From Iceland — 2016: The Top Animal News Stories

2016: The Top Animal News Stories

Published January 12, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Nanna Dis

We all had a nice year, right?

Even though there are plenty of people happy to see this year come to an end, not all the news of the past year was necessarily bad. Political upheaval was a dominant theme in Iceland, but what attracted readers from outside Iceland spanned a wide range. So join us on a magical journey through last year’s headlines.

The top animal news stories of 2016

In between stories of asylum seekers, protests, and elections, there’s one subject matter we really enjoy visiting again and again: animals in the news. These stories not only provide valuable comic relief; they also remind us that we share this country with plenty of non-human residents. So who were these four-legged and finned heroes?

“Icelanders build cottages for Reykjavík stray cats” was one of the more heartwarming animal news stories last year. Winter is hard on all of us, and that’s especially the case when you depend on the great outdoors for food, so it was nice to see people helping these distinctly helpful animals (a harbour town, Reykjavík would likely be overrun with rats without them). Whale conservation group Orca Guardians Iceland held a contest to name a baby killer whale that proved extraordinarily popular, although we weren’t exactly thrilled that “Tide” won in the end. Apart from being a type of laundry detergent, Tide is also not nearly as cool as another nomination, Echo. Plus, if the baby killer whale had been named Echo, you could simply name the rest of the pod The Bunnymen. Nothing is quite as adorable as firefighters rescuing a cat from a tree. Not exactly hard-hitting Pulitzer material, but who doesn’t like seeing a photo essay of a grateful owner happily reunited with his beloved feline? Some people seem to love animals so much they’re willing to break the law. Never was this more true when it came to light that rogue horseback riders were plaguing the town of Reykjanesbær, mostly by riding in areas where horses are forbidden, leaving numerous piles of post-digestion hay around town. Climate change may be rapidly destroying humanity’s future, but seals at least seem to be doing just fine, at least around Iceland. The native population of these animals has actually been on the rise, for the first time in many years. A blessed sign, in that it means even after we’re long gone, at least the seals will have somewhere to play.

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