A orangutan named Sandra, who was granted legal personhood by a judge in Argentina and later found a new home in Florida, celebrated her 34th birthday on Valentine's Day with a special new primate friend.
Patti Ragan, director of the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, says Sandra "has adjusted beautifully to her life at the sanctuary" and has befriended Jethro, a 31-year-old male orangutan.
Prior to coming to Florida, Sandra had lived alone in a Buenos Aires zoo. Sandra was a bit shy when she arrived at the Florida center, which is home to 22 orangutans.
"Sandra appeared most interested in Jethro, and our caregivers felt he was a perfect choice because of his close age, calm demeanor, and gentle nature," Ragan said in a news release. "Sandra still observes and follows Jethro from a distance while they are in the process of getting to know and trust each other. But they are living harmoniously in the same habitat spaces as they continue to gain confidence in their relationship."
Judge Elena Liberatori's landmark ruling in 2015 declared that Sandra is legally not an animal, but a non-human person, and thus entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by people, and better living conditions.
"With that ruling I wanted to tell society something new, that animals are sentient beings and that the first right they have is our obligation to respect them," she told The Associated Press.
But without a clear alternative, Sandra remained at the antiquated zoo, which closed in 2016, until leaving for the U.S. in late September. She was in quarantine for a month at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas before arriving in Florida.
On Friday, Sandra celebrated her birthday, complete with pink signs and wrapped packages. Jethro, who was once in the entertainment business, attended the party.
Ragan said that Sandra and Jethro will "sit in the vicinity of each other," but not close enough to touch. Sandra weighs 129 pounds, and Jethro, 260.
"Sandra does like to watch Jethro eat," Ragan said. "Some adult male orangutans will advance an introduction forcefully, but Jethro has been patient and calm giving Sandra more confidence in his presence."
A trailblazer among black women in the business world wants to help make sure that the stories of other pioneering women like her are not forgotten.
The HistoryMakers, an oral archive that's recorded the stories of more than 3,300 African Americans, launched The WomanMakers initiative with a $1 million gift from Ursula Burns, the former head of Xerox.
"We have to value our own stories," Burns said in a phone interview about the project that will focus on African American women. "We have to teach ourselves to actually value ourselves in our society."
Burns, 61, was chair and CEO of Xerox from 2009 to 2016. She spent her entire career at the company, working her way up from an internship in 1980 and, upon becoming CEO, was the first black women to head a Fortune 500 company. Burns left Xerox after the company was split in two.
The initiative was kicked off at a Jan. 31 luncheon in New York City, where Burns presented Julieanna Richardson, who founded The HistoryMakers in 1999, with the monetary gift in honor of her late husband, Lloyd Bean.
"We have so much potential to leave a historical record that will not have any chance to being erased, that is what is exceedingly important to me," Richardson said about the initiative.
The launch included a number of women on the advisory committee for The WomenMakers initiative, who will help determine the 180 women whose stories will be recorded thanks to Burns' gift.
Those on the committee are high-profile figures including Anna Deavere Smith, Bethann Hardison, and Anita Hill.
In the 20 years since its official launch, The HistoryMakers has recorded the stories of black pioneers in a number of fields including Hank Aaron, Maya Angelou and Colin Powell.
But even as an organization founded and led by a black woman, Richardson said there are still more men's stories in the archives than women's — about 800 more.
"When you look at different periods of time, even the modern-day civil rights movement, often the story of women's roles is not well-recorded or told," she said.
Women, Richardson said, were often the ones keeping the archives, but, "we aren't keeping their histories at the same time."
Telling their stories and showcasing their achievements is important, especially in these fraught partisan times, Burns said.
"These endemic, unbelievably prejudicial discussions we're having today about things we should no longer be talking about, the value and the worth of a human being that people think they can derive from the color of their skin," she said.
"I am really animated about this time because all of this work that has been undertaken before I got here that enabled me to get here, they're chipping away and eroding that and I just can't allow that to happen without some attempt to make people understand there's so much more to the story."
Khanysia did not see the trap set by a poacher in South Africa's Kruger National Park. She dove head first into the sharp wire snare, which cut her mouth, face and underneath her ear and chin.
It was days before the four-month-old albino elephant was found badly dehydrated but alive, and taken to the Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development center, three hours away.
One month later, Khanysia, named after the Tsonga word for light, weighs a healthy 150 kilograms (330 pounds), is adding 500 grams (1 pound) every day and spends her time playing with caretakers.
"She is a little albino elephant, so it is a bit different than your normal elephant just in caring, especially when the sun is kind of severe," said Adine Roode, founder of the center, in the heart of Kapama game reserve. "Due to the animal human conflict, we are sitting with orphans. Because of the decreasing land and habitat, we will see an increase, in the future, of elephant orphans."
It is not known how Khanysia was separated from her mother and herd, said Roode.
For the past 22 years, the center has looked after orphaned elephants, and now has 17 pachyderms on site, she said. The young elephants are eventually released to the private game reserve, she said.
Khanysia is separated from the rest of the herd for the time being. At night she stays in a heated room and in the daytime she goes outside to a large enclosure with tall grass and a mud pool. Under 24-hour supervision, the blue-eyed, pink-skinned toddler seems to be in a non-stop play mood, craving attention and only stopping now and then to scratch her itchy scars on the wood pillars surrounding her pen.
After two hours of cavorting with Khanysia, causing the little elephant to trumpet repeatedly, Roode leaves her in the care of Liverson Sande, the center's senior carer.
Outside, the 17 other elephants line up for a walk. "It's so easy to get too attached," says Roode. "It is difficult to let go."
Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka wore a festive look with the participation of youths, couples, cultural activists, and children on Pahela Falgun, the first day of spring, and the Valentine’s Day on Friday.
Jatiya Bashanta Utsab Udjapon Parishad organised a cultural programme at Bakultala of the Fine Arts Faculty. Cultural activists, students and people from all walks of life attended the function.
The colour and spirit of Pahela Falgun and Valentine’s Day also touched the Amar Ekushey Book Fair. People donning colourful dresses thronged the fair grounds.
A young man is putting a flower bracelet on his lover. Photo: UNB
A man comes out in the city with his wife and son on a motorcycle to celebrate Pahela Falgun. Photo: UNB
A girl a wearing black scarf puts on a flower crown and visits Suhrawardy Udyan area. Photo: UNB
A young man is clipping a flower on his girlfriend’s hair bun. Photo: UNB
Colours of Pahela Falgun and Valentine’s Day celebration also touched the Amar Ekushey Book Fair. Photo: UNB
People sit in front of the stage at Bakultala of the Fine Arts Faculty in Dhaka University where Jatiya Bashanta Utshab Udjapon Parishad organised a cultural programme to celebrate Pahela Falgun. Photo: UNB
Artists performing dance at Bakultala of the Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University on Pahela Falgun. Photo: UNB
A group of artists are seen performing dance at Bakultala. Photo: UNB
A group of artistes are performing dance at Bakultala. Photo: UNB
Members of a family are enjoying cultural programme at Bakultala. Photo: UNB
Artistes pose with flowers before their performance at Bakultala. Photo: UNB
Artistes pose for picture at Bakultala of the Fine Arts Faculty. Photo: UNB
Streets in Dhaka and other big cities have taken a festive look with youths clad in red and yellow attires have started joining the celebrations of Pahela Falgun, the first day of Spring, and the Valentine’s Day.
Pahela Falgun usually falls on February but this year it coincided with Valentine’s Day as Bangla Academy has revised Bangla Calendar to match it with the Gregorian calendar.
Falgun is the eleventh month in the Bengali calendar and the first month of the season, Spring, the king of all the six seasons that brings backwarm sunshine, budding flowers and dancing of birds.
Keeping pace with the rest of the world, Bangladeshis also celebrate the Valentine’s Day with their beloved ones.
However, florists are not happy with the move of Bangla Academy as celebrations of Valentine’s Day and Pahela Falgun on the same day is cutting their profits.
Clad in red and yellow attires and flowers in hands, hundreds of young boys and girls are thronging Bakultola of Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University , the centre of celebration of Bashanta Utshob, to welcome through singing, reciting poems and dance.
The youngsters are also gathering at Teacher-Student Centre (TSC), Arts Faculty, Curzon Hall, University Mall (Mall Chattar) wearing dazzling dresses to express love to each other exchanging flowers and gifts.
There are various arrangements in the capital to welcome the spring. Different socio-cultural organisations will hold various programmes, including music festivals, on the Dhaka University campus throughout the day.
Marking the Valentine’s Day, various restaurants in big cities of the country have arranged special offers. Different giftshops are also trying to boost their businesses on the occasion with varied range of gift items.
Both shopping malls and online business pages offered special gifts or matching clothes for their loved ones, while flower markets are busy stocking redroses for the day.
Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an ancient Roman tradition which has been celebrated in European countries for ages.
These days it is widely celebrated in Asia, including Bangladesh,thanks to its fast globalization.