Upstate NY man plays around with 1,500 pound bear

 

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After a video was posted to Facebook that showed a man attempting to cuddle with a Kodiak bear, over 11 million people had a logical response: Click.

Presumably, because human-bear encounters are not known for ending well, these millions of viewers wanted to see what happened next. Whatever they were expecting, it was probably not a love fest between 59-year-old Jim Kowalczik and a 22-year-old bear that Mr. Kowalczik raised from an injured cub into a 1,500-pound, 9-foot-tall pet.

In the video, the bear, named Jimbo, licks Mr. Kowalczik’s face while giving him a literal bear hug. Mr. Kowalczik reciprocates with a loving back rub. As you do.

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This video and several others were posted by the Orphaned Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation center in Otisville, N.Y., that Mr. Kowalczik, a retired corrections officer, and his wife, Susan, 57, formally started as a nonprofit in 2015. The footage posted by the group provides a rare and intimate glimpse at an animal that is best viewed at a distance.

Jimbo, also called Jimmy, is one of 11 bears that live at the 100-acre facility about two hours north of New York City. Jimbo and the others were brought in as cubs suffering from injuries that rendered them unable to survive in the wild, Kerry Clair, a director for Orphaned Wildlife, said in an interview on Tuesday. Along with bears, the group rehabilitates horses, deer and squirrels. But this is not a zoo: Since the main goal is to rehabilitate the animals, the public can’t visit, Ms. Clair said.

The bears that remain on the grounds are as friendly as Jimbo, she said, because they were raised by humans from an early age. The downside is that once they become close to humans, they cannot return to the wild.

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In many ways, the scene at Orphaned Wildlife goes against nature. First of all, it is a rare communal living situation for an animal that normally travels alone. The males and females are separated, but the members of the group, comprising Kodiak bears, brown bears, Syrian brown bears and a black bear named Frankie, all roam near one another.

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Falcons on a Plane

Falconry has been popular for many centuries around the world. Falconry is the use of Falcons to hunt other creatures. It is especially popular in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in the Middle East.

The sport of falconry began over 5,000 years ago in Iran, and spread over the centuries to East and West. The sport was introduced to Qatar through Bedouin tribes who used the birds as a tool for hunting. They discovered that it was much easier to allow the raptors to take down birds migrating across the Arabian Peninsula than it was to shoot them down themselves. This Bedouin method of falconry set the basis for the modern version of the sport practiced in Qatar.

 

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Although, over the centuries, falconry has virtually disappeared from the European continent, the sport lives on in the Middle East. In Qatar, you can still purchase falcons in downtown Doha at falcon souqs or through private dealers. The best raptors can cost thousands of dollars and may even be issued their own Qatari passports to ensue they are not stolen or taken out of the country without the owner’s permission. Due to these elaborate methods of theft prevention, it is not uncommon for you to be seated beside a full-grown falcon when travelling on a Middle Eastern airliner.

 

In a Qatar Airways economy cabin of a flight between Baku, Azerbaijan, and Doha, Qatar, a group of Qatari men sit on the plane with their treasured birds. The men practise the art of falconry and to escape the heat of Qatar flew for a week to the cooler weathers of Azerbaijan to let the birds fly. The birds cost over US$10,000 each, have micro-chips in their legs so they can find them if they fly off and documents allowing them to travel abroad.

 

In a Qatar Airways economy cabin of a flight between Baku, Azerbaijan, and Doha, Qatar, a group of Qatari men sit on the plane with their treasured birds. The men practise the art of falconry and to escape the heat of Qatar flew for a week to the cooler weathers of Azerbaijan to let the birds fly. The birds cost over US$10,000 each, have micro-chips in their legs so they can find them if they fly off and documents allowing them to travel abroad.

 

 

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From Airport Guide Traveller:

Live animal facility

All pets travelling via Hamad International Airport enjoy the comfort of our dedicated live animal facility while they wait for their connecting or departing flights. This is a secure and climate-controlled environment that is supervised by trained animal handlers.

Collecting your pet

An airline representative in  the baggage claim area will deliver your pet to you in person. Please contact the Airline Baggage Service office near Belt 1  (map) if you need any assistance. Once you’ve collected the rest of your checked baggage please proceed to Customs where your pet’s travel documents will be inspected.

Things to remember

  • Please inform your airline well in advance to finalize travel arrangements and documentation for your pet.
  • Please make sure your pet is secured in a suitable container and has access to food and water.

Falcons

Some airlines, such as Qatar Airways, will allow your falcon to travel with you in the passenger cabin (only in Economy Class). Other airlines may accept your falcon for travel but only as checked baggage. Before starting your journey please consult your airline for guidance.

 

An amazing specimen from Kazakhstan:

 

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The habitat ranges of very dangerous snakes in the U.S.

I’m glad I live in the middle of the Great White North. No venomous snakes! For some inexplicable reason I had a dream about being in Florida the other night. That sounds like a good dream: Disneyworld, Miami Beach and warm temperatures. But what was odd about this dream was that I was in a semi-swampy area where there were hordes of aggressive, large poisonous snakes. It was a freaky dream, lots of running away from snakes. Having snakes crawl from under couches etc. The last I remember about the dream I was attacking some smaller snakes in a motel room with a spade. Crazy dreams!

That dream led me to research deadly snakes in the United States. The bastards are all over the place.

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.

 

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This is a big bitch. Up to 8 feet long and 35 pounds. Some think it is the biggest pit viper in the world. Run into this thing while searching for the golf ball in the scrub and I would instantly meet the maker, and that is without getting bitten. Notice it’s throughout Florida.

 

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

 

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Very similar to the Eastern but a lot smaller. Likes the desert as opposed to it’s cousin which likes lush forested areas.

 

Cottonmouth, also known as the Water Moccasin

 

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This is a nasty little bastard. The cottonmouth is one of the most feared venomous snakes in North America. Its powerful cytotoxic venom is so destructive that it can eat away flesh and result in grisly amputations. Their preference for hiding in water and attacking when least expected means that bites are also relatively frequent. Again, another deadly snake that slithers throughout Florida.

Copperhead

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For some reason this snake avoids Florida.

The copperhead is perhaps responsible for the most bites of any snake on this list. It’s not because the snake is inherently more aggressive, but because copperheads tend to “freeze” when met with approaching humans—instead of fleeing like most other, sensible snakes—and will bite when stepped on.

The copperhead also has what is believed to be the weakest venom potency of all pit vipers, which is a happy coincidence for the snake that is otherwise most likely to bite you.

 

Timber Rattlesnake

 

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I never realized there were so many rattlesnakes in the east. Florida spared again.

 

Coral Snakes

 

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Eastern coral snakes are very reclusive and are rarely seen, which is great for hunters and hikers across the American Southeast. The eastern coral snake was once seen as the most dangerous snake in the region. While that reputation hasn’t exactly subsided, experts now say that fatalities from this dangerous species are actually very rare. This is thought to be because the coral snake has very little control of how much venom it can inject into a victim.

 

Massasauga Rattlesnake

 

Canada isn’t entirely left out

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These pesky rattlesnakes go all the way up to the tip of southern Ontario. To the edges of Canada’s number one city Toronto, at least that is what the residents of Toronto think.

 

Prairie Rattlesnake

 

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More Canadian content here. These critters crawl all the way up to Saskatchewan and Alberta. Florida is spared again!

India puts Gujarat lions on trial after three people killed

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Officials in India have “arrested” 18 lions as they try to find a man eater suspected of killing three people.

Forest officials in Gujarat state will test the lions’ prints and excrement in an attempt to identify the killer.

The “guilty lion” will be kept in a zoo for life while the others will be released back into the Gir sanctuary, the officials told BBC Hindi.

Six attacks on humans have been reported recently near the sanctuary, the only habitat of the Asiatic lion.

Gujarat’s top forest official, JA Khan, said that the lions had been “arrested” over the past two months and were now being held in separate cages while tests were carried out.

“We think we have pinpointed the guilty lion, but we are still awaiting the results of nine more animals,” he said.
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Innocent lions will be released back into the Gir forest

Wildlife expert Ruchi Dave told the BBC that the “tests” involved studying the pug marks and faecal matter of the lions.

“The officials are also studying the animals’ behaviour. Man eating lions usually get aggressive at the sight of a human being,” she said.

Another wildlife expert Revtubha Raizada said the man-eating lion would be caged for the rest of its life, as it was too unsafe to release it back into the wild.

Some experts feel that the thriving lion population in Gir forest is to blame for the “unusual” behaviour by the lions.

Govind Patel, the former chief wildlife warden of Gujarat, told the Indian Express newspaper that Gir could accommodate only 270 lions, forcing some prides to settle outside the boundaries of the sanctuary.

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that Gujarat needed to relocate some of its lions to other states to avoid the possibility of disease or other disaster wiping out the entire population.

However the state has expressed reluctance and has not yet complied with the order.

 

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Six cases of lions attacking humans have been recently reported near the Gir forest

The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion or Persian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single population in India’s Gujarat state. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN due to its small population size. Since 2010, the lion population in the Gir Forest National Park has steadily increased.

In May 2015, the 14th Asiatic Lion Census was conducted over an area of about 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi); the lion population was estimated at 523 individuals, comprising 109 adult males, 201 adult females and 213 cubs.

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Asiatic lion at Gir Forest National Park.