Tag Archives: Animals

Doggy Daycare for the Chosen

OK, so you know those Law & Order episodes where the parents go berserk trying to get their toddlers into the right nursery schools, so they can get into Harvard, later? I’m pretty sure those people should also not be allowed to have pets.

To get accepted at summer camp, it took a three-page application, a family interview and three hours of monitored playtime. The applicant: Cannoli, a dog.

Anyone who thinks elite preschools are rigorous enough may want to take a look at doggie day cares. They, too, are submitting prospective charges to exhaustive screenings.

Ramsay de Give for The Wall Street Journal

Cannoli joined a Long Island City, N.Y., doggie day care based on a three-page application, excerpt above, and an evaluation.

DOG

DOG

On a recent summer morning, Cannoli, a seven-pound Maltese, had to wow evaluators at Camp Bow Wow in Long Island City, N.Y., in hopes of making the cut. First came a series of tough questions on the application, including: “Has your dog ever growled at or bitten another person or dog?” and “Will your dog share toys with other dogs?”

Next was the evaluation. Owner Karen Serafinko and her son, John, watched on a TV monitor as Cannoli interacted with other dogs in a yard for dogs smaller than 10 pounds.

Cannoli’s evaluator came in after half an hour with a progress report. “He’s doing great. He’s having a lot of fun.”

How Smart Are Planet’s Apes? 7 Intelligence Milestones

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The supersmart chimpanzees of the new movieRise of the Planet of the Apes may exist only on the silver screen—but in real life, great apes are still brainiacs of the animal kingdom.

Man’s best friend, even while deployed in Afghanistan

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There’s a lot to his deployment in Afghanistan that Sgt. Tim Johannsen can’t discuss.

When he speaks to his stateside wife topics like where he’s stationed, his missions, and what the 23-year-old Army tanker is doing in a mountainous region where tanks can’t even travel are all taboo.

But security doesn’t prevent Johannsen from talking about is his adopted dog – a loyal mutt named Leonidas, who whines outside his bunk while he’s on mission and shelters with him as mortars fall.

The dog brings a touch of normalcy to an otherwise straining environment, Johannsen said in a phone interview from Afghanistan.

Story continues here: triblocal.com

Cat fight at U.S. Embassy in Kabul #FelineFriday

Daniel Wilkinson –
One of the 30 or so cats that populate the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

KABUL — Veteran diplomat Ryan C. Crocker can handle Islamist insurgencies, hostile heads of state and management of some of the world’s largest embassies. But what’s he going to do about the cats?

The new leader of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul has probably already walked past (and possibly petted?) Gordo, Freckles, Dusty, Ferdinand and Maria Teresa or any of the other 25 to 30 felines that populate the downtown diplomatic campus. But in case he has not been briefed on the bizarre battle over their fate (kill them! save them! fly them to Berkeley!), here are the basics.

Read more at washingtonpost.com

Polar bear kills young British adventurer in Norway

A polar bear

A polar bear has mauled to death a British citizen in Norway, according to reports. Photograph: Andrew Stewart/Rex Features

A British adventurer has been killed by a starving polar bear which attacked an expedition organised by the British Schools Exploring Society.

Four other people were injured by the animal, which the group then shot dead, at the Von Postbreen glacier on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago.

The party of around 80 were on a five-week expedition in the Arctic run by the BSES, a youth development charity.

Continue reading here: guardian.co.uk

Pictures: Rare Antelope, Big Cats Caught by Camera Trap

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Click through for article and more pics: news.nationalgeographic.com

The Cougar Behind Your Trash Can

By DAVID BARON
Published: July 28, 2011

Boulder, Colo.

YOU have to admit, the cat had moxie.

The 140-pound cougar that was spotted last month among the estates of Greenwich — and was later struck and killed on the Wilbur Cross Parkway — has been the talk of southern Connecticut. New England, along with most of the Eastern United States, hasn’t been cougar country since the 19th century, when the animals were exterminated by a killing campaign that started in colonial times. So where had this cougar come from?

Now we know the answer, and it couldn’t be more astonishing. Wildlife officials, who at first assumed the cat was a captive animal that had escaped its owners, examined its DNA and concluded that it was a wild cougar from the Black Hills of South Dakota. It had wandered at least 1,500 miles before meeting its end at the front of an S.U.V. in Connecticut. That is one impressive walkabout.

You have to appreciate this cat’s sense of irony, too. The cougar showed up in the East just three months after the Fish and Wildlife Service declared the eastern cougar extinct, a move that would exempt the officially nonexistent subspecies of the big cat from federal protection. Perhaps this red-state cougar traveled east to send a message to Washington: the federal government can make pronouncements about where cougars are not supposed to be found, but a cat’s going to go where a cat wants to go.

Indeed, if a cougar can walk from South Dakota to Connecticut, a cougar could show up anywhere. Vermont. Tennessee. Queens. (Don’t laugh: in 2008, another cougar from the Black Hills found its way to Chicago, where it was shot and killed by the police.) For years, a relative handful of people throughout the Eastern United States have claimed to see cougars, claims that the authorities have generally taken as seriously as Sasquatch sightings. Now, those sightings can’t be so easily dismissed.

A single cougar, especially one that is now dead, is not going to transform the lives of many Americans, but what that cougar represents just might. Cougars possess a kind of Pleistocene wildness, reminding us of a time — deep in our evolutionary past — when we were prey to big cats. Even today, cougars in the West on rare occasions kill and eat people (more commonly they kill and eat dogs), and they are reclaiming former habitat, moving into the suburbs and onto the Great Plains. The Greenwich cat may have been a lone scout, but you can be sure others will follow. The resilient, elusive cats that haunt the Western landscape will increasingly haunt the East.

Some will find this a frightening prospect. Others will celebrate it. Eastern forests are overrun with deer, so the presence of cougars — which eat deer — could improve ecosystems. It could also, paradoxically, make people safer, since deer kill far more humans than cougars do, if you consider the sizable death toll caused by automobile-deer collisions.

Still, living with big cats takes some adjustment. As a former New Englander who now lives among Colorado cougars, I no longer hike alone. When I walk my dog in the early morning, I watch the bushes. I have educated myself on what to do if I encounter a cougar. Yell. Throw rocks. Fight back.

Yet in a decade of living here, I have not seen a cougar in the wild. The cats are masters at hiding and generally leave people alone, which means the biggest adjustment to living with cougars is psychological. It is knowing that a creature far more powerful than you could be crouched behind the trash can, around the next tree, under the porch.

Thanks to the South Dakota cat and its incredible journey, residents of the Eastern United States can now experience the fear and thrill that come with living below the top of the food chain. America has grown a bit less tame.

David Baron, health and science editor at the public radio program “PRI’s The World,” is the author of “The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature.”

Surprising But True: Crocodiles Can’t Chew (mental_floss Blog)

Image credit: MartinRe

Yes, it’s true. Despite their fearsome reputation, crocodiles can’t chew. But that’s not to say they won’t kill you—in fact, death by crocodile is probably more agonizing precisely because they’re unable to masticate.

You see, crocodiles’ jaws aren’t wired to move sideways, so they can’t grind food down in a traditional chewing motion. What they can do, however, is rip off large chunks of their prey and swallow those chunks whole. If you’ve ever noticed the distinct manner in which crocs eat, now you know why – they’re ripping off pieces of meat. You can see a pretty good example of how that happens in this video. It’s rather graphic, so if you’re squeamish, please bypass it. 

Crocodiles do have a pretty mean bite. Their jaws may not move sideways, but you better believe they move up and down, snapping shut with thousands of pounds of force. The muscles required to open the jaw are much weaker, though—all it takes is a strong rubber band to keep a croc from biting. 

If you didn’t read this whole post in a Steve Irwin voice, please go back and do so now.

BBC News – Government ‘to back badger cull for South West’ (UK)


19 July 2011
Last updated at 03:14 ET

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Government ‘to back badger cull for South West’

Badger cubs

The badger (Meles meles) is a protected species under UK and European laws

The government is expected to announce it will back a cull of badgers in south-west England.

The coalition has always said it was “minded” to introduce culling to help fight bovine TB.

A similar badger cull was approved in Wales but the decision was overturned in the High Court.

Sources have told BBC West political correspondent Paul Barltrop the two areas where the cull will operate will be in Gloucestershire and Devon.

Campaign organisations remain opposed to the cull and are likely to challenge it in court.

Bovine TB costs the UK economy about £100m per year, blighting farmers in areas such as south-west England, with tens of thousands of cattle killed.

It is likely plans for a cull will move a step forward, with the government indicating that nothing in its lengthy public consultation has changed its mind.

The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, will address MPs in the Commons later in response to a consultation on badger control.

But BBC environment correspondent Jeremy Cooke said it still seemed unlikely that any cull of badgers would happen in the immediate future.

There could be further consultation on the method which would be used to kill badgers and how the cull would be organised.

The government also knows that it is certain to face legal challenges by campaigners who insist that the scientific evidence suggests that culling badgers would not reduce levels of bovine TB, but may actually make it worse, our correspondent says.

‘Something must be done’

Last month, a poll for the BBC suggested a majority of Britons in both town and country opposed killing badgers to curb cattle tuberculosis.

<div class=”warning”>
<img class=”holding” src=”http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/54135000/jpg/_54135509_jex_1111220_de42-1.jpg&#8221; alt=”Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union and Jack Reedy, from the Badger Trust” />
<p><strong>Please turn on JavaScript.</strong> Media requires JavaScript to play.</p>
</div>

Click to play

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union and Jack Reedy, from the Badger Trust, debate the controversial cull

Across the country, 63% said badgers should not be killed for cattle TB, with 31% in favour of culling and the remainder undecided.

But one cattle farmer, Aled Rees, said something had to be done.

“I don’t want to kill badgers unnecessarily, but we can’t go on as we are. Something has to be done about it and let’s get into a position, sometime in the future, where we can vaccinate the cattle and vaccinate the badgers and have an an end to all this.”

Government statistics show that the incidence of cattle TB declined slightly between 2009 and 2010, probably due to the escalation of TB testing on farms and restrictions on herd movements.

However, provisional figures indicate that incidence was slightly higher in the first two months of this year than in the corresponding period for 2010.

The European badger (Meles meles) is a protected species under European and UK law but ministers can sanction killing in certain circumstances, including to tackle disease.

BBC News – Government ‘to back badger cull for South West’ (UK)


19 July 2011
Last updated at 03:14 ET

Share this page

Government ‘to back badger cull for South West’

Badger cubs

The badger (Meles meles) is a protected species under UK and European laws

The government is expected to announce it will back a cull of badgers in south-west England.

The coalition has always said it was “minded” to introduce culling to help fight bovine TB.

A similar badger cull was approved in Wales but the decision was overturned in the High Court.

Sources have told BBC West political correspondent Paul Barltrop the two areas where the cull will operate will be in Gloucestershire and Devon.

Campaign organisations remain opposed to the cull and are likely to challenge it in court.

Bovine TB costs the UK economy about £100m per year, blighting farmers in areas such as south-west England, with tens of thousands of cattle killed.

It is likely plans for a cull will move a step forward, with the government indicating that nothing in its lengthy public consultation has changed its mind.

The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, will address MPs in the Commons later in response to a consultation on badger control.

But BBC environment correspondent Jeremy Cooke said it still seemed unlikely that any cull of badgers would happen in the immediate future.

There could be further consultation on the method which would be used to kill badgers and how the cull would be organised.

The government also knows that it is certain to face legal challenges by campaigners who insist that the scientific evidence suggests that culling badgers would not reduce levels of bovine TB, but may actually make it worse, our correspondent says.

‘Something must be done’

Last month, a poll for the BBC suggested a majority of Britons in both town and country opposed killing badgers to curb cattle tuberculosis.

<div class=”warning”>
<img class=”holding” src=”http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/54135000/jpg/_54135509_jex_1111220_de42-1.jpg&#8221; alt=”Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union and Jack Reedy, from the Badger Trust” />
<p><strong>Please turn on JavaScript.</strong> Media requires JavaScript to play.</p>
</div>

Click to play

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union and Jack Reedy, from the Badger Trust, debate the controversial cull

Across the country, 63% said badgers should not be killed for cattle TB, with 31% in favour of culling and the remainder undecided.

But one cattle farmer, Aled Rees, said something had to be done.

“I don’t want to kill badgers unnecessarily, but we can’t go on as we are. Something has to be done about it and let’s get into a position, sometime in the future, where we can vaccinate the cattle and vaccinate the badgers and have an an end to all this.”

Government statistics show that the incidence of cattle TB declined slightly between 2009 and 2010, probably due to the escalation of TB testing on farms and restrictions on herd movements.

However, provisional figures indicate that incidence was slightly higher in the first two months of this year than in the corresponding period for 2010.

The European badger (Meles meles) is a protected species under European and UK law but ministers can sanction killing in certain circumstances, including to tackle disease.