Robert Irwin Got Emotional as He Talked About the Destruction of the Australian Bushfires

As we’ve seen, bushfires are causing major devastation to both the vegetation and animals that are unique to Australia.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Robert Irwin, son of the late, famous Aussie animal advocate Steve Irwin, also has grave concerns about the long term impact of the fires. As his mother, Terri Irwin, discussed the horrendous loss of hundreds of thousands koalas with the television program Sunrise, Robert struggled to contain his tears.

The Irwin family has already helped 90,000 animals, but it is being widely reported that nearly a billion animals have been affected by the fires. Veterinarians and other experts from Australian zoos are among those leading the effort to rescue and treat injured animals.

Terri told Sunrise, “We’re able to offer a safe haven for wildlife needing help.” Robert also spoke of the many different injuries they’ve seen not only in koalas, but platypuses, possums, birds and other species coming through their facility.

As he listened to his mom speak about the hard hit the koala population is currently taking, 16-year old Robert’s eyes filled with tears.

To escape the smoke and flames, koalas are retreating to even more dangerous and populated areas. Some are getting hit by cars or attacked by other animals.

Photo Credit: Twitter

Others are retreating up into highly flammable eucalyptus trees. Terri explains the horrific danger in this:

Koala instinct is to go up, as safety is in the top of the tree. Eucalyptus trees have so much oil that they ignite and actually explode in a fire. That means being able to treat and help koalas is few and far between because they’re basically incinerated.

Anyone can see the thought of these koalas suffering so is heartbreaking to Robert.

It’s become increasingly likely that koalas will soon have to be listed as endangered.

We can feel the weariness of the Irwins and the rest of Australia, and we look for an end to these devastating fires. Unfortunately, as climate change causes weather patterns to change, Australia may be in for less rain and more heat, making an already incendiary situation much worse. This fire season has been horrific, but it may also be closer to the new normal.

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These Cat Owners Understand Who’s Actually in Charge

Cats pretty much rule the Internet and honestly, no one (except maybe the dogs) are complaining. We could look at their pictures and antics all day long, and honestly, with images like these 12, who could blame you?

There’s no better way to smile, no better way to relax, so just sit back and enjoy yourself, why don’t you?

12. That face! Those eyes!

11. Proof that cats are not (always) in league with Satan.

My husband has Alzheimer’s and has trouble staying still. Unless this lil bug is on his lap. This is pretty much an everyday thing with them. from cats

10. All you need for a happy holiday.

9. I love you so much I need to bite you.

8. You are now one step closer to being prepared to own a toddler.

My sister’s cat follows me everywhere, here’s a video of her following me to the bathroom from cats

7. Whoever made this is a hero.

6. Just go about your business peasants.

5. It’s a selfie win for everyone, really.

4. What, you’re not using them right now.

3. Sure, it’s sacrilegious, but it’s funny.

Our Lord and Savior is born from cats

2. This cat does more cardio than I do.

1. I suddenly feel cozier and happier.

I do love a good cat meme. In fact, I’m not chill enough so I think I’ll go looking for some more?

Where are your favorite cat memes and pics? Share a great one with us in the comments!

The post These Cat Owners Understand Who’s Actually in Charge appeared first on UberFacts.

These Cat Owners Understand Who’s Actually in Charge

Cats pretty much rule the Internet and honestly, no one (except maybe the dogs) are complaining. We could look at their pictures and antics all day long, and honestly, with images like these 12, who could blame you?

There’s no better way to smile, no better way to relax, so just sit back and enjoy yourself, why don’t you?

12. That face! Those eyes!

11. Proof that cats are not (always) in league with Satan.

My husband has Alzheimer’s and has trouble staying still. Unless this lil bug is on his lap. This is pretty much an everyday thing with them. from cats

10. All you need for a happy holiday.

9. I love you so much I need to bite you.

8. You are now one step closer to being prepared to own a toddler.

My sister’s cat follows me everywhere, here’s a video of her following me to the bathroom from cats

7. Whoever made this is a hero.

6. Just go about your business peasants.

5. It’s a selfie win for everyone, really.

4. What, you’re not using them right now.

3. Sure, it’s sacrilegious, but it’s funny.

Our Lord and Savior is born from cats

2. This cat does more cardio than I do.

1. I suddenly feel cozier and happier.

I do love a good cat meme. In fact, I’m not chill enough so I think I’ll go looking for some more?

Where are your favorite cat memes and pics? Share a great one with us in the comments!

The post These Cat Owners Understand Who’s Actually in Charge appeared first on UberFacts.

15 Wholesome Animal Tweets Just for You

I love good, wholesome animal posts on social media, I’ll tell you that much.

These kinds of posts just never get old. Having a bad day? Look at some great photos of dogs and cats! Down in the dumps? There’s a never-ending supply of pure animal pics out there!

Here are some very good examples. Enjoy…

1. Sure enough…

2. In love with peaches.

3. Can’t get enough of this.

4. A bunch of ducks coming through.

5. Downward facing dog.

6. I like this look.

7. Cuddle buddies.

8. Awwwwww. Would ya look at that…

9. Bath time!

10. Can barely contain himself.

11. That doesn’t do you any good.

12. That’s right!

13. GREATEST OF ALL TIME = GOAT.

14. And…attack!

15. I like this.

Those sure put a big smile on this guy’s face.

Will you help us out today? Please post some pics of your lovely pets in the comments. We’d love to meet them!

The post 15 Wholesome Animal Tweets Just for You appeared first on UberFacts.

15 Wholesome Animal Tweets Just for You

I love good, wholesome animal posts on social media, I’ll tell you that much.

These kinds of posts just never get old. Having a bad day? Look at some great photos of dogs and cats! Down in the dumps? There’s a never-ending supply of pure animal pics out there!

Here are some very good examples. Enjoy…

1. Sure enough…

2. In love with peaches.

3. Can’t get enough of this.

4. A bunch of ducks coming through.

5. Downward facing dog.

6. I like this look.

7. Cuddle buddies.

8. Awwwwww. Would ya look at that…

9. Bath time!

10. Can barely contain himself.

11. That doesn’t do you any good.

12. That’s right!

13. GREATEST OF ALL TIME = GOAT.

14. And…attack!

15. I like this.

Those sure put a big smile on this guy’s face.

Will you help us out today? Please post some pics of your lovely pets in the comments. We’d love to meet them!

The post 15 Wholesome Animal Tweets Just for You appeared first on UberFacts.

Good News: Owning a Cat Is Good for Your Health

This is great news for anyone who’s ever been pegged as a “crazy cat lady”: being a cat lady is actually good for your health. Science says so.

Owning a cat can help reduce stress, and it’s good for your heart, too.

One study in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology found that cat ownership can be beneficial to heart health in multiple ways. Cat owners in the study showed a lower risk of death by heart attack and all cardiovascular diseases, including stroke.

Also, petting your cat is a known stress reliever. Cuddling with your cat releases oxytocin, the “cuddle chemical,” which in turn reduces stress, according to NBC News.

Another study found that cat lovers are more open-minded, smarter and more sensitive than dog lovers.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

So why the assumption that cats aren’t good for your health?

Well, there’s an age-old myth holds that cats can literally drive you crazy. This stems, in part, from the fact that cat feces can sometimes contain Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis. It’s an infection that actually can lead to psychosis (contaminated water and undercooked meat can also cause toxoplasmosis).

Not all cats carry the parasite though, and even if you get infected, you’ll likely be fine. A recent study in Psychological Medicine found no relationship between cat ownership and psychosis later in life.

“The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected with the Toxoplasma parasite through all means, including cats,” David Haworth, doctor of veterinary medicine, Ph.D., and president of PetSmart Charities told NBC News. “But very few people show symptoms because a healthy person’s immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

So there you have it, cat people. Cats don’t drive you crazy; on the contrary, they’re good for you.

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The Giant Chinese Paddlefish Is the First Animal to Be Officially Declared Extinct This Decade

This definitely isn’t something an animal would hope for – and it’s a headline I’m sure we all wish would have been delayed at least a little bit later into the new decade – but scientists have now declared the giant Chinese paddlefish to officially be extinct.

The freshwater fish, one of the world’s largest, was last seen in 2003, and it is thought to have effectively ceased to exist between 2005 and 2010. But while it’s been gone for a while, it also takes a while to verify 100% that a species has totally disappeared.

“Based on 210 sightings of Chinese paddlefish during the period 1981-2003, we estimated that the timing of extinction to be by 2005, no later than 2010.”

The fish lived primarily in the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia, where it had swum for millions of years. But dams, overfishing, river ports, and pollution drove it pas the brink. Those same factors have contributed to the extinction of at least three large endemic species, say the authors of a study published in Science of the Total Environment.

“The mega river ecosystem of the Yangtze River was one home to diverse aquatic megafauna but is increasingly affected by various anthropogenic stressors that have result in continuous loss of biodiversity.”

The fish’s lineage stretched back 75 million years, and it was first declared critically endangered by the IUCN in 1996. Though its rarity and struggle earned it the nickname “panda of the Yangtze River,” it wasn’t so simple to bring back from the brink as the panda was. In the end, nothing could save the fish from disappearing.

The paper also noted that the fish had been “functionally extinct,” meaning not enough breeding pairs existed to ensure survival, since way back in 1993, and the last live sighting was in 2003.

The final piece of image evidence of life was captured in 2009.

“We respect the evaluation model and experts from the IUCN,” said co-author Wei Qiwei, “although we accept this result with a heavy heart.”

Many more of the 4,000 species that call the river home are also in trouble, from the finless porpoise to the Chinese sturgeon. Though Beijing has announced a 10-year commercial fishing ban on the Yangtze, experts fear it will be too little too late. Two huge, recently constructed dams may have put the final nails in the endangered species’ coffins already.

“The fishing ban is a key measure to effectively curb the decline of the river’s ecosystem and any further drop in biodiversity,” claimed Yu Zhenkang, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs.

That may be true, but if the river is dammed all up and down its length, which it is, then these animals won’t have the space they need to survive, fishing or no.

And as with promises from any government these days, when it comes to the environment, I expect it will be the scientists who are, sadly, correct.

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Scientists Worry That the Incurable “Zombie Deer” Disease Could Make the Leap to Humans

Deer (and related animals, like elk) in 24 states that have tested positive for chronic wasting disease – sometimes referred to as the “zombie deer” disease, and scientists are worried that humans might not be immune to catching it, should we eat tainted meat.

The disease causes infected animals to stumble through the forest, drooling and becoming more aggressive toward humans. They’re listless, consistently lose weight, and will eventually die from the incurable infection.

It’s the result of a prion – a mis-folded brain protein that’s mysteriously able to infect other nearby proteins, talking them into re-folding wrong, too. A prion is not alive, so it cannot be killed, which means there are no treatments or cures for chronic wasting disease or any other prion diseases like it.

We’ve been aware of these types of infections, and how hard they are to fight, for years. Mad Cow Disease is the result of prions, as is Jakob Creutzfeldt Disease. In humans, prion disorders cause people to decline over the span of several months; they lose the ability to speak, move, and eventually control the muscle movements necessary for life.

CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) currently seems limited to deer, moose, and elk, but researchers at the University of Minnesota are urging local lawmakers to consider funding further research into the matter.

Michael Osterholm, the university’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Prevention director, is at the forefront of the effort.

“It is my best professional judgement based on my public health experience and the risk of BSE transmission to humans in the 1980s and1990s and my extensive review and evaluation of laboratory research studies …that is it probably that human cases of CWS associated with the consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead. It is possible that the number of human cases will be substantial and will not be isolated events.”

Basically, even though as of yet there is no reason to panic, scientists are sounding the alarm.

Osterholm has reason to be concerned – he was involved with the British review panels that dealt with the mad cow disease scare, when it was found that it was rare, but possible, for humans to contract the disease by eating contaminated tissue.

That said, all evidence points to the consumption of brain tissue specifically as being the means for transmission, not other, more commonly-eaten portions of meat.

The existence of CWD in deer and the potential for contraction in humans is not news to the CDC – since the 1990s, they’ve kept an eye on hunters who come down with versions of the prion disease killing the deer. Many are diagnosed at surprisingly young ages, and some were known to eat deer meat regularly.

All of the patients died not long after their symptoms emerged, but in all cases, no known herds infected with CWD were in the area.

Basically, there was no way to confirm that they contracted anything at all from eating contaminated deer meat – some of the men weren’t even conclusively diagnosed with prion infections – so it could have been a simple coincidence.

Rates of prion disease in human aren’t any higher in areas rife with infected deer than anywhere else in the United States, but scientists are also quick to point out how little we know about the afflictions overall.

This CDC report states that “because CWD has occurred in a limited geographic area for decades, an adequate number of how people may not have been exposed to the CWD agent to result in a clinically recognizable human disease. The level and frequency of human exposure to the CWD agent may increase with the spread of CWD in the United States.”

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The progression of chronic wasting disease in North America (CWD) since 2000. CWD is a highly contagious disease in cervids (deer, reindeer, elk) that degrades the animal’s neurological system, leaving holes in the brain. It is 100% fatal. ⠀ Although there are no known cases of CWD in people, there is concern that the prions that cause the disease could adapt to new hosts and someday infect humans, just as the prion culprit of mad cow disease did in the United Kingdom in the 1990s. ⠀ To offer her expert testimony and recommendations, wildlife disease ecologist Dr. Krysten Schuler joined the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources for their June 25 subcommittee hearing on the subject. “Any meaningful strategies to combat CWD will require long-term approaches with sustained state and federal efforts," said Schuler. ⠀ Her recommendations included ✔ sustained fiscal support for state and federal wildlife agencies, as well as veterinary and wildlife diagnostic labs ✔ research funds to work toward new breakthroughs in treatment and prevention ✔ improved support from stakeholders up through their elected officials to raise the disease to a national level of prominence ⠀ #cornellvet #cornell #vetmed #veterinary #cwd #chronicwastingdisease #wildlife Maps created by @cornell_cwhl and image provided

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The disease has been spreading through deer, elk, and moose populations since 1981 (at least), when it was first identified in wild deer. While most populations still have low infection rates, they have grown to 10% or even 25% in others.

The more deer infected, the bigger risk to humans, warns a 2012 review in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“The potential for interspecies CWD transmission (by cohabitating mammals) will only increase as the disease spreads and CWD prions continue to be shed into the environment.”

The CDC and WHO agree that transmission between species is possible, or one day could be, even though we have no evidence that it has already happened. Researchers are hoping to develop a test that could be used in the field, one that would tell hunters whether or not the meat they’re butchering is contaminated before they eat it.

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Members of the UWSP Student Chapter of #TheWildlifeSociety helped construct a Chronic Wasting Disease kiosk for the Stevens Point area. Students will now have the opportunity to assist local DNR with collecting CWD samples from harvested deer. . Thank you @uwsp_tws for allowing us to share! Want to see your student chapter featured? DM us @thewildlifesociety. . Repost: Through a partnership with the @wi_dnr and @uwsp_bha, the UWSP TWS was able to construct and deploy a #CWD kiosk for the Stevens Point area. Over the course of several weeks, student volunteers constructed the kiosk and were able to set it up before the gun opener this past weekend. With the kiosk, students will have the opportunity to monitor and check for heads and assist the DNR with lymph node extraction and sampling. The kiosk is located at Frank’s Hardware in Stevens Point. . . . . . . . . . . #Wisconsin #CWD #wildlifedisease #chronicwastingdisease #deer #wildlifebiology #wildlifebiologist #wildlifemanagement

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University of Minnesota scientists are working on that now, but in the meantime, if you hunt in an affected area, be aware of what the animals you kill looked and acted like prior to being shot. In all cases, you’re better off avoiding touching the internal organs as much as possible, particularly the brain and spinal cord.

If you’re worried, contact your local wildlife authority to get the animal tested before consuming it.

This is new territory, but as with most things that could cost you your life, better safe than sorry.

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Watch Out! Tree Snakes in Australia Can Actually Jump.

Australia is full of terrifying creatures that you would never want to run into on a pleasant walk through the woods. Spiders and crocodiles and dingos, oh my.

Well, now you can add jumping snakes to the list.

Yes, you read that correctly. Australian tree snakes belonging to the Dendrelaphis genus can JUMP from tree to tree, flying through the air like winged serpents from mythology…or something like that.

A Ph.D. candidate named Michelle Graham from Virginia Tech University saw some footage of jumping tree snakes in Australia and set out for Down Under to do some research. Graham set up a kind of obstacle course for the snakes up in the trees using PVC pipe and tree branches. She then observed the snakes slithering and jumping through the trees from branch to branch.

Next, Graham plans to study why the Australian snakes feel the need to propel themselves through the air. Two scientific papers that are set to come out in 2020 will hopefully shed some light on that subject.

One good thing about this species: they’re not venomous. Whew! Still, I would not, under any circumstances, want one of these snakes leaping from a tree and onto my head or my back…or even into my path, to be honest. Ugh!

Let’s go to the video, shall we? This video shows a Dendrelaphis pictus, in case you were wondering.

Yikes! No, thank you!

Do you have a fear of snakes? Or of any other animals?

Tell us about it in the comments!

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This Website Warns You About Movies With Sad Dog Plots

This will come in handy for me. My mom doesn’t care if hundreds of men, women, and children get maimed or killed in a movie, but if a dog dies (or even gets lost or inconvenienced for a little while), everyone in the room is going to hear about it.

Let’s just say that watching Old Yeller as a kid wasn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life.

 

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Do you know people like this? Well, if you do, you should probably let them know about DoesTheDogDie.com. The website is dedicated to “crowdsourced emotional spoilers for movies, tv, books and more.” The site contains “warnings” about more than 4,000 films and over 800 TV series where animals are harmed and killed.

The site also tracks other potentially upsetting categories such as “Drownings,” “Eating Disorders,” and even “There Are Spiders.”

For example, if you search for John Wick on the website, you’d get the straight dope about the dog dying in the film: “Yes, and it’s terrible, BUT John Wick spends the rest of the movie deliberately, gloriously, and violently avenging the dog, so it feels really pro-dog overall.” So you’ll also get some positive reinforcement as well if you need a little encouragement to watch a particular movie.

So next time you’re about to watch a movie with your family or friends, hop on over to DoesTheDogDie.com, type in the movie or movies you’re thinking about watching, and see if any animals are going to bite the dust and potentially ruin your evening.

I’m so thankful for the Internet sometimes.

Sometimes.

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