Thursday, April 24, 2014

Animals Are Persons Too

How does a thing become a person? In December 2013, the lawyer Steven Wise showed the world how, with a little legal jujitsu, an animal can transition from a thing without rights to a person with legal protections. This Op-Doc video follows Mr. Wise on his path to filing the first-ever lawsuits in the United States demanding limited “personhood” rights for certain animals, on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State.

-Igor Purlantov

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Very Smart Ape Demonstrates How to Roast Marshmallows

For one very talented ape, having no trainer and no assistance is no problem when it comes to making a favorite fireside snack.  Kanzi the bonobo is not your average animal. The ape knows some American Sign Language, can create stone tools, and apparently cooks. That last trait is highlighted in a viral video from BBC One. The U.K. network's show "Monkey Planet" explores "your animal family as you've never seen it before." In the series, the characteristics that primates share with humans are explored. A shining example comes courtesy of Kanzi.  George McGavin, the host of the show, narrates the video. In the minute-long clip published to the BBC's YouTube channel, Kanzi is shown building a fire. The bonobo breaks debris and wood before piling the pieces neatly. He then lights a match and uses a small branch to ignite the fire.

-Igor Purlantov

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

11 Cat Breeds You've Probably Never Heard Of

Cats might be the darlings of the Internet, but you don't often see them out and about with their humans, lounging at coffee shops or parks like their canine counterparts. So unless you're a cat breeder, a regular reader of our cat breed profile pages or a faithful cat show attendee, chances are there are many cat breeds and varieties you've never heard of.  Whether you're looking to bring home a new kitty or simply want to impress your friends with your superior feline knowledge, here are 11 rare or lesser-known cat breeds you should know about.

-Igor Purlantov

Monday, April 21, 2014

Baby Squirrel Wears a Cast for Broken Ankle

After falling 75 feet from a tree onto concrete, an adorable baby squirrel is on the mend, with a super cute cast on her broken ankle.   The injured squirrel was found by a private citizen on April 8, who took her to Animal Control Services in the District of Columbia. She was then brought to City Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center in Washington, D.C., where she was treated.

-Igor Purlantov

Friday, April 18, 2014

How Zebras Got Their Stripes

How did the zebra get its stripes? It sounds like the theme for a “Just So” story that Rudyard Kipling never got around to writing. You would think that someone would have come up with the definitive answer by now, but, in fact, the reason zebras have stripes remains a biological mystery. The laws of evolution suggest that the random emergence of stripes on the ancestors of modern zebras must have had some sort of advantage that allowed them to reproduce more prolifically than their unstriped brethren. The striped animals would have become more common with each generation, ultimately outlasting the ones without stripes.

-Igor Purlantov

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dog Chosen for Jury Duty

It’s kinda strange."  That was New Jersey resident Barrett Griner's first thought when he checked his mail last week and found that one of the mail items from his local county clerk's office was not for him. It was for his 5-year-old German Shepherd dog, IV.  "I got the mail and I look at it, and I’m like IV Griner, this is my dog’s name," he said.  "I’m wondering like, What is this? Something from the county office about her vaccinations or something? Like, why is my dog getting mail?"

-Igor Purlantov

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Animals Associated With Easter

Easter is a holiday that celebrates the coming of spring and the birth of new life. Hence, many images of Easter are synonymous with images of springtime such as flowers, gentle colors and baby animals. Although decorated eggs, Easter baskets (usually filled with candy), and the Easter Bunny are the most iconic Easter imagery, baby animals are also ever-present symbols in the holiday’s d├ęcor.

-Igor Purlantov

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family Adopts Dog That Raced Train

A daring dog that raced alongside a Metro-North train from the South Bronx to Manhattan last week as passengers and crew cringed in fear she would get hurt has been adopted, officials said Monday.  The dog, named Tie by MTA workers for all the railroad ties she ran across, went home to her new family on Sunday, according to Animal Care & Control.

-Igor Purlantov

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lives of Animals, Disabled and Otherwise

Fans of the PBS series “Nature” are used to having their breath taken away by the photography, but they’re less accustomed to having their heartstrings tugged. Wednesday’s installment, “My Bionic Pet,” about animals with disabilities, goes for the emotions. It’s one of three programs this week that prove that television about nonhuman creatures can be more than mere pretty pictures or idiotic turtle wrangling.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thousands Of Ukraine's Zoo Animals May Soon Starve

As political unrest continues to threaten the peace in Ukraine, thousands of animals at one of the country's zoos are at the brink of starvation, an international conservation group announced this week.  The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization, a nonprofit headquartered in South Africa, told The Huffington Post there has been a severe scarcity of food and medical supplies for the estimated 5,700 animals at the 104-year-old Nikolaev Zoo, located in southern Ukraine, since government funding for the zoo dried up a few weeks ago.  "The fact is, they were just two days away from totally running out of food for the carnivores when we found out about this and began providing meat," the organization's international president, Barbara Wiseman, told HuffPost via email. "The rest of the animals were just two weeks away from running out of food."

-Igor Purlantov