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2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal
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The marine animal theme parks will not fight a court decision that upholds federal safety citations that recommended they stop putting trainers in the water with killer whales. The
Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the citations in 2010 after trainer Dawn Brancheau died during a killer whale show at
SeaWorld Orlando. SeaWorld had challenged the citations, but they were upheld by a federal court in April. The company now says it won’t try to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Brancheau’s death was the focus of “
Blackfish,” a 2013 documentary that questioned whether orcas should be kept in captivity and lead to a lot of criticism of the parks. SeaWorld has
called the documentary “propaganda.” — Read it at
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says birds are dying at a rate of one every two minutes at a new solar power plant in California’s
Mojave Desert. The
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which opened in February, is the largest solar plant to use towers that receive beams of focused solar rays to generate electricity. Temperatures near the skyscraping towers can reach 800 degrees. Up to 28,000
birds a year could die after being scorched in the focused beams of sunlight, according to the FWS. Insects are attracted to the bright light, drawing birds and bats. Now predators are coming to the area to feed on the
birds, causing federal officials to refer to the plant as a “mega-trap” for wildlife. The FWS is calling for a year of study before a bigger “power tower” plant can be built between
Joshua Tree National Park and the border of California and Arizona. The companies behind the plant say they’re looking for solutions to stop wildlife from colliding with the plant. — Read it at the
Researchers have found that city dwelling orb-weaving spiders grow larger and have more babies than their country counterparts. The spider is native to the Australian countryside but can also be found in cities like Sydney. The
University of Sydney researchers say the spiders like the heat they find in the city. "Hard surfaces [like buildings, roads and concrete] retain heat, leading to the urban island-heat effect," said lead researcher Elizabeth Lowe. "This increase in temperatures is likely what is leading to increased growth of the spiders." The study was published in the journal
PLOS ONE. — Read it at
Two endangered snow leopard cubs made their feisty debut under their mom’s watchful eye at the Wildlife
Bronx Zoo in New York on Tuesday. The boys were born to first-time parents May 6. Snow leopards are among the most endangered big
cats in the world, with an estimated 3,500 to 7,500 remaining in the wild. — Watch it at
YouTube and read it from the
As a wedding photographer, it didn’t take long for Kathryn Yeaton to realize that her black-and-white male
dog and white female dog “looked too perfect as a bride and groom.” Cuteness ensued as Yeaton, who owns
Brave Hearts Photography in Connecticut, planned a wedding for her adopted
dogs, Teddy and Lucy. For the ceremony, Teddy sported a houndstooth bow tie, and his bride wore a veil and a jeweled collar. The menu included the pooches’ favorite snacks, fruit and cheese. — See photos at
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