Thursday, July 30, 2015

Local Fox Affiliate Asks Viewers For 'Moon Pictures,' And It Goes Exactly As You'd Expect


As the almost-full moon shone brightly on Wednesday night, Philadelphia Fox affiliate WTXF-TV issued a request to viewers.





Suffice it to say, the TV station didn't quite get what it was looking for.













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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Panda Accused Of Faking Pregnancy To Get Better Food, Air Conditoning



 


Keepers at the Taipei Zoo were excited. Resident giant panda Yuan Yuan was exhibiting signs of pregnancy -- an all-too-elusive event among captive pandas.


There were tell-tale symptoms, like a loss of appetite and a thickening of the uterus. Yuan Yuan’s fecal progesterone concentration was also on the rise.


Yet despite these promising signs, the panda's pregnancy was a false alarm.


According to China's Southern Metropolis Daily, ultrasound scans determined that Yuan Yuan, who was artificially inseminated earlier this year, was not pregnant. Now the panda is being accused of faking the pregnancy as a way of getting her caretakers to shower her with better food and care.


Pregnant pandas are typically treated like queens. As China Daily notes, the expectant bears are moved into “single rooms with air conditioning” and given “round-the-clock care.” They receive more buns, fruit and bamboo as well.


Panda experts have speculated that Yuan Yuan, who gave birth to a cub in 2013, may have been feigning pregnancy to reap these added benefits.



Last year, another female panda named Ai Hin was accused of trying to pull the same trick. The panda, who lives at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, exhibited pregnancy symptoms for two months before experts determined that she didn’t actually have a cub in the oven.


“After showing prenatal signs, the [panda] 'mothers-to-be' are [pampered],” Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu Research Base, told CNN last year. “So some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life.”


Other panda experts disagree with these accusations.


Zhang Heming, director of the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda, told the Guardian last year that pseudo-pregnancies are actually fairly common in the panda world. He attributed the pandas’ behavior to "more of a hormonal issue than a deliberate ruse."


"This phenomenon occurs in 10 to 20 percent of pandas," he said. "After the mother panda is inseminated, if her health isn't so good, the pregnancy will terminate, but she'll still behave as if she's pregnant."


According to a 2010 LiveScience report, scientists "don't know why pseudo-pregnancies happen, or if they have evolved for an evolutionary purpose." 


"In a sense there's no answer, but there is speculation that perhaps pandas' bodies just rehearse pregnancy all the time," Lisa Stevens, curator of primates and pandas at Smithsonian's National Zoo, told the news outlet.


 


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Lost Cat Reunited With Michigan Family After 19 Months In Hawaii




After waiting 19 months and traveling 4,500 miles, one extremely lucky cat was finally reunited with his owners last Friday.


In December 2013, as the Sutherland family was preparing to fly from Hawaii to Michigan for a permanent move, one family member was nowhere to be found. Bogie, their Siamese cat, had escaped from his kennel as he was being secured in the cargo hold at Honolulu International Airport. 


A representative from United Airlines told Hawaii news source KHON2 that airport employees searched for the cat following his escape, but could not find him. 


"Weeks went by. Months went by and, you know, pretty much we'd given up hope," Hillary Sutherland, the cat's owner, told Honolulu's KITV.


Bogie was missing in Honolulu for more than a year and half -- until Bill Antilla came along.


About six months ago, Antilla, a volunteer with Hawaii CatFriends, spotted something peculiar among the pack of stray cats he tended to near the Honolulu airport: a neutered Siamese cat that was friendlier than the typical stray. 


Thinking the cat might have a microchip, Antilla gained the cat's trust over the course of several months and eventually captured him.


Luckily, Antilla was right. The Siamese cat was Bogie, and his microchip scan showed that his family was living in Detroit.


Domesticated cats are "not used to being on the street," Antilla told Honolulu's KITV. "They don't know how to survive. They get attacked by other cats and get injured. But, this cat is one of the lucky ones."


Soon after, Bogie was being loaded onto a plane to be reunited with his family, 4,500 miles away.


He was reunited with the Sutherlands on Friday.


"I honestly didn't think that we would ever, ever, ever see him again so now that we do get to see him and he gets to be reunited with the family, it's amazing," Hillary Sutherland told Detroit News source WXYZ. "It's going to be even better when I get him home."




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