Big or little, cute or ugly, animals of the world can be our companions or our enemies.
Animals can also do some nifty things, or play important roles in the ecosystem. DW looks at animals from every which angle.
The Ostwall Fortification in western Poland is an extensive network of bunkers built by the Nazis in the 1930s. The abandoned underground complex has now been taken over by bats. In fact, it's become one of the largest hibernation sites in Europe. Once a year, the bunkers are opened so that the animals can be counted. The last tally found 35,000 bats sheltering there.
Between October and December, the skies above the Kasanka National Park in northern Zambia are taken over by swarms of fruit bats. Around ten million of the animals descend on a small patch of forest in the park, in what is thought to be the largest migration of a mammalian species. It's a journey that's still a mystery to scientists. A German research team has been studying the population.
Every year, hundreds of rhinos are killed by poachers in South Africa's national parks. Many gamekeepers sell their knowledge on where to find the animals. Economic deprivation is one major reason for poaching. The Black Mambas, an all-female gamekeeper crew, want to put an end to these practices and convince men in their own villages to spare the animals.
In the chaos of fighting, animals are often left behind or forgotten. Zoo animals are unable to escape the frightening realities of war around their cages. Amazingly, there are people who travel in the opposite direction of retreating civilians and head into harm's way to save these animals. Dr. Amir Khalil is one of them, having spent 25 years as a veterinarian and rescuing thousands of animals.