Friday

Evo the Alaskan Malamute demonstrates some impressive babysitting skills as he observes and entertains 4-month-old Adam. A true friendship in the making!

With their wolfish appearance, Alaskan Malamutes may look like intimidating protectors, but most Mals are very friendly with everyone and make miserable watchdogs.

Still, this is a substantial, powerful breed, so it is essential to socialize youngsters so they grow up to trust and respect people.

Malamutes, if raised properly and socialized to children are great companions for children. They are even protective and loving toward babies. But you must do your job too. First, you must prepare an "only dog" for the birth of his sibling pack member, then you must continue to make him feel a part of the family, and lastly you must continue to be the benevolent alpha you've always been - firm and fair.


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Like Memorial Day, Independence Day has become a time for gathering with friends and family, but let us also remember its true purpose.

 In a 1776, John Adams penned in a letter to his wife that Independence Day “ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance.” Its purpose is to memorialize the Declaration of Independence and the forming of a federal union by the first 13 independent states.

For the United States, the philosophy of independence is about living out liberty and national allegiance. The American Revolution waged by the original 13 colonies was a fight for freedom, a fight to be self-governing and sovereign states free of tyranny and oppression from the British Crown, which prohibited basic rights of all Englishmen.

Ultimately, the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783 declared the 13 colonies to be “free sovereign and independent states.” This treaty established that the fundamental right of sovereignty resided within each former colony. This was a hard won acknowledgment and, understanding it, one would think the US would have extended it to Native American tribes. Yet, the recognition of tribes as self-governing and sovereign nations independent of the federal union was also hard won.


Although the USA holds the 566 federally recognized tribes as sovereign and independent nations, a great deal of federal legislation still exists regarding the tribes. This legislation extends to taxes, agriculture, mining, land, healthcare, housing, education, labor, law enforcement, and more.


Take home ownership, for instance. If a home is on reservation land, the land cannot be “owned” by the individual. Instead, the US government holds the land in trust for the tribe. So, can the house be sold? Would you buy the house if the land did not convey? Can the land be used as collateral or developed for economic purposes? This is just one way that the nearly 1 million Native Americans living on reservation lands are limited in independence and personal freedoms enjoyed by other Americans.


Fortunately, politics aside, tribes exercise great sovereignty and celebrate their independence through their heritage and the Indian way. They practice their ceremonies, speak their Native tongue to their children and grandchildren, and pass on their culture and traditions for the seventh generation.

In fact, in celebrating Navajo Nation Sovereignty Day on April 22, 2013, Dine’ President Ben Shelley asked his people to remember their sovereignty before it was decided by any court. Shelley said:


"We, the Holy People have always known who we are; therefore, we have always been sovereign. As we move forward, we need to continue to practice cultural independence. Sovereignty is not defined completely by a court of law; it’s defined in our free ability to guide our children into the lives we want for them."
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Thursday

While visiting a park in Oslo, Norway with his dog, Nero, Frode Riis Corneliussen filmed this mischievous crow nip Nero's tail. Apparently, this game of tag went on for quite a while.

Animals are often cheeky, but this crow takes things one step further by bullying an animal more tan twice its size.

The poor dog is patient at first, but even the most stoic of pups can only take so much. So Nero barks. And he chases. And the crow ... doesn't leave.

Unbeknown to it however it is being stalked from behind by a crow, who shuffles silently up towards it and without warning makes a lunge for its tail.


Hooded crows are very closely related to the carrion crow and the two species sometimes interbreed. Hooded crows are opportunists, eating whatever is available - berries, shellfish, eggs, insects and carrion. They are very smart and have been seen to drop shells from a great height to smash them open, and to pull in fishing lines to steal the catch or the bait.

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A little kitten and an owl have become good friends at a Japanese cafe. Prepare to get your heart melted!

 Kittens and owlets are some of the cutest animal babies on earth, put them together and they become what has to be one of the most adorable pairs of best friends you’ve ever seen. It may be hard to believe but these two super cute creatures love to hang out, play together and even cuddle up and nap together.

It sounds like a children’s tale, but these adorable friends, Fuku-chan the owlet and Marimo the kitten are the stars of the Hukulou coffee shop in Osaka, Japan.

Fuku-chan is one of the several owls that reside at the cafe. Marimo, is a beautiful Scottish Fold kitten, and a more recent addition. When the two met, they quickly bonded.

The cafe occasionally gets other owl visitors as well, and it also sells fun owl-themed crafts and good, but these two generally steal the show. They even like to give nose kisses before settling in to cozy up together for a good nap.
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Wolf howls are among the most recognizable—and, depending on one's situation, most fearsome—sounds in the wild, with their low pitch and long duration making them the perfect form of natural long-distance communication. But just why do wolves want to reach out to one another over the vast expanses of forest and tundra?

We know that wolf howls aren't just random noises; scientists have been able to identify individual wolf howls that are unique various different packs, with each particular howl used in certain distinct circumstances. While wolf howls have several purposes, a major one is to reestablish contact with a missing member of the pack. The question that an international team of researchers recently sought to answer was just why wolves howl more for certain group members than others. To do that, the team removed certain wolves one at a time from a pack, then recorded just how desperately the rest of the wolves howled for their missing friend.

When the removed wolf was known to be a high-ranking member of the pack's hierarchy, the wolves howled more; the same phenomenon was also observed for certain wolves when one of their close companions in the pack was taken away. The researchers hypothesized a relatively straightforward biological explanation, specifically that the wolves recognized the loss of a valuable member and became stressed out, hence why they howled more for the wolf's return. But subsequent analysis showed that the wolves' stress levels never changed, suggesting their motivations for howling weren't quite so primal. Dr. Simon Townsend, a lead author of the study from Switzerland's University of Zurich, explains what they ultimately determined:


"Wolves seem to howl more when higher ranking individuals leave because these individuals play quite important roles in the social lives of wolves. When they leave it makes sense that the remaining wolves would want to try and re-initiate or regain contact. The same applies for friendship. What we expected was higher cortisol levels if the wolves were more stressed when 'friends' leave, but what we found is that cortisol doesn't seem to explain the variation in the howling behavior we see. Instead it's explained more by social factors - the absence of a high ranking individual or the absence of a closer affiliate."


Those are some intriguingly sophisticated social dynamics. Speaking to the BBC News, Holly Root-Gutteridge — who wasn't involved in the study but is an expert in wolf howls at Nottingham Trent University — explains just why this finding is so remarkable:

"The wolves are choosing to howl because a preferred wolf has been removed and they appear to consciously choose to stay in touch with that wolf. That's fascinating because it's really hard to separate social contact calls from the trigger causing them and also the hormone change the trigger causes. It means the wolves may be taking complex social interactions into consideration and then changing their own behaviour accordingly, not by instinct but by choice."
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