Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

November 9, 2019

Her Name is Sandra and Its Been Rule She is Neither an Orangutan Nor Human

 Orangutans share about 97 percent of their DNA with humans.ROMEO GACAD/GETTY

The Buenos Aires Zoo's head of biology, Adrian Sestelo, said in 2015 that he thought it inappropriate to compare the animal with a human.

"When you don't know the biology of a species, to unjustifiably claim it suffers abuse, is stressed or depressed, is to make one of man's most common mistakes, which is to humanize animal behaviour," Sestelo said.

Experts said the verdict would open the floodgates to thousands of similar cases but that doesn't appear to have happened.

Once the Buenos Aires Zoo closed in 2016, Sandra traveled to the United States, where she was quarantined for a month at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas before moving to Florida.

Orangutans are part of the family Hominidae—or great apes—along with gorillas, chimpanzees and humans. Their name translates from Malay as "man of the forest."
Sandra, 33, was born in Germany and spent 25 years at the Buenos Aires Zoo before arriving at her new home on November 5.

Patti Ragan, director of the center in Wauchula, Florida, said Sandra is adjusting to the center, joining 21 orangutans and 31 chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from circuses, stage shows and the exotic pet trade.

"She was shy when she first arrived, but once she saw the swings, toys, and grassy areas in her new home, she went out to explore," Ragan said.

Ragan also said Sandra met her caregivers and has adjusted well to the new climate, calling her "sweet and inquisitive."

"This is the first time in over a decade that Sandra has had the opportunity to meet other orangutans, and she will meet them when she chooses. It is a new freedom for her, and one we are grateful to provide," she said.

The Buenos Aires Zoo's head of biology, Adrian Sestelo, said in 2015 that he thought it inappropriate to compare the animal with a human.

"When you don't know the biology of a species, to unjustifiably claim it suffers abuse, is stressed or depressed, is to make one of man's most common mistakes, which is to humanize animal behaviour," Sestelo said.

Experts said the verdict would open the floodgates to thousands of similar cases but that doesn't appear to have happened.

Once the Buenos Aires Zoo closed in 2016, Sandra traveled to the United States, where she was quarantined for a month at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas before moving to Florida.

Orangutans are part of the family Hominidae—or great apes—along with gorillas, chimpanzees and humans. Their name translates from Malay as "man of the forest."

August 11, 2017

Uncle Fatty Released Back to The Jungle After Diet, No Tumor Just Fat

(There is a moral here for adults but also you might want to show uncle to your kids..adamfoxie*)

Uncle Fatty the fat monkey released into wild after dramatic weight loss
Poor Uncle Fatty was too fat (Picture: Viral Press)

Remember Uncle Fatty, the obese monkey who was sent to a weight loss boot camp?
Well, after putting in loads of hard work and sticking to an intensive diet and exercise regimen, Uncle is finally going to be released into the wild.

The chubby macaque used to lounge around the beach-side Bang Khun Thian district in Bangkok, where visitors would constantly give him fattening food.
Thai conservation officials got involved after photos of his humongous protruding belly were shared on social media.
They tracked him down and found him hanging out with tourists in the resort, gorging on the unhealthy food he was being given.

Uncle Fatty the fat monkey released into wild after dramatic weight loss
Uncle Fatty just couldn’t say no to food (Picture: Viral Press)

At the time he weighed a hefty 27kg – while a normal macaque should only weigh around eight to 10 kilograms.

After confirming that he didn’t have a tumor, officials immediately put Uncle Fatty into rehabilitation.
Uncle was put on a strict diet of healthy fruits and vegetables – a big dietary change from the jellies, sugary yogurt drinks, watermelons and fizzy drinks he was given by tourists.

And this is what he looks like now!

Uncle Fatty the fat monkey released into wild after dramatic weight loss
Uncle Fatty after his dramatic (er) transformation (Picture: Thai PBS)

Natanon Panpetch, a vet at the Wildlife Conservation Office, told local site Coconuts: ‘His tummy no longer drags on the ground. He is in perfect health and ready to be released. He has grown accustomed to the natural foods.’
Uncle now weighs 24.72kg – which is still big for a macaque, but it means that he’s lost around 8% of his body weight.

Officials are now discussing how they can stop people feeding the monkeys, who can easily find their own food in the mangrove.
‘A macaque is supposed to eat crabs or clams in the mangrove,’ Natanon added. ‘We do not recommend people feed the monkeys at all.
‘(Uncle Fatty) does not know what food he should not eat. He eats whatever he finds delicious.’


February 16, 2017

Norway Stops Clubbing the Seals to Death but..

Captain Bjorne Kvernmo, who first began hunting seals more than four decades ago, guides MS Havsel into the harbour of Tromso, the Norwegian city that owes its existence to his trade.
But his vessel is not arriving laden with dead seals. Rather, he and his crew are in Tromso for the premiere of a documentary about Norway's last seal-hunting expedition to the dangerous ice edge off the coast of Greenland.
Sealers - One Last Hunt is an unashamed celebration of a controversial industry that a century ago numbered more than 200 ships. Their owners, captains and crews did much to shape the economy of coastal Norway, which stretches north of the Polar Circle towards Russia and the Barents Sea.
Along with many locals, the documentary's producers lament the demise of the seal-hunting industry.

Captain Bjorne KvernmoImage copyrightKOKO FILM
Image captionCaptain Bjorne Kvernmo of the MS Havsel

"People buy meat in the store that's packed in plastic, and they don't want to see how animals are killed," says co-producer Trude Berge Ottersen. "Seal hunting is an old culture and tradition. It's been a big part of northern Norwegian culture. So for me it's better to eat seal meat than to eat chicken or produced salmon."

'Defenceless pups'

Accusations of animal cruelty have long been levelled at seal hunters in the Arctic by campaigners.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) describes the commercial hunts as "cruel and wasteful". The Humane Society refers to "defenceless pups [that] die a cruel death". Greenpeace is opposed to what it calls an "inhumane and cruel industrial hunt", while defending traditional hunting by Arctic Indigenous communities.

Sealers on the ice flowImage copyrightKOKO FILM
Image captionSeal hunting has been a big part of northern Norwegian culture

Images of bleeding seals purportedly clubbed to death by brutal hunters have been a persuasive feature of anti-sealing campaigns that eventually brought the Norwegian seal-hunting industry to its knees.
And while the film also features pools of red-hot seal blood as it mixes with pristine white snow and blue ice, it paints a more nuanced picture by offering an insight into the harsh conditions endured by the Arctic hunters.

'Ethical' meat

Mr Kvernmo believes the protesters who have shaped public opinion have misunderstood the situation. "I know a lot of their information is wrong - it's not a real picture of what's going on," he says.
Gry Elisabeth Mortensen, who co-produced the documentary with Ms Ottersen, agrees.

Seals on the iceImage copyrightKOKO FILM
Image captionEnding government subsidies has rendered seal hunting uneconomic

Seals are no longer clubbed to death, she explains. Rather, high-powered guns with expanding bullets are used to deliver a swift death.
"I think it's perhaps the most ethical meat you can have," Ms Mortensen argues. "The seals are lying on the ice, maybe sleeping, and then they get a shot in the head, and that's it."
After the seals have been shot, dedicated "jumpers" use the hakapik hunting tool - a heavy wooden club with a hammer head and a hook. The jumpers deliver blows to the animals' heads to ensure they are dead, before hooking them and dragging them back to the boat.

A sealer jumping over a gap in the ice flowImage copyrightKOKO FILM
Image caption"Jumpers" approach the seals after they have been shot to deliver the final blow with a club

"We are doing it in the most humane way that it could be done," Mr Kvernmo says. 

Dying industry

However, the entire debate about whether Norwegian seal hunting is cruel has been rendered largely irrelevant by a 2009 European Union ban on trade in seal products. That includes skins that are made into boots and jackets, omega 3-rich oil used in food supplements, and meat that has been served in restaurants or cooked in homes across the Arctic region.
Seal-skin boots can still be bought in Tromso's shoe shops, but probably not for much longer.

Seal skin boots on sale at a shop in Tromso, Norway
Image captionBoots made from seal skin can still be bought in Tromso

"It's over," says Mr Kvernmo as he heads into the cinema for the screening of the documentary. "In Norway, there's nobody hunting anymore. The protest industry has been the winner."
However, the withdrawal in 2015 of a 12m kroner (about £1m) Norwegian government subsidy means the practice is no longer economically viable. Subsidies had accounted for up to 80% of sealers' income.
More lucrative opportunities now await Mr Kvernmo. These days, his boat is kept afloat by fees from film crews, which help ensure seasoned seal hunters' knowledge about the Arctic lives on.

Sealers aboard MS HavselImage copyrightKOKO FILM
Image captionSealers are now having to look for other opprotunities

"Throughout all these years on the ice and at sea, Bjorne really has a lot of knowledge and respect for the nature and the animal life there," says Ms Ottersen.

Oil rush

Mr Kvernmo is also working for the oil and gas sector, again putting him at odds with environmentalists.
"We don't think there's any room for oil in the Arctic," Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace, told the recent Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso.

A Greenpeace protest about oil exploration in the ArcticImage copyrightGREENPEACE
Image captionGreenpeace is one group opposing oil exploration in the Arctic

Norwegian energy giant Statoil has been exploring the Arctic for oil and gas. Bjorn Otto Sverdrup, its head of sustainability, defends its policy and says there has to be a gradual shift to renewable energy. "We cannot change that system overnight." 
The Norwegian government also argues that oil and gas exploration can take place safely in the Arctic. 
"We have shown that it is fully possible to combine ocean-based industries, such as fisheries, aquaculture, shipping and energy, and a healthy marine environment," Prime Minister Erna Solberg told the Arctic Frontiers conference. "But it is crucial to set high environmental standards and ensure that these are met." 
Norway is also set to announce a national ocean strategy. "Sustainable use of ocean resources is the very foundation of Norway's prosperity and well-being," Ms Solberg said.
Although the formerly lucrative seal hunt has become a thing of the past, Norway’s Arctic gold rush appears to be far from over.

This page written by By Jorn Madslien

February 10, 2017

Gay Young Vet Meets A Buffalo for the First Time

The scream did for me and I had to show you…..

Animals have always been a passion for the 29-year-old gay dude. “I grew up watching Crocodile Hunter while everyone else was watching cartoons,” Matthew tells Queerty.  “I have been a vet tech for almost 3 years,” he said. “I have a serious interest in exotic and zoo animals. I interned at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as well as an Exotic Animal clinic where I worked with everything from polar bears and walruses to carpet pythons and sugar gliders.”We’re not exactly sure what a sugar glider is, but we imagine they are in good hands with Matthew, who is single and not opposed to some lightly work-unfriendly images of himself on his very entertaining Instagram page. He sounds like perfect husband material for the man who likes his animal lovers sweet and sexy.

But please don’t try Matthew’s Buffalo antics at home – or at least, not in the wild. “When buffalo are hand raised on a farm they are as tame as cattle,” Matthew instructed us, “but wild buffalo are not to be approached under any circumstances.”

We’ll keep that in mind.

November 9, 2016

We Don’t Understand Human Intelligence Compared to Animals

The guests lining up outside a Brisbane gallery were not your typical culture vultures; in fact, until recently they’d never seen a painting in their life. But with just a little training, they developed their own artistic taste, showing a clear preference for Picasso’s crystalline constructions or Monet’s dreamy soft focus as they wandered lazily through the different rooms.
It’s little wonder that their talents created such a buzz, considering that they were working with a brain smaller than a pin head: these bona fide art critics were your common or garden honey bees, trained to find a syrupy surprise behind one or other of the artists' work.
(Credit: Getty Images)
 We have around 100 billion neurons, giving us a huge brain compared to our relatively puny bodies (Credit: Getty Images)
In fact, the ability to recognize artistic style was just the latest in a long list of achievements. Honey bees can count up to four, read complex signs, learn from observation and talk to each other in a secret code (the famous ‘waggle dance’). When foraging, they can weigh up the distance to different flowers, planning complex routes to collect the most nectar with the least effort. And within the hive, their individual responsibilities can include cleaning, undertaking (as they tend to the dead) and even air-conditioning, as they collect water to drop on the honey comb during hot weather.

The human brain has nearly 100,000 times as many neurons as the bee brain, yet the rudiments of many of our most valued behaviours can be seen in the teeming activity of the hive. So what’s the point of all that grey matter we hold in our skulls? And how does it set us apart from other animals? These are some of the questions that will be discussed at the BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit in Sydney on 15 November.
About one-fifth of all you eat is used to power the electrical chit-chat between your 100 billion little grey cells. If a big brain didn’t give us any advantage, that would be an enormous waste.
And there are some clear benefits. If nothing else, it makes us more efficient at what we do. If honey bees are searching a scene, for instance, they will consider each object one by one, whereas larger animals have the extra brainpower to process it all at once. We can multi-task, in other words.
A bigger brain also boosts the amount we can remember: a honey bee can grasp just a handful of associations between signs signaling the presence of food, before it starts getting confused, whereas even a pigeon can learn to recognise more than 1,800 pictures, and that’s nothing compared to human knowledge. For a comparison, consider that a memory champions can remember the sequence of Pi to literally thousands of decimal places.
(Credit: Getty Images)
Magpies are known to be among some of the most cognitively advanced birds (Credit: Getty Images)
Darwin described these kinds of distinctions as “differences of degree, not kind” – a conclusion that some might find frustrating. If you look at human civilization and all we have achieved, surely we must have some particularly special ability that is completely lacking in all other animals?
Culture, technology, altruism and many other traits have all been touted as signs of human greatness – but the more you look, the narrower that list becomes.

Macaques, for instance, have long been known to pick up stones to crack nuts while New Caledonian crows can craft hooks from a broken stick to help them pick up food - both rudimentary forms of tool use. Even invertebrates are getting in on the act. Veined octopuses, for instance, appear to collect coconut shells, dragging them along the sea floor for later use as a shelter. 
A chimp in Zambia, meanwhile, has been caught wearing a fetching tuft of grass in her ear – apparently for no other reason than that she thought it looked nice. Soon, many of the other chimps in her group copied her fashion statement, a form of adornment that some researchers have interpreted as a form of cultural expression. 
Many creatures also seem to have an innate sense of fairness, and may even feel empathy for others – as our colleagues at BBC Earth recently explored – again suggesting a kind of rich emotional life that was once thought to be our specie's domain. Consider the case of a humpback whale, which was recently seen saving a seal’s life, protecting it from a killer whale attack – evidence that we are not the only animal to behave altruistically.
Perhaps the answer instead lies in a “sense of self”, a creature’s ability to recognise itself as an individual. This navel gazing would be a rudimentary
(Credit: Getty Images)
Elephants can recognise their own reflection (Credit: Getty Images)

 form of consciousness. Of all the different qualities that might make us unique, self-awareness is the toughest to measure with any certainty – but one common test involved daubing a spot of paint on the animal, and putting it in front of a mirror. If the animal notices the mark and tries to rub it off, we can assume that the animal recognises its reflection, suggesting it has formed some kind of concept about itself.
Humans don’t develop this capacity until they are around 18-months-old, but a handful of other animals appear to demonstrated this kind of awareness, including bonobos, chimps, orang-utans, gorillas, magpies, dolphins and orca whales.

Not so fast. A couple of mental capacities may be purely our own, and they are perhaps best understood by considering a family’s conversation around the dinner table.
The first astonishing fact is that we can speak at all, of course. No matter what you’ve been thinking and feeling throughout the day, you will be able to find words to express the experience and describe it to those around you. 
No other creature can communicate with such freedom. The honey bee’s waggle dance, for instance, can relay the location of a flower bed, and it can even warn the other bees about the presence of a dangerous insect, but it can’t express everything the bee has experienced: it is limited to a few facts about the immediate circumstances. Human language, in contrast, is open-ended. With infinite combinations of words to choose from, we can articulate our deepest feelings or lay down the rules of physics – and if we can’t quite find the right term, we can just invent a new one.
(Credit: Getty Images)
Bees may be stuck in the present, with no concept of future or past (Credit: Getty Images)
What’s even more remarkable though, is the fact that most of our conversation is not rooted in the present, but revolves around the past and the future, which brings us to one of the other traits that may define us. We’ve already explored how we may be able to recall more facts than most animals. This is ‘semantic’ memory. But as Thomas Suddendorf at the University of Queensland will point out at the World-Changing Ideas Summit, we also have ‘episodic’ recall – the ability to mentally relive past events, picturing them in multi-sensory detail. It’s the difference between knowing that Paris is the capital of France, and being able to bring back the sights and sounds of your first trip to the Louvre.

Crucially, the ability to think back to the past also allows us to imagine the future, too, as we use previous experiences to predict future scenarios. You might imagine your next holiday by recalling all your past trips, for instance, allowing you to picture what kind of hotel you like, plan the sights you want to visit and build a menu of food you want to eat.
No other animal appears to have such elaborate personal memories, combined with the ability to plan whole chains of actions in advance. Even bees, with their complicated housekeeping in the hive, are probably only responding to their present circumstances; their thoughts don’t go beyond the next flower they would like to visit or the danger of an intruder. They are not going to reminisce about what it felt like to be a larva. 
Together with language, mental ‘time travel’ allows us to share our experiences and our hopes with many other people, building networks of combined knowledge that are continually growing with each generation. Science, architecture, technology, writing – in short, everything that allows you to read this article – would be impossible without it.  
  • David Robson
David Robson is BBC Future’s feature writer. He is @d_a_robson on Twitter.

May 15, 2014

Gay Penguins Hatch baby

Jumbs and Kermit only had eyes for each other despite having plenty of females to choose from at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

Couple: Penguins adopted chick after love rat penguin abandoned it at birth

A pair of gay male penguins at a wildlife park have astounded zoo keepers after successfully hatching a baby chick.
Jumbs and Kermit only had eyes for each other   despite having plenty of females to choose from at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent.
The extraordinary pairing intrigued their keepers, who watched them form the unlikely friendship and even build a nest together.
So when another heterosexual couple of penguins abandoned their own egg, the keepers decided to give it to Jumbs and Kermit, who nurtured it and have now hatched a thriving young chick.
Park owner Tony Binskin said: “These two have so far proven to be the best penguin parents we have had.
“But we have had to bring in two new males to keep the balance of the group.
“We are still very much starting our breeding efforts with this species, and this is only our second year, but having such good surrogate parents available should we need them is a huge bonus for us.
“Being brought up by individuals of the same species always has a better outcome for animals being reared.
"While we will intervene and hand rear animals if necessary, it is something we prefer to avoid.”
The chick, yet to be sexed or named, has gained 500g in weight since it was born on April 12 and is growing as it should.

December 29, 2013

These Genetic Altered Piglets Will Never Need Artificial Light, They are it

The piglets were born earlier this year and acquired their bizarre ability to glow under 'black' light after their embryos were injected with the DNA of a jellyfish

Reproductive scientists in China have created pigs that glow in the dark, according a study that has been submitted for publishing in the Biology of Reproduction Journal.
Ten transgenic piglets were born earlier this year that glow green under a black light or UVA light. The pigs represent a technique a team from Guangdong Province in Southern China developed that could help develop cheaper drugs for humans.
video posted by the researchers on Vimeo shows piglets being held in a bucket, but when the light is turned off and a black light is turned on, a green fluorescent glow can be seen around the animals. Essentially the technique shows how jellyfish DNA was successfully transplanted into pig DNA. The technique was used to quadruple the success rate at which plasmids carrying a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA were transferred into the embryo of the pig.
The green color seen in the video indicates the fluorescent material injected into the pig embryos has been incorporated into the animal’s DNA successfully. The technique involves proprietary pmgenie-3 plasmids conferring active integration during cytoplasmic injection. It was used to help produce the world’s first glowing rabbits in Turkey earlier this year.
“It’s just a marker to show that we can take a gene that was not originally present in the animal and now exists in it,” said Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, a veteran bioscientist at the University of Hawaii’s medical school’s Institute for Biogenesis Research.
He said the animals are not affected by the fluorescent protein and will have the same life span as those pigs not injected with the material from birth. The green is only a marker to show that the material is working.
“[For] patients who suffer from hemophilia and…need the blood-clotting enzymes in their blood, we can make those enzymes a lot cheaper in animals rather than a factory that will cost millions of dollars to build,” explained Dr. Moisyadi.
The glow-in-the-dark rabbits developed earlier this year proved scientists were able to successfully incorporate foreign DNA into another animal’s body. The science gives hopes for researchers who wish to do the same thing to humans, potentially leading to DNA transplants for people suffering from genetic diseases. The researchers from the pig study said they hope to eventually introduce beneficial genes into larger animals to create cheaper, more efficient medicines.
Lee Rannals for  

November 27, 2013

Python Swallows a Drunk Man

A Python ate a person who was drunk and lying beside the liquor shop. News from Attapady, Kerala.

Embedded image permalink

August 24, 2013

Wolves Howl Because They Care

When a member of the wolf pack leaves the group, the howling by those left behind isn't a reflection of stress but of the quality of their relationships. So say researchers based on a study of nine wolves from two packs living at Austria's Wolf Science Center that appears in Current Biology..
The findings shed important light on the degree to which animal vocal production can be considered as voluntary, the researchers say.
"Our results suggest the social relationship can explain more of the variation we see in howling behavior than the emotional state of the wolf," says Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. "This suggests that wolves, to a certain extent, may be able to use their vocalizations in a flexible way."
Scientists have known very little about why animals make the sounds that they do. Are they uncontrollable emotional responses? Or do animals have the ability to change those vocalizations based on their own understanding of the social context?
At the Wolf Science Center, human handlers typically take individual wolves out for walks on a leash, one at a time. On those occasions, they knew, the remaining pack mates always howl.
To better understand why, Range and her colleagues measured the wolves' stress hormone levels. They also collected information on the wolves' dominance status in the pack and their preferred partners. As they took individual wolves out for long walks, they recorded the reactions of each of their pack mates.
Those observations show that wolves howl more when a wolf they have a better relationship with leaves the group and when that individual is of high social rank. The amount of howling did not correspond to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
"Our data suggest that howling is not a simple stress response to being separated from close associates but instead may be used more flexibly to maintain contact and perhaps to aid in reuniting with allies," Range says.

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