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.

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(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.

Horse:
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(James Estrin/The New York Times)

Dog:
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(James Estrin/The New York Times)

Tigers:
circ4
(James Estrin/The New York Times)

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(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.

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(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?

-Fizz

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

Guinea Pig Cosplay

Cosplay, or costume play, is a performance art where people dress up as a specific character or idea. This is very popular at conventions and other events to represent characters from genres like anime, comic books, video games, movies, and tv shows. It can be considered a nerdy interest, but it has its own subculture and is very popular.

These guinea pigs are busy being cosplayers too because humans cannot have all the fun!

Here is Chun-Li from the video game Street Fighter:
download
(chikuwa_kintoki)

Street Fighter is a massively popular game, still enjoyed by enthusiasts. Love the simple accents that make this guinea pig look just right, and the background with health meter and another fighter just makes the photo.

Sailor Moon from the anime Sailor Moon:
download (1)
(chikuwa_kintoki)

Sailor moon was popular when The Human was younger, and probably enjoys an ever larger cult following today even without being on TV anymore. There is a new series coming out in the near future, and the original series is being released on DVD/Blu-ray for the avid fan. This is a great choice as lots of humans try to pull off this look at conventions. Just look at the cute dress, prop, and hair accessories!

Nintendo’s Mario video games are still top sellers on all of the companies game systems. The characters are iconic and will continue to be at the forefront of gaming culture.

Mario:
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(chikuwa_kintoki)

Princess Peach:
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(chikuwa_kintoki)

Toad:
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(chikuwa_kintoki)

While these three are more simplistic, a single hat can show what character you represent whether you are a human just getting into the whole cosplay thing or a guinea pig that just doesn’t want to wear a more involved costume.

Of course, there is also a photo of Mario in his gaming environment:
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(chikuwa_kintoki)

All of the above pictures are from the same Twitter feed of a user who loves guinea pigs, check out chikuwa_kintoki for lots of other adorable guinea pig pictures!

The anime Pokemon has been popular for over ten years, along with the video and card games, and if you don’t have the crafting skills to make your own costume you can purchase the two pictured below online from CuddlyCavies.

Pikachu – only $13:
pikachu
(Cuddlycavies)

Charmander – slightly more expensive but still worth it at $14:
charmander-pig
(Cuddlycavies)

I don’t think Star Wars will ever be less popular than it is now, especially with more movies on the way and Disney owing the franchise. Below is Chewbacca the guinea pig, dressed appropriately as Chewbacca:
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(Chewbaccapig)

Check out Chewbacca’s tumbler or twitter for more cute guinea pig photos.

Thor is super popular right now with Marvel’s live action movies and The Avengers:
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(DeSSyng on Deviantart)

Captain America – another Marvel superhero with his own movies and a part of The Avengers:
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(DeSSyng on Deviantart)

Harry Potter from the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling:
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(Guinea Pigs in Hats)

The buzz for the movies might be over but the Harry Potter books will continue to be popular literature. Just look at the tiny lightning bolt on the guinea pig’s forehead, so cute!

Doctor Who from the TV series Doctor Who:
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(bostonflavor)

Doctor Who is enjoying increasing popularity here in the states! Love the tiny fez and bow tie.

Such tiny costumes require creativity, minimalism, and willing guinea pigs to model them. With so many different genres to choose from there are many wonderful costume ideas out there, both that have been done before and those that have not for anyone who enjoys a challenge. Does your guinea pig or pet cosplay?

-Fizz

Post initial inspired by: “These Guinea Pigs Cosplay Better Than You

Weasel flying on a Woodpecker?!

Have you seen this amazing photograph?

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(Martin Le-May)

That is a weasel clinging to the back of a green woodpecker in flight!

These photos of a weasel attacking a woodpecker were taken in Hornchurch County Park in Essex when the photographer Martin Le-May was out with his wife searching for Green Woodpeckers. They saw a flash of green feathers and heard the bird squawking. Upon further investigation they discovered the bird was in a fight for its life. The weasel attempting to make the bird its meal was lifted into the air on the woodpecker’s back as the bird tried to escape. Miraculously, the bird did escape!

Here is the fight and initial take off:
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(Martin Le-May)

This photographer was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and the woodpecker is even more lucky to have escaped! Weasels are light weight but fearless predators that usually prey on rabbits. So while the ground feeding Green Woodpecker looked appealing the weasel was a little out of its element. The bird was able to take off and fly with the weasel on its back because of how light they are.

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(Martin Le-May)

Here is the firsthand account of the photographer from iTV News:

It was a sunny afternoon, with the occasional cloud making the Hornchurch Country Park seem that grey brown dull winter colour even though it was the 2nd March.

My wife, Ann, and I had gone for a walk. I had hoped that she might see a green woodpecker as she has not really seen one before.

As we walked we heard a distressed squawking and I saw that flash of green. So hurriedly I pointed out to Ann the bird and it settled into the grass behind a couple of small silver birch trees. Both of us trained our binoculars and it occurred that the woodpecker was unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface. Lots of wing flapping showing that gloriously yellow/white colour interspersed with the flash of red head feathers. Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction; suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.

The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst. I guess though our presence, maybe 25 metres away, momentarily distracted the weasel. The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left. Quickly the bird gathered its self respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.

The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.

– MARTIN LE-MAY, PHOTOGRAPHER

Nature is all around us, you never know what you might find when you start to pay attention!

-Fizz

Sources:
iTV News
BBC News

And The Academy Award Goes To – 2015

Two cute Academy Award winners need to be recognized from the 2015 Oscars!

1. Best Animated Short – Feast
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feast

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This short features an adorable dog who figures out life is more than food, it played before Big Hero 6.

2. Best Animated Movie – Big Hero 6
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Because Baymax is adorable!
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(All images Disney)

Fitting for Big Hero 6 to win after Feast won earlier in the evening. The previews for the movie made it look like a funny action movie, but it has a lot of heart and great characters. I highly suggest checking it out if you have not seen it yet.

However, How To Train Your Dragon 2 would have been a great best animated movie as well.  I also suggest seeing this one if you have not seen it.

Hope you are enjoying the Oscars!

– Fizz

Tiny Hamster’s Tiny Valentine’s Day Date

Have you seen any of the Tiny Hamster’s videos on Youtube? Popular previous videos have featured a hamster eating tiny burritos and hamsters sharing and eating Thanksgiving dinner. They are quite well made featuring tiny sets with realistic and incredible tiny foods for their hamster stars.

For Valentine’s Day they made Tiny Hamster’s Tiny Date:

In the video the hamsters are going on a dinner date with hamster friendly “spaghetti and meatballs”
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(HelloDenizen)

Here is the food being prepared:
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(HelloDenizen)

The hamsters go on a gondola ride first:
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Here the couple is at the dinner table:
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They really love the food! Just look at those cheeks full of food:
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So cute!
Screenshot 2015-02-13 at 2.16.57 PM(HelloDenizen)

I highly suggest checking out the other animal videos at HelloDenizen.

Hope your Valentine’s Day dinners are this enjoyable!

-Fizz

Cute Valentine’s Day Gifts

Still need gifts ideas for valentine’s day for your human companions? Or perhaps for your dog? I compiled a few interesting and different gift ideas for both below.

Human gift ideas:

1. Build a Bear stuffed animals
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You can now record a personalized message into those voice boxes they put into their stuffed animals. So your stuffed toy can say “I love you!” in your voice every time you squeeze its paw. A personalized message is $8.00. Along with this they offer lots of pink, heart motif, and other animals (and outfits) to choose from. You can find their Valentine’s shop here, where you can buy a premade animal with clothes or purchase any of the items separately.

Love You Huggable Hearts Puppy – $44.50
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(Build A Bear)

Not only does this Dalmatian have heart shaped spots but choosing this offer gets you the clothes and shoes as well. Just look at its I *paw shaped heart* you pillow…

Wild About You Bananas Monkey – $47.00
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(Build A Bear)

While this is their basic monkey, and you can get a Valentine’s one, it comes in an adorable tux with shoes and a stuffed rose bouquet.

2. A Custom Pillow of your Pet from Broderpress

You submit a photo of your pet to be placed onto a pillow in black and white, which is shaped just like your pet. See a couple examples below for a better representation:
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(Broderpress)

Your photos are submitted through their Etsy store here, and the cost is $80. I like the whimsical effect, especially with pets in odd perspective like this:
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(Broderpress)

Checking out the Broderpress Etsy store offers lots of other pillow options as well.

3. Gloves

Gloves may not usually be that interesting but on Etsy you can buy unique gloves that have different dog or animal silhouettes on them. Talkingloves features lambswool blend gloves with handcrafted images added to suit your tastes.

Sitting dog silhouette with bone – $36

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(Etsy)

Dachshund gloves – $36

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(Etsy)

4. Miximals
Repurposing old magazines and junk mail into custom designs of your pets Kimberly Thompson Panay will create a pet portrait just for you for $120. You can also see more of her whimsical artwork here.

Here are a couple examples:
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(Pet Portraits)

5. Custom Pet Necklace

Of course you could buy any dog or animal necklace out there, but the following two options are very unique!

Custom painted rock pet necklace pendant
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(Etsy)

For $60 Rock Artiste will paint a rock pendant from a photo of your dog, cat, hamster, guinea pig, horse, or alpaca. These may be all the animals they have done, or the only ones they are good painting, but it is a fairly inclusive list. Pendants come on a leather cord with claw clasp closure.

Custom nose print necklace
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(Uncommongoods)

Cannot get enough of your dog or cats adorable nose? Then get a necklace made of your pet’s nose so you always have it with you! This would be a very unique and personal piece of jewelry. To make the pendant a nontoxic molding kit with instructions is mailed to your home so you can take a mold of your pet’s nose. Then you ship that back to the artist Kaleen Wolfe who creates a pendant for you from that mold. Each one is different and unique to your pet! Your pet’s name is also engraved on the back. Given the nature of the service, this costs $210.

Dog gift ideas:

1. Night camp at Petsmart with a special Valentine’s Day price:
Screenshot 2015-02-06 at 10.34.06 AM(Petsmart)

If your dog cannot stay home alone, or you want them to have a special day too you can utilize this option from Petsmart locations with pet sitting and/or boarding options. Please see the fine print about the requirements for your pet’s health, click here for more info.

You also get this cookie for your dog, which can be purchased this month for $3 as an extra treat for your dog during day or night stays at Petsmart.
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(Petsmart)

2. Pet Expressions grooming from Petsmart
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(Petsmart Pinterest)

For a little extra you can get your pet groomed with some color or fur designs! This is completely safe for your dog, but can only be done after 12 weeks of age. In some areas, especially in CA this is not allowed so make sure it is available in your area first. Colors (and talent) will vary by location. Find out more here. Chalking adds color to fur starting at $2, stenciling adds chalk color in a specific design starting at $4, and feathering adds a little extra feather to the coat starting at $10.

A few more examples:

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(Petsmart Pinterest)

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(Pinterest)

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(Pinterest)

3. A cute outfit:
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(Petco)

Is the idea of grooming your pet for the occasion a bit much? How about just sporting an outfit then? There are many options out there varying from heart prints to more subdued items which are simply pink or red. Above is the Wag-a-Tude red ruffle dress currently on sale for $13.45 at Petco.

Or what about this sweet lady dog sweater from Puplife?
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(Puplife)

If that is a bit too much Puplife has an amazing selection of collars, leashes, and harnesses in Valentine’s colors (and many that are not if that is more your style).

Don’t let your masucline dog feel left out! This Full of Heart’s hoodie is available from Poochieheaven:

fullofheartsdoghoodie
($27.99)

4. Treats!
What dog would not be excited for treats? There are probably heart shaped treats at your local big pet store. You could also just give a favorite treat instead, because really the shape is only special to you.

If you want a little something more exciting for your dog try these cake pops from Poochieheaven:
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($32.99 for a box of 4)

Or this heart shaped box of dog treats:
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($27.99)

5. Toys
Once again, like treats, dogs love toys. The shape also doesn’t matter, but if you are looking for something special take a look at these:

Plush Valentine’s hearts in a heart shaped box from pampered dog gifts:
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($29.99)

Stuffed mock credit card toys in 4 different varieties from Calling All Dogs:
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($11.50 each)

Kong toys are amazing! Hide some peanut butter or other paste inside and your dog is instantly interested. They also hold up well to chewing and are easy to find at your local pet store. Online at Petsmart from $6.99 on up depending on size/design.
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(Petsmart)

Has your dog ever played with a Jolly Egg? This egg shaped toy comes in 2 sizes and three colors. This hard toy is built to allow lots of chewing and chasing. The shape makes the toy hard to pin down and roll erratically. Dogs love trying to chase it down! Find it on Amazon for around $15.
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(Amazon)

Good luck finding any gifts you may yet need!

-Fizz

Baby Clydesdale

This is Arizona, the newest baby Clydesdale born to the famous Budweiser Clydesdales:
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(facebook)

Why is Arizona extra special? She was born on February 1, just a few minutes before Budweiser’s newest Clydesdale and puppy starring commercial aired for the Super Bowl! Maybe she is destined to be a future commercial star?

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(facebook)

Warm Springs Ranch is home to many Clydesdales, some of whom starred in other Budweiser commercials.

This is Hope, star of the 2013 Budweiser Super Bowl commercial “Brotherhood” –
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(Jimmy Bernhard/KSDK-TV)

Here is the ad:

Warm Springs Ranch is closed for the winter, but come spring you can take a tour and see these famous horses for yourself! The Ranch opens in March, tours are by reservation only. They run from 10 am to 2 pm, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Sunday.

This is Memory, born September 11 2014 and her mother Monica.
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(Jimmy Bernhard/KSDK-TV)

Lined up to see you:
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(Jimmy Bernhard/KSDK-TV)

Interested in booking a tour? Take a look at Warm Springs Ranch’s website here. Or check out their facebook page here.

– Fizz

Salsa Dancing Dog

Are you a good dancer? This dog may have you beat!

This is an impressive display of training! The dog has to stay on its hind legs for a long time, and is always paying attention to their owner’s cues for the next move. Even so, just look at that wagging tail! The dog really seems to enjoy the attention. The end is even impressive!

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I hope that you find this video inspiring, you never know what your dog may enjoy learning!

-Fizz