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Julian Stratenschulte

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Yesterday was the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day of the year when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. People around the world are welcoming the start of the new season by enjoying (or avoiding) the hot weather. In southern England, where yesterday brought heavy rains, pagans gathered at Stonehenge and reveled in spite of the downpour. Collected here are a handful of images of the beginning of Summer, 2012. [31 photos]

A Bengal tiger, sprayed with water by a zookeeper on a hot summer day at the Birsa Munda Zoological Park in Ranchi, India, on May 30, 2012. Zoo authorities are helping the animals cope with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104F) by providing coolers, special roofs and regular hose-downs. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include a fiery Spanish festival, a frightening encounter with a leopard in India, a flamingo undergoing laser treatment, a new species named in honor of entertainer Beyonce, and the plight of Ukraine's "vodka bears". These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers. [42 photos]

A man rides a horse through a bonfire on January 16, 2012 in the small village of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain. In honor of San Anton, the patron saint of animals, horses are ridden through the bonfires on the night before the official day of honoring animals in Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

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HITCHCOCK REDISCOVERED
HITCHCOCK REDISCOVERED: The New Zealand Film Archive released a still Wednesday from what is thought to be a lost film made in 1923 by the acclaimed British director Alfred Hitchcock. (New Zealand Film Archive/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

LIGHTING UP
LIGHTING UP: A migrant worker lit up a cigarette as he took a break at a garbage dump site in Taizhou, China. (Reuters)

BOMB THREAT
BOMB THREAT: Police waited outside a home Wednesday in Mosman, Australia, where an 18-year old woman was held hostage with a bomb tied around her neck. Police were able to secure her safe release. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

A SUMMER SNOGGING
A SUMMER SNOGGING: A young couple kissed behind a row of beach huts Wednesday in Whitstable, England. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

HEAD FIRST
HEAD FIRST: A boy jumped from a diving platform above a swimming pool Wednesday in Hanover, Germany. (Julian Stratenschulte/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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The source of an E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,200 is still not known. German authorities at first blamed it on cucumbers grown in Spain, causing outrage among Spanish farmers. They are claiming they lost tens of millions of dollars due to a slump in demand. Tests showed that Spanish cucumbers did not contain the dangerous strain. Bean sprouts from a farm in Germany are now being tested, though the first tests did not find the contamination. Cases have shown up in at least 10 countries and have left more than 600 in intensive care.(30 photos total)
A nurse cares for a patient infected with the virulent E. coli bacteria and undergoing dialysis treatment at an intensive care unit of Hamburg's UKE university clinic on June 1, 2011. The number of people sickened by a mysterious killer bacteria grew, two weeks after the outbreak in Germany, while fears over tainted vegetables hit European farmers hard. Scientists and health officials say they have identified the E. coli bacteria responsible for the outbreak, which has mainly affected northern Germany, but are unable to say what caused it or who was responsible. (Angelika Warmuth/AFP/Getty Images)

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