Magic Rabbit – Ili Pika

The very endangered Ili Pika (that is i-l-i), or Magic Rabbit, has been photographed in the wild for the first time in 20 years!

Take a look at the adorable creature:
(Li Weidong)

Conservationist Li Weidong discovered the animal and named it after his hometown, he is also the one who found and photographed the animal again. He and the other members of his team are the only ones to have conducted studies and completed a census of the animal’s numbers. The population of the Ili Pika has decreased 70 percent since its discovery in 1983, it is believed less than 1000 now live in the wild. If true, the Ili Pika is rarer than the Panda. When first discovered there were thought to be 2900.

It lives in the mountain regions of Xinjiang region of China where its habitat is threatened due to climate change. They have had to move up higher in the mountains as the permanent snow recedes to high altitudes. Their numbers might also be declining due to predation and disease.

(Li Weidong)

These guys are tiny, only about 8 inches long, but easily able to scale the bare rock walls of their mountain homes.
(Li Weidong)

They feed on grasses that grow at high elevations. These Pikas live solitary lives, and are not as vocal as other Pika species. Not much else is known about them, as there are so few and they are so difficult to find. While the Ili Pika was listed as an endangered species in 2008, there is no official organization or team dedicated to researching or protecting it. It is also not officially recognized as a species on China’s List of Wildlife under Special State Protection. A sad reality is that these adorable creatures may become extinct in the very near future.

Screenshot 2015-03-24 at 8.42.19 PM
(Li Weidong)

Will the Ili Pika be saved from extinction? Only time will tell, as elusive as it has been it may disappear completely just as quietly.

– FT staff

CNN – Meet the Animal that’s rarer — and cuter — than a panda
Daily Mail – Meet the ‘magic rabbit’: the very cute creture which is more endangered than the panda

Ringling Brothers Circus to End Elephant Acts

In a surprising move Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, parent company Feld Entertainment, announced they are phasing out their elephant acts by 2018. While elephants have been an iconic part of their circus for a century, the decision comes amid growing pressure from the public over how the animals are treated.

(Heinz Kluetmeier, PR Newswire)

Ringling Bros. has 13 performing elephants which will be taken to their Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida after their performances are phased out. The circus started the Center in 1995 to help preserve the highly endangered Asian Elephant. The company has 43 elephants in total, of the animals not on tour 29 live at the 200 acre facility and one is on breeding loan to the Fort Worth Zoo. This is the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America, and 26 elephants have been born at the facility. Each elephant costs $65,000 a year to take care of. At first the Center will only be open to researchers, caretakers, and other interested parties studying Asian elephants. But they hope to be able to allow the public to eventually visit for educational purposes and because it is so rare to see Asian elephants.

Ringling Bros Circus ap
(AP Photo/Field Entertainment Inc., Gary Bogdon)

Ringling Bros. will continue to use other animals in its shows including horses, dogs, and tigers. A troupe of Mongolian camel stunt riders was recently added to the Circus Xtreme show.

(James Estrin/The New York Times)

(James Estrin/The New York Times)

(James Estrin/The New York Times)

(James Estrin/The New York Times)

The executive vice president Alana Feld stated “There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.”

Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld, of Feld Entertainment, stated:

…this is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995. When we did so, we knew we would play a critical role in saving the endangered Asian elephant for future generations, given how few Asian elephants are left in the wild . . .This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers.”

Many cities have passed anti-circus or anti-elephant ordinances making it difficult to plan tours. It is also incredibly expensive for Ringling to try and fight any of these measures in court. Past legal fights include a 14 year long battle over unproven allegations that circus employees mistreated the elephants. That settlement cost $25.2 million. The false claim was filed by a former barn helper who had been paid $190,000 to do so by animal rights groups, and found to be a paid witness lacking credibility in court. The company wants all of this time, effort, and money to actually go into the conservation of Asian elephants instead.

(James Estrin/New York Times)

The circus will now focus more on human acts of bravery and strength.

If you want to see the last of these elephant performances check out one of the Ringling’s shows before 2018. Overall, this will be better for the preservation of Asian elephants. They will live as elephants should and bring awareness through that rather than traveling and performing in an unnatural or stressful way.

How long will it be before other smaller circuses phase out their elephant acts as well?


Fox 411 – Ringling Bros. Eliminating Iconic Elephant Acts from Performances
USA Today – Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

GoDaddy Removes Puppy Super Bowl Commerical

GoDaddy, a domain name registry site which you can also use to build your website, is well known for controversial and disgusting ads during the Super Bowl and in their general marketing campaigns.


As many other companies are doing in recent years they released the commercial ahead of game day. At first glance the ad seemed innocent enough entitled “Journey Home” and featuring a puppy.

Here is the puppy, named Buddy, featured in the ad:
Journey Home – GoDaddy

The end of the commercial however made many upset. The commercial, which has been removed from Youtube and will not be aired during the Super Bowl, can be viewed here. We refuse to host it here because we do not agree with the commercial’s message which while not intentional was not well thought out either.

The overview of “Journey Home” is as follows:

Buddy a cute golden retriever puppy is traveling in the open back of truck with two other puppies which are irresponsibly in an open brown box. Buddy, not in any container, is bounced out of the moving truck landing hard and amazingly without injury in the grass.
Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 3.06.24 PM
Journey Home – GoDaddy

The puppy then goes on what appears to be a long trek over at least one day and night through rain and hardship before reaching a white house with a red barn which you believe is the puppy’s home.
Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 3.07.27 PM
Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 3.09.42 PM
Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 3.10.29 PM
Journey Home – GoDaddy

However, when the assumed owner greets buddy she exclaims in a sickeningly sweet tone: “Buddy! I’m so glad you made it home! Because I just sold you on this website I made with GoDaddy.” It seems to be okay that such a young puppy went missing, and she still sold him even wihtout knowing his whereabouts or if he would be alive to send to someone else.Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 3.12.52 PMJourney Home – GoDaddy

The puppy is then shown in a box, in a truck, being shipped to his new owner again irresponsibly in an open brown box with the last line from his previous owner/breeder being “Ship him out.”
Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 3.13.56 PM
Journey Home – GoDaddy

The tone of the ad makes it appear that GoDaddy endorses or encourages the online sales of animals for profit without regard for their welfare. The use of a cute puppy was simply intended as a play on the fact that other incredibly popular Super Bowl commercials from companies like Budweiser have used puppies in recent years, and which Budweiser has been teasing as the subject of their ad again this year. The joking tone/twist at the end was to make light of that for GoDaddy’s own benefit.

The backlash to the tone and ending of the ad was immediate and often harsh. A petition was started to get the ad taken down. Many took to social media sites like Twitter to make their opinions heard:

Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 2.55.59 PM - Edited

At first the company defended the ad before realizing how much, and how many, people found their message disturbing.

Why yes, these businesses might want an online presence but they should not be treating their business, animals, sales, or shipping in any manner like which was conveyed in this ad spot regardless of if they are a breeder or shelter. Responsible breeders place puppies in good homes which are usually judged for condition first with owners who demonstrate they are ready to own such an animal. They are not simply shipped out to a mysterious new owner immediately, especially in such a short time frame as the commercial suggests. They will also show perspective owners something more than a mere website, like the condition of their facilities and the puppy’s parents. Shelters also benefit from background checking prospective owners, checking the fit of a dog with potential adopters, checking dogs for potential behavioral problems and making that information available before adoption, and overall showing an interest in making a good placement in a responsible home over just making money.

The SPCA was very vocal about the ad:

Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 2.59.49 PM

And finally the SPCA, like many others who tweeted GoDaddy, got a reply that made some sense:

Screenshot 2015-01-28 at 2.30.11 PM

GoDaddy removed the ad from Youtube and went as far as pulling it from their lineup of commercials to air during the Super Bowl as the company explains on their blog:

This morning we previewed GoDaddy’s Super Bowl spot on a popular talk show, and shortly after a controversy started to swirl about Buddy, our puppy, being sold online. The responses were emotional and direct. Many people urged us not to run the ad.

We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress over the past two years, advancing the GoDaddy brand as a company that cares a great deal about small business and is in their corner to help them succeed. People increasingly know who we are, what we do and who we do it for.  At the end of the day, our purpose at GoDaddy is to help small businesses around the world build a successful online presence. We hoped our ad would increase awareness of that cause. However, we underestimated the emotional response. And we heard that loud and clear.

The net result? We are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl. You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.

Finally, rest assured, Buddy came to us from a reputable and loving breeder in California. He’s now part of the GoDaddy family as our Chief Companion Officer and he lives permanently with one of our longtime employees.

I wish more companies would listen to the response of the public in regard to what impact they are making in the world! I also appreciate that the puppy in the ad was sourced from a responsible breeder and found a loving home in a manner much better than what the dog had to go through it the ad that made him famous.

GoDaddy has made a lot of commotion in the past and had to back pedal a lot – for how they use women in their ads online and in commercials – and now for how they portray animal welfare. I hope this will make them think before they decide what to do in their next commercial. It would be great for them to do something endearing, encouraging, or actually funny and not disgusting or distracting. They will need to make more improvements before The Human ever gives them any business because they keep making the same marketing mistakes.

What do you think, was it a good idea to pull the ad? Is the ad really as bad as it seems, or is it just funny?

– Fizz

The Loyalty of Dogs

This week saw the unspeakable horror of yet another senseless shooting, this time a terrorist attack at Canada’s National War Memorial on Parliament Hill. Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed. A single father and animal lover, he is dearly missed.

(mail online)

His dogs still faithfully wait at home for a master who will never return:


(mail online)

These pictures are heartbreaking. They capture the sense of loss and grief over this tragedy. Dogs have been called man’s best friend for a reason, their love and loyalty is without bounds. I hope these dogs will be treated well and taken care of now.

Our thoughts and prayers are with this family and Canada,
– Fizz

You can see more pictures from the horrific incident at The Daily Mail.

Can Your Pets Catch Ebola?

Have you heard enough about Ebola recently?

There is a lot of press coverage out there, but it is important to keep up to date on new findings and information. And while Ebola is very dangerous to people, there is not much information about how much danger our pets are in. The CDC states that while the virus can affect certain animals (it only mentions African fruit bats and monkeys here specifically), pets in the US are not at significant risk. The CDC is continuing to research how Ebola affects domestic animals and release guidelines in response.

Ebola is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transferred from animals to people. It is possible that Ebola outbreaks in Africa were, or sometimes are, caused by a spillover event where a human comes into contact with an infected animal like a fruit bat or primate. This is only a theory. It is currently unknown if there is one specific natural host animal, but scientists lean towards infected fruit bats consumed as food by humans as a likely candidate. Primates in Ebola stricken areas have also shown signs and symptoms of Ebola, and should be avoided when symptomatic. None of this information means that domesticated pets will be affected the same way.

Studies have found that domestic goats, horses, and guinea pigs infected with Ebola remain asymptomatic or develop only a mild infection. There has however never been Ebola found in wild populations of these animals. I am guessing the above animals were infected on purpose for the study of the disease rather than this information coming from a natural encounter with them.

At this point, there have been no reports of dogs or cats infected with Ebola or of such animals spreading the disease to humans and other animals. Limited studies show dogs may be able to become infected and produce antibodies, but there is no evidence of them passing it on. This has however resulted in a lack of standards for dealing with animals in the homes of those who catch the disease.

In Spain, a nurse caring for an Ebola patient came down with the disease and her dog Excalibur was taken from her home and put down even though people were protesting the decision.


Here are some protesters:

This is an easy way for the government to “reduce risk,” but it is unfair to the family, the dog, and from a scientific standpoint. These few cases are a chance to really see what the risk to pets are in a controlled way. Keeping Excalibur alive would have been an invaluable contribution to the study of Ebola’s risks to domestic dogs. Did he have the disease? If he did, could he pass it on? How long would he have remained infectious to others? These are the questions that we need to answers to. And if he never came down with the disease he could have gone back to his home and lived a full life.

In the US, of the three Ebola infections I only know of one who had a dog. Luckily, people here are willing to take a wait and see approach and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Bentley is in quarantine.


Recently he began undergoing tests to see if he has the disease or not, all while being safely kept away from other people and animals by the City of Dallas Animal Services and Texas A&M University emergency veterinary team at an undisclosed location. All workers caring for he dog wear layers of personal protective equipment.

Playing with his caretakers:
(US News)

Now that Bentley is in the testing phase it will be known soon whether or not he has Ebola. If not, his quarantine period will end at the beginning of November.

Hopefully cases like Bentley’s will make it possible to answer the necessary questions so pets can be handled correctly at a scary time when we want to do everything possible to make sure no one else catches a deadly disease. The more information the better, and hopefully further research will prevent tragedies like the loss of Excalibur.

– Fizz

NBC News – Ebola Patient Nina Pham’s Dog, Bentley, Enters Testing Phase
CDC – Questions and Answers about Ebola and Pets
Forbes – Can Dogs Transmit Ebola?

Historic Scottish Vote

Will the people of Scotland vote to become an independent country? Only time will tell as the polls are closed!

Even animals are getting in on it!

Scottish Terrier wearing a Yes bandana:
(Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

Llama by a Yes sign in a field:
(Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

More dogs, one wearing a Union Flag and the other the Scottish Saltire:
(Russell Cheyne/Reuters)

Good luck to Scotland no matter the outcome, it is amazing to see a people mobilize to vote for what matters to them.


You can see more photos relating to the vote on The Telegraph.

Lassie and Luna at Strut Your Mutt

Sorry for the lack of posts recently! The human took a break due to the loss of a friend, and we didn’t think it pertinent to write without her. But, we are back with an exciting picture!

Lassie, the Collie of tv and movie fame, and Luna, a Boston Terrier star in the new movie “Hector and the Search for Happiness,” appeared at the Best Friends Animal Society’s fundraising walk Strut Your Mutt in California.

Here are the two dog stars together!

Luna is making appearances to help promote “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” The movie is about a psychiatrist, Simon Pegg, who is searching for the true meaning and formula for happiness everywhere he can look. Luna is the dog star of the movie. Other human actors are Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno, and Christopher Plummer. “Hector and the Search for Happiness” opens September 19. You can find out even more from the movie’s Facebook page.

Lassie is out and about making appears to reestablish her name and prominence in the public eye. The human is dictating another post all about Lassie’s return which will be on FT in the near future.

Strut your Mutt is a fundraising event that happens all over the country to raise money for local shelters and rescues to help homeless dogs and cats. It was awesome to have two famous dog stars make an appearance for a good cause!

– Cola and Fizz

Goodbye Robin Williams


He brought so much laughter to the world, and he is missed by so many. Depression is a heavy burden. Even those who seem to have it all together, making others laugh, can really be hurting on the inside. May his sad passing help others who are depressed know that even though they may feel alone, they are not. There are so many people who want to help – family, friends, and even medical professionals. If you are in the US, and feel you have no one to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Goodbye Robin Williams, may you rest in peace.

SDCC 2014 My Little Pony Funko Exclusives

Good news to everyone who couldn’t get a ticket to SDCC and is interested in getting the Funko My Little Pony exclusives, there is a chance you can buy them online!

DJ Pon-3


Gemini Collectibles, a large Funko seller, has the two listed on their website for $25.99 each: DJ here and Spitfire here.

Last year Amazon had the two SDCC exclusive ponies for sale, but I don’t know if that will happen this year as they are not available there yet. If you are really interested in these two check out Gemini!

– Cola and Fizz