July 30, 2014

Dog Has "Worst" Matted Fur, Couldn't Walk: SPCA

A dog found in an abandoned Long Island home was brought in to an animal shelter with fur so thick and matted that the dog was barely able to walk, and authorities are searching for the person responsible for the animal's neglect.

The Shih Tzu-type dog, weighing about 11 pounds and estimated to be about 5 or 6 years old, was turned in to the Town of Babylon Animal Shelter on July 17, SPCA officials say.

The man who brought the dog in said he found it in a house he knew to be abandoned, on South 7th Street in Lindenhurst. Neighbors in the area told authorities that the last tenants had moved out nearly a year ago.

Shelter officials said it was the worst case of matting they'd ever seen on a dog, which has been nicknamed Ziggy. Nearly 4 pounds of knotted fur were shaved off, and the dog's overgrown nails were clipped.

Ziggy will also have to go through extensive physical therapy to learn how to walk correctly again, officials say. The NY Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Farmingdale is providing the service pro bono.

Anyone with information on the neglect of the dog is asked to contact the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722.


Victory: State Fish and Game Department will not kill wolves in Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during 2015-16 winter

Faced with a legal challenge by conservationists and an imminent hearing before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (“IDFG”) has abandoned its plan to resume a professional wolf-killing program in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during the coming winter.

In a sworn statement submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on July 24, 2014, IDFG Wildlife Bureau Chief Jeff Gould stated that IDFG “will not conduct any agency control actions for wolves within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness before November 1, 2015.” IDFG had previously advised the court that the program could resume as early as December 1, 2014.

A professional hunter-trapper hired by IDFG killed nine wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness last winter and state officials in February announced plans to kill 60 percent of the wolves in the Middle Fork section of the wilderness over a period of several years in an effort to inflate wilderness elk populations for the benefit of commercial outfitters and recreational hunters.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this September, we are relieved that the Frank Church Wilderness will be managed as a wild place, rather than an elk farm, for at least the coming year,” said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso, who is representing conservationists challenging the wilderness wolf-killing program. “Now we must make sure that wilderness values prevail for the long term.”

Earthjustice is representing long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups—Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity—in the lawsuit challenging the wolf-killing program. The conservationists argue that the U.S. Forest Service, which is charged by Congress with managing and protecting the Frank Church Wilderness, violated the Wilderness Act and other laws by allowing and assisting the state wolf-killing program in the largest forest wilderness in the lower-48 states.

In a separate sworn statement filed with the Ninth Circuit on July 24, the Forest Service committed to providing the conservationists with notice by August 5, 2015 of any plans by IDFG to resume professional wolf-killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the 2015–16 winter, as well as “a final determination by the Forest Service as to whether it concurs with or objects to such plans.”

“IDFG’s announcement now gives the Forest Service the chance to play out its mission—its obligation to protect our irreplaceable Frank Church Wilderness for the American people and for all its wildlife against an effort to turn it into a mere elk farming operation on infertile soil,” said Maughan, a retired Idaho State University professor who was a member of the citizens’ group that drew up the boundaries of the Frank Church Wilderness 35 years ago.

“We are pleased to see this truce in Idaho’s wolf reduction efforts in the Frank Church for a full year,” said Suzanne Stone, Defenders’ regional representative who has worked nearly three decades to restore wolves in Idaho. “The Frank Church is both the largest forested wilderness area and a core habitat for gray wolves in the western United States. Wolves belong here as they have made the ‘Frank’ truly wild again. Ensuring healthy wolf populations here is critical for the recovery of wolves throughout the entire northwestern region.”

“It is hard to imagine a decision more inconsistent with wilderness protection than to allow the hired killing of wolves,” added Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Today, some relief for wild places flows from the news that IDFG will not continue that odious operation this year. Next we will see whether the Forest Service will take action to protect the Frank Church Wilderness from such atrocities in the future.”

"It’s time for the Forest Service to stand with the vast majority of the American people by taking the necessary steps to protect wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness for the long-term, not just the next 15 months,” stated George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch. “Wolves are the epitome of wildness. Their protection is key to preserving the area’s wilderness character.”

“We’re glad Idaho’s wolves are rightly getting a reprieve from the state’s ill-conceived predator-killing plan, at least for a year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re also happy to see the Forest Service agree to be more transparent about any future decision to allow Idaho to kill wolves in the Frank Church.”


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had scheduled an August 25, 2014 court hearing to address the conservationists’ request for an injunction to prevent IDFG from resuming its program of professional wolf killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the coming winter. IDFG commenced the program in December 2013 without public notice but abruptly suspended the program on January 28, 2014 amidst emergency injunction proceedings before the Ninth Circuit. Since then, the conservationists have continued to press their case for an injunction before the Ninth Circuit, which led to the scheduled August 25 court hearing.

Because IDFG has abandoned the 2014–15 professional wolf-killing program in the wilderness, the conservationists have agreed to forego the scheduled court hearing, but they renewed their call for the Forest Service to fulfill its legal duty to protect the Frank Church Wilderness.

These tiny hedgehogs are being given a helping hand after being found by a member of the public who delivered them to the safety of a an animal rescue organisation.

The hoglets, which are just a few days old, are being cared for at Secret World - a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre in East Huntspill, Somerset - until they are big enough to fend for themselves.

Here they were snapped by wildlife photographers Ann and Steve Toon, from Northumberland National Park.

Mr Toon, 51, said: 'We love the character of the hoglets’ wrinkly faces.'With adult hedgehogs, it’s hard to see much of their faces - you just see a little wet nose and a couple of beady eyes. 'But with these little guys, you can really see their cute character.' The hoglets measure no more than the length of an index finger.

Mr Toon reckons these hoglets were abandoned, but warned that not all hedgehogs out in thw old on their own have been deserted by their mothers. Hedgehogs often leave their young alone for hours while they forage or sleep, so babies like these are not always abandoned.

Mr Toon said: 'People should get expert advice before picking up apparently abandoned baby animals. 'A lot of perfectly healthy animals are ‘rescued’ by well-meaning members of the public.

'With very young hedgehogs like this, it’s now touch and go if they will survive the first few days at the centre. 'But if they do, there’s a very good chance of them eventually being released back into the wild.' The hedgehogs are fed every couple of hours through the day and night with a substitute milk formula.

They will be released back into the wild once they have reached a big enough weight to survive hibernating an entire winter on their own.

July 29, 2014

Ever opened your door to find yourself nose-to-nose with a mother black bear?

That’s what happened to Laura Combee one Sunday afternoon in Lake County, Florida. When she heard strange noises outside, Combee told The Huffington Post, she opened the door to find a mother bear and two cubs. After grabbing her iPhone to capture this video, she saw the bears walking away.

When she started talking to them, however, the trio of bears turned back into the yard and came right up to her door. The video shows the two cubs playfully climbing a tree and investigating the porch.

Combee said she knows of as many as 8 different bears in the area, but this one seems to be especially unafraid of people. “I fear for these particular bears and their friendly nature,” she said. Combee knows that trash is unsecured and people often don’t think about leaving scraps outside.

She also said that, though the video was taken at quite a close angle, she stood behind a heavy door to capture the video and never felt threatened by the bears.


This baby fox got itself hopelessly caught in a cricket net in someone's backyard, and was unable to escape without human help.

The trapped cub kept twisting and turning, becoming further entangled. Fortunately, a rescuer from the Wildlife Aid Foundation, which has been coming to the aid of the U.K.'s wild animals for more than 30 years, came to help extract the fox from the net.

In the video, shot with a GoPro camera, the rescuer says he saw the baby's parents run off when he entered the backyard, so there's hope that the little one could easily join them once freed.

Initially, the poor baby was pretty distressed...

... but after some strategic use of protective gloves and a pair of pliers, the cub was off to rejoin its foxy family in their den.

Enjoy the freedom, little one, and stay away from nets!