Elephants in sweaters are adorable. Until you realize why they have them.

In North India, winter temperatures are dropping to record lows, causing problems for crops, trains, and an ex-circus performer named Suzy.

Suzy is toothless, blind, and just one of 23 formerly abused elephants living at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura, India.

"The rescued elephants under rehabilitation at Wildlife SOS have been rescued from shocking circumstances," said Geeta Seshamani, the center's secretary and co-founder. "We aim to provide them with a safe habitat where they can live like elephants.


Suzy takes a walk with help from her seeing-eye humans. All photos via Wildlife SOS, used with permission.

Wildlife SOS knows how to deal with damage from poaching and captivity. But the threat of below-freezing weather? That's something new.

Despite their thick hides and massive size, elephants are still susceptible to the effects of cold weather. It's not a problem they usually encounter in their natural habitats, but, well, the effects of climate change are altering the places these animals call home.

According to Kartick Satyanarayan, Wildlife SOS's co-founder and CEO, cold weather can aggravate arthritis and other problems in even the most able-bodied elephants. For elephants like Suzy, it can be even worse. "It is important to keep our elephants protected from the bitter cold during this extreme winter, as they are weak and vulnerable having suffered so much abuse making them susceptible to ailments such as pneumonia," Satyanarayan said.

Humans have problems with the cold too. That's why we wear coats. So Satyanarayan and his team figured, why not do the same for elephants?

Thanks to a few women from the nearby village and one dedicated stitcher on staff, Suzy and the other elephants at Wildlife SOS will each have their own tarpaulin cloaks to help keep them warm through the chilly winter, while also protecting them from rain and dew.

Here's Suzy showin' off her stuff:

"They really took to their jumpers!" Satyanarayan told the Daily Mail.

"I know in some countries it is a bit of a joke to wear the most outlandish one you can for Christmas. But the elephants care less about fashion and more about being warm."

Don't believe him? Just ask Lilly:

The elephant jumper project is still a work in progress while they figure out what's best for the animals.

"We want to come up with a solution to keep these animals warm, that’s all," explained Baiju Raj, director of conservation projects, in an interview with Scroll.In magazine.

For example, they tried to do a photoshoot with the elephants wearing the pachyderm equivalent of footie pajamas in hopes of raising money to continue their efforts and find the best approach for elephant outerwear. But according to Raj, "The pajamas made the elephants uncomfortable. They kicked them off after the shoot."

Photo by Roger Allen/Daily Mail, via Wildlife SOS, used with permission.

As delightful and adorable as these winter coats might look, it's important to remember they're just temporary solutions for bigger problems like poaching and climate change.

We can't undo damage done to the planet or the other animals that inhabit it. But it's good to know that we can still find solutions to protect the world and animals we have now. I'm sure that Suzy the elephant appreciates it more than we know

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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