Article credited to:

Animal Evacuation – Ready For Wildfire


During a wildland fire, local animal rescue organizations work with law enforcement and fire departments to rescue as many animals as they can. In battling a wildfire, firefighters will do what they can but they are not responsible for evacuating your livestock.

Cold Weather And Pets

Article credited to Humane Society:


Cold weather can be deadly for pets. … One of the most common forms of animal cruelty, cases of animals left outside in dangerous weather are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse.

NEWS :  Trump Calls Big Game Hunting a “Horror Show”; Plans to Keep Trophy Ban in Place

Article credited to Outdoor Hub:



Trump Calls Big Game Hunting a “Horror Show”; Plans to Keep Trophy Ban in Place

OutdoorHub Reporters

If you haven’t been thrown for a loop by President Trump before, this should surely do it.

[Read More]

The Absolutely Bizarre Story of Kentucky’s Cocaine Bear

Article credited to OutdoorHub:



The Absolutely Bizarre Story of Kentucky’s Cocaine Bear


OutdoorHub Reporters

Okay, now this story is pretty bizarre – even for us. . .

If you aren’t familiar with the story of Andrew Thornton II, we’ll try to give you a quick run-down.

Andrew was an ordinary farm kid from Kentucky. He got into trouble as a youngster, and eventually found himself in a military academy. After that, he became a Lexington narcotics police officer. We’ll see the irony of this later on. . .

Once he served time busting people on drug charges, he then became a practicing Lexington lawyer. Some even believe Thornton strategically planned his time on the “right side of the law” to help bridge connections with other shady characters across the globe.

According to Kentucky for Kentucky, in 1981, Thornton had been accused of stealing weapons from a California naval base, and conspiring to smuggle half a ton of marijuana into the U.S.

He was somehow able to evade those felony charges though, and got off only having to pay a small fine and spend 6 months in prison, on top of a suspended license.

You’re probably wondering by now, why we’re talking about this man and his trouble making ways, but bare with us, because this story is about to get turned on it’s head. . .

See, in 1985, Thornton had stepped up his criminal activities in a major way, and had been making regular trips to Columbia to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

During one of those runs, Thornton reportedly had a parachuting accident, and fell to his death in some guy’s yard in Knoxville, Tennessee. Apparently when they found his body, he had on night vision goggles, a bulletproof vest and Gucci loafers on his feet. He also had $4500 in cash casually jammed in his pockets.

Oh yeah, and there was also a duffel bag with roughly 75 pounds of cocaine in it.

This is where things get weird. . .

About three months after Thornton’s death, the body of a black bear was discovered in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest.

Kentucky for Kentucky reports this is how the story appeared in the New York Times:

Cocaine and a Dead Bear

BLUE RIDGE, Ga., Dec. 22 (UPI) — A 175-pound black bear apparently died of an overdose of cocaine after discovering a batch of the drug, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said today. The cocaine was apparently dropped from a plane piloted by Andrew Thornton, a convicted drug smuggler who died Sept. 11 in Knoxville, Tenn., because he was carrying too heavy a load while parachuting. The bureau said the bear was found Friday in northern Georgia among 40 opened plastic containers with traces of cocaine.

You don’t need to be an expert to know that’s a lot of blow for a bear to get it’s paws on. Just imagine how this went down; The bear was probably rummaging through the forest feasting on berries and bugs, when suddenly it was raging through the trees, and tripping off Columbian star dust.

Ky for Ky did some further poking around for this story, and we’re so glad that they did.

Eventually they got in contact with the actual medical examiner (who’s now retired) who performed the bear’s necropsy and the memory of the cocaine bear was still fresh in his mind.

“Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn’t a mammal on the planet that could survive that. Cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, that bear had it.”

The bear’s body was apparently in good shape though, so the examiner thought it would be a waste to have it cremated. He made some phone calls, had it taxidermised by a friend, and then gifted the animal to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

Cocaine bear sat on display in the visitor center for a while, before mysteriously disappearing along with a handful of other artifacts.

The stuffed cocaine bear switched hands a few more times after that – including being sold to country music legend Waylon Jennings – before finally settling in the Kentucky Fun Mall, located in northern Lexington.

Cocaine Bear, aka Pablo Eskobear, has become a sort of centerpiece, or a mascot after it’s bizarre journey to the Bluegrass

Change To 2018-19 Whitetail Season Proposed

Article credited to the Texas Trophy Hunters Association:


 NOVEMBER 15, 2017

Change To 2018-19 Whitetail Season Proposed

Change To 2018-19 Whitetail Season Proposed


The Houston Chronicle reports the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will consider extending the whitetail season an extra two weeks for next season. According to the paper, members of the public submitted a Petition for Rulemaking Consideration to Texas Parks and Wildlife requesting the change.

Currently, whitetail season closes on the first Sunday in January for the North Zone. It closes on the third Sunday in January in the South Zone.

[Read More]

Deer Hunter Rescues Button Buck Trapped on a Frozen Lake

Article credited to OutdoorHub:



 Deer Hunter Rescues Button Buck Trapped on a Frozen Lake

OutdoorHub Reporters

Do the first signs of winter have you feeling down? Well, don’t worry because even the deer are still having a hard time adjusting to the new frozen season.

A hunter in Minnesota lend a helping hand to a young deer who hasn’t quite got the hang of walking on ice yet. See, deer don’t necessarily have the best grip with their hooves, so when this deer went down, he went down hard and couldn’t get back up.

It’s not known for sure how long the deer was stuck out there for, but without the help of this hunter, the deer would have surely been doomed:

The hunter grabs a hold of the deer’s front hooves and pulled him all the way back to dry land. At first, the deer struggles to get its frozen legs back underneath him, but once he hits dry land, the deer scampers off to see another day.

Good work young man!



A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump’s wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life.

Article credited to The Texas Observer:

Field Notes from Santa Ana

A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump’s wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life.

The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a 3.3-square-mile tract of protected forest, wedged between the winding Rio Grande and the booming development of Alamo and McAllen. It’s a wild place at the intersection of desert, floodplain, scrub forest and jungle, where alluvial clay settles into sandy soils and where species at the edge of their ranges come together.

Ninety-five percent of the region’s habitat is gone; Santa Ana remains. At least 400 species of birds have been sighted inside, and 450 kinds of plants grow here, pollinated by half of North America’s butterfly species. Charismatic rarities like ocelots, jaguarundi and indigo snakes move through the brush.

[Read More]

What is Meant by Animal Rights?

Article credited to Friends of Animals:


What is Meant by Animal Rights?


What is meant by animal rights?

Every conscious being has interests that should be respected. No being who is conscious of being alive should be devalued to thinghood, dominated, used as a resource or a commodity. The crux of the idea known as animal rights is a movement to extend moral consideration to all conscious beings.

[Read More]

Animal Welfare Act

Artical credited to USDA:

Animal Welfare Act


[Read More]

Corporations and rivers now have rights. Animals are next.

Article credited to Philly:

Corporations and rivers now have rights. Animals are next.

Ingrid\'s 2014 headshots. Blue shirt against yellow PETA mission statement background.-17042017-0001

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk likens the pursuit of animal rights to earlier quests for civil rights and women’s rights

In a stunning move, India last month granted “living person” status to the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, making polluting the rivers akin to assaulting a human. A week earlier, New Zealand made the Whanganui River a “living entity” with legal rights.

Sound crazy? Maybe less so when you remember that in the Citizens United and Hobby Lobby cases, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled companies are like people and have certain rights.

If rivers and businesses have rights, why not animals, ask animal advocates excited by the river rulings.

“Legal personhood is not determined by biology, but by public policy,” argues Steven Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project. For decades he has been a lawyer for what he calls “nonhuman clients.”

Existing animal welfare statutes, he says, “don’t provide recourse against the inherent cruelty of depriving self-aware, autonomous beings of their freedom, the company of others of their kind and their natural habitats.” His goal is to pry open the law.

One success last year was the Oregon Supreme Court, contrary to the usual legal view, ruling that dogs are more than “property.” Nonjudicial successes included getting elephants out of the Ringling Bros. circus and killer whales out of Sea World, reflecting Americans’ changing attitudes toward captive animals.

Achieving “rights” for animals is poised to be the next great social revolution, but no one is suggesting that animals get the right to vote or to drive. The “rights” would be limited, like those enjoyed by children.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is considered extremist by some, yet founder Ingrid Newkirk’s definition of “rights” is moderate: “The decent, commonsense idea that if a living being can suffer, whether child or Chihuahua, man or mouse, it is wrong to impose that suffering on them needlessly,” she tells me.

Some animals do enjoy limited “rights,” says Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, “including not to be tortured or harmed in a malicious way. Others have the ‘right’ not to be confined in small cages and crates.” Achieving those protections was painful and slow.

If “rights” were conferred, it would raise ethical considerations. Could we raise animals as food?

Yes, we could, says Tara Zuardo, a lawyer for the Animal Welfare Institute. “There are countries like Germany that have animals written into the constitution, but they still raise animals for food,” using humane methods. “We predict that courts will increasingly issue decisions declaring that animals are not merely property and deserve certain legal rights,” she says.

A 1992 amendment to the Swiss Constitution recognized animals as “beings” instead of “things,” and in 2008 a committee of the Spanish Parliament conferred legal rights on great apes.

If a river has rights, how can they be denied to animals, which are sentient, and capable of feeling emotions such as joy, fear, loneliness?

“There is a trend toward recognizing that humans aren’t the be-all and end-all for those who deserve protection,” says Matthew Liebman, director of litigation for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. He cites cases around the world, from Spain to Argentina — where great apes have been accorded special protections and some formal “rights.”

For decades, the Nonhuman Rights Project has been going to court to secure rights for chimpanzees, but it hasn’t yet achieved a breakthrough.

It came close when it sued to have set free Leo and Hercules, two chimpanzees being held for research at Stony Brook University. The case stalled in 2015 when Stony Brook returned the chimps to the University of Louisiana, out of the court’s jurisdiction. PETA is in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that a chimp named Naruto holds the rights to pictures he took of himself using a camera set up and left in a forest.

Sound crazy? As crazy as Ringling giving up elephants?

Humans and chimpanzees share about 98 percent of the same DNA, and some humans have been freaked out ever since Charles Darwin wrote that humans are descended from apes.

Opposition to animal “rights” is formidable. Social conservatives want no part of it, nor does the church, which teaches that man has dominion over beasts. Because animals lack reason, don’t have a sense of morality or an understanding of duties toward others, they can’t have rights, some say. But don’t we all know irrational humans who lack morality and shirk responsibility?

“All the first civil and women’s rights cases were lost and lost and lost,” notes PETA’s Newkirk, “then they began to be won and won and won.”

Animal activists believe that the winning has begun.

[Read More]

How Forest Fires Affect Wild-Animal Suffering

by Brian Tomasik


Forest fires have both awful and wonderful effects with respect to wild-animal suffering. Bad effects include killing many animals (sometimes in excruciating ways) and possibly spurring increased plant growth. A substantial good effect of forest fires is that they eliminate huge amounts of stored plant food that would otherwise have created tons of new animals.

Bad effects of forest fires

Painful wildlife deaths

Burning alive is among the worst possible deaths. An animal that burns to death plausibly experiences a few times more pain than an animal dying in another way. This section includes some videos of burning bugs to help assess how bad burning deaths are.

That said, not all animals caught in forest fires burn alive. When people are burned at the stake with big fires, they die by asphyxiation rather than heat. A similar observation may apply to fires in the home, although inhaling extremely hot smoke is probably pretty painful in its own right: “A fully-developed indoor fire can reach or exceed temperatures of 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even one breath of this very hot air can be lethal.”

This article quotes one expert as saying regarding the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire: “There’s wildlife that are going to be just incinerated.” And:

After fires in southwestern Alberta in 2002, which occurred long after breeding season, the Alberta Birds of Prey Society received about 10 great-horned owls to its clinic. “Their feathers had been singed off, and their skin was burnt,” says Weir.

The article explains that while some animals are able to escape in time, others cannot:

smaller birds that fly at lower altitudes can die of smoke inhalation or exhaustion. […]

As for small mammals, a porcupine’s first response in the face of danger is to climb up trees. “That’s not overly useful in this situation,” says Zimmerling. “They’re not overly mobile.” Squirrels scurry to the very top branches, while burrowing animals can die if they don’t dig deep enough. “We may end up with animals cooking in the burrows unfortunately,” says Zimmerling. Mark Heathcott, a firefighter of 23 years in Banff National Park, recalls finding the body of a wolf that died during a controlled burn. “She panicked and tried to return to her den,” Heathcott says.

Stimulating plant growth

Some forests regenerate with fire. This article claims that “Many scientists point out that […] while in the short term these wildfires destroy trees, wildlife, and their habitats, in the long run wildfires help create enriched soil, greater biodiversity, and the greater overall health of a forest.”

This article reports:

Forests naturally burn, usually every 10 to 100 years, and the affected area will invite more sunlight, new grass and berry-producing bushes. “I can guarantee within days, you’ll see animals moving back to the same area looking for fresh vegetation,” says Zimmerling. “You’ll see a bump in numbers of deer and other ungulates. You’ll see an actual explosion of the moose population because there’ll be shrubs they like to forage on.”

This source says “the pyric factor is one of the factors involved in the formation of pristine vegetation.”

Increasing r-selection?

Disturbances like fire may favor r-selected species in the short run, until slower maturing K-selected species are able to return to the affected area? Having a bigger proportion of shorter lived, higher mortality animals generally means more suffering. On the other hand, if total animal populations are lower in the immediate aftermath of fire, it’s not clear that fire increases the absolute abundance of r-selected animals.

Good effects of forest fires

Eliminating stored biomass

Combustion of organic material releases stored chemical energy that would otherwise feed enormous numbers of invertebrates and many vertebrates. Years’ worth of primary production is stored in large trees, and burning it away should thereby avert years’ worth of potential wild-animal suffering.

This section includes some rough estimates of how much burning forest biomass may reduce bug populations in the future.

Is it good to prevent forest fires?

Preventing forest fires in the short run may lead to bigger fires in the long run. Still, if preventing forest fires does actually reduce total burning over the long run, then if forest fires are net good, preventing them is net bad. But there are two big “if”s in the previous sentence.

[Read More]

Circuses and other shows – animal rights

Article courtesy of Animal Ethics:

Circuses and other shows

Animals all around the world suffer terribly in circuses and other shows using animals. They are forced to live in situations that are often similar to those in factory farms, and are continuously subjected to pain, terrible fear, and distress so they will perform in circus acts. A comprehensive scientific study published several years ago concluded that circuses cause significant suffering to the animals forced to perform.1 [Read More]

Circuses: Three Rings of Abuse

Article courtesy of Peta:

Circuses: Three Rings of Abuse

Although some children dream of running away to join the circus, it is a safe bet that most animals forced to perform in circuses dream of running away from the circus. Colorful pageantry disguises the fact that animals used in circuses are captives who are forced—under threat of punishment—to perform confusing, uncomfortable, repetitious, and often painful acts. Circuses would quickly lose their appeal if more people knew about the cruel methods used to train the animals as well as the cramped confinement, unacceptable travel conditions, and poor treatment that they endure—not to mention what happens to them when they “retire.” [Read More]

Nongame, Exotic, Endangered, Threatened & Protected Species

Nongame, Exotic, Endangered, Threatened & Protected Species

Valid Sep. 1, 2017 through Aug. 31, 2018.

Nongame Animals

Includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Armadillos
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Flying squirrels
  • Frogs
  • Ground squirrels
  • Mountain lions
  • Porcupines
  • Prairie dogs
  • Rabbits
  • Turtles
  • Does not include feral hog (see Exotic Animals and Fowl).
  • No closed season. These animals may be hunted at any time by any lawful means or methods on private property. Public hunting lands may have restrictions. A hunting license is required.
  • ARMADILLOS: Possession and sale of live armadillos is unlawful.
  • BOBCAT pelts sold, purchased, traded, transported or shipped out of state must have a pelt tag (CITES) attached. A pelt tag must be attached prior to being transported or shipped out of this state. Pelt tags may be obtained from any permitted bobcat pelt dealer, or TPWD Regional & Field Law Enforcement Offices. For additional information contact TPWD (800) 792-1112, menu 7, option 9 or (512) 389-4481.
  • Live COYOTES are currently under a statewide rabies quarantine that prohibits them from being transported or sold in Texas (see exceptions). For information on the rabies quarantine, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services Infectious Disease Control Unit Web site.
  • No person may possess a diamondback terrapin at any time.
  • No person may hunt (capture, trap, take, or kill) any wild animal or wild bird on a public road or the right-of-way of a public road, except that a person may capture indigenous reptiles and amphibians on the shoulder or unpaved right-of-way of a public roadway, provided that:
    • the person possesses a valid Reptile and Amphibian Stamp,
    • the person employs non-lethal means only to capture the reptiles or amphibians,
    • the person does not possess a trap, and
    • the person is visibly wearing at least 144 square inches of reflective material, both front and back.
  • No person may use artificial light from a motor vehicle to locate, capture, or attempt to capture a reptile or amphibian.

Possession and Sale of Certain Nongame Wildlife

  • The take of any nongame species for commercial purposes (sale, offer for sale, barter, or exchange) from public lands or waters is unlawful.
  • Provided the appropriate permit has been obtained, red-eared slider, common snapping turtle, and softshell turtle may be taken from private water for commercial purposes; however, the take or possession of any other species of turtle for commercial activity is unlawful.
  • Many species of nongame wildlife may be sold, offered for sale, bartered, or exchanged, provided the proper nongame permit has been obtained from TPWD and all reporting and recordkeeping requirements are met; however, the collection from the wild, sale, offer for sale, or exchange of certain species of nongame wildlife is unlawful.
  • A landowner or landowner’s agent may kill any nongame wildlife other than protected birds and threatened or endangered species (see below) at any time in any number, provided the wildlife is not taken into possession or used in a commercial activity.

For more information on nongame regulations, permit requirements, and lists of lawful and prohibited species, contact TPWD at (800) 792-1112, menu 7 or (512) 389-4481 or go to Nongame Permits.

Exotic Animals and Fowl

An exotic animal is any animal that is not indigenous to Texas, including but not limited to feral hog, Russian boar, aoudad sheep, axis deer, elk, sika deer, fallow deer, red deer, and blackbuck and nilgai antelope. An exotic fowl is any avian species that is not indigenous to this state, including ratites (emu, ostrich, rhea, cassowary, etc.).

There are no state bag or possession limits or closed seasons on exotic animals or fowl on private property. It is against the law to:

  • Hunt an exotic without a valid hunting license.
  • Hunt an exotic on a public road or right-of-way.
  • Hunt an exotic without the landowner’s permission.
  • Possess an exotic or the carcass of an exotic without the owner’s consent.


Penalty: A person who violates these laws commits an offense. Hunting exotic wildlife without a license is a Class C misdemeanor ($25-$500 fine). The remaining listed offenses are Class A misdemeanors ($500-$4,000 and/or up to one year in jail).

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) regulates the movement of feral swine for disease-control purposes. For more information please call TAHC at (800) 550-8242 or visit the TAHC Web site.

“Canned Hunts” (Dangerous Wild Animals)

No person may kill or attempt to injure a dangerous wild animal (African or Asiatic lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, hyena, bear, elephant, wolf, or rhinoceros, or any subspecies or hybrid of these animals) that is held in captivity in this state or that is released from captivity in this state for the purpose of being killed, nor may any person conduct, promote, advertise, or assist in the hunting of a dangerous wild animal.

Endangered, Threatened and
Other Protected Nongame Species

It is unlawful for any person to hunt (see Definitions – Hunt) threatened, endangered, or protected nongame species. To sell or purchase goods made from threatened or endangered species, proper documentation must accompany the goods. For a complete list of threatened and endangered species, and regulations relating to breeding threatened and endangered species, please call (800) 792-1112 (menu 5).

  • Protected Birds: Hawks, owls, eagles, and all other nongame birds and songbirds (except for the few unprotected birds listed below) are protected by various state and federal laws and may not be killed, taken from the nest, picked up, or possessed for any reason, and their feathers may not be possessed or sold. Arts and crafts may not include these protected species under any circumstances.
  • Unprotected Birds:
    • The only birds not protected by any state or federal law are European starlingsEnglish sparrowsferal rock doves(common pigeon, Columba livia) and Eurasian collared-doves; these species may be killed at any time, their nests or eggs destroyed, and their feathers may be possessed.
    • Yellow-headed, red-winged, rusty, or Brewer’s blackbirds and all gracklescowbirds (does not include cattle egret), crows, or magpies may be controlled without a federal or state depredation permit when found committing or about to commit depredations on ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in numbers and in a manner that constitutes a health hazard or other nuisance.
  • Bats: May not be hunted, killed, possessed, purchased or sold; however, bats may be moved, trapped, or killed if inside or on a building occupied by people. A person may transport a bat for the purpose of laboratory testing if there is a rabies concern.

Black Bears and Mountain Lions

Black bears are protected and cannot be hunted or killed. Mountain lions are not protected and can be harvested at any time. Please report black bear sightings or mortalities, and mountain lion sightings, harvests, or mortalities to (512) 389-4505.

Controlled Exotic Snakes

It is unlawful (Class C misdemeanor) for any person, regardless of age, to possess certain nonindigenous snakes for commercial (Type 581) or recreational (Type 580) purposes if that person has not obtained a TPWD controlled exotic snake permit for that purpose. A controlled exotic snake is any species of venomous snakes not indigenous to Texas; African rock python (Python sebae); Asiatic rock python (Python molurus); green anaconda (Eunectes murinus); reticulated python (Python reticulatus); southern African python (Python natalensis), and includes ANY hybrid of these species. Permits may be purchased anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold. In addition, it is unlawful (Class A misdemeanor) to intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence release or allow the release from captivity of any of these snakes. Snakes possessed without the necessary permit may be seized, removed, and disposed of at the cost of the person possessing the snakes. Controlled exotic snakes are regulated under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter V, which may be enforced by any licensed Texas peace officer. For further information, call (800) 792-1112 (menu 7) or visit Frequently Asked Questions on Controlled Exotic Snakes.

Rainy-Day Animals

Rainy-Day Animals

With a shake-shake-shake, this mother cheetah dries her rain-drenched fur—giving her cubs an accidental shower! Just about everywhere there are animals, there is rain. Some animals love it—or at least don’t mind it. But for many—including people—rain can be a bother. We have umbrellas and rain boots to keep us dry. Keep reading to find out how wild animals deal with downpours.


Being caught in the rain isn’t just annoying. For some animals, getting soaked can be downright dangerous. Warm-blooded animals, including mammals and birds, need to keep their body temperatures steady. When rain soaks them to the skin, they may become too cold to survive.

Luckily, they have coverings—either fur or feathers—that repel, or push away, water. By the time they are adults, most mammals have thick, stiff, slick fur. When raindrops fall on that fur, they roll right off—at least for a while.

Birds also have a cool trick for keeping dry: They dip their bills into oil glands near their tails. Then they preen, rubbing the oil over their feathers. The oil helps waterproof the feathers. So when rain comes, the birds are able to wait it out inside their feathery “raincoats.”

In a big storm, birds and mammals don’t rely only on their feathered or furry coats. An impala, for example, may flatten its ears to keep water out. A hippo may close its nostrils. And both birds and mammals can easily shed the water with a quick shake.

The hippopotamus (above right) stands still and waits out a sudden storm. A thick layer of fat—not fur—keeps hippos warm even in pouring rain.

The oily feathers on the black vultures (above left) help keep rain away from the birds’ skin. And thick fur lets along-tailed macaque (muh-KAK) ignore heavy rain (photo in circle).

Falling raindrops can drown out the sound of a sneaky lion or other predator. So the impalas (top left photo) huddle together out in the open. This gives them a clear view of approaching threats.


Oily feathers and thick fur make pretty good raincoats. But many animals would still rather not feel raindrops falling on their heads. So they find other ways of keeping dry.

Butterflies and many other insects can’t fly in the rain. (Imagine being pelted by a bowling ball. That’s what a single raindrop feels like to a butterfly!) So they ride out storms by clinging to the undersides of leaves.

A fox or wolf may find a cozy spot under a leafy shrub or in a cave. Mice or other small rodents might cuddle up together inside a hollow log.

But what’s an animal to do when it needs to be on the go on a rainy day? Some just get wet, of course. But others do what we do: Use an umbrella or a rain hat!

Orangutans make “hats” out of big leaves to protect their heads during downpours. (In zoos, they sometimes use cloth bags.) And a squirrel may flop its fluffy tail over its back and head. Sure, the tail gets wet, but the most important parts of the body stay nice and dry.

Brrrr! A slushy mix of rain and snow drove this Eurasian lynx (above) under a rocky ledge. A furry coat keeps it warm, but that works only when the fur stays dry!

Delicate insect wings don’t work when wet. So this dragonfly (top right photo) waits out a storm under a leaf. The squirrel (photo in circle) isn’t bothered by a little rain—not when its tail makes a perfectly good umbrella!

The black-legged kittiwake (top left photo) uses her body to shelter her chicks from the rain. The chicks have feathers that are fuzzy, not slick. So they rely on Mom to keep them dry.


Some animals ignore the rain. Others try to avoid it. And then there are those that love the wet stuff. For these animals, a rainy day brings a chance to mate, a fun mud bath, or a quick trip.

Have you noticed that earthworms pop out of the ground during rainstorms? (You probably try not to squish them when you are walking along the sidewalk.) Earthworms spend most of their time underground because their bodies dry out in the air. But when rain is falling, they slither to the surface. Up there, they can travel much faster than underground while still keeping their bodies moist. Of course, being out in the open is risky for juicy worms: Robins and other birds may pluck them up for a delicious “tweet.”

Of all the rain-loving animals, the champion just might be the spadefoot toad. It lives in dry places and spends most of its life alone underground to keep its body moist. But when the rainy season starts, the toad party gets going. Spurred by the sound of thunder or rain, all the spadefoots in the area dig their way out to find each other. They quickly mate and lay eggs. Then they dig back into the ground to rest—and wait for the next big rain.

The elephant family (above) wallows happily as a rainstorm turns a patch of dirt into an ooey, gooey mud puddle. Mud helps elephants shed pesky pests.

An earthworm (photo in circle) pokes out of the ground after a rainfall, and a spadefoot toad enjoys a refreshing soak after having spent several months underground.

Rain, rain go away? No way! Rain, we hope you’ll stay!

“It’s Raining!” originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Ranger Rick magazine.

Hurricane Hawk Seeks Refuge in Houston Taxi


Hurricane Hawk Seeks Refuge in Houston Taxi

Houston cab driver William Bruso made a series of 10 videos on YouTube after gaining the winged sidekick, who he says refused to leave after hopping in his car on Friday.

Apparently, Bruso was stocking up on some survival supplies ahead of the catastrophic storm, when he returned to his vehicle to find the bird starring back at him from the passenger seat.

Here’s the first of 10 videos:

It was inevitable that this bird of prey refugee earned the nickname “Harvey the Hurricane Hawk” from Bruso, and the name seemed to stick after people started seeing the videos.

Eventually, an officer with the Texas Wildlife Rehab Coalition (TWRC) came to retrieve the hawk, because it’s a wild animal and needs professional care. Bruso posted the last video with the title: “FINAL UPDATE! Sgnt Harvey is in GREAT hands now!”

Agreement signed to protect wildlife, reduce wildfire risk

Agreement signed to protect wildlife, reduce wildfire risk

A California spotted owl

The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining their agreement to work together to conserve California spotted owls and other wildlife while coordinating wildfire risk reduction measures on federal, state and SPI lands in California.

“The Forest Service is committed to working with our state agency partners and the timber industry in California to conserve wildlife, and reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region. “We would like to thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their work and encouragement in this area, and we look forward to our continued collaboration. We believe this MOU is an excellent example of how government and the private sector can work together to address important safety and environmental issues.”

“This agreement is an important step for the future of California spotted owls,” said Jennifer Norris, supervisor of the Sacramento office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Collaboration and partnership is essential for the management of these sensitive wildlife habitats.”

“This MOU furthers vital efforts to mitigate the impacts of damaging wildfire and protect sensitive wildlife habitat,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester. “The agreement leverages our combined resources to establish a strategic conservation framework to help protect over two million acres of forestland in areas where our respective land ownership and responsibilities align.”

Under the MOU, the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and SPI will coordinate their respective fire management strategies, and share technical information regarding the location of sensitive wildlife habitats. This coordination will increase the effectiveness of these efforts on over 2 million acres of federal, state and private land in California.

Joining in the MOU is NFWF, an independent, non-profit organization created by Congress in 1984. The Foundation is the nation’s largest conservation grant-maker, and works with both the public and private sectors to protect and restore wildlife, plants and habitats. Under the MOU, the Foundation will work with the government agencies and SPI to identify high priority conservation projects on federal, state and private lands that can help support the conservation objectives of the MOU.

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is pleased to join with the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and SPI to implement conservation opportunities in California that will benefit California spotted owl and other species,” said Jonathan Birdsong, Director of NFWF’s Western Regional Office. “We look forward to implementing conservation projects in California that will benefit people and wildlife for years to come.”

“We thank the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for coming together with our company to implement a coordinated strategy for conserving California spotted owls and other wildlife while reducing wildfire risks in California,” said Mark Emmerson, SPI’s Chairman and Chief Financial Officer. “We believe this approach to wildfire risk reduction and wildlife management in California is a win-win for the public and private sectors, and will result in greater protection for communities and wildlife.”

SeaWorld seeks restraining order against animal rights activists after protest at killer whale show


SeaWorld seeks restraining order against animal rights activists after protest at killer whale show

PETA demonstrators including actor James Cromwell disrupted orca performance at wildlife group’s San Diego park in July

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SeaWorld is seeking a restraining order against three animal rights activists who disrupted a killer whale show at its San Diego park last month in a protest led by actor James Cromwell.

 The company wants to bar Lyanne Fernandez, Ricky Chavez Rodriguez and Lisa Lange from the San Diego park and SeaWorld’s nearby waterslide park, Aquatica, according to court documents filed on Thursday in San Diego County Superior Court.

Company officials told the Associated Press that the three were particularly aggressive but the order would not bar them from its other parks in San Antonio and Orlando, Florida. The court plans to hold a hearing before deciding, the documents say.

Lange said SeaWorld’s action is retaliation for the complaint the trio filed to press charges against the company’s head of security in San Diego. They said some of the protesters were thrown to the ground.

“I think it’s an odd reaction for SeaWorld. Instead of saying to their security guy, ‘Hey, you’re not allowed to beat people up,’ they seek a restraining order against us,” said Lange, who works for PETA in Los Angeles. “He really roughed us up.”

Lange said it won’t stop her from protesting against SeaWorld. The two other activists could not be immediately reached for comment.

Wearing a “SeaWorld Sucks” T-shirt, Cromwell and six activists with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals barged in to the “Orca Encounter” show 24 July and spoke through a megaphone demanding SeaWorld release its orcas living in tanks and move them to massive pens in the ocean.

Cromwell, who starred in the movie Babe, told park visitors that SeaWorld was condemning the orcas to premature deaths unless they are moved immediately to ocean sanctuaries.

When park security asked them to leave, the protesters locked arms, went limp and refused. After they were removed by force, SeaWorld alleges one protester later lashed out at a security guard.

PETA has denied the allegations and said the security guard manhandled the three protesters, wrestled phones away and threw two of them to the ground, sat on them and put a knee on a woman’s chest until she yelled that she could not breathe.

PETA said in a statement after the arrests that it was a “non-confrontational protest against cruelty to marine life” and that the protesters obeyed the uniformed officers.

Cromwell, who was handcuffed and escorted out of the park, was separated from the other demonstrators when they were taken away.

If the order is issued and the trio tries to enter the San Diego parks, the company will call police, said Marilyn Hannes, president of SeaWorld’s San Diego park.

“We certainly respect free speech. When they demonstrate on SeaWorld Drive, we are respectful and understand that. But this is not about that at all,” Hannes said. “This is really about safety.”

PETA has long been known for its stunts to draw attention to its protests. But Hannes said it has been escalating in recent months.

“Now that it’s gotten to the point of becoming violent, that is beyond acceptable,” she said. “We’re very proud of the conduct of our security team under difficult circumstances.”

Hannes said the request for a restraining order is the first such action taken by SeaWorld that she knows of in her 20 years working at the San Diego marine park.

SeaWorld has said the new “natural orca encounters” will replace the theatrical shows.

Settlement Reached: ‘Monkey Selfie’ Case Broke New Ground for Animal Rights

Settlement Reached: ‘Monkey Selfie’ Case Broke New Ground for Animal Rights

After roughly two years of court battles, the groundbreaking lawsuit asking a U.S. federal court to declare Naruto—a free-living crested macaque—the copyright owner of the internationally famous “monkey selfie” photographs has been settled.

PETA; photographer David Slater; his company, Wildlife Personalities, Ltd.; and self-publishing platform Blurb, Inc., have reached a settlement of the “monkey selfie” litigation. As a part of the arrangement, Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue derived from using or selling the monkey selfies to charities that protect the habitat of Naruto and other crested macaques in Indonesia.

According to a joint statement, “PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal.”

General Counsel for PETA Jeff Kerr told the New York Times that he did not know how much money Slater made on the photos in the past, but also that PETA is glad Naruto will benefit from the images in the future.

“The dire need of Naruto is what fully underpins why we pursued this lawsuit to begin with,” Kerr said to the New York Times. “We wanted every bit of all of the proceeds to benefit Naruto.”

Naruto’s case sparked a massive international discussion about the need to extend fundamental rights to animals for their own sake—not in relation to the ways in which they can be exploited by humans.

Naruto and the famous “monkey selfie” photographs that he undeniably took clearly demonstrate that he and his fellow macaques—like so many other animals—are highly intelligent, thinking, sophisticated beings worthy of having legal ownership of their own intellectual property and holding other rights as members of the legal community.

Naruto’s case went all the way to a federal appeals court and shows that the struggle for animal rights is ingrained in our legal system. We’ll continue working in the courts to establish legal rights for animals. Everyone deserves the rights we hold dear: to live as they choose, to be with their families, to be free from abuse and suffering, and to benefit from their own creations.

Hurricane Irma: We deploy to protect the animals in its path

A horse in Nicaragua gets caught in the flood waters after Hurricane Jova - World Animal Protection - Disaster management

Following the strongest Atlantic hurricane in history, we are deploying to protect animals – the forgotten victims of disasters. Millions of animals could be affected

Hurricane Irma is battering Caribbean nations. Our teams are providing emergency treatment for animals. This will also help the people who rely on them.

In disasters, animals experience stress and shock, get hurt or fall ill. Injuries are caused by flying debris, and illnesses are brought on by the inhalation of water, and exposure to disease.

You can support our work to protect animals in need by making a gift today. Click here.

Working with governments and vets

Our experts in the Caribbean will be:

  • working with local governments and veterinarians. They are ready to provide immediate assistance to injured animals with veterinary care, shelter and feed,
  • providing emergency vet kits, including treatments for diarrhoea, pneumonia and other diseases, transmitted easily after disasters,
  • assessing the longer-term needs of animals in partnership with the governments of affected states.

A boy rounds up his chickens into his house in the neighborhood of Aviation, in Cap-Haitian on 7th September 2017, before the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Credit: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Near total devastation

The world has not seen a storm with sustained winds of this speed since Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines in 2013.

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda described the devastation as “near total” and estimated upward of 95% of the structures on the island are damaged or destroyed.

“We are very concerned for the animals who are often forgotten victims of disasters. Our teams are on the way to protect them,” said Steven Clegg, our international response manager said:

“Initial reports of damage in places like Barbuda are staggering. This is a storm like virtually no other.”

A home flattened by Hurricane Irma lies in a pile in Nagua, Dominican Republic, 7th September 2017. Credit: Rex Shutterstock

A critical time

The coming days are critical for the people who rely on their animals to make ends meet. If their animals die, their hopes of rebuilding their lives will perish too. As the recovery process begins, saving animals will help provide stability for their future.