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Sibling cats found dumped in taped-up crisps boxes



This is Pringles, a three-year-old cat who was found dumped in a taped-up crisps box (Picture: Mayhew Animal Home)

Mayhew Animal Home is appealing for help to look after the animals they rescue after two cats were dumped in taped up crisps boxes the night of a storm.

Three-year-old Wotsit and his sister Pringles were discovered outside Mayhew Animal Home each inside a small cardboard box, taped up and with no air holes.

Their boxes were being battered on all sides by strong winds and rain, and left a little longer the cats could have suffocated.

Thankfully, animal welfare officers spotted the boxes as soon as they arrived at work and brought them straight inside, carefully cutting through the tape and freeing the cats.

A health assessment revealed that the two kitties had no injuries and were – luckily – in good physical form despite their terrifying ordeal.

They were settled in a cosy cabin in the shelter’s cattery so they could recover.

Shortly after the pair were rehomed, and are now both enjoying their lives with two new loving owners.

But Wotsit and Pringles’ story is far from a rarity.

Wotsit (pictured here) and Pringles have now both been rehomed (Picture: Mayhew Animal Home)

Hundreds of pets are being left out in the cold, whether due to fears they could spread coronavirus, difficulty caring for animals hastily adopted in lockdown, or unstable housing situations.

Mayhew, like other shelters, has had to pause the adoption process and scale back operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, but animals keep being abandoned and neglected, meaning work piles up with little funds to look after pets in need.

It costs over £6,000 a day to run Mayhew Animal Home and they’re entirely funded by public donations.

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As well as sending out the animal welfare team to rescue animals in need, the home also works with vulnerable pet owners across society and offers temporary foster care, free or low cost veterinary care, and extensive support and advice.

And with rehoming difficult to carry out in lockdown, the shelter has to care for a load of pets while they wait to find their new families, providing them with food, flea treatment, and litter.

To help continue rescuing, caring for, and rehoming animals like Wotsit and Pringles, the charity is appealing for £5 donations, which you can make online.

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Australian dolphins ‘desperate for humans to come back’ keep bringing gifts to shore



More and more gifts have been arriving since the coronavirus lockdown stopped visitors playing with the pod (Picture: Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding/Bev Lambert)

Dolphins in Australia have been ‘missing human interaction’ so much that they have been bringing gifts ashore for those who do visit them, a Queensland cafe which feeds the pod has claimed.

One male humpback dolphin, called Mystique, has been bringing ashore an increasingly generous selection of items amid the coronavirus lockdown, local media reported.

Mystique, 29, now brings volunteers at Barnacles Café and Dolphin Feeding centre in Tin Can Bay a daily selection of gifts, including barnacled bottles, shells, wood, coral and other items from the sea bed. He had previously been know to occasionally bring ‘presents’ ashore and was never trained to do so.

But in a Facebook post, the cafe on the Cooloola Coast explained: ‘The pod has been bringing us regular gifts, showing us how much they’re missing the public interaction and attention. Since the restrictions have eased we have been able to reopen the dolphin feeding & cafe.

‘Put a smile on someone’s face and come spend some time and feed these beautiful creatures, they are definitely missing you all.’

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Others have suggested that the behaviour is not necessarily a result of ‘missing’ humans, but could be an attempt to get more food.

Volunteer Lyn McPherson, who feeds the dolphins, told ABC: ‘(He) brings in objects on his rostrum, or beak, and then he carefully presents them to us.

‘What we have to do is give him a fish in return… We haven’t trained him, but he has trained us to do this. We swear he has a collection waiting to bring to us.’

One of Mystique’s gifts (Picture: Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding/Bev Lambert)
The humpback dolphin, who is 29, was first spotted in the area in 1991 (Picture: Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding/Bev Lambert)
Coral, bottles and shells are among the items Mystique rescued (Picture: Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding/Bev Lambert)

The Covid-19 restrictions meant that visitors have been unable to mix with the dolphins for weeks.

Volunteers say Mystique is the only one of the seven-dolphin pod to give the gifts and is thought to have first appeared in the area in 1991 with his Mum. He has distinctive marking from fights with other dolphins and a bull shark attack.

Barry McGovern, an expert in dolphin behaviour, suggested it was possible the dolphins were giving gifts because they missed humans, but unlikely.

He told 7 News: ‘Nothing surprises me with dolphins and their behaviour anymore.

A dolphin expert suggested food or boredom could be other reasons for the increase in gifts (Picture: Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding/Bev Lambert)
Mystique, balances the items on his ‘nose’ – known as a rostrum (Picture: Barnacles Cafe and Dolphin Feeding/Bev Lambert)

‘They do everything – they use tools, they have culture, they have something similar to names in signature whistles.

‘In all likelihood, they probably don’t miss humans per se. They probably miss a free meal and the routine.’

Others speculated online that the creatures might be telling humans to clean up the ocean, while Mr McGovern added it could be a ‘play-like behaviour’ or out of boredom.

The centre partially reopened on Saturday, May 16.

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Cutting down the rainforests ‘risks new pandemic’



‘Every hectare’ of forest removed ‘risks a new pandemic’, according to one wildlife group (Picture: WWF)

A wildlife group is warning that more destruction of the natural world will make future pandemics more likely.

With the coronavirus crisis widely linked to a wet market selling animal products in China, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has told that cutting down trees will bring wild animals closer to humans – increasing the chance of them spreading diseases.

Branding deforestation ‘one of the biggest threats to human health’, the organisation is particularly concerned about the Amazon rainforest. Tree clearing has been linked to a wide variety of environmental issues as well as possible disease spreading – and the WWF claims that ‘every hectare’ removed ‘risks a new pandemic’.

Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns Kate Norgrove said: ‘To prevent future pandemics we must stop destroying our natural world. Around 70% of emerging infectious diseases come from animals. When we destroy natural habitats, like the Amazon, we force wildlife and humans together, increasing our risk of infection. Making money from deforestation by seizing indigenous lands for farming, is short term gain for long term pain.’

The intervention comes after a world-leading expert on diseases said the climate crisis could lead to dangerous microbes thawing in the Arctic.

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Dr Dennis Carroll told that humanity ‘should be exceedingly cautious about underestimating the potential threats’ from reborn microbes, as the planet warms.

Environmentalists have repeatedly linked ecological issues to possible disease outbreaks, with loss of wild animals’ habitat considered a major issue. Trees are often cut down to allow for the growth of urban areas or for more farming.

In April, deforestation increased 64% compared to the same month in 2019, according to the WWF, which says 405.6 km² was lost, compared to 247.7 km² last year.

Fires in the Amazon rainforest have led to mass deforestation (Picture: WWF/Michael Dantas)
Loss of habitat brings animals that carry diseases closer to humans (Picture: Luis Barreto/WWF)

Mike Barrett, WWF’s Executive Director of Science and Conservation, added: ’Deforestation is now one of the biggest threats to human health, as well as to our climate and every hectare that is cleared risks a new pandemic.

‘If we’re going to protect human health, we need to protect the health of our planet – they are one and the same.’

Deforestation can also result in changing weather patterns, the loss of certain animal and plant species and ‘desertification’.

Trees themselves have been branded the ‘lungs of the planet’, because — like the oceans — they remove CO2 and convert it into oxygen. So scientists fear cutting them down could cause ‘feedback loops’ making the environment significantly worse.

Colombia, as well as Bolivia and Brazil, has been the site of deforestation (Picture: Luis Barreto/WWF)
A timber-loaded truck drives through Brazil (Picture: Marizilda Cruppe/WWF)

But it is the threat to animals’ habitats that could lead to them spreading new infections by coming into closer contact with humans.

Mr Barrett continued: ‘The science is clear – human health and the health of our planet are undeniably linked. To stop future pandemics we must stop destroying habitats such as forests and exploiting nature.

‘Intensive farming and agricultural expansion into wild areas is creating a petri dish for new viruses to emerge.’

Between August 2019 and April 2020, deforestation in the Amazon reached 5,666 km² – roughly the size of Paris, twice over. It is the around 94% as large as the area deforested in the same periods in 2018 and 2019 combined.

Environmental activists have accused new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of allowing deforestation in the Amazon to grow rapidly, notably in ‘deliberately started’ fires.

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11-year-old brings pony to cheer up care home residents in isolation



What a wonderful idea (Picture: Taylor Hackler)

The pandemic is bringing out the best in people.

Across the pond in Beatrice, Nebraska, an 11-year-old determined to help those most vulnerable has come up with an ingenious idea.

When Jorja Boller heard that care home residents were stuck in self-isolation, she decided to cheer them up with a visit.

But to make the event even more special, she brought along her adorable pony, Peanut.

The pair went from window to window, waving and chatting to elderly residents at Good Samaritan Society, a local nursing home where Jorja has been a volunteer for five years.

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‘Jorja and her mom were talking about how Peanut always cheers them up so they thought, “Maybe he could cheer up my people at Good Sam,”‘ Robin Gascon, the director of marketing and resource development at Good Samaritan, told Insider.

The care home residents were very ‘excited’ to see Peanut (Picture: Taylor Hackler)
Peanut and Jorja walked from window to window, waving to residents (Picture: Taylor Hackler)
It was a lovely surprise for the residents, who are stuck in isolation(Picture: Taylor Hackler)

Unsurprisingly, the people living at the care home were delighted to see Jorja and Peanut.

‘They would see the staff come to the window and they would wave and you could tell right when their eyes saw the pony because they instantly lit up with smiles from ear to ear!’ she said.

Jorja is committed to helping the people at the care home, but this isn’t the first random act of kindness she has taken on.

A few years ago, she launched an annual fundraiser to ensure that all of the residents would be given a Christmas present, pulling together 500 presents through her initiative ‘Gifts for Grands’.

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We can’t wait to see what kind act the youngster comes up with next.

Also… could we also get a visit from Peanut, please?

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