Animals of the Week: Cute, informative and distracting
Fri, 02 Mar 2012 1:40p.m.
By Hannah Sarney
Welcome to polar bear week!
Well, I've decided that it's polar bear week. I thoroughly enjoy shark week and I think more weeks would be greatly improved with an animal theme. It was officially International Polar Bear Day on Monday (February 27), so really polar bear week would just be building on a good thing.
You can begin celebrating the big bears with me by streaming a webcam that only goes live between 3am and 5am NZT. You're really keen, aren't you? It's really cool though! It allows viewers around the world to follow the development of a three-month-old polar bear cub in a Danish wildlife park. The little guy is called Siku, which means 'sea ice', and it is hoped he'll "inspire people to care about polar bears and the arctic".
Don't let Siku down.
While I didn't meet any polar bears on Monday, I did introduce myself to four of Wellington Zoo's five red pandas. Their fur is bristly, but sort-of soft, and they smell like sweet fruit. I'm not kidding. You can read my story and view the gallery here. Thanks Wellington Zoo!
According to a growing body of evidence, dolphins possess one of the most sophisticated communication systems in the animal kingdom - possibly even surpassing that of humans. Remember Darwin the dolphin in SeaQuest? He communicated with the crew using a translation device.
A new study has found that bottlenose dolphins swap signature whistles when they meet each other in the open sea - engaging in something similar to human conversation.
A signature dolphin whistle in human speak, might be comparable to, "Hi, I'm George, a large, three-year-old dolphin in good health who means you no harm."
A study earlier in the month found that humpback whales have been crooning different tunes in different corners of the Indian Ocean. It "shed light on how whale culture spreads". Whale culture! I want in! You can compare the whale songs here.
I'm rabbiting on a lot this week... you're allowed to lose yourself in snoozes if you look and sound like the hummingbird above, or the baby sloth in a onesie below.
Want to see an endangered snow leopard in Kashmir?
A village in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan has taken animal welfare to new heights. All of the people in Umri village have relocated to help secure a proper habitat for tigers. Rajasthan4Rajah ♥
QUICK-CLICK ANIMAL NEWS:
Finally, a cat makes friends with a miniature horse:
P.S. Next week is Seaweek
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