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Photo Of The Day: Sergeant Stubby, WWI’s Most Decorated Dog Soldier

Stubby

Stubby, pictured in his battle vest that was eventually filled with medals. Image Source: Niume

Members of the 102nd Infantry Regiment were training at Yale in 1917 when a stray puppy roamed into their midst. Little did the soldiers know that the puppy watching them run drills would travel to the Western Front in France, participate in 17 battles, rise to the rank of sergeant, and become a national icon.

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Meet The Dakotaraptor: Feathered, Winged And Lethal

Dakotaraptor

An artist rendering of what the Dakotaraptor may have looked like. Image Source: Discover

A new species of raptor was found in South Dakota this week, and it’s one of the biggest ones yet.

The Dakotaraptor, aptly named after the state of its discovery, was 16 feet long with nearly 10-inch claws. The fossils date back to the Cretaceous period around 66 million years ago, the era that saw the emergence of some of the most well-known dinosaurs, including the Triceratops, the Pteranodon and, of course, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The discovery was made in the aptly named Hell Creek, S.D., the same location that the T. Rex is known to have roamed.

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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.”

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