Baby lemurs make their debut at Philadelphia Zoo

PHILADELPHIA – Four baby black-and-white ruffed lemurs named Maddie, Lincoln, Teddy and Quincy climbed and jumped in their enclosure during their debut at the Philadelphia Zoo on Friday. The lemurs were born at the zoo on Feb. 21. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs get their name from the long thick fur that runs from their ears to their chin. In the wild they live in Madagascar and are a critically endangered species due to poaching and deforestation.
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Sonic Sea screening evidence of good partnerships

Wed, 05/04/2016

We are GRATEFUL to be a part of this evening’s showing in New York of Sonic Sea, a collaborative effort between IFAW, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Imaginary Forces.

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George and Amal Clooney Adopt a Shelter Pup

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The world’s most perfect couple is now even more perfect, thanks to their recent adoption of a 4-year-old shelter pup named Millie.

The Clooneys rescued the Basset Hound from the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society— a stroke of luck for the dog who was found scrounging for food scraps outside of a restaurant earlier this month.

“Millie found her forever home and the Clooneys have a new best friend,” said Jennifer Clarke, the shelter’s social media coordinator. “They all left together as one big happy family!" — Read it at People

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6 Fun Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog

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Who says that exercise must be limited to sweating at your local gym, fighting for the only unoccupied elliptical machine, or failing to keep pace in a spinning class? You can stay in shape — and have fun — by teaming up with a playful workout partner: your dog.

Regular exercise provides pets and people with physical and mental benefits. Exercise releases endorphins, helps maintain proper weight, improves coordination and balance, and it helps improve strength. Plus, studies show that people are more likely to continue with a weight-loss program if they exercise with their pets.

Warming Up

Before starting an exercise program with your pet, book appointments with your doctor and your pet’s veterinarian for complete physical examinations. Discuss the best workout plan for your pet, based on his health, age, body shape and likes and dislikes. After all, your Basset Hound may surprise you with very Retriever-like behaviors by insisting on fetching a tennis ball again and again. Dr. Marty Becker notes, “Remember to allow a few minutes for you and your dog to warm up, increase exercise gradually as fitness improves and always follow exercise programs recommended by your pet’s veterinarian and your doctor.”

Getting Out the Door

Our experts have identified several terrific options for getting fit with your canine pal:

Walking. Progressively work up to 20 to 45 minutes of walking at a brisk pace with your dog every day, if possible. Vary the route to offer new challenges (and new scents), such as hills, bark-filled paths and sandy beaches. Use this time to reinforce basic obedience commands such as “sit” and “down.” Encourage your dog to walk backward and move in a circle to work various muscles and enhance flexibility. If you notice your pup slowing down or lagging behind, return home and shorten the next session. Your dog should always be out in front of you or beside you — not trailing behind. And, be on the lookout for heavy panting or other signs that your partner is working too hard.

Fetching. For dogs that love to chase, find a safe place for them to be unleashed and let them zoom after their favorite ball or other object. Help prevent injuries to your throwing arm by using a ball tosser that can fling the ball farther than you can on your own. Keep your dog’s interest by flinging the object in different directions and to a variety of distances.

Swimming. Exercising in the water offers a good workout for muscles without the jarring impact that is associated with jogging. Seek a clean pool or body of water free of undertows and currents. Make sure your dog always wears a canine life preserver when he’s in the water. When finished, always rinse off your dog with water and a mild dog-safe shampoo.

Hide-and-seek. Reinforce your dog’s recall skills by playing this game indoors or in an enclosed outdoor area. Start by getting your dog in a sit-and-stay position. Then, hide and call your dog by using his name and saying, “Come.” Make a big to-do when he finds you and offer praise and small treats. The goal behind this game is to teach your dog that fun things happen when he heeds the “come” cue.

Agility. Dogs are not the only ones who need to be in shape to participate in this popular obstacle course sport. Their human teammates must also be able to turn, pivot and run while offering hand and verbal signals to their dogs to climb ramps, dash through tunnels, leap through tires and wriggle through weave poles.

Dancing dogs. Whether in the privacy of your living room or before a crowd at a canine musical freestyle competition, doing the cha-cha and other dance steps with your canine dance partner offers a fun workout.

Surprise Benefits

When it comes to making your pet your favorite workout buddy, consider this added bonus: Pets that exercise regularly tend to exhibit fewer behavior problems. “They are less likely to chew shoes, scratch furniture, bark excessively or commit other misdeeds because they have appropriate outlets for their energy,” says Dr. Becker.

Ageless Advice

Dogs of all ages need regular exercise to help keep their heart, lungs, joints and digestive and circulatory systems healthier. As pets get older, however, they often need their owners to modify their activity levels. Consider:

  • Rather than taking your senior dog on one brisk, 30-minute walk, switch to two 15-minute walks at a moderate pace — once in the morning and once in the evening — to be less taxing on his aging joints.
  • Swimming can also be a good exercise for older pets, especially if they have arthritis.

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5 Reasons an Australian Shepherd Might Be the Right Dog Breed for You

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A talented and hard-working member of the Herding group, the Australian Shepherd often likes to be busy and usually wants to be a part of whatever you’re doing. Learn more about this dedicated dog and whether he might be the right breed for you.

They’re usually devoted to their humans.

The Aussie is a dog who tends to love his people. Expect him to be as close to you as possible — you may find him sitting on your foot, leaning against your leg or trying to curl up in your lap.

They’re generally super-smart.

Considered one of the smartest dog breeds, the Australian Shepherd usually responds well to training and is capable of learning tricks, commands and games. But you’ll also need to pay attention to him unless you want to find yourself outsmarted. Keep him occupied by giving him jobs to do, such as bringing in the paper.

They’re often energetic.

Most Aussies need an active lifestyle to be happy. Keep him busy with dog sports like agility, flyball, flying disc games, herding trials, obedience and tracking. Or, take him for daily walks, jogs or hikes, provided your vet gives the OK to the exercise regimen.

There are two types of Aussies.

Some Australian Shepherds are bred strictly for their herding talents. Others are bred for the show ring and AKC performance events. The herding dogs tend to be smaller and thinner than show dogs and have shorter coats. Those traits can make them more agile as they move stock, and the shorter coat is less likely to snag on brush.

They can be protective.

If you’re looking for a watchdog, the Australian Shepherd can be a good choice. Like many Herding breeds, the Aussie tends to be wary of strangers. And If he sees anything out of the ordinary, he’ll usually alert you with a bark. But keep in mind that he may not be friendly with everyone he meets, even if he’s had plenty of socialization.

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5 Great Ways You and Your Dog Can Enjoy What’s Left of Summer

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We’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that sadly, summer is slowly winding down. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make the most of the remaining dog days of summer! That’s why we’re sharing five great activities to check off your bucket list before fall rolls around.

1. Go Hiking

Do you have an adventure canine who loves the outdoors? Hiking is a fun way for both of you to get a healthy dose of fresh air and burn off some energy. The beautiful backgrounds perfect for selfies can’t hurt, either! While planning your hiking excursion, make sure you educate yourself about the potential dangers with this advice from Dr. Sarah Wooten. You probably know to be on the lookout for bears and mountain lions, but protecting your pup against deer ticks and hazardous plant material can be just as important. And don’t forget to bring a first aid kit for your dog!

2. Swim at a Pool That’s Usually for Humans

Just before they drain the pools at the close of summer, many public and community pools host a swim party for dogs! Look online or check your local newspaper to see if your area has one of these events — they can be tons of fun and an awesome socialization experience for your dog. Just remember to pack a canine-specific life vest and review our pool-safety tips before you go.

3. Go Out to Eat

What’s the point of having a well-behaved dog if you don’t show off his impressive obedience skills every once in a while? Before the cooler weather forces us back indoors for dining, take advantage of restaurant patio season and bring your dog along. Call ahead to confirm that the restaurant is dog-friendly (some even host “yappy hours”) and follow Mikkel Becker’s advice for safe and courteous dining: Bring your own bowl, practice the “lay on a mat” command and keep your dog from barking at children or other canines.

4. Hit Up a Dog-Friendly Beach

Ah, the beach. There’s nothing quite like it, is there? If you’re lucky enough to live near one, do some research and find out which ones allow dogs. If you’re going on a hot day, wake up early to go before it gets too warm or wait until the sun starts to set in the evening. Our veterinarians have even more beach safety tips to check out before you go, including advice on choosing a pet-safe sunscreen and why you shouldn’t let your dog drink salt water.

5. Turn Your Yard Into a Doggie Wonderland

Who says you have to leave home to enjoy a beautiful summer day? Not us! Set up a sprinkler or kiddie pool that your dog can splash around in or make your own agility course. You can even turn it into the social event of the season by inviting a few neighborhood dogs that your pup enjoys playing with! Toss in a dog-safe “pupsicle” or frozen Kong, and you’ve got a recipe for a memorable summer day.

How are you and your dog making the most of summer? Tell us in the comments below!

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¿Por Qué Mi Pájaro… Se Rehúsa a Subirse en Mi Mano?

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Existen un par de razones por las que tu pájaro podría negarse a subirse a tu mano. Por lo general, cuando un pájaro ignora o incluso muerde una mano, es señal de que no quiere dejar de hacer lo que está haciendo en ese momento para hacer lo que le pides. Por ejemplo, si tu pájaro está comiendo o jugando, tal vez no quiera tener ninguna interacción contigo en ese momento.

Otra razón por la que tu pájaro podría rehusarse, es porque tiene miedo a las manos humanas. Si tu pájaro ha tenido una mala experiencia con manos en el pasado, como caerse de la mano de un humano nervioso, es posible que no quiera intentarlo de nuevo. Cuando le ofreces tu mano con nervios o la quitas en el momento en el que el pájaro se sube a ella, corres el riesgo de ponerla nerviosa de subirse a tu mano en el futuro.

Enseña a tu pájaro a subirse a tu mano

El primer paso para enseñar a tu pájaro a que se suba a tu mano es que le ofrezcas tu mano con seguridad y la mantengas firme (después de todo, nadie se quiere subir a una plataforma que se mueve). Mientras estiras tu mano, di “súbete” claramente. Asegúrate que el subirse a tu mano sea más gratificante que cualquier otra actividad que esté haciendo tu pájaro en su jaula en ese momento. Para hacerlo, necesitas relacionar el que se suba a tu mano con un premio físico, como un alimento que no le ofrezcas en ningún otro momento. A la larga, tu pájaro asociará el premio con subirse a tu mano y es más probable que lo haga por gusto.

Al principio, es posible que tu pájaro solamente se acerque a tu mano, sin subirse a ella. Le debes dar el premio inmediatamente después de que se acerque, incluso si no se sube a tu mano. Cuando tu pájaro comience a inclinarse constantemente, en respuesta a la orden de subirse, le debes dar el premio hasta que realmente se suba a tu mano, incluso si es con una pata nada más. Una vez que tu pájaro ha dominado este paso, prémiala hasta que ponga las dos patas en tu mano. Hay que avanzar un paso a la vez hasta que el pájaro realmente se suba a tu mano.

La clave en este proceso es no precipitarse y permitir que tu pájaro no avance un paso cada vez si no quiere. También, asegúrate que cualquiera que sea la recompensa que le des a tu pájaro por completar exitosamente el comportamiento deseado, sea inmediata al comportamiento, para que tu pájaro claramente haga la conexión entre subirse a tu mano y obtener un premio.
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Pet Scoop: Study Finds Genetic Reason Labs Crave Food, Police Department Adopts Dog

May 4, 2016: We’ve scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it’s all right here.

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Study: Labs Genetically Food-Driven

Owners of Labrador Retrievers might not be surprised to hear their lovable dogs are hardwired to be more obsessed with food than other breeds. Researchers found Labs sometimes have a mutation of the POMC gene, which leads to more food-motivated behaviors like begging and scavenging for food. In studying lean versus overweight Labs, they found many of the heavier dogs had a POMC gene that looked “scrambled at the end,” hindering the dog’s ability to produce compounds to switch off hunger after a meal. Not all of the 310 Labs in the study who had the DNA variation were obese, and some who didn’t have the mutation were obese, but the mutation was associated with greater weight. The good news is that these food-motivated dogs might be easier to train, since they respond well to food rewards. In fact, of the 81 assistance Labs in the study, 76 of them had the POMC deletion. “You can keep a dog with this mutation slim, but you have to be a lot more on-the-ball … you have to be more resistant to your dog giving you the big brown eyes,” said study co-author Eleanor Raffan, a veterinary surgeon and geneticist at the University of Cambridge. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. — Read it at Discovery News

Rare Wallaby Joey Surprises Keepers

Keepers at the Taronga Zoo in Australia were delighted to see an endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby joey peeking out of its mom’s pouch, more than a year after its father had left the zoo. “We weren’t planning for another joey, so it was quite a shock when we started seeing something moving inside the pouch,” said keeper Tony Britt-Lewis. The birth is the result of embryonic diapause, a phenomenon that enables some mammals to extend their gestation period and time the birth of their young. The joey appears to be healthy and about 6 months old, but the keepers don’t yet know its gender. — See photos at Zooborns

Scientists Say Cheetah Estimates Are “Guesswork”

A new study finds that the population of the cheetah stronghold in Maasai Mara, Kenya, is lower than previously thought. The authors say current estimates on the number of cheetahs in the wild are “guesswork” given the difficulty of counting them accurately. A team of scientists has now developed a new method to count them. During a three-month period, the researchers extensively covered the area and photographed each cheetah they saw to identify them based on their unique coat. As a result, their estimate for the number of cheetahs in the Maasai Mara was about half of previous estimates. They argue that accurate numbers are vital to conservation efforts. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Science Daily

Image: Ohio police department adopts dog


Police Adopt Stray Dog

In March, police in Kirtland, Ohio, found a stray dog and “tried to find the owner of this marvelous animal to no avail,” the police department wrote on Facebook. They didn’t want to send the dog elsewhere to be adopted — and now they’ve decided to give him a permanent home themselves. “With the permission of the Chief and the Mayor, JD has been adopted by the Kirtland Police Association but they also share the warmth this stoic animal has brought with City Hall and the Fire Department,” the post reads. JD, short for John Doe Dog, “fit into the environment as though he were here always. We are happy to have him in our department and our lives. He loves everyone and we love him.” — Read it at People Pets

Kitten and Cop Have Matching Mustaches

JD isn’t the only animal to find a new home thanks to law enforcement. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, a police officer with a soft spot for animals has made a tiny kitten his partner. “Another officer had found her in the rain under a trash dumpster and brought her into the department,” said Officer Cody Garrett, 28. “I offered to take her because I have another rescue at home who is currently nursing her four kittens.” Now, a selfie Garrett shared on Instagram of Squirt perched on his shoulder in his patrol car — with the two sporting matching mustaches — has gone viral. Squirt joined seven other pets at the animal-loving officer’s home. — Read it at ABC News
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Stephen King Deems His Corgi Puppy “The Thing of Evil”

Horror writer Stephen King regularly posts photos of his adorable Corgi puppy on Facebook, referring to her as “Molly, aka The Thing of Evil.” She chews beds, attacks tissue boxes and tears up cereal boxes. But if Molly’s really evil, she has a perfect disguise: she’s always wearing a big, happy smile. “Molly, aka the Thing of Evil, tries to convince me she is a Thing of Good. I am not persuaded,” King posted last week. The look on the author’s face, though, tells otherwise. — See photos at Buzzfeed

Molly, aka the Thing of Evil, tries to convince me she is a Thing of Good. I am not persuaded.

Posted by Stephen King on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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The Honest Kitchen Embark Grain Free Turkey Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Embark is excellent for dogs that require a low carbohydrate or gluten free dog food. It is suitable for all life stages ranging from puppies to adult dogs. Embark Grain Free Turkey Dog Food is high in protein and fat, plus it is created with high-quality ingredients such as apples, spinach, celery […]
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You NEED To Hear This Husky Testing Out His Vocal Cords

This little Husky has a LOT to say, and we’re all ears because it is adorable.
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Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App

Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App

You love animals, and you love your phone. Combine the two, and what do you get? The easiest way to take action in PETA’s campaigns and the single greatest tool in the history of animal rights—PETA’s iPhone/iPad app!

Got one minute to spare? Ask retailers to stop selling animal skins, tell the circus to get out of your town, and even demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture pay attention. Yup, it’s that easy!

Check out this video and see just how powerfully effective—and simple—it is:

But if you’re still not convinced, just take a look at what people are saying:

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PETA’s app is a quick, easy, and extremely effective way to help animals. Get it now!

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The post Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App appeared first on PETA.

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PETA Statement: SeaWorld’s Earnings Confirm That Orca Prisons Are Sinking the Ship

PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman released the following statement regarding SeaWorld’s quarterly earnings, released this morning:

It’s crystal clear that the overwhelming majority of the public opposes the use and abuse of captive wild animals for entertainment. If SeaWorld is to stay afloat, it must do more than end its orca-breeding program—it must now build seaside sanctuaries where the orcas can live in penned-off areas in the ocean while under the stewardship of humans, offering them adequate space in which to swim and dive, novel and dynamic natural elements, the possibility of communicating with wild orcas, the chance to learn how to hunt, and the freedom to make choices. SeaWorld’s CEO has stated that it’s now apparent that the choice is “either a SeaWorld without whales or a world without SeaWorld,” and PETA wants the orcas out now, not after 40 years of continued captivity.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit SeaWorldOfHurt.com.

The post PETA Statement: SeaWorld’s Earnings Confirm That Orca Prisons Are Sinking the Ship appeared first on PETA.

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Pet Scoop: Boaters Save Dog From Gulf of Mexico, Officer Rescues Puppy From Tunnel

May 5, 2016: We’ve scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it’s all right here.

Image: Dog saved from Gulf


Overboard Terrier Found

A lucky Jack Russell Terrier was reunited with his owner on Sunday, thanks to two couples celebrating birthdays on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico. They were about five miles offshore when Bruce Knecht spotted something in the water. At first he thought it was a buoy, but when they got closer, they realized it was a dog wearing an animal life vest. The little dog swam right toward the boat after they got closer, and Michael Sahr pulled him on board. "It’s like a needle in a haystack and the waves were pretty choppy," he said. The boaters radioed the Coast Guard and discovered that someone had reported a dog overboard three hours earlier. The owner had apparently gone down to the ship’s hull to check something, and when he came back up, the dog was missing. The Sahrs and Knechts brought the pooch to the Coast Guard station, and witnessed the emotional reunion between Jagermeister and his owner. "He had tears. He said, ‘I had given up. I had searched as long as I could and we just couldn’t see him, and we just thought we lost him,’" said Shawn Sahr. The boaters agreed the life vest had saved the dog’s life. — Watch it at Tampa’s Fox 13

Leopards Found to Be More Vulnerable Than Thought

A new study suggests that leopards have lost up to 75 percent of their historical range since 1750. The research, in part, prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to recommend they be reclassified as “vulnerable” because stronger conservation efforts are needed. Many wildlife experts previously thought they were relatively abundant in the wild because they’re reclusive and adapt well. Humans pose the primary threat to leopards, because of their destruction of the animals’ habitat, hunting of animals the leopards prey on and revenge killings by farmers, among other threats. The study was published in the journal PeerJ. — Read it at The New York Times

Study Shows Why We Call Family Members by the Dog’s Name

It’s common for people to call friends by other friends’ names, or family members by other family members’ names — including the name of the family dog. Why? “It’s a cognitive mistake we make, which reveals something about who we consider to be in our group,” says Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor David Rubin, one of the study authors. “It’s not just random.” Lead author and PhD student Samantha Deffler said the study “does seem to add to evidence about the special relationship between people and dogs.” The slip of the tongue didn’t happen with other pets. “The dog’s name seems to become more integrated with people’s conceptions of their families,” Deffler said. The study was published in the journal Memory and Cognition. — Read it at Futurity

Image: Officer saves puppy from culvert


Officer Rescues Pup From Culvert

A Good Samaritan in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, called the police for help on Saturday when a lost puppy got trapped in the culvert she ran into when she was frightened by a passing car. Police Officer Joseph Brazil didn’t waste any time. He took off his shoes and rolled up his pants to wade inside the tunnel and save the 5-month-old Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu mix, who was “clinging to the side and just shaking,” Brazil said. The woman who called for help, Peggy Edwards, caught a sweet photo of Brazil holding the puppy as they emerged from the tunnel, and shared it on Facebook to thank him. “He went in without hesitation and came out with a very wet, scared little dog. Great guy, Lucky dog. We are very happy he was able to save the little gal,” Edwards wrote. Cece was later happily reunited with her relieved owner, who said she’d just gotten the puppy and she escaped from a back door. — Read it at Rhode Island’s Turn to 10

Bloodhound Tracks Down Missing 89-Year-Old

Connecticut State Trooper Kerry Halligan and her 2-year-old Bloodhound, Texas, were called in to help locate an 89-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who went missing from her home on Sunday night. Thankfully, Texas and Halligan located the woman in thick brush about a quarter mile from her home, after about 40 minutes of searching. She was transported to a local hospital by ambulance to be evaluated. — Read it at NBC Connecticut

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Smart Girl Lorin Hancock of World Wildlife Fund Makes Every Day Earth Day, and You Can Too!


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Record-Breaking Earth Hour to Set the Stage for New Era of Climate Action

On Saturday, March 19 at 8:30pm local time, the 10th and most far-reaching Earth Hour will sweep across the world and kick off a new era of climate action. Millions of individuals, along with businesses, cities, landmarks and an unprecedented 178 countries and territories, will switch off their lights to call for increased action to protect our planet from climate change.

More than 350 of the world’s most iconic landmarks, including the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House will provide the visual backdrop for this global movement to draw attention to the need for urgent climate action.

“Earth Hour arrives at a pivotal moment. The threat of climate change has never been clearer, but the momentum has never been so clearly on our side,” said Lou Leonard, vice president, climate and energy, World Wildlife Fund. “Last year was the warmest year on record and the first year the entire world agreed to act together to turn back the climate threat. We must keep this momentum going.”

Since originating in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour, a global event organized by World Wildlife Fund, has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment. This year, Earth Hour is more than just a symbolic celebration, it’s a global call for everyone – individuals, businesses, cities and nations to make a climate resolution and recommit to securing a future where people and nature thrive.

“As the lights go out from New Zealand to New York, it’s time to do the work needed to make the Paris climate agreement come alive,” said Leonard. “From the Clean Power Plan in America to a national cap-and-trade law in China, to a global system to tackle international aviation pollution, 2016 is the year where we can prove that a zero-carbon future is within our grasp. It’s up to all of us to do our part.”

On Earth Hour, supporters are not only encouraged to flip the switch, but are also invited to activate their networks on social media to inspire a movement to change climate change and stop the worst effects of a warming world.

                                                                              ###

• To learn more about Earth Hour visit worldwidlife.org/EarthHour
• Use your social power on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #EarthHour
• Join the movement on WWF’s Facebook page and click the “Try it” button on our pinned post to update your profile picture with the Earth Hour frame.

About Earth Hour:

Earth Hour is WWF’s global environmental movement. Born in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organizations in over 170 countries and territories to take tangible climate action. Celebrating the tenth edition of its signature lights out event in March 2016, the Earth Hour movement continues to harness the power of its millions of supporters to shine a light on climate action and the power of the individual to change climate change.


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A symbol of hope: US government designates bison as the national mammal

The bison—a resilient and iconic species roaming our Northern Great Plains—now serves as the national mammal of the United States. In a show of bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Bison Legacy Act on April 26, celebrating a species once on the brink of extinction.

“The plains bison’s remarkable recovery from near extinction in the 20th century is an important reminder that we can change the course of history when we work together to save an imperiled species,” said Dennis Jorgensen, WWF’s Bison Initiative Coordinator for Northern Great Plains program.

WWF applauds this decision, and it is our hope that this designation will encourage more Americans to experience this incredible animal firsthand, ultimately helping to ensure that it thrives well into the future.

Impressive resilience
Not long ago, an estimated 30-60 million plains bison moved in vast herds across America’s rolling grasslands. Strong and resilient, these herds helped shape what has now become our nation’s heartland. However, as a result of westward expansion and commercial hunting, plains bison were hunted to the brink of extinction with approximately 500 left by the turn of the 20th century.

Despite nearly insurmountable challenges, a diverse group led by visionary leaders like George Bird Grinnell, Native American communities, ranchers, industrialists, conservationists, and other concerned citizens came together in support of the bison. Their combined effort resulted in one of America’s first conservation success stories, and thanks to their dedication, the American public began to see the bison as more than just a source of leather. Remarkably, by the 1930’s, 20,000 bison had been restored to public lands.

The bison is an Ice Age survivor, the nation’s largest land mammal, and a long-standing symbol of freedom, strength, and self-determination that has been famously symbolized in the Buffalo Nickel and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s official seal.

Looking ahead
WWF works with Native American communities and the National Park Service to ensure that large herds of bison are common once again, securing the bison’s long-term health and a lasting place within the communities that welcome its return. We thank the American people for their support of this important effort to restore a true icon of the grasslands to its rightful place.

Learn more about bison.


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The World’s Elephants Can’t Wait

In a lot of ways, it felt like déjà vu: The US government and the conservation community came together again to destroy a stockpile of confiscated ivory and to make a statement that the United States has zero tolerance for wildlife crime.

This time, it was in one of the most visible locations in the media capital of the world: New York City’s Times Square. The event involved crushing more than one ton of ivory confiscated in the US. A similar ivory crush took place in 2013 at a federal facility a bit more off the beaten path, in Denver, and involved six tons of ivory confiscated in the US.

In some other important ways it was different. Since the first US ivory crush, many more governments have taken steps to address wildlife crime, including major ivory markets like China and Thailand. And the US is soon to release what we expect to be stronger regulations to address our own ivory problem here at home.

Holding a second crush in New York City, as passing tourists stopped to watch and elephant lovers gathered in support, was important for another reason: it usually takes more than a single action to make a lasting change. 

An emotional undertaking
I watched as people wiped tears from their eyes viewing the piles of carved ivory ready to go in the crusher in the Square. Behind every piece of ivory is a dead elephant. And behind a dead elephant is often organized crime, corruption and human misery. People who buy ivory as fashion, art or collectibles need to rethink their decision and hear that message as many times as it takes.

WWF and some of our most important partners in this effort were there for both crushes, as was elephant advocate and actress Kristin Davis. This time, in New York, she was invited to flip the switch at the Empire State Building to light it up in honor of elephant conservation and the ivory crush. For one night, the iconic American landmark will feature a light show of animated elephants to help share the message in a different, very visual way.

Why we crush ivory
A lot of people, including elephant lovers, ask, ‘Why destroy confiscated ivory?’ Why doesn’t the US government simply sell off seized ivory and use the money to fund elephant conservation efforts?

Destroying seized ivory as a way to send a message about elephant poaching goes back to when Kenya burned its seized ivory in a giant bonfire in 1989 as it campaigned—successfully—for a global ban on commercial ivory trade. Since then, Gabon, China, Hong Kong, Belgium, Chad and many other countries have followed suit. It’s a largely symbolic act, but it also prevents the ivory from being stolen and ever put back into trade.

Flooding the market with ivory could stimulate demand by giving it value and making consumers covet it more. That’s the last thing we want to see happen.

Plus it’s illegal. The ivory crushed by the US government was illegally brought into the country and, as such, it could not have been sold.

Laws regulating ivory in the US continue to cause confusion because some ivory—like antiques and that brought into the country before the global ban in 1989—can still be sold legally. It causes confusion for consumers and makes law enforcement’s job harder. That’s why we are hopeful that the pending regulations will simplify things for law enforcement, for ivory owners and for the public. We are also hopeful the US will enact them very soon.

With as many as 30,000 a year killed for their ivory, the world’s elephants can’t wait.

Act now to stop the slaughter of elephants.


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The Humane Society of the United States Urges Vote on Ivory Ban Bill and Applauds Senator Duff for Shining Spotlight on Cruelty of Trophy Hunting

A coalition led by The Humane Society of the United States applauds efforts for a ban on sales of ivory in Connecticut. HB 5578 has 30 co-sponsors, including Rep. Phil Miller, D-36, and Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-22, who are leading the charge in helping to fight the rampant poaching of elephants and rhinos by ensuring that Connecticut does not play a role in the ivory rhino horn trafficking crisis.
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Three Reasons to Microchip Your Dog

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3 Keys to Successful Dog Training

Remember three words and develop a great relationship with your dog that leads to a successful dog training program.
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Common Heartworm Medication Ivermectin Can Have Serious Side Effects for Some Breeds

Certain breeds and types of dogs can have serious reactions to ivermectin, a drug commonly used in the treatment and prevention of heartworm and other canine parasites.
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13 Images That’ll Look Familiar If You Live With A Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier is a bundle of energy and love. He’s playful, clever, and wholeheartedly affectionate with his people. From agility and earthdog to a game of catch or a good snuggle, you can’t ask for a more lovable, entertaining companion, as these 13 images show.
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National Purebred Dog Day is May 1 – Show your Support

Purebred dogs play a special and important role in our lives. On May 1, the American Kennel Club invites you to join us as we honor the pride, predictability, and purpose of purebred dogs and promote the preservation of these breeds.
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Iowa Legislature Adjourns Without Passing Harmful Breeder Legislation

The Iowa State Legislature adjourned on Friday evening for the year and once again no legislation that would negatively impact breeders and dog owners was passed. The AKC thanks the numerous breeders and clubs in Iowa who worked tirelessly to educate their legislators on the truth about responsible breeders and…
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PetSmart® and Arizona Diamondbacks Team Up to Set GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Milestone for Most Dogs Attending a Sporting Event

Record Attempt Will Take Place May 1 with “Bark at the Park” at Chase Field; 1,000 Dogs Needed, Fans Invited to ParticipatePHOENIX – April 21, 2016 – Chase Field has gone to the dogs! After the successful launch earlier this month of the PetSmart Patio and additional PetSmart-sponsored permanent dog-welcoming facilities at Chase Field that have created the first-ever season long dog-friendly ballpark in America, PetSmart, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Central Garden & Pet are cranking it up a notch – 1,000 – or 1,000 notches –by attempting to set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most dogs attending a sporting event. The attempt will be officiated by a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS …
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Reward Offered in Rockingham County, North Carolina Cat Cruelty Case

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $ 5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the deaths of cats found in Madison, North Carolina, and other county locations.
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Federal court rejects U.S. plan for restoring embattled Northwest salmon

By Eric M. Johnson SEATTLE (Reuters) – The U.S. government’s latest plan for offsetting the harm to migrating salmon from a series of dams in the Columbia River watershed violates the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. The ruling in a case stretching back 15 years marks a victory for environmental advocates, the Nez Perce Tribe, anglers and others who sued government agencies over their plan for aiding salmon and steelhead that travel between the Pacific Ocean and the upper reaches of the inland Northwest. The battle is centered on how the dams the federal government says generate electric power crucial for the region effects the more than a dozen groups of salmonids that are listed as endangered or threatened under U.S. law that must traverse the barriers along their arduous path to reproduce.
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Hawaii says “No More!” to wildlife traffickers

Wed, 05/04/2016

Hawaii was likely the biggest remaining market in the US ivory trade, and passage of this bill means that the top three markets are now crossed off the board.The Hawaii legislature has just passed a bill to restrict sales of ivory and other wildlife products from imperiled species, making it the f

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Bo and Sunny Obama Go Trick-or-Treating

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted local kids and the children of military families for trick-or-treating on the White House lawn Saturday — and first dogs Bo and Sunny joined the fun. White House photographer Pete Souza shared this photo of the Portuguese Water Dogs posing with a display featuring their doppelgangers, with the caption “Bo and Sunny. Bo and Sunny.” — See photos on Instagram
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Firefighters Save Kittens From Apartment Fire

Firefighter Vincent Martinelli saved the lives for four young kittens while responding to a 2-alarm fire in the Bronx on Sunday. “It was smoky in the apartment, and I heard noise coming from the bay of the floorboards,” said the FDNY’s Martinelli. “It was the kittens, they were crying. I found one, and then the others. They are so young. I’m glad we were able to get them out of there.” Martinelli happily held the little rescues outside the scene on Sunday. “God Bless all the firefighters who risk their lives everyday for other people and animals too,” said one Facebook commenter. — Read it from the FDNY via Facebook

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7 Signs of Submissive Behavior in Dogs

Dogs can’t wave a little white flag to surrender from a confrontation. Instead, they use their body language to say, “I’m not a threat.” For us humans, interpreting the signs of submission in dogs isn’t always intuitive. To help you better understand your dog’s submissive body language, we put together a handy visual guide of a few of the signs you should look for.

EmbeddableSlideshow: Signs of Submissive Behavior in Dogs EMBEDDABLE SLIDESHOW

Submissive Body Language
Lying Belly Up or Rolling Over: Peeing When Greeting: Moving Ears Backward or Flattening Ears Against the Head: Grinning Submissively: Tucked-In Tail or Wagging Tail Low and Fast: Avoiding Direct Eye Contact: Licking Another Dog’s Muzzle:

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What to Expect During Your Cat’s Senior Years

Image: close up of senior cat ThinkstockPhotos-483426531

Cats can live into their late teens and sometimes even early 20s, but you may notice some changes in yours as he ages.

Your senior cat may play less and be less willing to climb or jump. Part of that could be because of arthritic changes. Make sure he doesn’t have to jump or climb to get to his litterbox or food and water bowls. Also, consider getting a litterbox with lower sides and placing one on each floor of your house. You can also provide steps and ramps to make it easier for him to access favorite perches. Encourage him to exercise with moderate play, which can benefit his muscle tone, flexibility, circulation and weight.

Because of arthritis, obesity or other health conditions, older cats may groom less or be less effective when grooming. That can sometimes result in matted fur or increased odor. Claws may become more thick or brittle. These changes mean you may need to groom your cat, including brushing fur and cutting nails, more often as he ages. 

Some cats may wander aimlessly around the house, meowing excessively and sometimes acting as though they are disoriented. This could be age-related cognitive dysfunction or it could be caused by other physical changes that your veterinarian can diagnose and possibly treat. Any marked change in behavior, including increased sleeping (or increased activity), less family interaction or hiding and loss of litterbox training calls for a veterinary examination.

Older cats can be more stressed by boarding or traveling. If you must travel, consider asking someone to stay in your home and care for your cat or check in on him at least once a day.

Older cats may have some hearing loss. If your cat seems to be ignoring you or fails to notice when you enter the room, try talking more loudly and in a lower voice. Older cats may also have some vision loss. A slight haziness to the lens is usually normal in older cats, but a solid white appearance may indicate a cataract. Several diseases, including those associated with high blood pressure, can result in retinal detachment and blindness. If you suspect that your cat has lost some of his hearing or sight, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Sense of smell may also diminish with age, which can in turn cause a decreased appetite. This can be serious in a very old cat, especially one that tends to be underweight. These cats may need a higher calorie diet with good quality protein, and they may need to be encouraged to eat. If your older cat is not eating as much as usual, it’s important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. She can determine if there’s an underlying medical problem and recommend the right treatment or diet.

Often, a loss of appetite in an older cat may be the result of painful dental disease. Ask your veterinarian to examine your cat’s mouth. It’s possible that a dental cleaning and treatment of painful teeth can help improve your cat’s appetite. If your cat is missing a lot of teeth, consider feeding softer foods.

Older cats can be prone to kidney disease, which can lead to dehydration. If your cat is drinking and urinating more, see your veterinarian. In addition, you may need to place additional water bowls around the house and talk to your veterinarian about feeding your cat wet food.

Older cats are subject to other diseases like cancer, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and inflammatory bowel disease. Your senior cat should have a veterinary check-up at least twice a year, and blood work is a necessity. Talk to your vet about your senior cat’s individual needs.

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¿Por Qué Mi Pájaro… Me Muerde?

Image: Why does my bird bite 186295384 335lc122413.jpg

Ya sea que tu pájaro mordisquee tus dedos ocasionalmente o te muerda descaradamente como si estuviera haciendo audición para la nueva versión de “Los Pájaros”, de Alfred Hitchcock, sus mordidas no siempre son lo que parecen, de acuerdo con Laurie Hess, médico veterinario y dueña del Centro Veterinario para Pájaros y Animales Exóticos, de Bedford Hilss, en Nueva York. La Dra. Hess explica que morder es el principal problema de comportamiento del que recibe quejas.

Aprendiendo “Lenguaje de pájaros"

Aunque algunos pájaros pueden morder por enojo, es más común que el pájaro use su pico por miedo. “El pájaro te está diciendo que tal vez no quiere hacer lo que tú quieres que haga, y morder es una de las pocas formas que tiene para comunicarlo”, dice la Dra. Hess. “Realmente, no puede hacer mucho más”.

En ocasiones tu amigo emplumado no está intentando morderte, sino que está usando su pico como herramienta para sujetarse y después lleva sus patas hacia el pico, explica la Dra. Hess. “De hecho, esto me sucedió una vez en un programa de televisión a nivel nacional, en el que el pájaro se fue hacia el brazo de una mujer”, dice, “y ella pensó que el pájaro la estaba mordiendo, ¡pero solamente se estaba impulsando!”

Y como los pájaros son criaturas orales, explica la Dra. Hess, en ocasiones picarán y probarán cosas, pero eso no quiere decir que el pájaro esté tratando de hacer daño.

Intenta hablar su idioma

Incluso cuando un pájaro sea considerada erróneamente como agresiva o enojada, cuando solamente tiene miedo, la mordida duele igual y puede afectar la felicidad de un hogar. Por suerte, existen formas para reducir este comportamiento. La Dra. Hess recomienda aprender el lenguaje corporal de tu pájaro y su significado, para que cuando tu pájaro te dé una señal de que no está listo para salir de su jaula, por ejemplo, puedas darle un poco más de tiempo.

La Dra. Hess sugiere dar al pájaro algo mejor de lo que obtiene al morderte. El morder, como otros comportamientos, se hace, ya sea para obtener algo bueno o para evitar algo malo, y persistirá si se fomenta, a menos que se ofrezca una mejor alternativa. Pone a su propio pájaro, Dale, como ejemplo de cómo recibir un premio especial es más atractivo para el pájaro, que hacer que su dueña lo deje solo cuando llegue a casa. “Si voy a la jaula de Dale tan pronto llego a casa, y le abro la puerta y me muerde y me alejo”, dice la Dra. Hess, “entonces continuará mordiendo mi mano porque sabe que me voy a alejar”. Sin embargo, si la Dra. Hess se acerca a la jaula de Dale con una almendra en la mano, “y le pido al pájaro que se suba en mi mano y toma la almendra, que le encanta y no va a tener en otro momento”, explica, “entonces va a saber que ‘si me subo a la mano, obtengo una almendra’. Y eso es algo por lo que vale la pena subirse en la mano”.

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Expert Advice for Trimming Your Kitten’s Nails

Image: Trimming Kitten Claws ThinkstockPhotos-479790712

As kittens grow, they discover all their fighting tools, including their nails. They also discover how much fun it is to climb furniture and bat at toys. But what they really need to discover is how to accept you cutting their nails so you can help protect them from the pain of overgrown nails and prevent damage to your furniture and flesh.

Kittens normally have their claws retracted so they have some control over whether they are scratching. But don’t count on training your kitten to keep his claws retracted — you’ll have better luck clipping his nails every few weeks.

Accustom your kitten to lying on his back in your lap facing you or in another position that is comfortable and calming for him. You can start when he’s sleepy and give him some treats for remaining still for increasingly longer periods. Practice holding each paw in your hand, rewarding him for being cooperative. Then gently press on the tops of each toe until the claw is exposed. Again, give him treats for being good.

Finally, after several days (at least) of such practice, it’s time to clip his first nail. For a kitten, you can use human fingernail clippers or small nail trimmers made for pets. Just make sure they’re sharp, as dull clippers can crush the nail, which may be painful. For now, just cut off the very tip of each nail. Avoid the pinkish quick you can see within the nail. The quick contains both blood and nerve supplies to the nail, so be prepared for a bit of bleeding and protesting if you cut it. But don’t panic. Stop the bleeding with some styptic powder, and if you don’t have that, you can use flour or cornstarch. Make sure to apologize with treats and promises not to slip up again!

Give a treat after each nail and don’t feel you have to cut them all this first time. It’s better to stop before your kitten starts struggling than to push things to that point. Instead, give him a break and do a few more nails later. Just remember which ones you’ve already done! Cats have five toes (and five claws) per front foot and four toes (and four claws) per back foot — although polydactyl cats can have many more. One of the nails on each front paw is actually up on the wrist, so don’t overlook it.

When your kitten learns early that nail trimming can be a positive and rewarding experience, he’ll be more likely to cooperate with it later on in life. It’s also important to provide your kitten with scratching posts or platforms so that he learns to sharpen his nails there, rather than on your furniture.

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Woman Adopts Dying Dog and Brings Him on Adventures

When Nicole Elliot adopted Chester, she knew they wouldn’t have a lot of time together — and she wanted to spoil him rotten in his final days. The dog had been surrendered to a Georgia shelter with a large tumor on his head in April. Elliot brought Chester home on June 27, and started planning little adventures for him, including playing in a stream, eating a hot dog lunch and going on a shopping trip where he got a bed, toys and treats. She documents Chester’s fun times on his Facebook page. “He is just very sweet and he soaks up any love that you give him,” Elliot said. "He deserves it … His past life didn’t seem too well." She hopes Chester’s story will help inspire more people to adopt older and terminally ill shelter animals — something she plans to continue to do in the future. — Read it at ABC News

The before and after of Chester after being saved from deathrow at the pound in Columbus. I want to thank Animal Ark…

Posted by Chester’s final journey on Sunday, June 28, 2015

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Wellness Simple Healthy Weight Salmon & Peas Formula

Wellness Simple Healthy Weight Salmon and Peas Formula are specially formulated to maintain a healthy weight. It is grain free and has no artificial additives or fillers. It contains Chondroitin, Glucosamine, Prebiotics and Probiotics and helps support overburdened joints and hips. Due to the increased levels of fiber it naturally satisfies hunger. The high quality […]
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We Found Our Spirit Animal… In The Form Of A Food-Loving Corgi

This little Corgi loves food so much, we’ve basically decided she’s our spirit animal.
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Ever Wonder Why People Wear Fur?

Ever Wonder Why People Wear Fur?

By now, you’ve probably seen the viral video that PETA posted on social media about coyotes who are killed for the fur trim on Canada Goose jackets. (And if you haven’t, check it out and share!) Dedicated activists (like Rob, Len, and you!) have decided that they’ve had enough—and so the #FurChallenge was born. More than half of the fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of animals, including dogs and cats, are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and often skinned alive for their fur. Fur is often deliberately mislabeled, so if you wear any fur, there’s no way of knowing for sure whose skin you’re in. To the animals killed for fur, your #FurChallenge could mean life or death.

If you’re fed up with animals being tortured and killed for fashion accessories, follow these steps and take the #FurChallenge:

1. Find a fur wearer.  

If you come across people wearing fur or a Canada Goose jacket with fur trim, calmly approach them and politely ask if you could have a minute of their time to talk about fur.

Fur-Image-

2. Tell them that #FurIsDead.

Animal Rights Activists Handing Out Leaflets

  • If they tell you that they’re wearing fake fur, thank them for not contributing to the electrocution and killing of animals on fur farms.
  • If they become upset or hostile, it’s important to remain calm. Politely tell them that you hope they’ll reconsider wearing the skins of animals who suffered and were killed.

How to Hand Out Leaflets

3. Ask them to ditch fur.

Once you discuss the cruelty of the fur industry, ask them if they would consider donating their fur to PETA or to a local homeless or animal shelter. If they’re wearing a Canada Goose jacket, ask them to stop promoting fur by removing the fur trim from the jacket.

Fur-Coat-Donation-3-small-min-770x514

4. Post your #FurChallenge.

Make sure to record your interaction or take a photo of your discussion. Post your results on Facebook with #FurChallenge and tag PETA.

5. Challenge your friends.

Tag at least three of your best anti-fur friends, and ask them to take the challenge as well. Keep the peer pressure on, and make sure that they complete the challenge and pass it on!

Here’s The Rest of Your Fur Coat PSA

Millions of animals are killed by trappers every year for clothing companies such as Canada Goose. Some fur traps, like steel-jaw traps, can cut into the flesh of an animal, often down to the bone, mutilating the animal’s foot or leg.

Body-painted 'coyotes' brave 25° weather to show shoppers how they suffer & die for @CanadaGooseInc fur trim.

Body-painted ‘coyotes’ brave 25° weather to show shoppers how they suffer & die for Canada Goose fur trim.

Some animals, especially mothers who are desperate to get back to their young, attempt to chew or twist off their trapped limbs. Are you ready to take the #FurChallenge?

 

Want to find more ways to speak up for animals?

Already part of the Action Team? Speak out against humane meat.

The post Ever Wonder Why People Wear Fur? appeared first on PETA.

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PETA Statement: Solitary Chimpanzee Finally Freed From Stump Hill Farm

PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet released the following statement in response to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s seizure today of numerous exotic animals from the notorious Stump Hill Farm:

Today, Ohio authorities gave numerous exotic animals a chance at a great future, including the chimpanzee Tootie, whose freedom from solitary confinement PETA has demanded for years. The Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act is clearly working, and PETA won’t stop pushing until no more animals are left suffering and neglected in Stump Hill Farm’s exploitative, filthy facilities.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and more information about Stump Hill Farm is available here.

The post PETA Statement: Solitary Chimpanzee Finally Freed From Stump Hill Farm appeared first on PETA.

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Viral Photo: Kitten and Police Officer Have Matching Mustaches

JD isn’t the only animal to find a new home thanks to law enforcement. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, a police officer with a soft spot for animals has made a tiny kitten his partner. “Another officer had found her in the rain under a trash dumpster and brought her into the department,” said Officer Cody Garrett, 28. “I offered to take her because I have another rescue at home who is currently nursing her four kittens.” Now, a selfie Garrett shared on Instagram of Squirt perched on his shoulder in his patrol car — with the two sporting matching mustaches — has gone viral. Squirt joined seven other pets at the animal-loving officer’s home. — Read it at ABC News

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Study Reveals Why Labs Crave Food

Researchers found Labs sometimes have a mutation of the POMC gene, which leads to more food-motivated behaviors.
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As Global Temperatures Reach Record High, Climate Action Breaks Records of its Own

In response to data released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declaring December through February as the warmest on record globally, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from vice president, climate and energy, Lou Leonard.

“Only two months after world governments agreed in Paris to limit planetary warming to no more than 1.5 C, monthly average temperatures crossed that threshold for the first time in February. Now in March, another disturbing record falls.

“Extraordinary warmth in the Arctic has limited the winter sea ice extent to the lowest level ever; and record high sea surface temperatures have fed devastating rains in the southern U.S. and elsewhere. The threats of climate change have never been more clear.

“As our planet sends stronger and stronger signals, climate action is breaking records of its own. On Saturday, 178 countries and territories will participate in the largest Earth Hour to date – sending a signal that, for the first time, momentum for action is on our side. This marks the beginning of a pivotal year of progress to make real on the gains made in Paris and scale up the even greater action needed to save the Arctic and communities around the world.”


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Collaborating to Count Arctic Seals and Polar Bears

Trying to count the number of seals and polar bears on sea ice in the northern Arctic Ocean’s remote Chukchi Sea is no simple task. But scientists are finding answers by looking skyward — 1,000 feet in the air in fact — to record populations of these iconic Arctic species in this remote waterway between Russia and Alaska.

American and Russian scientists have now teamed up, with some support from WWF, to develop the region’s first comprehensive and reliable population estimates of ringed and bearded seals and polar bears. For the past several weeks, scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Russian State Research and Design Institute for the Fishing Fleet have been using high-resolution and heat-detecting infrared cameras mounted on an airplane to collect information on these species in the Chukchi Sea.

“When US and Russian scientists work together to improve our understanding of wildlife populations, we get a better picture of the range-wide status of these keystone species across the Arctic landscape,” said WWF’s Senior Biologist for Wildlife Conservation Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf. “Wildlife does not recognize international boundaries, so it’s critical that the science supporting their management crosses those borders as well.”

And the technology is better for wildlife too. Not only does this equipment make detecting these animals easier, but it also helps reduce the chances that they will be disturbed by low-flying planes, which were used in previous surveys.

“High resolution cameras enable us to collect color images that we use to identify seal species. This approach allows us to fly at a much higher altitude than previous surveys that relied on human observers looking out the windows to detect and identify animals by eye. We can now fly surveys at about 1,000 feet rather than 400 feet,” said Peter Boveng, Program Leader for NOAA’s Polar Ecosystem Program.

Bearded seals, ringed seals and polar bears, all of which live on sea ice at times of the year, are considered vital resources for northern coastal Alaska Native communities and are key species in Arctic marine ecosystems, yet no reliable population estimates are available for vast portions of their ranges.

These new data will help scientists evaluate long-term population trends and how these populations are responding to climate change. It will then be used for decision-making about management, conservation, and permitting of activities in the Arctic that could affect these species or their habitat. Surveys are being conducted during April to mid-June when each species is mostly likely to be seen.

“This is an exciting project that expands an innovative technology — successfully trialed on seal populations — and expands it to polar bears for the first time,” said Klenzendorf. “As this technique is tested and refined, we’ll have another powerful tool that allows us to better understand and protect the Arctic ecosystem and fill urgent knowledge gaps on the population status of polar bears.”


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WWF’s Ginette Hemley Testifies Before US Senate on Global Poaching Crisis

Today at a hearing on wildlife poaching before the Senate Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, WWF’s senior vice president of wildlife conservation Ginette Hemley attested that wildlife crime is an urgent crisis that must and can be stopped.

Hemley testified that if we are to save the world’s rhinos and elephants, the US must help build stronger capacity to stop the killing on the ground in Africa, dismantle transnational organized crime syndicates by strengthening information networks, s, support community based resource management programs that benefit both people and wildlife and halt the demand for wildlife products in key markets.

She urged the subcommittee to continue the momentum of the current Administration to tackle this global threat.

“We’re talking about transnational organized crime as applied to wildlife, and to that end, WWF strongly encourages support for the legislation…to make large scale wildlife trafficking a predicate offense to other major crimes such as money laundering, racketeering and smuggling, and provide critical tools for enforcement,”

Hemley also advocated on behalf of the heroic rangers on the frontlines of protecting wildlife, and advised that the U.S. put more resources supporting on the ground efforts. 

The evening prior to the Senate hearing, Hemley moderated in a briefing about the global poaching crisis for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. This was in support of The Global Poaching Act, HR 2494 “to support global anti-poaching efforts, strengthen the capacity of partner countries to counter wildlife trafficking, designate major wildlife trafficking countries, and for other purposes.”

Wildlife crime has reached unprecedented numbers in recent years. 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa for their horns in 2014, and already 700 have been slaughtered in 2015.

 

 


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