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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Loving Gorilla Mom

If you wake up my baby I’ll go ape! The moment a 200lb gorilla cradles her newborn baby seconds after giving birth

Five years ago she became the first gorilla in the world to have fertility treatment.

So it’s little wonder Salome looks utterly content as she cradles her newborn – who arrived following nothing more complicated than a bit of monkeying around.

The western lowland gorilla gave birth on Tuesday, but the baby has not yet been named because Salome, 35, is so protective of her third child that she won’t loosen her grip for keepers to determine its sex. 

I'll never let you go: Salome cradles her sleeping newborn at Bristol Zoo. The gorilla house has been temporarily closed to allow the apes to bond with the new arrival

John Partridge, senior curator of animals at Bristol Zoo, said: ‘It is still very early days, but Salome is a great mother and has been cradling and cuddling her baby affectionately.

‘Salome keeps the baby very close and we are keen to give the gorillas space, therefore it is still too early to determine the sex of the baby.’

Salome was given the human fertility drug Clomid – which encourages the ovaries to release eggs – in 2006 after her keepers noticed she had failed to conceive despite mating regularly with partner Jock.

The treatment was a success and she gave birth to a son, Komale, later that year. Her first baby was conceived naturally and born in 1988.

Furry much in love: Salome cradling her newborn gorilla baby, still wet seconds after being born at Bristol Zoo Gardens yesterday. The baby's father Jock, is also bonding with the new arrival

I only have eyes for you: Hours later Salome is still cuddling her new baby, which is starting to open its eyes

Snoozy does it: All this mothering is a tiring business. Salome manages to get a few minutes shut eye while the baby nestles in close

You still there? Mummy strokes her baby gently with one finger while she takes the opportunity to rest in the straw bedding

This year Bristol Zoo celebrates its 175th birthday and is participating in the European Zoo Association’s Ape Campaign, which aims to raise funds and awareness of the threats facing gorillas in the wild.

The gorillas at Bristol Zoo are part of an international conservation breeding programme for the western lowland gorilla, which is a critically endangered species.

Gentle giant: Salome takes her tiny new addition outside for some fresh air while it clings on to her

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Parasitic twin

Indian boy with parasitic twin growing out of his chest

Eight year old Deepak Kumar Paswaan from India will finally have a normal childhood after his “parasitic twin” has been surgically removed. The boy who became known around the world by the nickname “oktopus-boy” is born with partially developed legs and arms of his undeveloped twin growing from his chest. The boy was stigmatized for eight years; by some he was perceived as an incarnation of God, while others thought of him as the devil in the human body. In order to allow the boy to have a normal life, four-hour operation of removing his undeveloped twin was performed in a hospital Fortis, the Indian city of Bangalore in June this year and boy is recovering successfully and begins to live a normal life.

The boy first appeared in the media in February when the shares started collecting money for an operation that would remove the extra limbs of a boy. “I’m tired of it to be different from other kids, I just want to live normally,” said Deepak after surgery.

Lioness Saves Her Cub

Cliffhanger! Lion cub saved by mum in dramatic scenes caught on camera as he cries out pitifully for help

Clinging on for dear life to the side of a vertical cliff, the tiny lion cub cries out pitifully for help.

His mother arrives at the edge of the precipice with three other lionesses and a male. The females start to clamber down together but turn back daunted by the sheer drop.

Eventually one single factor determines which of them will risk her life to save the youngster – motherly love.

The drama begins: The mother arrives at the edge of the cliff as her son cries out for rescue after being trapped when he slipped

On the brink: Four lionesses look over the edge before aborting their rescue mission because of the sheer drop

Slowly, agonisingly, the big cat edges her way down towards her terrified son, using her powerful claws to grip the crumbling cliff side.

One slip from her and both animals could end up dead at the bottom of the ravine.

Just as the exhausted cub seems about to fall, his mother circles beneath him and he is snatched up in her jaws.

She then begins the equally perilous journey back to the top. Minutes later, they arrive and she gives the frightened creature a consoling lick on the head.

The dramatic rescue, captured by wildlife photographer Jean-Francois Largot, was played out in Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve.

Despite the presence of wardens to deter poachers, day-to-day life for the lions is not without its dangers … as the cub learned the hard way.

Rescue mission: The mother inches her way down the cliff face to rescue the terrified cub before locking him in her jaws and making her way back up the cliff face

Motherly love: The mother gives her son a lick to say that all is well in the pride following the drama

Monday, September 26, 2011

The world's biggest naan bread

A Chinese town is claiming the record for the world's largest naan bread.

Volunteers in Qiemo County, Xinjiang, baked the 9ft diameter naan stuffed with meat dumplings.

It includes 30kg of mutton, 125kg flour, 16kg onion, and is said to be big enough to feed 10,000 people.

To bake the giant naan, the local government also built a giant chopping board and massive oven.

It took local chef, Memeti, four of his apprentices, and 12 helpers a total of 10 hours to make the naan.

Girl, 8, is world's youngest drag racer

A British schoolgirl has become the youngest drag racer in the world - just one day after her eighth birthday.

Belle Wheeler passed her drag racing driving test a day after she turned eight - the minimum legal age for youngsters to get behind the wheel.

The pint-sized dragster then went onto compete against youngsters more than twice her age and qualified for the UK National Finals - less than 24 hours after taking her test.

Her 15ft dragster, which was made in the US, has been specially adapted for her 4ft 4ins frame and can accelerate to 50mph in just 12 seconds.

"It was amazing to get in the car and drive it all on my own," said Belle, who has to wear specially made fireproof overalls when she races.

"It was quite hard to steer at first and keep the dragster going straight but I soon got used to it.

"I love going really fast and all my friends are very jealous. They can't believe I get to go racing."

Belle is following in the footsteps of older sister Paige, who began racing 18 months ago when she was 11.

The girls became interested in the sport three years ago when the family moved to Wellingborough in Northamptonshire - just 10 minutes drive from the famous Santa Pod track.

Dad Andy, 38, commented: "It is not what I expected them to be interested in, but they are obsessed by the sport so I want to support them."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Barra Airport - Only Airport that uses Beach as Runway

The Barra Airport in Scotland is unique, being the only one in the world where scheduled flights use Barra beach as Airport and water as its runway.

Aircrafts take off and land at low tide on the same beach where cockle-pickers gather shellfish.

There are regular passenger flights from Glasgow to the island - one of the southern-most of the Outer Hebrides and onwards to the smaller island of Benbecula to the north.

The airport is an important link for the island with a flying time of around one hour to Glasgow, compared to a five-hour ferry crossing to the west coast port of Oban, and a further three hours by road or rail to Scotland's central belt.

Miracle Surgery

Two-month-old baby 'happy and healthy' after miraculous surgery to remove neck tumour the size of her head

A two-month-old baby girl is recovering after doctors at a Florida children's hospital miraculously removed a benign two-and-a-half-pound tumour from her neck.

Peyton Marie Kirby was born on July 11 with a tumour caused by a lymph blood vessel malformation that had dangerously entwined with nerves and arteries.

Incredibly, the mass weighed a third of her eight-pound, 15-ounce body weight - approximately the size of her small head.

Brave: Peyton Marie Kirby, born on July 11, after doctors at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville were able to surgically remove a tumour from her neck

Little Peyton underwent a 14-hour surgery at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville on August 8.

Doctors said the surgery was complicated by the location of the mass, which was putting pressure on her heart.

According to a news release issued by the hospital, mother Tiffany Kirby gave birth via Caesarean section after an ultrasound at the 21st week of her pregnancy revealed the mass growing on the baby's neck.

An obstetrician identified the mass as a cystic hygroma. But despite its close proximity to the baby's heart, doctors determined after birth the infant needed to grow before it could be removed. 

Heartbreaking: Baby Peyton Kirby underwent a mammoth 14 hour surgery to remove a two-and-a-half pound benign tumour

Tense: Baby Peyton Kirby being prepared for surgery, which involved carefully removing the mass that had pressed down on her heart

Doctors Saswata Roy, a craniofacial surgeon at Wolfson and Nemours, and pediatric surgeon Nick Poulos were both involved in the case before Peyton was born.

Roy told the Jacksonville Times-Union Peyton was able to breathe on her own and spent the first weeks of her life in hospital before the surgery.
Angelic: Coming through the lengthy surgery with no immediate after-effects, Peyton will now go through physical therapy to restore muscle definition

Doctors said she is healthy, although she does have weakness on her right side caused by nerve and muscle damage. She is expected to undergo physical therapy to recover.

Doctors say minor surgeries should take care of baby Peyton's scar and the hollow look the surgery left on her neck.

Tiffany Kirby and her fiancé Andrew Dandurand said that Peyton is healthy and happy.

'She smiles all the time,' Tiffany Kirby said. 'She's a happy baby.'

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The world's smallest aquarium

A Russian artist has created the world's smallest working aquarium - which holds just two teaspoons of water.

The tiny fish tank contains miniature plants, multicoloured stones, and miniature zebra danio fish.

Measuring just 30 mm wide by 24 mm high and 14mm deep, the glass tank can be held in the palm of your hand.

The water has to be applied with a syringe and the fish have to be added with a specially made miniature fish net.

The extraordinary creation is the latest by Anatoly Konenko, 57, from Omsk, in Russia, who specialises in what he calls 'microminiature' art.

He said: "The tank was made out of curiosity. It is the world's smallest and holds only 10ml of water.

"For reference, 5ml is one teaspoon, so the aquarium can hold only two teaspoons worth of water."

During the past three decades, Mr Konenko has perfected the painstaking skill of writing on tiny grains of rice, poppy seeds and even human hair.

In 1996, he was recognised by Guinness World Records for the smallest ever book. Other creations include a caravan of 12 miniature camels inside the eye of a needle.


Buddhy heck. At more than 100 tons and nearly 30ft high, this astonishing new hand crafted Buddhist temple brass bell is a real hum-dinger.

The bell - cast in Wuan, Hubei province, central China - has a 19ft diameter at its widest point and comes complete with 92,306 sacred Chinese characters engraved on its surface.

Now the bell is being shipped to the Xilai Buddhist temple hundreds of miles away in Liuzhou, in the south of the country.

"It has a beautiful, haunting tone and is the biggest Buddhist bell in the whole of China," explained one of the craftsmen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Woman with World’s Longest Fingernails

With fingernails nearly 20 feet long, Chris "The Dutchess" Walton set the record for the world's longest nails, which took 18 years to grow. That must be one expensive manicure.

The 45-year-old singer from Las Vegas known as "The Dutchess" is now part of the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records for her fingernails that measure 10 feet 2 inches on her left hand and 9 feet 7 inches on her right.

"It's kind of like a body part that I was born with, now I don't know what I would do without them," Chris "The Dutchess" Walton said while being photographed in front of the New York Public Library on Wednesday.

While she admits she doesn't know what she would do without them, we wonder what she does WITH them.
According to "The Dutchess," she can do almost anything with her 20-feet long nails including drive a car, shop and household chores. Well, anything but reach into her pockets.

"The hardest thing for me to do is dig in my pockets," she told the Huffington Post. "Everything else I can do myself -- driving, shopping, cleaning the house ... although when I vacuum, the cord gets tangled in my fingers."

One other activity she does not engage in is swimming, but not because of her nails. "I don't swim, but it's not the nails that stop me swimming. It's a hair thing," she said.

"The Dutchess" demonstrated how she texts with such long fingernails, using her knuckles instead, while promoting the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records with her glittery nails and flamboyant ensemble. 

She consciously thinks about her nails, which she has been growing for over 18 years, including when dressing herself, altering her clothing to fit her sharp lifestyle.

"I align my wardrobe to myself...If I like a jacket, I'll take the seam out of the arm and replace it with a zipper so I can get my nails in the sleeve," she said.

The mother of five and grandmother of three did not intentionally grow her nails over the past two decades for sport, but rather on accident.

"I never set out to make it into Guinness. It just happened," she told the Huffington Post. "One day I stopped cutting my nails. I liked the way they looked. And they just kept growing."

"The Dutchess" said she does not have a special diet to grow her nails and does not take vitamins or supplements to promote nail growth, but rather eats a lot of candy.

She does, however, care for her appendage-like fingernails, giving herself a manicure once a month. When asked how many bottles of nail polish she uses per manicure, she told the Huffington Post, "it depends on the brand, and how it goes on."

Chris "The Dutchess" Walton, a real life Edward Scissorhands, also said she does not plan on clipping her nails any time soon.

"I'm pretty sure one day I will cut them, but I can't see it in my head because I'm so used to having them," she said. "It's like a leg, I wouldn't just chop it off so it's gonna take some thinking."

Featherless penguin back with parents

A featherless penguin abandoned by its parents just days after its birth has been accepted back into the family.

The succsessful re-introduction of the little penguin was thanks to the efforts of keepers at LHT Pole Aquarium in China's Liaoning Province.

The little penguin was born on 17 August and was ill treated by its parents in the first few days after its birth.

A keeper said: "Its parents kicked it out from time to time, or even left it on the icy ground to let it die".

Keepers at the aquarium decided that the baby penguin's lack of feathers and weak condition was due to difficulties digesting food and absorbing nutrition.

Spokeswoman Wang Dan said: "In the beginning we tried to send it back to its parents, hoping they would still take care of it and help it grow stronger, but they neglected it and even kicked it out. We then decided to feed it by ourselves."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lady in a basket

A 27-year-old woman from Changzhi in northern China's Shanxi Province has lived in a basket for the past 16 years.

Mo Hongping has been confined to the 1.2m long and 0.5m wide basket since she was 11 years old.

According to her mother Wang Xiuhua, when Mo was 20 days old she fell ill with a serious fever.

However, they were unable to go to hospital straight away as it was winter and the mountain passage was blocked with snow.

When they were finally able to take Mo to hospital she was diagnosed as having meningitis.

Though Mo survived, from that day she started to suffer seizures and had developmental problems.

During one autumn harvest season, Wang put Mo into a maize basket and was surprised when she seemed happy.

"We then found that the basket rims could support her body and folded her slightly, which relieved her pains. Since then Mo has lived in the basket, which has been fitted with wheels, " explained Wang.

Robot to compete in Hawaii triathlon

Having already climbed a 1,500ft rope up the Grand Canyon and driven the Le Mans circuit for 24 hours, Panasonic's Evolta robot is ready for a new challenge.

As such the tiny robot is gearing up to compete in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.

It will don three different bodies in order to 'run', 'swim' and 'cycle' its way round the course, covering a total of 140 miles.

While human competitors complete the course within a day, Evolta is expected to take seven days or 168 hours.

Each stage of the way it will utilise a different body - including one mounted on a bicycle and another in a round hamster wheel style hoop that will allow it to 'run'.

Meanwhile, the Evolta's 51-cm (20 inch) high swimming incarnation is mounted on a curved, fin-like blade with its arms stretched out.

All three bodies will be powered by a set of three rechargeable batteries to complete the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

Artist nails movie tributes

A Spanish artist has created incredible tributes to her favourite films - on her fingernails.

Maya Pixelskaya, 26, has painstakingly recreated scenes from movies including Jaws and Amelie.

She has also paid her fingernail tributes to The Nightmare before Christmas, The Wicker Man and The Seven Year Itch.

Her fingernails have also been the canvas to stills from video games such as Monkey Island and Doom.

"I'm a video game and art lover so I decided to combine both in order to create unique designs," she explained.

Miss Pixelskaya, of Madrid, said she started by painting miniature film characters on her nails when she got bored while revising for university exams.

She said: "I needed to keep my finger still for hours while the polish dried so it was the perfect time-consuming activity to do when I wasn't meant to be moving away from my revision notes.

"I would make five or six layers for each nail, so they always looked a little thicker than a normal nail.

"It took an extremely long time because I had to let each layer dry before proceeding to the next.

"Sometimes I couldn't move for a whole evening so that I wouldn't spoil my nail by accident."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giant Crocodile Catch

A massive crocodile weighing one tonne (1,075 kg) has been caught by villagers in a remote area of the Philippines. At 21 ft (6.4m), it is thought to be one of the biggest ever caught alive!!!

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