September 08, 2014

6:35 PM | White Snake Proceeding South
The famous white cobra of Thousand Oaks, California, was first relocated to the LA Zoo and now is destined for another southerly journey to San Diego Zoo, where they are better prepared to deal with it and its unique venom. (The story at the "journey to San Diego" link above includes updates and corrections; appears the "albino cobra" of earlier stories is not a true albino at all.) 
8:31 AM | The truth behind the Cambridge "very large cat"
The media loved the story recently of YoYo, the Basset Hound, who had circumvented rules banning dogs at Selwyn College, Cambridge by being classified as a "very large cat".Nothing like a bit of good-old fashioned British eccentricity.There's been a few sniffy comments , though - with several people suggesting the dog is a cross, not a purebred Basset.But I can exclusively reveal that YoYo is the real-deal. She is a retired working pack hound from the wonderful Albany Bassets  - a dog who […]
12:34 AM | What is “Integrative Veterinary Oncology” & can it be Evidence-Based?
An interesting article appeared recently in a widely-read veterinary journal that discusses so-called “integrative medicine” in veterinary cancer care in terms of evidence-based medicine (EBM). This article raises a number of interesting questions and concerns. Raditic, DM. Bartges, JW. Evidence-based … Continue reading →
12:00 AM | Comprehensive pet microchip registry data elusive
One search engine defunct; another incomplete

September 07, 2014

11:51 AM | Y'all Decide
...or gradual balloon air release? RT @literaryeric: This frog sounds like a kitten.— russwilliamsiii (@russwilliamsiii) September 7, 2014

September 06, 2014

12:28 PM | Zoo Takes Stand for African Elephants
Pittsburgh Zoo works for the future of African elephants through Project Frozen Dumbo."In the past decade in Africa, ivory poachers have eliminated some 70 percent of the wild elephant population. In zoos around the world, natural reproduction and artificial insemination are difficult." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 05, 2014

11:05 PM | A brief guide to... the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974
The purpose of the Rabies Order is to prevent the introduction of rabies into Great Britain by controlling the introduction of susceptible species, other than humans...
9:16 PM | It Is O.K. to Empathize with Your Subjects
Jane Goodall opens up about where science has gone wrong— HuffPost Science (@HuffPostScience) September 5, 2014"To have this coldness, this lack of empathy, has enabled some scientists to do unethical behavior."
7:17 PM | LAZoo "Rescues" Albino Cobra
The LA #albinocobra @toakscobra has new (temporary) digs at the @LAZoo— Jason G. Goldman (@jgold85) September 5, 2014
4:23 PM | Dead Bird Quiz: long overdue edition
I know you’ve all been suffering mightily without regular DBQs, so here’s something to boost your spirits: Bird A was found by Dan Tracey in northern Massachusetts. Very nice photos, especially that one of those diminutive little feet! This bird had a reported wing chord of 21cm, culmen 30mm, and tarsus 26mm. Bird B was […]
1:56 PM | Survey to assess veterinarians' feelings about suicide
Practitioners may respond through early October
1:34 PM | Despite "Deeply Rooted Tradition"
Yao Ming educates his Chinese people about poached ivory, as well as "shark finning":"deeply rooted tradition"RT @TheWCS: #YaoMing leads fight to save Africa’s #elephants — in China via @washingtonpost— russwilliamsiii (@russwilliamsiii) September 5, 2014The NC Zoo plans an educational destruction of elephant ivory, as well as rhino horn. That is postponed for now, as it awaits "clarification" from the State of North Carolina.

September 04, 2014

8:41 PM | Luna Broke Her Leg
That recent fall at Buffalo Zoo has injured a young polar bear."Luna fell about 14 feet into a protective moat on Saturday. On Tuesday, zoo officials said that X-rays revealed she fractured her tibia and fibula above the ankle joint on her left rear leg."The 1-year-old underwent surgery to repair the fracture on Sunday."The zoo says Luna is alert and eating and that she's able to walk, but she'll be off exhibit for several weeks while she heals."The polar bears are being temporarily housed in […]
8:26 PM | Zoo Polar Bears to Send Heat to Elephants
Heat pump technology is part of the Oregon Zoo exhibit expansion."Crews are constructing a "geothermal loop" that will transfer the heat generated by the cooling system in the polar bear exhibit to the elephant's forthcoming indoor facility ... The work coincides with construction of Elephant Lands, a $53 million new elephant exhibit."
7:01 PM | Rock Hryaxes Try Harder...
...when they have an audience.Adorable little Rock hyraxes put more effort into their songs when they have an audience.— Wired Science Blogs (@wiredsciblogs) September 4, 2014"The enhancements male hyraxes made to their songs in the presence of an audience likely make the songs harder to perform. Longer songs with longer bouts, sung at a faster pace, require better muscle control and greater aerobic capacity. Higher syntactic […]
6:58 PM | True
I got a swimmer's body.— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) September 4, 2014
12:35 PM | Tough Little Cuties!
Cute & Tough! MT @NautilusMag: What can survive in a vacuum, w/ no food, water, oxygen, & w/ harsh cosmic radiation?— russwilliamsiii (@russwilliamsiii) September 4, 2014Tardigrades (water bears) also make for an easy-care pet. (Easy-Care Bear?)

September 03, 2014

5:22 PM | Adopting Shelter Dogs: Should Fido Lie Down or Play?
 If you go down to the shelter today, will you bring home a dog? A new study by Alexandra Protopopova and Clive Wynne (2014) finds that interactions between dogs and potential adopters predict the likelihood of adoption.Photo: Alexey Shinkevich / ShutterstockEvery year in the USA, 3-4 million healthy, potentially-adoptable, homeless animals are euthanized (AHA and PetSmart 2012). Many would be saved if there was a better understanding of how to increase adoptions from animal shelters. […]

Protopopova, A. & Wynne, C. (2014). Adopter-dog interactions at the shelter: Behavioral and contextual predictors of adoption, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 157 109-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.04.007

3:38 PM | Back in action!
My dear Seanetters,  Thank you for your forbearance during my shockingly long break from blogging. Vacation was a big part of it, but I also finished the Field Guide to Beached Birds of the Southeastern United States (in the hands of the printer right now!) and I also started a new job, which has caught […]
1:43 AM | States Look to Halt Ivory Trade
New York and New Jersey have moved to stop trade in poached elephant ivory. California is looking at doing the same.The North Carolina State Zoo was set to take a stand against trade in ivory but that is now on hold pending State "clarification".
1:19 AM | Zoo Asks County for $5.3 Million
The Sedgwick County Zoo, Witchita, needs the county or a donor "angel" to come forward soon or give up on exhibiting elephants."About 50 individual donors and corporations have stepped up to raise $4.3 million for what would be the zoo’s most expensive project to date, but that’s not enough..."" The total cost of the project is estimated at $10.5 million, scaled down by $1 million since last year. The barn as currently designed would hold up to nine elephants.""The new elephant […]

September 02, 2014

11:06 PM | Christ on a fishstick!
He was crucified 2014 years ago, but people (largely Americans with an apparent tendency to closely examine individual potato snacks prior to consumption) still manage to find Jesus in deformed bits of junk food (as well as turtle shells, dried glue and dog faeces, apparently). Unless you’re high on something very fun, or your imagination rivals Willy Wonka on mushrooms, you probably spend a good ten seconds staring at the picture of the burnt fish stick that makes the novelty […]
12:38 PM | Remembering Martha
The last passenger pigeon, Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo September 1, 1914. The Zoo remembered her with centennial events.
1:32 AM | Tiger Rescued from "Zoo of Death" Dies
Update:"Death Zoo" tiger dies MT @WildWelfare: more on our wrk w/Surabaya zoo 2 help animals— russwilliamsiii (@russwilliamsiii) September 2, 2014

September 01, 2014

10:25 PM | The Internet Knew; Science Catches Up
How A Viral Video Revealed A Previously Undocumented Ant Behavior (h/t @sci_phile @myrmecos)— Jason G. Goldman (@jgold85) September 1, 2014"When ant expert Alex Wild came across the video, he did what any good scientist would do: turn to the literature to see if the curious behavior had ever been documented. It hadn't:""What Wild did find, however, was another video of a similar behavior on Youtube, uploaded by a Cambodian beekeeper. Just because the scientific […]
7:37 PM | Polar Bear Slips, Falls into Moat
Luna takes a fall at Buffalo Zoo.The exhibit from which she fell "is a temporary home for the polar bears until their new "Arctic Edge" habitat is completed next year."
11:38 AM | Non-Profit Prepared to Aid Gaza Zoo Now!
Four Paws' leadership announces it has plans and permits to act now to come to the aid of the animals in a Gaza zoo."The organi[z]ation's Dr Amir Khalil is leading the operation to the conflict stricken area.""Khalil says the team hopes to get the animals across the border to Jordan safely.""“I hope we will be able to have access to the animals so we can treat them. If we have money we hope to rehabilitate the zoo.”"Another organization, Wild Welfare, recently announced that it had […]
2:22 AM | Testimonials Lie: More Evidence for Why You Can’t Trust Anecdotes or Personal Internet Reviews of Medical Treatments
By far the most common response to those posts I write questioning the claims for medical therapies advertised on the internet is a flood of testimonials from people who believe the scientific evidence is wrong or irrelevant because the product … Continue reading →

August 31, 2014

10:39 PM | Locust Storm
No, that's not a storm cloud; it's a swarm of locusts— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 31, 2014
12:11 PM | Pat Simmons Says Goodbye to Sloth Bear...
...Akron Zoo and community. And vice versa."She stopped to admire a metal sculpture...of a mother otter teaching her baby to swim." "The sculpture is dedicated to the late Conrad Ott", former superintendent of Akron schools."“When I first met Conrad Ott, we had a baby otter that needed to be raised by hand. I was teaching it to swim in my bathtub, and I called it ‘Conrad C. Otter,’ ” [Pat] explained."Director Simmons told that she leaves an Akron Zoo […]
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