Friday, May 27, 2016

The Case for Treating Animals as Humans

In the new documentary ‘Unlocking the Cage,’ attorney Steven Wise makes his case for why animals need legal personhood for their own safety.  Earlier this month, when Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center, the world’s largest chimpanzee research facility, announced it was moving all 220 of its chimps to a sanctuary in Georgia, it’s a safe bet the news made attorney Steven Wise the happiest man on the planet. That’s because two of the chimps, Hercules and Leo, had been the subjects in an ongoing legal battle about the rights of chimps, a legal case brought by Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, and the subject of D.A. Pennebaker a Chris Hegedus’s Unlocking the Cage, a documentary out now in New York, followed by a national rollout and an HBO broadcast early next year.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Video Shows Lions Licking Tent With Camper Still Inside

A camper in Africa experienced a too-close-for-comfort encounter with nature when she recorded three lionesses licking her tent while she was still inside.  Francie Lubbe was camping at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana on May 9 when she recorded the lionesses licking water on the tent leftover from a heavy rain the night before. The lionesses, inches away, were visible through the tent's clear mesh. Drinks and sunblock lotion can be seen on the other side of the tent, directly opposite the lionesses' heads.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Could a Child Really be Raised by Animals?

I recently became a first-time mother. In addition to my daughter, Myrtle, I share my home with a motley collection of rescued animals including dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and pigs. This multi-species, multi-generational co-habitation—along with the release of a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book—left me thinking about the phenomena of feral children, a topic I had considered in my book about human-animal interactions more generally. Certainly in some exceptional circumstances I can now appreciate how it might be possible for a human child to be cared for by a non-human surrogate.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A New Code of Conduct to Protect Animals From Drones

A quick search online will reveal dozens of videos of drone and bird encounters. While it's always impressive to see a bird of prey take down a pesky quadcopter, the disturbance could impact the animal in ways we don't yet understand.  As the commercial drone industry kicks off and drones are increasingly used in conservation efforts, two Australian researchers have developed an animal-drone code of conduct to begin the conversation about how these machines should be ethically used.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Secret Life of Animals, Captured on Camera

Scientists trying to learn about the lifestyles of elusive critters (tigers and cougars come to mind) have their work cut out for them.  Many animals will smell or hear a researcher long before the researcher sees them. As for observing nocturnal animals? Forget it. But in the last few years, many wildlife researchers studying animals in their natural habitat have had a technological assist from camera traps. These devices lie in wait until a passing animal triggers their motion sensor.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Johns Hopkins Ends Use of Live Animals for Surgical Training

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will end its use of live animals in medical education, school officials announced Wednesday.  For many years, surgical procedures on live pigs have been part of the core clerkship in surgery for Hopkins medical students at Hopkins. But the School of Medicine is now joining the nationwide trend of switching entirely to computer simulations for such training.  "Given that almost all medical schools have stopped using live animals in medical student education and that the experience is not essential, the School of Medicine has decided that the use of live animals in the surgical clerkship should stop," school officials wrote in a message sent to students Wednesday.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What are the World's Deadliest Animals?

What would you say is the world's most dangerous animal? A shark? A tiger? What about a crocodile?  An Australian man was killed by a crocodile this week; his friend escaped with his life after a three-hour ordeal.  Crocodiles are dangerous enough, they kill an estimated 1,000 per year. But the world's deadliest animal, year after year, is a much smaller creature: the mosquito.  Here are some of the world's deadliest animals.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Are We Smart Enough to Understand How Smart Animals Are?

Is a human smarter than an octopus?   “It’s really the wrong question to ask,” says primatologist Frans de Waal. “Because I’m smarter than an octopus in things I’m good at, like language and technology. But the octopus is smarter than me in many other ways.”  Inky the octopus recently made an astounding escape from his tank in the national aquarium of New Zealand. Under the cover of darkness, he squeezed through a crack in the top of his tank, stretched his long body through a drain hole in the floor and slithered down a 50 meter pipe to escape into the sea. Is Inky a genius?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Should Animals Be Kept in Zoos?

This post is part of KQED’s Do Now U project. Do Now U is a weekly activity for students and the public to engage and respond to current issues using social media. Do Now U aims to build civic engagement and digital literacy for learners of all ages.  Hear opposing thoughts from a field biologist at the University of York and the president of the Born Free Foundation about keeping animals in zoos for conservation purposes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dogs in Flint Also Tested For Lead Toxicity

Humans aren't the only victims of the water crisis in Flint, as pets also may have been exposed to the toxic lead. An effort coordinated by Michigan State University is now helping dogs get tested.  The school's College of Veterinary Medicine has hosted screening events with professors, students and technicians volunteering to draw blood from dogs. State veterinarian James Averill said 266 dogs have been tested so far, with seven documented cases of lead toxicity.