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Rare penguin named NZ’s favourite bird

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One of the world’s rarest penguins – the hoiho – has won the coveted title of New Zealand’s bird of the year.

After two weeks of voting and frenetic campaigning on behalf of their favourite species, Kiwis have plumped for the the diminutive yellow-eyed penguin as their favourite feathered friend.

The annual poll has been run by conservation group Forest and Bird for the last 14 years – but this is the first win by a penguin or seabird.

The hoiho trumped the kakapo to first place, denying the rare green parrot a second stint as the country’s favourite bird.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” Hoiho campaign director Thor Elley told AAP, “although I suppose that’s not a good analogy for a bird that can’t fly.”

The poll boasts huge buy-in across the country, with campaign teams taking on each of the birds, and prominent New Zealanders jumping on board to name their favourites.

Campaign teams spruik merchandise, rent billboards and create videos and memes to build support.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern is a fan of the taiko, or black petrel, but stayed clear of personally intervening in the poll.

The reigning winner, the kereru, or wood pigeon, picked up the most endorsements but couldn’t crash the top five.

Team hoiho also took advantage of a new preference voting system that allowed New Zealanders to vote for five birds, linking up with the three other penguin teams – the rockhopper, korora and tawaki – to secure preferences.

The fun poll has a serious side.

With no native land-based mammals, New Zealand has long been a haven for birds; but the arrival of Europeans brought introduced species that decimated local birdlife.

Around 80 per cent of birdlife is categorised as in trouble, with a third at serious risk of following the path of the emu-like moa into extinction.

The hoiho received over three times as many votes as there are birds in existence.

Forest and Bird believe just 225 pairs remain on mainland New Zealand.

“They are right on the edge of extinction so we hope this win is great news for the hoiho,” Forest and Bird’s Megan Hubscher said.

“We’ve had 50,000 voting and hundreds of thousands paying attention.

“The more attention the better because a lot of their problems we can do something about.”

Elley, a 21-year-old zoology student from Dunedin, said he fell for the hoiho after taking an internship to care for the bird.

“I’d never thought about penguins until I was sent down to Southland to work with them,” he said.

“They’re very shy. They hate people being around and it stresses them out. I can relate to them.

“They also nest in the forest. That’s a bit odd.”

NEW ZEALAND’S TOP FIVE BIRDS

* Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin)

* Kakapo (owl parrot)

* Kakaruia (black robin)

* Ttuturiwhatu (banded dotterel)

* Piwakawaka (fantail)

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Instagram ‘playboy’ Dan Bilzerian says he’s running for president in 2024

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Instagram playboy Dan Bilzerian says he would vote for Kanye West over Hillary Clinton in an election for president, though he joked that he might also jump into the race.

When asked to comment about West’s declared intention to run in five years, the former professional poker player told TMZ: ‘Better than Hillary.’

He then added with a laugh: ‘I think he’s going to be running against me. We’ll see.’

When asked if he was serious about mounting a campaign for 2024, he replied: ‘Yeah, I think that’ll be enough time to get my s*** done.’

Dan Bilzerian, the so-called 'King of Instagram,' says he may run for president in 2024

Dan Bilzerian, the so-called 'King of Instagram,' says he may run for president in 2024

Dan Bilzerian, the so-called ‘King of Instagram,’ says he may run for president in 2024

Bilzerian has amassed 29 million followers on Instagram, where he posts photos and videos showing him partying with scantily clad women

Bilzerian has amassed 29 million followers on Instagram, where he posts photos and videos showing him partying with scantily clad women

Bilzerian has amassed 29 million followers on Instagram, where he posts photos and videos showing him partying with scantily clad women

Bilzerian says he's ready to take on Kanye West, who announced that he will run for president in 2024

Bilzerian says he's ready to take on Kanye West, who announced that he will run for president in 2024

Bilzerian says he’s ready to take on Kanye West, who announced that he will run for president in 2024

Bilzerian was later asked if he thinks President Trump would endorse him over Kanye.

‘Probably Kanye,’ he said with a laugh. ‘We’ll see.’

If Bilzerian does run against West, that would make two celebrity supporters of Trump going head to head.

Bilzerian is known by the nickname ‘the king of Instagram,’ where he has more than 29 million followers.

In 2016, Bilzerian said he preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. He is seen right with Trump in December 2015

In 2016, Bilzerian said he preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. He is seen right with Trump in December 2015

In 2016, Bilzerian said he preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. He is seen right with Trump in December 2015

His Instagram account is chock full of photos and videos showing Bilzerian surrounded by scantily clad women in exotic locations.

Bilzerian has also been known to weigh in on politics. 

In 2015, after Trump announced his candidacy for president, Bilzerian tweeted a photo of himself with the former reality television star.

‘In an age of p***ified political correctness, you have to respect the people who remain unfiltered,’ Bilzerian tweeted about Trump.

A few weeks before Trump shocked the world and defeated Clinton in the elections, Bilzerian gave an interview to Larry King explaining why he supported The Donald.

‘I don’t agree with everything the guy does or says [but] one thing I do like is the fact that he’s kind of raw and unfiltered,’ he said.

Bilzerian said he preferred Trump over Clinton because ‘even if I don’t agree with their opinion, [I would rather] they give it to me straight.’

West, of course, has been an outspoken supporter of Trump.

He famously met the president in the Oval Office for a photo op.

His wife, Kim Kardashian West, has also used her ties to the Trump administration to lobby for criminal justice reform. 

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Incredible images show a kangaroo stuck inside a car’s grille after being hit

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A hero tradesman has freed a kangaroo found stuck in the grille of a moving car.  

The man spotted the trapped kangaroo outside Domain shopping centre in Townsville, Queensland on Sunday. 

He flagged down the driver of the car to tell them they had a kangaroo stuck inside their vehicle’s grille. 

He then put on a pair of gloves, grabbed his cordless drill and saw from his truck and set about rescuing the marsupial.

A kangaroo (pictured) was found trapped inside the grille of a travelling car after being hit overnight

A kangaroo (pictured) was found trapped inside the grille of a travelling car after being hit overnight

A kangaroo (pictured) was found trapped inside the grille of a travelling car after being hit overnight

‘I stopped in the middle of the intersection so he couldn’t drive off, I said hey bud! You got a roo in the grill of the car,’ the tradesman posted on Facebook.

‘Unbelievable he said he hit it last night and thought it was dead. 

‘No mate it’s bloody alive, park around the corner so I can get it out.’  

The kangaroo, described as ‘pretty scared’, was released into a nearby bush. 

The tradesman was praised for saving the kangaroo online, while others expressed their sympathy for the animal.

‘Awesome job. I bet the poor roo was glad to see you. How scary for him. Pat yourself on the back & have a beer,’ one wrote. 

‘You are a hero roo wrangler, unreal!’ another wrote. 

One added: ‘So disturbing! Who leaves a dead roo in their grill? 100 questions come to mind …’  

The tail of the kangaroo (pictured) is seen hanging out of the grille of car after getting stuck inside the narrow space overnight

The tail of the kangaroo (pictured) is seen hanging out of the grille of car after getting stuck inside the narrow space overnight

The tail of the kangaroo (pictured) is seen hanging out of the grille of car after getting stuck inside the narrow space overnight 

A spokesman from RSPCA Queensland told Daily Mail Australia said ‘it’s amazing the kangaroo was still alive after being hit overnight’. 

‘It’s very possible the driver who hit the kangaroo at night thought it was dead which is why he didn’t check the grill in the morning,’ the spokesman said. 

‘But it’s weird because you would’ve thought he had noticed it and removed it. 

‘It would be hard for someone to be charged and fined over this incident considering it happened overnight and the driver thought it was dead.’   

A tradesman took to Facebook and posted about his experience (pictured) of rescuing a trapped kangaroo in the grille of a travelling car

A tradesman took to Facebook and posted about his experience (pictured) of rescuing a trapped kangaroo in the grille of a travelling car

A tradesman took to Facebook and posted about his experience (pictured) of rescuing a trapped kangaroo in the grille of a travelling car 

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Charity founder, 38, learns to walk again after being paralysed by a white-tailed spider bite

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A woman who was left paralysed and on life support after being bitten by a white-tailed spider hiding in her Ugg boot has defied the odds by learning to walk again. 

Naomi Lambert, then-27, was putting on her Uggs in the bedroom of her parents’ home in Adelaide, South Australia, when she was bitten by the venomous spider.

The bite started a chain of events that would see the charity founder develop cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, and rapidly lose function of her body leaving her completely paralysed – but conscious – on life support.

After weeks in ICU, doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own nerves.

Ms Lambert told Daily Mail Australia of how she spent nine months in rehab in 2009 learning to walk, hold a pen and live independently again.

Naomi Lambert was putting on UGG boots in her bedroom when she was bitten by a white-tailed spider, an incident which triggered a chain of events that left her paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for nine months (pictured with her aunt during recovery in 2009)

Naomi Lambert was putting on UGG boots in her bedroom when she was bitten by a white-tailed spider, an incident which triggered a chain of events that left her paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for nine months (pictured with her aunt during recovery in 2009)

Naomi Lambert was putting on UGG boots in her bedroom when she was bitten by a white-tailed spider, an incident which triggered a chain of events that left her paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for nine months (pictured with her aunt during recovery in 2009)

Bites from white-tail spiders (pictured) can be moderately painful and cause temporary skin irritation and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks

Bites from white-tail spiders (pictured) can be moderately painful and cause temporary skin irritation and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks

Bites from white-tail spiders (pictured) can be moderately painful and cause temporary skin irritation and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks

‘It wasn’t really that painful – I wasn’t screaming my head off or anything, it just felt a like a bee sting,’ she said.

Bites from a white-tailed spider can be moderately painful and cause temporary itching and inflammation, but usually resolve after a few weeks. 

But after being bitten, Ms Lambert developed a bacterial infection called cellulitis in her foot and she was admitted to hospital for treatment.

An abscess quickly developed and she underwent surgery to remove the growth.

It was during recovery that things took a more sinister turn.

‘I started to get very weak, but the doctors assumed it was just muscle deterioration because I’d been in hospital for a few weeks,’ she said.

‘Then one day I stood up and literally dropped backwards. Things spiralled pretty quickly from there.

‘I tried to pick up a band aid it felt like I was lifting kilos.’

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a common and sometimes painful bacterial skin infection. 

It first appears as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch and redness can spread quickly.

It most commonly affects the skin of the lower legs, although infection can occur anywhere on the body or face.

If cellulitis remains untreated, it can become life-threatening.

After weeks of tests, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. She spent nine months in rehab learning to walk again (seen with her mother during recovery)

After weeks of tests, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. She spent nine months in rehab learning to walk again (seen with her mother during recovery)

After weeks of tests, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. She spent nine months in rehab learning to walk again (seen with her mother during recovery)

Unable to support herself, Ms Lambert found it increasingly difficult to breathe and she developed a chesty cough.  

‘My mum was lying with me reading one evening, and my breathing got so bad there was about 40 seconds between each breath,’ she said.

Her mother alerted staff and she was placed on life support within minutes.

‘I was conscious but couldn’t communicate. I was fully paralysed, it was like being trapped inside my own body,’ she said.

‘I was having panic attacks, but couldn’t tell anyone or do anything about it.’

After weeks on a ventilator, Ms Lambert was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and severe immune deficiency triggered by the cellulitis infection from the spider bite.

What is Guillain-Barré Syndrome? 

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare disorder which involves the body’s immune system attacking the nerves.

The first symptoms are weakness and tingling in the fingers and toes. These sensations spread quickly, eventually paralysing the whole body.

Most people with Guillain-Barré syndrome have experienced a severe viral or bacterial illness beforehand, usually one to three weeks earlier.

GBS affects between two and eight people in every 100,000.

It is most common between the ages of 30 and 50.

Source: Better Health Victoria

I was conscious but couldn’t communicate – it was like being trapped inside my own body.
– Naomi Lambert 

Confined to a wheelchair, Ms Lambert spent nine months in a physical rehabilitation facility learning to walk, hold a pen and live independently again.

She received weekly injections to treat her condition for seven years, finally finishing in 2015.

‘I was so young when it happened, so I regained most of the body’s usual function really well,’ she said.

‘I’m reasonably well now and I don’t need any further treatment, but my immune system isn’t the best and I tend to catch anything that’s going around.

Ms Lambert (pictured in 2019) regained almost full function of her body and went on to found The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness

Ms Lambert (pictured in 2019) regained almost full function of her body and went on to found The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness

Ms Lambert (pictured in 2019) regained almost full function of her body and went on to found The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness

‘I can’t jump and the reflexes in my legs are a bit sluggish, but I can live with these things.’

Ms Lambert is the founder of The Cool To Be Kind Project, a global charity which encourages random acts of kindness and positivity.

The movement has received recognition from The Huffington Post creator Arianna Huffington, who recently tweeted about Ms Lambert’s story.

Everything you need to know about white-tailed spiders 

White-tailed spiders are dark, reddish grey in colour with a cylindrical, cigar-shaped body.

Their defining feature is a white spot at their tip.

White-tailed spiders are found across southern Australia, in southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and southern Western Australia.

They adapt to both bush and urban environments, and usually hide under tree bark and rocks and within tight spaces inside homes – particularly between pieces of fabric.

A 2003 study found 95 percent of white-tailed spider bites occurred indoors.

Two-thirds of bite victims found the spiders nestled in bedclothes, towels and clothing.

White-tailed spider bites result in symptoms similar to those of a bee sting: an immediate burning sensation in the local area, followed by mild swelling and an itchy red mark. 

Source: Australian Geographic

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