Posts tagged with "People magazine"

Photographer breaks ‘stoic’ cat stereotypes by snapping pics of them ‘crazy’ on catnip

February 14, 2024

Cats can look pretty wild when they’re on a catnip high—and photographer Andrew Marttila has spent the last six years capturing those crazy moments. “There’s saliva and catnip everywhere,” 37-year-old Martilla says, according to a report by People.

In 2018, Marttila was playing around with his camera, experimenting with flash photography. “You can capture really interesting bizarre things,” he says. On a whim, he gave a bit of catnip to his 13-year-old Bengal cat, Haroun, “to see what his reaction [would be] and try to capture whatever [happened].”

“I had no idea what I would get. And the result was something really, really incredible and strange and sparked the interest of a lot of people around the world,” Marttila says. The images launched a series of photographs about cats high on catnip that has been turned into a book, an annual calendar, and more.

Marttila says he loves showing cats’ funny, silly sides. “I think there’s a misunderstanding that cats are aloof or very stoic, and it’s only in recent years that the silliness of cats has started to become more prevalent and prominent in pop culture,” he shares. “And I love exploring that side. I love showing cats sort of just enjoying themselves. I like just showing them funny and out of the norm.”

The flash photography allows him to “freeze these little moments” that “the human eye is not able to see,” he adds. “It’s a different window into their lived experience, especially when they’re high. You’re able to get an insight into just how crazy they do get on catnip.”

When he arrives at a photo shoot, he usually brings five varieties of catnip with him. “I’ll put catnip on a table or on the ground and have the lighting set up to accommodate where I think they will have their little freak-out moment and then sort of just let them do their thing. And as they are going wild, I snap photos.”

Marttila says about 70% of cats respond to catnip—and every cat reacts very differently. “You never know what you’re going to get,” he shares. “I think it’s the sort of the surprise factor, especially when I’m taking the photos, even I don’t know what I’ve gotten until I go back and review the images because it happened so quickly.”

For anyone worried the practice may be inhumane, Marttila—who also runs the Orphan Kitten Club rescue in San Diego with wife, Hannah Shaw —assuages those fears. “One comment that I get a lot when these pictures are on bigger publications is, ‘This is damaging to the cats. Why are we creating drug addicts in our cats?’ And it’s ignorance. It’s really not understanding what catnip does. And it is a very fast acting type of chemical. It is completely natural. There’s no chance of them becoming dependent on catnip,” he says.

Marttila also encourages people to try it at home. “I highly recommend giving a little bit or a lot of it to your cat just to see what their reaction is. Most of the time it will be an extremely positive experience for you and your cat. The daily life of a cat can … be just indoors in an apartment somewhere, and this can give them a little bit of a reprieve from the monotony of their daily existence.”

Research contact: @people

British man and American woman, both 100, have been pen pals since 1938: ‘She’s always been there’

December 6, 2022

Friends for life: Although there has almost always been a pond between them, Geoff Banks, who is from England, and Celesta Byrne, who is from the United States, have been writing to each other since 1938, according to SWNS.

According to a report by People magazine, “I honestly struggle to remember how we got in touch, but I was talking to Celesta recently and I think it was something to do with an American school’s scheme,” Banks, a former engineer, explains. “They matched us up with Americans for a pen pal relationship, and somehow I ended up with this letter from an American girl, and we just kept corresponding ever since,” he added.

But, after decades of sending letters overseas, the pair—who both turned 100 this year—now rely on emails and Zoom calls.

“Now of course she is partially sighted, so I correspond mainly by email,” Banks says. “Email is much easier for me these days, too, because I can’t write very well anymore.”

Video chatting is an even newer development.,”I have this new thing called Zoom, I think, now to chat with her, but I leave all the technology to younger people. They’re much better at pressing all the buttons,” he remarks.

One thing that’s never changed over the years is their unique bond.”She’s a very interesting person,” Banks told the BBC. “We exchange stories and she’s very good to talk to.”

He added, “Celeste has had a number of children and unfortunately lost one recently, so we chat about family too.”

However, there is one topic that’s off limits. “We don’t discuss the football,” he said.

As for whether there was ever any spark between the pair, Byrne, who lived in New Jersey but has since moved to Texas to be near her family, shut down any questions of romance. “No, we’re just friends, like people who live next door,” she told the BBC. “You ask how they’re doing, you say a few words and then you both go to work.”

Although they’ve only met in person two times—first in 2002 during a trip to New York and then again two years later—Banks says that his friendship with Byrne has always been something he can depend on—even when WWII made writing to each other difficult.

“She’s always been there to write to, even if it was just birthday cards and Christmas cards,” he told SWNS.

Speaking with the BBC he noted that it’s been a “source of great satisfaction to write to her for over all these years.”

Research contact: @people

Britain’s Queen Consort Camilla joins children for a very special Paddington Bear tea party

November 25, 2022

Britain’s Queen Consort Camilla joined children at a kindergarten in east London on Thursday, November 24—also known as Thanksgiving Day in America—to pass on some special Paddington Bear love, reports People magazine.

She helped distribute some of the hundreds of Paddington Bears and other cuddly toys left near royal residences by mourners in the wake of Queen Elizabeth‘s death in September. After being gathered up among the flowers and other tributes, they were washed and given to Barnardo’s children’s charity, and she went to one of their nurseries to see the handover.

Joining the party were the stars of the movie, Hugh Bonneville and Madeleine Harris (Mr. Brown and Judy Brown, respectively) and Karen Jankel, the daughter of Paddington author Michael Bond, for whom the original stories were written. Bonneville read the story Paddington Takes a Bathto the children.

The teddy bears became a touching symbol for Queen Elizabeth following her death, which came just a few months after she appeared in a comedy sketch alngside the animated bear during her Platinum Jubilee in June.

The bears were delivered to the venue in Bow, east London, in a fleet of electric taxi cabs, led by Camilla. They were carried in by the boxful.

As Camilla left the party, she pronounced to waiting reporters that the bears were “all gone.”

It came after a busy few days for Camilla, who helped host the President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa for her and King Charles III‘s first state visit of the new reign. The first day ended with a dazzling state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Ahead of the event, the palace released a set of charming images of the bears having the run of the palace and Clarence House, where Camilla lives with King Charles III. The teddies were shown sliding down the grand staircase banister and lounging on the velvet-covered chairs.

Research contact: @people

Baby rescue beaver who bickers with roomie builds indoor dam to keep other animal out

November 11, 2022

A rescue baby beaver in Massachusetts is making it clear to her caretakers that she wants to live solo, reports People Magazine.

The baby beaver, named Nibi, lives in a habitat at Newhouse Wildlife Rescue in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. After being nice to her new roommate, Ziibi—another baby beaver to whom Nibi has taken a dislike—Nibi was rewarded with alone time in their shared habitat. However, while enjoying her hour-long me-time, Nibi went to great and hilarious lengths to keep her new roomie from returning.

She “immediately started building a dam at the door where her roommate exited…you know…in case Ziibi tries to come back inside…,” the rescue center wrote on Facebook alongside a video of Nibi crafting her obstacle.

At the time of Nibi’s construction project, Ziibi was playing in the semi-aquatic enclosure, the rescue added.

In a video clip, Nibi gathers sticks and places them in her room’s doorway, alongside other branches that she likely set down before filming started. She then trots away, grabs one stick she left behind, and adds it with others.The video ends with Nibi hopping away from the entrance, possibly looking for more branches.

Speaking to San Antonio’s KENS5,  Newhouse founder Jane Newhouse said beavers like Nibi develop dam-building instincts at a young age. “It’s so ingrained in them they’ll take anything,” she said.

In the end, Nibi’s dam didn’t keep Ziibi from returning to the habitat, so the two beavers are back to living together and working on getting along, Newhouse Wildlife Rescue shared on Facebook.

“Ziibi wants to be friends so bad,” the rescue center wrote with the video, adding, “But Nibi is a brat.”

Nibi goes as far as trying to reach through her cage to push Ziibi, “But Ziibi knows she is safe. Ziibi just likes being close to her,” the facility continued.

“Ziibi may also enjoy aggravating Nibi. She could move, but she chooses not to. We have our hands full with these two.”

Research contact: @people

Capuchin monkey sparks police alert after calling 911 from cellphone

September 2, 2022

Talk about monkey business! On Saturday evening, August 13, the San Luis Obispo County, California, Sheriff’s Office followed up on a 911 call—only to discover that it was all the work of an inquisitive capuchin monkey called Route, reports People magazine.

“We received a 911 call that … disconnected,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post on the following Monday. “Dispatchers tried to call and text back but they received no response.”

Deputies sent to check on the call later found themselves at the Zoo to You Conservation Ambassadors in Paso Robles. Upon investigation, however, it seemed like no one had placed the call. “Was someone trying to make us look like a monkey’s uncle?” the Sheriff’s Office joked Monday.

After speaking to Zoo to You staff, the authorities finally found the culprit. “They all realized … it must have been Route the Capuchin monkey,” the Sheriff’s Office added, noting the Route probably picked up the cellphone from a zoo golf cart and started randomly pushing buttons.

“We’re told Capuchin monkeys are very inquisitive and will grab anything and everything and just start pushing buttons,” the Sheriff’s Office continued. “And that’s what Route did … just so happened it was in the right combination of numbers to call us.”

Alongside the story, the Sheriff’s Office also shared two photos of little Route. “As you can tell from these photos, Route is a little embarrassed by the whole thing,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote. “But you can’t really blame her, after all monkey see, monkey do.”

Zoo to You confirmed the news on their own social media, writing “Route made national news!”

“While we wish it was for something a little more ‘conservation education’ based, let this serve as an educational lesson that monkeys are NOT animals that should be kept as pets!” Zoo to You added. “They’re so inquisitive you never know what might happen!”

Research contact: @people

WWII vet who escaped Nazis finally gets Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal nearly 80 years later

July 5, 2022

For nearly 80 years, World War II veteran and D-Day survivor William “Willie” Kellerman hadn’t received official recognition of his sacrifices due to a paperwork error. All that changed on Tuesday, June 29, when the 97-year-old was presented with a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Prisoner of War Medal by General James C. McConville, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, at Fort Hamilton Community Club in Brooklyn, New York, reports People magazine.

“I feel like I have been living in a shadow and I’ve turned the lights on,” Kellerman tells People. “I will never forget the experience I had back in 1945.”

After growing up in the Bronx during the Great Depression, 19-year-old Kellerman ended up on a war ship off the shores of Normandy on June 6, 1944, which became known as D-Day. Within days, he landed on Utah Beach, France, joining the fight against the Nazis.

Just a few weeks later, on July 4, Kellerman’s radio was shot while he faced heavy gunfire. With no way to communicate, his captain sent him to find his Battalion’s headquarters.

“I said, ‘Where do I go?” recalls Kellerman, a private first class at the time, “and he just said, ‘Just head that way.'”

But as he was jumping through hedgerows and dodging bullets, Kellerman came face-to-face with a German tank and was taken prisoner.

“They came out of the tank with machine guns,” says Kellerman, who had to stay with the Nazis in a tent that night. “The next day they took me back where they had about 60 to 70 other Americans that they had gotten.”

Kellerman recalls being given one slice of bread a day and only being able to walk at night. “Our planes would shoot a

Above, William Kellerman. (Photo source: U.S. Army)

nything moving in the daylight,” he explains.

Thankfully, he managed a daring escape: “I crawled into the bushes, and when they were out of sight, I ran in the opposite direction,” he says. “I got to a farmhouse, and it was becoming daylight.”

Kellerman says he knocked on the door and tried to explain that he was an American who had escaped, but the residents didn’t speak English.

“They gave me all their French clothes and took my uniform and burned it,” he recalls.

They wouldn’t let him stay because they could all be killed if the Germans found them, so he took off on foot and walked along the railroad tracks, Kellerman recalls. “Then I got brave,” he says of moving from the tracks to the road.

Kellerman felt that he was getting “braver and braver” as he passed the Germans and began to stop at houses for food. After finding a bike along the side of the road and getting a flat tire, he visited what he thought was a bicycle store. But to his surprise, it was actually the secret headquarters of the French Resistance.

“It’s a good thing I knew who won the World Series that year because they asked me all kinds of questions to make sure I wasn’t German,” he says. “I convinced them I was who I said I was.” They kept him hidden in the Freteval Forest, where he stayed until Allied forces took over, he recalls.

“I finished the war with them,” says Kellerman, who was shot in the leg and hand when he fought alongside Allied forces.

Kellerman says he recovered at a hospital in Bayreuth, Germany before returning home from the war. He’d go on to attend art school in New York City and live in Havana before settling down with his wife Sandy in Long Island, New York. Together they raised three children as he opened and ran a series of stores offering sewing machines, vacuum cleaners. and typewriters.

He wouldn’t return to Normandy until 2018. This time, his family joined him as he received France’s Legion of Honor. “It felt great to be back because they weren’t shooting at me,” says Kellerman, laughing. “They welcomed me, asked for my autograph and gave me a medal.”

But even after that, Kellerman doubted that recognition from his own country would ever come. For years, Kellerman and his daughter, Jean Kellerman-Powers, had been trying to get the U.S. Army to look at his service record, they tell People. The 2019 short documentary about D-Day, Sixth of June, finally made it happen.

Filmmaker Henry Roosevelt showed an early cut to Lieutenant Colonel Egan O’Reilly and General Mark Milley (now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer), and began the process to get Kellerman and other veterans the medals they deserved.

“The best thing to come out of our film is the audience that watched, listened and acted upon it,” says Roosevelt. “That piece of medal and ribbon—one that Willy and his daughter Jeanie have been pushing for decades—that means the world to him and his family. It means that William Kellerman is finally being heard.”

The film also led to Ozzie Fletcher, a 99-year-old Black man who served in WWII, receiving a Purple Heart in June 2021. Fletcher was wounded during the Battle of Normandy, but had been denied the Purple Heart due to racial inequalities.

Research contact: @people

Mane event: White lion at China zoo struts unique mullet-like mane that he styles himself

June 8, 2022

A zoogoer in China recently photographed a white lion rocking a wild hairdo—and the eye-catching look has gone viral, reports People.

Newsweek, was the first to pick up the photo, taken during a May 28 visit to the Guangzhou Zoo. In it, the male lion has a mane that looks like a mullet hairstyle, featuring short bangs in the front and long voluminous pieces of fur falling down the back.

The photos originated from a zoo visitor’s Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) before spreading across the Internet.

The Guangzhou Zoo denies it styles the white lion’s amazing mane. According to Newsweek, the zoo told the Chinese news outlet Guangdong that the animal’s hairstyle was “taken care of” by the lion himself and that keepers wouldn’t “dare” try to manage the big cat’s mane.

In its statement to Guangdong, the zoo added that the lion’s hairdo is accentuated by the humidity in the area.

Research contact: @people

‘Fuzz cut’: Toddler is diagnosed with rare uncombable hair syndrome

February 28, 2022

A couple from Roswell, Georgia, recently told People magazine about their “brush with fate.”

When Katelyn and Caleb Samples celebrated the birth of their second child just 16 months ago, baby Locklan arrived with jet-black hair similar to his mom’s color. But by the time he was six months old, that dark hair was being replaced by what his parents affectionally called “peach fuzz.”

“We were like, huh, what is this?” she tells People of Locklan’s (nicknamed Lock) newly-blond, soft hair. “We knew it was different, but didn’t know exactly how. And then it kept growing and growing.”

By nine months, Lock’s hair was white-blonde, super soft and sticking straight up out of his head. It matched his 3-year-old brother Shep’s hair in color, but could not be more different in texture.

“People we’re definitely noticing it,” Katelyn, 33, says with a laugh. That’s also when she got a message on Instagram from a stranger who asked if Lock had been diagnosed with “uncombable hair syndrome.”

“I was like, oh my god, what is this? Is something wrong with my baby?” she says. “I went into tailspins on Google.”

Katelyn called their pediatrician, who said they had never heard of the syndrome and directed her to a specialist at nearby Emory University Hospital.

“We went to see her and she said she’d only seen this once in 19 years,” Katelyn recalls. “She didn’t think it was uncombable hair syndrome, because of how rare it is, but they took samples and a pathologist looked at it under a special microscope.”

And after looking at the structure of Lock’s hair, they were able to confirm that, indeed, it was uncombable hair syndrome—an extremely rare condition that causes the hair to grow with a very soft and easily breakable texture. Lock is one of just 100 known cases of the condition.

Hearing that Lock had this syndrome was a shock at first. “You’re just going about your day thinking everything’s fine and that your kid might have curly hair, which does run in the family. And then to hear that there’s a rare syndrome associated with your kid — it was crazy,” Katelyn says.

Thankfully, the syndrome only seems to affect Lock’s hair. “They said because he was developing normally in every other area of his life, that we didn’t need to be worried about anything else being a concern,” she says.

Katelyn tried to learn more about the syndrome, but with so few cases, there’s very little information online or among specialists. She did, though, find a Facebook group of parents of kids with the syndrome or people who have it themselves.

“That’s been a great source of comfort, and we share pictures and talk about different things,” she says. “It’s cool to see how the older kids’ hair has changed over the years: For some people it does not go away, and for others it becomes a little bit more manageable.”

Research contact: @people

Hen party: U.K. pig befriends rescue chicken who loves to give him back scratches

February 22, 2022

A giant pig that lives in a house has a new best friend—a hen that had to be moved indoors due to an avian flu lockdown, reports People magazine.

Both animals currently live at Tribe Animal Sanctuary in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Vietnamese potbellied pig Francisco, 4, moved to the U.K. rescue habitat after his former owner—a teenage girl who got the pet for her birthday—could no longer care for him after he grew beyond his supposed “micropig” size.

Morag Sangster, who runs Tribe Animal Sanctuary, lets him run the house along with her four dogs, as reported by SWNS.

Alice the hen arrived at the sanctuary after Sangster rescued her from life on a battery farm used for fast food production. Then, last November, Alice moved from the sancutary’s outdoor area to the inside of the conservatory, in order to avoid an outbreak of avian flu. Alice’s lockdown forced the chicken to live with Francisco. Luckily, the hen and pig became unlikely best friends.

Alice quickly became one of Francisco’s favorites thanks to her pig backscratches, which she conducts by standing on the swine and stretching her claws.”I think all pigs love to have scratches on their back Sanagster told SWNS, adding, “Alice will jump on Francisco’s back, and you can tell he likes it.”

The two-year-old hen will eventually be allowed to move back outside, but Stranger believes that she will choose to spend her time indoors to be near Francisco.

However, one way or another, neither of them will be at a loss for company: Tattoo artist Sangster and her partner John Ryan also have four Highland cows, seven pigs, 50 sheep, three donkeys, seven goats, five geese, five turkeys, and 60 hens under their care.

“We like to see animals as fun-loving creatures, there’s no difference between pets and livestock,” Sangster said of her full house.

Research contact: @people

‘Lookin’ sharp, kid!’ Baby porcupine born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

January 26, 2022

Smithsonian’s National Zoo has welcomed a new member—a baby porcupine!

During a winter snowstorm, the quill-covered rodent arrived overnight between January 3 and January 4; and keepers discovered the newborn the next morning, People magazine reports.

The unnamed animal is the second offspring of porcupine parents Quillbur and Beatrix. The porcupine joins big brother Quilliam, who was born in 2019.

In a Facebook post on January 19, the Washington D.C. zoo said, “Lookin’ sharp, kid! Prehensile-tailed porcupines Beatrix and Quillbur recently welcomed their second offspring. Small Mammal House keepers reported for duty Januuary 4 and discovered Beatrix had given birth overnight.”

The zoo also revealed that the now two-week-old porcupine is “bonded with mom and is nursing well and gaining weight.”

The sex of the porcupette—a term for a baby porcupine—has yet to be determined. According to the zoo’s post, all baby porcupines are anatomically similar until they reach six months, so the zoo is using DNA testing to discover the young animal’s sex.

“Keepers sent quill samples to scientists at the Zoo’s Center for Conservation Genomics for DNA analysis,” the zoo shared in its social media post. “In a few weeks, we’ll know our porcupette’s sex!”

Zookeepers also are waiting to learn more about the new porcupine’s personality.

“Our team is looking forward to learning if the newborn will take after Beatrix, who is relaxed and easy-going, or be more active and curious like Quillbur!” the zoo added on Facebook.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines—one of 18 species of New World porcupines —are born with soft quills that harden minutes after birth. They can climb trees and are herbivores, according to the zoo.

Research contact: @people