Around the animal kingdom: Unleashed photos of the day for March 14
From dogs to pigs, elephants to tortoises and lemurs to salamanders, members of the animal kingdom have been the subjects of their fair share of compelling photos over the past few days. Above, American search-and-rescue dogs sit on cots set up by U.S. and British rescue teams before spending the night in a gymnasium in Sumita, northern Japan, on Monday. Six of the dogs that have traveled to Japan to help in the wake of last week's massive earthquake and tsunami were trained at the Ojai-based National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. (See more photos of the earthquake's aftermath at The Times' photography and multimedia blog, Framework.)
Asian elephants sample delicacies from an "elephant buffet" in observance of the national Thai Elephant Day at an elephant camp in Thailand's Chiang Mai province on Sunday. Sixty Thai elephants participated in the camp's Elephant Day celebration.
Jet, a flat-coated retriever, waits with his handler, Jim Irvine, during Sunday's finale of the U.K.'s celebrated Crufts dog show in Birmingham, England. Jet went on to win Best in Show.
A tortoise with two heads and five legs in Slovakia on Friday. "We call her Magdalena: one head is Magda and the second one is Lena," the tortoise's owner, Roman Gresak, told the Telegraph.
A young black-footed cat is shown in a photo taken late last week. The kitten is one of two black-footed cats, a small wild cat species native to southern Africa and classified as vulnerable to extinction, born in New Orleans last month. The kittens were conceived using embryos frozen before Hurricane Katrina and implanted into a host mother in December.
A "hellbender," a type of giant salamander, is shown swimming in an aquarium at New York's Bronx Zoo. The zoo plans to raise 41 juvenile hellbenders to adulthood and release them into the wild as part of a species conservation effort.
A month-old black-and-white ruffed lemur explores its surroundings at the zoo in Cali, Colombia, on Monday. The baby is the second black-and-white ruffed lemur, a critically endangered species native to Madagascar, to be born in captivity in Colombia.
Katja Heuzeroth of Germany prepares paint colors for an Asian elephant named Lucky to use on an art project at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center in Cambodia's Takeo province on Sunday. The center, which is run by a nonprofit group of wildlife conservationists, rescues and cares for animals saved from the illegal wildlife trade.
A child tosses a used bicycle tire to a stray dog while playing in the streets of Bashantapur, Kathmandu, on Sunday. According to Dogster, Kathmandu in the past few years has been working to humanely reduce its stray dog population through an extensive spay/neuter program.
Volunteer wildlife rescue worker Erin Healey releases a rehabilitated gray-headed flying fox at a bat colony in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday. A food shortage caused by rains, flooding and cyclones has forced many of the area's flying foxes, which normally eat pollens and nectar, into suburban gardens in search of food. A large number of gray-headed flying foxes have been rescued after becoming endangled in netting used to protect fruit trees.
A camel crosses a road near Ras Lanuf, a town in northern Libya, on Friday. (Learn more about the current situation in Libya at The Times' Middle East news blog, Babylon & Beyond.)
A mother chimpanzee plays with her young offspring at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Friday.
A standard poodle licks a woman while preparing to compete at the Crufts dog show on Sunday.
A fox runs on the pitch at the start of a rugby match in Twickenham, England, on Sunday.
Whooper swans stand in a field near the village of Sachsendorf, Germany. Many of the migratory birds spend the winter in fields in the Oder and the Lower Oder Valley National Park.
Komondor dogs (or, as more than one of the Hungarian sheepdogs are more properly known, Komondorok) relax before judging at the Crufts dog show.
Three Husumer Protestschwin piglets are shown in a zoo in Warder, Germany, on Thursday. The breed got its name from farmers at the end of the 19th century who bred pigs in the Danish national colors because their Austro-Prussian occupyers didn't allow them to fly their national flag.
A woman walks her dog past a giant picture of a cat at the Crufts dog show on Sunday.
Far from its native home, a zebra walks in snow in an open-air enclosure at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Animals were allowed out of their winter lodgings on Thursday as the temperature in the Siberian city started to rise.
Dog trainer Mary Ray and her dog perform a "heelwork to music" routine before the announcement of the Best in Show winner at the Crufts dog show on Sunday.
A man holds his horse as an Orthodox priest blesses it with holy water during the celebration of the traditional holiday of Todorov Den, also known as Horse Easter, in Targoviste, Romania.
Two Dogues de Bordeaux arrive for competition at the Crufts dog show on Saturday.
An alpaca named Wigeon waits to be judged at the British Alpaca Futurity Show at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, England, on Saturday. The U.K.'s top alpacas competed for the title of Best in Show at the event, which also included workshop on the care and breeding of alpacas.
Iditarod musher Peter Kaiser of Bethel, Alaska, crosses from Kaltag to the Unalkleet checkpoint during the running of the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Sunday. The famous race's four-time winner, Lance Mackey, recently conceded that he would not win a fifth consecutive race this year, The Times' outdoor sports blog Outposts reported Sunday. The race has been the subject of intense criticism by animal rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which note that a number of dogs have died during previous runnings of the Iditarod.
A 2-week-old banteng, a species of wild cattle native to parts of southeast Asia, stands with his mother at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center in the Cambodian province of Takeo on Sunday.
Russo, a 4-year-old male Amur leopard, relaxes in an open-air enclosure at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
A week-old lion-tailed macaque puts its finger in its mouth as its sits next to its mother at the Lodz zoo in Poland. Lion-tailed macaques are old-world monkeys native to southern India.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photos, from top. Search-and-rescue dogs in Japan: Matt Dunham / Associated Press. Elephant buffet: Pongmanat Tasiri / European Pressphoto Agency. Crufts dog show winner: Oli Scarff / Getty Images. Two-headed tortoise: AFP/Getty Images. Black-footed cat: Karen Ross / Associated Press. Hellbender salamander: Julie Larsen Maher / Reuters. Black-and-white ruffed lemur: Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters. Painting elephant: Mak Remissa / European Pressphoto Agency. Kathmandu stray dog: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters. Gray-headed flying fox release: Rob Griffith / Associated Press. Camel: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters. Chimpanzees: Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press. Poodle: Darren Staples / Reuters. Fox: Russell Cheyne / Reuters. Whooper swans: Patrick Pleul / EuropeaN Pressphoto Agency. Komondorok: Oli Scarff / Getty Images. Pigs: Carsten Rehder / European Pressphoto Agency. Woman and dog walking past giant cat photo: Darren Staples / Reuters. Zebra: Ilya Naymushin / Reuters. Performing dog: Oli Scarff / Getty Images. Horse Easter: Radu Sigheti / Reuters. Dogues de Bordeaux: Oli Scarff / Getty Images. Alpaca: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images. Iditarod: Bob Hallinen / Associated Press. Banteng mother and calf: Mak Remissa / European Pressphoto Agency. Amur leopard: Ilya Naymushin / Reuters. Lion-tailed macaque mother and baby: Malgorzata Kujawka / Reuters.