South Dakota-based artist John Lopez (previously featured here) creates awesome life-size sculptures of animals by welding together pieces of scrap metal, often pieces of abandoned farm machinery collected from local ranchers and farmers that he’s known since he was a kid. The creatures he creates are so lifelike that it’s hard to believe their myriad parts and pieces were ever used for anything else.

Visit John Lopez’s website, blog and Facebook page to check out more of his magnificent metalwork.

[via Twisted Sifter and]


Late at night in certain (Miyazaki-animated) regions of Japan it’s possible to catch a ride on the Catbus. So what’s the late night animal transportation situation in other countries? We’re glad you asked! Camera traps set up by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, a nature reserve in South Africa, recently captured these awesome images of an adventuresome Large-spotted genet hitching a ride on the backs of Cape Buffalo and White Rhinos in the middle of the night.

"Large-spotted genets are small nocturnal omnivores related to civets. They are mostly tree-dwelling creatures and prey on insects, birds, frogs, and rodents, although there have been recordings of them killing baby antelopes, a seemingly impossible feat for a creature of their size."

And now we know genets also like to use much larger animals as transportation. These photos were captured on different nights, which means that these Buffalobus and Rhinobus rides weren’t a one-time occurrence.

Click here to learn more.

[via National Geographic News]


Majestic Zimbabwe

Ruled by Robert Mugabe since its 1980 independence, this southern African nation has enjoyed a steady recovery since its 2008 civil unrest and economic collapse. Travelers have started to trickle back into the country, seeking out the breathtaking experiences that originally put Zimbabwe on the safari map.

Most people begin their journey in the Zimbabwean town of Victoria Falls. It is where most visitors start, walking the edge of a dizzying gorge and feeling overpowered by the majesty – and the spray – of Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe remains desperately poor, with an unemployment rate close to 90%. So young men seeking to raise a few bucks often try and sell off their remaining stocks of Zimbabwe dollars to tourists as novelty items (the official currency is now the American dollar, a move that served to stabilize the country’s economy).

The nation’s main attraction is the massive Hwange National Park  which is a staggering size at 14,000 sq km. Visitors to the area enjoy going out on game drives to view zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo, elephant and all sorts of other exotic creatures. Walking safaris are not possible in countries, but Zimbabwean guides are usually regarded as the very best in Africa.

Undergoing a rigorous training program that usually spans four years, the guides here must actually shoot and kill four of the big five mammals (rhinos are endangered and thus exempt), learning how to stop them dead in their tracks. This also means that a Zimbabwe safari has less of the caution that comes with corporate lodges and safari camps, so visitors can get much closer to wildlife here than in other African destinations.


Western Hemisphere’s* Largest Solar Panel Plant Coming to Buffalo

Elon Musk, known for starting Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors, is planning on breaking another record, only this time it’s in Buffalo. Musk’s company, SolarCity, has just acquired Silevo, the California company slated to move into the clean tech innovation hub at Riverbend.The $225 million Hub @ Riverbend was announced in November by Governor Cuomo as part of the Buffalo billion.

The $350 million acquisition by SolarCity has prompted the company to announce that they plan to create a solar panel plant five times bigger than the Hub’s planned size resulting in the largest plant of its kind in the world. The acquisition of Silevo will allow SolarCity to produce some of the most efficient panels on the market and prompted an 11% jump in shares.

*Some original claims were calling the plant the world’s largest but was downgraded to Western Hemisphere’s largest later on

This scaredy-cat was forced to run for cover when a herd of brave buffalo decided to strike back. The lion found itself outnumbered by its plucky prey and is pictured sprinting away from the African buffalo in the Kruger National Park. The tables turned on the predator when an attempt to pounce on some unsuspecting buffalo failed miserably and left the not so cunning cat with its tail between its legs

| image by  Dave Woollacott