Bindi Irwin Wrote a Book Honoring Her Family’s Conservation History and Legacy

Bindi Irwin wrote a book about her family's conservation history
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

As if Bindi Irwin wasn’t busy enough with her recent wedding, her own conservation work, and preparing to become a first-time mom, she’s taken on another important task. Over the past 5 years, Bindi has been compiling her dad’s old photos, journal entries, and archives to document the history of the Australia Zoo, the Crocodile Hunter’s legacy. It’s been a priority for the Irwin family to keep Steve Irwin‘s memory alive over the 14 years since he passed away, and this touching book is the family’s most recent tribute.

The announcement was made on November 15, which coincides with Steve Irwin Day. Steve Irwin Day is a day dedicated to honoring Steve Irwin’s memory, along with everything he accomplished in the world of conservation. Though Irwin left this world far too young, his family has made it clear that they will proudly continue where he left off.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

Bindi’s Book, titled Creating a Conservation Legacy, takes readers through a remarkable 50 years of history. The Australia Zoo’s website explains, “Join Bindi Irwin as she takes you on the amazing journey from humble beginnings through to where we are today – effecting change in our own backyard and around the globe. It’s a substantial story that includes hundreds of photos from the Irwin family archives – many that have never been seen before.”

Bindi shared the exciting news on Instagram, posting a picture of herself alongside her brother, mom, and husband – each holding a copy of Bindi’s touching book. The book’s cover contains a classic Irwin family photo, with Terri and Steve each holding one of their adorable kids when they were younger.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

The Instagram caption reads, “Almost 5 years in the making. Looking through countless archives, Dad’s old journals, Australia Zoo booklets and photographs tucked away in office corners. It’s finally here. I wrote this book to capture the very essence of our extraordinary 50 year history. Now, I’m sharing this journey with you.”

Bindi’s husband Chandler was quick to show support to his wife, thrilled to see the culmination of years of effort. “Your hard work and dedication to writing this book was amazing,” he commented. “Congratulations sweetheart.”

Touching Tributes Poured in for The Crocodile Hunter on Steve Irwin Day

November 15 Steve Irwin Day
(Twitter/wildwarriors)

14 years ago the world lost Steve Irwin, a man whose larger-than-life personality was outshined only by his enormous heart. The Crocodile Hunter inspired people around the world to take an active interest in animals, and he made wildlife conservation a priority throughout his life. Irwin left a mark on the world of environmental activism, so much so that November 15 has been named Steve Irwin Day. The day was chosen because it aligns with the birthday of one of Steve’s favorite animals, a tortoise from the Galápagos Islands named Harriet who lived to be 175.

The Steve Irwin Day website explains, “As wildlife warriors, we believe that every life is worth rescuing. We believe that anyone can be a Wildlife Warrior. We believe khaki is not just a colour – it’s an attitude! We believe that if you save one – you can save the species. We believe that even kids can make a difference. We believe in living the motto each day – KHAKI IT! Remember, anyone can make a difference. All you have to do is KHAKI IT!”

Tributes to the one and only Crocodile Hunter poured in on this year’s Steve Irwin Day, splashing shades of khaki across social media.

Steve’s daughter Bindi shared a classic picture of her dad

Robert Irwin, Steve’s son reminded everyone to wear their khaki

Pictures of the Crocodile hunter remind us how much he valued both conservation and family

Even The Wiggles showed up to say few words

Animal Planet reminded us that there will never be anyone quite like Steve Irwin

The Australia Zoo, “Home of the Crocodile Hunter,” shared a classic Irwin-ism

Terri Irwin, Steve’s wife, invited us all to celebrate

An Australian YouTuber shared a memory that made us all jealous

Chandler Powell, Bindi Irwin’s husband, shared a beautiful tribute

The Wildlife Warriors, founded by Steve and Terri Irwin, shared multiple quotes about the Crocodile Hunter’s impact

Happy Steve Irwin Day to everyone whose life the Crocodile Hunter touched. And remember, wear your khaki.

Bindi Irwin Expresses “Boundless” Love for Daughter and Husband in Baby Update

Bindi Irwin 20 Week Pregnancy Update
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

It isn’t often that the world falls in love with an entire family. Of course, it started with the incomparable Crocodile Hunter, the man who taught us about the beauty of nature and helped us love wildlife as much as he did. In true family man fashion though, Steve Irwin brought his whole family along for the ride, graciously allowing us to pretend we were also part of his adventurous and loving family. And that’s exactly what he wanted.

Steve once said, “When I talk to the camera, mate, it’s not like I’m talking to the camera, I’m talking to you because I want to whip you around and plunk you right there with me.”

And watching him explore, listening to him speak (he spoke to you, not at you), that much is abundantly clear.

After we lost Steve Irwin, fans around the world turned to the Irwin family as they continued his legacy of conservation and wildlife education. Bindi Irwin, the 22-year-old daughter of the legendary crocodile hunter, has taken us all under her proverbial wing just as her father had done. She’s a conservationist in her own right, and just like her dad, invites us into her personal life to both mourn and celebrate with her. Thanks to Bindi, we’ve been able to continue pretending we’re part of the (very) extended Irwin family 14 years after Steve Irwin’s death.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

Bindi shared her wedding, her pregnancy announcement, and now, Australia’s sweetheart is sharing adorable updates on her pregnancy as if we’re far-away relatives eager to add another little one to the family. And honestly, we kind of are (at least in our hearts).

Last week, Bindi shared another milestone on Instagram – the young mom-to-be is halfway through her pregnancy. “Halfway there!” The photo’s caption read. “20 weeks pregnant and our baby girl is about the same size as a recently hatched emu chick. The love I have for my sweetheart husband and our beautiful daughter is boundless.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

In the most lovably Irwin way possible, Bindi compares the size of her baby to the animals she loves so dearly. Leaning in close to her husband Chandler Powell, the couple holds up a sign that reads “20 Weeks.” And of course, they’re standing in front of some fully-grown emus. A must-have for every mom-to-be (at least, if you’re an Irwin).

As Bindi stated, her baby girl is already so loved – not just by the Irwin family, but by people around the world who cared so deeply for her Crocodile Hunter dad. Steve Irwin made an enormous impact on the world, and his wife and kids are doing an incredible job keeping his memory alive through continuing his legacy. And now, we cannot wait to welcome the next generation of Irwins to the world.

12-Yr-Old Hiking With Dad Finds 69 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossil

dad and son find fossil
(Facebook/Natureconservancy.ca)

Encouraging your kid’s hobbies is one of the best things you can do as a dad. It creates a chance for you to bond, it encourages their interests, and sometimes you find a 69 million-year-old dinosaur fossil. You know, just your average father-son bonding activity.

12-year-old Nathan Hrushkin is an aspiring paleontologist, and his dad took him hiking in a conservation area in Alberta. It was there young Nathan discovered partially exposed bones, which his amateur paleontology skills told him were important. And it turns out they were right because once experts examined the photographs and went to the site, they found a whole lot more ancient dinosaur bones. Eventually enough to determine they were from a hadrosaur from 69 million years ago. That’s even cooler than finding a 3 million-year-old shark tooth.

The discovery was classified as a significant one, which is quite the feather in the cap of an amateur paleontologist. Nathan told the Nature Conservancy of Canada that he’s wanted to be a paleontologist for years.

“I am fascinated about how bones from creatures that lived tens of millions of years ago become these fossil rocks, which are just sitting on the ground waiting to be found,” he said. “My dad and I have been visiting this property for a couple years, hoping to find a dinosaur fossil….we knew we’d found something this time.”

The curator of Dinosaur Paleoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, who worked the dig site, said the hadrosaur was only three or four years old and that it will help them learn a lot about the dino.

“It’s a very important discovery because it comes from a time interval for which we know very little about what kind of dinosaurs or animals lived in Alberta,” he said.

I have a feeling Nathan and his dad are going to be on a lot more hikes after that historic find.

Who Has “Loch Ness Monster Cameo” on Their 2020 Bingo Card?

Loch Ness Monster Sonar
(Getty/Keystone/Stringer)

2020 has been a crazy year, that just sort of keeps snowballing. At this point, is there anything that can surprise you? OK, well how about the LOCH NESS MONSTER! Chatter about the fabled monster has ratcheted up in recent days after a sailor detected a 30-ft long…something hundreds of feet below the surface of the loch. Did the boat’s sonar detect Nessie? I mean, is it really that crazy for this year?

It’s a bonkers year for the obvious reasons, like that global pandemic thingy you may or may not have heard of (corona-something). But also for the way less obvious reasons, like scientists admitting the Pentagon had recovered OFF-WORLD VEHICLES. Hey, it’s 2020, anything is possible.

Ronald Mackenzie detected the creature late last month and the dad of three told The Sun there is definitely something down there.

“I believe there is something big living deep down in the Loch,” he said. “Who knows what it can be, but I would love to think it’s Nessie…it is something which is feeding on eels or trout. It is quite unusual.”

Sonar experts have confirmed the image, stating that it does prove “something” is down there. Now, is it a giant leap to assume “something” is the Loch Ness monster? I mean, probably, yeah. But is it possible? That is also a yes, and in 2020, that is just enough of an opening for something bizarre to finally come out.

“I’ve been on the loch since I was 16 years old and I have never seen anything like it,” Mackenzie said.

Dad Spends 265 Days Sailing Around The World With Stuffed Animal

Canadian Dad Sails Around the World
(Instagram/svseaburban)

Where have you been quarantined? At home? Did each member of your family decide to quarantine in their own individual blanket fort? That’s cool, this Canadian dad spent the past 265 days quarantined on a boat as he circumnavigated the globe.

That’s right, Bert ter Hart from British Columbia didn’t ride the wave of social distancing, he was social distancing long before it was cool. Dubbed “The Safest Man on the Planet,” Bert ter Hart has barely seen another person in the better part of a year. In fact, he rarely even spoke to one face-to-face. During his journey around the world, he used only celestial navigation – no phone, no GPS, not even a tablet to binge The Mandalodian.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Cowboy Hats Since we’re talking about hats, my Dad gave me this one. I didn’t have the foresight to bring anything other than ball caps and toques. Dad realized immediately that I would need something for the tropics and gave me this Tilley. Actually, he gave me two knowing that I am a bit of a fumble-fingers and more likely than not to lose it overboard. The hat is in use everyday and judging by my tan, it’s mire than necessary in these parts. This picture also made me realize I could have saved some dough on storm canvas. It looks like my ears are big enough to set in a blow. I would only have to stand in the cockpit with my back to the wind! #oceancowboy #dadknowsbest #tilleyhat #svseaburban #aroundalone #6monthsatsea #sextant #penandpaper #circumnavigation #sailor #sailing #nonstop #5capes #onehandfortheship #occadventuresailing #sailinglovers #adventureisoutthere #occchallengegrant #instasailing #sailboatsofinstagram #captainbert #onemanshow #brave #sailinglife #sea #ocean #sailboats #zhik #sailingaroundtheworld Follow my tracks in real-time: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Seaburban

A post shared by SV Seaburban (@svseaburban) on

Only eight people have ever done what this Canadian native did, and he’s the first from North America to complete the long and arduous expedition. Inspired both by early explorers and his own father who taught him to sail, Ter Hart used a sextant (a navigational device used to measure the angular distance between two objects, essential to Ter Hart for taking altitudes while he navigated), charts, and a pen and paper to make his way around the world.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A COVID-19 Message from Bert’s Son, Webmaster, and Sailing Padawan Apprentice. Do it now. Not later. Tomorrow is already too late. That is the advice my father has taught me my entire life. The situation didn’t matter, be it at home, at sail, or anything else. Get your assignments done now, and have more time to make it perfect. When you’re at sea you have to do everything now. I learned early that taking a sail down, before it gets out of control reduces the effort required by its square. Start cooking now, before your forced to stay above deck for the rest of the day, and you go hungry. Make weather decisions early, as soon as you get the forecast. Change the heading now, before you’re stuck in the storm without options. In flight training hesitating before making a decision, especially a meteorological decision, can be the difference between your passengers life or death. Land under control, before you crash out of control, or even better decide not to take-off at all. Bert wanted me to share the following post that was originally written by Jason Warner, the chemical engineer and business executive. It explains COVID-19 by the numbers, and why it is important to make a plan now and take action now. Tomorrow may very well be too late: “This is a long post addressing two underlying issues with the current response to the pandemic that leaves me concerned. It’s the longest post I’ve ever written. For those of you not taking action, or believing the pandemic to be “overhyped”, you can make fun of me as much as you want now or when this is over. You can make me the subject of memes and post it everywhere. I will pose for the picture. I am not trying to convince you, but I do feel compelled to share information that I deem critical to all of us, which is why I am posting this at all. *WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE 5 MINUTES TO READ AND CONSIDER THE INFORMATION I AM SHARING:* As of 3/15/20 at 9 am PST this post has been shared over 50k times since it was posted 2 days ago. So a lot of people find value in the post and although it’s a long read, I believe you will find this information valuable too. (Cont’d on Facebook page: Around Alone)

A post shared by SV Seaburban (@svseaburban) on

Ter Hart departed in his 13 meter (that’s about 43 feet, Americans) boat last October, and though he has a degree in oceanography and plenty of sailing experience, this trek was harder than anyone could have anticipated.

“The navigation was really hard because in order to figure out where you are with a sextant, you have to see the horizon. But when you’re at sea in a small boat, there’s always waves — and the swell can be anywhere from 12 to 15 feet,” Ter Hart told Travel and Leisure. “The motion is so extreme…the boat is tilted at some crazy angle, it’s going up and down, and rolling from side to side. If I were to put a pencil down, five seconds later, that pencil is in a completely different part of the boat.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Celebration The crew was anxious to celebrate our good fortune and successful rounding so when I announced it was time Port, Starboard, and Sir Salty Ants-In-His-Pants didn’t need to be told twice. It was a full time job just to get them to be still for the picture. You may remember that the bottle was a gift from Randall Reeves. From all of us aboard Seaburban Randall, thank you. I needed to pry the bubbly out of Sir Salty’s flippers to make sure that there was enough left for formalities. As is proper, Neptune was given his due. For a toast, I thought of this: For those who came before and lit the way, thank you. For those who may yet come, I say welcome. And for those who remain, may this place bring you everlasting peace. I hope it is enough and well received. Chock full of emotion, I stumble over a sheet strewn over a cockpit locker and splash some of the bottle’s contents on Seaburban. Of course! I had forgotten Seaburban! Remedied immediately, looking up I see a single point of light bursting through the clouds. In disbelief, I check the bearing. It bears directly over Cape Horn. There things in life you will never forget. Things indelibly stamped that never fade. Things like this. #celebration #breakoutthebubbly #neptunesdue #svseaburban #aroundalone #6monthsatsea #sextant #penandpaper #circumnavigation #sailor #sailing #nonstop #5capes #onehandfortheship #occadventuresailing #sailinglovers #adventureisoutthere #occchallengegrant #instasailing #sailboatsofinstagram #captainbert #onemanshow #brave #sailinglife #sea #ocean #sailboats #zhik #sailingaroundtheworld Follow my tracks in real-time: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Seaburban

A post shared by SV Seaburban (@svseaburban) on

This brave father of four endured challenging conditions, even anchoring for several days to wait out a hurricane. Incredibly, during his entire journey, he didn’t lose sight of his goal. Accompanied only by his stuffed seal dubbed Sir Salty, Ter Hart persisted. Aside from the personal satisfaction of achieving this incredible feat, Ter Hart was motivated by his desire to push others towards their own dreams.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Nervous I am more than a little bit nervous as we slowly reach in the troughs of some impressive but unforgiving waves with winds at 31 or 32 gusting 38. The Solent is up with 3 reefs and I dare not reduce sail as we would lose steerage. Th current is, as luck would have it, against. All in all, a character builder I would say. The forecast, already wildly wrong, is calling for both the swell and wind to subside. It looks that way to me so what has worked all night is not going to be changed significantly now. I will alter downwind slightly however just to keep us moving if the winds lighten. I am not running off as I need to go north like I need a hole in the boat. Not only is it in the wrong direction, but north of us is another ridge and windless patch. Turn three times, scratch a mast, and grab a stay The wind and swell should go away If not the morn, then let us pray That it comes to pass sometime this day #scratchthemast #nervous #swell #svseaburban #aroundalone #6monthsatsea #sextant #penandpaper #circumnavigation #sailor #sailing #nonstop #5capes #onehandfortheship #occadventuresailing #sailinglovers #adventureisoutthere #occchallengegrant #instasailing #sailboatsofinstagram #captainbert #onemanshow #brave #sailinglife #sea #ocean #sailboats #zhik #sailingaroundtheworld Follow my tracks in real-time: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Seaburban

A post shared by SV Seaburban (@svseaburban) on

“I wanted to inspire people to take that first step forward in realizing whatever dreams or adventures they might have,” he explained to Travel and Leisure. “Once you take that first step, the next step is easier, and the step after that becomes easier. And pretty soon, you’re living your dream — whatever that may be, big or small.”

After nine challenging months, Ter Hart did it. On July 18, the daring dad returned to his overjoyed family.

“When I got back, the first thing I said was, ‘What did I miss?’” Ter Hart told Yahoo News.

Returning to life on land after nearly nine months at sea is difficult in itself, but Ter Hart had the added stress of returning to a world much different than the one he left. We’ve had months to adjust to life in a pandemic world, and it’s still far from easy – Ter Hart has the unique challenge of adjusting in an instant.

For Ter Hart, this is just the next adventure. This time though, he has the best crew in the world by his side – his family.

The most important photo of all. With Dad

Posted by The 5 Capes, Seaburban Around Alone on Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Best Online Board Games to Play Remotely With Family

Mobile Board Games
(Google Play)

Remember when we used to play board games with family? Thanks to modern technology, we’re still able to argue over a marathon game of Monopoly even while social distancing. Phew.

Yup, there are some great options online to exhibit your competitive streak – here are our favorites.

Uno

Ok, I guess it’s technically a card game – but it’s a classic and it’s free to download in the App Store and Google Play. No word on Drunk Uno being available. And guess what? The online game will prevent you from stacking +2 or +4 cards.

Clue

Modern video games can be pretty violent. We should go back to more innocent times when we guessed who strangled the professor with a rope in the library. This classic and ever-popular murder mystery board game is available for $3.99 in the App Store and Google Play.

Monopoly

Family arguments, allegations of cheating, sulking as you go bankrupt – ah, good times. Monopoly is a game we all love, and the online version is great.

You can go to Pogo.com, which is run by Electronic Arts, to find this and hundreds of other free online games, which can be played with friends once you have registered for free. Alternatively, you can use the app version, which costs $3.99 on both Apple and Android.

Scrabble

Educational, smart and fun. I was touched by how the kids described me but it turns out they were talking about this Scrabble game. And they’re right – it captures all the enjoyment and learning of Scrabble into an app called Scrabble Go, available for free on both Apple and Android.

Scattergories

Play against friends one-on-one or open up a room to play as a group – the popular and creative game involves you thinking of a category of words starting with the same letter – and its enjoyable, entertaining, exciting, and ok I can’t think of any more. Check it out for free on the App Store and Google Play. It’s excellent. Wait, another one.

Jackbox Games

Jackbox is an increasingly popular online gaming network that you can get on a variety of platforms, including Xbox One and Apple TV. The games include trivia games like You Don’t Know Jack, Quiplash which is reminiscent of Apples to Apples, Drawful (a Pictionary-style game), and Fibbage XL, which is similar to Balderdash. The great part about these is once you have bought a game, you can play it remotely with family and friends. The bad part is I have to attempt to draw and people laugh.

Houseparty

You will likely have heard of this app, as it gains popularity as a fun way of staying connected with family and friends. Probably more suited to older kids (and adults!), you can use it to video-chat, as well as play all manner of entertaining games, even in large groups. Check it out for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Bunch

Bunch is less well-known but equally good as Houseparty. Up to 8 people can video-chat and play games together, including trivia and drawing games, Uno, Pool, Mario Kart, and charades. My son confidently guessed sloth before I informed him I hadn’t started yet.

Jigsaw puzzles

Now your social plans really can be in pieces – you can invite friends to join you on Jigsawpuzzles.io to join forces and put together a puzzle virtually. I excel at these – I did one recently that said 3 years but it only took me 4 days.

Dad Takes Down Rabid Coyote That Attacked His 2-Yr-Old Son

Dad Takes Down Coyote
(Facebook/Kensington PD YouTube/CBS Boston)

You never really know what you’re capable of until push comes to shove. Will you buckle under the pressure? Or will you find reserves of courage and strength that allow you to fight your way out? For better or worse, most of us are never faced with the kind of situation that demands such a reckoning, so we might go through life underestimating ourselves.

One dad found out that he has what it takes when his young son was suddenly in mortal danger. Nothing activates your killer instinct like one of your kids being in peril.

Ian O’Reilly of Kensington, New Hampshire was out walking a trail with his wife and three kids when a coyote jumped out of the woods and clamped his jaws onto O’Reilly’s 2-year-old son’s jacket. Dad immediately kicked the coyote to free his son from its grasp. But the coyote was not done.

“There was no interest in it going away. [I] ultimately had to make the decision to become the aggressor and jumped on it, attacked it and [got] it to the ground,” O’Reilly told Boston 25 News.

O’Reilly was bitten in the chest and arm by the coyote as he struggled to keep it away from his family. Ultimately, he was forced to hold the animal down and suffocate it.

“When I was able to get on top of it, I put my hand on its snout so it wasn’t able to attack me. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground, so I shoved the face into the snow and then eventually was able [to] put my hand on its snout and expire it through suffocation. Ultimately one hand on its windpipe and one hand on its snout did the trick.”

He told Boston 25 that he wasn’t happy about killing the coyote, but he had to do what he had to do. Police have since confirmed that the animal was rabid, and O’Reilly is undergoing a series of shots to protect himself from the disease.

The New Hampshire police are warning people, after this and another incident of coyotes being aggressive, to be careful and avoid the woods.

“I now have two different animals, two different sequences and two different people,” said Colonel Kevin Jordan, Chief of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division. “I would suggest don’t walk with us in the woods.”

Watch O’Reilly recount his harrowing tale:

Hero 100-Yr-Old Turtle Fathers 800 Kids to Prevent Species Extinction

100yr Old Hero Turtle Saves Species
(Facebook/Parque Nacional Galápagos)

One of the greatest heroes of his time, Diego the Galapagos giant tortoise has officially entered retirement. The 100-year old turtle did more for his species than arguably almost every other being in existence. At one point, Diego was one of two of the last males of Chelonoidis hoodensis of Espanola Island. Then Diego, part of a captive breeding program started nearly 50 years ago, did what any true hero would in that situation. He started getting it on with the lady turtles, siring more than 800 more of his kind.

Thanks to the noble hard work of Diego, the island has seen a huge increase in the species, as they now have nearly 2,000. The aged Diego and his heroic sex drive that saved his kind now get to retire to the island, where he will join his offspring (estimated around 40 percent of the turtles on the island).

“There’s a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state,” a director for Galapagos National Parks service told the BBC.

What exactly is his natural state and what does this mean for Diego and his main hobby of impregnating turtles?

“He might actually amp it up,” James P. Gibbs, a professor of environmental and forest biology at the State University of New York in Syracuse, told the Washington Post. “I don’t know — we shall see.”

Hell yeah, Diego. Normally, we’d include some sort of video with these posts. But some things are best left between a turtle and his dozens of sexual partners. And now Diego gets to go home, decades after he left to embark on his journey to save a species. Hopefully, the legendary turtle Dad is given a hero’s welcome upon his return. What you did before was for your species, who you impregnate now, that’s just for you big guy.

200+ American and Canadian Firefighters Volunteer to Help Australia

American and Canadian Firefighters in Australia
(Twitter/USAembassyinOZ)

When California was suffering from massive fires in 2018, more than 100 firefighters from Australia flew to the U.S. to help combat the blaze. Now, the United States is returning the favor, as more than 200 firefighters from the U.S. and Canada have volunteered to help battle the massive bushfires devastating Australia.

The U.S. government has deployed more than 100 firefighters to help (for the first time in a decade) and dozens more volunteered to head there later this week.

 

The situation on the ground in Australia is pretty bleak, as thousands have been evacuated from the series of fires raging across the nation. Millions of acres have burned and the fires have killed billions of animals, with some speculation that entire species could be wiped out by the blaze. Thousands of homes have been destroyed and 24 people have died as a result of the fires.

Canada has also sent dozens of firefighters to help battle back the bushfires, and the North American firefighters are some the best we have, with years of fire management experience.

“We’re sending a contingent from several federal agencies that reflects decades of fire management experience,” the U.S. Forest Service Fire Director Shawna Legarza said in a statement. “We face many of the same firefighting challenges in each country. We’ve utilized their expertise in the past and welcome the opportunity to reciprocate.”

One of the worst droughts in decades and strong winds have exacerbated the situation in Australia, where new heroes are stepping up to help in any way they can. Bindi Irwin said her family’s animal hospital has helped more than 90,000 animals and one daughter showed the human toll fighting these fires takes as she shared a photo of her exhausted firefighter dad.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Donate to the Australian Red Cross, which is supporting thousands of people in evacuation and recovery centers across the country. Local residents can volunteer their services.
  • Donate to the Salvation Army Australia, which is providing meals and support to evacuees and first responders in multiple locations.
  • Extra room in your home? Offer to host people in need of emergency housing on AirBnB.
  • Donate to the  Vincent de Paul Society, which is helping evacuated families recover. The organization is providing food and clothing, helping cover bills, and donating household items to those whose homes have been destroyed.
  • Donate food, funds or services to Foodbank, the largest hunger-relief charity in Australia.
  • Donate to a GoFundMededicated to displaced First Nations Communities that need to rebuild.
  • Donate food, toiletries and household items using Givit.

Irwin Family Has Helped 90k Animals Affected by Australia’s Wildfires

Blossom the possum Irwin Family
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

Australia is on fire, as wildfires are devastating the country. The U.S. Embassy has told tourists to leave the country as hundreds of fires rage on and thousands have been evacuated. During natural disasters, animals can often become an afterthought, which is where people like Bindi Irwin and her family’s zoo come in.

Irwin released a statement on Instagram, claiming the family and their namesake zoo in Australia are safe from the fires, but the famed conservationist is working around the clock to care for animals who have been affected by the devastation.

“With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much,” she wrote. She then said their Wildlife Hospital is busier than ever, having treated 90,000 patients.

She said the zoo and the hospital will continue to honor her family by being ‘Wildlife Warriors’ and saving as many animals as they can.

The hospital, owned by her mother, has been doing what it can for the animals affected, although sometimes that still isn’t enough. Bindi has shared some heartbreaking photos of the effects the fires have had on the animal population.

View this post on Instagram

Blossom the possum was admitted to the #AustraliaZoo Wildlife Hospital after being caught in one of the bushfires burning in other parts of Queensland. We have such an incredible team who work day and night to protect gorgeous animals like Blossom. Devastatingly this beautiful girl didn’t make it even after working so hard to save her life. I want to thank you for your kind words and support. This is the heart-wrenching truth, every day is a battle to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Now more than ever we need to work together to make a difference and protect our Mother Earth. For more on how you can become a Wildlife Warrior visit www.wildlifewarriors.org 💙🙏🏼

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Experts in Australia estimate 480 million animals have been affected by the fires that have burned more than 12 million acres of land, claimed 23 (human) victims, and destroyed more than 1,500 homes.

“This is the heart-wrenching truth, every day is a battle to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” she wrote. “Now more than ever we need to work together to make a difference and protect our Mother Earth.”

Bindi posted another photo, imploring people to make a difference by becoming a wildlife warrior at wildlifewarriors.org.

Here are more ways you can help:

  • Donate to the Australian Red Cross, which is supporting thousands of people in evacuation and recovery centers across the country. Local residents can volunteer their services.
  • Donate to the Salvation Army Australia, which is providing meals and support to evacuees and first responders in multiple locations.
  • Extra room in your home? Offer to host people in need of emergency housing on AirBnB.
  • Donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which is helping evacuated families recover. The organization is providing food and clothing, helping cover bills, and donating household items to those whose homes have been destroyed.
  • Donate food, funds or services to Foodbank, the largest hunger-relief charity in Australia.
  • Donate to a GoFundMe dedicated to displaced First Nations Communities that need to rebuild.
  • Donate food, toiletries and household items using Givit.

Georgia Family Finds an Owl in Their Christmas Tree

Owl in Xmas Tree
(Facebook/Storyful)

I’m not here to bash Christmas trees. Is it a little weird that we bring enormous trees into our living rooms and festoon them with baubles and lights and trinkets? Maybe a little, but it’s tradition, and it’s festive, and mine is quite nice.

But every now and then I come across a story that reminds me that I have an actual tree in my living room and it gives me a little pause.

Like this story, about a family who brought their tree in and discovered they’d brought a little something else in with it: an owl.

Katie McBride Newman lives in Georgia, and she’s been sharing the saga of that time her family found an owl inside their Christmas tree. Last week.

They bought the tree just after Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t until the middle of December that they discovered its tenant, when 10-year-old India got spooked by what she thought was one of the family’s several owl ornaments. (Mom happens to love owls.)

“She comes very dramatically into the dining room and goes, ‘Mama, that ornament scared me,'” Newman told CNN. “Then she bursts into tears.”

They tried leaving the windows open overnight so the owl would leave but it turns out it was pretty comfortable, so they had to call the good people at Chattahoochee Nature Center, a non-profit environmental center, to help. Which they did.

Christmas Tree Owl
(Facebook/Katie Newman)

The team secured the owl and was able to safely remove it from the Newman’s home and deposit it back outside where it belongs. The story got some attention from the local news and CNN, because it’s not every day you relive that scene in Christmas Vacation where an animal terrorizes a family from inside their Christmas tree.

Thankfully, the owl was peaceful, and things turned out alright for everyone. The Newman’s even raised a little bit of money for the Nature Center when Katie shared OwlGate on her Facebook page.

Usually, when someone sneaks into your house around Christmas, they say ‘Ho ho ho!’ not ‘Who who who!”

Sorry.

Thousands of Pulsating ‘Penis Fish’ Washed up on a California Shore

(iNaturalist Creative / Kate Montana & David Ford)

I’m going to be straight with you. The following article includes images and video of Urechis caupo, a.k.a., the “penis fish,” and they look… well, very unfortunate, you guys. You’ve been warned.

We all know there are things residing under the sea that are weird and terrifying in all different sorts of ways. It’s not just a bunch of musical numbers directed by a singing Jamaican crab as some films would have you believe – it’s cold, crushing darkness where only the strong survive.

Well, the strong and/or penis-shaped.

Yes, there is an actual penis fish (Urechis caupo), which looks exactly how you’d imagine, and thousands of them mysteriously washed ashore on a beach in California where one unfortunate soul recently discovered them.

According to Bay Nature Magazine, David Ford discovered the legions of the penis fish on Drakes Beach in Marin County on December 6. It’s unknown what Ford was doing on the beach but it’s likely he forgot upon seeing the multitudes of the phallic fish wriggling, pulsating, and being devoured by seagulls.

As for what the creatures actually are (besides nauseating with their general existence), the penis fish are better-known under their much more wholesome moniker, “Fat Innkeeper Worm.” While the fish may look like genitalia, it acts much more like its namesake – a kind innkeeper.

Urechis caupo has a unique (and pretty gross) method for feeding itself that turns out to be pretty benevolent in nature towards its fellow sea-dwellers. Essentially, the penis fish digs a little U-shaped tunnel in the ground, at the end of which, it casts a mucus net to trap food particles and other tasty detritus. Once the mucus net has done its job, the penis fish retracts the net and consumes all the goodies it caught. Larger food particles that it was unable to consume is left for other denizens of the sea-floor like crabs, shrimp, and scale worms.

Of course, the penis fish then proceeds to blast poo pellets out of its own feeding tube with jets of water squirted from its anus but, I mean… that first part sounded really nice, right?

Penis fish can spend their entire lives underwater and the majority of it underground in their tiny burrows, but occasionally, a particularly violent storm will rip these little penises right out of their little penis houses.

“We’re seeing the risk of building your home out of sand,” Ivan Parr wrote in Bay Nature. “Strong storms — especially during El Niño years — are perfectly capable of laying siege to the intertidal zone, breaking apart the sediment, and leaving their contents stranded on the shore.”

Thankfully, both for the penis fish and for everyone who has seen them, such events are a pretty rare occurrence.