In the mid 1970s, former Cuban President Fidel Castro gave two Cuban crocodiles to a Soviet cosmonaut as a token of his friendship. Weird gift, right? Well soon enough the cosmonaut, Vladimir Shatalov realized he had nowhere to keep them. Or his wife didnt want to share their apartment with two growing crocodiles. Cuban crocodiles generally grow to be 8 to 9 feet in length. So they placed them in a Moscow zoo. Unfortunately, the Moscow zoo didn’t have the right facilities either so they placed them in Stockholm, Sweden’s Skansen Zoo in 1981. Jonas Wahlstrom, a well-known zookeeper in Sweden has been taking care of them since 1984. In the 90s he named them Hillary and Castro. Cuban crocs live to be about 80 and mate their whole lives. So 20 months ago, ten baby crocodiles were born from these parents. The 10 hatchlings will be in quarantine in Havana. Wahlstrom hopes they will be released while he is there so he can see them return to the swamp. This is important because there are very few Cuban crocodiles left–maybe 100. Now they have 10 more.
No one likes to hear that there are sharks in the water you swim in at the beach. However, it is pretty cool when they discover a rare shark that is in danger of extinction. Some fishermen off the Catalan coast captured the 9.84 foot shark that weighed a whopping 353 pounds. It was captured in Sant Pol de Mar, which is north of Barcelona, Spain. It is called a thresher shark, named for its tail that is extremely long. It was rare for the fishermen to find it in the Mediterranean water off the coast of Spain. This particular shark prefers more tropical climates usually. This “fox shark” as it’s known in Spanish, catches tuna, mackerel and squid by thrashing its tail around. This poor breed of shark is endangered because it is highly prized for its liver oil and its fins are used in shark-fin soup. Consequently, a 16 year old boy was attacked by a shark in September of 2014. He was bitten of the Catalan coast and needed 30 stitches in his hand (ouch). Spaniards wonder if it maybe was the same shark.
Athletes in Spain rank high in many sports in the world. Fútbol is wildly popular in the country, but one that many people may not realize as one of Spain’s best sports is tennis. Currently, the Rio Open tournament is taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although in Brazil, they speak Portuguese, there are many Spanish-speaking competitors. Two of the top tennis players from Spain are Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer. They are currently ranked third and ninth overall in the ATP Tour. Spanish tennis players are especially successful during clay court season. For example, Rafa Nadal, nicknamed “the king of clay” has a 43-6 record overall on clay court tournament finals. The matches that he lost on clay court are typically against another Spaniard. It is clear to see that the Spanish are a tough opponent in the tennis world.
Colombian singer Shakira and Barcelona fútbol player Gerard Piqué have recently just had their second baby together. The first son, Milan, was born in January 2013. On January 29, 2015, the second son, Sasha, was born in Barcelona. Shakira and Pique have launched their own collaboration with UNICEF (in the form of a “World Baby Shower”) in order to raise money for the charity to help babies and children all around the world. The donations are used to distribute therapeutic food, vaccines, mosquito nets, and other much needed items to children and infants worldwide. In 2013, when they hosted their first UNICEF World Baby Shower, they helped hundreds of thousands of kids. The donations distributed around 80,000 Polio vaccines, over 1,000 mosquito nets, 3.8 tons of food, and over 150 portable scales to weigh babies to check for early malnutrition or illness. The celebrity couple is now encouraging everyone to host a “world baby shower,” mentioning that you do not have to be a celebrity to make a difference. However, with Shakira’s and Pique’s celebrity influence they were certainly able to raise much more than any of us could imagine to! Congratulations to the happy couple on not only the birth of their second baby, but saving the lives of many others worldwide.