Denali National Park’s Sled Dog Puppycam Is About to Become Your New Obsession

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iStock

One of the great benefits of technology is that is can bring people from all over the world together to simultaneously witness the same event. And sometimes that event involves puppies. Adorable puppies. And lots of them. Case in point: the sled dog puppy webcam at Alaska’s Denali National Park & Preserve.

Sled dogs have been a part of the park’s tradition pretty much since it was first established in 1917. Harry Karstens, the first superintendent of the preserve (back when it was Mount McKinley National Park), was an experienced dog musher who employed a team of canines to get around. Since then, the park's kennel has continued to provide valuable transportation—helping rangers to patrol, carry supplies, and create trails, even in the biting cold. They’re a particularly valuable resource, as the federally protected area does not allow motorized vehicles.

But before they can get to work, they need to grow up. On August 4, 2017, resident pupper Clove (who staffers call “one of the most opinionated dogs in the yard”) gave birth to a healthy litter of seven pups, five males and two females. And, yes, they’re absolutely precious.

"They are doing great,” kennel manager Jen Raffaeli reported just a few days later. "They are just nursing and sleeping and growing."

Those viewers lucky enough to be tuned into the puppycam around that time got a first glimpse at the adorable pups, who will eventually help patrol the park and serve as some of its most adorable ambassadors. In 2016, Raffaeli told CBS Sunday Morning: "We always joke that they're the happiest government employees you’ll ever meet." It only takes a few minutes of tuning in to see that she’s not joking.

For even more sled pup adorableness, check out Denali’s dog blog, meet the pooches online, watch them in action in person, and even consider adopting one once their government service has come to an end.

Australian Island Wants Visitors to Stop Taking Wombat Selfies

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iStock.com/LukeWaitPhotography

Spending a day observing Australian wildlife from afar isn't enough for some tourists. On Maria Island, just off the east coast of Tasmania, many visitors can't resist snapping pictures with the local wombats—and the problem has gotten so out of hand that island officials are asking people to pledge to leave the cute marsupials out of their selfies.

As CNN Travel reports, the Maria Island Pledge has been posted on signs welcoming visitors to the national park. It implores them to vow to the island to "respect and protect the furred and feathered residents." It even makes specific mention of the wombat selfie trend, with one passage reading:

"Wombats, when you trundle past me I pledge I will not chase you with my selfie stick, or get too close to your babies. I will not surround you, or try and pick you up. I will make sure I don’t leave rubbish or food from my morning tea. I pledge to let you stay wild."

The pledge isn't a binding contract guests have to sign. Rather, park officials hope that seeing these signs when they arrive will be enough to remind visitors that their presence has an impact on the resident wildlife and to be respectful of their surroundings.

The adorable, cube-pooping wombats at Maria Island are wild animals that aren't accustomed to posing for pictures, and should therefore be left alone—though in other parts of Australia, conservationists encourage tourists to take wildlife selfies. Rottnest Island off the country's west coast is home to 10,000 quokkas (another photogenic marsupial), and the quokka selfies taken there help raise awareness of their vulnerable status.

[h/t CNN Travel]

Divers Swim With What Could Be the Biggest Great White Shark Ever Filmed

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iStock.com/RamonCarretero

New pictures and video taken by divers show what could possibly be the largest great white shark ever caught on camera, CNN Travel reports.

Deep Blue, a 50-plus-year-old great white first documented 20 years ago, was spotted off the coast of Hawaii recently in a rare close encounter. Divers were filming tiger sharks feeding on a sperm whale carcass south of Oahu when Deep Blue swam up and began scratching herself on their boat. They accompanied the shark in the water for the rest of the day, even getting close enough to touch her at times.


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"She swam away escorted by two rough-toothed dolphins who danced around her over to one of my [...] shark research vessels and proceeded to use it as a scratching post, passing up feeding for another need," Ocean Ramsey, one of the divers, wrote in an Instagram post.


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Deep Blue is roughly 20 feet long and weighs an estimated 2 tons—likely making her one of the largest great whites alive. (The record for biggest great white shark ever is often disputed, with some outlets listing an alleged 37-foot shark recorded in the 1930s as the record-holder.)

Deep Blue looks especially wide in these photos, leading some to suspect she's pregnant. Swimming so close to great whites is always dangerous, especially when they're feeding, but older, pregnant females tend to be more docile.

Though great white sharks are the largest predatory sharks in the ocean, sharks of Deep Blue's size are seldom seen, and they're filmed alive even less often, making this a remarkable occurrence.

[h/t CNN Travel]

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