Hot in travel: amazing animals from around the world

This week we have a valiant parrot and crocodiles guarding drug convicts in a particularly weird roundup of amazing animal news from around the world.

Bei Bei, perhaps the best known baby giant panda in the world, had quite an eventful time of it this week what with his making his first steps on Wednesday. The Smithsonian's National Zoo staff posted a video saying:"One small step for panda ... one adorably wobbly moment for all of us." Bei Bei (which means 'precious treasure') gets scooped up into a hug by his mum Mei Xiang (whose name means 'beautiful fragrance') after getting off to a wobbly start. View the video here.

Bei Bei takes his first steps. Screengrab from Youtube

Bei Bei takes his first steps. Screengrab from Youtube

A brave parrot named Betty saved her owner Gretel Pereira and her family from a fire that started in the house next door this week, in the Costa Rican city of Uruca. Smelling the fire Betty began to squawk “Fuego, fuego, fuego [fire, fire, fire]” to notify the family of the danger. Pereira and her family escaped unharmed, but three homes were destroyed in the blaze. To read more go here.

A parrot saved its owner from a fire

A parrot saved its owner from a fire Image by D Coetzee / CC BY 2.0

Officials in Indonesia’s Riau province are now using trained elephants outfitted with water pumps and hoses to help control forest fires. The elephants had previously been trained to keep out people encroaching illegally and patrol forests, but have now been taught how to put out fires, and check on them to see that they are definitely out. Read more here.

Elephants in Indonesia.

Elephants in Indonesia. Image by Vincent Poulissen / CC BY-SA 2.0

In Nepal every dog had its day this week, with celebrations of Kukur Tihar on 10 November celebrating all dogs as part of the second day of the Nepalese Hindu festival of Tihar.People in Nepal give their favourite pups a bath, delicious foods, flower garlands and a smear of red tika dye on their heads to honour man's best friend. To read more go here

A Nepalese policeman garlands a police dog after putting vermillion powder on its forehead during Tihar festival celebrations at a police kennel division in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. Dogs are worshipped to acknowledge their role in providing security during Tihar festival, one of the most important Hindu festivals that is also dedicated to the worship of the goddess of wealth Laxmi.

A Nepalese policeman garlands a police dog after putting vermillion powder on its forehead during Tihar festival celebrations at a police kennel division in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. Dogs are worshipped to acknowledge their role in providing security during Tihar festival, one of the most important Hindu festivals that is also dedicated to the worship of the goddess of wealth Laxmi. Image by AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

Indonesia in the meantime announced its plans to create a prison facility for drug convicts entirely surrounded by crocodiles. The head of the anti-drug agency said that crocodiles made excellent guards because they were less likely to be bribed. To read the full article go here. 

Crocodiles cannot be bribed according to the head of the anti-drug agency in Indonesia

Crocodiles cannot be bribed according to the head of the anti-drug agency in Indonesia Image by William Warby / CC BY 2.0

And finally, in Singapore's zoo this week there was much cause for celebration after the birth of the first baby giraffe in 28 years. A naming contest for the calf, born on 31 August, is planned for the coming months. Now standing at 2.3 metres. To read more go here.

A giraffe calf born on Aug. 31, 2015, gallops through its enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in Singapore.

A giraffe calf born on Aug. 31, 2015, gallops through its enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in Singapore. Image by AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

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