More

Remember how much you cared about endangered animals when you were a kid? We've got some news...

Sometimes it can seem like the government can't do a thing whether they pass a law or not, but that's not always the case!

In the '60s and '70s, Congress passed a set of laws to get endangered animals OFF the endangered list. Guess what? It worked!

So, let's reflect on the progress we've made in 40+ years! Especially when that progress can be shown via adorable (and, when possible, baby) animals.


What still exists thanks to laws? Well...

1. Bald eagles

In 1962, there were only a little more than 400 eagles left (?!?!). This was because DDT (a chemical used to control pests) was thinning their eggshells, their wetland habitats were disappearing, and people were actually hunting them (holy moly).

But we've come a long way, baby! DDT was eventually banned, and a lot was done to protect the eagles in their natural habitat. In 2007, the American bald eagle was *removed* from the endangered species list ... meaning over 11,000 were counted zipping majestically through the clouds!

Not cute enough yet?

p.s. Did you know a baby eagle is called an eaglet?

"Thank you for saving me, and let freedom ring! I hope to grow up to inspire millions and be in commercials maybe." — Baby Bald Eagle

If you want more info, you can read up on all the details at this site by the Center for Biological Diversity.

2. Grizzly bears

While their natural homes were disappearing, grizzly bears were also being killed (again?) and having major problems with their food chain. By 1975, there were just over 1,000 bears total — down from 50,000 grizzlies in the 1880s! But, thanks to the Endangered Species Act, they were eventually removed from the endangered species list in 2010.

"Don't mess with my mom, and tell Stephen Colbert I say hiiiii." — Baby Grizzly Bear, who's so hip she knows that Stephen Colbert doesn't trust bears

For more info on how it all happened, here's a link.

UPDATE: While grizzlies are off the endangered list, they are still extremely threatened. We found this out because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service emailed us about it! There are some interesting complexities related to the Yellowstone population, but FWS says all grizzlies in the lower 48 states retain threatened status at this time (check out information on recovery areas from the FWS). You can see the official status of the grizzly bear (and any other federally listed species) by searching the FWS Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS). Stay vigilant!

3. American alligator

People were hunting them AND their habitats were disappearing (notice a theme yet?), but when they were put on the endangered species list in 1967, things started improving. For example, with Florida alligators, the population went from just 350 in 1975 to 2,085 as of 2005.

"Hello, friend. I'm glad you're OK." — Me, talking to this tiny baby alligator

Here's a bit more info on alligator numbers.

4. Utah prairie dog

Livestock and agriculture were getting in the way (and actively poisoning) these pesky yet adorable lil' guys. Not to be * dramatic*, but the population was down to just over 3,000 in 1972! As of 2010, it's back up to over 11,000.

Teeny hands! Weird nails!

"DUN DUN DUNnnnn" — Dramatic Prairie Dog

All the prairie dog details you can handle here.

*BONUS NON-ANIMAL FLORA RESCUE*

5. Tennessee coneflower

Residential and recreational development were threatening this naturally rare (it only lives in cedar glades) wildflower's life! But they're back, and ain't they pretty!

Check out the natural beauty of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains webcam, where many of these flowers live. Sometimes I look at it and feel calmed by the majesty of nature.

More info on the dangerous life of the Tennessee coneflower here.

Now, I know many of you — myself included — might say to yourselves, "Who cares about a flower or a pesky prairie dog? There are much HUGER PROBLEMS happening!"

But that's the thing — seeing that Congress was able to pass an act and work together with states and local government gives me hope.

If we can save a flower or a baby alligator, we can save ... America!

Why not? I know it's cheesy, but it makes me feel better.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

Keep Reading Show less

Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

Keep Reading Show less