Animals

EarthTalk
1:01 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Keeping Pets Healthy

Pets ingest pollutants and pesticide residues and breathe in an array of indoor air contaminants just like children do -- and since they develop and age seven or more times faster than children, pets develop health problems from exposures much faster.
Credit Hemera Collection

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.

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Word of Mouth
10:42 am
Tue January 22, 2013

High Tech Ways To Track Pets

Credit 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.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Ben Kilham's "Out On A Limb"

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:

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Word of Mouth
12:06 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Gorilla Tourism's Downside

Credit 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.

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Word of Mouth
12:01 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

The Discovery of Singing Mice

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:

EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun August 5, 2012

The Endangered Species Act -- Success or Failure?

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.

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Word of Mouth
11:00 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Word of Mouth 7.21.2012

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

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Word of Mouth
10:13 am
Wed July 18, 2012

ZOOsk

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
12:00 am
Sun June 3, 2012

Wind Turbines and Bird Conflicts

iStock Photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

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

 

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Word of Mouth
12:25 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

An inherent danger?

(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

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Thu April 26, 2012

'Bring Andy Home:' Search For Missing Corgi Goes High Tech

Where's Andy?
The Bring Andy Home Facebook page

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

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.

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Animals
4:43 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

The (Monkey) Business Of Recognizing Words

Researchers studied baboons, including this one, and found that with training, they could distinguish real four-letter English words from four letters that weren't a word.
Joel Fagot Science/AAAS

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.

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NPR News
12:01 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Pipe Down! That Noise Might Affect Your Plants

Pinon pine trees like this one dominate Rattlesnake Canyon.
Jeff Mitton

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.

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Something Wild
9:05 am
Fri March 23, 2012

A Body at Play...

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.

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Animals
5:08 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Just How Big Are The Eyes Of A Giant Squid?

This giant squid was caught about 10 miles off the shores of Oahu, Hawaii, in 1981. The pupil of its eye measured more than 3.5 inches across.
Current Biology

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:32 pm

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.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
4:04 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Wildlife Heroes

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.

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Law
12:45 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

Ag-Gag Law Blows Animal Activists' Cover

Struthers raises about 4,500 pigs for meat every year.
Kathleen Masterson Iowa Public Radio

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 6:12 pm

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.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Meet Claudia, The High-Tech Cow

Technology at rest.
Adam Davidson NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

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.

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Europe
4:06 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Neighs Have It: Horse Tale Ensnares British Leader

In this photo from 2009, David Cameron (left) attends a book launch for Charlie Brooks in London. Cameron, who has since become Britain's prime minister, went to Eton with Brooks, husband of Rebekah Brooks, the former News International executive toppled by Britain's phone-hacking scandal. The latest twist in that scandal involves Rebekah Brooks, Cameron and a retired police horse.
Dave Hogan Getty Images

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.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:44 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other

Ryan Shank-Rowe, 9, takes part in a therapeutic riding program at Little Full Cry Farm in Clifton, Va., last month.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 10:51 am

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.

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The Two-Way
4:48 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

In Kentucky, 2015 Derby Winner Could Arrive Any Day Now

This picture has stayed in Noah Adams' mind.
Dr. Kim Sprayberry Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

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.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Malachy, The Pekingese, Becomes Top Dog In The Land

Malachy, a Pekingese, won best in show at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig AP

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:

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Word of Mouth - Segment
8:02 am
Sat November 19, 2011

Word of Mouth for 11.19.2011: Part 2

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.

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Something Wild
12:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Crows of November

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.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun November 13, 2011

Species Loss Accelerating Globally

Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

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

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Something Wild
12:00 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Deer Breeding and Hunting Season

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.

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Something Wild
1:34 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Beavers

ZaNiaC 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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Socrates Exchange
12:00 am
Thu February 4, 2010

Socrates Exchange: Should animals have rights?

RiffRaff via Flickr/Creative Commons

Are non-human animals merely a natural resource for human use? Do we have a responsibility to treat animals with dignity or to consider their suffering? Are we justified killing mosquitoes or pigs while pampering our pets? Do "smarter" creatures deserve more rights? If an animal is more intelligent than a cognitively disabled human, does the animal deserve more rights? Post your thoughts below and respond to other postings.

Guest

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