There are few animals in the world as fascinating to us as the manatee. Large and oblong creatures with bulbous bodies and distinct whiskers, who doesn’t love seeing these smart animals in the wild? Unfortunately, manatees have been facing serious repercussions as a result of climate change and habitat destruction, with some population viability studies showing almost a 50% chance of extinction within the next thousand years. This issue is compounded furthermore by frequent collisions with watercraft throughout the state of Florida. Understanding how dire the Florida manatees situation is will properly contextualize how important this next news story was.
Florida Manatees Face Struggles With Population Decline
Early in 2021, more than 200 threatened manatees from Florida were spotted basking together off of the shallow waters near the west coast of Florida. Pictured near St. Petersburg and photographed by See Through Canoe, the images would quickly go viral thanks to the many different social media channels that ran with the footage. What makes this footage particularly striking is not just the relaxed nature of the manatees basking and at play, but it is the co-mingling of dolphins interspersed throughout that caught our attention!
The YouTube video which has since gone viral shows nearly 170 manatees basking in warm water, a habitat that has become increasingly rare for them. Throughout the video, viewers can watch as manatees and dolphins play by jumping in and out of the water. Though manatees and dolphins have been pictured together before, there aren’t many videos where such large groups of animals are congregating and playing with one another. In fact, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are just 7,500 wild manatees left in existence throughout the southeastern United States. Every single year, hundreds of manatees will die due to disease and collisions with watercraft.
A Rare Scene Could Become the Norm With Conservation
Mike Heithaus is the dean of Florida International University, and he was quick to offer some insight on the footage. Heithaus pointed out how manatees and dolphins typically will rarely interact with one another, particularly in areas of fresher water. With that being said, Heithaus was quick to point out that there were no specific reasons why dolphins and manatees couldn’t get along, saying that there wasn’t a ‘particular reason they wouldn’t interact’.
What blew Mike out of the water, pun not intended, was that the footage was shot through a drone, allowing a special aerial view of the rare scene below. The images and video should hopefully inspire more hope and optimism surrounding the manatee, but there is still a long way to go before the species is off the brink of extinction. Heithaus went on to point out that this event could become quite the common scene if the manatee population is appropriately fostered and allowed to grow in relative safety.
Some Have Hope For a Better Future for the Florida Manatee
The biggest implication that researchers and animal conservationists want to impart through this story is just how big of an impact humans are having on the environment. Manatees are watching their population numbers crater in large part due to interactions with humans, hit by watercraft, or simply swept away from habitats that once safely housed them. Researchers like Annie Reneau from Upworthy continue to focus on shifting the message toward a more natural style of conservation. Renau had seen the video and had chosen to highlight it with an article, emphasizing that videos like this one can become the norm in a more equitable and natural world.
Adoptable Dogs Get Space From Winnipeg Paramedics for Bonding as They Await Adoption￼
Life can prove stressful for firefighters and paramedics. Therefore, having a stress-free environment to come back to is crucial for their wellbeing.
Several paramedic stations across Winnipeg are welcoming pets in an effort to improve morale and discover new homes for canines.
It’s a unique opportunity for the Winnipeg first response workers who want to host a dog that can get adopted while on duty to do so.
Having Murphy within their environs recently, according to WFPS Station 9 Captain Tim Arbuckle, has assisted us with easing stress in the environment after firefighters return from a difficult incident.
Arbuckle gushed, “It’s wonderful.” “I’ve just returned from a call in which I viewed first-hand that guys are searching for Murphy, and the dog is searching for them as well.”
Manitobans who are thinking about adopting a dog can take one out for an entire day, or for a whole weekend, or even a week, says City Animal Services GM Leland Gordon.
At Station 9, it has been running for a month, according to Gordon. However, it was only publicly announced on Wednesday. Gordon said that two additional stations have already contacted Animal Services to inquire about bringing canines into their facilities.
Keeping dogs in kennels and animal shelters is “nobody’s idea of fun,” according to Gordon.
In the past few weeks, Murphy has been treated like a VIP around this station. Murphy has gone home with emergency crews and medics, and even this weekend, he stayed in a luxurious lodge on an island.
Because of the difficulties that fire paramedics come across in their work, this program was established.
According to him, “It’s a stressful task that they do have here and you realize that they go through a lot of unpleasant encounters.” Isn’t the idea of coming back from a phone call and having a puppy to cuddle with just wonderful?
Chief WFPS Officer Christian Schmidt agreed with Gordon. In the two weeks since Murphy showed up, he’s spent two nights at Station 9, which has had an important influence on the staff and the dogs.
A number of employees have already written to him to convey their gratitude, he said. In terms of feedback for a leader, that’s excellent.
Schmidt also lauded Station Doggie Dates’ ability to raise understanding and appreciation of the city’s adoption program.
It’s been about three weeks since Murphy moved into Station 9 on Marion Street. For the time being, he’s happy there, but his ultimate objective is adoption.
Arbuckle said, “I’m not sure we want to see Murphy depart.” There would be no one like him.
Even though Murphy is still available for adoption, he’ll be spending more time at WFPS Station 9 for the time being.
St. Louis Zoo Achieves Rare Cub Births
Most times biologists and zoo specialists struggle with the news that an endangered species is shrinking in number and getting closer to extinction. However, for the Amur leopard population, there’s been a bit of good news instead. That’s because the Saint Louis Zoo has now become the latest in being able to help bring a pair of leopard cubs into the world.
The Amur leopard traditionally inhabited regions between Russia and China. It was never a well established animal, rare to begin with a preferring remote locations than those near people and development. However, by modern times there were estimated to be only 120 individual leopards left, and practically any new cubs have entirely happened in captivity, at least among those counted.
For the birth in the St. Louis Zoo, the arrival of a pair of two new cubs is a huge achievement for the leopard program. Named Anya as well as Irina, they are both female, and have been born healthy with flying colors. Now the challenge since their birth in the third week of April will be to maintain their growth and make sure there are no hitches. Their tenure in the maternity den will last a couple of months, through the summer, before they are introduced to the regular leopard containment.
The mother of the cubs, Dot, is expected to handle her job just fine. Following instinct, the big cat dotes on her cubs, never letting them out of her sight, even in the Zoo environment. For the zoo experts on hand, just seeing the cubs as they fumble around and develop their sense of the world is a gem. Most have only studied Amur leopards based on adults in the Zoo or through video files and similar. Seeing a cub from birth has been a first for a good number involved with their care. Not to mention, there are plenty of visitors as well wanting to see the same, even if just a glimpse.
The genesis of the cubs started with the arrival of their father, Samson, in 2021. He remains at the Zoo in a different enclosure, separated from the mother and cubs for their safety. Based on the pairing with Sampson and Dot, the results of a tremendous amount of genetic work proved successful with the pregnancy of Dot and the ultimate arrival of the cubs.
With their first vet check take care of, the cubs are rated in solid health, already weighing in at 2.5 pounds each. By the time they reach adulthood, each female leopard will carry a solid 125 pounds in muscle and fur. This kind of conservation effort and program may very well prove to be the primary means that saves the Amur leopard from complete extinction. It would be fitting given the fact that the animal’s decline was at the hands of human hunting and development in the first place.
Kindergarten Help Line, Dial For An Adorable Pep Talk
Positive news is hard to come by. Give it a try and most folks will probably find it a bit of a challenge to find a positive headline in the news. Negative is the norm, and it’s not surprising that people end up chronically depressed or stressed reading the news on a regular basis. And that’s in addition to life’s normal challenges. Add in the 24/7 spin of cable news and a constant barrage of bad news via the Internet and mobile devices, and people could be downright clinical after a while without a break.
Kindergarten to the Rescue
Fortunately, a creative project in Healdsburg, CA came up with a way to inspire thousands of adults on a daily basis with the help of kindergarteners. Yes, you read that right, five and six-year-olds are actively working to help adults make sense of modern life. The project was the brainchild of teachers at West Side Elementary, who thought it would be a good pick-me-up for the local folks to have a “hotline” where they could hear positive messages from the town’s kids. So, a phone number and hotline was set up with recorded messages one can hear by making a selection in the related phone tree once the call connects. The number provides options for folks who are frustrated, nervous, stressed or just need a pep talk to brighten up the day. What callers get on the other end of the line is a Healdsburg kindergartner’s voice giving the caller a mental boost.
Callers get a message reminding them to be thankful, positive reinforcement, humor and similar. The kids themselves are not talking live, but grade students from West Side Elementary in Healdsburg provide all the messages in recordings, which are then provided based on the caller’s menu selection.
A Darn Good Idea – Of Course it Came From Teachers
The Peptoc hotline was managed and put together by two teachers at the same school, Jessica Martin as well as Asherah Weiss. Given all the craziness that happened in 2020 thanks to the COVID pandemic and, given their rural location, the wildfire risk in the general area of Healdsburg, the two teachers felt something needed to be done to help boost the community’s mood. What they didn’t expect was that Peptoc was going to become so popular it would spread. Now folks are calling from all over, even outside of California, to get a bit of cheer and positive messaging from Healdsburg’s mighty kindergartners.
Anthony Harris, Eagles Safety Switches Position to Take Texas Teen to Father-daughter School Dance
Getting a celebrity to grant you a random favor is no easy feat, especially during a busy time of year. Of course, it was a special time during the football season. However, for one Philadelphia Eagles player, helping out a young girl who had lost a parent was a no-brainer.
That Philadelphia Eagles star made that teenager’s fantasy come true by going deep into the heart of Texas.
It would be the worst year Audrey Soape had ever had. She lost both her dad and grandfather in a matter of days.
Therefore, when Audrey’s school’s “Daddy-Daughter Dance” rolled around, her mother, Holly, sprung into action and reached out to her beloved Eagles safety, Anthony Harris, via social media.
Holly scoffed, saying, “It’s a tremendous task.” “I simply inquired whether he’d be open to coming if he was so inclined. ‘Not only will I be there, but I also would like to help ensure she feels something like a princess,’ he remarked.”
“Around one week before the event, I was informed of its existence. And to begin with, I was somewhat anxious, “Audrey stated.” “I was a little nervous all week that I’d goofed up.”
The expense of Audrey’s gown, footwear, makeup, and hair were all funded by Harris, who flew in especially for the event.
‘He sent a car and driver to get her from home,’ Holly recalled. To ensure that she had the finest possible experience, he made every effort.
He even took a moment to greet Jackson, Audrey’s sibling.
“He didn’t just appear around to see Audrey for the ‘Daddy-Daughter Celebration,’ he drove over to see me as well,” Jackson recalled of the visit.
A professional photographer was on hand to document the memorable evening.
Since “not a lot of things happen to individuals like this, and specifically me,” Audrey remarked, “I feel incredibly unique.”
However, even though the Eagles didn’t play last weekend, the Soape family considers Harris’ appearance in the dance as a personal victory.
As for Audrey’s mom Holly, despite not knowing what the outcome would be, daring to ask was not a problem as she was driven by the love for her daughter.
According to Holly, “we will all do whatever possible for our children when we know that they are suffering”. This tragic event has been transformed into a victorious time for me because I understand that there are others out there who would also help support my children and myself.
While the dance did not replace their father’s absence, the moment has etched an unforgettable memory in their brain. It will at least help to soothe pain each year that she reflects on her loss, that there is still hope out there.
UPS Driver Showered With Gifts After Leaving Inspiring Message for a New Mom He Delivered Package To
One thing we have come to know in recent years is that no matter how much cyberbullying occurs on social media, an act of kindness will quickly pull everyone together.
The moment someone reports a good deed that a regular Joe did, they’ll be happy to shower them with love, including money and gifts. In the most recent case that will blow your mind, it was baby showering!
As a result of a small act of compassion, we have formed a lasting connection.
While on his rounds in Roswell late last month, a UPS driver made a brief stop to bid the new parents of a baby boy congratulations.
Almost at the same time, he revealed, he too had given birth to a boy.
“My best wishes go out to you and your family, should this be the ‘it’s a boy house’ who recently welcomed a baby boy. I’m glad to hear that things are going well for you and your family; I had my first child at almost the same time as you did.” In a Nest doorbell video, a UPS driver, later named Dallen Harrell of Marietta, remarked, “God bless, have a good Christmas.”
Jessica Kitchel and her spouse are the proud owners of the doorbell camera they’ve installed in their home. As she said to us on Thursday, “I simply watched the replay then saw his comment and was just simply blown away by it.” “I suppose I needed this the most at that time. It’s only a little bit of motivation.”
Kitchel shared our story on social media, sharing it approximately 60,000 times and being seen by a large audience.
Several days later, Kitchel and Harrell eventually met face-to-face.
“I was delighted to meet him and applaud him because of what his words meant to me,” stated Kitchel.
But that was just the start. Kitchel wishes to congratulate Harrell because he recently welcomed a baby son of his own.
There had been no baby shower for her and her fiancé, so she inquired as to whether she might see his baby register.
Almost all of the wedding gifts Harrell and his fiancee needed were sent to them by individuals they didn’t even know after she put his registry information online.
The two of them are strangers. They’re so indistinguishable from a can of spray paint. When we spoke with Harrell on Thursday, he told us, “We’re just vessels for God.”
He claims that he was also given a raise at work. “It seemed as though my entire world had flipped upside down.”
They both agree that the most excellent present they’ve received is the friendship they’ve made, which began with a simple act of compassion. In other words, I don’t want this to be a one-off. As Harrell put it: “It’s not a season, but a lifetime.”
Kitchel believes there is a more important lesson to be learned here. In these trying times, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the negative, so seeing someone take a moment out of their day to do something nice meant a lot.”
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