Revealed: RSPCA destroys HALF of the animals that it rescues - yet thousands are completely healthy


Figures have revealed the RSPCA routinely puts down healthy animals, with 3,400 destroyed in 2011 for 'non-medical reasons (file picture)

The RSPCA destroys nearly half the animals it ‘rescues’ each year, with thousands being put down for non-medical reasons, shocking figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal.
The animal-welfare charity destroyed 53,000 animals last year – 44 per cent of those it took in – leading critics to claim that the organisation spends too much time on prosecuting cases of neglect and cruelty and not enough on finding new homes for animals.

Death sentence: Human bolt guns, like the one pictured, are often used to kill pets

The charity insists the vast majority of the animals were put down to end their suffering, but it admits that last year alone 3,400 animals were destroyed for ‘non-medical’ reasons, such as the lack of space in kennels and catteries.
In 2009, the RSPCA, which is one of Britain’s biggest charities and receives £120 million a year in donations, stopped accepting stray animals and unwanted pets.

The figures have also revealed the charity is rehoming fewer pets, with 10,000 fewer finding new owners in 2011 (file picture)

The number of animals re-homed has dropped from 70,000 in 2009 to 60,000 last year, while the number of convictions secured has leapt by 20 per cent. Figures obtained for the past five years show that 46 per cent of animals rescued by the charity were put down.
And today, The Mail on Sunday reveals a whistleblower’s account, raising concerns – denied by the organisation – that the charity kills more healthy animals than necessary.

Despite fewer animals being found new homes, the RSPCA's prosecutions of rogue pet owners shot up by 20 per cent (file pic)

Former RSPCA inspector Dawn Aubrey-Ward, who worked for the organisation from 2008 to 2010, said she came across numerous examples of animals destroyed because there was no room for them in shelters.
‘If there wasn’t any room in the nearby RSPCA home or one of a number of approved charities, we were supposed to euthanise them,’ she claims.

Proud: Dawn Aubrey-Ward receives an RSPCA award for rescuing a lamb. She has accused the charity of killing animals that are fit and healthy

The RSPCA insists that euthanising animals is always a ‘last resort’, but a Mail on Sunday investigation has unearthed others criticising the charity’s approach.
Kent vet David Smith, who worked for the organisation for 12 years, said: ‘It seems to be all about prosecuting people now.
‘The RSPCA seems to have lost sight of its role as a charity that was set up to help people and animals.’

Caring: Dawn Aubrey-Ward with her pets

source: dailymail

Panda-style: Giant bear gets in on the Gangnam craze as he dances on his back legs


Dancing on ice: Qin Chuan jumps up and assumes the now famous Gangnam pose

It's the most successful Youtube video of all time, now even giant pandas are doing their own version of the famous Gangnam dance.
Zoo keepers watched in amazement as Qin Chuan stood up on his hind legs and assumed a pose with an uncanny resemblance to Psy's smash hit routine.
Unfortunately his playmate LeLe seemed more interested in chewing on bamboo leaves.

Cool moves: Qin Chuan gets into the groove at China's Jinbao Amusement Park in Weifang, Shandong

Parodies of the Korean dance have been popping up all over the world as it recently surpassed 1 billion hits.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that those in the animal kingdom are getting in on the act.
The pair of giant pandas, who moved to China's Jinbao Amusement Park in Weifang, Shandong two years ago, have been spotted copying human behaviour before.

Cold feet: Qin Chuan limbers up, right, before taking a twirl during his impromptu routine, left

At the sight of the first snow of the year, LeLe also jumped up on his hind quarters and started running forward as if looking for a hug.
This time it was Qin Chuan who, after twirling around his enclosure several times, padded off looking fairly pleased with himself.
Spectators were delighted by the show and judging by this performance, Qin Chuan will be expecting the lead bear's role.

Qin Chuan pads off after strutting his stuff in front of LeLe looking satisfied with the performance

source: dailymail

Where'd my catch go? Spectacular photo captures moment great white is gobbled by an EVEN BIGGER shark as it's hauled into fisherman's boat


Chomp: The Kiwi fisherman took the spectacular photo, pictured, on December 28, and posted it on Reddit

Being hooked by a fisherman is probably up there with the worst things that could happen to a shark. But what about becoming bait for an even bigger beast as you're being hauled into the boat?
This was the fate of a poor great white in New Zealand this week.
And a spectacular photograph of the encounter, which shows Charles Darwin's survival of the fittest - or perhaps biggest - theory in action, has taken the web by storm after it was posted on Reddit.

Shark waters: The epic photo was captured in the waters near Kaiteriteri, New Zealand, pictured

The decent-sized shark was hooked in the waters near Kaiteriteri during a post-Christmas expedition on December 28.
The fisherman, whose Reddit name is Mancubus, was probably pretty chuffed with his catch and daydreaming about a fish and chip dinner, with the shark firmly on the end of the line.
But that was before he had competition.
The Kiwi didn't even have time to haul his catch onto the deck before the smaller shark was in the jaws of the monster predator.

source: dailymail

Beware of the cat! Royal Mail refuses to deliver any more letters after Biscuit the ginger moggy scratches postman


You shall not pass! Royal Mail has warned Judith Phizacklea after her cat Biscuit began 'scratching' the postman and guarding the letterbox

Many postmen will have encountered the threat of a snarling dog itching to nip their fingers and ankles whenever they approach a letter box.
And now a pet-owner has been threatened with having her post cut off because of her pet who keeps on attacking Royal Mail staff.
But this is no ferocious dog - it's a fluffy ginger cat called Biscuit.

Judith and daughter Rebecca cannot believe Royal Mail's claims and say their pet is a gentle feline

The owner of two-year-old Biscuit received a letter threatening to cut off her post, which she described as 'ridiculous'.
Judith Phizacklea was informed by a delivery office manager at Royal Mail that postmen were 'experiencing difficulties in delivering mail because of the actions of a cat'.

Just a big pussycat: The family say their adopted cat would not harm anyone - but will have to install a cage for letters if they want to keep receiving post

The letter states Royal Mail had carried out a health and safety risk assessment because Biscuit stands behind the letterbox and 'scratches with its paws'.
Mrs Phizacklea said: 'It seems ridiculous, he has never been aggressive. He likes to pull the letters out of the mailbox but no one has ever complained before.'
The letter requested Mrs Phizacklea install a letter cage on the inside of her letterbox, or a dedicated post box on the exterior of their property, within 14 days or have deliveries to their property suspended.

Biscuit the cat was adopted by the family in after being found in a cardboard box by a canal

Her daughter Rebecca Phizacklea, 19, said: 'I just laughed. You would think he was a huge Rottweiler chasing them up the street according to that letter.'
Biscuit was adopted by the family in Barrow, Cumbria, after being found in a cardboard box by a canal in Ulverston two years ago.
'He was quite ill when we picked him up, but he's a lovely cat,' said Mrs Phizacklea.

source: dailymail

Look, I can do a roly-poly! Super-cute panda celebrates the wintry weather by taking a tumble in the snow


It's a start: Wei Wei takes a tumble in the snow at Wuhan Zoo in Hubei Province in China

It is on days like this one a thick fur comes in handy - and one fun-loving panda took full advantage of his built-in protection as he took a tumble in the snow.
Giant panda Wei Wei did not waste an opportunity to roly-poly in the cold at Wuhan Zoo in Hubei Province in China.
Wei Wei practiced his acrobatics alongside his friends at the zoo after a thin layer of snow fell over Christmas.

We have liftoff! The giant panda follows through his snow-somersault

Wei Wei was photographed standing on his head in the snow before kicking off the ground to complete his tumble of joy in the wintry weather.
Fortunately for Wei Wei and fellow panda bears, their coarse, dense fur is the perfect protection against the freezing conditions in Wuhan City this week.
Giant pandas are solitary bears when in the wild, usually preferring their own company when foraging in Chinese bamboo forests.

Kung fu panda: A spot of snow is no problem for a giant panda's thick fur, and it did certainly not bother Wei Wei as he climbed a snow-covered stand

Giant panda bears are an endangered species, with around 1,600 left roaming free in the cool forests that are their natural habitat, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
The bears are easily discernible due to their black and white coat and as a result the few left in the wild are often targeted by bounty hunters.
They mostly eat bamboo, but in captivity are also enjoy being fed honey, eggs, fish, yams, leaves, oranges, bananas and other special treats.

Panda playtime: The giant pandas of Wuhan Zoo enjoy the snow following a wintry downpour over Christmas

source: dailymail

Bo, Bo, Bo! Adorable White House dog steals the spotlight from Michelle Obama when he jumps on her lap as she reads 'Twas The Night Before Christmas' to sick children in hospital


Unexpected: Though she knew Bo was at the vent, the First Lady clearly didn't expect the dog to get up on her lap

Michelle Obama is typically the star of the show when she attends a charity event.
That wasn't the case when she recently read Twas The Night Before Christmas at a Washington area children's hospital.
As she sat down on stage to begin reading the classic tale to the tiny tots, Bo the First Dog jumped right up on his mother's lap.

Making sure he can see: Michelle Obama held the book out in front of Bo so that he could 'read' along with her and the children during the recent Christmas event

He seemed quite comfy as well, since he didn't move from the position throughout the seven minute session.
Bo is significantly larger than the former First Dog, Barney, who was a small Scottish terrier, and Portuguese Water Dogs can weigh up to 55 pounds.
That was no matter for Michelle, however, as she gamefully played along and even jokingly held the book out so that the 4-year-old pup could 'read' along.

He's got a friend: The little boy sitting next to Michelle made sure to stroke the dog throughout

Though the First Lady visited the Children's National Medical Center on December 14, the video was not released until Christmas Eve, in keeping with the theme of the story.
Bo is a part of many of the White House traditions during the holidays, as he served as a sort of 'Waldo' figure throughout the decorations, with mini figurines in his likeness scattered throughout the many displays and 54 live trees.
Mrs Obama explained the reason why they used Bo repeatedly is because it was an easy theme for young visitors to catch on to during their tours and they can be given the task of spotting Bo in each of the rooms.

source: dailymail

My Christmas miracle: Grieving gorilla mother who lost baby when he accidentally hanged himself cuddles newborn


Wide awake: The two-day old baby has a look around while worn out mum Kijivu takes a well-earned nap

Just months after her second child died in a freak accident, Kijivu the gorilla cuddles up to her newborn infant.
At just two days old the tiny baby looks curiously around his new home at Prague Zoo yesterday, his 19-year-old mother takes a well-earned rest.
The birth of any rare Western lowland gorilla in captivity is a cause for celebration but staff at the zoo are especially excited as the new arrival comes after one of the most tragic events in its history.

Mother and baby strike a hauntingly human pose as they lie together for a cuddle

Kijivu's second infant, five-year-old Tatu, accidentally hanged himself with a climbing rope. The young male was found dead in July with the rope around his neck in a sleeping room.
Female gorilla Kamba - another of Prague Zoo's gorilla group - was by Tatu's side when he was found and was apparently trying to help him.

Content: Kijivu is an experienced mother and has already given birth to three infants in captivity

At the time zoo director Miroslav Bobek said the death of Tatu - whose birth in 2007 was watched by tens of thousands of people online - was the most tragic event at the zoo since flooding in 2002 killed more than 100 animals.
But this week staff have something to celebrate and the beautiful pictures reveal the special bond between mother and baby as Kijivu gently cradles her newborn.
Ceske Noviny quoted zoo spokesman Michal Stastny as saying the birth on Friday was quick and both mother and baby were fine and remained in the gorilla group.

Relaxed: The baby and mother cuddle up at Prague Zoo

Kijivu has now given birth to four infants fathered by Prague Zoo male Richard.
She gave birth to her first, Moja, in 2004 and Tatu in 2007. She also had a male named Kiburi in 2010.
Moja, seven, has since been transported to a zoo in Spain.
The Prague group of gorillas also includes three other females - Kamba, Shinda and Bikira.

The new born baby will become one of the zoo's main attractions when he is old enough to be seen by the public

Zoo staff are anxiously preparing for another expected arrival.
The most senior female at the zoo called Kamba is heavily pregnancy even though, at 40 years old, she was believed she was past reproductive age.
She is expected to give birth next year and keepers say it there is a large risk of complications.
According to Prague Zoo, Kamba was born in the early 1970s in Cameroon's tropical forests.
She became pregnant in 2007 but the infant died and the adult also nearly lost her life in the process.

source: dailymail

Playtime for panda! Giant cub loves nothing better than a swing in the snow


Fearless: The giant panda shows off his skills as he crawls upside down on the snow-covered climbing frame

He may be playing in sub-zero temperatures but this adorable giant panda could still melt any heart.
The lovable bear clearly relished the snowfall at at Yantai Zoo in Shandong Province, China, yesterday as he rolls around in the white stuff.
First of all the brave panda shows off his skills on the climbing frame by crawling along upside down.
But it seems he only had eyes for the tyre swing.

Not tyred out yet: The panda moves on to the tyre swing as he rolls around in the snow

Oops: The panda tips over in the thick snow

After tentatively making his way along the beam, he then grabs the tyre for a play fight in the fresh snow.
And even when he lost his balance, the panda refused to be beaten.
He immediately jumped up again for another wrestle and a swing before finally allowing himself a rest.

No time to paws: The panda does not lie in the snow long before jumping back on the tyre

Giant pandas are solitary bears when in the wild, usually preferring their own company when foraging in Chinese bamboo forests.
They are an endangered species, with less than 2,000 thought to be left roaming free in the cool forests that are their natural habitat.
They mostly eat bamboo, but in captivity are also enjoy being fed honey, eggs, fish, yams, leaves, oranges, bananas and other special treats.

source: dailymail

Incredible story of how the lion condemned to death when his neck was caught in a poacher's snare survived for THREE YEARS after he was fed by his brothers and sisters


Rescued: The lion, which was first spotted trapped in the snare in 2009, was finally free by rangers in the Mikumi National Park in Tanzania earlier this year. He has now been pictured in the wild for the first time since being freed (shown above) and appears to be on the road to recovery

A young male lion caught in a snare which slowly tightened around his neck as he grew older has been saved after a rescue operation was launched.
The lion was first spotted trapped in the snare in Mikumi National park in Tanzania back in 2009 but several attempts to rescue him failed.
After three years, the cord had become so tightly wrapped around the lion's neck that he was left unable to hunt and his gaping wound attracted flies and infection

Trap: William Mwakilema, chief park warden in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, pictured holding the snare which was slowly garroting a young lion

The young animal would soon have been lying in agony in the African bush facing a certain death.
But thanks to coverage in the Daily Mail earlier this year, an operation to sedate the lion and remove the snare was launched this summer.

Facing death: The young lion was left trapped in the snare, which got tighter and tighter as he grew, for a total of three years after numerous attempts to rescue him failed

Shocking: William Mwakilema, chief park warden at the Mikumi National Park, said that the snare would have caused the lion a 'slow agonising death' if he hadn't been freed

Success: After seven failed attempts, rangers managed to sedate the lion and remove the snare from around its neck in August this year. They put a purple antiseptic on the lion's shocking wounds

Wounds: Rangers put a purple antiseptic on the lion's wounds in a bid to prevent infection and to help the animal to heal. The lion's skin had grown around the snare

Asleep: The animal pictured lying sedated in the Tanzanian bush. He was eventually revived by rangers who gave him an antidote to reverse the effects of the sedative drug

source: dailymail

You're not eating me yet: Snake coils itself around heron's beak as it tries to avoid becoming bird's lunch


Mortal coil: The snake put up a fight when a hungry heron struck

This is the moment a snake fought back against its predator, coiling itself around the beak of an attacking heron.
The Blue Heron had been looking for food around a quiet marsh when he suddenly bit off more than he could chew with the feisty snake.
As the heron spotted the snake crawling through the grass it quickly bundled over looking for an easy meal and was expecting to gobble it down as usual.

The battle between bird and reptile lasted for 15 minutes but the heron was unable to shake the snake free

But the snake had other ideas - and rather than being fast food it tightly wrapped it's long body around the heron's beak before it had the chance to bite.
The amazing moment was captured by keen photographer Peter Brannon, 35, who couldn't believe his eyes as the amusing moment unfolded during a trip to Delray Beach in Florida, US.
Peter, from Nova Scotia, Canada, said: 'This area called The Green Cay Wetlands is a protected area where wildlife thrives and regularly puts on a show for photographers.

The snakes tries to wriggle free from the baffled heron

'Hawks, alligator, bittern, and waterfowl of all shapes and sizes call this area home for much of the year.
'But even though there is an abundance of wildlife I certainly wasn't expecting to see something quite this funny.
'The herons here become a little monotonous when you see them every day so you often overlook these magnificent birds in search of something a little more elusive.
'However about 20 yards away I heard a disturbance in the tall grass. Sure enough there was a Great Blue moving his head about in a more aggressive manner than usual.

It's stalemate between the two animals while the heron attempts to get free of the coil

'Usually they sit as still and quietly as possible as to draw their prey in close. As I looked closer his beak appeared a bit larger than usual.
'But closer inspection revealed a coiled snake writhing and moving around the 12 inch beak. The Heron hopped and jumped and took a small flight closer to me where he could deal with his breakfast conundrum with more effectiveness.
'The stalemate lasted about 15 minutes with the stubborn snake refusing to let go.

After an aggressive final tussle the heron swallowed the snake up like a string of pasta

source: dailymail

The cute Christmas pictures that will melt even the coldest heart: Adorable snaps of kittens, puppies, and lambs in festive hats


Time for a nap: Even the coldest-hearted Scrooge would have their heart melted by these adorable Christmas animals

Even the coldest-hearted Scrooge would be melted by these adorable Christmas animals.
Dressed in Santa hats or playing with tinsel the merry models start their careers early - aged just six weeks old.
And it's a fine art for photographer Mark Taylor, from Guildford, who has to distract the kittens and puppies just enough so they don't eat the props.

What a little cracker: The photographer manages to distract his subjects just long enough to get the perfect shot

Card companies and calendar makers all over the world use his work which he does following in the footsteps of his renowned photographer mother Jane Burton who passed away in 2007.
Growing up in Surrey Mr Taylor said he was surrounded by some very unusual animals his mother used to photograph.
Mr Taylor, 48, who together with dad Kim Taylor run the family firm Warren Photographic, in Guildford, said continuing his mother's work was a lovely experience.

Give us a slice! The photographer has mastered the art of getting different animals to work together

He said: 'Growing up in Albury in Surrey as a child we used to have a tame fox, a badger, an iguana and even a type of crocodile called a caiman. The kids would love to come to our house because it was like a zoo.

Baa Humbug: This little lamb does not seem to think much of his Santa hat

Dog tired: Dressed in Santa hats or playing with tinsel the animals start their merry modelling careers aged just six weeks old

Peekaboo! The photographer is following in the footsteps of his renowned photographer mum Jane Burton who passed away in 2007

'I'm not sure this suits me': The photgapher said continuing his mother's work was 'a lovely experience'... although this chap doesn't look so sure

'At first I wasn't as keen on photography, we spent some time as a family in Kenya. My sister Hazel and I would spend what seemed like hours in the back of a Land Rover while mum waited to get a picture of a lion or something.
'But I actually picked up a camera about 15 years ago when I was in Canada while my ex-wife taught there, mum said to me as something to do why don't I do landscape pictures for them.

Where are the huskies when you need them? Mark Taylor has now become known as 'the master of cuteness' for his work with animals

Nuts about Christmas: This cheeky little chap won't be telling anyone where he has squirreled his presents away until the big day

'The Canadian landscape is stunning on the western coast and I think I got the bug from there. Doing the cute animal pictures now is a great privilege and I am proud to continue mum's work.'
Mark said using Christmas hats and props with his furry subjects was a challenge especially as most of the time they tried to eat them.

It wasn't us: These two look like they may been caught up in some trouble as they play with Christmas decorations

He said: 'The natural reaction of a kitten is to lift its paw up and try and take the hat off and eat the bobble.
'Luckily as well as inheriting mum's talent for cute animal pictures I also have her assistant Britta who is great at keeping them distracted just long enough to get the picture.'

source: dailymail