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What’s Up With The Okapi’s Strange Markings?

Mackenzie Freeman

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There’s an interesting and little understood fact about zebras and their stripes. People wonder why they have such strange and easy to spot markings. They do not blend into their environment at all. In fact, if one zebra gets away from the herd, it is almost certain to be taken down by a large cat or coyotes.

But the reason zebra have those markings is not to hide against the backdrop of the jungle or plains. It’s to create a pattern that predatory cats struggle to track visually. What lions see when they watch zebras in close formation running is a lot like the static we see on an old fashioned TV when nothing is tuned in but radiation from space.

To the lion, the effect is a miasma of formless nonsense which makes it very difficult for them to tell where one zebra starts and another one ends. And it’s very important for lions to be able to make such distinctions, because to miss and fall amid a herd of zebra is to risk severe injury from being trampled- not to mention to run the risk of starvation.

So, the zebra has an extreme form of this type of camouflage- the type that causes a herd to look like a singular mass. In fact, Canadian clinical psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson talks about human conformity as being comparable to the stripes of zebras. Many people fear being perceived as different. Indeed, in high school particularly, we see that those who are viewed as different are treated poorly compared to the rest of the class. This is the instinctive, cultural form of zebra stripes.

But zebras are not the only animal that has what we might call “against the herd camouflage.” Here, we see a rare glimpse of a newborn Okapi, sometimes called “the forest giraffe.” This youngster is just getting the hang of standing up on those long, thin legs. But you’ll notice that those same long thin legs look a lot like the legs of the zebra. This animal in fact has partial “against the herd camouflage.”

Animals of this type, like horses, cows, deer, and others, have to walk right away the moment after that are born. To fail at this, is to attract the hungry gaze of a predator. In this video, we see mother and calf doing something that looks a lot like kissing. Certainly, the two do feel affection for one another. That’s natural. But the mother is also sharing valuable gut bacteria with her calf that she will need to digest cellulose-heavy grass and leaves.

When the mother and calf stand together, we see the zebra effect showing across their legs only. As a matter of fact, Okapi are found in parts of central Africa where they live chiefly among trees that tend to only hang down to about the level of the top of the Okapi’s legs. So, when they are running through the woods, predators would tend to see their legs- while the body of the animal is properly camouflaged against the shadows of the low canopy.

Nature truly is full of beauty and wonder.

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Animals

The Rescue of a 46-years-old Elephant after Years of Life in Captivity

Mackenzie Freeman

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Karma, a 46-year-old blind elephant, had been a captive all her life as a victim of human abuse and neglect. She had been used by her owners as a tool for begging for many years. Karma was also forced to carry heavy loads through the busy and chaotic streets of India and give rides to tourists. Since she was absolutely blind, any interaction in the streets was extremely fearful and hard for her. As time passed, Karma lost her hope of experiencing freedom. 

However, miracles do happen. In December 2019, Karma was rescued by volunteers of the group Wildlife SOS.  The mission of this non-profit organization is to rescue wild captive animals, help them to rehabilitate, and contribute to preserving India’s natural heritage. They have helped thousands of animals so far, including elephants. 

In the touching video Wildlife SOS shared, Karma is getting out the trailer helped by two volunteers and taking the first steps towards her long awaited freedom. 

Karma received a totally new life at an animal sanctuary and rehabilitation center Elephant Conservation and Care Center located in Northern India. She loves her new home and environment and feels confident by strolling around the sanctuary’s green grassy plains and peaceful fields. Because of her blindness, Karma is cautious and takes every step slowly by using her trunk to guide her. This is the only tool she has for smelling and feeling the ground in front of her.  For now, caregivers are trying not to leave Karma alone and stay close enough while she is becoming familiar with the new environment and discovering the sanctuary. 

She has to stay under quarantine for a while, until it will be safe for her to see other animals. However, the staff of the sanctuary hopes that once the quarantine is over Karma will be able to meet other elephants and become a part of her new elephant family. 

Caregivers say that she has a long way to recover.  However, already after a month at the sanctuary, she is feeling much better, getting stronger and becoming more confident. The organization has also started a fundraising company and has already raised money to cover Karma’s medical expenses.

Karma definitely benefits from freedom and life in a safe, natural environment. She finally looks like a happy elephant enjoying every second of her existence. 

According to statistics, there are over 4,000 elephants living in captivity in India today. The average life expectancy of elephants is 60-70 years. However, captive elephants usually die before 40 due to such chronic disorders as tuberculosis, foot abscesses, and arthritis. Moreover,  most of the keepers do not understand the needs of these giant animals and fail to provide them with proper living conditions. 

Wildlife SOS was established in 1995 as a group of people inspired to preserve India’s natural heritage and protect the wildlife of the country. They have launched dozens of initiatives with the purpose to protect India’s endangered animals and prevent their extinction. Karma became the seventh rescued elephant at the sanctuary in 2020. 

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Animals

Local Hero UPS Driver Saves Dog Trapped In Ice

Mackenzie Freeman

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What’s your normal work day like? For Ryan Arens, a UPS driver in Bozeman, Montana, a normal day would be delivering packages to people. He’s been working for UPS for 14 years, so his day is pretty routine and he likes to stick to a schedule. 

In January of 2019, he broke routine when he heard something strange during his route. He thought he heard a dog in distress. He could hear it yelping and crying, but it was getting dark so he couldn’t see it. There was a pond near the neighborhood he was in. He went around to the other side of it to get a closer look. That’s when he saw the dog. It was a wire-haired pointing griffon and it was in the middle of the pond. It had fallen through the ice into the cold waters and was trying to stay near the surface. He didn’t know how long the dog had been in the water, but he knew he had to do something.

There was another good Samaritan on the water in a rowboat that was trying to save the dog as well, but he was having no luck. Ryan always keeps a dry change of clothes in his backpack, so he would do what any rational person would do, jump in the freezing cold water and save the dog. 

Getting the dog out of the water was easy and the dog was very thankful. Ryan brought the dog to the good Samaritans house where they tried to get her warm. She had been in the water for a very long time and her legs were weak. She could barely stand when they put her in the tub in warm water. Ryan held her up while the homeowner gently bathed her in warm water to get her blood flowing properly again. They then dried her off and gave her food and Ryan showered and changed his clothes before heading back to finish his route. 

The next day, he thought about whether the good Samaritan was able to find the dogs owner. He thought about going by after work to check, when the dog he saved from the frigid waters came bounding over to his truck during a delivery. The package he was delivering belonged to the owners of the lucky dog and they were happy to thank the man who saved their Sadie, which is the dogs name.

Ryan Arens did want any person would do, especially one whose an animal lover. He has a dog himself, a 14 year old Malamute Shepherd mix. They love going on walks and snuggling on the couch together. His dog is his world and he hopes that if his dog ever got out and got themselves in a sticky and scary situation, that someone would be there to save her, like he did Sadie. 

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Animals

How to Name Your Male Dog in 2020: 10 ideas

Mackenzie Freeman

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Getting a dog is always exciting because you are adding a new member to your family. However, one of the biggest questions that most new dog owners have is “How to name him?”. If you are having trouble thinking of a name for your male four-legged friend, here are some ideas based on popular trends of 2020. 

Luke

If you are a fan of Star Wars, this name is familiar to you. In 2020 it is one of the most popular names for male puppies. Moreover,  Luke was also the name of Staffordshire Bull Terrier who acted in silent films at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Bailey

If you grew up in the 90s, you must be familiar with the Scott Wolf’s character in Party of Five named Bailey. Puppies named Bailey are characterized as strong, good-natured and loyal canines. 

Max

If you want to have not just a dog but a best friend, name your pooch Max. It was the dog’s name from the movie of the same name Max released in 2015. The movie was about the dog who has to relocate from Afghanistan to Texas after his owner passed away. 

Jack

It is another great name for a loyal dog. It is also a great choice if you have Jack Russel Terrier. Fans of the NBC drama This is Us might also want to name their male dog Jack after the heroic character played by Milo Ventimiglia. 

Milo 

It is a great name for a dog because it is classic, and is easy to remember and pronounce. Milo was the name of the orange tabby cat in the 80s movie Adventures of Milo and Otis that tells about the friendship between a cat and a pug. 

Toby

According to the statistics provided by PetPlace, dogs named Toby are loyal, friendly, and playful. Even though it is a human name, it is more known as a male dog name in 2020. 

Charlie

Charlie is the third popular dog name today. Charlie was also a dog character in the animated comedy series Looney Tunes produced by Warner Brothers in the period from 1930 to 1969. Therefore, if you are looking for a really old, classic name for your pooch, here is the one. 

Rocky 

If you have a large and strong dog, you can name him Rocky – after Rocky Balboa. You might also remember the animated comedy  The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle – one of the most iconic shows in the 1960s. Rocky was the name of one of the main characters – a flying squirrel. 

Jake

For those who do not like the name Jack but still want their dog’s name to start with J here is an option – Jake. It is among the top 10 most popular names in 2020. If you are a fan of animated television series Adventure Time,  you should remember its main four-legged character named Jake, who is a great example of a human best friend. 

Oliver

Being a classic name, this name is good for both dogs and babies. It is also capable to produce many different cute nicknames, such as Ollie, Olly, or Olley.  Most dogs named Oliver are active and curious pooches with a lot of energy. 

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