(Pink flamingos at night in the city of Mumbai, India after the birds traveled a long distance to the city rather than migrating to feed while everyone was on lockdown. Photo Hindustan Times, via Getty Images.)
It’s been another rough week. I don’t know about you, but I needed some uplifting news from the last few days to help get me out of my coronafunk. Here are some of my favorite stories I came across while I was trying to better my mood and I wanted to share them with you to lift your spirits as well. Here’s to those who are working so hard to help others and to the animals who seem to have gotten a well-deserved free for all in the big cities during our human timeout. Be well and hang in there.
Tina Fey Cries…in a Good Way
Tina Fey hosted a “Rise Up New York” virtual telethon with the help of a few celebrity guests for New Yorkers whose lives have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. Both Fey and iHeartMedia joined together to raise the funds for Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization.
One hundred percent of the donations raised will go directly to organizations working on the front lines to provide food, shelter, cash assistance, health and mental health, legal services, education, and other supportive resources to the New York area. The goal is to help assist fellow New Yorkers to rebuild their lives post COVID-19 economic shutdown.
Some of New York’s most beloved entertainers assisted with the effort including Robert DeNiro, who opened the online special by saying that although the city has been under attack before, the COVID-19 virus “can take its best shot, but it cannot break our spirit.” Barbara Streisand also joined in to help raise money by doing a theater review and sports stars Michael Strahan and Eli Manning announced a contest to win a game of touch football with the New York Giants. There were also live performances from Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey and Sting. (click the underlined links to watch.)
All of this is wonderful and should give you many feels, but the best part came at the end of the telethon when Tina Fey was describing all of those who had helped by donating their time and money. She read the total amount raised live, which was unknown to her until that moment, and when she realized the total was $155 million dollars, she became overwhelmed and began to cry. Her reaction sums up the entire effort perfectly. You can watch below:
Once in a Lifetime Baby Whale Interaction
A wild baby gray whale swam up to a tourist whale-watching boat to get close to one of the passengers near a whale breeding ground in Ojo de Liebre, Baja, California this week. Sofia Isaac recorded the extremely rare moment when an inquisitive calf swam up to a passenger boat to say ‘hello’ and let one of the people on board pet it. The playful baby whale appeared to enjoy the attention and the woman filming the event said the whale mother “was behind the baby at all times protecting him” but watching. You can watch the stunning moment below:
Baby Rhino Cam
Due to subsequent zoo closings from the coronavirus, many zoos have been launching virtual tours so that people can still access the animals. The Denver Zoo just launched its baby rhino cam and the results are pretty adorable. The rhino calf, named Joona, can be seen now every day as she spends time with her much larger mom, Tensing, in their baby-proofed bedroom enclosure.
(Joona, the new baby rhino in her special habitat, via The Denver Zoo.)
According to experts, taking breaks to watch animals while working from home is not only great for your state of mind, but it may also help you become a more productive worker. According to Travel + Leisure, scientists at Hiroshima University in Japan conducted three experiments in 2012 with 132 university students to better understand the human response to adorable animal images. “The team concluded, taking a beak and looking at cute animal images may actually improve someone’s work performance on detail-oriented tasks.”
Denver Zoo workers say the baby is “spending more and more time outside now…that it’s warmer,” and so they are urging people to check back soon on the cam if you don’t see her right away. You can watch an adorable compilation of the baby rhino here:
Flamingos Take Over Mumbai During Lockdown
The natural migration period for flamingos is from March to October, but nearly 150,000 flamingos have made the long journey to Mumbai and taken over the city while humans remain on lockdown. A new report from The Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) notes that the flamingo migration population this year is 25 percent higher than at the same time last year.
(Sea of pink flamingo birds at night in the city of Mumbai, India. Photo Hindustan Times, via Getty Images.)
Deepak Apte, director of BNHS, tells the Hindustan Times, “A major reason for the large numbers is also the large flocks of juveniles moving to these sites, following the successful breeding documented two years ago. Additionally, the lockdown is giving these birds peace for roosting, no disturbance in their attempt to obtain food, and overall encouraging habitat.”
According to Rahul Khot, assistant director of BNHS, the flamingos might stay longer than usual this year due to the heavy rains and an increase in domestic sewage, which made food just a bit more bountiful for the birds. Khot says, “While there is a decline in industrial waste during the lockdown, the influx of domestic sewage is helping the undisturbed formation of planktons, algae and microbenthos formation, which forms the food for flamingos and other wetland birds.”
Although no one in Mumbai is able to go out to see the birds in person, everyone seems to be enjoying the natural show from balconies and are snapping photos of the sea of pink during the day and when the birds light up the lakes like twinkling lights at night. The videos are pretty spectacular and you can watch one here:
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