Category : Animals

(Local Paper front page) Researchers detail findings of rare, white-skinned alligator hatchlings in Lowcountry

For decades, there were few detailed accounts or photos of rare, white-skinned alligators in coastal South Carolina.

But a Clemson University researcher who found six such American alligator hatchlings in the Lowcountry in 2014 has published what is believed to be the most detailed account of such a discovery to date.

Thomas Rainwater was working as a wildlife toxicologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Charleston when he and other biologists found the six rare hatchlings in an undisclosed location in the Lowcountry.

Someone had notified Rainwater and the other researchers after stumbling across them by accident.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

(Global News) Up to a billion seashore creatures were cooked to death during B.C. heat wave, researcher says

As many as one billion seashore animals along the Salish Sea may have died as a result of the heat wave in British Columbia.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia say the heat caused a mass die-off of creatures like sea snails and sea stars, as well as mollusks like clams and mussels.

Chris Harley, a professor with UBC’s Department of Zoology, said large quantities of dead sea life were spotted at beaches across Metro Vancouver.

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Posted in Animals, Canada, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

Wednesday Food for Thought–Immanuel Kant on how people treat animals can tell you who they are

Our author here goes on to speak of duties to beings that are above us and beneath us. But since all animals exist only as means, and not for their own sakes, in that they have no self-consciousness, whereas man is the end, such that I can no longer ask: Why does he exist?, as can be done with animals, it follows that we have no immediate duties to animals; our duties towards them are indirect duties to humanity. Since animals are an analogue of humanity, we observe duties to mankind when we observe them as analogues to this, and thus cultivate our duties to humanity. If a dog, for example, has served his master long and faithfully, that is an analogue of merit; hence I must reward it, and once the dog can serve no longer, must look after him to the end, for I thereby cultivate my duty to humanity, as I am called upon to do; so if the acts of animals arise out of the same principium from which human actions spring, and the animal actions are analogues of this, we have duties to animals, in that we thereby promote the cause of humanity. So if a man has his dog shot, because it can no longer earn a living for him, he is by no means in breach of any duty to the dog, since the latter is incapable of judgement, but he thereby damages the kindly and humane qualities in himself, which he ought to exercise in virtue of his duties to mankind. Lest he extinguish such qualities, he must already practise a similar kindliness towards animals; for a person who already displays such cruelty to animals is also no less hardened towards men. We can already know the human heart, even in regard to animals. Thus Hogarth, in his engravings,* also depicts the beginnings of cruelty, where already the children are practising it upon animals, e.g., by pulling the tail of a dog or cat; in another scene we see the progress of cruelty, where the man runs over a child; and finally the culmination of cruelty in a murder, at which point the rewards of it appear horrifying. This provides a good lesson to children. The more we devote ourselves to observing animals and their behaviour, the more we love them, on seeing how greatly they care for their young; in such a context, we cannot even contemplate cruelty to a wolf.

–Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), E.T. by Peter Heath, p. 212

Posted in Animals, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Philosophy

Because–Puppies make life Better!

Posted in Animals, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

([London] Times) Digby the dog saves woman from brink of bridge

So when reports came in on Tuesday of a vulnerable woman on a motorway bridge in Devon, a firefighter had the bright idea to take him along.

A team of trained police officers was on site trying to provide support to the woman and help her return to safety, but it was Digby who ultimately got her out of harm’s way.

“Today [Digby] did something amazing and helped save a young woman who was thinking of taking her own life on a bridge over the M5 near Exeter,” said a spokesman for Devon and Somerset fire service.

“We were at the incident as part of a multi-agency response. Police negotiators were speaking with the woman but the situation was becoming increasingly worrying. One of the fire crew had the idea to bring along Digby, our ‘defusing’ dog. Digby helps crews who have been exposed to trauma during talking therapy ‘defusing’ sessions.”

The spokesman added: “When Digby arrived, the young woman immediately swung her head round to look, and smiled.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Animals, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Police/Fire, Psychology

(CBS) 60 Minutes Interviews Sir David Attenborough, age 95

Anderson Cooper: You were skeptical of– of climate change And I think that’s– that’s interesting, because I think it makes your warnings now all the more powerful.

Sir David Attenborough: Yeah, yeah, certainly so. And if you’re going to make a statement about the world, you better make sure that it isn’t just your own personal reaction. And the only way you can do it, do that, is to see the– the work of scientists around the world who are taking observation as to what’s happening. As to what’s happening to temperature, what’s happening to humidity, what’s happening to radioactivity, and what’s happening ecologically?

Anderson Cooper: You’ve said that– that “climate change is the greatest threat facing the planet for thousands of years.”

Sir David Attenborough: Yes. Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done, civili– so-called civilizations have done, pale to significance when you think of what could be around the corner, unless we pull ourselves together.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in Animals, Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Stewardship

Communities to search churchyards for rare or endangered species

Churches Count on Nature, to run between 5-13 June 2021, is a citizen-science event covering churchyards across the England and Wales.

The project will see communities and visitors making a note of the animals, birds, insects, or fungi in their local churchyard.

Their data will then be collated on the National Biodiversity Network.

One church getting involved is St Pol de Léon’s Church, Paul, in Cornwall.

As part of their nature count the church will be marking Environment Sunday and be holding their morning service outside in their “Celtic Quiet Garden.”

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Ecology, Religion & Culture

Dr. Jane Goodall Receives 2021 Templeton Prize, Biggest Single Award of 60-Year Career

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace and world-renowned ethologist and conservationist, whose groundbreaking discoveries changed humanity’s understanding of its role in the natural world, was announced today as the winner of the 2021 Templeton Prize. The Templeton Prize, valued at over $1.5 million, is one of the world’s largest annual individual awards. Established by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, it is given to honor those who harness the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humankind’s place and purpose within it. Unlike Goodall’s past accolades, the Templeton Prize specifically celebrates her scientific and spiritual curiosity. The Prize rewards her unrelenting effort to connect humanity to a greater purpose and is the largest single award that Dr. Goodall has ever received.

“We are delighted and honored to award Dr. Jane Goodall this year, as her achievements go beyond the traditional parameters of scientific research to define our perception of what it means to be human,” said Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation. “Her discoveries have profoundly altered the world’s view of animal intelligence and enriched our understanding of humanity in a way that is both humbling and exalting. Ultimately, her work exemplifies the kind of humility, spiritual curiosity, and discovery that my grandfather, John Templeton, wrote and spoke about during his life.”

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Posted in Animals, Ecology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(WSJ) What Do Dogs Really Think? Pet Psychics Are Standing By

Once or twice a year, Terri O’Hara visits a ranch in Littleton, Colo., to talk with the animals.

Ms. O’Hara strolls through the barn, mingles with the herd and sits down with the poultry. She says she drinks in telepathic images that reveal animals’ inner thoughts, be they profound or mundane.

On a typical visit, Ms. O’Hara will report that a gelding is concerned that human staff members get dangerously underfoot around the feeding stations. The miniature steer is miffed that the male pig has a female companion and he doesn’t. The alpacas divulge that cliques are forming among the volunteer ranch hands. The hens complain that the rooster is abusive.

Ranch owner Bernadette Spillane takes these reports into account when managing the 53-acre property. The ranch is a sanctuary for rescued horses, and Ms. Spillane says they line up to unburden themselves on Ms. O’Hara’s visits. “There were horses we didn’t realize were having an issue,” says Ms. Spillane, 65 years old. “Or they knew other horses were having an issue, and they wanted to talk about it.”

In humans’ long quest to communicate with their beloved pets, some are casting doubts aside and turning to animal communicators—sometimes called pet psychics—to try to learn what’s on Fido’s mind.

“Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not real,” says former Manhattan restaurateur Alex von Bidder, whose daughter brought an animal communicator to her horse farm in Aiken, S.C.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Animals, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(World) Scientists discover that Butterflies are more efficiently designed than they realized

For decades, scientists unfairly maligned the humble butterfly as an inefficient creature. Now, with the help of a wind tunnel, scientists in Sweden are proving the opposite is true.

In the early 1970s scientists first noticed the insect claps its wings during flight. At first, the discovery seemed to help cement the creature’s reputation as a clumsy flier. But Swedish scientists on Jan. 20 published a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface showing slapping its wings at the top of the upstroke helps the butterfly produce forward thrust by capturing a pocket of air and jetting it backwards. The discovery demonstrates that, far from being inefficient flyers, butterflies are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Biologists Christoffer Johansson and Per Henningsson of Sweden’s Lund University began by catching six silver-washed fritillary butterflies in a meadow near their Stensoffa, Sweden, field station. The pair of scientists hoped to use a wind tunnel to monitor how the butterflies use their flexible wings to create thrust and lift. But in order to study butterfly aerodynamics, the team needed to see the air interacting with the insects’ wings. By releasing visible gas called a tracer into the wind tunnel, the team could observe the butterflies creating vortices or even capturing pockets of air with their wing flaps. “When the wings clap together at the end of upstroke the air between the wings is pressed out, creating a jet, pushing the animal in the opposite direction,” the scientists wrote in their report.

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Posted in Animals, Science & Technology

Tuesday Mental Health Break–Life is Better when you watch Pandas in the Snow

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

([London] Times) Rise of funerals to give pets a fitting farewell

More and more Britons intend to give their pets an individual send-off, according to the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria. It noted a 10-15 per cent increase last year in owners requesting cremations at a time when, because of Covid-19, people have spent more time with their pets.

Owners spend up to £400 for a service and an animal-shaped urn. This contrasts with the service provided by vets, where remains, which are classed as waste, are typically sent to a third party to be cremated en masse for a fee of about £50.

Vicars and spiritual leaders may also be called upon to help grieving owners who choose to go to pet crematoriums. “Sometimes people contact me for a conversation, while others prefer a full order of service,” says Ms Hellings, whose parish covers Crondall and Ewshot in Hampshire. “It’s such a privilege to help owners who are feeling sad. My job isn’t to tell people what to think.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Religion & Culture

A Wonderful NY Times Article–Infrared Drones, Search Parties and a Lasso: Chasing a Runaway Llama

But there she was on Wednesday, speeding from the North Castle Town Hall in Armonk, N.Y., to the police station in Mt. Kisco, the footwells of her Toyota scattered with spilled llama treats, passing out bushels of fliers: “LOST LLAMA,” one read. “Try not to scare him.”

“Gizmo,” she said aloud, as if a missing llama roving the hills of Bedford Corners, a wealthy, equestrian pocket of Westchester County, could hear her. “Where are you?”

Word of the weekslong hunt for Gizmo, the 7-year-old llama who absconded on Dec. 13, had already ricocheted around the town, the state and far beyond. Prayers and tips poured in from people who knew neither Ms. Heimann nor the first thing about pack animals. But a llama was on the loose, and it had captured the public’s imagination.

As the days stretched into llama-less weeks and concern grew, Ms. Heimann’s increasingly desperate Facebook posts morphed into calls for llama search parties.

Tipsters from around the region began calling her at all hours. Someone sent pictures of a llama — a different llama, safe in its paddock. Someone else sent a photo of “llama” dung that turned out to be the leavings of a deer. Complete strangers took to the hills and dales between the mansions and horse estates of the surrounding towns to find Gizmo. One caller said she had located him — with her psychic.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

(Nature) Can dogs smell COVID? Here’s what the science says

A group in France, led by veterinary scientist Dominique Grandjean at the National Veterinary School of Alfort near Paris, posted its work3 on the preprint server bioRxiv in June. The researchers, who included Sarkis, trained 8 dogs to detect COVID-19 in 198 sweat samples, around half of which were from people with the disease. When these were hidden in a row of negative samples, the dogs identified the positive samples 83–100% of the time. The paper does not say how well the dogs identified negative test results. The research is now under review at a journal, but Grandjean says the process has not been easy. “To publish papers on detection dogs is very difficult because most reviewers do not know anything about working dogs,” he says.

The data in that study look promising, says Fyodor Urnov, a gene-editing scientist who is working on COVID testing at the University of California, Berkeley. But he would like to see larger data sets on how well dogs identify positive and negative samples. He also notes that there is variation in how well individual dogs perform. In Grandjean’s study, for example, 2 dogs identified 68 out of 68 positive samples, whereas one missed 10 out of 57 cases.

Groups need to boost their sample sizes before the wider scientific community can evaluate how useful the dogs might be, agrees James Logan, an infectious-disease researcher at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who is training and studying COVID-19 dogs, including Storm, Maple and Asher. “It’s important not to go out too early with grand claims and small data sets,” he says.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(NBC) A Boy and a Puppy Bond Through a Similar Struggle

‘At just two years old, Bentley Boyers has undergone two surgeries after being born with a cleft lip. His family recently adopted a puppy with a cleft lip, and they’ve formed a special connection.’

Watch it all.

Posted in Animals, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(NYT) Doing the Bump With the Belugas in Manitoba

Beneath the waves, two smoldering coals for eyes watched me with an intense, unyielding stare. Pristine white bodies floated up elegantly from the depths, one after another, surrounding my kayak in the open water. Their ghostly pale faces with wide, Joker-esque smiles pushed closer. A long, powerful sound burst up through the air, like a slowly deflating balloon, followed by silence and more expectant staring.

I was having a one-sided conversation with a pod of curious beluga whales. The mouth of Churchill River in northern Manitoba, Canada, was calm and quiet on this chilly, overcast July day, but these bright white whales were not. Belugas, nicknamed “the canaries of the sea” thanks to their song-like sounds, are social, playful and highly communicative. They repeated their shrieks and tunes, floating around me in anticipatory silence. There was only one thing left to do: sing along.

In response, raucous clicks and squeals drifted upward out of the dark water, like someone tapping on a microphone for attention, broken by steady streams of blowhole bubbles. I got the distinct feeling that I was being discussed.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Canada

A Warm Happy national Puppy Day to all Blog readers!

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

(Local Paper) Sea turtles nesting earlier in South Carolina and Southeast as climate change takes hold

“Turtles keep you guessing,” she said. “What’s more shocking is since that nest we’re seen five more.”

The early nestings have bad and good implications for sea turtle nesting in South Carolina and across the Southeast. Loggerheads, which lay most of the eggs here, are also nesting earlier.

The phenomenon is likely one more sign that warmer seas and sands are becoming one more threat to the declining species.

But it might mean the ancient turtles themselves are adapting — again — to a changing climate.

Far more of the eggs that are laid in warmer sands emerge as females, disrupting the gender balance needed to reproduce. The trend has worried biologists for the turtles’ future. The turtles, metabolically if not instinctively, might just be looking for cooler sands. The shift in nesting season is occurring along with an apparent northward shift in range.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Animals, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(CTV) ‘Extremely rare’ sighting of a lynx litter caught on camera by Hydro worker

A Manitoba Hydro worker stumbled across an “extremely rare” sight while traveling the highways in rural Manitoba – a mother lynx and her litter.

Sean Kirchmann, a Hydro employee, was on his way to Grand Rapids, Man., when he noticed some small feline heads poking out of the trees near the highway.

“One by one, the mother came out followed by her kittens, gingerly crossing through the ditch and then at the side of the road,” said Bruce Owen, the spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro.

Read it all and do NOT miss the video.

Posted in Animals, Canada, Photos/Photography

(Church Times) Locust plague in East Africa prompts plea for help

Aa parts of East Africa face the worst plague of locusts for decades, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has made a plea for international help. It described the situation as “unprecedented” and “devastating”.

At the same time, the Christian relief and development agency Tearfund, which works with hundreds of rural self-help groups in the region, has urged people to pray for an end to the crisis.

In Kenya, the insect swarms are the worst for 70 years, destroying staple food supplies and farmers’ livelihoods. In Somalia, where the invasion is the worst for a quarter of a century, a state of national emergency has been declared. This week, locusts were reported to have reached Uganda. Tanzania and South Sudan have been added to a watch list.

In Ethiopia, the influx is the worst for 25 years. Tearfund’s Emergency Officer, Tewodros Ketsela, said: “The region is already struggling after several poor harvests, due to either drought or excess rain. As such, farmers are particularly vulnerable to this new threat. Anyone who is fortunate enough to have food reserves will have to use them up earlier than expected.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Animals, Dieting/Food/Nutrition

Sunday Afternoon Encouragement–(NBC) Beer can leads to Minnesota woman reuniting with missing dog after 3 years

A Minnesota woman was reunited with her dog, Hazel, this week after spotting her missing pet’s picture on a Florida brewery’s beer can.

The road back together for Monica Mathis, 33, and Hazel began last month when Mathis was scrolling through Facebook and saw a picture of a dog that looked familiar. It was Hazel, her mixed breed that had been missing for three years.

What Mathis had hit upon was a label posted on Facebook from Motorworks Brewing, of Bradenton, Florida, which featured four adoptable dogs, including Hazel. Proceeds from sales of the cans were destined for a fund to build a new county animal shelter.

Read it all or watch the video below (highly recommended).

Posted in Animals, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Corporations/Corporate Life, Marriage & Family, Media

Friday Mental Health break–(NBC) Airport Pig Spreads Holiday Cheer In San Francisco

Posted in Animals, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Travel

The Latest Picture of the Harmon’s new Puppy Luka

Posted in * By Kendall, Animals, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

(NPR) The Gulf Of Maine Is Warming, And Its Whales Are Disappearing

Each summer for the last two decades, Jim Parker has readied his small whale watch boat, and made a business out of ferrying tourists out into the cool blue waters of the Gulf of Maine.

For years, it was steady work. The basin brimmed with species that whales commonly feed on, making it a natural foraging ground for the aquatic giants. Whales would cluster at certain spots in the gulf, providing a reliable display for enchanted visitors to the coastal community of Milbridge, Maine.

But lately, the whales have been harder and harder to find. Waters in the gulf have been warming, sending the whales’ food supply searching for cooler temperatures. The whales have gone with them. Some days this summer, Parker says he didn’t spot a single one. Business fell 20%, forcing him to cut his season short.

To help make ends meet, he’s been leading nature tours instead of whale watching expeditions. It’s gotten so bad, Parker says, that he and his partner have considered moving away from whale watching.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology

The Golden Retriever Puppy is Getting Bigger!

Posted in Animals, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

A New Male Golden Retriever Puppy for the Harmons!

Posted in Animals, Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

Monday Night Inspiration–Stay in the Game

On his own in Costa Rica, Max had figured out how to get Chica into the US, and convinced someone at American Airlines to let her fly on his lap, because they wouldn’t let dogs fly in the hold due to the heat. Thereafter, he and Chica settled in to their little apartment downtown near the White River canal, and each of them began their new life, together. Max had saved Chica. And Chica had saved Max.

One afternoon three months later, when Max was walking Chica, she saw something she hadn’t seen in Costa Rica. It was a squirrel, and before Max could stop her, Chica chased that squirrel straight out onto Indiana Avenue. Right in front of a speeding car.

The car ran over Chica. My son screamed. In that brief moment everything that Max had worked for, everything he had overcome, everything that he was living for, was gone.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

Blue Lobster Found in Cape Cod Restaurant Shipment

A Cape Cod restaurant saw a rare sight Monday when it received a brilliantly blue lobster as part of a shipment.

Nathan Nickerson, owner of Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham, received the colorful crustacean in a batch order from Ipswich Shellfish Group.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals

(NBC) Aspiring Doctors Learn At The Zoo In Unique Medical School Program

“A unique program at Harvard Medical School sends aspiring doctors of human medicine to Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo, where they learn to treat lemurs, frogs and other animals. The goal: to learn how our worlds interact and improve care for all.” Watch the whole thing.

Posted in Animals, Education, Health & Medicine

(ESPN) A Terrific story on the Boston Red Sox Groundskeeper and his Service Dog for Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted in Animals, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sports, Travel