The Xoloitzcuintli, relative of an ancient Aztec dog.

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Image Credit: Photograph by Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Corbis.
Mexico’s main national animal is the golden eagle—the bird that legend says played a role in the founding of Mexico City and appears on the country’s flag.
But the country didn’t stop there: it also selected a national mammal (jaguar), a national arthropod (grasshopper), a national marine mammal (vaquita) and a national dog, (xoloitzcuintli).
Commonly called a Mexican hairless, the xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-itz-quint-lee”) descends from an ancient species native to Central America that was prized by the Aztecs, who believed the canine to have healing abilities.
via Ten Unusual National Animals That Rival the Unicorn | Science | Smithsonian.

The Orangutan’s Climb.

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The National History Museum has revealed its Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners, encompassing dramatic photographs of leopards, parakeets and pangolins.
American Tim Laman was the overall winner, thanks to his orangutan photo which didn’t require fancy equipment and lenses (it was taken on a GoPro) but did require three days of climbing.
“It’s a difficult-to-achieve shot,” commented chair of judges, Lewis Blackwell.
“This is very often what wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year: a picture that has a high degree of technical difficulty, but one that also has something to say; and Tim’s image certainly has that as well.”
Source: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016: Vertiginous view of orangutan’s climb wins | The Independent

‘Dogs’ by Alicja Zmyslowska.

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The Poland-based photographer Alicja Zmyslowska takes the most adorable pictures of dogs we’ve ever seen.
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Photos she takes look supremely happy and relaxed, as if they are being photographed by their best human friend.
To shoot these lively photos, Zmyslowska uses a variety of photo gear, such as her Canon 70-200mm, 85mm and 50mm lenses.
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via Hearwarming Dog Photographs by 19-Year-Old Polish Photographer » Design You Trust. Design and Beyond..

The Working Border Collie.

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via Wikimedia Commons
The Border Collie originated in the border regions of Scotland around 350 years ago.
They were developed by local shepherd’s to help herd their livestock (sheep and cattle) in difficult terrain.
These dogs soon developed a reputation for their relentless desire to work and their calm and quiet approach to handling livestock. It was not long before the Border Collie started to spread throughout the rest of the United Kingdom and then the world.
In the mid 1800s the first Border Collies were imported to Australia to help manage the emerging sheep and cattle industry. Since then there has been a steady flow of these dogs coming into Australia, which continually adds to the gene pool of the original dogs.

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In most cases the Border Collies that are brought in to the country are usually from Champion lines and have a positive effect on the breeding of our Australian dogs.
Since the start the Australian Border Collie has been developed through selective breeding, to suit the different climatic conditions across Australia. The main difference is the length of their coat.
In most cases the Australian Border Collies are smooth coated. This has helped the dogs cope with burrs and the scorching heat.
Today the Australian Border Collie is used in a variety of different situations. They are used on smaller sheep, cattle and dairy farms in high rainfall areas through to large scale sheep and cattle stations in the hot and dry heart of Australia.
Read on via Australian Working Border Collie.

Tasmanian Devils listed as ‘vulnerable.’

tasmanian-devil_736_600x450Tasmanian Devils are solitary and nocturnal, spending their days alone in hollow logs, caves, or burrows, and emerging at night to feed.
They use their long whiskers and excellent sense of smell and sight to avoid predators and locate prey and carrion.
They’ll eat pretty much anything they can get their teeth on, and when they do find food, they are voracious, consuming everything—including hair, organs, and bones.
Mothers give birth after about three weeks of pregnancy to 20 or 30 very tiny young. These raisin-size babies crawl up the mother’s fur and into her pouch. However, the mother has only four nipples, so only a handful of babies survive. Infants emerge after about four months and are generally weaned by the sixth month and on their own by the eighth.
Once abundant throughout Australia Tasmanian devils are now indigenous only to the island state of Tasmania.
Their Tasmanian range encompasses the entire island, although they are partial to coastal scrublands and forests. Biologists speculate that their extinction on the mainland is attributable to the introduction of Asian dogs, or dingoes.
Efforts in the late 1800s to eradicate Tasmanian devils, which farmers erroneously believed were killing livestock (although they were known to take poultry), were nearly successful.
In 1941, the government made devils a protected species, and their numbers have grown steadily since.
Survival Threatened
Tragically, though, a catastrophic illness discovered in the mid-1990s has killed tens of thousands of Tasmanian devils.
Called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), this rapidly spreading condition is a rare contagious cancer that causes large lumps to form around the animal’s mouth and head, making it hard for it to eat.
The animal eventually starves to death. Animal health experts are sequestering populations where the disease has not yet appeared and are focusing on captive breeding programs to save the species from extinction.
Because of the outbreak, the Australian government has listed Tasmanian devils as vulnerable.
via  National Geographic.

Black and White Mystery Cats.

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Image credits: João Domingues
Every day is cat day on the Internet, so we decided that we’d bring a bit of class back to the cat pic with a list of mysterious and classy black and white cat photos.
There are tons of cute cat pics on the Internet, but far fewer artistic shots that give our classy feline companions the respect they deserve.
These photos will be awesome no matter what, but we suggest viewing them through a cloud of cigar smoke in the back of a jazz club with a smooth magician on the sax and a whiskey sour or gin tonic by your side.
Because that’s how classy and mysterious these cool cats are.
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Image credits: Val D’Aquila
Featured Image on front by Laia.
See more Images via The Mysterious Lives Of Cats Captured In Black And White Photography | Bored Panda.