For the 4.4 billion of us who live in cities around the world, it can be easy to forget the wonders of the natural world. But every year, on March 3, the United Nations celebrates, and raises awareness about, the rich diversity of wildlife that calls our planet home.
On this World Wildlife Day, Newsweek has compiled eight of the funniest and most shocking wildlife moments from the past year.
1. Lions Paw-se Traffic in Kruger Park, South Africa
A group of carefree lionesses were filmed bringing traffic to a standstill after they decided to block a road in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The footage was taken by wildlife enthusiast Morne Du Plessis on February 1, 2023, who described the moment as “incredible.”
Female lions can grow up to lengths of about 9 feet and weigh up to 393 pounds, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. They are the world’s most social felines, and live in family units, called prides, of up to 40 individuals, depending on food availability. The prides are mostly made up of related females, with usually only one or two resident males.
2. Dolphin and Dog Make Unlikely Friends in Adelaide, Australia
Footage captured in Adelaide, South Australia, shows an unlikely friendship between a black Labrador and a dolphin swimming alongside each other in circles. Harsh Dave, who recorded the footage on February 21, 2023, said that the pair were playing for about 20 minutes.
“Two of my favorite creatures,” he said in a post on Instagram. “Can never get enough of them.”
We all know that dogs are able to form relationships with other species—they are man’s best friend after all and, after centuries of selective breeding, their sociability has been hardwired into their DNA. But dolphins too have been known to form interspecies hunting parties.
A paper published in the journal Marine Mammal Sciences in 2013 documented relationships between dolphins and false killer whales in New Zealand, observed over a period of several years.
3. Bear Swipes Chick-Fil-A Delivery From Porch in Sanford, Florida
Security footage from a house in Sanford, Florida, shows a sneaky bear making off with a delivery of 30 chicken nuggets and a large fries from Chick-fil-A on December 13, 2022.
As our urban sprawl continues to encroach on bear habitats, these scavenger animals have developed a taste for human junk food (and who can blame them).
The problem is, this unnatural diet can wreak havoc on the bear’s biology. Not only does it affect their gut microbiomes, but a study published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports in 2019 found that bears with diets rich in high-energy junk food tend to hibernate for shorter periods. This in turn can cause them to age faster and become out of sync with their peers.
4. Alligator Strolls Across Florida School Sports Field
Lacrosse practice at a Florida high school was brought to an abrupt halt when a 6.5-foot alligator decided to take a walk across the sports field.
“[The] gator was completely relaxed and casually strolled across the field, occasionally stopping to just lay down and chill a bit,” coach Eric Klaus told Newsweek.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates that there are 1.3 million alligators living in Florida, though they are usually found in wetlands, swamps and rivers.
However, they are sometimes reported in residential and recreational areas, particularly those with ample access to water. Golf courses, for example, are a regular haunt for these reptiles, which are often filmed strutting across the greens.
5. Leopard Breaks Into Mercedes-Benz Factory and Shuts Down Production
A young male leopard found itself in a spot of bother after he broke into a Mercedes-Benz factory in India. The factory was shut down for four hours while rescuers were called in to remove the unusual intruder. The incident took place on March 22, 2022.
In the footage, the distressed leopard can be seen running around the factory, perhaps looking for a place to hide.
Eventually, the leopard was tranquilized and brought to a medical facility to undergo an evaluation before being released back into the wild.
6. Bear Caught on Doorbell Cam Enjoying a Soak in Nevada Garden Pond
An enormous bear was caught on security camera bathing in a garden pond in Reno, Nevada, in November 2022. The bear, clearly unaware that it was being filmed, can be seen splashing about in the cool water.
The homeowner had set up the camera after noticing the pond was half full for two days in a row. It is thought that the bear had entered the resident’s garden after stealing grapes from the neighbor’s vineyard.
7. Porcupine Parents Tag Team to Protect Babies From Leopard
A pair of porcupine parents were filmed protecting their babies from an aggressive leopard in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
Park Ranger Rodney Themba, who took the video, said that, in 20 years of working at the park, he had never seen anything like it. “I was surprised and shocked at the time,” he told Newsweek.
Porcupines have extremely sharp, barbed quills that can grow up to a foot long. Once they have become stuck in another animal’s skin they become very hard to remove. The resulting wounds often become infected, and, if the quills are ingested, they can puncture vital organs.
Although deaths from porcupines are rare, a New Jersey pit bull died in September 2022 after a prickly tussle left him with quills around his heart, lungs and digestive system.
8. Goats Caught ‘Ding Dong’ Ditching on Doorbell Cam in Oklahoma
A group of at least a dozen goats were filmed causing havoc on a porch in Oklahoma. In the footage, captured on the resident’s doorbell camera, the goat gang can be seen climbing all over the furniture, sniffing the doorbell and chomping on the bushes.
The resident posted the footage to the reddit group r/ANimalsBeingJerks on April 29, 2022. “My neighbor’s goats constantly get [on] my property,” they said. “Guess now they ding dong ditch us.
“Our neighbor has 66 goats who are escape artists. The goats break out of her yard and come terrorize us a few times a week.”
Despite their cute, fuzzy appearance, goats are notorious troublemakers. In January 2023, a goat went viral on TikTok after it broke into its owner’s bedroom.