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© Wildlife Conservation Society
© Wildlife Conservation Society

See Vintage Pictures of the Opening of the Bronx Zoo's African Plains Exhibit

© Wildlife Conservation Society
© Wildlife Conservation Society

Nearly 75 years ago, on May 1, 1941, the Bronx Zoo opened its iconic African Plains Exhibit. The display set new standards for zoo habitats and was a huge success, drawing about 85,000 visitors in a single day even in its early days. In honor of the exhibit's anniversary, the Bronx Zoo recently released images of the opening.

The area—which showcases animals like zebras, elands, lions, warthogs, and several species of birds, among others—was built using money from an anonymous funder (who was later revealed to be department store owner Marshall Field). The whole thing cost about $110,000 and took around 18 months to complete, from planning to completion. Many of the featured species can still be seen there today.

Take a look at some of those pictures below, as well as an old video of some lions getting up close and personal with a CBS reporter (who, yes, is hiding in a box).

Before the '40s, zoos had different standard practices than they do today. Large animals like lions and bears were often housed in small cages with metal bars, completely ignoring how they would live in their natural habitats. When the Bronx Zoo opened their African Plains Exhibit, the organizers aimed to change the way animals were displayed. The design was created by the late Fairfield Osborn, the then-president of the New York Zoological Society (now Wildlife Conservation Society), who wanted to show visitors the importance of protecting both the wildlife and the places they called home.

The Plains exhibit was the first in the Bronx Zoo to organize the animals by geography instead of taxonomy. Predators and prey lived in a shared space, separated by hidden moats instead of iron bars. The naturalistic exhibit aimed to imitate the real plains of Africa from where the animals originated. According to a press release, the Bronx Zoo continues to use this design in their new exhibits, "focusing on the ecological relationships among animals and their natural environments."

All images © Wildlife Conservation Society

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The Simple Way to Protect Your Dog From Dangerous Rock Salt
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iStock

Winter can be a tough time for dogs. The cold weather usually means there are fewer opportunities for walks and more embarrassing accessories for them to wear. But the biggest threat to canines this time of year is one pet owners may not notice: the dangerous rock salt coating the streets and sidewalks. If you live someplace where this is a problem, here are the steps you need to take to keep your pooch safe until the weather warms up, according to Life Hacker.

Rock salt poses two major hazards to pets: damage to their feet and poisoning from ingestion. The first is the one most pet owners are aware of. Not only do large grains of salt hurt when they get stuck in a dog’s paws, but they can also lead to frostbite and chemical burns due to the de-icing process at work. The easiest way to prevent this is by covering your dog’s paws before taking them outside. Dog booties get the job done, as do protective balms and waxes that can be applied directly to their pads.

The second danger is a little harder to anticipate. The only way you can stop your dog from eating rock salt from the ground is to keep a close eye on them. Does your dog seem a little too interested in a puddle or a mound of snow? Encourage them to move on before they have a chance to take a lick.

If, for some reason, you forget to follow the steps above and your pet has a bad encounter with some winter salt, don’t panic. For salty feet, soak your dog's paws in warm water once you get inside to wash away any remaining grit. If your dog exhibits symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation and you suspect they’ve ingested rock salt, contact your vet right away.

Even with the proper protection, winter can still create an unsafe environment for dogs. Check out this handy chart to determine when it’s too cold to take them for a walk.

[h/t Life Hacker]

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© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Hires Puppy to Sniff Out Art-Munching Bugs
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some dogs are qualified to work at hospitals, fire departments, and airports, but one place you don’t normally see a pooch is in the halls of a fine art museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is changing that: As The Boston Globe reports, a young Weimaraner named Riley is the institution’s newest volunteer.

Even without a background in art restoration, Riley will be essential in maintaining the quality of the museum's masterpieces. His job is to sniff out the wood- and canvas-munching pests lurking in the museum’s collection. During the next few months, Riley will be trained to identify the scents of bugs that pose the biggest threat to the museum’s paintings and other artifacts. (Moths, termites, and beetles are some of the worst offenders.)

Some infestations can be spotted with the naked eye, but when that's impossible, the museum staff will rely on Riley to draw attention to the problem after inspecting an object. From there, staff members can examine the piece more closely and pinpoint the source before it spreads.

Riley is just one additional resource for the MFA’s existing pest control program. As far as the museum knows, it's rare for institutions facing similar problems to hire canine help. If the experiment is successful, bug-sniffing dogs may become a common sight in art museums around the world.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

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