Arctic Animals Are Dying; Here’s What You Can Do About It

The Arctic Circle is home to 5,500 species of animals. Many of which cannot survive in other types of terrain and currently are barely surviving now, in their home terrain.

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A severely malnourished Polar Bear

Scientists have been warning us for decades about climate change and the effects of global warming. At this current date, little to no changes in human behavior have occurred.

As the human population grows and continues to turn a blind eye; more and more natural wildlife die.

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Baby Harp Seals like this one are getting crushed by melting ice and drowning in shifting waters according to National Geographic

The planet Mars is a perfect example of what will, not can but will, happen if climate change is not halted. Mars is believed to have once been a twin to the planet Earth. Although somewhat smaller in size, evidence shows that the once green, water filled planet’s atmosphere was stripped away and left vulnerable to the sun’s radioactive waves. If you’ve never seen Mars; here’s a picture:

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Mars. It has polar ice caps too, but all life has been stripped from the planet.

 

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Chances are the people reading this, are genuinely kind, caring, and animal-loving individuals. Therefore, you all most likely already get the point.

I know that it’s hard to change. I know there are some small fears that prevent us all from becoming something or someone different. Having a car is necessary, for many of us. Having electric light bulbs in our houses, again, is a necessity. However, small, painless changes can be made. And the result of every small, painless change, will mean another arctic animal gets to live.

Here is what we can do NOW, to break the cycle:

Carpool: I know it’s weird at first, but I stumbled on the majesty of the concept. My neighbor and I get along. We ride together almost everywhere, or we walk if we can. What began as a kind of awkward thing at first, eventually became a really good friendship.

Use Public Transit: It’s often cheaper than filling up your tank of petrol/gasoline anyway!

Ride A Bike: You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong about it. But on occasion and if the situation fits; why not? Your doctor would probably be happy to hear about it.

Walk if you can

Use Renewable Resources: Solar power, wind power, Hydropower, etc. All of these not only can provide fuel for your lightbulbs but heat as well. Where I’m from, we have ONE power company with one ring to rule us all, and honestly, just being able to stick it to them makes me want to buy some solar panels! Although incredibly expensive at first, they definitely pay off in the long run. (solar panels are becoming super affordable now)

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Plant a tree: check out the Arbor Day Foundation to find out more

Grandma’s Adage: Unplug your appliances, Turn off lights that aren’t in use, line dry your clothes if possible; all that stuff that Grandma would tell you to do

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“Turn off the lights and eat your vegetables!”                 Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are so many more things you can do that I have not listed like, buying electric cars or hybrids and growing your own crops.

One of the greatest producers of carbon dioxide (the stuff that’s eroding our atmosphere) are actually cattle farms. Vast amounts of land is taken up by herds of cattle used for human consumption. Not only do the animals themselves generate large amounts of carbon dioxide, but the practice and process is borderline inhumane in it’s own right. So TRY to eat less meat. I can’t say go Vegan because I myself would never be able to do that BUT balance is key. Make sure you’re getting your proteins to keep your body healthy but have the awareness that there are other ways of getting protein as well.

Arctic Animals are not the only species at risk because of global warming. They are simply the precursors. The omen. A clear sign of what will happen to the earth if we don’t stop.

We can all do something about this. No matter how seemingly small, or “on occasion” it is.

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Horse 101: Hands

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In the equestrian world exists an odd yet very common term. It is a method of measurement used in determining a horses’ height. The term used to describe the height of a horse is called, “Hands.”

Much like feet, inches, and meters; “Hands” hold their own specific value. Many people know that 12 inches equals 1 foot.

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But what exactly is a Hand? Is there any common measurement that can be used to explain a “Hand”? Does it literally mean the actual length of a hand? And whose hand!? A child or adult sized hand??

1 Hand = 4 inches (10.16 cm)

This is the standard equation of explaining, in universal language, what a Hand equates to.

When written on paper, the measurement will look something like this:

15.2 hh

Which denotes a horse that measures 15.2 hands

Turning Hands to Feet:

A horse that measures 5 feet 2 inches, will be described as 15.2 hands.

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An Equine measuring stick

Historical Hands:

Historically, horses were a big deal in many cultures. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Celts, and more, all rode horses as a means of survival. Horses were used for hunting, transport, and much more.

The system of trade and marketplace was no different then than it is today. The trading and buying of goods have long been an essential part of almost every person’s life.

Many attempts were made to standardize a measurement of horses since they became one of the most traded and needed by many nations and cultures.

Although some methods of measurements varied from the width of four fingers by the Egyptians, to the length of a man’s fist by other cultures; it wasn’t until King Henry VIII of England, created the first world-wide standard. The standard that he created, is the standard unit of measurement we still use today.

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The Hand measurement system is only used in the equestrian world. In fact, to determine whether a pony is a horse or a horse a pony; the hand measurement is a definitive classifier in determining which is which.

A Pony will always be classified as a pony when it measures less than 14.2 hands (hh). Anything larger than that, is a horse.

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Gov’t Ends Wolf Protection Act

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The U.S. Congress has passed a bill which permanently strips Wolves from all federal protection laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and more.

“This final, pathetic stab at wolves exemplifies House Republicans’ longstanding cruelty and contempt for our nation’s wildlife,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Gray Wolves, Timber Wolves, Arctic Wolves, and more, are being cast aside for seemingly no reason. Without the help of the federal government’s protection laws, wolf populations are left susceptible to human beings. A population which had previously been driven to near extinction in the past, until laws such as the Endangered Species Act stepped in.

To sign a petition urging congress to reverse the bill, click here.

 

Scratch and Sniff

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

– Patrick Suskind

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The Wolf is the king of the canine world. Believed to be the grandfather of all of today’s dog breeds. The wolf is a finely tuned instrument for survival, that brings melody to the chorus of the earth. One of the reasons wolves are able to stay alive, maintain a community structure, and adapt to sudden changes in their environment, is their sharp sense of smell. A wolf is able to smell its prey from 1.75 miles away, and with such precision in their ability to smell; how could any domestic dog compare to it?

As brilliant as the wolf is in detecting scent, one breed of domestic dog may very well be superior; the Bloodhound.

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Bloodhound

The earliest record of Bloodhounds date back to the 3rd century a.d., making the Bloodhound breed just about as old as Christianity.

A large but docile breed, the Bloodhound’s ability to trail a scent is extremely reliable. So reliable in fact, that any evidence a trained hound presents, can be accepted into a court of law in the United States.

In the early 1900’s, one notable Bloodhound named Nick Carter, was once able to pick up a scent trail over 105 hours (approx. 4 days) old. Did the trail Nick picked up lead to the criminal? Yes it did. Another amazing Bloodhound was credited for over 600 criminal convictions. Not only can a Bloodhound find a scent that is older than tomorrow night’s dinner leftovers, they can also follow a scent trail for miles. Over 130 miles to be exact.

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What makes these dogs such amazing aroma warriors? The Bloodhound has 300 Million scent receptors, which is more than any other domestic dog breed.

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Dogs and Wolves have a greater ability to perceive scents than human beings

Canines are able to perceive scent so easily due to their greater capacity to detect and store scent information.

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Scents can paint an incredibly vivid picture for Wolves and Dogs. A quick sniff of a patch of grass can tell the animal very specific details of identity, if the scent is of a male or female, friend or foe, how long ago the animal was there, and even if the animal was sick or injured.

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Scent from mammals can be picked up via sweat, which can be excreted from an animals paws, body, and even ears. An animals anus, genitals, and mouth, are also areas that excrete personalized smells.

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Specific chemicals and molecules are released from an animal’s sweat, urine, blood, saliva, and even hair; which give personal identification to an exact individual identity. Canines are able track an animal even in the snow, due to an animals ability to release sweat through its paws.

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Not only are dogs and wolves able to perceive smells more descriptively than a human beings, but they also dedicate a larger portion of their minds to cataloguing and storing the information that these smells provide. The region of the brain that is committed to scent is 40 times larger in the Canine brain than in the Human’s.

Canines also posses an organ that humans do not. An organ called, the Jacobson’s Organ. Which is located at the bottom of the dogs nasal passages. This organ is used for detecting pheromones, which are another type of chemical particle that is designed specifically for communication between animals of the same species.

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The long, pointy muzzle of the Wolf helps to channel scent for a longer period of time as it makes its way to the animal’s receptors. The long, floppy ears and wrinkly skin of the Bloodhound help funnel and trap any scent that may escape the nose.

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But which canine earns the title of Scent Champion? Who has the better sniffer? The Wolf or the Bloodhound?

Although animals can be naturally amazing and continue to surprise us with behaviors and acts that wag their finger at nay-sayers; Science provides us with the fact that, Bloodhounds, having 300 Million scent receptors, are superior than a Wolf’s, who has only 280 Million receptors. However close these numbers are, the Bloodhound comes in for the win on who has the best Canine sniffer.

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Animals In Entertainment: The Roadrunner

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The Road Runner was introduced to T.V. screens in 1949 in a short film called “Fast and Furry-ous,” along with his long-time rival Wile E. Coyote. The duo continued to enjoy life on the silver screen from that point on until the 1980’s.

The creator of the Road Runner was a man by the name of Chuck Jones, who worked for Warner Bros Studios. Jones also created beloved characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Pepe Le’ Pew, Marvin The Martian, and more.

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The Road Runner and his foe Wile E. Coyote

Jones already had the Wile E. Coyote character in mind, based off of a Mark Twain description. “The coyote is a long, slim, sick, and sorry-looking skeleton.” “… He is always poor, out of luck …”

All Jones needed now was a partner. Every character he had previously created had one. Bugs Bunny (inspired by cigar smoking Groucho Marx) had Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig had Daffy Duck. What better foe for a skinny, starving coyote than a native, flightless bird who he can never catch!

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Chuck Jones had a very specific set of rules that he kept himself to when writing each set of animated episodes. For example, “Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy,” and “The Road Runner must stay on the road, for no other reason than that he is a Roadrunner.”

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The Plymouth Road Runner car, built between the years 1968 and 1980 in the US, uses the Warner Bros. character as a notable emblem on their models. As the story goes, one Saturday morning while watching cartoons with his children, the Chrysler-Plymouth design planning analyst Gordon Cherry, realized that the Road Runner always manages to elude his nemesis Wile E. Coyote. Cherry then realized that this was the exact kind of image Plymouth had been hoping to cultivate when planning their next muscle car design.

Plymouth paid Warner Bros. Studios $50,000 to use the cartoon character. Warner Bros. earned $10,000 as well from Plymouth when they created a “beep beep” horn that resembles the iconic character’s soundbite.

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The Geococcyx californianus and G. velox species also known as Roadrunners, can be found in Mexico, Central America, and Southwestern U.S.

The cartoon Road Runner’s creator was not far from reality when depicting the character. One of Jones’ rules after all was that, “All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters- the American Southwest.”

Although in every cartoon episode and per Jones’ Rules, the Coyote would never be allowed to catch the Road Runner; According to wildlife experts, a coyote can actually run faster than a Roadrunner. Since coyotes can reach a speed up to 43 mph, the Roadrunner’s 20 mph limit would mean the end for the Roadrunner.

The Roadrunner has unusual X-shaped footprints which Native Americans believed could ward off evil spirits.

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The Greater Roadrunner is a monogamous species who keeps the same mate for life. Which can help to explain why after each escape from the Coyote’s grasp, he comes back for more.

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Animals In Entertainment: Freddie Mercury’s Cats

The award-winning 2019 film Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek as Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury, was not far from the truth at all when one scene showed Freddie (Malek) phone calling his fiance/wife, Mary, to subsequently talk to each and every cat in their household while away on tour.

Many interviews with friends and family describe that this was actually a common behavior of the late singer.

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Throughout the course of Mercury’s life, he had owned 10 cats. Dorothy, Tiffany, Tom, Jerry, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar, Romeo, and his favorite Delilah.

Delilah was adopted in 1987 (the same year he was given his HIV/AIDs diagnosis) and was so close to Mercury’s heart that the song “Delilah,” on the 1991 album Innuendo, is said to have been written by Mercury in her honor.

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Freddie Mercury is depicted with a cat on his head and shoulders

Although the majority of the cats were adopted from shelters, (way to go Freddie!) only one was given as a gift. “Tiffany” was a purebred who had been gifted to Mercury by his ex-fiance/wife and forever friend, Mary. (Although Mercury proposed, an official wedding never took place. However, he considered Mary his common-law wife, since none of his male partners could ever compare to her in Mercury’s eyes.)

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Mercury and cat Tiffany

After revealing his bisexuality, Mary offered to mother a child for Freddie, to which he replied that he would rather have another cat.

The 1985 album Mr Bad Guy created by Mercury, was in fact dedicated to his cats.

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“This album is dedicated to my cat Jerry – also Tom, Oscar, and Tiffany, and all the cat lovers across the universe – screw everybody else!” said Mercury.

In 1991, Donald McKenzie, a friend of Mercury’s, obtained photos of Freddie’s feline friends and painted them on a silk waistcoat, which he wore for the filming of the “These are the Days of Our Lives” video.

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Freddie Mercury would make sure that each cat had a Christmas stocking full of toys and treats.

Mercury’s boyfriend Jim Hutton recalled the day when Goliath kitty went missing from the Garden Lodge Mansion property. “Freddie became frantic, and in deep despair he hurled a beautiful Japanese hibachi through the window of the guest bedroom.”

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Freddie Mercury, Mercury’s boyfriend Tom, and kitty “Dorothy”

Jacky Smith, director of the Official Queen Fan Club explained that, “They did get ordinary cat food at times but mostly it was fresh chicken and fish prepared for them.” Smith also included that photos of his cats would also often appear in the Queen’s club newsletters.

According to Rolling Stone, Freddie Mercury would spend hours trying to paint with watercolor a portrait of his beloved Delilah. His love for her ran so deep that it has been reported that one of his last actions while on his deathbed, was stroking her fur.

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Freddie Mercury looks in on little Romeo

Farrokh Bulsara a.k.a.”Freddie Mercury”

* September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991 *

Check out this home movie of a day in the life of Freddie Mercury at Garden Lodge. Video includes Freddie following his cats around and sneaking a peek-a-boo at his boyfriend gardening.