Birds Do It. People, Too. Is Migration Simply Natural for All Species?

Every spring, more than 300 species of bird migrate north along traditional geographic “flyways” from their winter ranges in the Caribbean and Central and South America to their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada. One day in May, a migration hot spot near my home provided me with hard-earned glimpses of migrating thrushes, vireos, orioles and 21 species of wood warblers — the most brilliant and sought-after of the migratory celebrities of spring. My reunions with a stunning hooded warbler, a crisp but shy worm-eating warbler and the flame-throated Blackburnian warbler were the highlights of my mostly homebound week of social distancing. Migration is occurring all around us, if we have the time, dedication and luck to observe it.

Migration is also in the news. On nearly every continent, human refugees are fleeing from war, ethnic and gang violence, political oppression, famine, climate change and poverty. Their travel has instigated humanitarian support efforts, military and police actions, governmental crises, political movements, xenophobic rhetoric and massive border construction projects. Refugees are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea, the Rio Grande and the Sahara, and are being detained in fortified camps on Greek islands, Australian atolls and in Bangladeshi and Texas borderlands.

In her new book, “The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move,” the science journalist Sonia Shah explores the history of intellectual connections among all these migration phenomena, tackling with compassion and insight a deeply complex and challenging subject. The author of four previous books, including her prescient “Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, From Cholera to Ebola and Beyond,” which came out in 2016, Shah makes clear that her interest in migration is personal. The daughter of a couple who emigrated from India to New York, she writes that her parents’ relocation “instilled in me an acute feeling of being somehow out of place, one that’s taken nearly five decades to quell.” After enduring a lifetime of questions from fellow Americans about where she is “really” from, she aims to unpack the contributions of science in shaping our expectations about the relationship between people and places.

“The Next Great Migration” argues that a view of migration as an irregularity, disorder and disruptive force has long influenced Western culture, informing eugenic and xenophobic policies in 20th-century America, the Nazi genocide and today’s anti-immigrant political movements. She explores the history of these ideas over more than three centuries, tracing a path from the 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus to the contemporary American white nationalist and anti-immigration crusader John Tanton. Shah contrasts this scientific tradition with a parallel track — from the 18th-century French naturalist Comte de Buffon (though he, too, was not immune to racist beliefs) to Darwin — elaborating a view of migration as natural and positive. She concludes that contemporary human migrations are not historically exceptional, but simply a manifestation of the biology of Homo migratio.

Shah reports her story from areas of refugee crisis and migration hot spots around the globe — Greek islands; Himalayan valleys; the apartments of immigrant Eritrean families in her hometown, Baltimore; and from Cape May, N.J., where bird-watchers flock in the fall to observe migrating raptors and warblers. The connections between human and animal migrations are sometimes even stronger than Shah recognizes. In eastern Panama, Shah meets a Haitian refugee family who have hiked for six days through the roadless jungle of the Darién Gap, which connects the continents of North and South America, on their circuitous route to the United States. Every spring and fall, millions of broad-winged hawks and Swainson’s hawks migrate over this same terrain on their annual migrations from breeding grounds in forests of North America to wintering grounds in the Pampas of Argentina. Created by the plate tectonic forces uniting the Americas, the Isthmus of Panama poses a geographic bottleneck for the intercontinental migrations of humans and birds. Likewise, the Greek island of Lesbos is a layover point for both human and avian migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

The scope of Shah’s story is vast, and she has taken some scientific shortcuts along the way, including a few that undermine her argument. Biologists recognize a diversity of plant and animal movements: daily movement within a home range, annual cyclic migration, dispersal from natal origin to a place of breeding, gene flow among populations of a species, historical range expansion, species dispersal over a geographic barrier, etc. Shah lumps all of these under the concept of “migration,” which makes some of her discussion confusing. How does the African origin of so much human diversity relate to the challenges cougars face crossing highways in Los Angeles? Or to the myth of altruistic lemmings leaping into the sea to their deaths?

While I was tending to apple trees in coastal Maine in early May, I was afflicted by two dozen itchy welts on the back of my neck, caused by microscopic, urticating caterpillar hairs that drifted down my collar. The hairs came from the browntail moth, which was accidentally introduced to the East Coast more than 100 years ago. Its populations have exploded in the past several years, denuding oak and other hardwood trees and causing painful rashes to many people who venture outdoors.

Now, there are many reasons a book might make a reader feel hot under the collar, but reading Shah’s dismissal of the impact of invasive species while scratching my neck was a real trigger for me. Shah connects the intellectual history of “invasive species” ecology to contemporary anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. Although there is evidence for this argument — Nazi gardeners, for example, championed the exclusive use of native plants — she fails to engage with the genuine ecological damage that introduced species are causing around the world. Over the last century, eastern North American forests have lost the once-dominant species of chestnut and elm to disease spread by invasive pests from Europe. Today, populations of eastern hemlocks and multiple species of ash are being rapidly destroyed by introduced insect pests from Asia. But Shah mentions chestnut blight only in passing.

Nor does her book address the enormous ecological impact that human migration has already had on the planet. The paleontologist David Steadman has estimated that human colonization of the Pacific Ocean islands between 1,000 and 5,000 years ago resulted in the extinction of approximately 2,000 species of birds — one-fifth of the world’s populations. This scale of human-mediated ecological devastation cannot be dismissed as inconsequential.

Although she doesn’t use the term, Shah effectively shows that understanding human migration is fundamentally an intersectional problem, incorporating race, ethnicity, religion, gender, class, economic inequality, politics, nationalism, colonialism and health, not to mention genetics, evolution, ecology, geography, climate, climate change and even plate tectonics. Of course, Shah could not have imagined our current plight, in which the topics of her last two books would collide spectacularly: human migration during a global pandemic. It’s proof that her work addresses issues of fundamental importance to the survival and well-being of us all.


Mass Extinctions Are Accelerating, Scientists Report

Five hundred species are likely to become extinct over the next two decades, according to a new study.

We are in the midst of a mass extinction, many scientists have warned — this one driven not by a catastrophic natural event, but by humans. The unnatural loss of biodiversity is accelerating, and if it continues, the planet will lose vast ecosystems and the necessities they provide, including fresh water, pollination, and pest and disease control.

On Monday, there was more bad news: We are racing faster and closer toward the point of collapse than scientists previously thought, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The extinction rate among terrestrial vetebrate species is significantly higher than prior estimates, and the critical window for preventing mass losses will close much sooner than formerly assumed — in 10 to 15 years.

“We’re eroding the capabilities of the planet to maintain human life and life in general,” said Gerardo Ceballos, an ecologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and lead author of the new study.

The current rate of extinctions vastly exceeds those that would occur naturally, Dr. Ceballos and his colleagues found. Scientists know of 543 species lost over the last 100 years, a tally that would normally take 10,000 years to accrue

“In other words, every year over the last century we lost the same number of species typically lost in 100 years,” Dr. Ceballos said.

If nothing changes, about 500 more terrestrial vertebrate species are likely to go extinct over the next two decades alone, bringing total losses equivalent to those that would have taken place naturally over 16,000 years.

To determine how many species are on the brink of extinction, Dr. Ceballos and co-authors Paul Ehrlich, a conservation biologist at Stanford University, and Peter Raven, an environmentalist at the Missouri Botanical Garden, turned to population data for 29,400 terrestrial vertebrate species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Of those species, 515 — or 1.7 percent — are critically endangered, they found, with fewer than 1,000 individuals remaining. About half of these species comprise fewer than 250 individuals.

The researchers also examined species with populations between 1,000 and 5,000. When the scientists added those 388 species to their original analysis, they found an 84 percent geographic overlap — largely in the tropics — with species in the critically endangered group

The loss of some will likely trigger a domino effect that sends others into a downward spiral, ultimately threatening entire ecosystems, the authors report. Dr. Ceballos compared this process to removing bricks from the wall of a house.

“If you take one brick out, nothing happens — maybe it just becomes noisier and more humid inside,” he said. “But if you take too many out, eventually your house will collapse.”

Conservationists, therefore, should consider all species with populations under 5,000 individuals to be in danger of extinction, Dr. Ceballos and his colleagues concluded.

“This is a substantial increase in what we have typically thought of as endangered,” said Daniel Blumstein, an ecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the research.

The new study also emphasizes the importance of protecting individual populations of animals, not just a species itself. Based on an analysis of the current and historical ranges of critically endangered species, the researchers calculated that more than 237,000 individual populations have disappeared since 1900.

In a previous study, Dr. Ceballos and Dr. Ehrlich similarly found that 32 percent of 27,600 vertebrate species’ populations are declining around the world.

As populations disappear from geographic areas, the species’ function there also disappears. The loss of honeybees in the United States, for example, would deal an economic blow of more than $15 billion, but the species itself would still survive elsewhere around the world.

“The population declines of common species — top predators, large-bodied herbivores like the rhino, pollinators and others — have large effects on the way ecosystems function even when they are far from extinction,” said Rebecca Shaw, chief scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, who was not involved in the research.

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“Ceballos and his colleagues are telling us with scientific certainty that the survival of these species is linked to our own survival,” she added.

Dr. Ehrlich emphasized that the study’s overall findings were almost certainly a gross underestimate of the true scope of the extinction problem. Their analysis did not take plants or aquatic or invertebrate species into account, and it included only approximately 5 percent of terrestrial vertebrates for which scientists have population data.

The findings are “in fact what one would expect in the gathering biodiversity crisis,” said Thomas Lovejoy, an ecologist at George Mason University, who was not involved in the research. The paper “should be considered a major wake-up call while there is still time to make a difference.”

That so few people are aware of the impending crisis, Dr. Lovejoy added, is a cause of the crisis itself

Many who are aware may simply feel the loss is not consequential. “People say, ‘What the hell of a difference does it make to me?’” Dr. Ehrlich said.

But often the role of a particular plant or animal in an ecosystem has become apparent only after the species in question is gone.

Passenger pigeons, for example, once numbered in the billions. Their voracious appetite for seeds limited population growth of other seed-eating species, including white-footed mice — the natural reservoir for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

After the passenger pigeon’s extinction, white-footed mice populations exploded, and the risks to human health increased. The impacts of the passenger pigeon’s extinction, researchers wrote in Science, “are still being felt a century after the last passenger pigeon died.”

As humans continue to encroach on nature and wildlife, Dr. Ceballos and his colleagues warn of a cascading series of impacts — including more frequent occurrences of new diseases and pandemics. The coronavirus that launched the pandemic originated in a wild animal, most scientists believe.

“The vaccine for Covid-19 was natural habitat,” Dr. Ceballos said. “The pandemic is a great example of how badly we’ve treated nature.”

With enough species losses, ecosystems will eventually fail, destabilizing economies and governments and triggering famine and refugee crises. But there are steps that can be taken now, Dr. Ceballos said.

Habitat loss and wildlife trade are currently responsible for the brunt of the problem, whereas climate change has yet to unleash “the full tsunami” of its impacts, Dr. Ceballos said.

To offset the most urgent wave of extinctions, he and his colleagues call for an immediate end to illegal wildlife trade.

“There’s no way this can be continued, wiping out species and putting the whole of humanity in danger,” Dr. Ceballos said. “We can solve this immediate problem.”

They also call for a halt to deforestation and a complete reform of the legal wildlife trade — one that prioritizes sustainability over profits.

“The most fundamental problem is reducing the scale of the human enterprise, especially its consumptive demands on the biosphere,” Dr. Ehrlich said.

Making these changes will require electing leaders who prioritize the environment, redistributing resources and slowing human population growth. To help organize these efforts, Dr. Ceballos and Dr. Ehrlich launched a new global initiative called Stop Extinction.

The initiative aims to provide a framework for creating new national agreements, as well as tools for educating and activating the public about the unfolding extinction crisis.

“All of us need to understand that what we do in the next five to 10 years will define the future of humanity,” Dr. Ceballos said.

Allosaurus cannibalized its own kind, grim new fossils reveal

Scientists have discovered rare fossil evidence of dinosaur cannibalism in a large quarry in Colorado.

In a new study published today (May 27) in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers examined dinosaur bones from the Mygatt-Moore Quarry near the Utah-Colorado border, paying close attention to any bite marks that were present. Many bones bore the bites of theropod dinosaurs (a large group of bipedal carnivores). In some cases, the team wrote, both the biter and the bitee were of the same genus — the predatorial Allosaurus — providing some “extremely rare” fossil evidence of dinosaur-on-dinosaur cannibalism.

According to lead study author Stephanie Drumheller, it’s likely that the predators were driven to eat their own dead as a last resort during desperate times.

“Big theropods like Allosaurus probably weren’t particularly picky eaters, especially if their environments were already strapped for resources,” Drumheller, a professor of paleontology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said in a statement. “Scavenging and even cannibalism were definitely on the table.”

The Mygatt-Moore Quarry contains thousands of dinosaur bones dating to the late Jurassic period, roughly 150 million years ago. During its best days, the quarry was a lushly vegetated home to many large dinosaur species, including the long-necked Apatosaurus and the bipedal carnivore Allosaurus. But at some point, the new study suggests, the area fell on hard times, forcing local carnivores to scavenge for scraps of meat from the picked-over remains of dead dinos.

In their new study, the authors looked for bite marks on 2,368 dinosaur bones from the quarry; the width, depth and pattern of the bite marks helped the team determine what sort of dinosaur had sunk its chompers into each chunk of prey. Of these, 684 specimens, or 29%, bore at least one theropod bite mark. Many of those marks were clearly made by serrated teeth, the authors wrote, suggesting Allosaurus (the most common theropod among the quarry’s fossils) did most of the biting.

While these predators tended to nosh mostly on herbivores, 17% of their bite victims were also theropods, including some fellow Allosaurus specimens — making this the first plausible evidence of Allosaurus-on-Allosaurus cannibalism ever detected.

Strangely, though, most of the examined bite marks didn’t appear to be killing blows. In fact, more than half of all the marks were found on boney, meat-scarce parts of the victim’s body, including fingers, toes and spinal columns. The theropods that bit them weren’t hunting for prime meat, the authors suggested — they were scavenging for scraps.

In conclusion, the researcher wrote, these fossils tell a story of desperate carnivores that quite literally picked the meat off their prey’s bones, forced to raid already-decomposing corpses for whatever little meat was left. Apparently, it didn’t matter if those corpses were part of the predator’s own family.


The End of Meat Is Here

If you care about the working poor, about racial justice, and about climate change, you have to stop eating animals.

Is any panic more primitive than the one prompted by the thought of empty grocery store shelves? Is any relief more primitive than the one provided by comfort food?

Most everyone has been doing more cooking these days, more documenting of the cooking, and more thinking about food in general. The combination of meat shortages and President Trump’s decision to order slaughterhouses open despite the protestations of endangered workers has inspired many Americans to consider just how essential meat is.

Is it more essential than the lives of the working poor who labor to produce it? It seems so. An astonishing six out of 10 counties that the White House itself identified as coronavirus hot spots are home to the very slaughterhouses the president ordered open.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., the Smithfield pork plant, which produces some 5 percent of the country’s pork, is one of the largest hot spots in the nation. A Tyson plant in Perry, Iowa, had 730 cases of the coronavirus — nearly 60 percent of its employees. At another Tyson plant, in Waterloo, Iowa, there were 1,031 reported cases among about 2,800 workers.

Sick workers mean plant shutdowns, which has led to a backlog of animals. Some farmers are injecting pregnant sows to cause abortions. Others are forced to euthanize their animals, often by gassing or shooting them. It’s gotten bad enough that Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has asked the Trump administration to provide mental health resources to hog farmers.

Despite this grisly reality — and the widely reported effects of the factory-farm industry on America’s lands, communities, animals and human health long before this pandemic hit — only around half of Americans say they are trying to reduce their meat consumption. Meat is embedded in our culture and personal histories in ways that matter too much, from the Thanksgiving turkey to the ballpark hot dog. Meat comes with uniquely wonderful smells and tastes, with satisfactions that can almost feel like home itself. And what, if not the feeling of home, is essential?

And yet, an increasing number of people sense the inevitability of impending change.

Animal agriculture is now recognized as a leading cause of global warming. According to The Economist, a quarter of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 say they are vegetarians or vegans, which is perhaps one reason sales of plant-based “meats” have skyrocketed, with Impossible and Beyond Burgers available everywhere from Whole Foods to White Castle.

Our hand has been reaching for the doorknob for the last few years. Covid-19 has kicked open the door.

At the very least it has forced us to look. When it comes to a subject as inconvenient as meat, it is tempting to pretend unambiguous science is advocacy, to find solace in exceptions that could never be scaled and to speak about our world as if it were theoretical.

Some of the most thoughtful people I know find ways not to give the problems of animal agriculture any thought, just as I find ways to avoid thinking about climate change and income inequality, not to mention the paradoxes in my own eating life. One of the unexpected side effects of these months of sheltering in place is that it’s hard not to think about the things that are essential to who we are.

We cannot protect our environment while continuing to eat meat regularly. This is not a refutable perspective, but a banal truism. Whether they become Whoppers or boutique grass-fed steaks, cows produce an enormous amount of greenhouse gas. If cows were a country, they would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

According to the research director of Project Drawdown — a nonprofit organization dedicated to modeling solutions to address climate change — eating a plant-based diet is “the most important contribution every individual can make to reversing global warming.”

Americans overwhelmingly accept the science of climate change. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats say that the United States should have remained in the Paris climate accord. We don’t need new information, and we don’t need new values. We only need to walk through the open door.

We cannot claim to care about the humane treatment of animals while continuing to eat meat regularly. The farming system we rely on is woven through with misery. Modern chickens have been so genetically modified that their very bodies have become prisons of pain even if we open their cages. Turkeys are bred to be so obese that they are incapable of reproducing without artificial insemination. Mother cows have their calves ripped from them before weaning, resulting in acute distress we can hear in their wails and empirically measure through the cortisol in their bodies.

No label or certification can avoid these kinds of cruelty. We don’t need any animal rights activist waving a finger at us. We don’t need to be convinced of anything we don’t already know. We need to listen to ourselves.

We cannot protect against pandemics while continuing to eat meat regularly. Much attention has been paid to wet markets, but factory farms, specifically poultry farms, are a more important breeding ground for pandemics. Further, the C.D.C. reports that three out of four new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic — the result of our broken relationship with animals.

It goes without saying that we want to be safe. We know how to make ourselves safer. But wanting and knowing are not enough.

These are not my or anyone’s opinions, despite a tendency to publish this information in opinion sections. And the answers to the most common responses raised by any serious questioning of animal agriculture aren’t opinions.

Don’t we need animal protein? No.

We can live longer, healthier lives without it. Most American adults eat roughly twice the recommended intake of protein — including vegetarians, who consume 70 percent more than they need. People who eat diets high in animal protein are more likely to die of heart disease, diabetes and kidney failure. Of course, meat, like cake, can be part of a healthy diet. But no sound nutritionist would recommend eating cake too often.

If we let the factory-farm system collapse, won’t farmers suffer? No.

The corporations that speak in their name while exploiting them will. There are fewer American farmers today than there were during the Civil War, despite America’s population being nearly 11 times greater. This is not an accident, but a business model. The ultimate dream of the animal-agriculture industrial complex is for “farms” to be fully automated. Transitioning toward plant-based foods and sustainable farming practices would create many more jobs than it would end.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask a farmer if he or she would be happy to see the end of factory farming.

Isn’t a movement away from meat elitist? No.

A 2015 study found that a vegetarian diet is $750 a year cheaper than a meat-based diet. People of color disproportionately self-identify as vegetarian and disproportionately are victims of factory farming’s brutality. The slaughterhouse employees currently being put at risk to satisfy our taste for meat are overwhelmingly brown and black. Suggesting that a cheaper, healthier, less exploitative way of farming is elitist is in fact a piece of industry propaganda.

Can’t we work with factory-farming corporations to improve the food system? No.

Well, unless you believe that those made powerful through exploitation will voluntarily destroy the vehicles that have granted them spectacular wealth. Factory farming is to actual farming what criminal monopolies are to entrepreneurship. If for a single year the government removed its $38-billion-plus in props and bailouts, and required meat and dairy corporations to play by normal capitalist rules, it would destroy them forever. The industry could not survive in the free market.

Perhaps more than any other food, meat inspires both comfort and discomfort. That can make it difficult to act on what we know and want. Can we really displace meat from the center of our plates? This is the question that brings us to the threshold of the impossible. On the other side is the inevitable.

With the horror of pandemic pressing from behind, and the new questioning of what is essential, we can now see the door that was always there. As in a dream where our homes have rooms unknown to our waking selves, we can sense there is a better way of eating, a life closer to our values. On the other side is not something new, but something that calls from the past — a world in which farmers were not myths, tortured bodies were not food and the planet was not the bill at the end of the meal.

One meal in front of the other, it’s time to cross the threshold. On the other side is home.

Here’s What 10 Animals Would Look Like If Their Eyes Were In The Front Like Ours

Since the beginning of time, human beings have been fascinated by animals. We marvel not just at the food and clothing that our furry and feathered friends provide us, but also at their beauty.

One of the most beautiful things about animals is the way in which they have evolved over all the years that they’ve inhabited Earth. The many different tricks of evolution that help animals survive also make them worthy of admiration.

But have you ever wondered what animals would be like if they looked a little bit more like… us? Well, one funny person with excellent Photoshop skills decided to go ahead and show you just that. Get ready for 10 hilarious animals in a way you’ve never seen them before!

1. In nature, most animals all have eyes on the sides of their heads; this feature helps them spot predators with greater ease. Not so with these goofy photos! One Photoshop artist shows you what these animals would look like with eyes on the front of their face—just like humans. Check out this deer’s sincere expression!

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2. This rabbit wouldn’t last too long in the wild with those funny little peepers. Can you imagine how silly it would be to stumble across an animal like this out in the wild? What a hoot. At least it would make catching rabbits easier for Elmer Fudd!

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3. This chicken is the stuff of nightmares. If chickens were born with eyes like these, then human beings would probably never have thought to find them tasty. How could you feast on a creature that stares you down like this?

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4. You might think of pigeons as being too observant, but if they were born with eyes like these, it seems like they would constantly be on high alert for stuff that mattered. You know, like bread crumbs and ice cream cones dropped by toddlers.

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5. To be honest, this giraffe with its eyes moved to the front doesn’t seem that much different than your average giraffe. However, give it time. The longer you look at it, the weirder-looking it really is. Beautiful lashes, though!

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6. Something about moving the eyes to the front of this shark makes him seem totally non-threatening. If you were drowning and this shark swam up to you, then you would probably swallow buckets of water just laughing at it. Silly Jaws.

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7. Turns out that some animals have their eyes on the side of their heads for practical reasons. With the eyes on the front of this goat, it’s clear just how much of the animal’s head is used for head-butting. You wouldn’t want eyes to get in the way of that!

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8. Things that need to happen immediately: a TV show staring this dolphin and the shark from earlier in this article. They would be best friends and roommates who bonded to survive their brutal bullying at the hands of the popular fishes in school. This silly face could only work in a crazy situation like that!

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9. Some people say that animals can’t express emotions in the same way that human beings can, but those people have clearly never seen a photograph of an ostrich with his eyes moved to the front of his face. Yup… he’s definitely judging us all.

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10. Panda bears are solitary, sleepy creatures easily identified by their black-and-white-patterned coats. This panda definitely stands out from the crowd with his forward-facing eyes moved even closer together! Still, unlike many of the other animals on this list, he at least looks somewhat sweet and innocent!

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These animals are absolutely hilarious! Isn’t it crazy how just a little bit of digital magic can totally transform the way these animals look?


Indian village raided by troop of 400 monkeys, residents flee in terror


This is not the first noted instance of a potential interspecies war between humans and animals, with the most famous instance being the Emu War fought between Australians and emu birds.

Planet of the Apes doesn’t seem so far off anymore.

This must be what the residents of the Indian town of Narasapuram in the state of Telangana are thinking, as they are forced to flee their homes and their lives, because the town is being invaded and plundered by a massive troop of wild monkeys, the British tabloid Daily Star reported.

The problem began 15 years ago when a troop of macaque monkeys was kicked out of the nearby city of Hyderabad.

The monkeys soon started taking a liking to the crops grown by farmers in the fertile lands around the town. However, their numbers only continued to grow, currently reaching an estimated 400-500 individuals.

Since then, the monkeys have only become more aggressive – destroying crops, stealing food directly from the hands of townspeople and attacking children, women and the elderly.

Now, over 20 families have fled the town, most of them moving to Hyderabad; there are worries that life in Narasapuram may soon become completely unsustainable.

This is not the first noted instance of a potential interspecies war between humans and animals, with the most famous instance being the Emu War fought between Australians and emu birds after the First World War.


That war saw victory go to the emus.

However, the town’s sarpanch (chief) Srivarama Krishna is determined to win the war against the monkeys, having been elected on a campaign promise to do so.

“We have to keep the doors and windows bolted. They are smart enough to open the door, come inside and steal the cooked food – sometimes even running away with the vessels containing food,” he explained, according to the Daily Star.

“People started getting attacked even when they used to return home from the shop with groceries: the monkeys would just steal the bags.”

To show his dedication, Krishna financed much of his efforts himself, with over Rs 1 lakh (approximately $1,400) from his personal funds, The News Minute reported.

His efforts have born some fruit. Krishna brought in expert monkey catchers from the city of Nellore and started issuing a bounty of Rs 1,500 ($21) for each monkey captured, the New Indian Express reported.

According to this report, these efforts have resulted in at least 100 monkeys being captured and released into the forest far away from the town.

Monkeys are a serious problem in many parts of India, and efforts made to deal with the problem have been met with varying degrees of success.

One such effort made in 2015 saw plans made for the establishment of several monkey rehabilitation centers in several cities across Telangana, where the monkeys would be sterilized. However, only one such center is currently in operation, in the town of Nirmal, and it is only manned by veterinarians on a part-time basis.


How A Lion, Tiger And Bear Became Ride-Or-Die Friends


How A Lion, Tiger And Bear Became Ride-Or-Die Friends

“Their terrifying early months in life bonded the three together.”

“The BLT (bear, lion, tiger ― as they are known) exhibited signs of being a bonded trio from the moment we saw them when they arrived at Noah’s Ark,” Allison Hedgecoth, curator at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary where the predators live, told The Huffington Post. 

“They were already seeking out one another for comfort and displayed affection by snuggling, grooming and playing with one another,” she said.

Their initial bond wasn’t unusual to Hedgecoth though; what surprised her was their enduring, 15-year friendship.

“Before they reach sexual maturity, a lot of times animals will form unique bonds with members of other species,” she told BBC, explaining that animals typically grow apart as they get older. “What was surprising is how they kept that bond, that family unit well into adulthood.”














The three animals were only a few months old when police found them 15 years ago during a raid in the basement of a drug dealer’s house, according to the sanctuary.

“When they were first brought to the sanctuary, Baloo, Shere Khan and Leo were injured, frightened and clinging to one another for comfort,” Hedgecoth told HuffPost.

Leo, an African lion, had been inside a small crate and suffered from an open, infected wound on his nose. Baloo, an American black bear, was found wearing a harness that he had outgrown so much, it was embedded into his flesh, which had grown over and around it. Shere Khan, a bengal tiger, was severely underweight.

All three of the cubs were scared, malnourished and infected with parasites when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources brought them to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, a 250-acre nonprofit animal rescue in Locust Grove, Georgia.

The cubs’ living conditions had left them so damaged, the rescuers decided not to release them back into the wild and to keep them at the sanctuary instead, according to The Dodo.

Their friendship was so strong, the sanctuary even chose to keep all three in the same habitat.

Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan have been inseparable ever since.

Even though they live in a three-acre enclosure, they’re usually within 100 feet of each other,” Hedgecoth told Inside Edition. “That’s proof that they’re not just coexisting or cohabiting, they actually do enjoy each other’s company.”

For sanctuary staffers, the hardest part of watching over different species in the same enclosure is making sure that all their needs are met simultaneously, Hedgecoth told HuffPost. That includes their nutritional, medical and behavioral requirements.