March 20, 2013
The idea of bringing extinct animals back to life is intriguing. We could start with a passenger pigeon. But what extinct animal(s) would you like to see brought back to roam the earth, if it was possible? Would your animal of choice be able to literally roam the earth or would diminishing habitat make that implausible? How would your animal fare with present day humans?
February 3, 2013
If you read recently about the Smithsonian study that stated free roaming cats kill up to 24 billion birds and small mammals annually, you probably had questions. Some of those questions may have been:
- Where can I buy whatever the Smithsonian researchers are smoking?
- Are there 24 billion bird and mammal skeletons weighed down with wee cement shoes at the bottoms of every river in the United States?
Thankfully, Peter Wolf at Vox Felina has answers to all these questions and more (well, not the second one actually). His post entitled Garbage In, Garbage Out looks at the research in detail and brings to light various flaws. Serious flaws. For example, he notes that the studies referenced in the paper are, in various cases, outdated, imprecise, misrepresented and counted more than once. Using these studies to extrapolate such things as the number of cats with access to prey and the number of birds and small mammals killed by these cats results in even greater imprecision. Thus the title of Vox Felina’s post. And then there is the issue of agenda, specifically to undermine TNR, and the authors’ apparent bias:
[Peter] Marra (a vocal critic of TNR) served as Nico Dauphiné’s advisor at the Smithsonian until October 2011, when she resigned after being found guilty of attempted animal cruelty. And [Tom] Will, also an outspoken critic of TNR, helped Dauphiné land her post-doc fellowship there with a letter of recommendation.* (Her position was funded by USFWS, just as [Scott] Loss’ is today.)
While I am grateful there are smart minds like Peter Wolf willing to put in the work to debunk this study, I think many people will simply apply the common sense test to the outrageous claims made in the paper. Which is to say, a quick glance at the sky, the trees and the ground reveal that indeed, bird and small mammal populations are thriving. And cats are not the wildlife mafia.
As one commenter put it on Gawker (Warning: bad language alert):
right. it’s not fucking encroachment by archer-daniels midland, or death by monsanto poisoned seeds or bayer or ortho pesticides and herbicides, oh no, it couldn’t be those things. it couldn’t fucking be from air, water and soil pollution, fuck no; everyone knows those things are *good* for billions of birds.
it’s frisky the cat. only cats. cats are to blame.
+1 for common sense.
December 12, 2012
A Memphis resident trying to help an injured bird reportedly sought assistance from the city but received none. She then reached out to several other local animal agencies and businesses but still found no one willing to help the bird. Ultimately a PETA volunteer in Los Angeles found someone willing to pick up the bird and take him for treatment.
So to clarify, someone from the Memphis pound, who apparently told a police officer the bird would have to be dead before MAS would offer any assistance, was outshone by a volunteer for PETA, one of the killingest animal “shelters” in the country.
Dang, I’d hate to be a bird with a busted wing in Memphis. I think I’d walk as far as I could get.
August 30, 2012
When an alligator turned up 1 mile away from the nearest body of water in the parking lot of a store in West Ashley, SC, Charleston AC came to save the day. And by “save the day”, I mean: Snare the gator in a chokepole, drag and lift him by said chokepole and place him in an open wire cage directly next to some poor dog the ACO already had on the truck.
It’s all on video (including plenty of ACO asscrack, in case you are watching at work). It makes me wonder what handling technique this guy used to get the dog into his cage.
(Thanks Liz for sending me this story.)
August 3, 2012
This video of a killer whale at Sea World nearly drowning a trainer during a show in 2006 is very difficult to watch. The trainer survives but the first 10 minutes of the clip, when the whale has his foot in her mouth and pulls him underwater, depicts what well could have been the end of this man’s life. The look on his face shows it. To his credit, he remains calm, continually patting the orca in an attempt to soothe her.
In a new book called Death at Sea World, author David Kirby explains that the whale in the video had been swimming with her baby prior to the show and that during the performance, the calf started screaming for her mother from a nearby pool. That’s when the mama whale began attacking the trainer.
The story provides critical context to the attack and would presumably give Sea World pause regarding the continued pursuit of their killer whale shows. But even though orcas have killed 4 people at Sea World, the corporation is moving toward the re-introduction of trainers in the water with whales – a practice which had been suspended after the most recent death. It is unknown how soon Sea World might return to putting trainers in the water during performances but I imagine it will happen the very second Sea World thinks it can get away with it.
March 30, 2012
March 21, 2012
…in this case, let’s just say that YES, I will happily accept this li’l guy as a gift. And if you wanted to toss in a substantial piece of the Amazon or the Everglades for when he grows up, that’d be swell. kthx.
February 27, 2012
Strap in – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Last July, Odessa AC in TX visited the home of Some Dumbass who was keeping a mountain lion as a pet. The ACO advised the owner the cage the animal was living in was too small and the gaps between the bars were too wide. The owner did nothing. In October, the mountain lion reached out through the large gaps in the cage and grabbed Some Dumbass’s 4 year old nephew, biting him in the face.
As it turns out, AC was not following the law when they allowed Some Dumbass to keep a mountain lion as a pet. So this month, AC apparently wondered what other animal related issues they might not be keeping tabs on as far as legal liability and such. So they got their thinking caps on and…
Guess what? The city doesn’t have an official policy in place regarding the credentialing of rescue groups that pick up pets from the pound. As such, the city abruptly banned all rescues from the pound while they craft an official rescue credentialing policy, which is going to take a few weeks. They’ll still be killing pets during this time, but all rescuers, even those they have known and worked with for years, will be denied the ability to save pets.
It’s nice that Odessa AC is stopping to examine whether they are doing a decent job. But while they are doing so, can’t they at least allow known rescuers to save pets from the pound? The city is concerned that evil people are going to pose as rescuers and “do God-knows-what” to the pets they take from the pound. Sure, that’s a risk, albeit a very tiny one. But by temporarily banning all rescuers from the place, the city is condemning the pets to something much worse than “God-knows-what”. There is nothing worse than death.
January 17, 2012
Because I know many of you are like me in that you are interested in other animals besides dogs and cats, I have a few links to share in that department:
Midwestern Harry Potter fans will be happy to hear there is a glut of snowy owls in Kansas this year. But it’s important to keep a good distance if you sight one on the ground so as to allow them to regain their strength after flying in from the arctic and to use their reserves for hunting, not for fleeing from curious bird watchers.
The housing of lab rodents is a complex issue (which I did not realize before reading this article) and the subject has become confusing to researchers after reading the government’s new guidelines.
A new study finds that manta and mobula rays – the majestic ballet swimmers – are in danger of extinction due to a Chinese market for their gill rakers (the mechanism by which the animal filters food from the water). Perhaps even sadder is the reason for the demand:
The researchers note that the gills had not previously been prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine, and many of its practitioners conceded in interviews for the study that gill rakers were not effective in treating illness and that many alternatives were available. The rising popularity of the ingredient seems to be the result of traders’ efforts to create a market, the report’s authors concluded.
November 5, 2011
I know many readers followed the killing of dozens of wild animals who had been released from their cages on an Ohio farm just before the owner committed suicide on October 18. In a recent meeting of a group tasked with making recommendations for exotic animal ownership in OH, Tom Stalf from the Columbus Zoo described the conditions the Zanesville animals lived in as “horrific”:
…[P]rimates were kept in birdcages littered with garbage and feces.
Bengal tigers were kept in cages about 6 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 15 feet deep, inadequate for their species, he said.
The grizzly bear now at the zoo was found in a large birdcage in a drained backyard pool, “aggressively chewing on the cage,” Stalf said.
The article also gives a final accounting of the 56 animals, although it appears to leave 1 animal unaccounted for:
Law enforcement shot and killed 48 of the animals and a monkey was killed by the other animals. Six others — a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys — are in quarantine at the Columbus Zoo.
The task force is likely to recommend a ban on exotic animal ownership (with existing owners grandfathered in) according to the piece, although no details on which animals would qualify under the ban are mentioned.