Monday, December 26, 2011

How To Help Cats Lose Weight?

Cheap dry cat food has sparked an obesity epidemic among cats in countries where high-carbohydrate pet foods are readily available.
Obesity presents serious health risks to cats, but a weight loss program will only work if the changes are maintained for the rest of the cat’s life. Crash diets don’t work with cats any better than they work with people. The cat simply experiences feelings of starvation and either fails to lose much weight or loses weight rapidly and then puts it back on when the diet is over. Permanent lifestyle changes are required to maintain a healthy weight for life.
Causes of Obesity in Cats
  • Risk factors for obesity in pets include:
  • Genetic predisposition to large appetite and/or slow metabolism (some breeds are more inclined to become obese than others)
  • Certain health conditions and medications
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Laid back personality (high-strung animals tend to get more exercise)
  • Being fed and given treats by many different people in a household
  • Free feeding, particularly if using large food bowls
  • Having the opportunity to steal food from other pets
  • Being fed a high-carbohydrate diet
The latter factor is probably the most common cause of obesity in cats. A diet of cheap, dry kibble is not really a bargain, as it can have serious health consequences in the long run.
How to Tell if a Cat Is Overweight
Answering the following questions will help to determine whether a cat is overweight to an unhealthy degree:
  • Is the cat relatively sedentary? Does he have trouble running, jumping, and climbing?
  • Do the sides of his body form straight lines when viewed from above, or does he bulge out at the sides?
  • When viewed from the side, does his belly form a straight line that runs parallel to the floor, or does it curve downward?
  • Can you feel his ribs with your fingers, or is there a lot of fat overlying them? His ribs shouldn’t be visible, but you should be able to feel them.
A veterinary consultation is necessary before embarking on any weight loss program because health issues must be taken into account when determining the best and safest approach.
Health Problems Associated with Feline Obesity
Being overweight and sedentary can have serious health consequences for cats, including increased risk for:
  • Arthritis and other joint and mobility problems
  • Bladder infections (if obesity makes it difficult to groom properly)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Decreased immune function
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Incontinence
  • Liver disease
  • Lower urinary tract disease
  • Surgical/anaesthesia complications
  • Weakened immune system
Existing kidney and heart disease may also be accelerated by excess weight.
How to Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Helping cats lose weight requires reducing daily calories and increasing exercise levels. To reduce food intake:
  • Don’t free feed – provide a measured quantity of food at each meal.
  • Have one adult or responsible older child take charge of feeding all pets, and don’t allow other members of the household to offer food between meals.
  • In multicat households, feed each cat in a separate room with the door closed to prevent food stealing.
  • Offer calorie-free treats such as catnip, or provide attention and affection in place of extra food and treats.
Unless your cat has a medical condition that makes walking, running, and other forms of exercise painful, the following approaches can be used to increase his daily activity levels:
  • Play with the cat daily so that he can make use of his hunting skills.
  • Feed the cat in a remote area of the house, making it more work to take a trip to the food bowl and thus forcing the cat to expend more energy to get his food.
Weight reduction programs require veterinary supervision. Be sure to take your cat in for regular progress assessments and health checks.
What to Feed Cats for Weight Loss
Cats that need to lose weight should be fed a high-protein diet. While low-fat, high-fiber diets are often recommended for fat cats, not all cats lose weight on these diets, and many develop dry, flaky coats, and in some cases, more serious health problems.
Fiber suppresses appetite to some degree in people, but it doesn’t have this effect on cats, because while people are omnivores, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats on high-fiber diets eat more in an attempt to satisfy their protein requirements, or suffer feelings of starvation if fed controlled portions.
The best way to promote healthy weight loss for cats is by feeding high-protein canned wet food. Cats feel full without eating as much because their protein requirements are met, and the water content of the food means that the same portion contains fewer calories. Look for foods for which meat (not wheat, rice, corn, or by-products) is the first ingredient listed on the label.
See High Protein Diets for Cats for information on how to calculate the protein content in cat foods and choose the best protein sources for optimum health.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's The Habits Of Zbra?


In the wild, plains zebras (equus burchelli) can walk approximately 40 km per day, which provides natural wear to their hooves. In captivity, however, animals are limited by the size of their enclosure and must rely on substrate for hoof maintenance. Exacerbating the problem, the diet provided in zoos is typically of a much higher quality than wild forage, which can lead to overweight animals and has been surmised to contribute to hoof overgrowth.
At the Three Ring Ranch, a small sanctuary in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, three resident plains zebra are housed in a 1350 m2 enclosure. The enclosure substrate, like most of Hawaii, contains several large outcroppings of textured lava. During the creation of the enclosures, it was decided Oreo, a senior mare, whose hooves have never been trimmed. to leave these higher outcrops so that the animals would have elevated lookout points as enrichment. As a side benefit, we discovered that by walking on the rough lava outcroppings, all of the zebra self-maintained their hooves.
The facility layout is made up of two bedroom areas and a larger pasture space. Within the bedroom area for the two younger zebras is a large lava ridge that the mares walk around and over, often standing on it to sunbathe (see photo below). After the zebras exit the bedroom enclosures, they walk or trot over another flat lava shelf to get to the outer pasture. The entire pasture has green areas divided by small hills and ridges, which provide additional natural hoof maintenance.
For years, modern zoos have worked to provide a natural environment for their animals, avoiding the use of concrete; instead using natural substrate and planted areas. However, those surfaces do not provide adequate abrasion for the zebra hoof. An alternative solution to manual hoof trimming under anesthesia, based on the experiences here at the Three Ring Ranch, is to create low cost, low maintenance hoof filing platforms.
These raised platforms could be constructed of rock or dyed, roughened concrete, upon which various objects could be placed to encourage the zebras to frequent them.
These platforms can be as simple or as elaborate as the individual facility chooses. They can be made to resemble natural habitats or left as an inexpensive, functional pad. Objects placed on them might include salt/mineral blocks, water, scratching posts, feed, or hanging browse dispensers (such as a hay net rotating on a pole). An elaborate scratching post can be created by reinforced concrete sculpted to mimic a termite nest. A cement model of a termite nest (Hediger) has been in daily use in the Zurich Zoo since 1955 due to the zebras’ enthusiasm in using it for grooming. This false termite mound could also be used as a trace mineral block dispensing station to further encourage the animals’ regular visits to the platform.
The addition of concrete to an enclosure contradicts many zookeepers’ idea of a natural environment. Yet, the benefit to the animals’ health should outweigh the aesthetic element. Also, the use of educational materials outside of the enclosure would be helpful in educating the public about the important service these surfaces provide. By placing these hoof maintenance stations on either side of the enclosure, the animals will be encouraged to ambulate more, increasing activity level and visitor enjoyment while also decreasing the risk of obesity.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Golden-crowned Flying Fox

Flying foxes or fruit bats are forest dwellers, which subsist mainly on forest fruits. They are known locally by various names such as paniki, kabag and bayakan. Eight species of large flying foxes have been documented in the Philippines. Of these, the Golden-crowned flying fox (Acedoron jubatus) and the Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat (Nyctimene rabori) are considered endangered, and the Negros naked-backed fruit bat (Dobsonia chapmani) extinct. The Acedoron jubatus is the largest bat in the world weighing almost 1.1 kg (Heaney and Heideman, 1987). Deforestation and extensive hunting and collection have largely depleted their population. In the late 1800s and early 1900s one readily encounters colonies of Golden-crowned flying fox numbering 100,000 individuals per colony but nowadays bat colonies of that size are hard to find. Colony size has dwindled to 5,000 bats per colony.

Fruit bats are usually hunted for food and as pets. Because of prevailing poverty in rural areas exotic food such as bat meats are cheap source of animal protein in the diet. Fruit bats are also favorite finger foods or pulutan among rural folks during drinking sessions. Selling fruit bats is also a source of additional income for the people. In some parts of the country, skinned or live fruit bats are sold openly in public markets. Even in other countries such as the Pacific Islands, fruit bats are considered a delicacy.

For example the Chammoro people of Marianas Islands consider fruit bat the most important of the local delicacies and is always served during special occasions (Payne, 1984). There is also a demand for bats as sources of ingredients of traditional medicine and aphrodisiacs. According to Morgan (2000), folk medicines such as the traditional Chinese medicine are endangering the survival of a growing number of wild animals and plants. The traditional Chinese medicine alone has been reported to be worth $ 6 B to $ 20 B. Derivatives of wildlife species are not only used in traditional medicine but are also used as raw ingredients in the preparation of modern medicine.

The extinction of the Negros naked-backed fruit bat has been blamed to guano mining, hunting and forest destruction. (Heaney, 1997). The relationship between fruit bats and forest is a symbiotic one that is they protect each other. Bats are economically beneficial animals in pollination of fruit trees, dispersal of seeds of fruit and forest trees, and as a source of guano fertilizer. As seed dispersers, Tuttle (1983) cited a recent West African study, which showed that bats are more effective seed dispersers than birds. A more effective conservation measures could be implemented if basic information such as reproductive physiology and health management aspects of this species are understood. However, there are only few studies conducted on Philippine bats.

These included the work by Guico and Maala (1994) on the histological and histochemical description of the fundic gland region of the stomach of insectivorous Hipposideros diadema bat and frugivorous Rousettus amplexicaudatus bat. In Japan, Yamada et al. (1988) reported the presence of cholycystokinin, gastric inhibitory peptide, motilin, neurotensin and bovine pancreatic polypeptide immunoreactive cells in the stomach of two species of insectivorous vespertilinid bats. In a study on five North and Central American bats, Rouk and Glass (1970) reported that the stomach of T. brasiliensis, N. velifer and A. pallidus do not differ histologically from each other. They observed however that there are only a few chief cells in the stomach of L. sanborni.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Indonesian Rhino

The Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino is the smallest rhino species and the only Asian rhino with two horns. Also called the lesser two-horned rhino or hairy rhino, it once ranged from north-eastern India through Indochina, Malaysia, and the islands of Sumatra (Indonesia) and Borneo (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, andMalaysia). Their numbers are thought to have at least halved between 1985 and 1995. Today, the population is estimated at less than 300 individuals in small pockets of Sumatra, peninsular Malaysia, and Borneo, making it the most threatened rhino in the world. The Borneo population is considered a distinct sub-species, numbering perhaps fewer than 25 animals.

Also known as the Indian rhino, the greater one-horned rhino is enjoying the greatest conservation success. Its original range extended from Pakistan all the way through India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar. However in 1975, only 600 remained. By 2002, conservation efforts resulted in the swelling of greater one-horned rhino populations to 2,400 in the Terai Arc Landscape of India and Nepal, and the grasslands of Assam and north Bengal, northeast India. This success aside, however, the greater one-hornedrhino is still listed as Endangered as only two populations number more than 100 individuals.

The Critically Endangered Javan rhino is also known as the lesser one-horned rhino, and is probably the rarest large mammal species in the world. No more than 60 individuals are thought to survive in the wild, and there are none in captivity. The Javan rhino historically roamed from north-eastern India through Myanmar,Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and the islands of Sumatra and Java (Indonesia). Today, just 28-56 are estimated to remain in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, and no more than eight survive in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam. Both groups belong to distinct sub-species.

The greatest threat by far to Asian rhino populations is poaching. Although there is no scientific proof of its medical value, rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, where it is ground into a fine powder ormanufactured into tablets as a treatment for a variety of illnesses such as nosebleeds, strokes, convulsions, and fevers. As a result, poachers continue to kill the animals to take the horn, despite increased surveillance and protection.Habitat loss and conflict with humans over living space is a significant problem for all three Asian rhino species. Thanks to conservation efforts, the greater one-horned rhino population has grown from 600 to 2,400 since 1975, with the largest population, 1,700 individuals, in India’s Kaziranga National Park. At the same time, tree growth has reduced the rhinos’ grassland habitat, and concurrent human population growth has led to conflict with rhinos over the remaining available non-forest areas. In this reduced living space, rhinos have destroyed farm crops and caused some human casualties, and humans have retaliated against the animals.

The same problem exists for the other two species, with slightly different parameters. The issue leading to conflict with humans is not that trees are reducing grassland, but that defoliation and land-clearing are reducing the rhinos’ tropical forest habitat. In southern Vietnam, over a quarter of a million people live in the bufferzone around Cat Tien National Park, home to the last three to eight Vietnamese Javan rhinos in the world. The area was badly defoliated by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s and continues to lose natural forest cover at a shocking rate. Similarly, deforestation for farming and plantation crops is severely threatening Sumatran rhino habitats in Indonesia.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Bush Dog Is Characterised By An Elongate Body

The bush dog is characterised by an elongate body, a short and sometimes stubby tail, broad face with short muzzle, small rounded ears, brown eyes, and short leg. Head and neck are generally reddish/tan or tawny, gradually darkening to black or dark brown hindquarters and legs. The underside is also dark and some individuals may show a pale white throat or chest patch. Coat patterns can, however, be highly variable, ranging from almost all black to very light blonde. Feet are partially webbed and tracks are nearlyidentical to those of the domestic dog. Bush dogs are one of three canid species with trenchant heel dentition, a unicuspid talonid on the lower carnassial molar that increases the cutting blade length. Dental formula is 3/3-1/1-4/4-2/2=40.

The bush dog is accepted as the sole extant representative of the monotypic genus Speothos. Speothos pacivorus Lund, 1839, an extinct species, is known only from fossil deposits discovered at the Lagoa Santa caves in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and may not have existed past the Holocene (Berta 1984). This is the same site for the type locality specimen of S. venaticus. The two species are distinguished by several dental features, including the presence of a metaconule and hypocone on M1, a large, double-rooted M2, as well as the larger size of S. pacivorus (Berta 1987). A third species, S. major (Lund 1843), is now considered synonymous with S. venaticus.

The taxonomic relationship of bush dogs to other canids remains debatable. The presence of a unicuspid M1talonid led to the inclusion of the bush dog in the subfamily Simocyoninae, along with two other species that share this characteristic, the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), and dhole (Cuon alpinus). Berta (1984, 1987) suggested bush dogs are most closely related to small-eared dogs (Atelocynus microtis), and members of the Cerdocyon clade (one of four monophyletic groups of South American canids). This group includes the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides). Berta (1987) suggests a single ancestor for this group, ranging over Eurasia and North America, with isolation of the raccoon dog occurring when the Bering Land Bridge disappeared. Recent molecular analyses, based on mitochondrial DNA, suggest bush dogs and maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) constitute a monophyletic group distinct from other South American canids.


Bush dogs are reported to be a habitat generalist by indigenous peoples, within the context of occurring generally near water sources, particularly small streams, and near available prey populations, especially Agoutipaca (O. Carrillo and M. Swarner pers. obs.). Bush dogs have been observed in lowland (below 1,500m a.s.l.) forested habitats including primary and gallery forest, semi-deciduous forest, and seasonally flooded forest (Aquino and Puertas 1997). Observations have also been recorded from cerrado habitat in Brazil(Silveira et al. 1998; C. Brady pers. comm.) and Paraguay (Zuercher and Villalba 2002) and pampas (wet savannah) edge/riparian areas (Strahl et al. 1992; Emmons 1998). In some cases, they have been observed as far as 5,700m from forest habitat (Silveira et al. 1998). The species is also occasionally reported from secondary forest, ranchland (M. Swarner pers. obs.) and fragmented cerrado ranchland (L. Silveira and A. Jácomo pers. comm.).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

White Tiger In India

Multiple sightings of the white tiger, a colour variant of Panthera tigris tigris, from central India to Assam have been reported1. White or partially white tigers are not uncommon in some of the dry open jungles of central India Authentic records of white tiger from India include the report of the first white tiger that reached England in 1820 and was exhibited alive in the Exeter Change (Exchange) menagerie at the tower of London. A second one was killed at Poona about 1892. In March 1899, a white tiger was shot in Upper Assam and the skin was sent to Calcutta.

These reports are found in the Game Animals of India. A record of a white tiger from Poona was published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London in 1891. Shooting of awhite tigress was also reported in the Indian Forester, May 1909. Records of cases of white tigers of the last 50 years prior to 1959 in the diaries of Rewa including a two-year-old male captured in December 1915 are available.A description of this tiger appeared in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. It recorded not less than 17 white tigers shot in India between 1907 and 1933. A white tiger that was shot in the Bilaspur District of the then Central Province at about 6 years prior to 1916 was also described6. E. P. Gee recorded accounts of 35 white tigers from the wild up to 1959. Thus, shooting of white tiger was common between 1892 and 1922 in Orissa, Upper Assam, Bilaspur, Cooch Behar and Poona.

The history of white tiger in India can be traced in some of the paintings, which were drawn and recorded after 27 years of an incident in 1561 AD . However, the earliest authentic report of shooting of a white tiger in India is stated to be in 1907. Reports of white tigers in Assam are available. In Sivasagar District, Upper Assam, there is a tea estate called ‘Bogabagh’ meaning ‘white tiger’ in Assamese, and refers to two white tigers found there in the early 1900s.

Also, a report exists of the killing of a white tiger in Assam in March 1851. The unnoticed report is a much earlier record of the killing of a white tiger in India. According to The Orunodoi, a white tiger was beaten to death in Dibrugarh District, Assam and its head and skin were brought to ‘Shrijut Doctor Sharlok Sahab’. The fur of the tiger was long and completely white without any spots10. The report is also supplemented with a drawing of the tiger. This may be the earliest authentic report of killing of a white tiger in India.

As a signatory of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001), the Indian Government was compelled to restrict the production and use of industrial chemicals and pesticides. However, the present situation is not encouraging. This may be due to the following reasons: Lack of awareness, information and education about chemical hazards and international treaties related to chemicals. Higher rate of illiteracy plays a major role in this context. Absence of regulatory mechanisms to monitor chemical production and disposal. Lack of a database to measure chemical impacts on health and environment. Lack of on-site disaster management plan in small-scale and medium-sized chemical industry.

With respect to legislation regarding chemical management, India is well placed. In such a large country like India with its diverse spectrum of chemical manufacturing and consumption, laying of legislation is not an easy task. Proper execution is also required. This can be achieved by educating the people about chemicals and their impact on health and environment. Proper knowledge about pesticides and their effects on groundwater can prevent groundwater contamination. Increment of the inter-industry interaction and collaboration in discussing emerging scenarios after chemical release, environmental impacts, expectation, and roles and resources pooling will prevent on-site chemical disaster. The thrust areas should be groundwater quality, chemical residue in food, public and occupational health, storage and disposal of obsolete chemicals, chemical poisoning and chemical accident during transportation.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Tasmanian Devils Paradise

This time two months ago, I was in Tasmania - and I saw my first Tasmanian Devils up close. While generally deeply interested (perhaps obsessed) by wildlife, encountering Tassie devils was high on my list - and these photographs are the fruits of my labours. Now, a Tasmanian devil superhero named Cedric has made news this week, after scientists found that his genes may save the species from extinction.

This time two months ago, I was in Tasmania - and I saw my first Tasmanian Devils up close. While generally deeply interested (perhaps obsessed) by wildlife, encountering Tassie devils was high on my list - and these photographs are the fruits of my labours. Now, a Tasmanian devil named Cedric has made news this week, after scientists found that his genes may save the species from extinction.

Tasmanian Devils - now the largest carnivorous marsupial following the apparent demise of the thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger - are threatened by the bizarre and distressing Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), which appears to be a contagious viral cancer - only one of three such cancers known. Tumours grow around the animals' faces, making it impossible for them feed; they starve to death.

All over Tasmania, there has been a 53% decline in average sightings of devils between surveys done in 1992-95 and 2003-06, and the disease is found in 59% of the island. All kinds of theories abound on the cause of the disease - everything from use of toxic sprays to lack of natural genetic diversity.

Things were looking pretty glum for the devils, although remedial work was taking place. When I was in Tasmania in February, I met the "Devil Woman", scientist Chrissy Pukk, who was working on the Forestier-Tasman Peninsula, driving a project to suppress the disease. The Tasman Peninsula is ideal for controlling the population, as it's isolated from the rest of Tasmania thanks to the Denison Canal - making it almost an island in itself. When I visited, Chrissy had two young devils, Mozart and Tosca, in a pen near her house, that had been separated from their diseased parents. She was teaching them how to fend for themselves, in preparation for a "soft release" back into the wild, away from diseased populations.

Cedric, however, was in the news this week because he's the first devil to display immunity from the disease. Scientists injected Cedric and his half-brother, Clinky, with dead facial tumour disease cells; Clinky produced no anti-bodies, but Cedric did. This is creating hope for the devil population, through Cedric's resistance to the disease. One of the theories surrounding the disease is that was created by cell mutation in just one animal, which then passed like wildfire - so maybe Cedric is the one animal who can stop put a halt to it.

Two months ago the two animals were infected with live cells. Scientists expect that Clinky will contract the disease but Cedric, with his different genes, will not. It's still too early to tell for sure - DFTD can have a six-month incubation period.
I realise, banging away on my keyboard here, that many readers may not know much about the Tassie devil. Well, picture this - it's a small meat-eating, scavenging animal, about the size of a Jack Russell dog. It's got bluish black hair, a huge damp nose, wiry whiskers, very red ears, and some fine claws. There's usually a white stripe on the chest and hindquarters, and they make a god awful sound when they howl their blood-curdling scream. It's this noise that apparently led the early European arrivals in Tasmania to name it the "devil", although its red ears probably didn't help.

The devil also has a fearsome mouth - its jaw can exert four times the bite of a dog the same size. When Tasmanian farmers lose a cow to a natural death overnight, if there's devils around, there will be very cow left in the morning - if anything at all. In fact, they can swallow, and, to some extent, digest, every bone in the human body. They will eat through fences, cages, you name it. Even each other!
This isn't to say they go out of their way to attack cows or humans - they don't. However, you've got to watch those nasty little gobs should you have to handle one, and they're impossible to really tame. I spoke to one man, who some years ago, spent several months fostering a young orphan. One day it, unexpectedly, it turned around, and sank its teeth in to his arm, breaking the bones. I watched some of his current charges fighting over a wallaby carcass - there are no table manners or etiquette at the devil table - they seem as likely to bite each other as the meat.

This devil pugnaciousness when feeding, mating, or just playing, has aided the spread of the disease, which can also be spread through shared eating. One evening in Tasmania, I took a high-speed road trip with Chrissy Pukk as she looked for fresh roadkill. The dead wombats, wallabies, possums and bandicoots picked up and fed to captive devils have to be "unadulterated" - no other scavenger can have taken a chunk from it. The saliva or blood of diseased devil could easily be spread this way. Later, I had a chanced to photograph Chrissy's roadkill collection, and her feeding a dead wallaby to the hungry little devils.

So - enjoy the devil photographs, and maybe say a prayer to the Prince of Darkness that his subjects recovered from this nastiness. And maybe, like me, you can dress up like a Tasmanian devil, as part of the ritual...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Jackal's Life

Ancient Egyptians believed they were gods of the underworld, and that their evening yips and yowls were the haunting songs of the dead. Modern cultures dismissed them as cold-hearted and calculated killers, the vicious thugs of the animal world.
But as NATURE’s Jackals of the African Crater shows, the dog-like jackal lives a far more complicated — and challenging — life than many once believed. Indeed, jackals need all the creativity and cunning they can muster to survive on the rolling grasslands and marshes of Africa’s Ngorongoro Crater, where three species of jackal — golden, black-backed, and side-striped — struggle to raise families and find food.

Jackals of the African Crater documents the dramatic, and sometimes heartrending, stories of these jackal families. One pair of black-backed parents struggles to feed its pups in the midst of a dry season, only to lose their nearly grown offspring to a hungry golden jackal. A pair of side-stripes are luckier: their marsh-side home provides plenty of food, from insects and plants to the scavenged leftovers from kills made by lions and cheetahs. The program also highlights the jackal’s own hunting abilities, from taking down young wildebeest to headlong rushes that capture wading flamingos that have ventured too close to shore.

Jackals, which are related to domestic dogs and wild wolves, are found in many parts of Africa, southeastern Europe, and southern Asia. And while they may be known for their taste for meat, Jackals of the African Craterillustrates what researchers have known for years: the animals also get a large share of their diet from plants and insects. Some studies of golden jackals, for instance, found that nearly half of their meals consisted of plants, and that they will eat everything from eggs and frogs to grasshoppers and snakes. “They have to be very flexible in their tastes, able to shift to whatever is available at the time,” says Javier Sorgena, a wildlife photographer who has captured the animals on film. “Plus, they have to develop all kinds of specialized hunting skills — pouncing on a gazelle is a lot different than batting down a grasshopper or harvesting a mushroom.”

Researchers have also documented that jackals, unlike most mammals, mate for life, which can last 10-12 years in the wild. They raise their young (an average litter has five pups) in carefully dug burrows. The babies are born blind, but are usually ready to care for themselves after four months, and will stay with the family until they are 18 months old. As parents, however, jackals can get some help that is a little unusual. Often, grown offspring will remain with a mating pair as helpers, assisting the family in many ways.

They stand watch outside the den, issuing “rumble growls” and “predator barks” that warn the pups to take shelter. The helpers also bring food to the pups and nursing mothers, increasing the odds that both parents and offspring will survive the rigors of childrearing.
Cooperation isn’t limited to family life, however. When it comes to hunting, jackals also work together. Several pairs, for instance, may take turns tiring out and dragging down a gazelle. And many jackals may band together to scare a cheetah away from its kill, so they can feed on the scraps.

To coordinate such activities, jackals have a large vocabulary of calls that they use to communicate. Yips, growls, hisses, and howls all have a place in the jackal language, each sound designed to warn away strangers or welcome friends. Jackals also have remarkably expressive body language, using everything from a submissive “heads down” posture to athletic body slams to communicate their place in the pack. “A lot of their behavior is like [that of] domestic dogs,” says Sorgena. “You can know when they are content or angry just by looking at them. Jackals are much more expressive than you might expect.” And, he adds, “Much less sinister and more interesting, too.”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Capybara Is Your Peculiar Pets

The capybara is the largest rodent in the world, and is found inhabiting the water-logged regions of South America. Despite its large size, the capybara is in fact very closely related to other South American rodents including chinchillas and guinea pigs. The capybara is a heavy, stocky-looking animal, which grows to more than a meter in length. The capybara also has a short head in comparison to its body, and has no tail at all.

The capybara is a semi-aquatic animal that is found inhabiting marshes and wetlands throughout the South American jungle. The capybara spends much of the hot daytime hours submerged in the cooler water and the capybara has a number of useful adaptations which help it to survive more effectively in its watery world. The capybara has slightly webbed feet which help to give the capybara more stability when it is moving around on the slippery river banks, and prevents the capybara from sinking too deeply into the mud when the capybara is in the water. The eyes, ears and nose of the capybara are also situated on the top of the capybara's head, enabling the body of the capybara to be fully submerged whilst the capybara can still hear, see and smell.

The capybara looks a bit like the enormous African hippo, and behaves in a very similar way to one, as the capybara spends the hot days in the water, venturing out onto dry land in search of food under the cover of night. The capybara is a herbivorous animal and therefore only eats plants in order to acquire all of the nutrients it needs. The diet of the capybara is mainly made up of grasses and aquatic plants, along with fruits and berries and the occasional munch on tree bark.

The relatively large size and slow nature of the capybara, mean that the capybara is often a rewarding meal for hungry predators. Wildcats including jaguars,pumas and ocelots are the primary predators of the capybara along with caimans and eagles that hunt the younger ones. The capybara is also one of the best sources of food for the world's heaviest snake, the anaconda. The capybara breeds at different times of the year, depending on the region which it inhabits. Most capybara breed once a year, when a litter of four baby capybaras are born after a gestation period of around 5 months. The baby capybara are able to walk within hours of birth and remain with the mother capybara until they are a few months old.

The capybara lives in a group with between 10 and 30 other capybara individuals. The capybara remain in their large groups for safety and capybara groups have been known to contain up to 100 capybara individuals.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Mamba Is One Of The Deadliest Snakes In The World

Throughout the world, it is estimated there are a minimum of 1 to 2 million annual snakebite “incidences”. This number includes bites by non-venomous species. Of that number, roughly 50,000 to 100,000 bites result in fatalities worldwide. People often create lists based on the toxicity of snake venoms but generally do not to take into account other factors like clinical ability to treat, or inability to treat.

Among these ,let's talk about the Black Mamba.It is found throughout most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and is incredibly fast, traveling at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour. It’s also large; the second largest snake in Africa, averaging 8.2′ (2.5m) and getting as long as 14′ (4.5m). The Black Mamba is aggressive and territorial, characteristics not usually attributed to snakes. This snake is usually found in an olive green color – it’s the inside of its mouth that is black!
African villagers and experts alike fear the intense pain and suffering the mamba inflicts on its victims. Its poison is neuro-toxic. Unlike most poisonous snakes where the venom travels slowly through the blood stream, allowing a victim time to get treatment and to isolate the poison using a tourniquet, the black mamba’s poison goes straight for the nerves, attacking the central nervous system and shutting down major organs. Twenty minutes after being bitten you may lose the ability to talk. After one hour you’re probably comatose, and by six hours, without an antidote, you are dead.

When feeling very threatened, the Black Mamba usually delivers multiple strikes, injecting its potent neuro- and cardiotoxin with each strike, often attacking the body or head, unlike most other snakes. It can strike up to 12 times in a row. A single bite from a Black Mamba can inject enough venom to kill up to 10-25 grown men, easily killing one unless the appropriate anti-venom is administered in time. When cornered, it will readily attack. When in the striking position, the mamba flattens its neck, hisses very loudly and displays its inky black mouth and fangs. It can rear up around one-third of its body from the ground, which allows it to reach heights of approximately four feet.

In the past, the mortality rate for a Black Mamba bite was nearly 100%, the highest among venomous snakes. Now, because of the development of effective antivenin in Africa, the rate has been decreased to 75% (25% of bite victims now receive antivenin in time to be effective). Depending on the nature of a bite, death can result in as little as 30 minutes or it may take up to 120-180 minutes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

American Crow Photoes

From tail to beak the American Crow appears totally black. In the right light, however, a green or bluish tinge suddenly makes a showing. Males and females look similar.

A proud American Crow.
There was a small spill of grain at the Feed Mill. This attracted a group of crows, who were eager to gobble it up. There was a fair amount of vehicles and people in the area, so it was a case of swoop in, grab some grain and scatter!
Here's another one legger! Standing on the edge of the pier no less.
The Crows and Gulls have learned that if you find a Clam, like this one, and if you fly along the pier and drop it, the clam will shatter. So this is what they do. They then swoop down and gobble up the clam.
This is all done while the pier is busy with people walking. I wonder if anyone ever gets conked by the clam!
"love Birds" Crow style.
He/She was looking intently in He/Shes eyes, and they strolled down the beach hand in hand. Well, you know the rest.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Big-Cat Numbers Spotted in Bolivia

A jaguar paces in front of a camera trap in the rain forests of Bolivia—1 of a record 19 individuals spotted in a recent survey of the country's Madidi National Park.

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) set up the camera traps to try and identify jaguars based on the unique patterns of their spots. Once the images were collected, the team ran them through software originally designed to recognize tigers by their stripes.

Unlike many other cats, jaguars are good swimmers and will often enter rivers to hunt for prey such as fish, turtles, or alligator-like caimans. (Take a big cats quiz.)

During the recent survey in Bolivia, the elusive big cats were photographed a record 975 times.
The 19 jaguars found by the project represent a record number for a single camera-trap survey in the country. (Related pictures: "Seven Cat Species Found in One Forest-A Record.")

"The preliminary results of this new expedition underscore the importance of the Madidi landscape to jaguars and other charismatic rain forest species," Julie Kunen, director of WCS's Latin America and Caribbean Program, said in a statement.

"Understanding the densities and ranging habits of jaguars is an important step in formulating effective management plans for what is arguably the most biodiverse landscape on the planet."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lovely Crittercam

National Geographic's Crittercam is a research tool designed to be worn by wild animals. It combines video and audio recording with collection of environmental data such as depth, temperature, and acceleration.

These compact systems allow scientists to study animal behavior without interference by a human observer. Combining solid data with gripping imagery, Crittercam brings the animal's point of view to the scientific community and a conservation message to worldwide audiences.
For more than a decade Crittercam has given us insight into the lives of whales, sharks, seals and sea lions, sea turtles, penguins, manatees, and other marine animals. In 2002 the first prototype of a terrestrial Crittercam (designed for land animals) survived its maiden voyage on a wild African lion, opening the door to a whole new world of animal-borne imaging research.
More than two decades later Greg heads the Remote Imaging Program at National Geographic. Collaborating with scientists worldwide, Greg and his team have deployed Crittercam on hundreds of animals to help investigate biological mysteries.
With Frank Parrish of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, they've plunged to new depths to define the foraging habitats of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. With physiologist Paul Ponganis and marine biologist Gerry Kooyman of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, they've dived beneath the Antarctic ice to hunt with emperor penguins.
With Mike Heithaus the team has tackled the puzzle of how the tiger shark influences its community. They've cut through the murky waters of Southeast Alaska to reveal humpback whales' trademark "bubble net" feeding tactic with biologist Fred Sharpe. The team has followed New Zealand sea lions to their foraging grounds with biologist Nick Gales. And they've stalked the ice with a leopard seal with mammalogist Tracey Rogers.
As part of an early 2003 National Geographic collaboration with biologist Laurence Frank, Crittercam roamed the African night on the back of a hunting lion. In summer 2003 it accompanied a grizzly bear into the thick of Alaska's temperate rain forest on a project with biologist LaVern Beier.
Each of these projects was driven by science—by a need to answer a research question that could not be addressed any other way. Today we are experiencing life from the animal's point of view, thanks to Crittercam.
The Crittercam story is just beginning. In the Remote Imaging laboratory at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., Greg and his engineering team are constantly working to make Crittercam smaller, lighter, and more hydrodynamic.
The smaller the systems, the more species that can be studied with Crittercam. The more powerful the instrument, the more information it can gather to give context to the images. The more refined the attachment methods—suction cup, harness, fin clamp, safe adhesive—the better the chances of deploying and recovering Crittercam.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Exercise Tips For Indoor Cats

Your indoor kitty has put on some pounds and you know he needs to get some exercise, but you can’t exactly strap a sweatband on your feline and put him on the treadmill. So, how do you work out an indoor cat?

We talked to several experts to get the scoop on six ways to get your furry indoor friend moving and burning off those extra pounds.
New treats
If you're committing to a healthier lifestyle for your cat, it probably means you're spoiling him less with food treats; that can leave a lot of pet owners feeling guilty about neglecting their pet. But, just because you want your cat to slim down doesn't mean you can give him any special treats. Buy fun toys instead of food treats. Focus on items that will really get your cat moving, like a stringed feather on a pole that your cat will never get tired of swatting at.
Laser pointer
Dr Justine Lee, veterinary specialist and author of It's a Dog's Life... but It's Your Carpet and It's a Cat's World... You Just Live in It recommends getting a laser pointer to use with your cat. The bouncing light will get even the most sessile of felines up to paw at it.
Vertical space
Make sure there are safe vertical spaces in your home for your cat to jump on, Jean Hofve, DVM, holistic veterinarian and author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care: An Illustrated Handbook suggests. This could be a window sill, set of empty shelves or a cat tree. This way, even when you're not home to play with your kitty, he still has an opportunity to burn some energy by jumping.
Water and food work-out
Exercise TipsFor Indoor Cats
If you've got a super lazy cat that does nothing but eat, make that work for you, Lindsay Stordahl, owner of Run That Mutt and blogger at suggests. Separate his water and food so that simply moving from one to another burns some calories. Keeping the food and water bowls on different floors would be ideal.
Food move
This tactic from Dr Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and author of Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs are Getting Fatter, plays on the same idea as the above, but involves you, the pet owner, a bit more. Move your cat's food during feeding time from a counter to the floor and back again, forcing your feline to jump around during eating. Make it a game for your cat with lots of snuggling rewards when he makes the jump.
Cheap non-toys
Dr Lee also recommends opening your eyes to non-toys that your pet loves and using those to get his heart pumping. Her cats like to play with paper, boxes and bags. Leave these items around the house in high places where your cat can safely jump to amp the play time into work-out time.
There you go, six ways to get your indoor cat moving, shaking and shimmying back down to a purr-fectly healthy weight.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fired From a Shelter After Photographing the Animals

  Photography was not part of Emily Tanen’s job description at the Manhattan branch of Animal Care and Control of New York City. But soon after she started working there in August 2009, she began taking photos of animals who were scheduled to be euthanized.
Her photos, she said, were an effort to attract the interest of adopters and rescue groups.
She mostly photographed pit bulls: Freckles, black with pink skin around her eyes, wearing a striped scarf; Spot, a white puppy, getting his chest scratched; and Harlem, skinny and brindled, paws draped over a volunteer’s elbow.

But her photos violated the group’s strict policy on taking images of animals, which dictates who can take photos, how the animals can be photographed and how the images can be used. One rule prohibits showing humans in the photos.
As a result, Ms. Tanen said, she was fired in May.
“I knew they hated me,” she said. “But I thought that even if I was a pain, they’d suck it up. Because I was doing a really good job.”
Ms. Tanen said rescue groups often told her that her photos persuaded them to take animals they otherwise might not have. “I still remember Domino’s photo — the first pit bull we pulled from Manhattan,” said Jay Lombard, a founder of Dog Habitat Rescue in Brooklyn. “He was within 12 hours of being destroyed when Emily snapped a photo of him and attached it to an e-mail. That image hit me hard and I couldn’t turn away.”
Care and Control officials would not comment on Ms. Tanen’s departure, saying that they do not discuss personnel matters.
Ms. Tanen, 30, had previously worked at a no-kill shelter in Miami and operates her own small nonprofit rescue group. She was hired to be a liaison between Care and Control and the roughly 150 rescue groups that take animals from city shelters.
When she started working at Care and Control, Ms. Tanen said, she believed that the animals were photographed poorly and that the images failed to convey the warmth of a potential pet.
With her art background from her studies, Ms. Tanen decided she could do a better job with her $1,500 Nikon.
As at most city shelters, Care and Control’s charges arrive from the street, or are brought in by owners unwilling or unable to keep them. Others are abandoned or seized from abusive homes. The luckiest — the healthiest ones with the least significant behavioral issues — are deemed eligible for adoption. Some appeared on the group’s Web site.
“AC&C works hard to find loving and permanent homes to as many animals as possible each year,” said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for Care and Control.
Of the nearly 31,500 animals, mostly cats and dogs, taken in by Animal Care and Control between September 2010 and last month, 65 percent were adopted and 25 percent were euthanized, according to data from the group’s Web site. (Many of the rest were returned to their owners.)

Mr. Gentles said the group does devote time and care to the photographs.
“We have a strong volunteer group that does a great job taking photos and writing bios for the animals every day,” he said.
The images of animals being put up for adoption also appear on another Web site, “Animal Care and Control of New York City has always been proactive about posting pet photos and descriptions online in order to give each adoptable pet his best chance at finding an adoptive home,’’ said Kim Saunders, vice president of shelter outreach at “This is a monumental task for an organization handling such a large number of pets. We applaud their efforts, including the use of brightly colored photo backgrounds designed to make the pets’ photos ‘pop’ for viewers.”
But some critics believe that the group has not focused on the quality of the photos, which they say can mean the difference between life and death for certain animals.
Esther Koslow, a former volunteer at Care and Control and a founder of Shelter Reform Action Committee, a coalition of animal advocates that has been critical of Care and Control, said she left the group because she believed animals were not presented to the public quickly or well enough.
“Time is of the essence,’’ Ms. Koslow said. “The ones who are able to maybe make it out need to be presented to the world in the best way possible. A good bio and photo that goes out can save an animal. But there are usually maybe three part-time volunteers taking photos in the whole city.”
Although Animal Care and Control has managed to reduce its euthanasia rate, critics say too many animals are still dying in the group’s care.
“Animals are often euthanized for kennel cough, which is treatable for like 10 bucks, and most of them get kennel cough right away,” explained Rachel Hirschfeld, a founder of the New York County Lawyers Association’s Animal Law Committee. She said that animals were euthanized for treatable problems because the facilities are overcrowded, underfinanced and pressed to create vacancies for new animals.
Mark Ross, a former professional architecture photographer, started volunteering at Care and Control’s Manhattan facility in 2008. He posted his photos on a Facebook page.
“I heard all the time: ‘Your photo was the deciding factor for me. I saw that cat and I had to have it,’” he said. “I was trying to create images that showed loneliness and despair. I wanted people to see that these are lovely, living beings.” The standard intake pictures “make them look like inmates,” he said.
Last November, Mr. Ross, 66, left his volunteer post after a change in volunteer policy stipulating that Care and Control would own all photos he had taken and any future ones. “They began disallowing photos to be used in any way without their permission,’’ he said. “I knew I was giving up on the animals, but I couldn’t put up with the humans.”
Ms. Tanen said she tried to comply with the rules, but sometimes felt her judgment trumped her superiors’. She continued to show people’s hands touching a dog, even after receiving a warning against doing so. “I think they just didn’t want photos of animals that they were about to kill looking cute and adoptable and happy with people, but they said it was because their research showed that photos with people didn’t encourage people to adopt,” she said.
Ms. Tanen said that she was encouraged to stop taking photos altogether. “My boss at the time was like, ‘You don’t have do that; it’s not part of your job,’” she said. “They told me it was a waste of time.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Beginnings Animal Rescue Plans Pet Adoption Event

  The meet-and-greet will be held Saturday at the Berkley Community Center and include cuddly kittens, crafts for kids, T-shirt sales, educational information on responsible pet ownership and volunteer applications.
By Alissa Malerman
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November 2, 2011
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The New Beginnings Animal Rescue shelter is bringing adoptable cats to the Berkley Community Center on Saturday, along with crafts for kids to get their paws on, T-shirts to purr-chase and much more.
The meet-and-greet and adoption event is free to the public and will be held from noon to 4 p.m. It will include educational information on responsible pet ownership and volunteer applications.
"We have about 14 (cats) coming, from kittens to seniors," New Beginnings president Lisa Hill wrote in an e-mail. "They are all fixed and up-to-date on shots."
New Beginnings Animal Rescue was formed Nov. 9, 2010, to provide temporary homes for homeless animals in Oakland County. The group works to place animals into loving homes and provides supplies to those in need.
In August, the Berkley City Council approved a special land-use request allowing the group to establish a shelter at 3060 11 Mile Road. However, according to a comment on Berkley Patch by volunteer Jennifer Fritz, the building's seller went with another offer.
"We are looking again for another building that will suit our needs in Berkley," Fritz wrote.
The shelter would have provided space for adoptable cats and dogs, as well as supplies for the nonprofit organization's Pet Food Pantry program, which assists owners who otherwise may have to surrender their animals. The group is volunteer-based and supported by donations.
New Beginnings Animal Rescue has a fourfold mission, Hill said:
To take in animals surrendered by their former owners.
To place pets into caring homes.
To administer the Pet Food Pantry program, which collects, warehouses and distributes food for animals whose owners no longer can afford it. The program began in December and already has helped hundreds of people and pets, Hill said, adding that Berkley receives the third-most assistance of all the southeast Oakland County communities the program serves. "There's no better place for an animal" than with its family, Hill said.
To provide free educational programs for the community.
Anyone in need of help from the pantry is asked to call 248-755-1923 and leave a clear voicemail containing the reason for calling, first and last name, and phone number.
New Beginnings Animal Rescue is a nonprofit, no-kill rescue serving southern Oakland County. All gifts are tax deductible.
Update: New Beginnings Animal Rescue still is looking for space to open a shelter in Berkley. The nonprofit received a special-land use permit for a shelter on 11 Mile Road, but the building's seller went with another offer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life, death and what's new in the animal shelter

That evil government workman (it was never a woman in those days) in the scary looking truck full of cages, looking for stray dogs to put in doggie jail. Once at the Dog Pound, you paid a ransom to get your precious pup back. As a kid, we got our dog from a litter of puppies in front of the grocery store and I didn’t know the word “euthanasia.”
Today’s reality is much different.
Recently, I sat down for a chat with Melanie Sobel, the new director of Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (Santa Cruz and Watsonvlle). Originally from Chicago (with stops in Texas and Milwaukee), Melanie came to Santa Cruz about a year ago to escape cold, snowy winters. Except for the accent that creeps in (Mil-WAH-kee), you’d think she had lived here for years—a woman comfortable in her own skin and the Santa Cruz environment.
“I love it here. It isn’t just the weather,” Melanie explains. “It’s this part of California, and in particular this county, is so socially conscious… the environmentalism, the social activism.” Hmmmm… maybe she’s not just another bureaucrat?
Melanie’s office walls are covered in pictures of her dogs, past and present. Her dogs, all large, German Shepherd mix mutts, have names like Floyd (Pretty Boy Floyd) and Stella.
Her favorite place to walk dogs is near Land of the Medicine Buddha. She drinks her coffee from a “Keep Austin Weird” mug and she likes to shop local. Her name, surprisingly, shows up on IMDB for the film “Benji: Off the Leash!” because one of her Chicago shelter dogs was a runner up for the part of Benji (probably due to her aggressive efforts for animal adoption).
She received her Masters in Public Service Administration from DePaul University in Chicago and has a history of creating progressive programs that are beneficial for a community’s animals in the long run.
Even though the county shelter system has had a rough time for the last five years, Melanie found that the shelter staff is unbelievably good, self-sufficient and has compassionate dedication.
Her longterm goals are to provide effective leadership and get the shelter’s name out in the community so people understand who SCCAS is and that they are not the SPCA (as they were years ago). She wants you to know about all their great programs, the volunteer opportunities, and what an important part the SCC Animal Shelter plays in our community.
Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is a “joint powers authority” which means the shelter is its own entity and acts like a vendor to the county and surrounding cities. It provides services that include licensing, 24-hour animal rescue, shelter services for lost and homeless pets, humane education for schools and much more.
The county and each city pay according to their population. SCCAS has its own budget and its own board of directors including a rep from each city. Donations and bequests are tax deductible and soon you will be able to donate to the specific program you choose.
Melanie has made changes, lots of changes. She changed the name (and the logo) to Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (instead of Services) to help change people’s perception and reflect their commitment to the animals. She has been aggressive in her efforts on behalf of the animals and brings so much compassion to this bureaucratic position that she has inspired a fierce loyalty from her staff and the volunteers.
Melanie started new low-cost spay/neuter programs “Planned Pethood” and “Fix-a-Pit” ($50 fee for all Pit Bulls). Working with FOWAS, FOSCCA and Project Purr, vouchers for free spay/neuter were offered in February. At the “Watsonville Healthy Dog Fair” in May, over 350 dogs received free microchips, and free vaccinations for rabies, distemper, and parvo. Forty-one dogs received $20 vouchers for spay and neuter services.
There have been creative adoption events, such as the Valentine’s Day “Meet Your Match”, at which 24 animals were adopted and 40 pets got rabies vaccinations or microchips. In July, she teamed up with the Animal Shelter Relief and Project Purr and they hosted “Meow Luau," an event that helped 53 animals find new homes. She has expanded “Pet of the Week” to more papers, TV and radio stations.
SCCAS has a new website (designed and produced pro bono), has put licensing online, and a web-based program to manage the 900+ volunteers. There is also a daily email that auto-sends to more than 50 animal welfare placement agencies about shelter animals that would be good candidates for rescue.
Melanie’s least favorite parts of the business are dangerous dogs and euthanizing. She stresses the point that she chooses to work in an “open door” or “open admissions” shelter because she feels that is the best way to serve the neediest animals in the community. “We are the safety net for these animals. I want to make sure the animals in our care are taken care of in the best best possible way.”
“Open door” means the shelter will take in any animal, unlike some other rescue organizations. It also means euthanasia is in the equation.
“We’re the ones that have to do the dirty work and decide who lives and who dies.” Melanie says. “There are just not enough resources to help every animal, not when we have perfectly adoptable animals sitting in our shelters, let alone ones that need rehab.”
The decision to euthanize is not simple, there are so many factors. Does the shelter have space? What condition is the animal in? What is the temperament of the animal?
Is it kenneling well (some animals go nuts in a kennel)? What resources are available? Are there foster homes? What happens to the animals already in the shelter when they receive a bunch of animals from a hoarder or abuser?
They never know what is going to come in and they have to be ready at a moment’s notice. A couple of weeks ago, 14 Chihuahuas of all ages came in from one breeder. What do you do when the shelter is already full?
“There’s a big no-kill movement that stirs people up, it’s emotions and people get upset at euthanasia, but it’s painting good guys and bad guys, and it’s divisive.”
Personally, I see no reason to blame the shelter for having to euthanize. It would be like me blaming the garbage man because I overfilled my trash can. It is our failure as a community that makes euthanasia necessary. If we all spayed/neutered, got our pets from a shelter or rescue group (instead of a breeder), and took our responsibility towards animals seriously, I doubt there would be any need for euthanasia.
Don’t like euthanasia? Here’s what you can do to be part of the solution:
Spay or neuter. Besides cutting down on the pet population, it helps your pet live a longer, healthier life.
Adopt pets from the shelter or a rescue group. No matter what breed you are looking for, there is already an animal looking for a home. Check out, type in the type and breed of animal you want, and see all the choices.
Consider adopting an older animal. Puppies can be a lot of work and older dogs may already be trained.
Be sure you are ready to commit to the responsibility for this animal for the rest of its life – not just while it is convenient for you.
Know the breed before you adopt – not all breeds are the same and you need to choose an animal that fits in with your lifestyle.
I want to thank Melanie Sobel for being so generous with her time for this interview/article. Through our conversation, it became obvious that the “dog catcher” has changed over the years—a change for the better. Gone is the government bureaucrat, today’s successful shelters are run by animal activists.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ohio survivors did not get the widow of exotic pets

The six surviving exotic animals freed by their suicidal owner in Ohio will be kept under quarantine at a zoo for now instead of going to the man's widow, the state Agriculture Department ordered Thursday.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was trying to stop Marian Thompson from reclaiming three leopards, two primates and a young grizzly bear that have been cared for by the zoo since last week, when Terry Thompson mysteriously set them free in a rural area of eastern Ohio.
The zoo said it took the six surviving animals with Marian Thompson's permission but has no legal rights to them. A private veterinarian for the Agriculture Department looked at the animals and determined they needed to remain separated from the other animals, said Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Gov. John Kasich.
The Agriculture Department said it was concerned about reports that the animals had lived in unsanitary conditions where they could be exposed to disease, and the order provides a chance to investigate their health. It prevents the zoo from releasing them until it's clear they're disease-free.
It appeared Thompson had planned to take them back to the farm near Zanesville, department spokesman Andy Ware said.
Thompson and her lawyer were informed of the order when they arrived at the zoo with a big truck on Thursday afternoon. The order is indefinite, but Thompson is entitled to a hearing within 30 days if she wants to appeal. Her attorney was traveling with her and could not be reached for comment.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

lovely six dog

  Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month is coming to a close, and there have been only six lucky dogs that were adopted this month. There are still a couple of days left so come down to the Pottawattamie County Animal Shelter at 18670 Applewood Road and help make this October a success for the shelter dogs in our area.
The shelter is still asking for donations to purchase Kuranda Dog Beds for the dogs. In addition to monetary donations, another option is to donate the bed online to the shelter via the Donate a Kuranda Bed Program. Just choose the Pottawattamie County Animal Shelter and it gets shipped directly to the shelter. One bed has already been donated, and the lucky pup to use it basically refuses to get off of it. He loves it! Kuranda Beds are orthepedic, chewproof, and easy to clean. These beds would be a true blessing for the dogs. Don’t forget these donations are all tax deductible.
Two new dogs came into the facility this past week: Josie, a young, female Shepherd Hound and her pal Zeb, a young male Blue Heeler who were found together as strays.
Josie is very timid and doesn’t quite know what to think about where she is now. Zeb seems to be able to bring her out of her shell with his playfulness, but he, too, is wondering where his family has gone. Right now they are coping with the unexpected changes in their lives together but they need a new place to call home and new people to call theirs. If you are interested in Josie or Zeb, please call (712) 366-0152.
Kenzie   There are six shelter veterans still up for adoption, Balto, Bowser, Heidi, Hope, Kenzie and Vinnie.
Why Balto has not been adopted yet is a mystery. He’s full of Husky playfulness and is gorgeous to boot! Balto sits in his kennel and waits for someone to make him the happiest guy around. Are you that person?
Bowser, the shelter’s ‘gentle giant’, also still waits for a forever home. He’s the kind of easy going guy that appreciates the lazy dog days of life. He loves everyone – is there someone out there who might unconditionnally love him, too?
Heidi is a spitfire of a Walker/Hound. She is ready for a family with kids, without kids, with other animals, without other animals... she’s not picky! All she longs for is love. And perhaps a fenced-in yard because her sense of adventure is sometimes quite strong. If you would like to meet Heidi, she is definitely ready to meet you.
Then there is Hope. Hope is a Spaniel mix with a quiet, dignified presence. She is not thrilled with her accommodations at the shelter and seems to beg the question, “Why am I here?” to every volunteer and staff member she sees. It’s difficult for a dog to go from the loving place they called home to lost and alone so quickly. Don’t you think it’s time for Hope to have some real hope again?
Kenzie is a female Boxer mix. She’s the class clown of the shelter. Beyond being funny and expressive, she is housebroken and great with children and cats. Kenzie doesn’t have much of a soft spot for other dogs, however. She’s begging you, “Please adopt me!”
Finally there is Vinnie. If Kenzie is the class clown then Vinnie is a shoo-in for Mr. Congeniality. While he’d much rather be in a home of his own, he makes do with what he’s got and he does it with a smile on his face! He’s a little self conscious about his cropped ears but you won’t hold a previous owner’s mistake against Vinnie, will you? Come down and just try not to fall in love with him.
Halloween is just around the corner. Some animals can be frightened by the costumes so keeping them secure either on a leash or in a crate is really best for their protection during trick or treating hours. Also, keep dogs out of the candy bowl. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause nerve damage and even death in dogs. Dispose of candy wrappers before your pets get to them, since the wrappers can cause choking or intestinal obstruction.
From Balto, Bowser, Heidi, Hope, Josie, Kenzie, Vinnie and Zeb, have a safe and happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Show us your pirate pugs and cat clowns!

Thumbnail image for Fantasy_Fest.JPG
  A Chihuahua dressed as a burro gazes at spectators during the Fantasy Fest Pet Masquerade at the Casa Marina in Key West, Fla. AP Photo by Rob O'Neal//Florida Keys News Bureau
Halloween is still a few days away but we're already seeing some strange creatures creeping about. A giant bee with hound legs, a bulldog bride, ferrets in camouflage fatigues and a cat dressed as red riding hood.
OK, not every pet likes dressing up or even seeing strange costumes on others. Some pets find Halloween simply scary. If you have a pet that's overwhelmed by the commotion of Halloween, we have some tips for you at the end of this post.
If your pet likes the hoopla, we've listed a few events here.
Remember to snap a photo of your pet in costume or even just chillin' next to a pumpkin, and send it to our Seattle Times Pets Flickr account by following the instructions below. We'll feature a selection in an upcoming post.
Some guidelines:
- Please put a short title of the photo in the email subject line. (Example: Halloween Kitty clown, Halloween Frankenweenie, Halloween pug pirate. You get the idea.)
-In the body of the email, please include a very brief caption and your name (and the photographer's name, if different) so that we may properly credit the photo.
- Please attach only one picture per email.
Submissions are unpaid. Please see our Terms of Service, particularly the section under "License," about "user published content."
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Keep your pet safe
Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Humane Society remind animal owners and others that Halloween and the days around it can be frightening and even dangerous for pets. Here are a few tips for keeping your pet safe:
Take your pet indoors. Pets left outdoors around Halloween have been injured, teased, stolen and even killed by pranksters.
Only dress your pet if it likes costumes. The experience can be stressful, and even the sweetest pet can get snappy when upset. (A colorful bandana is an easy way to give your pet a festive look without causing stress.)
If your pet wears a costume, check for loose parts that may become tangled or get eaten. Also make sure your pet can move comfortably, hear and see clearly. Obstructed vision is another reason some pets nip or snarl.
Limit the time in the costume. Take a photo of the moment and then remove the costume so your pet can relax.
Watch out for dogs wagging tails and cats climbing around jack-o-lanterns or other decorations with candles. To prevent burns and fires, switch to battery-powered lights.
When visitors come knocking, keep your pet a way from the door. If you can't secure a dog in another room, keep a leash at hand. Having your dog on leash before you open the door will help keep it from bolting out or jumping visitors.
Party at your house? Set up a quiet room in advance for just your pets. Stack it with some toys, a pet bed and a few other favorite items. Having a radio or TV on in the room may also help keep your pet calm.
Beware of the people treats. Chocolate, gum and many of the other Halloween foods and wrappers can be hazardous to pets. See the Vet Q&A here for more details.
As a treat for you, here are link to a photo gallery of pets in costume and two stories about pet costumes:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The animals in the nature are lovely

  ZETA is lovely 4-month-old tiger tuxedo kitten. She is very lovable. She also has one eye, although she doesn’t seem to notice.
ROSE is a 3-year-old short haired tortie. She is very sweet and has been with other cats. She was surendered when her people moved and left her behind.
GIGI AND GLITZare 1-year-old gray and white sisters. They are short-haired and very cute. They’re a little shy at first but very sweet when they get acclimated.
REGINAis a lovely gray tiger. She is short-haired and a little shy but enjoys attention if people can be patient enough for her to get to know them. She likes other cats.
CALISTA is a short-haired calico. She is about 2 years old and very lovable.
NOEL is a 6-year-old short-haired calico. She is very sweet and likes other cats.
TYLEE AND TYLIN are 9-month-old siblings. He is a short-haired brown tiger and she is white with some gray. They would like to be placed together.
VIOLET is a 2-year-old shorthaired tortie. She came to the shelter with kittens and is a little shy but very sweet.
REGINALD is a 3-month-old black and white kitten. He came to the shelter with three siblings. He has a very sweet personality, although his siblings are a little shy.
CHIPPY is a longhaired, 11-year-old male. He was surrendered when his owner became ill.

  MIDNITE is a 3-year-old, shorthaired female. She is very petite and has Siamese-like features. She is a nice girl and is FIV positive.
JOEY AND JOSEPH are cute white and tiger-striped brothers. They are shorthaired about a year old. They are a little shy and would like to stay together in a relatively quiet home. They would be fine with other animals.
Baypath Humane Society

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lovely hedgehog

BabyHedgehog Hedgehogs can be sooo cute!
  We just happened to find this picture online today, two hedgehogs side by side in a human hand. So cute! One is still a baby, sporting newly grown spikes, while the other is larger (not as large as a hedgehog can get!). Hedgehogs are not aggressive, but rather passive and they suffer a lot when their spikes are growing. If you have a hedgehog pet, you should rub his skin with some vegetal oil (like sunflower or olive) to keep it most and soft while the spikes are appearing. He’ll appreciate it!

Hedgehog Bite Hedgehogs can be sooo cute!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Adoption lost animal

  BARSTOW • Dozens of dogs and cats seized from a Hinkley compound earlier this month will be available for adoption Friday at county animal shelters after their owners failed to claim them.
On Oct. 5, animal control officers seized more than 70 dogs and 30 cats from the Stovall residence in Hinkley on Highway 58 after issuing several notices that the animals needed better care.
Terrance Stovall, Chris Gardner and William Stovall were arrested in June after San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies said the dogs were chained and lacked food, water, and shelter. The Stovall family had been caring for the dozens of animals on their property on Highway 58 after their father died in 2010.
According to officials, the dogs were seized because the family was not providing proper care to the animals — in part because the family was being evicted from their home due to foreclosure.

  Animal control officials held the dogs and cats for a 14-day period to allow the owners to claim them, but according to Brian Cronin, chief of San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control, the Stovalls have not tried to claim any of their animals. The dogs will be up for adoption at five different county shelters on Friday — including Barstow Humane Society, Dog’s Day Inn in Apple Valley, Devore Animal Shelter, Palms N Paws Animal Shelter in Twentynine Palms, and Yucca Valley Animal Shelter.
Cronin said the animals were distributed to multiple shelters so that no shelter would be overwhelmed. He said the county does not have any “no-kill” municipal shelters for several reasons, including the large size of San Bernardino County and the fact that “no-kill” shelters are often overrun.
The shelters are not allowed to euthanize the animals until after Saturday to allow people time to adopt them, said Cronin. Cronin said each shelter has its own policy for euthanizing animals, but the animals are more likely to be euthanized if they display aggressive behavior or have medical problems.
Cronin said one dog was euthanized after the animals were seized, but did not know if any of the shelters have had to euthanize more animals or how many dogs were thought to have medical or temperament problems.
Jeanette Hayhurst, executive director for the Barstow Humane Society, said none of the 18 Stovall dogs at the shelter have been euthanized so far. Her goal is not to euthanize any of the dogs, but some have shown some aggressive behavior or other temperament problems and may not be adoptable.
“Most of these dogs are just scared and unsocialized,” said Hayhurst, who said that some of the dogs may turn around if someone has the time and resources to work with them.
Hayhurst said that she has already had one rescue group contact her about the dogs and is also seeking local residents to come adopt shelter animals. Even if people don’t adopt a dog that was taken from the Stovall property, she said any animal adopted from the shelter leaves more room for others.
The Barstow Humane Society on Thursday morning had 104 dogs and 30 cats at the shelter — with many available for adoption immediately.
Stovall family members could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Laid-back animals

  It’s jot just humans who form strong social bonds, many animals do the same and some even bond for life. When animals need each other, they are so cute!
Bald eagles

Bald eagles Lovely Animal Couples
  Bald eagles are known for remaining faithful and mating for life. Moreover, bald eagle couples are also known for their aerial acrobatic stunts together, which include locking their talons together and spiraling downward, only to release at the last minute.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lovely cat and dog

  I am right here, waiting for you! Photo by Cat Connection.
Cat Connection is a non-profit 501(c) cat and dog rescue organization that has been providing animal rescue services to the Southern California area for over ten years. Cat Connection's adoptable animals are available for viewing and adoptions seven days a week at the Beverly Oaks Animal Hospital, a 24-hour clinic and emergency facility.
Jetta is a 6-month-old handsome, long-haired Tabby. He is sweet, incredibly affectionate and extremely playful. Jetta is neutered and up-to-date on his shots. He is ready to go to a forever home today.

  Lucy is a lover! Photo by Cat Connection.Though most of Cat Connection's rescues are feline, they do rescue rabbits and dogs, like Lucy. Lucy is an adorable 6 year old Lhasa Apso. She is very sweet and loves cats, dogs and people. She is house-trained and looking for a new family to give her the loving home she deserves.
Lucy was dumped in front of the animal hospital, abandoned at the front door in a box. This is not an unusual story for animal welfare organizations, pet hospitals, and pet stores. Maybe the pet was unwanted or even worse, loved, but their human companion could no longer afford to care for them. Luckily Lucy was left in a place where she was saved. Not all abandoned pets are so lucky.
If you or someone you know has come to the difficult decision to relinquish a pet, please be aware, animal abandonment is a crime in California. Anyone who abandons an animal is subject to a $500 fine and/or up to six months in jail (California Penal Code Sec. 597S). Instead of committing a crime, try to re-home your pet, search the internet for rescue groups or breed specific rescues, or relinquish your pet at the local animal shelter, SPCA, or humane society.
For those with the mindset that a relinquished pet won't survive in a shelter, consider this: potential adopters go to animal shelters LOOKING for pets to adopt. There are HUNDREDS of animal rescue groups all over Southern California pulling pets from animal shelters to re-home.
Please give unwanted pets a fighting chance at a forever home rather than abandoning them to fend for themselves.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lovely animal rings are loved by girls

  Lovely animal rings are loved by women. They are covered with a colorfully eye-catching gems and diamonds. This series of jewelry adds more charmingly naive or dreamlike animals on the basis of cats, wolves and some other animals which are used before, such as rats, polar bears, giraffes, parrots, koalas, hippocampus, frogs, hippos and clown fish and so on.

  Lovely animals seem always easy to touch the softest place of women’ inner heart, and their lovely or charmmingly naive appearance can easily win women’s love. Top jewelry designers combine the animal models with the jewelry craft perfectly. When lovely animals are covered with a colorfully eye-catching gems and diamonds, how can people resist them?
The platinum frog My Rings is decorated with emeralds, black and white diamonds, which is holding a crown with cutting diamond and gold diamonds. This is an elegant work with a fairy tale character, which looks like a frog with a diamond crown ready to jump. The designer and the jeweler create a pair of shiny eyes for the frog though superb technology.

  De Grisogono monkey shaped ring is rose gold and gold ring with 317 black diamonds weighing 10.19 carats, and seven white diamond weighing 0.18 carats.
De Grisogono Winnie shaped ring is gold ring with 305 brown diamonds weighing 9.97 carats and 2 pink sapphires weighing 0.39 carat.
Chopard 150 anniversary series: polar bear diamond ring
Pig shaped ring is rose gold and black plated gold ring with 2 white diamonds weighing 0.22 carats and 367 pink sapphires weighing 10.95 carats.
Switzerland’s famous jewelry brand Chopard celebrates its 150 birthday, especially showcasing the jewelry series “Animal World” featuring 150 pieces of animal themed jewelry. This series of jewelry adds more charmingly naive or dreamlike animals on the basis of cats, wolves and some other animals which are used before, such as rats, polar bears, giraffes, parrots, koalas, hippocampus, frogs, hippos and clown fish and so on.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ten years of change


  What a mile marker to reach in life! Ten whole days old. Yes, our kittens are growing up, and a couple of them are blinking a little bit, so they’re probably going to open their eyes soon. What adventures they will have! In the meantime, we try to prevent any early “adventures”, by keeping the little girls from causing them accidental harm. Oh, and before you call me out on my bad addition, the previous write-up’s pictures were taken when the kittens were four days old. So, I really do know how to count to ten.
As of today, the older girls and the grownups have all held the kittens, numerous times, but the little girls, only once. I don’t know how many times I’ve had the two of them repeat back to me what the rules are concerning the kittens. One that I’ve been drilling them on, especially, is that they aren’t allowed in their parents’ room without a grownup or a big sister. So, sure enough, last night, when their dad was in there, doing something else, one of the girls went in, and made a beeline for the cupboard.
Now, I had told them, also, that they could ONLY touch or hold the kittens if there was a grownup there, but somehow, this was misinterpreted, and Mrs. B found Emmie (5) “showing” Sadie (3) how to hold the kittens. Another talk followed. Being a year or two older than your sister does not a grownup make.
Today, the older girls were asked to let the kittens have a breather, as they’d been picking them up quite a bit, as well as their visiting friends, and taking them up on the bed. In the process of explaining something to their mom about it, I heard my name, and promptly went to hear what I’d been accused of. Apparently, I told them the kittens needed to be cuddled. Yesterday, while I was holding a kitten, I held her close against me, so she would feel warm and protected, not like she was hanging in open air. I explained to the kids that all babies like to be held close, and that’s probably why mine had stopped squeaking. Because they were all used to being “squashed”, before they were born, and they were still comfortable with that.
After explaining what I’d said, again, I pointed out that the kittens got plenty of cuddle and snuggle time with their pile of siblings, as well as with their mom. If they aren’t snuggling up against their mother, when they’re eating, I sure don’t know what they’re doing. Maybe Dusty doesn’t feel very snuggly, while having five babies feeding, but they definitely all feel safe and protected, when she’s there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The lives of elephants


Elephant family, Tuli Block, Botswana
Caption: Elephant family group banding close together in defensive formation, Tuli Block, Botswana. © Scotch Macaskill.
Camera: Picture taken with a Canon EOS film camera and Canon EOS 80-200mm F2.8 lens.
Location: The Tuli Block is situated in the eastern corner of Botswana, bordering Zimbabwe to the north and South Africa to the south.
Although not as well-known as Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park, the remote Tuli area comprises a diverse wilderness of savannah, riverine forests, marshland, open plains and rocky outrops.
There is abundant wildlife and the area is known for its large herds of elephtants, while more than 350 species of birds have been recorded in the Tuli region.
Permitted Uses: This photograph is copyright-protected and may only be downloaded for personal, educational and other strictly non-commercial use. If you're needing wildlife pictures for commercial purposes, see our Stock Photos section, our Virtual CDs, or our Wildlife Photo Packs for a variety of stock image options. We also offer a number of wildlife and nature pictures at no cost for both personal and commercial purposes

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

They also want to have a home

  Recent years, the problem of stray animals has been emphasized among animal lovers groups and local citizens. Is this problem really as serious as those people think?
There are many people arguing about the cause of stray animals. Also, stray animals are always the best topic for some newspaper and magazines. However, few of them can pinpoint out the real causes of problem. They usually leave the responsibility to the wrong persons or wrong organizations, and only know boasting the fearful figures. It is useless to solving the problem.
Stray animals are almost dogs and cats. Are they all abandoned? Absolutely not!
Strictly to say, people here are greatly influenced by the culture of Chinese. In the past, adopting a cat or a dog is not a hobby, most cats and dogs are said to be working slaves. They need to beg for food from human beings. So, few cats or dogs can live completely close to man. They live in a mode of semi-stray, which means they can roam freely outside and eat at the dedicated sites. There is a large number group of semi-stray animals. So, we must admit that there are innate stray cats and dogs and understand most of the cats and dogs roaming on the streets are living in this mode or fundamental stray. What we need to notice from the above paragraph is that the deeply rooted culture of Chinese is always induction of stray animal problem. Some old styled people do not think dogs and cats should be a companion pets which can live very close to human beings. They may also think dogs and cats should not be kept inside the house. Therefore it caused the huge amount of stray animals every time when people moved homes.