D.C. Metro staff and passengers had to come to the rescue when a woman started giving birth in L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station yesterday, the Washington Post reports.
Shavonnte Taylor, 23, was on her way to an appointment with her obstetrician when she started having contractions two weeks before her baby was due. She tried to continue her journey but the baby had different ideas.
Luckily Autumn Manka, a licensed emergency medical technician, was passing by. She lay Taylor down on the floor as more passengers, DC Metro staff, and two Metro Transit Police officers came to help. Within minutes the baby was born next to a broken escalator near the Seventh Street and Maryland Avenue exit.
Inevitably, the kid got his own hashtag, #metrobaby. Several Twitter users posted a snarky headline from today’s Express, while others suggested naming the baby L’Enfant. “L’Enfant” of course, is French for “the infant.”
His real name is Amir Mason. He weighs 8 pounds, 5 ounces and is doing fine.
Tis the season for holiday-themed marketing videos, but this one is so charming, it’s already on heavy rotation in my household. Pauanesia, the wonderful Auckland shop featured in our New Zealand-made souvenirs story, has just released this “Night Before Christmas” video starring their stuffed kiwi birds. The adorable and colorful birds, retro-simple stop-motion animation, and jazzy ukelele soundtrack (from Kiwi band Wellington Ukelele Orchestra) make for a lovely short.
If you prefer cute and cuddly animals to the Big Five on safari, you may want to consider a trip to the Netherlands. VICE’s Cute Show takes a look this week at a guinea pig village in Holland, where the hairy rodents go to “retire” when their owners can no longer look after them. You can adopt a guinea pig or just visit them (I’m partial to the scrappy and long-haired Droopy).
The guinea pig village is located in Bakkeveen, about 2 hours northeast of Amsterdam. It’s open Wednesdays and Saturdays to the public, more info available here. Guinea pigs not your thing? Watch the Cute Show visit baby sloths in Costa Rica.
The zoo in Valencia, Spain, known as Bioparc Valencia, is full of wonderful animals in deluxe, non-depressing enclosures. You’ll find it on the western border of the city, easily reachable by bus or subway (you’ll have to walk about 15-20 minutes if you take the subway).
Bioparc Valencia is a new zoo which opened in March 2008, and its philosophies include sustainable design, scientifically-created habitats to ensure the well-being of the animals, specialized animal care provided by teams of both biologists and veterinarians and a concept called zoo-immersion for guests. Zoo-immersion means that when you enter an area of the zoo, which is divided into geographical ecosystems (currently only the African savannah is open, but Southeast Asia and the Neotropics are next), you will be surrounded by vegetation and landscaping appropriate to the animals you’re viewing, and in some cases, like with the ring-tailed lemurs, you’ll be inside an enclosure with the animals. The lemurs run all around their habitat, jumping over your head and crossing your path like cats.
And that brings us to #1 of our Top Ten Cutest Residents of the Valencia Bioparc: lemurs in trees (above and below)!
Cutest residents #1 through #4 are included in the video above. Here are the rest:
5. Blue butt monkey
So you like a cute blue-footed booby. How do you feel about a blue butt monkey? I feel pretty good about him.
6. Kirk’s dik-dik
This little antelope is only about knee-high. I’m so jealous of whoever Kirk is. (Kidding.)
I get the feeling this ostrich thinks he blends in. He doesn’t. He stood very still and tried as hard as he could to make me think he was a tree, but I totally knew he was an ostrich. All. Along.
8. Rhino (I know)
You may point out, and you’d be right, that an animal like a rhinoceros is not normally called “cute,” but this guy’s wrinkly muzzle and his graceful, tri-clump feet are adorable. No? Agree to disagree.
9. Aardvarks in a heart-shape
I spotted these two aardvark lovers sleeping together in the dark, curled around each other into the perfect shape of a heart. My guide told me that some visitors think aardvarks are ugly, but I think they’re tremendous.
I filmed this myself with an HD Flip camera on my latest trip to Valencia, Spain. Having recently visited Zambia on a safari, I thought the African animals at the zoo might not impress me as much as usual. Boy, was I wrong.
Bioparc Valenica allows you to get so close to the animals — and not because the enclosures are small (they’re actually larger than most I’ve seen). Furthermore, it provides you with experiences you definitely wouldn’t have on a safari, like watching hippos swim underwater right in front of you.
According to my Zambian guides, hippos can hold their breath underwater for four to five minutes. They prefer to be underwater during the day because it’s hot. On this particular day in Valencia (November 27, 2010), it was actually cold, so the hippos are hanging out underwater for the opposite reason: the water’s heated. There’s nothing like a heated pool on a chilly day!
The mother hippo has the most wonderful face, and every time I see that little hippo’s feet, my heart melts into jelly. I hope yours does, too.