With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposing to open more national wildlife refuges to trophy hunting of mountain lions, a spotlight needs to shine on the impact that this archaic slaughter has on America’s lion.
Trophy hunters kill thousands of mountain lions each year, despite these cats residing in only a fraction of their historic U.S. range. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to make it easier for hunters to kill these animals for nothing more than trophies and bragging rights, and on our country’s lands that are meant to be refuge for wildlife.
Today Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States writes:
“Mountain lions remain in only a fraction of their historic range—just 16 states. To this day, despite their history of struggling to survive, mountain lions are consistently under threat from rampant trophy hunting across their U.S. range. This persistent threat is especially astounding given that most Americans oppose the trophy hunting of mountain lions.
Nebraska Game and Parks’ insistence on permitting trophy hunting of mountain lions goes against sound science and responsible management. Habitat analysis shows that Nebraska’s landscapes could support many more mountain lions, and federal data show that mountain lion conflicts with livestock are slim to nonexistent in the state.
There is simply no need for a trophy hunt on mountain lions.”
Programs exclusively focused on petting therapy dogs improved stressed-out students' thinking and planning skills more effectively than programs that included traditional stress-management information, according to new Washington State University research. The study was published in the journal AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association. The paper demonstrated that stressed students still exhibited these cognitive skills improvements up to six weeks after completion of the four-week-long program.
"It's a really powerful finding," said Patricia Pendry, associate professor in WSU's Department of Human Development. "Universities are doing a lot of great work trying to help students succeed academically, especially those who may be at risk due to a history of mental health issues or academic and learning issues. This study shows that traditional stress management approaches aren't as effective for this population compared with programs that focus on providing opportunities to interact with therapy dogs."
The researchers measured executive functioning in the 309 students involved in the study. Executive function is a term for the skills one needs to plan, organize, motivate, concentrate, memorize: "all the big cognitive skills that are needed to succeed in college," Pendry said. She conducted this study as a follow up to previous work, which found that petting animals for just 10 minutes had physiological impacts, reducing students' stress in the short-term.
In the three-year study, students were randomly assigned to one of three academic stress-management programs featuring varying combinations of human-animal interaction and evidenced-based academic stress management. The dogs and volunteer handlers were provided through Palouse Paws, a local affiliate of Pet Partners, a national organization with over 10,000 therapy teams. "The results were very strong," Pendry said. "We saw that students who were most at risk ended up having most improvements in executive functioning in the human-animal interaction condition. These results remained when we followed up six weeks later."
Human-animal interaction programs help by letting struggling students relax as they talk and think about their stressors. Through petting animals, they are more likely to relax and cope with these stressors rather than become overwhelmed. This enhances students' ability to think, set goals, get motivated, concentrate and remember what they are learning, Pendry said.
"If you're stressed, you can't think or take up information; learning about stress is stressful!" she said. Animal sessions aren't just about changing behavior; they help students engage in positive thoughts and actions.
"You can't learn math just by being chill," Pendry said. "But when you are looking at the ability to study, engage, concentrate and take a test, then having the animal aspect is very powerful. Being calm is helpful for learning especially for those who struggle with stress and learning."
The study was supported by a grant through the WALTHAM Human-Animal Interaction Collaborative Research Program.
When it comes to maintaining the health and wellness of senior feline patients, regular veterinary visits are incredibly important.
This is according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). Building off of a resource published in 2009, the group has released the 2021 AAFP Feline Senior Care Guidelines, offering veterinary professionals an overview of emerging advances in feline medicine in respect to the aging cat.
The resource emphasizes the importance of regular veterinary visits to help track and manage health-related issues, as well as detect disease early. Specifically, senior cats (aged 10 to 15 years) should be examined every six months (minimum), while healthy cats older than 15 years should be seen every four months. Cats with chronic health issues may need to be examined even more frequently, depending on the severity of illness, AAFP says.
“The newly emerging concept of frailty is introduced in these guidelines and how practitioners can incorporate this into the senior cat assessment,” says task force co-chair, Michael Ray, DVM. “They also detail common issues in aging cats including pain management, nutrition and weight management, diseases and conditions, quality of life, and end-of-life decisions.”
The guide also includes discussion on how quality of life and health-related quality of life can impact the aging cat and emphasizes the need for veterinarians and cat owners to work together to make well-informed decisions for the individual senior cat.
Additionally, veterinarians are asked to consider four budgets of care when developing treatment plans with clients: financial, time, emotional, and physical. The weight of each of these budgets will vary for each cat owner and it is important to recognize this when having decision-making discussions, AAFP says.
“Veterinary professionals are encouraged to use the 2021 AAFP Feline Senior Care Guidelines to enhance their assessment and treatment of age-associated medical conditions and to provide guidance to clients so they are included in their cat’s health care team,” says task force co-chair, Hazel Carney, DVM, MS, DABVP (canine/feline).
The updated guidelines will be published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
Visit Catvets.com for more information
Certain injuries crop up consistently in horses engaged in the same discipline. As a group, western performance horses show lameness most often in the distal forelimbs, hocks, and stifles.
To improve our understanding of unsoundnesses sustained by western performance horses, one veterinary practice conducted 2,267 lameness examinations at national-level shows over a 10-year period.* Using standard lameness localization techniques and diagnostic analgesia (i.e., joint and nerve blocks), the veterinarians found the following:
- Lameness in western performance horses was most commonly (40% of cases) localized to the distal forelimb, i.e., the ankles and the structures beneath them;
- The hock was the second most common site of lameness (16% of cases);
- The stifle was the third most common site of lameness (9% of cases); and
- The source of a horse’s lameness could not be determined in only a few cases (2.2%).
According to the veterinarians, forelimb lameness in these horses could be related to repetitive concussive forces applied to characteristically small hooves, in the Quarter Horses specifically.
“Western breeds are often more upright in their pasterns, causing concussion at slower speeds. Also, many western pleasure horses are bred with straighter stifles, resulting in many issues, including the potential for soreness or unsoundness,” said David Nash, director of nutrition technology at Kentucky Equine Research.
In the hind limbs, osteoarthritis of the lower hock joints is commonly recognized in horses competing in barrel racing, team roping, reining, and cutting. Excessive compression and torque associated with sudden turns and stops, often at high speeds, are believed to contribute to and exacerbate the development of hock osteoarthritis.
“When starting young performance horses destined for events where the risk of developing osteoarthritis is relatively high, offering joint supplements to help slow the onset and progression of disease would be beneficial,” advised Nash.
Look for high-quality joint supplements that contain glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. These joint products help counteract inflammation, reduce cartilage damage, and stimulate cartilage repair.
California's Oakland Zoo has vaccinated some of its larger animals against COVID-19, using a new experimental vaccine specifically formulated for animals. The first animals at the zoo to receive their vaccinations were two tigers named Ginger and Molly. The tigers were chosen because large cats are particularly susceptible to contracting the virus.
So far, the Oakland Zoo has vaccinated tigers, grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions, and ferrets against the disease. The vaccine is a precaution, although none of the animals at the zoo has contracted the virus. There "are real cases where animals have become mildly sick, gravely ill or even died, and that's why we're being so proactive," Dr. Alex Herman, vice president of veterinary services at Oakland Zoo, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Because many of the animals at the Oakland Zoo are endangered species, zookeepers have developed a "species survival plan," which includes vaccinating them against potential disease. "We take our stewardship very seriously," Dr. Herman told the newspaper. The Oakland Zoo will also vaccinate a chimpanzee, lions, and two hyenas. A total of 110 animals are expected to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine was developed by Zoetis, an animal health company, which is donating more than 11,000 doses of the vaccine to nearly 70 zoos and other organizations like sanctuaries and conservatories in 27 different states.
For the animals at the Oakland Zoo, the COVID-19 vaccine is just like any other. The animals are used to receiving preventative care like vaccines and are trained to "voluntarily participate in their medical care," Dr. Herman said. For example, during the treatment, tigers receive "positive reinforcement with goat's milk squirted into their mouths" while zookeepers "are at the tiger's haunch" with the vaccine.
Last year, a tiger at New York's Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials believed that the animals came in contact with an asymptomatic zoo employee who was carrying the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also noted that cats, dogs and other pets have contracted COVID-19 from humans, but there is no need for them to be vaccinated because they are not actively spreading the disease.
Dogs are often smarter than we think, and they sometimes surprise us in ways we don’t expect. When Rajah the 18-month-old pup was spooked by fireworks, she ran as far from home as possible. Her family worried about her for over seven hours, fearing that they’d never find her.
Yet, Rajah surprised her family with a human-like action. After a day of crazy adventures, Rajah knew it was time to return home. She rang the doorbell of her own home, excited to tell her family all about her exciting day of exploring.
Ryan Washick and Mary Lynn Whitacre were panicked when they lost Raja. The pup was resting peacefully in the yard until she heard the scariest noise of her life. Their neighbors set off fireworks, sending Rajah racing away. Somehow, she scaled the family’s fence at 5 p.m. and made a run for it. Luckily, their other dog stayed put.
Rajah is a fast pup, so she was nowhere to be seen. Ryan and Mary Lynn gathered friends and family to help them with the search. They drove around the area and even walked over six miles on foot. Yet, their night of searching was fruitless.
“Ryan and I were freaking out and we felt really helpless,” said Mary Lynn.
So, the couple went to bed with broken hearts. It was one of the scariest nights of their lives, but it looked like there was nothing they could do.
Ryan said he heard scratching on the front door at about 3 a.m. Then, the doorbell rang and the camera picked up footage of a dog ringing the doorbell with their nose. Rajah was home! She knew exactly what to do in the situation, which was shocking to both Ryan and Mary Lynn.“I don’t even know how she knew how to do that, I’ve never shown her how,” Mary Lynn said. “She doesn’t go out in the front yard, except to the car, so she’s never seen us use the doorbell.”
When they let Rajah inside, they said she cowered as if she was afraid she’d be in trouble. So, her parents assured her that they weren’t mad at all. They’re just happy that she’s back safe and sound. It seemed like Rajah had quite the exciting adventure without her family though.
“She had thorns on her and seemed to have rolled in poop,” Mary Lynn said. “So, it seems like she had a great time.”
We never know when our dogs will surprise us. After all, the family explained that they’d only lived in their current home for about a month. So, that proves sweet Rajah really is a genius!
When Faith Smith found out that six-week-old Peabody the miniature horse, may be deaf, blind, and unable to walk, she wasn’t swayed. When she was told that a veterinarian had advised his first family to euthanize him, she still didn’t change her mind.
She knew that Peabody deserved the chance to live a life surrounded by love. So she rented a van and drove across the country to rescue him. Faith trains miniature horses for therapy, emotional support, mobility services, and love. Due to their calm demeanor, miniature horses can be trained to be excellent therapy animals and companions. But Peabody is no ordinary miniature horse. An average mini weighs between 150 and 350 pounds. Whereas, at 6-weeks-old, Peabody weighs only 19 pounds. That’s smaller than most dogs!
His mother abandoned him because he was too small to reach her to nurse. “Peabody is the smallest horse in the world at his age,” shares Faith. In order to be classified as a “miniature horse,” they must be less than 34 inches (three feet) tall. He has grown a little since his rescue, but Peabody’s mom isn’t sure whether or not he will get much bigger.
When Peabody was first welcomed into their home, his jaw was misaligned. Since then, his head has grown a bit, and his jaw is no longer out of alignment. He has also learned to walk. With the help of some special shoes and training with his new mom, Peabody can now walk, run, and even play.“Horses are never indoor animals, but Peabody is so small that he could never live outside unless he gets bigger, and we’re not sure if he will. At present, he lives inside the house with the dogs,” says Faith.
Initially, Peabody was frightened by his furry siblings, but since acclimating to his new home, they have become fast friends. Seeing them run and play together is absolutely adorable. How often do you see a horse and small dog that are comparable in size? It’s cuteness overload. No wonder he has attracted thousands of social media followers.
“I’ll keep him forever, but I hope he gets bigger so he can go out with other horses. Otherwise, he’s just gonna be a house horse,” says Faith.
While his previous family believed he was blind and deaf, only one of these conditions has been confirmed to be true. Peabody can see perfectly fine, but he is indeed deaf. Despite this, he is thriving in his new life as a happy house horse, and is surrounded by so much love. Potty training is the latest hurdle for this adorable animal, but with everything he has already overcome and accomplished, he will surely master that too.
Peabody is inspiring people and spreading joy all over the world. If you would like to keep up with his journey, you can follow him on social media via @faithfulminis. Or you can learn more about his farm by visiting their website: https://www.faithfulfriendsinsandiego.com.
As they were preparing for their shift Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., New Jersey State Police Troopers Ryan Koehler and Vincent Ferdinandi received an unusual call: a golden retriever was spotted swimming in Barnegat Bay on the Jersey Shore and needed rescuing
The officers jumped into a 22-ft. Zodiac boat to motor to the dog, who was about 75 yards from shore, Ferdinandi tells PEOPLE. They gently guided the pup to land, and used a line of rope to lift him onto a dock behind a house.
"He was extremely tired," says Ferdinandi. "Definitely malnourished, hungry."
And for good reason. On June 6, Chunk, 3, was playing fetch with owners Marie and James Zangara when he apparently got spooked and ran off into the woods, Ferdinandi shares.
Since that Sunday when Chunk disappeared from home, a search mission involving social media, local police departments, baited traps, hound hunters and trail cameras has been underway, the trooper says.
Then early Tuesday morning, two joggers on the Mantoloking Bridge spotted Chunk; when they attempted to grab him, though, he jumped into the water, Ferdinandi says. By the time he was rescued, he'd swum nearly two miles across the bay.
Once on land, Chunk appeared scared of the troopers - "he kind of backed away from us," says Ferdinandi. But the pair kept Chunk securely by their sides until the dog's family arrived.
"To see the sigh of relief that a part of their family was back was unbelievable, and the dog was happy to see his family as well," says Ferdinandi.
Koehler, a trooper for 16 years, has a rescue Lab/shepherd mix and understands how awful it would feel to have a dog missing for upwards of two weeks. "I am totally sympathetic," he says.
"We are just happy," Ferdinandi adds, "that both the dog and the owners can be reunited."
The New Jersey State Police announced the good news on their Facebook page in a post that's been shared more than 6,000 times. "Troopers Koehler and Ferdinandi responded in a vessel and located Chunk, who was swimming in the area of the Mantoloking Bridge, and were able to bring him safely to shore," the State Police announced in the Facebook post.
"Chunk, who is three years old, was missing for more than two weeks," the post continues. "Needless to say he was ecstatic to be reunited with his grateful owners."
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street and decades of award-winning educational programming, introduced the newest resident of 123 Sesame Street: Tango, Elmo’s adopted puppy. Fans of all ages can learn how Tango made her way to Sesame Street in a new 30-minute animated special Furry Friends Forever: Elmo Gets a Puppy, debuting on HBO Max on Thursday, Aug. 5.
“For generations, our Sesame Street Muppets have been kids’ first friends, modeling valuable lessons about life, learning, and friendship,” said Sesame Workshop’s Executive Vice President of Creative & Production Kay Wilson Stallings. “After nearly two years of development, we are thrilled to introduce Tango, Elmo’s spirited, adventurous, and adorable furry friend.”
In the special, Elmo and Grover discover a sweet, stray puppy – whom they quickly name Tango – and embark on an adventure throughout the neighborhood with Sesame Street friends Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and Oscar the Grouch. Together, they search for the local pet adoption fair in the hopes of finding her a “forever home.” A sneak peek of the special is available on the Sesame Street YouTube channel here, detailing how this music-loving pup got her name.
The introduction of Tango—who will be a mainstay in future Sesame Street content—allows for consistent modeling of safe behavior and age-appropriate help with a pet. In the forthcoming special and beyond, Elmo and his friends will show preschoolers how to meet a new animal, gently play with and brush a pet, teach new tricks, give baths, and, most especially, show love and affection for their furry friends.
Sesame Workshop is rolling out brand-new and exclusive digital content featuring Elmo, Tango, and other furry friends on the Sesame Street YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter platforms. Families can also visit Sesame Workshop’s Furry Friends Forever webpage for games and printable activities.
In celebration of Tango, Sesame Workshop partners have introduced a variety of new books, toys, apparel, and more for kids and adults.
Tango will join Sesame Street’s 52nd Season as both an animated character and a live-action Sesame Street Muppet, debuting this fall on HBO Max and streaming on PBS KIDS in 2022.
IN THE PAST DECADE, India has seen a multifold increase in pet ownership, owing to rising disposable income largely in the middle class, more nuclear families, rapid urbanization and the changing attitude of people towards humanizing pets as part of the family.
According to Global Market Insight and Euromonitor, though the Indian pet care industry is estimated at less than 0.8 percent of global industry valued at $190.1 billion USD in 2018, it is among the fastest-growing markets, with a projected compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 17 percent in comparison with a global rate of 5.2 percent. According to The Hindu Business Line, the Indian pet care industry was estimated to reach $430 million USD by 2020. Today, India is home to about 20 million pet dogs and about 19 million other pets, with about 0.6 million more being adopted every year.
The restricted pandemic lifestyle has seen increased mental health-related issues leading to depression and anxiety across segments of society in India. In these times of isolation and loneliness, pets have emerged as widely accepted pacifiers that offer unconditional companionship, emotional support and a sense of purpose. Not surprisingly, there has been a spike in the adoption of pets across India, leading to the growth in the demand for pet food, pet pharmaceuticals, grooming accessories and toys.
This trend is reinforced by The Hindu Business Line, which reports that during the current lockdown, puppy and kitten adoption rates have gone up more than 50 percent and 40 percent respectively, driving growth of revenue in specialized stores, multi-brand retailers and online stores, a strongly emerging new channel. The spike in business has encouraged players to invest in upgrading their products, services and experiences across channels.
Last week, Lytton, a small town in British Columbia, Canada, broke its nation’s all-time temperature reading three days in a row as temperatures soared as high as 121 degrees. Days later, the village largely burned to the ground as extreme wildfires spewed smoke and ash 55,000 feet into the sky.
Now, southwest Canada and much of the western United States are bracing for another bout of exceptional heat amid a pattern that could once again place records in jeopardy. Death Valley, Calif., might spike to 130 degrees. Temperatures up to 25 degrees above average could dominate most of the West this weekend into next week, with little relief in sight for some time. On Tuesday, weather models were hinting that a building ridge of high pressure over the West, known as a summertime “heat dome,” would become established over the Four Corners region later in the week. By today, it will be reinforced by a secondary such system passing through west central Canada, the two systems’ synergy resulting in widespread record temperatures.
Excessive heat watches blanket much of southeast California in the Mojave Desert, as well as southern Nevada and adjacent northwest Arizona. Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings extend through the Great Basin northward into interior northern California, western Utah, southeast Oregon and southern Idaho. “This warning is reserved for only the hottest days of the year and is issued when temperatures are expected to rise to dangerous levels,” wrote the National Weather Service office in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Death Valley will flirt with record temperatures, expected to climb into the upper 120s to near 130 degrees. It is possible that temperatures will not drop the century mark from to the middle of next week, with overnight lows around or above 100 degrees. On Sunday, the afternoon high could nick 130, which would match the highest temperature recorded there or anywhere on the planet in decades. The heat will not just fester in the desert — it will scorch populous areas already gripped by extreme to exceptional drought. More than 25 million
Redding, Calif., could see highs of 110 degrees or greater from into at least next week; overnight lows, meanwhile, will offer next to no respite from the brutal temperatures. Needles, Calif., along Interstate 40 at the Arizona border, will crest above 115 degrees every day, with highs around 120 degrees expected today. The heat will extend all the way into Canada today, with highs around 100 bleeding into British Columbia. Medford, Ore., will see a high of 103 degrees; Boise, Idaho, could jump to 102, and Las Vegas will sizzle at 115 degrees. Areas closer to the coast, such as Seattle and Portland, will remain in the 80s.
Extended weather models suggest that high pressure will remain in control and bring significant warmth over the next two weeks. As it stands, the intensity of the heat wave this weekend is predicted to be comparable to what once may have been a once in five-year or once in 10-year event for some areas. The magnitude and frequency of heat extremes, like the unprecedented outbreak of high temperatures blamed for hundreds of excess deaths in Canada and the Pacific Northwest last week, is increasingly due to human-induced climate change. Drought, spurred in large part by the rising temperatures, is playing a role, too. The parched landscape and ceaselessly dry conditions in the West have made it easier for temperatures to overachieve too. That in turn evaporates more moisture from the environment, leading to a seemingly inescapable cycle. It also portends a potentially devastating wildfire season ahead.
Binx, a cat that lived on the ninth floor of Champlain Towers South condo, was found safe two weeks after the building collapsed and has been reunited with its family, an animal rescue organization said.
The cat was found near the rubble and was taken Thursday night to Kitty Campus, an organization that cares for community cats in Miami Beach.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s office confirmed to the Miami Herald Friday that a cat was found, but declined to provide more details out of respect to the family.
Kitty Campus co-founder Gina Nicole Vlasek, who is also president of Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation, later posted on Facebook about the miracle.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy ... Today was one of the most amazing days ... one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!” Vlasek wrote in the post. “We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way. These families lost so much but our south Florida communities team work was able to give them this. Thank you!”