1 comment | Saturday, March 29, 2014
Pandas like to Cavort
Nothing is cuter than a baby panda, except a human baby. Even, the word panda is more cute. In fact, cubs sometimes behave like human babies. They sleep in the same positions and value their thumbs (panda use theirs for holding the bamboo they munch on all day). Pandas are shy by nature (the Chinese have nicknamed the animal "Miss Panda" for its coy behaviour such as covering its face with a paw or ducking its head when confronted by a stranger). But they are also playful. According to one Chinese travel site pandas have been known to wander inside mountain homes and get into the pots and pans. And although they grow into solitary adults who roam alone and mate just once a year, they also like to snuggle. If given the chance, they'll sleep side by side with domestic animals. 

baby panda

Whale say Thanks
Each winter for nearly 20 years, Great Whale Conservancy codirector Michael Fishbach has travelled with other research scientists to the Sea of Cortez off Mexico' west coast to study blue and humpback whales. In 2011, he and his team spotted a humpback whale trapped in a fishing net and spent an hour freeing it. Afterwards, in an hour-long display of thanks, the whale swam near their boat and leaped into the air about 40 times. 

Horses are Pricky Eaters
Horses have an even keener sense of taste and smell than humans do, say equine scientists. When horses wrinkle their noses and flare their nostrils, they're activating their vomeronasal organ, which allows them to sense smells we can;t detect. Horses also have taste buds on the back of their tongues and the roofs of their mouths, which might explain why they reject stale water and meticulously move around meadows, grazing on only the tastiest herbs, experts say. 

Bear does Yoga
Santra, female bear at Finland's Ahtari Zoo, entertained visitors with a 15 minute "Yoga" routine following a nap. Sitting upright, Santra used her front paws to grab her right back paw, then her left, stretching her legs as if doing a One-Legged Split. Next, she demonstrated the Open-Leg Seated Balance Pose with near-perfect form, pulling up both hind legs while keeping her balance. Meta Penca, who happened to be at the Zoo and snapped photos of Santra's performance, said the bear "looked focused and calm."

Pigeons serve their Country
Pigeon's speed and navigational skills made them prized military and royal messengers and the mist decorated non-humans in the military history. Thirty-two messenger pigeons have received the Dickin Medal, a British award that honours the gallantry or devotion of animals in war. At the moment, pigeons are resting on their laurels. They've fallen out of military favour and are no longer used for now. 

Monkey do Maths
If capuchins ran the world, we might have avoided the recent banking crisis. In an experiment conducted by Keith Chen at Yale, capuchins demonstrated an understanding of pricing  and budgeting, as well as a desire to avoid losses when required to buy food with tokens. 

Camel eats breakfast with People
The first time Joe dined with British farmers Nathan and Charlotte Anderson Dixon. he was uninvited. The four year old Bactrian camel stuck his head through open kitchen window in Ashbourne, England and proceeded to empty the contents of a fruit bowl. Now the couple, who rent out reindeer, camels, goats and other creatures for television shows, movies and photo shoots, set a place at their table for the assertive double-humped creature, where he munches on cereal and his favourite: bananas on toast. 

A cat Honours its Owner
A sprig of acacia, paper towels, and a plastic cup are just a few of the gifts that Toldo, a devoted three-year-old grey and white cat, has placed on his former owner lozzelli Renzo's grave in Montagnana, Italy, every day since the man died in September 2011. Renzo adopted Toldo from a shelter when the cat was three months old and the two formed an inseparable bond. After Renzo passed away, Toldo followed the coffin to the cemetary and now "stands guard" at the grave for hours at a time, says Renzo's family.

Marmots befriend a Boy
A colony of marmots in the Austrian Alps has embraced eight year old Matteo Walch, whose family vacations there in summer. The Alpine marmots are the largest of their species, sometimes reaching more than 6.5 kilos. Typically, they beat their tails, chatter and whistle to warn other marmots of danger, but the Matteo, they behave much differently, allowing the boy to feed, pet and even touch noses with them. "Watching them makes me feel a connection with nature," says Matteo.
Matteo's mother, Michaela, has taken photographs of her son's interaction with the marmots since he was four years old and a lot closer in size to the furry creatures.
No comments | Friday, January 31, 2014
If Danish parents prefer a moniker not on the list of 7000 preapproved baby names, they must get permission from local church and government officials. Fifteen to 20 per cent of the 1100 reviewed names including creative spellings of common names, last names as first names, and unusual names are rejected each year. 
The Country's naming committee consults the National Register of Persons to determine if a name is acceptable. If parents want to go off-list, they must apply for approval and pay a fee, and the name must contain only letters in the Icelandic alphabet. 
New Zealand
The country''s Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act of 1995 prohibits parents from choosing name that "might cause offence to a reasonable person; if unreasonably long; or is, includes, or resembles an official title or rank." Two names that were recently rejected: Adolf Hitler and Yeah Detroit. 
Parents are banned by law from using last names and the names of objects and products as first names. A child's first name must clearly indicate his or her gender, and all names must be approved by the office of vital statistics in the area in which the child was born.