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A boy, his marmot friends and Stephen Hawking. What the...??

A boy, his marmot friends and Stephen Hawking. What the...??

Posted 12 September 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: interesting, BFF, marmots, Stephen Hawking, sentience

Were your holidays ever as good as this kid's?? This is Matteo - and on his holidays he made some new friends. Probably the most awesome new friends ever. Check out his holiday snaps and then read on to see how Matteo and his marmot mates are connected to the biggest scientific announcement in years, and how it will affect you!

Matteo and his family have been visiting the marmots for four years now - and every year the marmots rush to greet him again. Normally very shy of humans (probably not helped by the fact that marmots are killed for their fur and to eat), these ones have welcomed Matteo into their community. He doesn't have to live in their dens with them ... but still, you would if you could, right?

Now, how is all this connected to a major scientific announcement??

Earlier this year, scientists (including the smartest man alive Stephen Hawking) met in England to have the mother of all parties make a super important announcement. They stated their support for the idea that animals are conscious beings - that is, animals are aware of the world around them, just like humans are. (Even if you're not into science, it's a really interesting read ... apart from the last bit about "homologous subcortical brain networks". I started tuning out around there.)

The scientists agreed that animals have their own personalities, they experience emotions and feelings based on what is happening around them, and they make plans for their future. This behaviour has been found in animals as different as great apes, dolphins, magpies, and octopi. (My favourite kind of pi. Gettit? Har-har-har).

And how is all this related to Matteo and the marmots? You see, as a young kid Matteo would already be realising that animals have different personalities. He'd be learning that from his marmot mates. And if you've ever made animal friends perhaps with a cat or dog at home, you've probably seen that as well. They can be playful like Herbie the bull, worried like Autumn the rescue chicken, and can be terrified like Tommy who was exported to Indonesia for slaughter.

Whether an animal is one we share our home with, one we see on our holidays, or one who is normally regarded as "meat" - they can feel pain and can suffer. They can also experience joy and happiness, and can appreciate kindness. It's the decisions you make every day that can bring that happiness into their lives, and save them from fear. Make a start by taking one of our pledges today.

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BFFLs: man and croc become besties!

BFFLs: man and croc become besties!

Posted 21 June 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: crocodiles, hunting, BFF, unlikely, friendship, interesting

Watch the video first. Be amazed. Then read on.

Amazing what an act of kindness can do, isn't it! When Costa Rican local Chito found Pocho, the 5 metre long croc laying severely injured on the bank of a river almost 20 years ago, he did something quite remarkable and very compassionate...

Pocho had been shot by a farmer and blinded in one eye. Chito couldn't bear to let the croc suffer and die. As he said himself, "I just wanted him to feel that someone loved him, that not all humans are bad. I love all animals, especially ones that have suffered."

So, he rescued the croc and nursed him back to health. The story takes a turn for the awesome when Chito tried to return Pocho to the wild. Pocho didn't want to be left behind by his new human mate ... and followed him home! With permission from all the right people, Chito was allowed to care for and live with Pocho for the next 17 years.

The two would spend hours each day swimming and playing together, and Pocho even learnt to respond to his name, to roll over and to hold up his tail. Throughout the years, Pocho was gentle and patient with Chito ... which is more than I can say for Gus when he plays with/terrorises me.


"He's my friend, I don't want to treat him like a slave or exploit him," Chito said of Pocho. "I am happy because I rescued him and he is happy with me because he has everything he needs." (Photo: Jefrey Arguedas/EFE)

After many years of friendship, Pocho died of natural causes last year at the age of 50. Hundreds of people attended his funeral. Chito was devastated by Pocho's death, but continues to share his mate's story to raise awareness about just how special crocodiles are.


Pocho's story shows that even crocodiles can appreciate an act of kindness. Sadly, the Northern Territory Government has come up with a plan that is anything but kind to crocs. They're hoping to reintroduce 'safari hunting' of crocs, effectively selling the right to shoot at crocodiles to the highest bidders. Click here to help stop this cruel plan in its tracks.

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Next: Turtles and dugongs saved from cruelty! »

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