A news site about animals

The Notortoise BIG

Henry the Tortoise, known on Facebook as The Notortoise BIG , has become the most famous tortoise in New York City. Why? Because as he is pushed in a stroller to Central Park, for his daily outing, he turns more than a few heads.


The 17 pound (7.7 kg) sulcata tortoise is the pet of 24-year-old Amanda Green who lives in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. He led a reclusive existence until Green took to Craigslist to advertise for a tortoise walker.

New Yorkers are accustomed to dog walkers but no so much tortoise walkers, so Green expected only a few responses. Instead, the listing went viral and hundreds of people from all over the world applied for the $10-an-hour job.

“Just like a person who has a dog would hire a dog walker, I figured why not a tortoise walker?” Green said in an interview with Reuters TV. “It took on a life of its own … I heard from about 500,” said Green, a copywriter for a style and beauty website.


The job went to Amalia McCallister, who has experience from having worked in a pet store. “You honestly do have to keep your eye on him,” McCallister said, describing the job as fun and not too taxing. “I could, maybe, read a book, but you’ve got to make sure he doesn’t eat the wrong thing.”

Sulcata tortoises are native to north central Africa but they adapt well to different environments. Land-dwelling reptiles with a shell, they are mainly herbivores. Henry, who is taken to the park by stroller and then allowed to roam free, particularly likes dandelions and grass.


He has amassed an online fanbase with more than 5,000 Instagram followers and over 400 likes on Facebook. The profile’s name is, of course, a play on the stage name used by the late rapper Christopher Wallace, who called himself The Notorious B.I.G.


Green adopted Henry a couple of years ago from a woman who was unable to manage her growing family and the tortoise. She said Henry is friendly and curious but needs lots of attention.


Green said she knows that Henry will one day outgrow her apartment. Male sulcata tortoises can reach a length of more than 30 inches (76 cm) and tip the scales at up to 200 pounds (90 kg).

“Am I going to somehow get a backyard in New York City?” Green asked. “These animals do need exercise so it is really great that I have a walker now.”


There’s some good “thinking outside of the shell”, Ms. Green.


Happy Humpday (^_^)


Bison: Our New National Mammal

The American bison is now the first National Mammal of the United States, as stated by The National Bison Legacy Act, passed in the House on Tuesday, April 27 and is expected to get Senate approval this week.


The recognition of the bison, is a recognition of a conservation success story, and it’s a rare bipartisan moment in Washington D.C.

“No other indigenous species tells America’s story better than this noble creature,” Rep. Lacy Clay, a progressive Missouri Democrat who sponsored the bill that passed the Republican-controlled Congress, said in a statement recently. “The American bison is an enduring symbol of strength, Native American culture and the boundless western wildness.”

A camera trap captured these bison crossing the Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park. By Ronan Donovan. (Source:

But aside from the symbolism, not much will change about how we Americans interact with bison. The law has a provision saying as much: Native Americans can still hunt them, ranchers will still ranch them, zoos can still house them, and, people can still eat them.

“None of that is necessarily a bad thing”, said John Calvelli, an executive vice president with the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Ranchers, wildlife experts, politicians and Native American groups were actually pretty much in agreement that this animal needs to be honored. It’s just that every group has its own idea about how to do that, and that’s fine. Bison are a connection to healthy communities,” Calvelli said. “This law brings this all together into something that is a bit more coherent. Maybe we’ll all feel a bit more patriotic when we eat a bison burger,” he added.



In the early 1800s, there were about 30 million bison in the United States, stretching from Alaska to the Mexican border. By the time Congress made it illegal to kill bison in 1894, there were fewer than 1,000. Teddy Roosevelt, a frontiersman in his own right, led a conservation effort to nurse them back to health at the Bronx Zoo and ship them out west. It worked. Today there are bison in all 50 states and close to 5,000 in Yellowstone National Park.



It’s still illegal to shoot and kill bison without a permit. The exception to that latter rule is Native American lands. Ranchers, wildlife experts and Native American groups are working to increase the number of bison on reservations to help these communities return to their ancestral tradition of hunting and eating bison. They’ve identified about 1 million acres of reservation land they want to bring bison onto for this purpose.


When the bison and the Native Americans were run off the frontier, so was Native American culture and their contributions to building this nation. This bill is an effort to pause and honor that.

Now, when school children learn about their new national mammal, they’ll also learn about its relationship to the conquering of the West. It’s not always an easy story to hear, but it’s an important one, say its supporters.



If you would like to see bison, you can go visit Yellowstone, or you can just go to your local zoo. Bison are in zoos in 49 out of 50 states, including in Washington D.C. For the first time in more than a century, the National Zoo welcomed back bison in 2014, two females named Wilma and Zora.




Happy Humpday (^_^)


A Skyhigh Look at Humpbacks in Hawaii

These shots of humpback whales are amazing! The filmographer flew over the incredibly clear waters surrounding Hawaii, to capture one the most complete looks at humpback whales in their natural environment I have ever seen: swimming, playing (two whales look they high-five each other at one point), and socializing with family and with dolphins!

Thank-you YouTube Channel Uheheu for this amazing footage!


Happy Humpday (^_^)


A Baby Bactrian for England

Do you know how I know it’s Spring? Because every other day, I’m seeing news about baby animal births taking place in zoos and aquariums across the world!

Today’s news comes from Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, England, where they are celebrating the birth of a baby Bactrian camel. They’ve already named her Pepper. She was born to mum Gypsy on March 22 but has only now been seen by the public.

Bactrian camels are usually found in parts of Asia, including China and Mongolia. They are classed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and baby Pepper is part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP).

The international conservation and science charity Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is also working to save wild Bactrian camels from extinction through conservation projects in Mongolia, in partnership with the National University of Mongolia.

Happy Humpday (^_^)


White Rhino Born in Toronto Zoo

A baby rhinoceros was born at the Toronto Zoo in February.

This video, however, was published only days ago, and shows the 11-year-old Indian rhinoceros, named Ashakiran, giving birth to her male calf. The miracle of life is a wonderful thing to behold. This particular birth is very important for the conservation of the species, which is currently listed as “vulnerable” with only about 2,000 left in the wild. May they remain happy and healthy, as they play their part in returning the white rhino population to its former glory.


DISCLAIMER: This video shows a rhinoceros giving birth and might be considered graphic.

Thank-you YouTube Channel Funny World for this behind-the-scenes video.


Happy Humpday (^_^)



Moose Population Explodes in Colorado… Right into the Ski Slopes

Until the late 1970′s, only a few stray moose from Wyoming would wander into Northern Colorado. Now, state wildlife managers estimate that nearly 2500 moose are roaming across the western part of the state.

Josef Pittner/Shutterstock Source:

The boom in moose population is generally a good thing: rising population means a healthy, thriving, reproducing community of happy moose. However, the moose’s natural predators, wolves and grizzlies, are not established in Colorado, and so the moose are running a little wild… right into the ski resorts.


These 800-pound behemoths are taking advantage of packed snow on ski slopes to migrate.

“During winter, moose are often seen on trails, as it is easier to travel on packed snow compared to walking in deep snow,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife district manager Jeromy Huntington said after inspecting the moose at Winter Park. They’ve been seen at Steamboat, Nederland, and at the Winter Park resort, where a bull was dubbed Bullwinkle by patrollers.



Signs have been installed recently urging skiers and snowboarders to avoid contact with moose:  ”May Charge,” “Seek Escape Route” and “Moose Don’t Shoo!” Last winter, a patroller who tried to wrangle a moose off a halfpipe provoked a charge. Staffers now advise skiers to stop and wait if moose take to a trail.  This is good advice.

“We certainly prefer that the moose remains far away from winter recreationists, but that is often up to the moose,” Huntington said.

Wise words.


Happy Humpday (^_^)

Kissed by a Fish

During a diving trip to Palau and Truk Lagoon, divers met a friendly Humphead Wrasse: a large fish known for the hump on it’s head and it’s big pronounced lips. This one apparently loves cameras, and so decided to kiss the GoPro, then kiss the divemaster. That’ll be an experience I’m sure those divers won’t soon forget. It’s not often I say D’awwww to a fish!

Thank-you YouTube Channel Mina Min for your underwater voyage video!


Happy Humpday (^_^)