Urge them to call HB5293 to an immediate vote & to vote YES. House Minority Leader: Vincent.Candelora@cga.ct.gov 800-240-8700 / 800-842-1423 Senate Majority Leader: Bob.Duff@cga.ct.gov 860-240-0414 Senate Minority Leader: Kevin.Kelly@cga.ct.gov 800-842-1421 or 860-240-8826
This undated photo provided by the Memphis Zoo shows Honey Bunch, the wallaby. The wallaby who went missing at the Memphis Zoo after storms passed through Tennessee this week, has been found hiding in plain sight. “It was an area right behind the exhibit that was a service area that had been searched multiple times in the past 36 hours, but he was camouflaged really well and hidden very well under a bush,” said Jessica Faulk, the zoo’s spokesperson, Friday, April 15, 2022. (Memphis Zoo via AP)
UNDATED (AP) — Honey Bunch, the wallaby who went missing at the Memphis Zoo after storms passed through Tennessee this week, has been found hiding — nearly in plain sight.
“It was an area right behind the exhibit … that had been searched multiple times in the past 36 hours, but he was camouflaged really well and hidden very well under a bush,” said Jessica Faulk, the zoo’s spokesperson.
A curator happened to see some tracks Friday morning and followed them to Honey Bunch, Faulk said.
“We suspect he was there the whole time,” she said.
Honey Bunch was taken to the zoo’s hospital and was being evaluated by a veterinarian, who gave him a clean bill of health, Faulk said.
A creek in the KangaZoo exhibit overflowed during storms Wednesday night, and the exhibit was evacuated, with the animals moved to the hospital. Honey Bunch and three other wallabies will move back to the exhibit together in a day or so probably, Faulk said.
Honey Bunch is 21 months old and one of the largest of the four, she said.
Faulk said no one knows how he was able to get out of the exhibit’s fencing but that zoo officials are looking into it so they can prevent it from happening again.
Memphis police had assisted in the search for the missing animal, a smaller relative of the kangaroo.
A YouTuber named Liam Thompson decided he needed to build his 20-year-old cat Frodo an elevator that takes his furry friend up and down a set of stairs outside. That way Frodo can enjoy his time outside in the sun.
It took Thompson four days to build a cart, a rail, and a hoist to allow Frodo to go up and down the stairs as he pleases so he can enjoy his sun baths.
Take a look at the video Thompson posted on his YouTube page that shows him constructing the elevator and shows Frodo enjoying his maiden voyage.
A four-day mission to rescue a lion and a wolf from war-torn Ukraine had a happy ending with the two zoo animals “settling in well” in Romania, Tim Locks – the British war veteran who spearheaded the rescue op – has said. According to Daily Mail, Mr Locks, a 45-year-old Iraq veteran, had been delivering aid in Ukraine when he heard about the plight of the animals from a conservationist at his hotel.
He embarked on a mission to save the two animals, driving from Lviv to Zaporizhzhia Oblast, where the lion and the wolf were kept in a zoo, along with two companions.
In the remarkable rescue operation, which Mr Locks documented on Facebook, the animals were transported to neighbouring Romania in the back of a minibus. The lion, Simba, and the wolf, Akela, were driven almost non-stop until they reached the Romanian border. Then, as the final leg of their journey, the animals were taken to a zoo in the north-eastern city of Radauti in Romania on Sunday.
Mr Locks shared an update on the animals on Wednesday. “We’ve just heard back from the zoo in Romania and it’s amazing to hear that both Simba and Akela are settling in well. Both are eating and drinking plenty and enjoying some chill time after the long journey,” he wrote.
He had earlier shared photos from the rescue mission on Facebook, describing how a crane was used to lift the lion and the wolf into the minibus. “It took 3 hours to load both animals into the back of a Ford transit minibus with the seats removed using a crane and a JCB,” he had revealed.
“We kept reminding each other that we’d got a lion and a wolf in the back of the van as we were driving and looking back to see there they were, just over our shoulders,” Mr Locks told Metro News.
He said guards at checkpoints were less than amused when he declared a lion and a wolf as their cargo. “One guard told us there was a war on and it was no time to joke around,” Mr Locks said. “I took him to the side of the van, opened the door, and showed him this proper big lion, like Aslan out Narnia.”
After dropping the animals off in Romania, the trio drove back to Ukraine to assist in humanitarian missions as the country continues its fight against Russian forces.
15:31 EDT 28 Mar 2022 , updated 12:11 EDT 29 Mar 2022
EXCLUSIVE: ‘The dogs were barking like mad, artillery rounds landing everywhere.’ British army veteran tells how he and his animal rescue team dodged Russian projectiles to save 120 animals trapped in a bombed shelter in Kharkiv
British Army veteran, Tom, has set out to save abandoned and misplaced animals in war-torn Ukraine with his rescue group, Breaking the Chains
In a span of 14 days, the charity has already managed to rescue nearly 700 dogs and cats, and deliver over 100 tons of aid to those in need
‘What we do is very complex and very dangerous. It’s like a military operation, so to speak,’ Tom told DailyMail.com in a phone interview from Ukraine
In one recent rescue effort, the crew retrieved 120 animals trapped in a shelter in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city that has been obliterated by Russia
‘It was 900 meters from the Russian frontline. There were artillery rounds landing in and around the area while we were extracting the animals,’ he said
The animals are taken to a ‘safe space’ to be examined, given water, cleaned up, and transported to the border of Romania, where they’ll be placed into shelters
Tom, who served in the British army for 16 years, founded the charity in 2020, and credits his own dog with helping him with his struggles with PTSD
As Western allies extend their support to displaced Ukrainians amid the ongoing war with Russia, one British Army veteran has set out to rescue the forgotten victims of the invasion – abandoned animals.
Over the course of two weeks, former soldier, Tom, and his UK-based animal rescue group, Breaking the Chains, have saved nearly 700 dogs and cats in the war-torn country and delivered over 100 tons of food and medical supplies to those in need.
The 34-year-old from Yorkshire, northern England, has been on the frontlines in Ukraine helping extract animals from bomb-stricken shelters.
The veteran, who served in the British army for almost two decades, left the armed forces two years ago, but admits trying to carry out such a mission as a civilian is still ‘very complex and dangerous.’
‘It’s like a military operation, so to speak,’ Tom – who asked to keep his last name secret for security reasons – told DailyMail.com in an exclusive phone interview from Ukraine.
British Army veteran, Tom, has been rescuing dogs from bomb-stricken shelters in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion
Tom reaches out to a dog after dropping off much needed pet food and medical supplies to a Good Samaritan who has taken in stray and abandoned animals from the war-torn streets
Rescued dogs and cats in crates as they are transported to safety after being saved from an animal shelter in war-torn Ukraine. Tom and his team work with the animal shelter owners to determine which dogs can be placed together in the crates
‘This is a war, not a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. There are so many factors you need to be aware of. We need to understand the situation. We need to understand the ground. We are working with maps, satellites.’
He continued: ‘There are people crying out left, right and center.
‘It’s not just shelter animals that need our help, you have rescues, you have breeders, you have people that have taken in stray and abandoned animals, there must be at least 1,000 locations that have more than 30 dogs. There are thousands of them.’
In one of his most recent rescue efforts, Tom and his four-man team were able to retrieve 120 animals that were trapped in a bomb-stricken shelter in northeast Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, which has been obliterated by Russian troops.
‘It was a shelter that had been blown up twice. No one could go to it, no one could reach it and help the animals, so we went in,’ he said.
‘It was 900 meters (980 yds) from the Russian frontline. There were artillery rounds landing in and around the area while we were extracting the animals. The dogs were barking like mad, then they settled down.
‘One was trying to bite me because he was scared. They were all scared, but we were able to get all the animals out of there, so that’s good.’ An animal shelter in Kharkiv that was bombed twice. Tom and his team were able to retrieve 120 dogs and cats that are now being held in shelters in Romania
Tom escorts a Saint Bernard to safety after it had been left behind by its owners who were forced to flee
Ukraine Abandoned cats are seen being taken from a shelter in northeast Kharkiv that had been blown up twice
Tom and his crew have been transporting the animals in one vehicle, a long wheelbase dog transport van, throughout the operation.
‘There were 50 different crates already built into it,’ he explained. ‘The shelter owner knows their dogs and knows which ones to put together in the same crate, and we can get three or four cats into the same one. Soon as that van starts driving, they all just go to sleep.’
‘It was quite humorous because when we were driving, some cats escaped from a crate and ended up sleeping on the dashboard. We had one cat on the steering wheel, and two others sitting on our shoulders.’
After nearly 30 hours and 1,100 miles, the animals were brought to what Tom described as a ‘safe place’ where they met with their transport team.
The animals were then examined, given water, cleaned up, and taken to the border of Ukraine where they were met by another transport team which took them to shelters in Romania.
Another rescue involved delivering food and supplies to four shelters in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, and bringing back 50 dogs that were left behind by their owners upon evacuation.
Tom has always been an animal lover. He even put a tiny pup in his pocket while serving with the British army
Yuki, a chihuahua, Tom rescued from a bombed-out shelter in Ukraine. When we drove away, Yuki wouldn’t stop barking, so I opened the cage and said, come on then, and I picked him up and he turned into the softest, most cuddly thing ever and fell asleep on my lap’
The kennel of dogs consisted of mostly larger breeds, all of which were severely emaciated and in need of medical attention.
‘The big challenge that we have is with the shelters because they have anywhere between 500 to 600 animals. Right now the maximum we can retrieve is about 100 dogs and cats,’ Tom explained.
‘Ideally, we would like to get three more vehicles, two sprinters and a four by four pick-up. This way we could have more teams on the ground.
‘This would give us time to save more animals from other places and deliver more food and supplies.’
Tom’s vision for the displaced animals of Ukraine extends far beyond rescuing them from their volatile country.
Breaking the Chains had teamed up with UK-based animal rescue, Dog Bus Rescue, and together they will expand upon a current shelter in Romania that will house some 1,200 animals.
A curious cat pokes its head out of a covered crate while being transported to the Ukrainian-Romanian border where it will be taken to a safe shelter
A sweet looking St. Bernard was among 50 malnourished dogs rescued by Tom and his team. The pups were all large breeds that had been left behind when their owners evacuated the country
Tom created Breaking the Chains animal rescue after serving in the British army for over thirty years. He credits dogs for saving his life more than once including one special dog that helped him during his struggles with PTSD which inspired Tom to devote his life saving animals
‘The shelter will be beautiful, with lots of outdoor space and a heated interior. Once there, the dogs will be examined, vaccinated and quarantined before going to other shelters across Europe where they will be adopted out to their forever homes.’
Volunteers are encouraged to contact Dog Bus Rescue directly if they are interested in coming to Romania to help build the shelter.
Having served in the British army for 16 years, Tom says he’s an expert when it comes to working in conflict zones.
‘I joined the army at the age of 16. So from 16 until two years ago, I have been conditioned to warfare,’ he said.
‘I was in the infantry, Iraq, Afghanistan. I have traveled all over the world. To me this is normal because this is all that I know.’
In 2020, Tom founded Breaking the Chains, a rescue group aimed at raising awareness and helping innocent animals around the world, especially dogs which he credits for saving his life more than once.
The animal lover and his team are also delivering tons of pet food and medical supplies to an animal shelter in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. To date, they have brought over 100 tons of food to various locations in desperate need of help
Tom bottle feeding a black furry puppy
Tom kisses a dog that had been abandoned by his owners when they fled the country
‘I have always loved animals. I grew up with animals, had them as a kid all my life. I worked alongside them in the military and they saved my life more times than I can count, both physically and mentally,’ said Tom.
‘When I was discharged from the British army with complex PTSD, I was in a really bad place so I got a dog who was also in a really bad place and together we helped each other. That’s what made me truly understand the power of animals and what they bring to us.
‘From that moment, I decided you know what I am going to make the world a safer place for animals and ever since that I have been doing what I am doing.
Back home in England, Tom has five dogs, including Gypsy, the devoted dog he adopted during his struggles with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘Gypsy is still with me. He is a blind Springer Spaniel. He is a veteran himself, bless him.’
According to the Veterinary nurse’s website, CIRDC is a highly contagious disease transmissible via the oronasal route, inhalation, and direct contact.
“A disease that is caused by multiple viruses and bacteria that pretty much infect the respiratory tract of dogs and can cause pretty severe infection including pneumonia,” said Miami-Dade County Animal Services Chief Veterinarian Dr. Maria Serrano.
Recently there have been many cases of CIRDC reported throughout South FL. We urge dog owners to help protect their pets from the spread of the virus by visiting their veterinarian, keeping their dogs current on routine vaccines, & avoiding settings with multiple dogs. pic.twitter.com/7tTUlaxTwn
A recent increase in the number of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex cases across South Florida has one county warning dog owners to be on the lookout.
Miami-Dade Animal Services is urging owners to help protect their pets from the spread of the virus by keeping dogs on current vaccine routines, avoiding dog parks or other areas with multiple dogs, and with visits to their veterinarian.
MDAS is also suspending spay and neuter surgeries along with vaccinations and microchipping at its Wellness Clinic, owner surrender and offsite pet adoption events.
CIRDC is highly contagious and can pose a serious health risk to dogs. The disease can spread rapidly among dogs that are housed together or those in close proximity to each other such as in kennels, dog parks or grooming facilities.
CIRDC is spread by direct contact with an infected dog and by contact with people who have been exposed to the virus. The virus can be carried on people’s clothing, hands, and on items such as food and water bowls, collars, leashes, toys, and bedding.
Coughing dogs produce virus-containing mists that can travel 20 feet or more. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and discharge from the nose and/or eyes.
If you think your dog is showing signs of CIRDC, contact your vet immediately. The virus is easily killed by most disinfectants, handwashing with soap, washing clothes and bedding, along with washing food bowls and toys.
Two men caught on video intentionally letting their dogs savagely attack a family’s cat in Philadelphia
The evil attack was captured on a surveillance camera outside a family’s home in Frankford on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania SPCA said.
The two men could be seen walking by the home with the dogs, which were on leashes, when they suddenly spotted Buddy sitting on the porch. Authorities are searching for two men who encouraged their dogs to brutally attack a cat.Twitter / @PSPCABuddy sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to the PSPCA.Twitter / @PSPCAThe two men could be seen walking by the home with the dogs.Twitter / @PSPCA
They intentionally let go of the dogs and started cheering as the animals mauled the screeching cat, authorities said.
At one point, one of the men repeatedly shouted “Get him” and “Good boy” before grabbing hold of the leashes.
The dogs appeared to still have hold of Buddy as the cat’s owner rushed out of the home to intervene, the grim footage showed. The two men face felony charges of animal fighting and animal cruelty.Twitter / @PSPCAThe attack was captured on a surveillance camera.Twitter / @PSPCAOne of the men repeatedly shouted “Get him” and “Good boy.”Twitter / @PSPCA
Buddy sustained life-threatening injuries and was rushed to a nearby animal hospital, where he is still undergoing treatment.
The two men, if found, face felony charges of animal fighting and animal cruelty that could result in up to seven years behind bars, the SPCA said.
The newly established Belgian-registered Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation, led by the federation’s secretary-general Mykhaylo Parkhomchuk, aims to help horse owners, riding schools, athletes, equestrian clubs, stables and professionals. It will also provide counselling and needs-based assistance on the ground, including the relocation of horses, and gathering and distributing goods for equestrians and their horses both in Ukraine and in their temporary locations in Europe.
Today, Parkhomchuk is taking a horse truck with “humanitarian cargo” to Ukraine and will evacuate several horses to Poland on his return trip. He is also negotiating the organisation of logistical hub for humanitarian aid and as a pick up place for evacuated horses.
He is planning to negotiate with the Polish veterinary service about the possibility of simplifying the border-crossing procedure with horses for…
The Ukrainian people have shown true bravery in defending their Country, and as bad as things are, most of them have taken their Animals with them. The children and Animals are the innocent victims of war, they have no understanding of why its happening. 🇺🇦 🇺🇦#IStandWithUkraine
Remember, you don’t need to be extravagant or extraordinary to markNational Love Your Pet Day 2022, on Sunday 20th February! Here are five ideas to consider…
Hard on the heels of Valentine’s Day, National Love Your Pet Day on Sunday 20 February, is the perfect day to spoil your pet more than usual and show them just how much they mean to you. (Although all pet owners know that every day is National Love Your Pet Day, whether you’re a cat lover, dog lover, rabbit lover or general all-round animal lover!).
You don’t need to spend money to mark this special day. Here are five things you might like to consider: –
Your attention is priceless!
If your pet loves attention, then make sure you spend some extra time making them feel special – perhaps play their favourite game or give them a belly rub.
2. Take them on an extra special walk
Figure Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels
If you have a dog, why not take it to one of its favourite places and let them stay there a little bit longer so they can fully enjoy the spot they love most, or why not look up a new walk that you can both discover together.
3. Make a new pet toy
Whether you turn an old t-shirt into a braided tug-of-war rope for your dog or create a cat flat or hideout from old cardboard boxes. It’s super fun and inexpensive to make toys for your pets from materials you might have in the house already, (but please make sure to check that they are safe for pet-use).
All that’s needed is a little creativity, a short amount of time from you – and some love!
4. Teach your pet a new skill
Positive reinforcement with praise or treats (as part of their daily allowance) can help you teach your dog a new command or perhaps train your cat how to high-five. The fun you’ll have training will help strengthen the bond you share.
5. Be in the moment
Put down your phone. Stop thinking about that Zoom call. Make a conscious effort to live in the moment, just like your pet. For our dogs and cats, fish or parrot, there are no worries of about yesterday or tomorrow; they live in the moment. Learning to live in the present can prove to be a present, not just to your pet, but to you as well.
Whatever way you decide to spend National Love Your Pet Day 2022, SCAS hopes you have a safe and enjoyable time with each other.
Mammoth tusk mining in the Arctic, and the price of ‘ethical ivory’
Kim Akerman plucks a small, creamy hand-carved figurine from a handmade box resting on his kitchen table.
The little mammoth is made out of the tusk from a real woolly mammoth that died eons ago.
Although carved recently, the piece of ivory with its striking amber eyes has the feel of something ancient.
Kim is an artist, anthropologist and collector, who has been carving since he was a teenager in the 1960s.
Even then he was fascinated with the Ice Age.
One of the first pieces he ever created was a palm-length carving of a woman made out of whale tooth in the style of Venus figurines made by the Ice Age artists in Eurasia.
The ivory mammoth is one of many pieces created out of a large chunk of tusk that travelled through time and space to make it to his kitchen table in suburban Hobart.
Kim acquired the ivory a few decades ago when he was working for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
Someone offered to sell the tusk to the museum, but the piece was large and not suited to the collection, so the institution passed on the offer.
But Kim and his colleague could not turn down the opportunity to own ancient ivory, so they pooled their money and purchased it. They cut off a small, more manageable piece for the museum, and kept the rest for their art.
Kim is unsure of the mammoth ivory’s provenance, but suspects the seller may have picked up the tusk on a business trip to Siberia.
While it seems odd for carvings made from the tusk of an ancient Ice Age animal to end up in Hobart, the mystique of mammoths has caused people to mine and trade their remains for millennia.
Mammoth rush as north melts
Most mammoth tusks are mined from frozen ground, or permafrost, in the Arctic.
The best-preserved specimens are found in far northern Yakutia — also known as Sakha — in Siberia.
As the ground melts, the remains of the ancient beasts are easier to prise from their icy graves. This has created a “mammoth rush” over the past decade, explains Zara Bending of the Centre for Environmental Law of Macquarie University.
An estimated 100 tonnes of mammoth tusk are now thought to be exported from Yakutia each year, according to local media.
Some tusks are sold in Russia, but most are exported around the world with major markets in China, Vietnam, and the United States.
The rush was further fuelled by domestic bans on the sale of elephant ivory in the United States and China in 2016 and 2017.
Mammoth ivory is sold to conscious consumers as “ethical ivory”, even adorning former US first lady Michelle Obama.
High risks, big money
Mammoth mining is dangerous, remote, all male and often illegal, explains anthropologist Prokopieva Aleksandra from the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“Currently, mining is mainly carried out by private individuals in the form of groups with mining licenses,” Ms Aleksandra says.
Many of the miners operate illegally, or on edges of illegality, but “the state is increasingly striving to control this process,” she says.
Mining parties will set up camp in mammoth-rich areas on the Arctic coast and rivers and travel in detachments to mine sites.
Locations are closely guarded, and only trusted people are invited to hunt for carcasses.
“[Miners] don’t just take random people,” she says.
Sometimes tusks can be collected by walking along a melt line, and occasionally tusk hunters will use dive equipment to extract mammoths.
Russian law stipulates that only mammoth tusks that have come to the surface, usually via permafrost melting, can be harvested.
In reality, most miners hurry this process along by pumping water through high-pressure hoses to blast away the permafrost, creating vast tunnels.
It’s low tech, but effective.
From the water blasting and melting, Ice Age creatures appear. Skulls and tusks abound, but these miners also unearth more grizzly remains: occasionally mummified animals emerge with flesh, blood, and hair preserved.
But the process also accelerates permafrost loss, pollutes rivers with muck, and tunnel collapse is an ever-present danger.
Once extracted, tusks are moved on and sold to a global market.
Just like gold rushes of old, some miners strike rich, but many invest huge amounts of money and risk their lives only to return home empty-handed.
“This is associated with both high risks and big money,” Ms Aleksandra says.
Can extinct mammoths save living elephants?
Although mammoth ivory is marketed as an ethical alternative to killing elephants for their tusks, not everyone is convinced this works in practice.
There is concern that elephant ivory could be passed off as mammoth, explains Ms Bending.
In 2018, this practice drove Israel to attempt to have mammoth ivory listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a convention limiting the international trade of listed plants and animals.
Israel withdrew its proposal as the CITES committee was not convinced there was enough evidence to confirm the sale of mammoth ivory provided the opportunity for elephant ivory laundering.
The issue is due to be re-examined after further research in November 2022 at CITES CoP 19.
Under Russian law, tusks need to be accredited as genuine mammoth and not elephant.
At the beginning of last year, the government banned the export of tusks more than 3 metres long or weighing over 100 kilograms.
The size regulations were introduced to preserve the tusks’ cultural and scientific value.
But it’s estimated a third of the mammoth tusk trade is illegal, and the new regulations may push even more of the trade into the shadow economy, Ms Bending says.
“You’re potentially making an opportunity for crime to move in, it’s an unknown calculus at this point,” she says.
To get around size limits, tusks may be further cut up or made into beads before export.
Whole mammoth tusks are very easy to tell apart from elephant tusks, but small pieces are hard to distinguish.
Cutting large tusks may muddy the water in the ivory market, making it easier to launder elephant ivory.
Few ways for Indigenous people to earn money
Employment and profit are hard to come by in the far north of Russia, with both Ms Bending and Ms Aleksandra emphasising that mammoth mining brings money to communities who need it.
However, it’s often not the miners who reap the biggest rewards, but middlemen who export the tusks, Ms Bending says.
When trade is illegal, the chance of miners being exploited by middlemen increases.
“Today, the extraction of mammoth tusk is becoming an acute issue, as it affects the spheres of the shadow economy, land relations and the bowels of the Earth,” Ms Aleksandra says.
Miners and the environment may be more protected if mammoth mining were included in Russia’s official list of Indigenous crafts or trades, such as hunting and fishing, she suggests.
“This entitles Indigenous peoples to benefits, compensations, and advantages in matters of land use,” she says.
“If the tusk mining had been included in this list, it might have been easier for Indigenous peoples to start doing this legally and not allowing outsiders to prey [on Indigenous miners].
“As a native of Yakutia, I can say that at the moment, this is at least some opportunity to earn money in the Far North.”
An ancient tradition
The fates of mammoths and humans have been intertwined in Yakutia since before the mammoth went extinct in the region about 10,000 years ago.
For carver Kim, this is part of the intrigue.
“People stood up against them and harvested them and their remains,” he muses.
Stories of the behemoths have survived in the Yakutian oral tradition.
And mammoth artefacts are common in the archaeological record, Ms Aleksandra says.
Evidence of tusks being mined stretches back to the Mesolithic (8000BC-2700BC).
“In the Bronze and Iron Ages, armour, shields, ritual calendars, and combs for combing plant fibres were made from [mammoth] tusks,” she says.
Export of mammoth tusk products increased soon after Yakutia was colonised by Russia in the 17th century.
By the late 19th century, the first mammoth rush was on, and curved tusks filled the warehouses on London docks.
Scientists and miners in an unlikely alliance
Mammoth tusks run the risk of being lost to science when they are exported.
The mining process can also damage archaeological sites, depriving anthropologists like Ms Aleksandra the chance to study Ice Age humans.
However, tusk hunters and scientists have formed an unlikely alliance.
Miners are responsible for most of the significant scientific finds to come out of the Siberian permafrost in recent years, according to Albert Protopopov, whose team at the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) studies the ancient Ice Age animals.
When Professor Protopopov gets word of a significant find from miners, he, or his colleagues, will travel to the site by plane, all-terrain vehicle or — when funds allow — helicopter.
It is then their turn to use water pumps to uncover the find.
“All large finds sooner or later get to us. But often small finds like animal skulls are often sold. This is sad,” he says.
Later this year, miners and scientists will meet at the International Mammoth Forum in Yakutia to discuss how they can better work together.
Resurrection of the mammoth
Despite being extinct for thousands of years, woolly mammoths grip our imagination.
“I think dinosaurs are interesting, but [mammoth remains] are basically flesh, bone, blood and hair, so they connect a bit more,” Kim says.
The very flesh and bone that make mammoths so tangible to Kim may lead to their resurrection via advanced genetic technology.
In 2010, tusk hunters found “Yuka”, a young mammoth that died nearly 30,000 years ago.
Yuka’s cells were so well preserved that researchers in Japan were able to cajole them into the early stages of cell division, Professor Protopopov explains.
While they could not complete the process, he hopes more preserved mammoth mummies like Yuka will be found.
“But [next time] we will be better prepared for cell preservation. We have the experience we need.”
When this happens, researchers will be one step closer to using ancient DNA to resurrect the woolly mammoth.
For now though, when Kim carves mammoth tusk, he reflects on what the animal was like when it was alive.
“You are sort of paying homage to the animal itself, it lives in another form,” he says.
An Alaskan woman training her dogs for the Iditarod race was attacked by an angry moose with her dogs trampled on and left seriously injured.
In a Facebook post, Bridgett Watkins shared her experience of the day a moose charged at her and her dogs while she was training them through a 52-mile run on 3 February.
While moose sightings in Alaska aren’t that uncommon, they rarely attack humans unprovoked.
Ms Watkins, a 38-year-old musher, initially thought when she spotted the moose that it would go way, she told local media outlets.
Ms Watkins, along with her friend and handler Jen Nelson, was running her sled dogs in the interior Alaska’s Fairbanks area. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome in which 14 dogs run for miles for 15 days or more to reach the finish line.
She was midway through the training run when she noticed a moose along the Salcha River trail system which had shed its antlers. Her dogs were tied to the snow machine.
“I had given this moose lots and lots of space,” Ms Watkins, who has lived in Alaska all her life, told Outdoor Life.
However, soon the large bull hid amidst the trees and reappeared, eventually coming just a few feet away from the team. This triggered Ms Watkins to take out her gun and fire a few shots to startle the animal.
“I was like, Well, he left again. I guess I’m just going to sit here and wait. We have to wait a while and make sure he’s gone. It wasn’t 10 seconds later that I looked up and he was charging full speed right at me,” she told the outlet.
“I even said to myself, Take a deep breath. Steady yourself. I was aimed and waiting – hoping he’d deflect – just steady. I let him get close,” Ms Watkins told Outdoor Life.
However, the moose didn’t stop. Ms Watkins, a part-time emergency room nurse, fired five times at the charging moose which became entangled with the sled dogs, the report says.
Ms Watkins said she quickly cut six dogs loose and they managed to flee. However, the dogs hooked to the sled were trampled by the moose.
The bull stood over them, stomping them for hours, she said.
“I have never felt so helpless in my life,” she said in a Facebook post. “He would not leave us alone and he even stood over top of the team refusing to retreat.”
Ms Watkis said a friend then reached them and killed the animal. But many of her dogs suffered serious injuries and are fighting for their lives.
The animal was fairly distant, she told local media outlets, so it didn’t worry Ms Watkins, who has been an Alaskan all her life and owns Kennel on a Hill.
He said: “I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret.
“I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.
“They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”
It is understood the £30million former Chelsea player was furious that the Bengal — an expensive breed of domesticated cat that looks like a small leopard — messed up his house.
West Ham statement
“West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video that has circulated.
We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.”
A source said: “It seemed that Kurt had got angry at the cat for accidentally smashing some sort of vase and tearing down a light fixture from the kitchen cupboard.
“But what he does next is completely unacceptable. Kurt kicks it, throws shoes at it and then slaps it. The poor cat looked so scared.”
The disturbing footage was filmed by Zouma’s brother Yoan and posted to Snapchat on Sunday afternoon — a day after the centre-back appeared for West Ham in the FA Cup.
The first clip was captioned “sa commence”, which translates into English as “it is starting”. It is replaced with a dozen laughing face emojis in later clips.
Disgusted animal welfare charities slammed the Premier League ace — who could now face a criminal probe.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “This is a very upsetting video. It’s never acceptable to kick, hit or slap an animal, for punishment or otherwise.”
Dr Maggie Roberts, of charity Cats Protection, said: “Any person seen or suspected of treating an animal badly, whether this is physical violence, neglect or any other form of cruelty should be reported to the RSPCA.
“The police work closely with the RSPCA to investigate cases of animal cruelty. Cats are sentient beings and experience pain and fear. Beating up a cat will only cause it to suffer physically and mentally.
“We noticed that some people viewing the video online thought it was funny. We can assure them that this is not a laughing matter.”
Last night, West Ham issued a statement “unreservedly condemning” their player’s actions
Zouma — who won the Premier League twice with Chelsea after joining them in 2014 — has scored one goal in 12 games since moving to the Hammers in the summer.
Five years in jail under tough new laws
ANIMAL abusers now face tougher prison sentences under a new bill passed in Parliament last year.
The worst offenders can be caged for five years instead of just six months under the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill.
Dog fight organisers, farmers who neglect horses and thugs who abuse puppies or kittens can all be hit by the long jail term.
The new legislation — championed by PM Boris Johnson and his animal-loving wife Carrie — came after a four-year campaign by Battersea Cats & Dogs Home in London.
It makes CCTV mandatory in every slaughterhouse in England and bans the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter.
Standards in zoos must be improved and household pets even have their feelings protected.
The law says animals with a backbone have a right to happiness as well as avoiding suffering.
The Battersea home launched the crusade after discovering fly-tippers were given harsher sentences than animal abusers.
When the bill came into effect last June, comedian Ricky Gervais, 60 — a dedicated animal rights campaigner — said: “Justice will finally be served to anyone who perpetuates animal cruelty and a proper punishment brought in.
“It’s one I hope will serve as a deterrent to anyone who’d contemplate harming an innocent creature.”
£2,000 prized puss
BENGALS are one of the UK’s most expensive and rarest domesticated cats.
The breed originated in the US in the 1970s from wild Asian leopard cats crossed with tabbies.
Bengal kittens now cost around £2,000 each.
Their spotted coats make them look like mini-leopards and their athletic, slender physiques have seen them become prized pets in the cat world.
They are known for their extremely friendly personalities and are loved for being similar to dogs with displays of loyalty.
Celebrity owners include Twilight star Kristen Stewart, 31, TV favourite Jonathan Ross, 61, and reality star Kourtney Kardashian, 42.
Did you know that if you normally speak English but then start speaking Spanish, your dog can tell the difference? It’s true. In fact, dogs can distinguish between different languages all together. How do we know? A new scientific study has demonstrated that dog brains can detect speech and show different activity patterns to familiar and unfamiliar languages.
Eighteen dogs were trained to lay motionless in a brain scanner, where researchers played the dogs speech excerpts of “The Little Prince’ in both Spanish and Hungarian. All dogs had previously heard only one of the two languages from their owners, so this way researchers could compare a highly familiar language to a completely unfamiliar one. They also played dogs scrambled versions of these excerpts, which sound completely unnatural, to test whether the dogs could detect the difference between speech and non-speech.
When comparing brain responses to speech and non-speech researchers found distinct activity patterns in dogs’ primary auditory cortex. This distinction was recognized independently from whether the stimuli originated from the familiar or the unfamiliar language. In addition to speech detection, dog brains could also distinguish between Spanish and Hungarian languages. These language-specific activity patterns were found in the secondary auditory cortex of the brain. Interestingly, the older the dog was, the better their brain distinguished between the familiar and the unfamiliar language.
“This study showed for the first time that a non-human brain can distinguish between two languages. It is exciting, because it reveals that the capacity to learn about the regularities of a language is not uniquely human. Still, we do not know whether this capacity is dogs’ specialty, or general among non-human species. Indeed, it is possible that the brain changes from the tens of thousand years that dogs have been living with humans have made them better language listeners, but this is not necessarily the case.”
-Dr. Attila Andics, researcher
Journal Reference: Laura V.Cuaya, Raúl Hernández-Pérez, Marianna Boros, Andrea Deme, Attila Andicsdics. Speech naturalness detection and language representation in the dog brain, NeuroImage, December 2021, 118811. Overview/Study: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118811
A family in Turtletown, Tennessee, has their dog back thanks to a UPS driver who went above and beyond to lend a helping hand. As reported by Fox News, 29-year-old Darrell Slack was busy delivering holiday packages when a woman told him about her missing dog, Pete. The seven-year-old dog belonged to Paula Odom, who explained that Pete is a runner and she worried that he was lost in the Cherokee National Forest, which is near her home.
Odom told the news agency:
“In that forest there are coyotes, there are bears…my fear was that Pete is not mountain-wise and wouldn’t know what to do in a situation like that and the chance we’d see him again was slim to none.”
Slack assured Pete’s owner that he would be on the lookout for her dog and sure enough, while delivering a package in a remote area, not far from the Odom’s residence, he spotted the missing dog. Thanks to some dog biscuits that Slack keeps in his truck, he was able to lure the pooch to him.
Slack drove Pete back to his distraught owner. Odom tells the news agency that she was thrilled to see the UPS driver walk-up with her dog:
“As he held Pete in his arms I just about collapsed. I was overjoyed.”
“It speaks volumes — especially right now at Christmas,”
Grab some tissue because the ARM & HAMMER™ Feline Generous program just announced the winners of the ‘Unsung Heroes’ Awards and shared several inspiring stories of staff and volunteers who go above and beyond to care for purrfectly impurrfect cats at cat welfare organizations.
As for prizes, a total of $30,000 will be donated to the winning shelters, plus each unsung hero will receive a year’s supply of ARM & HAMMER™ cat litter. The campaign ran from October 29 – November 20, 2021 and brought in nearly 4,500 nominations from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Alaska.
“Purrfectly impurrfect cats are often overlooked for adoption due to their age, illness, appearance or misunderstood personalities so the Unsung Heroes Awards were designed to honor the staff and volunteers at shelters who work behind the scenes performing miracles to make sure these cats have their physical, medical and emotional needs met,” said Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. “My fellow expert judges and I had the impossible task of selecting the winners from the thousands of wonderful nominations and we’re proud to share the incredible stories of our unsung heroes.”
Here are the 2021 Unsung Heroes Awards winners.
AdvoCAT of the Year Award (Prize: $15,000)—A staff or volunteer who exemplified BOTH compassion and creativity towards purrfectly impurrfect shelter cats and served as an outstanding advoCAT for this cause beyond their shelter.
“Kris fosters disabled kittens, many of whom have moderate to severe cerebellar hypoplasia (aka CH, and aka wobbly kitten syndrome). She doesn’t just take care of disabled cats, but she helps them thrive and live their very best lives. Specifically, she has been fostering a disabled cat named Snapple. He has CH and other neurological and physical disorders. His front paws are bent and have limited movement, so he is unable to walk without assistance. His CH has his head wobbling the majority of the time, so eating can be very difficult. Her creativity in helping him overcome his walking and eating challenges are stellar: She got him a cart to allow him to move around more independently and build strength in his back legs. In his cart, he runs around like a sweet little rocket. Aside from the cart, he is sometimes carried in a comfortable sling on Kris’s chest or belly, so Kris can get work done while keeping Snapple engaged and monitored.
She also created some imaginative eating set-ups for Snapple and other severely wobbly cats to help them eat: the set-up is much like a small horse stable or corral, with walls to keep the cats from falling side to side, and also some padding up front to steady their heads and keep them from face-planting in their food. She keeps some wonderful Instagram accounts (@tuxonwheels) to document the progress of specific foster cats, highlighting the importance of caring for and loving disabled cats, and teaching her followers how to creatively support such kitties. She is making it more attainable for disabled cats to find loving homes by destigmatizing and demystifying what their lives are like. As a pet parent to a mildly CH cat myself, I am in awe of her epic compassion and creativity.”
Compassion Award (Prize: $7,500)—A staff or volunteer who showed tenderness, patience and extra care to purrfectly impurrfect cats to make sure they received specialized comfort and attention.
“91 cats and kittens were in an abandoned trailer. Erin, the manager of DVHS, got the call and brought together two other shelters to help since DVHS is a small shelter in upstate New York and did not have the capacity to take in all the cats. These cats were sick, pregnant and scared. They had many health issues like upper respiratory and neurological problems, since they were inbred. Overwhelmed with grief for these poor cats, Erin did what she does best for them. She pampered the sick ones that would probably not survive. She held them dearly and spoke to them telling them that she would not leave their side. Many of the females had kittens shortly after arriving, and the mothers did not survive. Erin found nursing moms within her own shelter and through her Facebook page to give the kittens a chance. I watched Erin resuscitate kittens that were just born and never give up. The 91 cats were saved because of her efforts. The ones that lived were vetted, spayed and neutered and adopted.
There is also the story of Joe, an adult tomcat found by a woman on the side of the road hit by a car. She called Erin and brought that cat to DVHS. Paralyzed from his abdomen down to his legs and unable to walk. Joe was examined and the vet told Erin, if you work with him he will probably walk again. The staff and Erin, massaged him, wiped his butt and gave him free rein of the corridor. After three weeks Joe started wobbling. Then began walking like a pro. He was adopted by a local business and is the store mascot. Erin saves so many cats from horrific conditions and nurtures them until they are ready to find forever homes.”
Creativity (Prize: $7,500)—A staff or volunteer who executed the most creative solution to comfort a purrfectly impurrfect shelter cat or to find them a forever home.
“Ashley is one of those people with a special touch that catches and socializes feral cats to make them adoptable. She builds trust in the cat by being patient and caring. She is creative in finding new ways to communicate and reach these cats. She creates interactive games with the cats using toys or creating ramps/devices to assist the cats in becoming comfortable with staff. In the wobble baby room, she has helped to make it a safe environment that allows the cats to be free from injury but then takes them out on supervised runs through the shelter to ensure they are stimulated and active. The cats really seem to enjoy seeing other cats and areas of the building that they would not normally see due to their disability.
Ashley has a special bond with several of the special needs cats, but Reed is unique. Due to a severe injury, his back legs were removed. Every day he needs to have his bladder expressed and requires special bathing and play interaction. Ashley provides him with social interaction and physical therapy. He will have to live out his life at the shelter, but he knows he is loved and cared for on a daily basis. When there was a special needs transfer out of state, Ashley and her family made the trip out of her time and pocket to get the cat the care they needed. Ashley is a paid worker, but spends way more time than she could ever be paid for by taking cats home that need special care, coming in whenever needed and dropping things just to help out. Ashley has helped design and manage events to help raise funds and find new ways to help the cats and the clinic. Ashley also dedicates her free time outside of working at the shelter and helping cats in the community.”
“The ARM & HAMMER™ Feline Generous program is thrilled to congratulate all our 2021 Unsung Heroes Award recipients,” said Rebecca Blank, Group Brand Manager, ARM & HAMMER™ Pet Care. “The work that they each do day in and day out takes dedication, compassion, creativity and a huge advocat heart. With the enormous response we received in nominations we’ve decided to name four additional Honorable Mentions and each recipient will receive a year’s supply of ARM & HAMMER™ cat litter as well.”
A 3-month-old puppy belonging to a Kansas police officer was shot and beheaded in what investigators said was a targeted attack because of the owner’s career in law enforcement.
The officer with the Parsons Police Department was off-duty when she reported on Dec. 3 that her German Shepherd puppy, named Ranger, had been killed, authorities said this week.
“I cannot even describe my feelings of disdain for the person(s) responsible. I am an avid dog lover as I have made it clear to the community over the years that I have been here, I have 2 rescue dogs, one that I adopted from our local shelter,” Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks said in a statement. “The level of cowardice that would lead someone to kill a little puppy named ‘Ranger’ is astonishing.”
Ranger, a German shepherd belonging to a Kansas police officer, was beheaded in a targeted attack, authorities said. (Parsons Police)
The puppy was let into a fenced backyard around 7 a.m. and later found at 2 p.m. lying dead in the yard with its head severed.
“It appears that Ranger was removed from the backyard by the suspects and taken to another location where he was probably shot in the head,” a police statement said. “It’s head was then sliced off.”
The dog’s decapitated body and head were then brought back to the yard, police said. Investigators believe the dog was targeted because its owner is a police officer.
“If someone is willing to mutilate an innocent puppy due to the very nature of the owner’s career, then it is possible that the suspect is willing to go even farther and attack innocent children or family members to make a statement,” the police statement said.
Fox News has reached to the police department.
Parsons Police Deputy Chief Dennis Dodd said the suspect knew the puppy belonged to a police officer.
“Our officers are attacked, hit, kicked, bit, scratched, called every name in the book and even spit on, as a part of our job, but this kind of senseless attack on a puppy at the home of an officer can’t be tolerated,” he said.
Authorities initially offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. That ballooned up to $4,000 after incoming donations from residents.
Those responsible could face felony animal cruelty and trespassing charges.
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