Good News Thursday: Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomes red panda cub, pilot celebrates 100th birthday in the air

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Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomes red panda cub

Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomes a new panda cub. Priya, the mother, was pregnant for around four months. (Utah’s Hogle Zoo via Facebook)

A red panda cub was born on June 23 at the Utah Hogle Zoo. Priya, the red panda mother, gave birth around 4 p.m., and the cub and mother have reached all significant milestones so far, according to the zoo’s Facebook page.

This is an important moment for the red panda species, as they are considered endangered and have experienced a 40% decline in populations in the last decade, the zoo said.

Priya is four years old and came to Utah last year from Pueblo Zoo in Colorado as part of the the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Red Panda Species Survival Plan, the zoo said on social media. Priya was bred with dad MowMow to conceive the unnamed cub.

So far, the baby has nursed, moved around and made sounds and Priya has also groomed the baby. The zoo said they were able to observe the mother and cub with cameras placed in their enclosure.

The baby will not be seen by the public until later in the summer, the zoo said, but they will be sharing regular “CUBdates” on social media for viewers to follow along.

Pilot celebrates 100th birthday in the air

Pilot John Hartness flies an airplane on his 100th birthday. Hartness has been flying planes for 84 years and wanted to celebrate his birthday in the sky. (WHNS, CNN Newsource)

John Hartness, known as “Uncle John,” recently reached a big milestone — and took to the sky to celebrate. He piloted an airplane on a 10 minute flight to celebrate his 100th birthday.

“Flying is the best feeling of freedom you can have, to get up there and be up there in the air with nobody but me and God,” Hartness said.

Hartness started flying 84 years ago when he was 16. He has continued his aerodynamic efforts throughout his life and currently volunteers for a non-profit that aims to ignite and expand a passion for aviation.

According Robb Williams, the executive director of the Triple Tree Aerodrome non-profit, Hartness still volunteers six or seven days a week and mentors others.

“It feels absolutely fantastic. I feel like I’m about 35,” Hartness said on his birthday.

Hartness shows no signs of stopping, and plans to celebrate his 101st birthday in the air as well.

One hundred dogs compete in North America Dog Diving Event

A diving dog jumps through the air at the North America Dog Diving Event. Over 100 dogs competed at the event, where dogs and humans alike had fun and got splashed. (CNN Newsource, Laurel Behnke/YouTubeNorth America Dog Dock Dive)

At the North America Dog Diving Event in San Diego, California, 100 dogs competed to see who could jump the farthest, including current world record holder Sounders.

Sounders holds the world record for jumping both height and distance in dog diving competitions, and has jumped 36 feet, 11 inches for distance and 9 feet for height, according to owner Laurel Banky.

“He’s one of those one-in-a-million whippets that just has the confidence and drive to do anything to get that toy,” Banky said.

Dog-diving is an increasingly popular sport, where trainers throw a toy into a pool and the dog jumps into the water to retrieve it. One dog owner described the sport as the most fun someone can have with their dog.

“A lot of people enjoy watching the dogs fly through the air and get wet,” another owner said.

Spectators enjoyed the event as well, with one nine-year-old saying he liked getting splashed when the dogs hit the water.

Sounders is a world record holder, but to Banky he is more than just his sporting achievements.

“He’s my buddy. We go everywhere together. He’s just a very special, very sweet dog,” she said.

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