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Wolves and humans: How can we reduce conflict?

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Two wolves.
Two wolves. (Image: Wolf Conservation Center)
As in other European countries, tensions have been growing in Slovakia over the return of wolves and an alleged increase in livestock attacks. Wild wolves in Europe are an environmental triumph; as previously reported on Flayrah, wolves were extinct in many European countries and it was only in the year 2000 that the first wild wolf in 150 years was born in Germany. Recent estimates put the wolf population in Europe at approximately 12 000, with around 300 packs living in the Alps.

Despite unhappiness from certain portions of the population, wolves in Slovakia are likely not in imminent danger. As quoted on Deutsche Welle (the German state broadcaster), Juraj Lukac of the WOLF Forest Protection Movement says:

All of this hype about wolves is just fake. They did not harm anyone, and, since the European Commission had made a clear statement on the matter, the conservation of wolves is safe for now.

The rough road to animal personhood

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (13 votes)

Max undergoing surgery.
Max undergoing surgery.
Beaks are extremely important to birds, allowing them to hold objects and feed themselves. One can easily imagine the problems that a blue and gold macaw named Max experienced, when his beak was pulled off after two fights with other birds. Human caretakers helped him eat again, and when his remaining lower beak grew too long, they regularly shortened it so it was the right size for his tongue.

In search of a long-term solution, a South African team of veterinarians, doctors and other professionals led by Prof. Gerhard Steenkamp worked together to design and attach a 3D-printed beak for Max. As has been previously covered on Flayrah, many other animals have also received prosthetics when they've needed them.

Man in animal suit wearing chocolate 'bomb vest' shot by police at Baltimore TV station

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Baltimore Police Department patch

Normally, a television station reports on the news, not become its top story. The Baltimore Sun and WJZ-TV 13 are reporting that a 25-year-old man from Elkridge, Howard County, Maryland wearing a full-body animal suit (claimed to be a "grey hedgehog onesie" by the station's security guard to WJZ-TV), combat boots and a surgical mask over his face was shot by police at the parking lot of Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned WBFF, Baltimore's Fox 45.

The incident occurred when the suspect first set fire to a car in the parking lot of WBFF with a burning gasoline-soaked rag in the gas tank and afterwards, entered the vestibule of WBFF. When approached by the station's on-duty security guard, he claimed to have information that needed to be shared with the station, and handed over a USB thumb drive containing a rambling manifesto about space and the government, as well as the end of the world, in a video file.

Animation: 'Lisa Limone and Maroc Orange: A Rapid Love Story'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Hah! I have always said that Estonian animation is ununderstandable! Incomprehensible, even. Here is a 4’47” trailer for a 72-minute 2013 stop-motion animated grand opera about the star-crossed love affair between an anthropomorphized rich-girl lemon and a poor refugee orange, directed by Mait Laas. Lisa Limone’s cruel father (a lemon with a comic-relief moustache) runs a slave-labor tomato plantation and ketchup factory.

Don’t worry if you don’t speak Estonian. Nobody understands the lyrics in opera, anyway. Besides, the trailer is subtitled in English.

Animation: 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 1/8'?

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The Cartoon Brew has a critique by Amid Amidi of Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 hybrid CGI/cartoon 6’46” short, “Earl Scouts”, in which Barry the strawberry and one of the pickle foodimals humorously(?) try to kill each other.

Did you know that there were any Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 short cartoons? I didn’t, but the whole “Earl Scouts” is on YouTube. Seeing is believing … well, not that foodimals are real, but that “Earl Scouts” is. Officer Earl is at the beginning and the end, but most of the short features the two anthropomorphized foodimals. Does Sony Pictures Animation plan any more shorts like this?

Watch Out For The Surly Squirrel

Trailers have begun to show up in the theaters for The Nut Job, a new animated GCI feature coming out this January. It’s based on a 2005 original animated short by director Peter Lepeniotis (Disney’s Dinosaur, Fantasia 2000) called Surly Squirrel (which you can still view on YouTube). The Nut Job tells the story of Surly (now here voiced by Will Arnett) and how he gathers together a rag-tag band of rodents with the intent of knocking over a local nut store. Needless to say, things become much more complicated — as you can see in the trailer. Interestingly, this project has been brought about almost entirely by independent studios and smaller companies. The film was produced by Toonbox Entertainment,  Red Rover International,  and Gulfstream Pictures, and is being distributed by Open Road Films.


image c. 2013 Toonbox Entertainment

Animation: 'Gelato Go Home!'

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Are ice cream trucks migrating south for the winter anthropomorphic? This is bird (or monarch butterfly) behavior, not human. Nevertheless, this seems like the sort of thing that Flayrah should want to know about.

A 3’33” film directed by Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney for Britain’s Channel 4, reported by C. Edwards on the Cartoon Brew website.

The New Dog in Town

It’s never easy to move into a new town — whether you’re a human, or a dog, or whatever. “Bacon is a lazy French bulldog who loves Westerns, and has a secret friend who happens to be a cat. When he and his owner move to a new neighborhood, Bacon embarks on a quest to get to know all of the neighboring dogs. He soon discovers that they are a collection of weird and rather particular animals. Humorous and witty, the escapades of Bacon and Friends are translated from a popular Spanish web comic.” A comic written by Josep Busquet and illustrated by Ximo Abadia Perez, in fact.  This softcover black & white collection is coming out from Kettledrummer Books at the end of July, and it’s available for pre-order at Sci Fe Genre.


image c. 2013 Kettledrummer Books

'Wonderfilled Anthem' prescribes Oreos for wolves, vampires

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Even if it was not anthropomorphic, how could we ignore an animated TV commercial for Oreos from Studio Animal (Barcelona), to a lively tune by Owl City?

Fortunately, the 1’30” Wonderfilled Anthem, directed by Martin Allais, is very anthropomorphic, with the Big Bad (Blue) Wolf, the three pigs, vampires, sharks, baby seals, squids, and more. Cartoon Brew’s Michael Ruocco has the story.

Announcement: 'Foodfight!' is a direct-to-DVD release

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Animation Scoop’s Greg Ehrbar reports that Foodfight!, the coming-soon CGI theatrical feature announced ever since 2004, has finally come out – as a direct-to-DVD release, on May 7.

This is definitely one for Crossaffliction’s proposed MST3K for bad anthropomorphic movies. Ehrbar reviews Foodfight! as, “It is truly one of the worst animated films ever made.” That is evident from the 1’44” trailer alone, which is included in the AS review.

Animation: 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2'

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When Flint [Lockwood] discovers that his [food-making] machine still operates and now creates mutant food beasts like living pickles, hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees and apple pie-thons, he and his friends must return to save the world. [IMDb summary]


Let’s see … Anthro strawberry. Semi-anthro monkey. Anthro shrimpanzees. Anthro butter pats. Anthro sandwiches. Anthro giant taco supreme. Anthro celery. Anthro hamburgers. Anthro slice of cake. (And lots of humans.) Yep, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, to be released from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation on September 27, is an anthropomorphic animated feature.

Did anyone notice that the original children’s picture book, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (1978) by Judi and Ron Barrett, has a completely different sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh (2000)? Just in time for Anthrocon, presumably.

More coverage: ComingSoon.net - Yahoo Movies - Cartoon Brew

Pizza Cats on DVD

In 1990 Tatsunoko Studios of Japan released the “science-fiction historical gag battle anime” known as Kyattou Ninden Teyandee. It was fan-subbed in the U.S. as Ninja Pizza Cats, and eventually Saban Entertainment released it to television in a dubbed version called Samurai Pizza Cats. For many years, the rights to the show have been up in the air, but now Discotek Media have announced they will soon be releasing the entire series to DVD. According the review at Anime News Network, the series “revolves arouund Nyankii, a secret ninja team that protects the robotic animal inhabitants of Edoropolis (Little Tokyo) from the evil ninja organization Karakara.” That hardly begins to describe just how crazy this thing is. Discotek will be releasing two different DVD box sets: A 52-episode dubbed version and a 54-episode subtitled version.


image c. 2013 Discotek Media

A Couple of Real Turkeys

They put it best, so we’re lifting this directly from Cartoon Brew: “Relativity Media and Reel FX have announced that they will jointly produce and finance the upcoming animated feature Turkeys. The film is being directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears A Who!) and stars the voice talent of Owen Wilson (Cars) and Woody Harrelson (A Scanner Darkly). Relativity usually releases their films through a major U.S. distributor like Universal or Warner Bros. Expect one of them to pick it up.” What’s it about?  This is from the Relativity Media press release: “Turkeys is an irreverent, hilarious, adventurous buddy comedy where two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the menu for good.” Hmmm, is it at all significant that both of the lead actors are vegetarians in real life? Watch for this in 2014.


image c. 2012 Relativity Media

It's ... anthropomorphic baked goods? 'The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete'

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The Cartoon Brew presents a 5:41 minute Western featuring anthro pies, muffins, cupcakes, quiches, and other baked goods. A CGI student film by Adam Campbell, Elizabeth McMahill, and Uri Lotan of Sarasota, Florida’s Ringling College of Art and Design.

He’s Here to Rock Your Pizza!

It’s an all-new rodent! CEC Entertainment Inc, owners of the Chuck E. Cheese line of pizza restaurant/arcades, have announced a total make-over for the company’s mascot.  Gone is the portly circus ringleader (and gone, at least in TV commercials, is Chuck E’s voice of 20 years, Duncan Brannan). In his place is a new slimmed-down Chuck E. in a t-shirt and jeans, sporting a Gibson Les Paul Guitar! The new Chuck E is voiced in ads by Jaret Reddick, lead singer for the pop-punk band Bowling for Soup (well-known for their song “1985″).  ScreenMag.com has the first ad from the new campaign up on their web site. Trivia bit for you: Did you know that Chuck E. Cheese’s pizza restaurant chain was founded by Nolan Bushnell — who also founded Atari?


image c. 2012 CEC Entertainment