Animals and humans have a special bond. In fact, research has shown that contact between humans and animals reduces stress as well as lowering tension, anxiety, respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. As such, people don't tolerate animal abuse or cruelty and within the previous 150 years, many animals have made a name for themselves. Animals even work with humans to defeat the common enemy when at war. This article looks at ten famous animals.
10 Famous Animals You Need to Know
Cher Ami, The Pigeon
Cher Ami was a crucial part of World War I. Although it was just one of 600 pigeons that British breeders gave to the US Army Signal Corps (stationed in France), Cher Ami flew 12 important missions during 1918. At the Battle of the Argonne, Cher Ami saved 200 lives by carrying a message for the army to stop fire against their own corps on October 4, 1918 despite multiple injuries. This was his last flight and he got a wooden leg before dying within a year.
Xiang Xiang, The Giant Panda
Xiang Xiang became one of the most popular animals as the first giant panda to return to the wild after spending his whole life in captivity in 2006, at age 5. This was part of an effort to boost the giant panda population in the wild as they tend to thrive in captivity. Before his release, Xiang Xiang received extensive training and a radio collar for tracking. He sadly died within a year after a territorial fight or mating fight with other pandas.
Endal, The Yellow Labrador
This yellow Lab was trained to be a fully operational assistance dog with the ability to shop, run an elevator, operate a washing machine, and use electrical switches. During the late 1990s, Endal was Allen Parton's service dog who was an ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer and became famous due to his abilities. Throughout his life, Endal received many awards and was filmed more than 340 times, even saving his owner's life in one instance by pulling him to safety and putting him in the recovery position. Endal died on March 13, 2009 at age thirteen, but is still known as one of the greatest assistance dogs in the world.
Laika, The Dog
Laika was originally a stray dog living in Moscow and she eventually went on to being much more than one of the famous pets, as the first canine to go into space. Unfortunately, Laika went into orbit in Sputnik 2, which had been rushed. Although the official story was that she had died from oxygen deprivation, experts announced in 2002 that she really died from excess stress and heat after several hours into the flight. As one of the famous animals, memorials of the dog can be found in Star City, Russia.
Unsinkable Sam, The Cat
Unsinkable Sam began his rise to fame by being the only cat among 115 people of 2,200 German soldiers to survive the destruction of the Bismarck in May 1941. This black and white cat then stayed on the HMS Cossack, the British destroyer found him floating following the Bismarck's sinking. Sam survived from a torpedo explosion that killed 159 crew members on the HMS Cossack in October 1941. After this, he went to the HMS Ark Royal, an aircraft carrier. In November, the Ark Royal was destroyed by torpedo fire and Sam was one of the many survivors. After becoming one of the famous animals by surviving three major vessels destroyed in World War II, Sam died on solid land in 1955.
Shrek, The Merino Sheep
Male Merino sheep are usually sheared every year due to the large amount of wool they produce. Shrek, however, left Bendigo Station in 1998 and lived off the land, despite little food. When he was discovered in 2004, wool covered more than 75 percent of his body with his coat, weighing 60 pounds. Shrek became a huge celebrity in New Zealand and his shearing was even on live television with the sheared fleece raising $150,000 for children's medical charities.
Dolly, The Sheep
Dolly is not only one of the famous animals, but also the most famous sheep in the world. Dolly was the very first mammal born after cloning the mammary glands of a ewe. She was cloned by the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh and born on July 5, 1996. Dolly sadly suffered from progressive lung illness and died February 14, 2003. She represents major advances in medicine as well as technology.
Ham, The Chimp
Ham, known as the Astrochimp, was born in July of 1956 and went to Holloman Air Force Base at age three. He was also known as Chop Chop Chang and No. 65 and boarded a space capsule after extensive training. Due to his ability to push levers and his space suit, he survived a space journey lasting 16 minutes 39 seconds with just a bruised nose. This mission allowed Freedom 7 to make its mission in May 1961. Ham lived happily with his fame until his death in 1983.
Punxsutawney Phil, The Groundhog
Every February 2nd, Americans turn to a groundhog to find out whether winter will be over soon or continue. Punxsutawney Phil is the groundhog responsible for making these annual predictions. Based on the Celtic tradition, if Phil finds his shadow and then returns to his hole, there will be six or more weeks of winter-like weather. If Phil does not, it is a sign for "early spring." He has existed for about 120 years despite the average groundhog lifespan being ten years. The Punxsutawney Phil fans claim that it is still the same Punxsutawney Phil as the first time he made the prediction, making him perhaps one of the most famous animals around the world, or even a legendary.
Jumbo, The Elephant
Jumbo's name was inspired by the Swahili word for chief and this African elephant was born in 1861 and weighed six-tons. While young, Jumbo rose to fame from traveling the world, including Paris and the French Sudan. He then spent several years at the London Zoo before being sold to be part of the Barnum circus. Jumbo seemed happier there, but tragically died from injuries following a train crash.