Good News

Aztec palace’s remains uncovered off Mexico City’s main Zócalo plaza

The remains of an ancient Aztec palace have been discovered under a stately building in Mexico City. During renovations at the building off the capital’s central Zócalo plaza, workers found basalt slab floors.

The floors were part of an open space in the palace of Aztec ruler Axayácatl, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said.

The palace was also used as the home of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés after the fall of the Aztec empire. Excavators have found evidence of the home Cortés had at the palace site.

Archaeologists say it is likely to have reused materials from Axayácatl’s palace – which, like other sacred Aztec buildings, was razed by the Spanish conquistadors.

The Aztec ruins uncovered so far

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Horses rscued from Wellingborough flood water give birth

Two charities which helped in a rescue of 40 malnourished horses from “squalid conditions” in flood water say a number have given birth to foals. The Blue Cross took in 11 of the animals rescued from the Embankment in Wellingborough in February.

It said five of the horses had given birth, while World Horse Welfare said it also had pregnant mares who had since foaled.

Eve Williams, who campaigned for the rescue, said she was “ecstatic”.

The horses were rescued after the sight of the abandoned animals – three of which had died – caused an outcry.

A rescued horse and her foal


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A Once In A Lifetime Chance!

Stargazers have been urged to marvel at a newly discovered comet which is visible to the naked eye this month as it will not be coming back for another 6,800 years.

The mountain-sized Neowise comet made its closest approach to the sun on 3 July and is now shining brightly in the night skies.

PA news agency photographer Owen Humphreys captured images of the comet lined up with St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, at around 00:45 on Monday.

He said: “It was a lot brighter than I thought it would be, and you could see it clearly with the naked eye. The tail was visible, and there was the added bonus of the noctilucent or night-shining clouds.”

The comet and the lighthouse in Whitley Bay


Threatened mountain avens to be planted on Helvellyn

A threatened alpine flower is to be planted on a Lake District mountain, conservationists have said.

The mountain avens is classed as vulnerable to extinction in England and endangered in Wales, but is more widely found in Scotland.

Seeds from the Western Highlands are to be planted on the slopes of Helvellyn, according to the mountain’s managers the John Muir Trust.

Mountain avens - a white flower with a yellow centre


A man was surprised to discover robins nesting in his cars which had been used less frequently during the lockdown.

Charlie Talmadge, of Reepham, Norfolk, said he first became aware of a nest behind the grill of his Volvo when two robins were staring at him “intently”.

He said unknowingly he had been to the shops with the chicks in tow, but they were unharmed and eventually fledged.

Mr Talmadge, 60, has since discovered a second nest in the wheel arch of his wife’s car. “I couldn’t believe it happened the first time but to do both of the cars is quite unusual,” he said.

The robins nesting in the car


Stowaway hen lays an egg after 90 mile adventure

A hen found under an egg lorry after stowing away for 90 miles thanked rescuers by immediately laying an egg. Henrietta spent the journey wedged under the trailer which had come from Lincolnshire, the RSPCA said.

She was found “bedraggled” but unharmed at a factory in Hertfordshire after staging an escape reminiscent of cartoon film Chicken Run. Staff at the Borehamwood plant popped her in a box where she became “so comfortable she laid an egg”.

The hen was found in the egg delivery lorry on 18th June, but efforts to trace her owner have failed so the animal charity has found a home for Henrietta in Hertfordshire with Hilary Carlen, who has adopted other farm birds from the RSPCA.

Henrietta and Hilary Carlen

Beavers born in Essex ‘for first time since Middle Ages’

Beavers have been born in Essex for the first time since the Middle Ages, conservationists have said. The mammals had been hunted to extinction for their meat, fur and scent glands in the UK by the beginning of the 16th century but have since been reintroduced. A pair of Eurasian beavers were brought to the Spains Hall Estate in Finchingfield last year as part of a project to help reduce flood risk. They were the first to be brought to Essex in 400 years, and now they have had two babies – known as kits.

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A Eurasian beaver


Cheetah cubs go outside for the first time at Colchester Zoo

You might remember these four adorable young cheetahs from one of our email updates in April shortly after they were born at Colchester Zoo. The cubs have recently emerged from the den at the zoo and taken their first steps outside. The male cub has been named Colonel Tom in honour of Colonel Tom Moore, who raised money for the NHS during the lockdown. The three female cubs have been named Nova, Hope and Star, in honour of the NHS.

Video description: The four fluffy cubs enthusiastically explore the outdoor paddock of their habitat at the zoo, running across the grass and investigating everything!

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A Record-Breaking Stork!

Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo have thrown a celebratory party for one of their oldest residents, as  ‘Woolly’ the woolly-necked stork is officially recognised as the longest-living on record.

Woolly, who recently turned 32 years old, has surpassed the record for the oldest woolly-necked stork in any zoo, smashing the previously-recorded age of 30 years and 2 months – demonstrating the iconic Zoo’s exemplary veterinary expertise and animal care.

Woolly and a zookeeper wearing a party hat


Heroic Hotels!

Hotel staff have been hailed as unsung heroes after they refused to close during the coronavirus lockdowns so they could offer up their rooms to homeless people for free.

In a heartwarming show of gratitude, the guests have since begun doing odd-jobs around the hotel, including gardening, cleaning the rooms, and building new brick walls and patios.

More than 45 rough sleepers have been staying at upmarket Fownes Hotel in Worcester, since the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in March.


White Storks Have Hatched – The First Wild Chicks Born in England in 600 Years

The White Stork Project was delighted to announce last week that wild storks in West Sussex have hatched their very own babies – and it is believed to be the first time in England since the 1400s.

On a private estate used for stork conservation called the Knepp site, five eggs appeared in a nest high up in an oak tree. After 33 days of incubation, and much tending by the pair of storks, the first chick hatched on 6th May.

White storks in a tree


Deer rescued from sea by fisherman off Cornwall

A deer has been pulled from the sea off Cornwall by a passing fisherman. The roe deer managed to get itself in to trouble about a mile off the shore of Porthleven.

Skipper Jeremy Richards, who said he believed the animal had fallen from nearby cliffs, came to the rescue when he spotted a seal slowly moving in on the bewildered animal.

The deer has been safely released back in to woodland by the RSPCA.

The roe deer on the boat


Dogs Are Joining the Fight Against COVID-19 By Learning to Sniff Out the Virus

For years, dogs have been helping to keep humans safe by sniffing out narcotics, improvised explosive devices, pests, natural disasters, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

After recently collaborating to prove that our canine friends can be trained to detect malaria, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University aim to find out if dogs can be trained to detect coronavirus.


Caught on camera!

The deepest ever sighting of an octopus has been made by cameras on the Indian Ocean floor.

The animal was spotted 7,000m down in the Java Trench – almost 2km deeper than the previous reliable recording.

Researchers, who report the discovery in the journal Marine Biology, say it’s a species of “Dumbo” octopus.

The name is a nod to the prominent ear-like fins just above these animals’ eyes that make them look like the 1940s Disney cartoon character.

The octopus swimming in the Java Trench


Rescue of thousands of trapped salmon

Thousands of young salmon have been found trapped in a stretch of the Caledonian Canal.

The smolts were spotted because the water is so clear with no boat traffic due to lockdown restrictions.

The fish have been unable to find their way out of the canal and into the nearby River Ness, and then downstream to the sea, using what are called smolt passes, which were built in 1869.

Ness District Salmon Fishery Board is leading a rescue effort. It has asked Scottish Canals to “flush” the canal system between Dochgarroch and Muirtown in Inverness twice daily by opening large sluice gates on the lock gates. This allows the fish to swim downstream.

Salmon swimming in the water


Bionic Eye, As Sensitive as The Human Retina, May Give Sight to Millions

Almost as sensitive as real human eyes, a recent paper in Nature published the trials of a bionic eye developed by a team of robotics engineers that could restore sight to an estimated 285 million blind people.

Hypothesized to be available in 5 years the EC-EYE—short for ElectroChemical EYE—is inspired by the human retina, which is one of the most sensitive tissues we possess, providing up to 80% of all information about our surroundings.

Firefighter hand-rears orphaned wild bird chicks

A firefighter is hand-rearing three wild bird chicks after their mother was killed in an attack on their nest by a dog.

Inverness-based deputy assistant chief officer John Macdonald rescued the birds earlier this month.  Animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA gave Mr Macdonald advice on how to care for the chicks, which are believed to be blackbirds.

They were first fed with raw mince mixed with sugared water and have since moved on to a diet of live mealworms supplemented with blueberries and seed.


Rescue dog saves scores of koalas

An Australian Koolie dog who was abandoned by his family has been rescued and retrained to detect koalas.

Bear has been following the aftermath of Australia’s bushfires since January, finding sick, injured or starving koalas that otherwise would have perished. He has now found more than 100.

Video description: Bear runs through the forest and sits beside a tree containing an injured koala, alerting the rescue team to its presence.


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Roman mosaic floor found under Italian vineyard

A Roman mosaic floor has been discovered under a vineyard in northern Italy after decades of searching. Surveyors in the commune of Negrar di Valpolicella north of Verona published images of the well-preserved tiles buried under metres of earth.

According to officials, scholars first found evidence of a Roman villa there more than a century ago.

Technicians are still gently excavating the site to see the full extent of the ancient building.


Meet the school dog making home visits

A specially-trained school dog has been making home visits to help bring a smile to pupils’ faces during lockdown.

Albie lives with assistant head teacher Lisa Tarbuck, who works at R L Hughes Primary School in Wigan.

“Everybody loves to see him,” she said.

Video description: Lisa and Albie visiting children at home. Lisa stands at the end of the driveway and Albie runs towards the children, who are delighted to see him.


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A bird that became extinct more than 100,000 years ago has reappeared after evolving all over again, scientists have discovered.

The Aldabra rail reappeared on a small island in the Indian Ocean, off the south-east coast of Africa, where it lived.

The flightless bird is a descendent of the flying white-throated rail.

Drawing of the Aldabra rail which has dark orange feathers and a long beak

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With Penguins Missing Visitors Amidst Zoo Closure, Museum Takes Them on Adorable Cultural Field Trip

Your friends and family members aren’t the only ones who may be suffering from stir-craziness in quarantine – these little birds have been missing social interaction with humans as well.

Since the Kansas City Zoo in Missouri has been closed to visitors their resident penguins have been eagerly awaiting the return of their beloved human admirers. As a means of keeping the penguins entertained, their caretakers decided to take them on a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. After allowing the birds to frolic freely around the museum, the museum director and CEO joked that the penguins “seem to react much better to Caravaggio than Monet.”

Deer Here, There and Everywhere!

Fourteen Pere David deer fauns have been born at Whipsnade Zoo last week!

Pere David deer are extinct in the wild so this is a big success for the breeding programme at ZSL.

And the fauns look like Bambi!

Video description: The fauns, who have reddish-brown fur with white spots, and adult deer walking on the grass at Whipsnade Zoo. The fauns are staying close to their parents.

Supermoon lights up night skies around the world

Skywatchers around the world have enjoyed stunning views of this month’s Supermoon, when the Moon appears larger and brighter.

The phenomenon happens when the celestial satellite reaches its closest point to Earth – known as a perigee – and is on the opposite side of Earth to the sun.

This month’s supermoon – the third and final one of the year – is known as the Flower Moon because of its occurrence in Spring.

The Super Moon behind the Statue Of Liberty

The Real Superheroes

A new Banksy art piece is inspiring the world since it was dropped off, and later hung on display, at Southampton General Hospital on Wednesday.

The artwork shows a young boy playing with his favourite new superhero doll—a nurse wearing a cape and face mask.

On the floor nearby sits his discarded Spiderman and Batman action figures.

The artist said he hoped it would brighten up the lives of the staff and patients, and added that after the coronavirus lockdown, it would be auctioned off with the proceeds to NHS charities.


The artwork showing the boy holding up the superhero nurse doll as if she is flying

A Very Kind Cabbie

A young Italian student trapped in Spain during the coronavirus outbreaks was recently driven 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) home for free by a Spanish cab driver.

More Nature Appearing In Cities

From fish returning to the Venice canals to deer in the streets of London, many of the lockdowns resulting from coronavirus have allowed nature to come back in some of the least-likely places. Thailand is the latest nation to make headlines from the phenomenon.  Though coronavirus has shut down Thailand’s tourism economy, a season of peace and salvation for rare leatherback sea turtles has emerged. Endangered in this area of Southeast  Asia, they are nesting here for the first time in five years. The largest of all living turtles, the leatherbacks have made 11 nests on Thai beaches this spring—more than at any time during the last two decades.


Ponies Come To Visit

Workers at Park Lane Stables in West London are taking ponies to people’s homes to spread some cheer.


Zoo names penguin chick Wilfred after Boris Johnson’s newborn son

A rare rockhopper penguin chick has been named after the Prime Minister’s newborn son. Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo decided to call the youngster Wilfred, as it will grow up with a “blonde crown” of feathers!

An adult rockhopper with yellow feathers on his head and the new chick


Royal Mail Decorates Postboxes In Support Of The NHS

Postboxes have been painted blue to thank NHS workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.

Five have been been given the new colour by the Royal Mail and bear the message: Thank You NHS. They are located close to St Thomas’ Hospital in London — where the Prime Minister was treated for Covid-19 — Trafford General Hospital in Manchester, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and The Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Royal Mail said the locations were chosen to represent all four nations of the UK, and to commemorate the Trafford General Hospital, the birthplace of the NHS, founded by Aneurin “Nye” Bevan in July 1948.


An Unusual Nest Site!

A goose has made a nest in a flowerbed on the concourse of the currently deserted York railway station and has laid four eggs!


Latest update on Captain Tom Moore!

Captain Tom Moore, the war veteran who raised millions for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, has been made an honorary colonel on his 100th birthday.

The occasion was also marked with an RAF flypast and birthday greetings from the Queen and prime minister.

He has also  received over 125,000 birthday cards.

Capt Tom said it was “extraordinary” to be turning 100, especially with “this many well-wishers”.


It’s a girl!

On Easter Monday ZSL Whipsnade Zoo welcomed a baby Przewalski foal. Born to mum Charlotte and dad Nikki, the baby girl already loves racing around the paddock. 

Przewalski horses are classed as endangered and are the last surviving subspecies of wild horse.

Watch the video

Video description: The Przewalski foal staying close to her mum.


Update: What a star!

Captain Tom Moore has now raised nearly £30 million for the NHS and has opened an Nightingale Hospital via video link.
A 99-year-old great grandma is walking 100 lengths of her driveway before her 100th birthday next week to raise money for an NHS charity.

Win Page says she’s been inspired by Captain Tom Moore. Following in his footsteps Mrs Page, of Middleton, plans to do 10 lengths of her drive every day until her 100th birthday on April 28.

She’s already raised more than £3,500 for the North West Ambulance Service charity.

She said: “Captain Tom has been such an inspiration. He’s actually two days younger than me, so I thought if he can do it so can I. The NHS has been so good to me all my life and I wanted to give something back.”


Five Cheetah Cubs Born At Colchester Zoo

On the morning of Wednesday 15th April, the Animal Care Team were delighted to see that female cheetah Sia had successfully given birth to five healthy cubs! Having reviewed camera footage set up in the birthing den, staff were able to see Sia give birth at around 6.30pm the night before. Two hours later saw the arrival of the fifth cub and Sia was finally able to settle down and allow them to feed.

Cheetahs come from Sub-Sahara Africa and small areas of the Middle East. They are classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List so this litter is wonderful news for the species.

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Prince Louis’ rainbow tribute in second birthday pictures

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son Prince Louis has been photographed making a colourful rainbow poster – a symbol of hope during the coronavirus lockdown – to mark his second birthday.

His handprint artwork is one of several photographs released by the family to celebrate the occasion on Thursday.

Similar pictures by children have appeared in windows across the country.

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What a star!
A 99-year-old army veteran who set out to raise £1,000 for the NHS by walking lengths of his garden has completed his final lap, raising more than £12million for the health service in the process. 

Second World War veteran Captain Tom Moore decided to fundraise to help the NHS fight the coronavirus crisis by walking the 25-metre loop of his garden 100 tim


Pandas mate in lockdown at Hong Kong zoo after ten years trying

A baby panda may have been conceived at Ocean Park in Hong Kong while the zoo is in lockdown due to coronavirus.

Two resident pandas, Ying Ying and Le Le, managed to successfully mate on Monday morning– and they’ve been struggling for a while.
With Ocean Park closed to the public, the pair made the most of the privacy