9 awesome pictures of animals enjoying their natural habitats in 2015.

The Wildlife Conservation Society just released their favorite animal photos of the year.

The WCS is an organization dedicated to conserving the world's largest "wild places" and promoting biodiversity. They do some amazing stuff, not the least of which is taking amazing photos of wildlife from around the world.

So, as you can imagine, their top photos of 2015 from global conservation programs are pretty great:


1. This tiny lizard.

Photo by Felx Ratelolahy/WCS.

It's called a Fito leaf chameleon and it's one of the many species found exclusively on the island of Madagascar. It's also adorably tiny. Or maybe that's just a gigantic finger.

2. This baby elephant.

Photo by Dept. of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and WCS Thailand Program.

Everyone loves baby elephants. They look like adult elephants but smaller! Plus they're clumsy and they can fly. Right? Baby elephants can fly? Am I getting that right, or did Disney lie to me again?

3. This trespassing leopard.

Photo by WCS-India/Himachal Pradesh Forest Department.

"Hey honey? I'm thinking this year we should finish building that fence. Just because of ... you know ... the LEOPARDS!"

4. This glorious snow leopard.

Photo by WCS Afghanistan.

"This is my rock. There are many like it but this one is mine. My face is itchy."

5. This funny-looking tapir.

Photo by WCS Ecuador Program.

Actually it's a normal looking tapir. This is what they look like. Stop laughing. Seriously stop. It's rude.

6. This puma who is just chillin'.

Photo by WCS Ecuador Program.

Don't you just hate it when someone takes a picture of you right as you're about to sneeze?

7. This armadillo on the prowl.

Photo by WCS Ecuador Program.

Armadillos are also the winner of 2015's Pokemon Lookalike Contest ... which is a thing I just made up. But, yay, congrats to them.

8. This jaguar in a tree.

Photo by Carlos Durican/WCS Brazil.

You little rascal, get down from there! Wait no ... don't ... never mind ... get back up there. Oh god, grab the camera! RUN!

9. This brand new species of frog.

Photo by Mileniusz Spanowicz WCS

This little guy was just discovered earlier this year in Bolivia! Apparently he had been hiding right behind scientists for years, hopping to the other side just as they turned around.

Pictures like this remind us of the importance of conserving wildlife.

They're cute and fascinating, but they also show that there's a wide variety of creatures out there sharing the planet with us. That's easy to forget.

Most of the animals featured are either threatened or endangered, and organizations like the Wildlife Conservation Society work to save not only the animals, but also the environments in which they live.

These photos are from all over the world and were taken in the wild. Which shows that WCS is pretty amazing at what they do.

For more information on the Wildlife Conservation Society, visit their website.

And to show them a little extra love this holiday season, check out their support page.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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