Animals

Baby Black Bears Nursed Back To Health

Mar 30, 2013
Benjamin Kilham

It's cuddly work, but someone has to do it.

The Kilhams are those someones. Last spring, black bear specialist Benjamin Kilham, his wife Debbie, and his sister Phoebe, who together operate a bear rehabilitation sanctuary near Lyme, New Hampshire, took on the care of twenty orphaned black bear cubs - much higher than their usual number of charges.

Royal BC Museum in Victoria

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the purpose of National Wildlife Week, which I understand will take place in March 2013? -- Melissa P., Burlington, NJ

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine


Dear EarthTalk: What are some tips for keeping my dogs and cats healthy?-- Kim Newfield, via e-mail

Believe it or not, our pets may be exposed to more harsh chemicals through the course of their day than we are. Researchers at the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that pet dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people.

Nothing exceptional here via Flickr Creative Commons

Today when dogs do a disappearing act, infrared cameras, tracking devices, and social media help owners keep tabs on wandering pets. These security technologies are a growing part of the 56-billion dollars spent annually on America’s pets.

Kirk from Wolfeboro

In his book, New Hampshire’s Ben Kilham describes what he has learned in his twenty years studying these creatures.   Contrary to their image as solitary and not-that-intelligent, Kilham finds bears capable of altruism, and cooperation. He even finds them possess a complex communication system, as well as social  behaviors that at times look a lot like ours.

GUEST:

gLangille via Flickr Creative Commons

More than three decades ago, the Mountain Gorilla project started a tourism project to save the threatened gorilla population from poaching. The project hired poachers as park rangers and demonstrated that live gorillas were much more valuable as tourist attractions than dead ones. Since then, gorilla tourism has added hundreds of millions of foreign tourist dollars to state coffers in Central Africa, and the great ape populations have seen a modest rebound.

Brian_Kellett via Flickr Creative Commons

Recent studies out of Duke University have discovered that everyone’s favorite lab rat, the humble mouse, has a penchant for singing – and more importantly, singing in tune...in a way.  Producer Taylor Quimby is Word of Mouth’s always willing investigator of strange science, and he has the story.

Check out Cinderella's singing mice. They are true heroes:

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Do environmentalists think the Endangered Species Act has been a success or failure with regard to protecting biodiversity in the U.S.?-- Ron McKnight, Trenton, NJ

While that very question has been a subject of debate already for decades, most environmental advocates are thankful such legislation is in place and proud of their government for upholding such high standards when it comes to preserving rare species of plants and animals.

Photo Credit Atelier Teee, via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Part 1: A Horse of Exactly the Same Color and Jumping for Gold...Someday

Produced with Zach Nugent

ZOOsk

Jul 18, 2012
Photo Credit Sad Diego Shooter, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Remember how people used to joke about online dating? What once was an easy target for digs about desperate singles and social pariahs is now a success story for oodles of couples and dozens of highly profitable dating services.  Among the unabashed masses of online daters these days is an unlikely demographic – the animal kingdom. Reyhan Harmancy is a staffer at Buzzfeed, where she wrote about how zoos use online dating methods to profile and pair species together. 

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: One of the objections to wind power has been that the turbines can kill birds. Has there been some progress in developing bird-friendly wind power? -- Marcie Mahoney, Boston, MA

 

(Photo by maplegirlie via Flickr)

A note to listeners: This interview was supposed to include Jim Gorant, a Senior Editor for Sports Illustrated, and author of The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. Unfortunately, we lost our connection with him shortly after his part of the interview began.  /RL

We love dogs. So we can't resist passing along word that later today All Things Considered plans to catch up on the story of Andy, a tan and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been missing since New Year's Eve.

New research shows that first-graders and baboons have at least one thing in common: Both can tell the difference between actual written words and random sequences of letters. This finding challenges some conventional ideas about what goes on in the human brain when we read.

Scientists have assumed that reading relies on the same brain circuits involved in spoken language, but now they are considering a more complicated explanation, thanks to six baboons who took part in an unusual experiment.

Pipe Down! That Noise Might Affect Your Plants

Mar 26, 2012

Researchers haven't given much thought to the effect of noise and noise pollution on plants. After all, plants don't have ears — at least, not the kind you hear with — so there doesn't seem to be much point. But thanks to ecologist Clinton Francis, that could be about to change.

Francis is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina. But he has spent the past few years in northwestern New Mexico, studying noise pollution in Rattlesnake Canyon.

A Body at Play...

Mar 23, 2012

We've all seen wildlife documentaries showing young animals—lion cubs, perhaps—wrestling, chasing, pouncing on their siblings. Observe household puppies and kittens and you'll see the same behavior: young animals at play.

Play is defined as spontaneous, energetic behavior with no apparent purpose or goal. But whenever there's considerable expenditure of energy, a closer look is warranted. There may not be apparent goals, but the true benefits of play are being recognized by a growing number of disciplines.

Giant and colossal squids can be more than 40 feet long, if you measure all the way out to the tip of their two long feeding tentacles. But it's their eyes that are truly huge — the size of basketballs.

Now, scientists say these squids may have the biggest eyes in the animal kingdom because they need to detect a major predator, the sperm whale, as it moves toward them through the underwater darkness.

Wildlife Heroes

Mar 12, 2012

For tens of thousands of years, humans relied on animals to sustain life: their skins kept us warm, their oils provided fuel.  But the 7-billion of us stomping the earth today? Our relationship with the creatures around us is vastly different.  Around the globe, species big and small remain under intense threat of extinction. A new book, ‘Wildlife Heroes’ tells the story of forty leading conservationists who are fighting behind the scenes to save these animals.

After a series of videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral, Iowa has made it a crime for people to misrepresent themselves to gain access to a farm. The so-called "Ag-Gag" law targets undercover animal rights activists who secretly take videos. Farmers say they need the legal protection to block those trying to take down agriculture, but critics ask what the industry may be hiding.

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

In Britain, there's a long waiting list of British animal lovers hoping to take in aging police horses. Once retired, the horses aren't supposed to be ridden again.

Unless, it seems, you're Rebekah Brooks, the former tabloid editor and chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International, or David Cameron, the man who would become Britain's prime minister.

The ongoing inquiry into the relationship between the police and news media has uncovered a new scandal: Scotland Yard appears to have loaned Brooks a police horse back in 2008.

Those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier.

That helps explain the increasing use of animals — dogs and cats mostly, but also birds, fish and even horses — in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to schools, jails and mental institutions.

The horse that wins the Kentucky Derby in 2015 may come into the world tonight in the Bluegrass State.

From January into June, about 8,000 registered thoroughbred colts and fillies will be born in Kentucky. As 3-year-olds, a few may be Triple Crown contenders.

Malachy, The Pekingese, Becomes Top Dog In The Land

Feb 15, 2012

He took on competition that was much bigger and much faster, but in the end the judges decided Malachy, a Pekingese with a long mop of fur framing his funny little pushed-in face, was the top dog in the land and gave him top honors at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York.

The New York Times describes his win thus:

Word of Mouth’s internet sherpa Brady Carlson is back. After his weekday shifts hosting All Things Considered, Brady likes to unwind by gathering new items for Here's What’s Awesome, our frequent look at the web and its endless list of memes, trends and viral hits.

Crows of November

Nov 18, 2011
ipmckenna / Flickr/Creative Commons

Here's a bird song we all recognize, the familiar crowing of, yes, crows, a species with many vocalizations. Crows are one of the most intelligent animals in the wild, and a lot of intelligent people have come up with theories to explain why.

Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: I heard that species of flora and fauna are dying at a growing rate globally. How is this calculated and which types of species are dwindling faster?                    -- Colin Gooder, Franklin, NC

November is breeding season - also called “rut” - for deer. In NH, the white-tail deer population is estimated at 85,000 statewide.

Deer now occupy two social groups: family groups of female “does” with their fawns or in groups of rival male “bucks.”

Deer establish a scent-based chemical landscape during the rut when male territorial behavior peaks. Bucks rub antlers against supple saplings scraping bark from bow-shaped maples or small conifers to remove the antler “velvet” and to deposit scent from forehead glands.

Beavers

Nov 4, 2011
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaniac/">ZaNiaC</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Like other species in North America, the beaver suffered when the Europeans arrived, but they've staged an impressive comeback.

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