ThisFunktional Junior: August 2022

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(Info from press release)

Specially Designed Neoprene/Rubber “Boots” Help Lucas Walk and Ease Symptoms of Non-curable Degenerative Foot Condition

Lucas, a prominent member of the San Diego Zoo’s African penguin colony who was diagnosed with a degenerative foot condition, has a new opportunity to thrive, thanks to intervention by the Zoo’s wildlife heath and wildlife care specialist teams. Team members—with the help of Thera-Paw, a national organization that designs and manufactures rehabilitative and assistive products for animals with special needs—created and fitted Lucas with custom orthopedic shoes made of neoprene and rubber, to prevent pressure sores from developing on his feet and ankle when he stands and walks. 

Lucas has a chronic condition known as bumblefoot, an umbrella term for a range of avian degenerative foot conditions ranging from mild redness to deep abscesses. If left untreated, bumblefoot could lead to sepsis and death by secondary infection.Unfortunately, Lucas’s bumblefoot is believed to be a permanent condition, so the wildlife team decided to use the boots to make him as comfortable as possible as he goes about his normal daily routine. The boots should protect the lesions already present on his feet, while minimizing the risk of him developing additional sores.   
“I’ve known Lucas for a long time, so having the ability to provide him with a chance to live a normal life brings a smile to my face,” said Dr. Beth Bicknese, senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo. “The boots are cushioned and Velcroed in place, so they will help Lucas to fully participate in the colony and showcase behaviors that are more typical for a penguin—such as climbing the rocks, swimming, nesting and finding a suitable mate.” 
The 4-year-old penguin’s medical journey began more than 3 years ago, when he developed a spinal infection that left him with weak muscles in his legs and the inability to properly stand upright on his toes.  Lucas was forced to rest on areas of his ankles that would not normally touch the ground. The team provided Lucas with pain medication, physical therapy and acupuncture treatments to try to improve his spine, but were unable to heal his condition. As sores began to form on his foot and legs, the team reached out to representatives at Thera-Paw, and asked them to create the custom padded boots. 
“This was such an amazing opportunity, and we were honored to be asked to assist the team at the San Diego Zoo,” said Ilaria Borghese, founder and president of Thera-Paw. “Over the years, we’ve tackled challenging cases like Lucas’s, and each is special and memorable. One thing that never gets old is seeing an animal’s life dramatically improve after using one of our aids. It inspires and drives us every day.”
Wildlife care specialists at the Zoo observed that after fitting Lucas with his new boots, his gait improved, increasing his ability to navigate his rocky habitat with greater ease—and his posture became more natural, allowing him the faculty to gain better balance while standing. 
We were pleasantly surprised at the immediate change in Lucas after we fitted him with his new boots,” said Debbie Denton, senior wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo. “Seeing him move about now gives us hope that he may be OK going forward, and able to live a full life.”
African penguins are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Once one of southern Africa’s most abundant seabirds, the species suffered a massive population decline from an estimated 1 million breeding pairs to only about 18,000 breeding pairs today. In the past two years alone, the population decreased more than 23percent. Historically, penguin eggs and guano were commercially harvested, which had a devastating effect on the population. Although both practices were abolished toward the end of the 20th century, other threats—including a lack of readily available food due to overfishing, climate change, oil and marine pollution, the emergence of avian influenza A (H5N8) virus and habitat degradation—contribute to a continuing population decline.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) program for these endangered aquatic birds and has previously partnered with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), to help facilitate conservation programs in South Africa.
“Penguins are a remarkable family of birds,” said Denton. “There is no other type of animal that is so widely spread across an enormous geographic range, or displays so many unique characteristics among its members. As their numbers fall, every individual bird matter. It’s vital that we continue our work to ensure their continued survival for generations to come.”

(Info from press release)

Marvel Studios’ beloved hero returns for a classic Thor adventure. Described as “emotional, exciting, and downright funny as hell” (Ben Kendrick, Screen Rant), Thor: Love and Thunder arrives on Digital September 8 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD September 27. Fans can add the film to their Marvel Studios’ movie collection and access exclusive bonus content including deleted scenes, a gag reel and audio commentary by legendary filmmaker Taika Waititi. Thor: Love and Thunder will also stream on Disney+ September 8.

Film Synopsis

Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder finds the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced – one of self-discovery. But his efforts are interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who – to Thor’s surprise – inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.

Directed by Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok,” “Jojo Rabbit”), from a screenplay by Waititi & Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Thor: Love and Thunder was produced by Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum.

Bonus Features*
  • Gag Reel – Take a look at some of the fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of Thor: Love and Thunder.
  • Audio Commentary – Watch the film with audio commentary by director/writer Taika Waititi.
  • Hammer-worthy: Thor and The Mighty Thor – Trace Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman's journeys to becoming Thor and The Mighty Thor, respectively. Watch as the costars speak about the preparation behind embodying their legendary roles and describe how they combine their unstoppable forces.
  • Shaping a Villain – This featurette introduces Love and Thunder’s primary antagonist, Gorr the God Butcher. Shining a light on the man who brings the character to life, this piece highlights his recruitment and process. Then fellow cast and crew reveal personal anecdotes.
  • Another Classic Taika Adventure – This piece looks back on Taika Waititi’s journey taking over the Thor franchise and reinventing the God of Thunder. Revisit the moment Taika was announced as the new custodian of Thor and follow Taika through the production of Thor: Love and Thunder.
Deleted Scenes
  • Looking for Zeus – Thor, Valkyrie and Korg run into a few characters while seeking an audience with Zeus.
  • Wasting Time – Star-Lord and Mantis convince Thor to help their cause.
  • A Safe Vacation – A nonchalant Thor chats with a panicked Star-Lord and Mantis in the middle of chaos. An explosion thrusts Korg into the scene.
  • Fighting For You – Zeus gifts Thor a special tool after overhearing a heartfelt conversation.
*Bonus features vary by product and retailer

(Info from press release)



The biggest global animated franchise in history adds an all-new laugh-out-loud gru-vy movie in Illumination’s MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, available to own with over 60 minutes of despicably entertaining bonus features on Digital August 30, 2022 and on 4K UHD, Blu-rayTM and DVD September 6, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Now with even more frolic and fun from the world’s most irresistible Minions, fans get a chance to learn the comedy-filled origin story of how Gru and the Minions became the world’s most villainous team! Jam-packed with exclusive bonus content, this Collector’s Edition includes two all-new mini movies, hilarious outtakes, a how-to draw (& animate) lesson with co-director Brad Ableson and tons of activities the whole family can enjoy.
Long before he becomes the master of evil, Gru is just a 12-year-old boy in 1970s suburbia, plotting to take over the world from his basement. When the infamous supervillain group, the Vicious 6, ousts their leader, Gru attempts to join their ranks but soon finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. With Gru on the run, the Minions attempt to learn martial arts to help save him, and Gru discovers that even bad guys need a little help from their friends. Packed with the franchise’s signature subversive humor, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU features more thrilling action than any Despicable Me film ever before!
The film is written and directed by Kyle Balda (Minions, Despicable Me 3, The Lorax), co-directed by Brad Ableson (“Minions Holiday Special”) and Jonathan del Val (the Secret Life of Pets 2), and co-written by Matthew Fogel (The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) and Brian Lynch (Minions, The Secret Life of Pets), starring Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Julie Andrews, and Alan Arkin. The original score was created by Heitor Pereira.
With the purchase of MINIONS RISE OF GRU on disc or digital, fans are eligible to earn points towards digital movies via the Universal All-Access Rewards program. Members can redeem their points for digital movies, swag and more!  For registration and details please visit
  • POST MODERN MINIONS (MINI MOVIE) – Experience one Minion’s rise and fall as an artistic genius when he sneaks into a 1970’s post-modern art gallery with a fellow Minion and unintentionally creates an explosive new art form that is declared by a snooty art critic as the greatest art he’s ever seen. When the critic moves onto the next new artist, our Minion tries everything to get back in the spotlight, which accidentally leads to his next unexpected career. 
  • MINIONS AND MONSTERS (MINI MOVIE) – Follow a newbie Minion as he joins three more experienced Minions in playing a 1970’s fantasy role-playing game. After struggling to gain the skills needed to master the game, the newbie unexpectedly rises to the occasion and saves the day, earning him the magical crown and the appreciation of his buddies.
  • GRU
  • GRU-VY ANIMATION - Join Steve Carell and the directors as they take us through the animation process. From Concept Art, through Storyboards and on to the Final Film, with every Gru-vy step in between explained in fun and fascinating detail.
  • THE '70S - FASHION, FOOD & FUNK - A behind the scenes look at the 1970’s through the lens ofMINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU.  From fashion to music, cultural phenomenon and back – the cast and filmmakers are bringing the 1970’s to a whole new generation.
  • MINION MARTIAL ARTS - In this 1970s inspired martial arts movie throwback, we hear from the film’s directors about their inspiration, how they created authenticity in animation, the role the many martial artists in the cast played to bring it to life and how you teach a Minion to fight.
  • HOW TO DRAW (& ANIMATE) WITH BRAD ABLESON - Co-director Brad Ableson shows us how to draw all of our favorite characters.
  • LAIR FLAIR: MAKE YOUR OWN MINION HIDEOUT - The Minions aren’t the only ones who can build a secret lair — now you can, too! (And yours doesn’t have to be built under Gru’s bed.)
  • SUPER STYLE SHOP - The Minion uniform of overalls and goggles is timeless. Simple yet functional. But sometimes Minions have a casual day out and can abandon their work attire for something more fashionable. Here’s how can create fresh new fashion for YOUR Minions!

On Digital August 30,
4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray™and DVD September 6

Facebook: @minions

Twitter: @minions

Instagram: @minions

TikTok: @minions

#Minions #TheRiseofGru

(Info from press release)

On International Orangutan Day(Aug. 19), wildlife care team members at the San Diego Zoo are celebrating two of the Zoo’s prominent primate residentsKajaa critically endangered Sumatran orangutan infant; and his mother, Indah. Following major health complications that left Indah hospitalized after giving birth, wildlife care specialists jumped in to care for Kaja and help nurture him during the critical early weeks of his life.  Due to quick intervention, both mother and infant are now doing well, and have since been reunited.

Kaja, now 7 months old, was born Jan. 4 to 35-year-old Indah. He was named for an island in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, where rehabilitated orangutans are cared for prior to their reintroduction to native habitatsThis youngster is the first orangutan born at the Zoo since 2014, when Indah gave birth to her daughter Aisha. 

Almost immediately after giving birth, Indah started experiencing severe complications and was placed under the care of the Zoo’s wildlife health team. The team reached out to community-based experts, including neonatal anesthesiologists and OB-GYN specialists, and together they determined the older orangutan was experiencing excessive bleeding and had severe anemia. Indah’s treatment required several weeks of medication; but eventually, shemade a full recovery, and the wildlife team began the work of reconnecting mom and baby.
“It was a slow process that required a lot of patience and attentiveness, but the reward was great in the end,” said Dean Gibson, curator of primates at the San Diego Zoo. “After returning from the hospital, it took weeks for Indah to start interacting with Kaja. But once they began spending time together, their bond grew rapidlyand now, they’re nearly inseparable. It warms my heart to see Indah back in the role of mom, because she does it so well.”
Wildlife care specialists have also introduced Kaja to the rest of the orangutan group, and have started to familiarize him with the two siamangs that share the habitat. Zoo guests can visit the orangutans throughout the day in the Lost Forest. On days when Kaja and Indah choose to explore the habitat, guests may get a glimpse of the duo—usually early in the morning. 

Sumatran and Bornean orangutans are listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The decline in their population is due to illegal wildlife trafficking and habitat loss from rampant deforestation, which forces them into closer contact with people. 

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is working to save the species through collaboration with innovative partners. Along with organizations such as SINTAS Indonesia and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, conservationists work to prevent wildlife trafficking and encourage the public to help reduce demand for wildlife-based products, while advocating for laws and other measures that protect wildlife.
“Orangutans are a well-known species, so it may surprise many to hear that there is a possibility they could all be gone in the near future,” said Misha Body, director of wildlife care at the San Diego Zoo. “Wildlife births like Kaja’s are always exciting events, but seeing a new animal come into the world takes on a weightier meaning, as each new life signifies hope. And hope is a very precious thing in the realm of saving wildlife, because it can help sustain us as we continue our vital work.”

San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 50-year History of Wildlife Conservation to be Celebrated with a Float in the 134th Rose Parade Presented by Honda

(Info from press release) Giraffes, Rhinos and Wildlife Safari Truck Represent the Safari Park’s Ability to Connect People to Wildlife and ...