2015 has been a banner year for animals in the media. Just when you think all the news in the world is about ISIS, genocide, human trafficking, hate crimes, or California running out of water, another cute animal will appear on your Facebook feed to steal your heart, cheer you up, and make you forget your troubles and that you should take shorter showers. What were some of everyone's 2015 spirit animals? This list includes everything from Cecil the Lion, may he R.I.P., to Katy Perry's infamous Left Shark. Let's take a trip down Memory Ln.
What are some ingredients of a viral animal video or photo? Attractiveness, for one thing. In June 2015, Shabani the Gorilla caused a stir among Japanese teens who thought he was the hottest thing in town. And who doesn't love a very furry bunny like Wally? Another ingredient is "having fun," like that baby elephant playing on the beach for the first time or that family of bears in New Jersey playing in above-ground pool. (The audio on that video is great, btw. There is a little kid complaining about the baby bears touching his toys.)
Sometimes, animal pics and vids go viral because the creatures in them are just doing normal things, since as running away from the police (llamas) or slapping tourists in the face with their tails (a dolphin). Another reason people click "share" is because they have just seen a new cute mammal species for the first time, such a precious fuzzy Chinese pika or an adorable fuzzy Australian quokka! Or maybe they want to poke fun of a person who got a dumb terrible Charmander tattoo.Vote up the viral animals with whom you felt the most kinship in 2015, whether it is because they took naps on a windowsill or were skinned and beheaded by a dentist.
Bear Family Having a Pool Party
August 21 - Rockaway Township, NJ - "I thought maybe they were going to get a drink... and then move on. But they pretty much started climbing in."
Baby Pygmy Hippo Learning to Swim
July 31 - Melbourne Zoo - "Named Obi, meaning ‘heart’ in Nigerian Igbo language, the male calf has been showing all the signs of good development and health in the company of his mother Petre.Obi has been exercising his swimming legs in the shallow, nursery pool since birth, but he’s strong enough to now move on to the deeper, main pool. The video below from Zoos Victoria shows Obi splashing around in his first swim in the big pool."
Polar Bear in the Flowers
August - Hudson Bay, Canada - "Wild animals need to become somewhat used to your presence and learn that you won't harass them if they leave you alone. That is when they begin to behave normally, and for the polar bear it means it can relax and start to show you its private playful nature. Polar bears will play with anything in their environment. I have seen a huge male hold several blades of grass in his giant paws and chew on them for a long time as though he enjoyed the texture. On another occasion, I laughed out loud as I watched a relaxed polar bear bare his teeth to pluck a single flower from a stem of fireweed blossoms and roll it around between his lips! Perhaps he viewed it as an appetizer."
Cecil the Lion
July - Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe