scales, we want to hear about it.

Go Daddy CEO elephant hunting video sparks controversy

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Time blogger Bryan Walsh gives his account and opinions on a recent video released by Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons. The video was taken from Zimbabwe, where Parsons had shot and killed an elephant while handing out GoDaddy swag to local residents.

While Bob Parsons defended his actions, stating that the elephant was a menace to the locals and ruined crops, animal rights groups have called the actions deplorable. PETA responded to the action by handing out their first ever "Scummiest CEO of the year" award, claiming that there are "many humane ways to keep elephants away from crops."

Knut the polar bear dies at age four

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Knut as a cubKnut the polar bear, who gained international fame as debate raged over whether he should be hand-reared or euthanised, has died at age four.

Japanese dog stays by injured canine comrade after disaster

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We've been hearing of the horrible tragedy in Japan over the past week caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Plant, but there is one story of hope from the striken oriental nation: rescue workers discovered a dog guarding a fellow dog that was injured in the earthquake.

At first, the dog would not let rescue workers near its friend, but they were able to gradually bring the injured dog to an animal hospital in the city of Mito. The guardian dog was taken to a different shelter in the city; both are recieving medical treatment for their ordeals.

Two-headed tortoise born in Slovakia

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large_mutant-torrtoise-two-heads.jpgA two-headed, five-legged tortoise was born in Slovakia two weeks ago, and displayed in Žilina on March 7.

The left head is named Magda and the right, Lenka. They are conjoined twins of a sulcata tortoise native to the Sahara Desert. If the tortoise survives to adulthood it may reach a length of 1m and weigh up to 75kg.

Although all are scientifically known as chelonians there is often confusion about the terms tortoise, turtle and terrapin. Although there are regional differences, a generally accepted definition is that chelonians on the land are tortoises, those in the sea are turtles and the ones in ponds/lakes/rivers/swamps are terrapins.

New information on the death of chūken Hachikō

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Researchers at the University of Tokyo have come up with a new theory to explain the death of the famous dog, Hachikō (also known as chūken ['faithful dog'] Hachikō).

Hachikō was an Akita Inu who was born in Japan in 1923. He became the pet of Professor Hidesaburō Ueno of the University of Tokyo. For around a year Hachikō would meet his master, at the end of the day, at Shibuya Station.

On 21 May 1925 Prof. Ueno died from a stroke while at the university. For the rest of his life Hachikō continued to make the trip to the train station and wait for his master. Hachikō finally died in 1935.

Congress may remove Rocky Mountain wolves' protection

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WolfThe repopulation of grey wolves in Montana and Idaho led to their removal from the Endangered Species List in 2008, concerning many conservationists. But last August a U.S. federal judge ruled this kind of subdivision of populations illegal.

Now Michael Brune of the Sierra Club says lawmakers seek to withdraw this protection through a budget amendment. [tip: Ezno]

Michigan man jailed for wolf hunting

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A Michigan man has been sentenced by the St. Ignace District Court to serve a year in jail – with a mandatory 90 days in prison – and pay US$5090 in restitution and fines, after having been found guilty of shooting three wolves. 58-year-old William Hayward of Bay City, MI plead guilty to shooting three wolves in Mackinac County, and destroying tracking collars that two of the wolves wore. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment is investigating separate wolf poachings in Chippewa and Luce counties, also in the eastern portion of the Upper Peninsula. Courtesy: WDIV-TV Local 4 (ClickOnDetroit.com) and the Associated Press

Update: Michigan DNRE is continuing its investigation. [WDIV-TV Local 4 (ClickOnDetroit.com)]

Fox found in London's Shard skyscraper

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London Bridge ShardWhile most animals prefer a ground-level existence, it appears some foxes enjoy the high life. Animal control experts disapprove, as the BBC reports:

We explained to him that if foxes were meant to be 72 storeys off the ground, they would have evolved wings

Construction of the Shard is scheduled for completion before the 2012 Olympics. When finished, it will be the tallest building in the European Union.

Brooklyn Anthropomorphic Taxidermy class sold out

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Taxidermy Class

A class on Anthropomorphic Taxidermy was held last Sunday in Brooklyn, New York, suggesting that the hobby is far from a historical pursuit.

Run by taxidermist and tattoo artist Susan Jeiven, the $45 class assumed no prior experience, and supplied each student with a deceased mouse obtained from a snake-feed store. The 15 places quickly sold out.

Heidi the Opossum to predict Oscar winners

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Heidi the Opossum.jpgHeidi the cross-eyed Virginia Opossum, resident of Leipzig Zoo in Germany, is to predict the winners of the 83rd Academy Awards.

After being found as an orphan, Heidi was raised in a North Carolina wildlife sanctuary, before being rehomed at Denmark's Odense Zoo and, later, Leipzig Zoo. She became an international sensation last December, after photographs of her cock-eyed visage were published in the German newspaper Bild. The images went viral, and led to a hit song ("Opossum Heidi Schielt" or "Opossum Heidi Peers"), Heidi's own Facebook account, and an upcoming line of plush toys.

Larry, new Chief Mouser of 10 Downing Street

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medium_larry-the-cat-gazes-throu-001.jpgLarry, a four-year-old tabby cat, become the newest Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office this Tuesday. His duty is to suppress the rats that have been sighted in Downing Street in recent weeks.

Previously, Larry lived as a stray and was recruited from Battersea Dogs and Cats' home. Larry was recommended as the mouser as he showed "a high chase-drive and hunting instinct". Although an official spokesman described him as 'easygoing', Larry proceeded to scratch reporters who tried to do a story on him.

The first Chief Mouser was Treasury Bill in 1924. The position has been held by a number of cats over the years, although the position has been vacant since Sybil left it in 2008.

Bolivian lions rescued, sent to U.S. wildlife sanctuary

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Twenty-five lions have been rescued from circuses in Bolivia by animal rights activist group Animal Defenders International. The thirteen males and twelve females were taken from what were called "deplorable conditions" after Bolivian lawmakers prohibited animals from being used in performances.

Television personality and former The Price is Right host Bob Barker helped finance a jetliner to fly the lions to Denver at a cost of US$200,000, in what was called "Operation Lion Ark". When rescued, most of the lions suffered from dehydration, as well as foot and eye infections.

Japan's cat cafés

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Cat cafés are coffee houses including a seperate room where customers are able to play with cats. They are particularly popular in Japan, perhaps due to many apartments forbidding pets, with Tokyo having between 30 and 40 such cafés.

At the request of Jerry Coyne, Japanese blogger Yokohamamama visited one of these cafés, the Neko Café Leon, and posted a report about her experiences.

Animal Planet prepares for Puppy Bowl VII

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AnimalPlanet.pngIn addition to the Super Bowl, this coming Sunday sees the broadcast of the seventh annual Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet.

Last chance to see: Anthropomorphic Taxidermy at the Museum of Everything

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WalterPotterUpperTen.jpgAn exhibition of the works of Walter Potter, Victorian taxidermist and collector, is being extended at London's Museum of Everything.

Walter Potter (1835-1918) was a self-taught English taxidermist who created elaborate anthropomorphic tableaux of small mammals and birds. These dioramas, along with various other odd items, were put on display in Potter's museum in Bramber, Sussex.

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