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Thousands Of Walruses Are Shoring Up In Alaska. Here’s Why.

Alaska Aerial Photograph

Source: Gary Braasch

President Barack Obama spent part of this past week in Alaska, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to visit the Arctic. Much of his extended tour was centered around climate change, a phenomenon that’s personally affecting many of Alaska’s rural and native village residents.

Need more proof that warmer temperatures and ice melt are impacting our 49th state and its inhabitants? Just head to Point Lay, where thousands of walruses have unnaturally congregated on land—again.

Alaska Walruses Climate Change

Source: Gary Braasch

Photographer Gary Braasch snapped photos of about 6,000 walruses who congregated on the Alaskan coast approximately a week before Obama’s arrival. Compared to last year’s 35,000 shored walruses, this year’s herd seems manageable. Nevertheless, upon sight of 18 million pounds of blubber parading around the shore, the word “manageable” isn’t the first to pop to mind. Don’t believe us? Just check out Braasch’s photos of the event:

Alaska Walruses Congregate

Source: Gary Braasch

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Photo Of The Day: Buddhist Monk Shares A Meal With A Tiger

Buddhist Monk Feeds Tiger

Image Source: Reddit

Founded in 1994, Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, a Theravada Buddhist temple in western Thailand, is also known as “Tiger Temple.” This forest temple/animal sanctuary is, in fact, home to many wild animals, the majority of which are Indochinese tigers. As of July 2014, the total number of tigers living at the temple has risen to 135. Though the temple has fallen under scrutiny for years and even been accused of animal mistreatment, Thai officials have found no evidence. In fact, the temple’s monks have established an extraordinarily unique relationship with the nearby tigers, allowing the big cats to freely wander the temple grounds alongside them.

As wild tigers become increasingly rare in the forests of Asia and the very future of the species remains uncertain, the Tiger Temple continues to rescue these majestic beasts.

De-Extinction: The Who, How, When, And Why Of Bringing Extinct Species Back To Life

Mammoth De-Extinction

Image Source:

In 1598, the Dutch landed on the island of Mauritius, just off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Here, they were met by a massive population of flightless, naive, meaty birds. Salivating, the sailors happily began killing them, kindly bestowing the name “dodo” upon the shell-shocked animals. Over the next several decades, humans, and the rats, pigs, monkeys and other animals they brought with them, made short work of the small island and the entire species of the dodo, rendering it extinct by 1662.

This isn’t exactly a unique story, as far as extinction goes. Colonizers move in, and the indigenous animal (as well as human and plant) populations begin to dwindle. But, what if we could apologize for our pillaging ways and resurrect these extinct species?

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Miniature Therapy Horses And The Science Of Animal-Assisted Healing

The idea that animals possess healing powers has been present in human lore since our hunter-gatherer days, but the first documented use of animals for therapeutic purposes wasn’t until 18th century England.

It was then that William Tuke introduced mentally ill patients to some domesticated animals for therapeutic purposes. Tuke, a Quaker and early advocate for the humane treatment of those with mental illness, found that the animals boosted morale in his patients–especially the elderly and those with dementia.

Miniature Therapy Horses

William Tuke founded the York Retreat in 1796, as a model of Quaker therapeutic beliefs. The retreat is said to have pioneered humane and moral treatments in asylum settings. Source: Wikipedia

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