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The Scottish Fold – Owl Cat Extraordinaire

Sunday 20 December 2015

The Scottish Fold is something of a special breed of cat.  Seeing one for the first time you are drawn to its round facial features and, in the back of your mind, a thought nags you that something seems to be missing. Then you realize – it’s all about the ears.


Have you ever wanted to travel to the Galapagos and witness for yourself all the marvel of natures to be found on those (not so these days) isolated islands? Well, courtesy of Tom Pinsard, now you don’t have to.  Just sit back and enjoy this serene and gorgeous tour of the Galapagos Islands.  It may not be quite the same as going there yourself, but it’s the next best thing.

In Between: The World of the Musk Ox

In between refers to the fact that although most consider the Ice Age over, it is really still dying out – not quite disappeared for good. Yet many of the animals we associate with it, the saber-toothed cats and the woolly mammoth have long since gone the way of the dinosaur. One creature still persists in the Arctic – the Musk Ox. This beautiful short, photographed by Rolf Steinmann, shows a world unknown to most of us.

Dolphin Army

Sunday 29 November 2015

A huge pod of Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) makes its way up the East African Coast each year in the search of Sardines. Follow them for a short part of this journey to see what they find in this wonderful short by Simon Buxton. It was filmed off the Wild Coast Region - an unforgiving area with big seas and cold water.  Thank goodness sardines come in cans for us!

Hey! A Dog isn't just for Christmas - it's for Halloween Too!

Saturday 31 October 2015

Every year on October 31 the ghouls and ghosts rise - and people make fools of themselves all over the world by wearing ridiculous outfits.  Well, Halloween isn't just for humans, you know!  Here we bring together some wonderful shots of pets of all sizes (OK, dogs - they are the only ones who seem to be able to put up with it!) in their Halloween outfits.  Enjoy this great set of pictures of the dogs of the world dressing up in their Halloween costumes.

Nico and the Turtle

Saturday 10 October 2015

The times when you can pinpoint the actions that you made which changed your life forever are sometimes hard to pinpoint.  Not so for Australian conservationist and filmmaker Jase Kovacs and his partner Jolene, both of Team Labyrinth.  They sail around south east Asia, investigating ecological issues and bringing attention to small and underrepresented community conservation organisations.

During their journey they came across young Nico who had rescued an incredibly rare hawksbill turtle from his father’s fishing nets at Dahican Beach, Mindanao, Philippines.  So far, so good but the events which unravel over the next few days might actually make you believe in fate.

Watch as Ants Attack a Large Millipede and Use Amazing Team-work to Drag it Away

Sunday 6 September 2015

This is something else.  Belgian freelance photographer and environmental engineer Stephane De Greef captured this footage in Cambodia.  A group of Leptogenys ants decide to attack a recumbent millipede.  What happens next is astonishing.

They surround it (in what can only be called a militarily disciplined fashion), then go in for the attack with one of their number attacking the head (surely the most vulnerable part).  The millipede's reaction is immediate and desperate.  However, the ants soon have the upper hand and drag their hapless victim away by assembling chains made up of themselves.

There is no music or narration here, but if you are in a certain mood then you can use the on-screen notes as visual prompts to become your very own David Attenborough. "Deep in the jungle of Cambodia..."

Whale Haven: Where Whales find Sanctuary

Off the shore of Campania Island in Canada’s British Columbia is a place where whales of many species find sanctuary. Northern resident killer whales, the fish-eaters, come together to form superpods.

On some days more than fifty individuals follow the salmon migration into the mainland fjords of the Great Bear Rainforest. The transient killer whales, the marine-mammal eaters, are forever travelling between seal and sea lion haul-outs, teaching the young how to hunt.

Yet there is trouble in this resplendent, tranquil ocean paradise.  This short film by Pacific Wild shows us what the future may hold in store for these magnificent creatures.  Click on the HD symbol at the bottom right of the video for its full awesomeness (if your device will take it!).

Breakfast at Giraffe Manor

Sunday 23 August 2015

Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya was built in the 1930s but today its main purpose is somewhat different to its original design.  It serves as a sanctuary for a herd of Rothschild’s Giraffes, a highly endangered species and the manor has been involved in their conservation since the 1970s.

Photographer and author Robin Moore captured these wonderful shots of the giraffes – seemingly in their element and completely at ease with the tourists around them.  In fact, to the giraffes, the presence of a few people seems to be just a minor complication in their quest for food!

It just goes to show that conservation takes many forms. In a perfect world, perhaps, there wouldn’t be a need for places like Giraffe Manor yet with their numbers declining rapidly, anything which draws attention to their plight has to be applauded.

The video was produced for "This Happened Here" on the Seeker Network from Discovery featuring Robin’s images and video from Giraffe Manor.

What on Earth is this Swan Doing?

Friday 7 August 2015

I was recently on vacation with my family in Chester (North England) and on one of our walks along the local canal we came across this swan. He (or she) seemed intent on swimming up and down alongside a barge. Our best guess was that the swan was trying to catch small insects that, for whatever reason, were congregating there. Is there anyone out there who can confirm this? Is this normal swan behavior?

I’m New!

Thursday 28 May 2015

If you have had a stressful day then grab a drink, sit back and just take this all in.  Created by Sander van Schie, this short film simply allows us to watch as new life takes to the water in the form of ducklings and baby coots.  That’s pretty much it (except an appearance by a heron!) but that is all you will need – hopefully – to unwind and simply enjoy this marvellous example of what nature has to offer us.

Manta Ray Rescue

Every year millions of animals die as a result of items being discarded in to the ocean.  In this case it is a tangle of fishing line which has managed to wind itself around a huge manta ray.  The animal must have been in agony – as the camera comes closer you can see the huge rips in its skin caused where the line has driven inwards.  It must have only been a matter of time before the pain and the wounds bettered the manta ray and it died.

Fortunately, it was encountered by a group of Undersea Hunter divers at Cocos Island off the shore of Costa Rica.  They were able to cut the manta ray free with a diving knife, releasing it after goodness knows how long.  One can only ponder on the ability of a large fish, such as the ray, being able to experience relief or even gratitude but it certainly seems to know that it has been released from its bondage.

This extraordinary footage was made by Paul Slater and Don Shellhammer.

Sanctuary of 700

Cats, cats, everywhere!  If you feel overwhelmed by two or three cats paying you attention then perhaps you should look away now!  Cat House on the Kings in California is currently home to 700 cats and kittens which, for a number of reasons, have lost their own place of safety and need somewhere to stay before they are adopted.

It’s quite a sight as the place has a no-cage policy which means that the cats are free to wander everywhere which, being cats, of course they do!

Run by the redoubtable Lynea Lattanzio, The Cat House began life over two decades ago and despite initial problems with permission to provide shelter to so many cats, has gone from strength to strength ever since.  Ms Lattanzio’s ultimate aim is, frankly, to go out of business.  Through educating the public she wants the need for this kind of place to become a thing of the past.  Eleanor Abernathy, the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons she ain’t.

Elizabeth Nelson, a graduating film student at Northern Arizona University, visited this fascinating place and created this lovely short documentary.  Although The Cat House does do tours, most of you reading this will be far away from California. So, take a guided tour around the facility and meet the staff, including Ms Lattanzio who tells us how the whole thing started.

The word sanctuary doesn’t fully or properly describe this place.  It’s a veritable Shangri-La for cats.  You can also learn a lot more about it at its website, The Cat House on the Kings.

Cool Facts about Snails

Saturday 2 May 2015

If you have ever wondered how snails get about, which of their ‘eyes’ they use to see, how strong they are or even how long they live then you have come to the right place! This is the first episode of The Macro Life by Rubber Knife Productions and features all those essential facts about snails that you always meant to ask but never quite got around to.  With a jocular narration by Jeremy Linn, this look at the macro life of snails is hugely enjoyable.

Watch as Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks Save their Ducklings from an American Alligator

The black-bellied whistling duck makes its nest as high as possible to avoid predators.  As you can see here, the bird house wasn’t exactly planned for this family!

Yet when the time comes for the ducklings to leap from the safety of the box in to the water the last thing the parents want is all their hard work to disappear in to the belly of an American alligator.  When it looks as if this is likely, the plucky parent leaps in to action and drives away the reptilian onslaught!

This remarkable footage was shot and edited by Tara Tanaka

Skeletorus! Amazing New Species of Peacock Spider Discovered

Saturday 18 April 2015

It is, of course, just a nickname.  In September 2013, American PhD student Madeline (Maddie) Girard from Berkeley in California and her Sydney friend Eddie Aloise King alighted upon five males of a hitherto unknown species of peacock spider in Wondul Range National Park in Queensland, Australia. They were not able to resist a nod to He-Man’s primary adversary in the Masters of the Universe franchise, Skeletor (left). The bold, skeleton-like aspect of the male spider demanded a designation both apposite and memorable.

Girard took one of the spiders to Dr Jürgen Otto, handing it over with the words approximating to “This is what I call Skeletorus. When you look at him you will know why.”  Although professionally an acarologist (he studies mites and ticks), Otto is fascinated by the peacock spider and is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the genus.  He and David Hill, the American editor of the journal Peckhamia that specialises in the publication of articles on the jumping spider family, began studying this species in preparation for a scientific description.

The scientific name arrived at – its binomial nomenclature – is a little different to Girard’s creative nickname. This incredible new discovery has been named Maratus sceletus by Otto and Hill. Maratus is a genus of Salticidae which means that this is a peacock spider, one of the jumping spider family. Sceletus is Latin for (you probably know or have guessed this already) skeleton, which Otto and Hill thought it resembled more than the fictional character. Although Skeletorus was a strictly working name, it may, however, be the name that’s going to stick.

Monster Fish - In Search of the Last River Giants

Saturday 11 April 2015

Are there still enormous fish swimming in our lakes and rivers?

To find out the answer you will have to watch this short film animated by Daniel Gies.

It was made for the National Geographic Museum.

This is a beautifully made piece.  I am sure you will enjoy this.

Why Sharks Matter

Thursday 9 April 2015

It’s ironic that movies like Jaws present sharks as ravenous maneaters when the real villain of the piece is… you guessed it.  The human population of the planet eats hundreds of thousands of sharks each year – more specifically their fins.  Often what remains after the fin is removed – the bulk of the shark – is simply dumped back in to the ocean.

The shark has been the apex predator in the Earth’s oceans for 400 million years – the species has been around since before the dinosaurs.  Yet if we remove the shark from the oceans – and that seems likely if the demands from ravenous sharkeaters for shark fin soup persists – what will happen to the rest of the ecosystem?

Sign the pledge to ban the trade of shark fins in Texas, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Jersey:

Baby Elephant’s Bathtub is a Tight Squeeze

Kids are kids, whatever the species.  So when this baby elephant at the Elephantstay sanctuary in Thailand saw his bath being filled his first reaction is, like any sensible child, to make a run up to it and dive in head first. 

Unfortunately there comes a time when one outgrows the paddling pool and this pampered pachyderm hardly fits!
I never knew that elephants were capable of such contortions (but the older one in the background is doing its best been there done that air of nonchalence.

Lembeh Straits, A Macro Symphony

Monday 6 April 2015

The red ‘orang-utan’ crab that you can see in the picture on the left is so tiny that its home is a discarded Coca-Cola bottle top.  The shrimp that you will see after it is barely 4mm tall. 

Such is life in Malaysia’s Lembeh Straits and these two creatures along with all the others in this underwater macro short, filmed by Kay Burn Lim, make for fascinating viewing. To paraphrase a commenter, it makes one aware of the incredible diversity of life in our oceans and the paramount importance of preserving it.

Happiest Video EVER!

The folks at Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary in Australia have called this the Happiest Video Ever which is something of a claim.  However, I do believe that you will find the hyperbole warranted.  This video shows many of the inhabitants of the farm sanctuary which currently provides life-long love and care to over 250 rescued animals.  Watch it and I dare you not to go “aaaaw” at least five times!

Dolphins: The World's Best Surfers

You can find the world’s best surfers at Dolphin Cove near Esperance in West Australia but don’t expect to see any surf boards – the clue is in the name.

This remarkable footage captured by Jennene and Dave Riggs who have been wildlife filmmakers since 1998 shows a pod of dolphins simply enjoying themselves with what nature provides.  If we can’t have lives spent quite in the same pursuit of happiness then at least we can share the pleasure of watching our dolphin friends having fun.  Who was it who said we were the most intelligent species on the planet?

Quiz: Can You Name These 20 Common North American Backyard Birds?

Friday 3 April 2015

Can you name twenty of the most common North American birds?  Certainly if you live there you should be able to name a good number of these beautiful avian species.  You might see a few of them if you look out of your window right now – if you are lucky and it’s not the middle of the night.  Even if you don’t live in America you will be able to guess a number of these because they might just be found in your backyard too!

If the answer you choose goes GREEN, then you got it right.  If it goes RED then you got it wrong.  You will also see how many other people chose the different answers (in terms of a percentage).

Would you like to do another quiz?
Fifteen big cats and wild cats are to be found here - but can you guess the species? Click here or on the picture to do the quiz.

Image Credits
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 20

Quiz: How Many of these Endangered Mammals are Left?

Sunday 29 March 2015

Fifteen species, fifteen multiple choice questions. Yet how many of each species do you think still exists in the wild? 

If the answer you choose goes GREEN, then you got it right.  If it goes RED then you got it wrong.  You will also see how many others chose the different answers (in terms of a percentage).

Would you like to do another quiz?

If this quiz has left you a little depressed (the numbers of some of the species are of massive concern to everyone, after all, then try a quiz which, it is hoped, can only raise the spirits.  Fifteen big cats and wild cats are involved - but can you guess the species? Click here or on the picture to do the quiz.

Image Credits
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

The Brown Bear: King of the Nordic Forests

This short film by Chris Schmid strives to highlight the wild brown bears, it is the result of filming in remote locations in Finland over a couple of days.

While the brown bear's range has shrunk and it has faced local extinctions, it remains listed as a least concern species by the IUCN with a total population of approximately 200,000.

Penguin the Magpie and Noah take an Outdoor Shower

Photographer Cameron Bloom’s son Noah rescued a magpie when it was a chick.  Since then, although the appropriately (more or less) named Penguin is as free as a bird (ahem) it keeps coming back to re-engage with its adopted family.  Here Noah (an even more appropriate name, perhaps!) and Penguin take an outdoor shower together on a hot summer’s day.

You can see more photographs of this amazing friendship on Cameron Bloom’s Instagram feed.

Quiz: Can You Name All 15 of These Big Cat and Wild Cat Species?

Sunday 22 March 2015

Most of us know a lion or a tiger when we see one but some of the other big cats can be a little more difficult to name.  Throw in a number of wild cat species and it becomes more difficult to name them all.  Just how many of these amazing animals can you name here?  The quiz is multiple choice so you do have some chance at least so why not give it a go?

If the answer you choose goes GREEN, then you got it right.  If it goes RED then you got it wrong.  You will also see how many others chose the different answers (in terms of a percentage).

Would you like to do another quiz?
If this quiz has left you thirsty to test your general knowledge a little more then why not try our endangered mammals quiz?

Click on the picture on the left or HERE to go and do the quiz.  Good luck!

Image Credits
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Watch an Amazing Murmuration of Starlings

Tuesday 17 February 2015

It’s a great word, isn’t it, murmuration? Whoever invented it to describe a huge gathering of starlings needs a special medal for eccentrically but lovingly mauling the English language.  No one really knows why starlings do this. Some say it is for protection, others to indicate a roost is nearby.  Or maybe it’s just because they can. This staggering murmuration was captured in Brighton (UK) by the film making partnership of Sim Warren and Mia Xerri, The Contrast Collective.

Laundry Basket Cat

Sunday 11 January 2015

If you never quite seem to get your aim right when throwing things in to your laundry basket then this might be the solution.  Get yourself a cat like this one.  Simply place cat in laundry basket and then begin to throw your clothes. 

Laundry Basket Cat will ensure their safe arrival at their final pre-wash destination by leaping out and retrieving your errant (and flying) socks, shirts and sundries.  Cat-tastic!

Watch the Beautiful Hoopoe in Slow Motion Flight

Saturday 10 January 2015

The hoopoe is a beautiful, exotic looking bird which is found across three continents.  It is distinctive to say the very least – a pair of striking black and white wings, a long and elegant beak and a pink-brown body topped with a magnificent crest.  This lovely clip from The Life of Trees by Polish wildlife filmmaker Artur Homan catches this magnificent creature in slow motion flight – and it will take your breath away.

The Hidden Life in Pond Water

Although we bring you footage of strange creatures from the deepest oceans, here is proof that you don’t have to go very far to experience the truly bizarre.  Filmed by Daniel Stoupin, you will see a variety of strange and bewildering creatures in the local pond.  Experience a new universe of water fleas, bryozoans, water mites, mayfly nymphs, ostracods, and, of course, hydras. They jump, crawl, and float in a completely alien environment filled with mesmerizing algae and bushes of ciliates on stalks.

The Boreal Caribou of British Columbia

The number of caribou in British Columbia is shrinking and as this happens both the ecology and local human culture changes.

This fascinating short film shows us some of the issues they face as well as the attempts by wildlife biologists to help sustain this species, truly one of Canada’s iconographic animals. It was commissioned by the 14th North American Caribou Workshop hosted in Fort St John, British Columbia in September 2012.

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