What We Love This Week: Humans And Alligators Living Together

What Syria looked like before Islamic extremism, America’s best road trips, the Civil War in color, when humans and alligators lived together in Los Angeles, wand National Geographic’s most stunning nature photography.

Child Standing Near Alligators

Image Source: Smithsonian

When Humans And Alligators Lived Together In Los Angeles

Once upon a time, humans and alligators co-existed right in the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles. Men, women, infants, and dogs all joined in. Toddlers sat unattended with dozens of young alligators surrounding them. Ladies lunched right in the water with alligators relaxing beside them. Of course, none of this would be possible without the bizarre, fearless efforts of “Alligator Joe” Campbell and Francis Earnest. Their farm featured trained alligators who peacefully co-existed with humans–and even performed them (by going down slides and the like). Visit the farm at Smithsonian.

People Eating Near Alligators

Image Source: Smithsonian

Woman Holding Alligator

Image Source: Smithsonian

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Photo Of The Day: An Animal Rescue Activist Saves An Orangutan From Deforestation In Indonesia

Orangutan populations are quickly diminishing in Indonesia and Malaysia.

This endangered species’ habitats on tropical islands like Borneo and Sumatra are threatened by commercial logging, mining, and deforestation for pulp and paper. Furthermore, according to Michelle Desilets, executive director of the Orangutan Land Trust, “the conversion of forest for oil palm is the single greatest threat to [their] survival in the wild.”

Palm oil–which is found in cookies, soap, doughnuts, and even cosmetics like lipstick–is in incredibly high demand as the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, igniting many palm oil companies to exploit areas where the oil is found at any cost. Indonesia and Malaysia are not only home to the large red apes, but they account for 85% of the world’s palm oil production. The global demand for the oil has resulted in massive forest destruction throughout the two countries, especially in Indonesia where palm oil is the country’s third largest export and the most valuable agricultural product.

Many palm oil plantations face criticism from environmentalists who work endlessly to increase public pressure on the palm oil industry. Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, and his team rescue orangutans displaced by palm oil plantations, or orphaned orangutans whose families were killed so they could be illegally kept as pets by humans. Singleton’s program releases most of the apes back into the wild in much safer forests.

Adi Irawan of International Animal Rescue Indonesia (IAR)–another organization concerned with saving orangutans–explains, “There are more orangutans in the tiny remaining patches of forest in the plantation, along with other protected species such as proboscis monkeys. All of the animals on the plantation are threatened. The company must stop clearing the forest immediately.”

With fewer than 7,000 orangutans believed to be living in the Sumatran wilds, environmentalists hasten their pace in rescuing the endangered apes.

“The definition of a refugee is someone whose homeland is no longer available to them, and that’s exactly the case with these orangutans,” says Singleton.”These are the survivors of this annihilation of the forest, and everything that lives in it.”

Photo Of The Day: Giant Megalodon Teeth Keep Hitting The Shores Of North Carolina

Megalodon Tooth

A Megalodon tooth compared to a man’s hand. Image Source: Instagram

The monster shark from Jaws pales in comparison to the one whose teeth are now showing up on North Carolina’s beaches.

Prehistoric Megalodon teeth up to six inches long are hitting the sands of North Topsail Beach, N.C., and Surf City, N.C. The teeth come from Megalodons that have been extinct for more than 2.5 million years. Interest in the sea creatures has spiked in recent years, partly because of Discovery Channel mockumentaries like “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” and “Megalodon: The New Evidence,” which aired during Shark Week.

The real Megalodon was somewhere between 30 and 60 feet long, weighed up to 65 tons and had the largest bite force of any animal ever. According to experts at the Aurora Fossil Museum, each inch of a tooth’s length is equal to ten feet in body length. That means that the teeth that washed ashore in North Carolina one belonged to a Megalondon around 60 feet long. For comparison: An adult great white is 11 to 16 feet long and the largest great white ever measured was 20 feet long.

Megalodon teeth aren’t incredibly uncommon in North Carolina, but in recent weeks, record amounts have turned up. It’s believed that the teeth were pushed toward shore from Hurricane Joaquin’s heavy rain, strong winds, and high tides.

What We Love This Week, Volume CXLIV

North Korea Parade Candles

Image Source: The Atlantic

North Korea’s Latest Surreal Military Demonstration

North Korea Color Coordination

Image Source: The Atlantic

It’s hardly surprising that North Korea would stage a massive military demonstration to mark 70 years of Workers’ Party rule. It is, on the other hand, surprising that they would allow foreign photographers as much access as they did. The goal, no doubt, was to present to the world a strong, proud nation that can conquer any foe (namely the United States). The images, however, present an eerily hollow ghost town whose idea of military might, and thus national identity, are bound to ideas and iconography now more than a half century old. See more at The Atlantic.

North Korea People Flag

Image Source: The Atlantic

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