Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Like The "Glowing" Sea Turtle, These Animals Also Light Up

A hawksbill sea turtle that can light up like a neon Christmas tree is the latest addition to a menagerie of animals with an ability known as biofluorescence.  These luminous animals can reflect the blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different color—the most common being green, red, or orange.  Biofluorescence is different from bioluminescence, where animals either produce their own light through a series of chemical reactions, or host other organisms that give off light.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

California Vets Save Animals Lost and Bewildered by Wildfires

On Saturday 12 September a small fire started in a utility shed in the bone-dry, shimmering heat of Lake County, California. The flames crept across the landscape slowly at first before exploding into a conflagration that burned 50,000 acres in just 24 hours. By the time Cal Fire had the blaze under control, it had consumed 76,000 acres.  It spread so quickly that many communities barely had time to evacuate, with citizens fleeing as their homes burned down in their rear-view mirrors and trees exploded by the side of the road.  Many were forced to leave their animals behind, unable to locate them in the rush to escape. Pets and livestock were forced to fend for themselves in the swirling flames, some surviving in miraculously unburnt homes and barns, while others managed to outrun or shelter from the fire.

Monday, September 28, 2015

What Happens to the Animals When the Circus Leaves Town?

Smith was destined for execution. The lion had already been castrated, declawed, separated from his mate, Amazonas, and caged with another male’s offspring. He was agitated. Then one day in August 2014, during a circus performance in Peru, as he sat perched on a pedestal above a spectator’s head, which was lowered, exposing the back of her neck, the trainer commanded Smith to jump, and his natural instinct prevailed. He pounced on the audience member, grabbing her in his jaws and dragging her around the ring until a handler beat Smith into submission and forced him back into a cage.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Our Horrible Treatment of Animals

Thanks — sort of — for the disturbing Sept. 19 front-page article on small regional zoos [“Roadside dens of grim captivity”]. I have a hard enough time dealing with the way animals are raised and slaughtered in industrial nations. This reminder of what we do to the animals we want to keep alive is even worse because they have no escape but a slow, grim death from neglect, torment and depression. Such activity should be fiercely regulated or, better yet, banned.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

'The Jane Effect' and Disappearing Animals

You know Jane Goodall. She's the chimp lady. Either she's always been there, on the periphery of your everyday consciousness thanks to her celebrity status or — especially for those in fields that involve the study of animal groups — she's been there quite consciously, as a paragon and a guiding light.  The English primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist and U.N. Messenger of Peace, now 81, revolutionized the way we think about and study animals. It was Goodall who first realized that in order to understand and learn from animals, we have to live with them in their environments. She's also, over the years, been an impassioned voice for environmentalism, nonviolence, and, speaking generally, for temperance, compassion and a child's sense of wonder.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why We Care About Some Animals More Than About Humans

Following the death of my childhood pet—a black cat named Neo—I had an extended mourning period that included a lot of open weeping and melodramatic Instagram posts.  We humans love animals. We house some of them in our homes, treating our pets like family. We stage funerals for those household pets—some places even offer cremation services specifically for animals, like this place in Whitman—and we also mourn the loss of creatures we never even saw in real life. We get indignant when animals are abused, talking about it passionately on social media. We react very strongly when animals are killed–sometimes even more strongly than we do when humans are killed.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Can Genetic Engineering Bring Back Extinct Animals?

Will it one day be possible to bring a woolly mammoth or a Neanderthal back to life? If so, should we? How is climate change affecting the evolution and extinction of species?  These are some of the questions explored in science writer Maura O’Connor’s new book, Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction And The Precarious Future of Wild Things.  Traveling the world from Kenya (in search of the white rhino) to a lab in California (where a geneticist is trying to resurrect the extinct passenger pigeon), O’Connor reports on the people and places on the front lines of what has become known as resurrection science.

Friday, September 18, 2015

What Do Animals Think?

Science usually steers firmly away from questions about the inner lives of animals. Surely they have inner lives of some sort. But like a child who is admonished that what he really wants to ask is impolite, a young scientist is taught that the animal mind — if there is such a thing — is unknowable.  Permissible questions are "it" questions: about where it lives, what it eats, what it does when danger threatens, how it breeds. But always forbidden is the one question that might open the door: Who?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Video: World's Saddest Dog Begs For Forgiveness

This dog has more regrets than you.  In a video uploaded to Facebook, an Italian man's dog begs for forgiveness for whatever it's done. Bowing its head and giving so many one-sided hugs, the shamed pooch knows that it's in the wrong.  Our question: What did this dog do? Did it get too drunk at a party? Did it steal its owners money for drugs? Did it poop on the floor? We don't know. But it must have been awful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Adventure Seeking Puppy Gets Head Stuck In Wall, Continues Lovin' Life

This dog is showing this hole in a wall who is boss  Japanese Twitter user @Onodesu0223 captured this fearless pup defying the laws of physics by sticking its head through a gap in a wall.  And just when life tried to tell this puppy, no your head will not fit, he pushed onward, because he will do as he damn well pleases.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Buzzer The Studio Cat

Arnold Genthe, a Berlin-born photographer, worked a New York portrait studio. He sought to capture the human essence of his subjects, to go beyond a “commonplace record of clothes and a photographic mask.” He used an unobtrusive camera and would not tell the subject when he was going to make the exposure.  He photographed many famous and prominent figures of the time, including Sarah Bernhardt, Jack London, Anna Pavlova and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, even Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Bizarre Ways That Animals Sleep

You aren't alone in your nightly tossing and turning. Sea lions do it, too.  A new video by National Geographic details the strange ways different animals sleep. Walruses, for example, can sleep floating vertically in the water, their heads bobbing above the waves. When hippos sleep in water, some sleep under the water, occasionally popping up to take a breath.  The most disturbingly odd sleeping style in the animal kingdom is, of course, the human grandfather.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Genetic Islands Are Stranding Big Animals

Big animals like to move. They need lots of space to find food and suitable mates. But animals around the world are increasingly finding it tough to get around as their habitats are being chopped up into small patches of protected reserves.  Chinese pandas, Florida panthers, Indian tigers, Africa’s mountain gorillas, and now possibly jaguars in Central America are all getting swept into a biological black hole of shrinking spaces and smaller gene pools from which they can reproduce.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Zoo to Auction Paintings by Its Animals

Elephants, giraffes, lemurs, and even a cockroach at the Oakland Zoo have been exploring their creative sides to produce colorful paintings that will be auctioned for charity.  The painting sessions were conducted by zoo keepers who used only positive-reinforcement, including plenty of treats, as they worked with the animals, zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora said.  Elephants were helped to hold paintbrushes in their trunks and giraffes in their mouths and produced their artwork one stroke at a time. Goats, lemurs, and meerkats had their hooves, paws or claws dabbed with nontoxic, water-based paint and ran over a blank sheet of poster board while chasing a treat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Court Cases Redefine Animals As Victims

In two recent landmark rulings advocating for animals’ rights, the Oregon Supreme Court granted animals some rights formerly reserved for humans.  Individuals in Oregon are now expected to face harsher sentences for animal abuse or neglect, according to the court.  The verdict came after two cases. In the first case, Arnold Nix was convicted of 20 counts of second degree animal neglect after police found dozens of starving horses and goats on his property.  This was a step forward in that the 20 animals were counted individually as separate “victims,” instead of lumped together as one. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pregnant Dog Discovered Breastfeeding Malnourished Child in Chile

A severely malnourished two-year-old boy was discovered being breastfed by a neighbor's pregnant dog in Arica, Chile, The Indepedent reports.  The boy was found by a neighbor, who noticed him  nursing on her dog Reina in a mechanic's workshop. He had been abandoned by his family and had apparently sought nourishment from the only place he could find. He was immediately taken to a hospital and put into protective welfare custody. He also had lice and was suffering from a skin infection. When his mother showed up at the hospital, she was drunk but was not charged with a crime because officials said she had not physically harmed the boy.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Homeless Dog Jumps Into Stranger’s Car and Lives Happily Ever After

A family was driving in their car when they spotted a dog in terrible condition. She was malnourished and covered in wounds and sunburn. The family decided to pull over and take her with them. They named her Kelsey.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

This Could Be the Worst Year for Rhino Poaching

As many as 12 poaching groups are lurking in South Africa’s 7,500-square-mile Kruger National Park at any given time, Edna Molewa, the country’s environmental affairs minister, said on Sunday.  That’s led to an increase in rhinoceroses killed by poachers within park boundaries, where nearly half of South Africa’s population of white rhinos resides.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Florida Law Would Allow Saving Animals From Hot Cars

People would be able to smash the windows of hot cars and remove unattended dogs or cats after getting law enforcement approval, under a bill proposed Monday.  Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, filed a proposal (SB 200) that would allow individuals --- first responders, animal-control officers and people instructed by such agencies --- to gain access to vehicles and remove unattended animals when the animals' health is endangered and the owners "after a reasonable effort" can't be found.