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Colorado house ransacked after estate sale mixup

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A Colorado woman’s house was ransacked last week after throngs of people were reportedly led to believe it was the site of an estate sale.

Mary Andrews told the Daily Camera she left her Longmont home unlocked Friday and, when she returned, she found people walking out with things from inside.

“There were cards everywhere, and there were people coming out of my house with armloads of stuff,” she said. “I thought, ‘What is going on?’”

Police said it was a “very, very bad misunderstanding.”

As it turns out, an estate sale was happening just a few doors down from Andrews’ home. Someone apparently got into her home and started spreading a rumor that a sale was also going on there – and everything was free.

Adding to the confusion, Andrew’s yard still had items in it from a recent tag sale she had.

“They really did think this was an estate sale,” she told the newspaper. “They all argued with me, and very few people would just put anything back.”

Andrews said everything from picture frames to jewelry to utensils were swiped from the home she shares with her two grandsons. She said someone even took the toilet paper and toilet paper holder from the bathroom.

“They just ransacked the house so fast that it had to be because they knew it was not free,” she said. “They knew what they were doing. They had to have.”

She added: “Just everything they could put their hands on. At least they didn’t take the dogs or cats.”

Andrew said the family is still trying to figure out exactly what was taken and hopes people will return some of the items.

“Every time I turn around, I notice something missing,” she said. “I turn around to turn on a lamp and the lamp is gone. It’s devastating.”

Longmont police told the Daily Camera that the case has been closed because there are no suspects.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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Shoestring expedition returns with wild photos of Sumatra

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A shoestring expedition to one of the remotest places in Sumatra has returned with stunning photos of tigers, tapirs, clouded leopards among other rare species, large and small. Will they find orangutans next?

Last year a motley crew of conservationists, adventurers and locals trekked into one of the last unexplored regions of Sumatra. They did so with a mission: check camera traps and see what they could find. The team organized by the small NGO, Habitat ID came back with biological gold: photos of Sumatran tigers, Malayan tapirs, and sun bears. They also got the first record of the Sunda clouded leopard in the area and found a specimen of a little-known legless reptile called Wegners glass lizard. But most tantalizingly of all is what they didnt find, but still suspect is there: a hidden population of orangutans that would belong to the newly described species, Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis).

The trek into the interior was fraught with hordes of leaches, wasps, cliffs, river-crossings, and trackless jungle, and it pushed everyone on the team to their limits, Greg McCann, the head of Habitat ID and a team member, said, clearly relishing the adventure to an undisclosed area they call Hadabaun Hills.

The plateau, called Dolok Silang Liyang in the ethnic Batak language, means the mountain where the wind rustles the leaves of the trees, he continues. What we found there was a wet and misty world of mosses, lichens, and liverworts, of fallen trees and rotten logs and eerie silence. Sometimes we would fall up to our waists into bog-like earth of organic matter.

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A Sumatran tiger caught on camera trap in Hadabuan Hills. There are only a few hundred Sumatran tigers left on Earth. Photograph: Habitat ID

The team found that this remote area is especially important for Sumatras wild predators. In addition to tigers and clouded leopards, they recorded golden cats and marble cats.

The single game trail that rings the 1,300-meter plateau seems to have been formed almost purely by the heavy footpads of tigers and also those of sun bears and golden cats, says McCann.

McCann who headed the expedition along with tiger expert and local conservationist, Haray Sam Munthe, said they believe there might be 20-25 tigers in the region.

The
The team climbs treacherous terrain. Photograph: Arky

The Sumatran tiger is listed as critically endangered and is believed to have a global population of less than 600. But that estimate is eight years old and recent years havent been good to Sumatran tiger as there are continual records of poaching and ongoing habitat destruction.

Considering the perilous state of the Sumatran tiger today, as well as that of many other wild cats, the photographic evidence obtained by these camera traps set up in an ecosystem that has no official status should constitute a major discovery, McCann said.

Few places have changed more radically in the last few decades than Sumatra. Half the island lowland forest has been lost, largely due to ever-expanding oil palm and pulp-and-paper plantations. Meanwhile, its species are declining to near-extinction levels. The Sumatran rhino only survives in a few tiny populations that, in total, numbers anywhere from 30 to 100 animals. In recent years, the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran elephant and the Sumatran orangutan have all been uplisted to critically endangered.

The newly-uncovered Tapanuli orangutan is also desperately close to extinction. Experts estimate there are fewer than 800 left. Given this, a hidden population in Hadabaun would be very welcome news.

Julia Mrchen, an orangutan expert who accompanied the expedition, said the probability of orangutans in Hadabaun Hills was high. And she believes, if there, they probably belong to the newly described species though they may no longer be able to connect with the main population.

It is likely that during the increasing agricultural development and human encroachment of the past decades in North Sumatra, the fragmentation of forests have led to the isolation of a small portion of orangutans, she said.

Mrchen has spoken to two local individuals who have said theyve seen orangutans, heard their calls and spotted their nests.

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Two Malayan tapirs in one photo one of them is possibly pregnant. The Malayan tapir is listed as endangered. Photograph: Habitat ID

Hadabaun Hills home to at least seven other primates, seventy bird species (so far recorded) and ample fruit-bearing trees is also prime habitat for orangutans, albeit at upper limits of their elevation preferences, according to Mrchen.

To find out if orangutans are really there, Mrchen says they need funding for an orangutan-specific expedition, which would include following local people to areas where the great apes have allegedly been encountered.

The more time we have, the higher the chances to encounter them. I suggest a minimum of fourteen days, better to spend a month in the area, she said.

Yet, even as we study Sumatras great mammals, we know next to nothing about many of the islands smaller animals, such as Wegners glass lizard. Currently, Wegners glass lizard is listed as data deficient by the IUCN Red List, which means scientists dont have enough information to even determine if the species is at risk of extinction. But given that its only found in Sumatra and rarely encountered, its likely imperiled. This makes the discovery of this species on Hadabaun Hills all the more important.

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A two hour boat journey up river. McCann said it felt like something out of Apocalypse Now. Photograph: Arky

The team also photographed the Sumatran laughingthrush on the forest floor a rare behavior for this endangered species.

However remote, there are few if any areas left in Sumatra untrodden by poachers. During their expedition the team came on a poachers camp. They also photographed hunting dogs on their camera traps.

Unlike many conservation groups, Habitat ID is largely self-funded and operates on next-to-nothing. But McCann, a professor who lives in Taiwan, has long had a passion for unexplored places in Asia. Hes conducted similar camera trap surveys in Virachey National Park Cambodia, where he found elephants, Sunda pangolins and dholes all in a protected area abandoned by bigger conservation groups.

I rely greatly on the generosity of people who I have never met and who have never been to the places where I work but who have a curiosity about these places and this planet, says McCann, who depends partially on crowdfunding to keep the camera trapping and expeditions going.

McCann is returning to Hadabaun Hills at the end of the month to check the cameras and set new ones. He hopes for photos of a tiger with cubs or a tapir with babies something that could rally the government to turn this place into a protected area. Habitat ID is also working the with the People Resources and Conservation Foundation to reach out to local people in the area, remove snares and stop further encroachment by the palm oil industry.

There are few places like this remaining in Southeast Asia, says McCann, places where the rarest of rare species still lurk and prowl in secret retreats that only the craziest of explorers would try to reach.

With Sniffs and Licks, Petzbe Makes Social Media Nice Again

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The CEO of Petzbe, a social networking platform that launched on the App Store last week, is a Brussels Griffon named Angus. Angus can often be found adorned in a stylish jean vest gazing stoically into the distance or, at times, yawning. According to his Petzbe bio, Angus is a “lover of the finer things in life. Peculiar in looks and personality. Extremely loving but with a healthy understanding of [his] human’s shortcomings.” Petzbe is like Instagram, but with a strict “No Humans Allowed” policy. The feed is a stream of cat and dog photos featuring captions and comments in the voices of the pets. On Petzbe, you don't just post about your cat. You become your cat.

The free app is available on iOS. Create an account for Fluffy—username, bio, the whole nine yards—and then you’re free to roam a world of pets. You’ve got your profile, which you can access by clicking the paw print in the bottom right corner. To the left of the paw print, click the cat-dog icon to browse pets categorized by breed. Or click the bone icon to search topics like Fashion and Petzbe Portraits. Instead of “following” pages and “liking” posts, encouragement is offered in “sniffs” and “licks.”

Petzbe

Pet accounts have been floating around social media platforms for a while—some to great success. Dogs like Jiff, a Pomeranian that looks like a teddy bear, and Marnie, a Shih Tzu with a permanently dazed expression, command social media followings well into the millions. What's the big difference? While those pets hold their own among all the other posts on Instagram, Petzbe lets you enter a world where the only #selfies you’ll see are of cats and dogs. Remember? No humans allowed.

Since launching last week, the app has amassed more than 2,000 users. To keep them on the same page, the app includes a feed with the latest Petzbe news (Roofis is a dad!) and encouraging frequent user challenges. The latest was Petzbe’s “Lend a Paw” challenge: For each photo users posted showing a paw, Petzbe donated $1 to animal rescue centers, resulting in a total of $1,000 to the ASPCA. For now, Petzbe is small enough that it can afford to pay this out of pocket. As Petzbe expands, the app's creators hope to partner with animal rescue centers to keep similar challenges alive.

Other challenges, like a prompt to describe "How I Met My Human," have also sparked interest. Scrolling through the responses, it's hard to separate the personified pets from the people using the app. As pets, though, one thing stands out: People are really, really nice.

Andrea Nerep, Petzbe’s creator and the owner of Angus, had this in mind when she launched the app. Growing up in Sweden with a mother who ran a dog hotel, Nerep has been observing pet-human behavior since she was a kid. When she moved to New York City from Stockholm four years ago, she was aware that New Yorkers aren't particularly known for their friendliness. But something changed when Angus was by her side. People were nice. She connected with strangers she otherwise wouldn't have spoken to. If you've ever interacted with people and their pets—on the sidewalk, at a party, even at the office—you can probably relate. People love their pets and love talking about their pets. And those conversations tend to be nicer than, say, sports or politics. You’d be hard pressed to find a conversation about Angus’ fetching habits go awry.

Petzbe

Nerep began working on an app that would bring out the kind of empathetic interactions she experienced during her dog walks. If it provided a space to archive her 1,000 photos of Angus, even better. Petzbe's “No Humans Allowed” policy makes pet-owners more or less anonymous. Without knowledge of who the person attached to the account is, preconceptions around that person are wiped away, at least a little bit. “Social barriers are broken down,” says Nerep, as well as “social status, economic status, appearance. Nothing matters anymore.”

Stripped of their identity, some users on Petzbe can be vulnerable in ways they may not on other social media platforms. Last month, one user posted a photo of a dog with the caption: "So my mom just got dumped and I won’t be posting for a while. Trying to comfort her." Other "pets" chimed in with stories of their humans going through breakups, providing comfort that it would get better. Nerep has also seen users open up about mental illness on Petzbe. “What we all want is compassion from someone,” she says, “but it’s easier to talk about it from the pet’s perspective. It can be therapeutic in that way.”

It can also be really silly. Nerep recently came across a conversation between a few users on Petzbe about eating cat litter. "One is like, ‘Oh, I love poop.’ And another is like, ‘I eat cat sand too!’ And these are humans sitting [around] and telling each other that they love poop!” She laughed, relaying the story. "And then one dog tagged another dog like, 'Hey, this guy also loves poop!'"

Read more: http://www.wired.com/

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20 Photos That Prove Cats Turn Into Liquid When Comfortable

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Via: Sad and Useless