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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The Top Wildlife Pictures of 2015 From the Wildlife Conservation Society

Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) is celebrating the end of the year with a look at some of the most adorable and amazing animal pictures taken in 2015. And there were plenty to choose from. As an organization that works with nearly 60 countries, the group has had access to a variety of impressive places and animals. Here are the brand's top 10 favorite images taken at the Bronx Zoo, as well as 10 photos taken by WCS scientists around the world.

BRONX ZOO

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"A pair of lesser adjutant storks served as surrogate parents to a chick hatched from an abandoned egg. This pair raised the chick along with one of their own."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"This North American porcupine pup was born at Bronx Zoo’s Children’s Zoo shortly after it reopened after undergoing extensive renovations."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"An Asian small-clawed otter alongside a pup born at JungleWorld in the summer of 2015."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"A scarlet macaw flies over Astor Court in front of historic Zoo Center during a free-flight bird show in May."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"An adult female gelada baboon carries her baby on her back in the zoo’s Baboon Reserve. This was the first gelada born at the Bronx Zoo in 13 years. The Bronx Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. to exhibit the species."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"The zoo’s Aquatic Bird House is home to a colony of little blue penguins. This was a new species for the Bronx Zoo in 2015."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"The Bronx Zoo welcomed two baby western lowland gorillas in 2015. This youngster is content to hitch a ride on his mom’s back."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"An adult female western lowland gorilla holds her baby in Congo Gorilla Forest."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"Squirrel monkeys at the newly renovated Children’s Zoo."

Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

"This giant anteater is one of the new species added to the Children’s Zoo in 2015."

WCS GLOBAL CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

Felx Ratelolahy, WCS

"A Fito leaf chameleon, one of many species found exclusively on the island of Madagascar."

Dept. of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and WCS Thailand Program.

"A shy-looking Asian elephant caught by a camera trap in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary of Thailand."

WCS-India, HimachalPradesh Forest Department

"In Shimla District, Himachal Pradesh, India, this leopard is a regular backyard visitor."

WCS Afghanistan

"A snow Leopard rubs up for a great camera trap pic in the Hindu Kush Mountains in the Wakhan Corridor of Badakhshan Province."

WCS Ecuador Program

"A lowland tapir camera trapped by WCS Ecuador’s camera traps located at Arajuno and Villano, in the Amazon."

WCS Ecuador Program

"A puma relaxing on the ground in the Ecuadorian Amazon."

WCS Ecuador Program.

"A giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) captured by a camera trap in the Ecuadorian Amazon."

CarlosDurican, WCS Brazil

"A jaguar rests in a treetop in the flooded forest of Brazil’s Mamiraua Sustainable Reserve."

Emily Darling, WCS

"A WCS scientist surveys coral reefs in Madagascar's first community-led Marine Protected Areas near Nosy Be."

Mileniusz Spanowicz, WCS

"Not just any old frog, but a new species discovered this year during WCS’s Identidad Madidi expedition."

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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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Animals
If You Want Your Cat to Poop Out More Hairballs, Try Feeding It Beets
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Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to get your cat to poop out its hairballs instead of hacking them up? If so, you’re likely a seasoned cat owner whose tolerance for gross stuff has reached the point of no return. Luckily, there may be an easy way to get your cat to dispose of hairballs in the litter box instead of on your carpet, according to one study.

The paper, published in the Journal of Physiology and Animal Nutrition, followed the diets of 18 mixed-breed short-haired cats over a month. Some cats were fed straight kibble, while others were given helpings of beet pulp along with their regular meals. The researchers suspected that beets, a good source of fiber, would help move any ingested hair through the cats’ digestive systems, thus preventing it from coming back up the way it went in. Following the experiment, they found that the cats with the beet diet did indeed poop more.

The scientists didn’t measure how many hairballs the cats were coughing up during this period, so it's possible that pooping out more of them didn’t stop cats from puking them up at the same rate. But considering hairballs are a matter of digestive health, more regular bowel movements likely reduced the chance that cats would barf them up. The cat body is equipped to process large amounts of hair: According to experts, healthy cats should only be hacking hairballs once or twice a year.

If you find them around your home more frequently than that, it's a good idea to up your cat's fiber intake. Raw beet pulp is just one way to introduce fiber into your pet's diet; certain supplements for cats work just as well and actually contain beet pulp as a fiber source. Stephanie Liff, a veterinarian at Pure Paws Veterinary Care in New York, recommends psyllium powder to her patients. Another option for dealing with hairballs is the vegetable-oil based digestive lubricant Laxatone: According to Dr. Liff, this can "help to move hairballs in the correct direction."

[h/t Discover]

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