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13 Vintage Photos of Big Cats for International Cat Day

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Happy International Cat Day! Get your feline fix with these vintage photos of big cats in action.

1. BIG CAT STARE DOWN

June 1928: In the same cage, a lion and a tiger are outstaring each other.

2. JUST A DOG AND HIS BOXER PALS

1950: A lion shares a cage with some boxers.

3. LION VS. LEOPARD

A woman circus performer, dressed in a leopard skin gladiator costume, places her head in a lion's mouth. (Date unknown.)

4. A VERY TIRED LEOPARD CUB

1935: A Leopard cub in a cage at the zoo.

5. PUMA BINGE-WATCH

1955: Kiba, a South American puma sleeping in the front room of her master's home, while the family watches television.

6. LOUNGING LION

1930: A lion lies on a couch while his trainer kneels beside him.

7. GIVE A CAT A BONE

June 1956: A three-month-old tiger cub abandoned by her mother at birth tackles a bone at the London Zoo.

8. A LITTLE R&R

1939: Habiba, a 10-year-old lion at Chessington Zoo in Surrey, relaxes while keeper Hans Brick manipulates its hind legs.

9. GAME ON

February 1937: The game hunter, Mr Gandar-Dower, and one of the cheetahs which he brought back to Hackbridge Kennels, Surrey, from Kenya.

10. BATH TIME

1940: Melvin Koaants cleaning the African Lion at Los Angeles Zoo.

11. BE TRUE TO YOUR TEETH

December 1936: George 'Tornado' Smith cleaning the teeth of his pet lioness, Briton, at the Kursaal amusement park in Southend, Essex. Smith is a stunt motorcycle rider on the wall of death sideshow at the park and Briton features in his act, riding in a sidecar.

12. WINSTON CHURCHILL'S MEETING WITH A LION CUB

July 1943: British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill with his wife Clementine holding a lion cub during a trip to London Zoo.

13. TIGER WEIGH-IN

July 1960: Frank Meakins weighs Doreen and Julie, twin tiger cubs, born at the Whipsnade Zoo, in May.

All photos and captions courtesy of Getty Images.

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This Just In
Criminal Gangs Are Smuggling Illegal Rhino Horns as Jewelry
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Valuable jewelry isn't always made from precious metals or gems. Wildlife smugglers in Africa are increasingly evading the law by disguising illegally harvested rhinoceros horns as wearable baubles and trinkets, according to a new study conducted by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

As BBC News reports, TRAFFIC analyzed 456 wildlife seizure records—recorded between 2010 and June 2017—to trace illegal rhino horn trade routes and identify smuggling methods. In a report, the organization noted that criminals have disguised rhino horns in the past using all kinds of creative methods, including covering the parts with aluminum foil, coating them in wax, or smearing them with toothpaste or shampoo to mask the scent of decay. But as recent seizures in South Africa suggest, Chinese trafficking networks within the nation are now concealing the coveted product by shaping horns into beads, disks, bangles, necklaces, and other objects, like bowls and cups. The protrusions are also ground into powder and stored in bags along with horn bits and shavings.

"It's very worrying," Julian Rademeyer, a project leader with TRAFFIC, told BBC News. "Because if someone's walking through the airport wearing a necklace made of rhino horn, who is going to stop them? Police are looking for a piece of horn and whole horns."

Rhino horn is a hot commodity in Asia. The keratin parts have traditionally been ground up and used to make medicines for illnesses like rheumatism or cancer, although there's no scientific evidence that these treatments work. And in recent years, horn objects have become status symbols among wealthy men in countries like Vietnam.

"A large number of people prefer the powder, but there are those who use it for lucky charms,” Melville Saayman, a professor at South Africa's North-West University who studies the rhino horn trade, told ABC News. “So they would like a piece of the horn."

According to TRAFFIC, at least 1249 rhino horns—together weighing more than five tons—were seized globally between 2010 and June 2017. The majority of these rhino horn shipments originated in southern Africa, with the greatest demand coming from Vietnam and China. The product is mostly smuggled by air, but routes change and shift depending on border controls and law enforcement resources.

Conservationists warn that this booming illegal trade has led to a precipitous decline in Africa's rhinoceros population: At least 7100 of the nation's rhinos have been killed over the past decade, according to one estimate, and only around 25,000 remain today. Meanwhile, Save the Rhino International, a UK-based conservation charity, told BBC News that if current poaching trends continue, rhinos could go extinct in the wild within the next 10 years.

[h/t BBC News]

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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