Enjoy this selection of my favourites of The Daily Beast from 2012. Wishing you all the best of the season.
The Daily Beast returns January 7, 2012.
An Asian short-clawed otter eats a fish in its enclosure at Chester Zoo in Chester, northern England, January 5, 2012. The smallest of the world's otter species are part of a breeding programme at the zoo as they are classed as being vulnerable in the wild.
A black Labrador retriever says hello.
Dog plus ball equals game of fetch. Add water to the equation and it unleashes Fido’s inner beast — a canine return to a more primal chase-and-capture instinct captured through animal "lifestyle" photographer Seth Casteel’s submerged camera in backyard pools.
Humbree family photoLucas Hembree hugs Juno, his Belgian Maliois service dog that was rescued from a shelter when she was days away from being euthanized. Lucas, 4, from Alcoa, Tennessee has a very rare genetic disorder called Sanfilippo (pronounced San-fa-lee-po) Syndrome or also know as MPS III type A.
Newspix / Rex Features
It was a race against the tide that pulled at the heartstrings. For three hours, show horse Astro was stuck neck deep in thick mud at Avalon Beach on Corio Bay, Australia as the tide inched closer.
Rescue crews first tried to pull the 18-year-old, 500kg horse free with fire hoses, and then a winch before a vet turned up to sedate Astro and pull him clear with a tractor.
The crews knew by 5pm that the tide would have come all the way in. But within minutes of the waters rising around him, Astro was being dragged up on to solid ground slowly but surely - the team filthy but ecstatic.
U.K. based photographers and brothers, Will Burrard-Lucas and Matt Burrard-Lucas embarked on a project to get unique close-up, ground level photographs of African wildlife in 2009. They built the BeetleCam - a remote controlled buggy with a DSLR camera mounted on top. Matt and Will travelled to Tanzania and used the buggy to get groundbreaking photographs of elephants and buffalo. However, they lost a camera and the BeetleCam was almost destroyed in the only encounter with a lion.
In 2011, two new BeetleCams were created, one with more advanced capabilities and one with an armoured shell. They returned to Africa to photograph the lions of the Masai Mara. BeetleCam received a battering but it survived, providing a spectacular portfolio of lion photographs, like this portrait of a male lion covered in flies.
AP Photo/Appeal-Democrat, David Bitton
On tippee toes; a duckling tries to navigate its way over a curb near Ellis Lake in Marysville, California.
Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens Tampa celebrated a milestone anniversary for a very special relationship. April 16th marked the one-year anniversary of the first time park guests got to see an 8-week-old male cheetah cub and a 16-week-old female yellow Labrador puppy start to strike up a friendship that the park’s animal experts expect to last a lifetime.
CU Independent/Andy Duann
A bear that wandered into the CU-Boulder dorm complex Williams Village falls from a tree after being tranquilized by Colorado Wildlife officials. CU Police Spokesman Ryan Huff said the bear was likely 1-3 years old and weighed somewhere between 150-200 pounds.
AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson
In this combination photo, freshly shaved alpacas at Alpaca-Land farm, in Goeming in the Austrian province of Salzburg, April, 29, 2012. The annual shearing should be done in the spring to make the animals more comfortable for the summer months. This will give them plenty of time to grow a thick new coat before winter.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A Bengal Tiger named Akasha dives into the water after a piece of meat at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom on June 20, 2012 in Vallejo, California. On the first day of summer, temperatures in the San Francisco Bay Area ranged from the mid seventies by the coast to mid nineties inland.
AP Photo/Wendy Eskew, Kodiak Daily Mirror
A kayaker watches a brown bear swimming in Anton Larsen Bay near Kodiak, Alaska, on July 13, 2012. Wendy Close Eskew, who operates kayak tours on Kodiak Island, said her group came across the 2 or 3-year-old animal as it swam from Whale Island to the shore of the bay, a distance of 4 miles. The bear eventually reached shore and ran unharmed into the brush, Eskew said.
Rob Leeson/Newspix / Rex Features
Anzac the joey and Peggy wombat share a snuggle together at the Wildlife Kilmore Rescue Centre in Victoria, Australia.
An orphaned kangaroo and wombat have found creature comfort with one another. Anzac the joey and Peggy wombat have become best friends after sharing a pouch together at the Wildlife Kilmore Rescue Centre in Victoria, Australia. At just over five months old, Anzac was brought to the centre after being rescued in the Macedon Ranges. Missing his mum, Anzac was placed with wombat Peggy and the two now sleep together. Worker Lisa Milligan said the unlikely friends are comforted by each other's movement and heartbeat. She said: "There are lots of baby animals about at the moment, and they are orphaned for a range of reasons". One of the reasons the lively duo get on so well is their similar personalities - with Anzac described as very social while Peggy is boisterous and cheeky.
Dr. Arthur Anker, NUS
Zoologist Arthur Anker's captured these images of a Venezuelan poodle moth which has stirred the imaginations of viewers online. See more of Anker's incredible images on his Flickr site.
Joe Jaszewski/Idaho Statesman/MCT
Idaho Department of Fish and Game veterinarian Mark Drew, examines "Boo Boo". Drew said that the cub has second-degree burns on all four of his paws and needs daily medical care for the next four to six weeks.
A handout picture released by Guinness World Records on September 13, 2012 and taken on November 3, 2011 shows 3 year-old Great Dane called Zeus (L) from Otsego, Michigan in the US which is featured in the new Guinness World Records 2013 book as the tallest dog ever, measuring 111.8 cm (44 in) from foot to withers and Zeus's owner Denise Doorlag (R). A Great Dane who towers 2.2 metres (7 feet 4 inches) on his hind legs is named the tallest dog ever recorded in the latest Guinness Book of World Records launched on September 13, 2012. The giant canine from Michigan in the United States weighs in at 70.3 kilograms, the 57th edition of the global records book says.
Photos by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Susan Gell and Roy Rodgers, swim their horse Shoshoni in Loch Lomond on September 19,2012 in Luss, Scotland. Roy and Susan both live on Inchtavannaich Island on Loch Lomond and regularly take their horses to the mainland for exercise by letting them swim across the water. Loch Lomond is the largest freshwater loch in Scotland with about thirty islands.
Photo courtesy Chester Zoo
Two baby porcupines have had their first ever health check-ups at
Chester Zoo, in Chester U.K. The African Crested Porcupines – named
Stempu and Noko - were born on Sept 1 and Sept 4 to mom Roxie and dad
Keepers gave the duo a physical examination, inserted microchips and took their weights during the routine checks.
Chris Grindle, one of the zoo's keepers said, “We're very pleased to say that both of our spiky new arrivals are in great shape. “Noko tipped the scales at 865g while Stempu was a little heavier at 1075g. “Both look to be very healthy indeed and so we are extremely pleased with them – as are our visitors judging by their reactions when they see them.” Porcupine babies, called porcupettes, are born without sharp quills. Instead their spikes are soft and bendy but gradually harden after a few days.
REUTERS/Mihai Vasile/Four Paws/Handout
Ivan, a 4-year-old lion, sits inside a private roadside zoo in Novi Pazar September 23, 2012.
Three lions Ivan, Cornel and Lepa were acquired from the Belgrade Zoo by a private person in 2009, before the Serbian legislation that prohibits possession of dangerous wild animals came into force in 2010. The Serbian CITES management and enforcement authority confiscated the animals and asked Four Paws Animal Welfare Foundation to transfer them to Africa. Four Paws on September 25, 2012 will release the three lions from Serbia and two tigers from Germany in Lionsrock Big Cats Sanctuary in South Africa.
AP Photos/Denis Farrell
Seven-and-a-half month old orphaned elephant calf named Moses was found alone and close to death in the Vwaza Wildlife Reserve in Malawi. He has been adopted by the Jumbo Foundation where he shown being is cared for by his adoptive "mother" and foundation owner, Jenny Webb.
The winners of the internationally acclaimed Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were announced in October, 2012.
© Paul Nicklen (Canada)
Winner / Behaviour: Birds
Frozen moment Paul Nicklen of Canada Winner Paul was not the only mammal lying patiently in wait on the edge of the Ross Sea, Antarctica, to greet the explosion of emperor penguins. Leopard seals – measuring up to three and a half metres long – were almost certainly lurking at the edge of the ice ready to grab a meal. The penguins were therefore exiting as fast as possible. They can sky-rocket up to two metres high out of the water, landing well clear of the edge. ‘I also kept an eye out for leopard seals myself,’ says Paul. ‘I’d previously had one hit me square in the face when I was five metres from the ice edge, knocking me down and stunning me. Luckily it realised that I wasn’t a penguin and slipped back into the icy water.’ The penguins’ survival is vital to that of their two-month-old chicks, hungrily waiting some 10 kilometres away at the Cape Washington colony. With full bellies, the penguins toboggan to the colony, where they regurgitate the food to their respective single chicks. They then head back to the Ross Sea for another three-week stint at sea.
Wolf whisperer; Ecologist Dmitry Shamovich plays with a tamed wolf at his house.
A pig dives into the water in Ningxiang county, Hunan province November 11, 2012. Villager Huang Demin drives his pigs to dive into the water from a 3-metre-high platform.
AFP PHOTO / Laurin Schmid
The keeper kisses the yet unnamed male aardvark on December 18, 2012 during a press conference at Berlin Zoo. The keeper bottle feeds the animal.