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Talkin' Pets News

April 20, 2024

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestial Custom Dog Services - Roan Mt. TN

Producer - Lexi Adams

Network Producer - Alex

Chimpanzees and bonobos are often thought to reflect two different sides of human nature -- the conflict-ready chimpanzee versus the peaceful bonobo -- but a new study publishing April 12 in the journal Current Biology shows that, within their own communities, male bonobos are more frequently aggressive than male chimpanzees. For both species, more aggressive males had more mating opportunities. "Chimpanzees and bonobos use aggression in different ways for specific reasons," says anthropologist and lead author Maud Mouginot of Boston University.

Though previous studies have investigated aggression in bonobos and chimpanzees, this is the first study to directly compare the species' behavior using the same field methods. The researchers focused on male aggression, which is often tied to reproduction, but they note that female bonobos and chimpanzees are not passive, and their aggression warrants its own future research.

To compare bonobo and chimpanzee aggression, the team scrutinized rates of male aggression in three bonobo communities at the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve (Democratic Republic of Congo) and two chimpanzee communities at Gombe National Park (Tanzania). Overall, they examined the behavior of 12 bonobos and 14 chimpanzees by conducting "focal follows," which involved tracking one individual's behavior for an entire day and taking note of how often they engaged in aggressive interactions, who these interactions were with, and whether they were physical or not (e.g., whether the aggressor engaged in pushing and biting or simply chased their adversary).

To their surprise, the researchers found that male bonobos were more frequently aggressive than chimpanzees. Overall, bonobos engaged in 2.8 times more aggressive interactions and 3 times as many physical aggressions.

While male bonobos were almost exclusively aggressive toward other males, chimpanzees were more likely to act aggressively toward females. Chimpanzee aggression was also more likely to involve "coalitions" of males (13.2% vs. 1% of bonobo aggressions). The researchers think that these coalitions might be one reason why aggression is less frequent among chimpanzees. Altercations involving groups of males have the potential to cause more injuries, and within-community fighting could also weaken the group's ability to fight off other groups of chimpanzees. Bonobos don't have this issue because most of their disputes are one on one, they have never been observed to kill one another, and they are not thought to be territorial, which leaves their communities free to bicker among themselves.

For both chimpanzees and bonobos, more aggressive males had greater mating success. The researchers were surprised to find this in bonobos, which have a co-dominant social dynamic in which females often outrank males, compared to chimpanzees, which have male-dominated hierarchies in which male coalitions coerce females into mating. "Male bonobos that are more aggressive obtain more copulations with females, which is something that we would not expect," said Mouginot. "It means that females do not necessarily go for nicer males."

These findings partially contradict a prevailing hypothesis in primate and anthropological behavior -- the self-domesticating hypothesis -- which posits that aggression has been selected against in bonobos and humans but not chimpanzees.

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Koala populations are in decline across New South Wales and are projected to continue shrinking. The species is now listed as endangered. To help protect this iconic animal we need to know how many koalas there are and where they are.

Perched high in tall trees, koalas don’t exactly make themselves easy to see. They’re quiet and usually asleep. This makes it a challenge for researchers who study koala diseases and declining populations to even find their subjects.

In 2019, researchers in the field would spend hours trying to locate koalas by looking for their scats (droppings). Dr Adam Roff, one of our senior research scientists, decided there had to be a better way. Knowing drones had been used to find people lost in bushland, we bought a professional grade 7 kilogram drone and immediately saw the advantages. The drone:

  • flew in grid patterns over forests
  • used a combination of thermal infrared and colour cameras
  • flew at 30 kilometres/hour and covered up to 200 hectares a night
  • easily located many more koalas than ground crews.

As off-the-shelf drones improved the team added 15 drones to the fleet. They then worked with partners to obtain another 30 drones with better features, such as colour and thermal cameras, spotlights, and the ability to fly in rain and high winds.

The koala-seeking drones have been a huge success and have been used in more than 800 surveys covering more than 50,000 hectares in NSW.

“We just routinely find twice as many koalas,” Dr Roff said. “It’s an order of magnitude leap in efficiency.”

Dr Roff and his team have developed a drone-pilot training program and 45 ecologists are now qualified to use the technology. Artificial intelligence engineers have also helped train the drones to distinguish between the heat signal of a koala and ground species such as wombats.

“We’ve been able to get ahead of the game in how the data is collected and analysed,” Dr Roff said. “By the time the drone lands, we already have all the data about which species have been detected.”

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Coral reefs around the world are experiencing a mass bleaching event as the climate crisis drives record-breaking ocean heat, two scientific bodies announced Monday — with some experts warning this could become the worst bleaching period in recorded history.

More than 54% of the world’s coral reef areas have experienced bleaching in the past year, affecting at least 53 countries and territories including large swaths of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, a joint statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) said.

“It is likely that this event will surpass the previous peak of 56.1% soon,” Derek Manzello, the coordinator for NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch program, said in an email to CNN. “The percentage of reef areas experiencing bleaching-level heat stress has been increasing by roughly 1% per week.”

When corals are exposed to stress from marine heatwaves, they spit out the algae living within their tissue, which provides them with both their color and most of their energy. If ocean temperatures don’t return to normal, bleaching can lead to mass coral death, threatening the species and food chains that rely on them with collapse.

This marks the world’s fourth global bleaching event, and the second in the past decade – with previous periods in 1998, 2010, and between 2014-2017.

In the past year, mass bleaching has been confirmed in regions including Florida and the wider Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, the South Pacific, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, Indonesia, and the Indian Ocean including the east coast of Africa and the Seychelles.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a climate scientist specializing in coral reefs based at the University of Queensland in Australia, predicted this mass bleaching event months ago.

“We knew sea temperatures were increasing rapidly, but not at this speed,” Hoegh-Guldberg told CNN on Monday. “The worrying issue is that we don’t know how long this massive temperature change is likely to last.”

The last 12 months have been the planet’s warmest on record and ocean temperatures have been surging off the charts. Global sea surface temperatures hit record highs in February and again in March, according to data from the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

In February, scientists at the Coral Reef Watch program at NOAA added three new alert levels to the coral bleaching alert maps, to enable scientists to assess the new scale of underwater warming.

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The American Kennel Club has acquired the Professional Grooming Credential from the World Pet Association.

The PGC measures foundational knowledge, safety and technical skills of groomers and is the only nationwide grooming industry credential, according to a press release.

“Integrating the PGC within the already robust AKC grooming certifications will continue to strengthen the grooming industry,” said Dennis Sprung, president and CEO of the AKC. “This will ensure the credential is available to workforce development programs and community colleges around the country.”

WPA founded the program in 2020.

“At WPA we are continually reinvesting in the pet and service industry. The idea that we can offer groomers a way to define their business and reinforce their expertise with their clients was a valuable path for us,” said Vic Mason, president of WPA.

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BUTTE, Mont. — An elephant was caught on camera Tuesday roaming the streets in Butte.

The Jordan World Circus is in town and the elephant apparently escaped from their show. Viola the elephant who escaped from, belongs to the Oklahoma-based Carson & Barnes Circus, which owns more than 20 elephants. This is the third time she has escaped the cruel and abusive captivity of the circus, endangering herself and members of the public. Her escapes have taken place in multiple states.  The elephant is now safe with its handlers. It is told that when a car back-fired it spoked the elephant causing it to run.

But before the elephant was caught, viewers said it did a number two on a Butte lawn.

Luckily that is the only damage that was done.

If you recall many years ago, Tyke the elephant in Hawaii killed a trainer and injured 13 others. She was then shot nearly 100 times and killed. Twenty years later, Tyke's story is a powerful reminder about the horrors that animals still face in circuses today. Don't let Tyke be forgotten.

Many people believe our dinosaurs of today the elephant should no longer appear in circuses. Do you agree?

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Cats have caused more environmental damage in Australia than any other continent in the world. Cats are believed to have first arrived in Australia in 1788 on the First Fleet. Within 70 years, they had covered the continent and are now spread across more than 99% of Australia’s land area. 

Sadly, Australian wildlife, like endangered numbats and night parrots, have proven particularly susceptible to feral cats and roaming pet cats. Cats are the perfect hunter, being patient, silent and adaptable. Not only are so many of our native animals the perfect-sized prey for cats, they’re also at a big disadvantage since they aren’t used to being hunted by something like a cat. Australia needs stronger laws, policies and programs to protect our wildlife from cats. 

We have worked with several of Australia’s leading researchers to identify ways to better protect threatened species from feral cats and foxes by undertaking island eradications, providing more control tools and removing legal barriers for humane feral cat removal efforts. We are also working to ensure that pet cats are kept safe at home, and that there is support through local, state and federal government for effective cat containment.

We want to ensure every state allows the full suite of feral cat control tools, so that land managers have the best chance of driving down feral cat numbers. Roaming pet cats are also diminishing local populations of birds, small mammals and reptiles. We need to ensure Australia’s 4.9 million pet cats are kept safe at home and not allowed to roam. 

Cats have already driven 27 native animals to extinction since colonisation and now threaten at least 124 more native species at risk of extinction. To save the surviving bilbies, numbats, night parrots, and all of the other native animals we love in this country, we must act urgently. We must ensure governments strengthen their efforts to protect wildlife from cats and we must build more support across Australia. 

Feral cats have been an environmental disaster for Australian wildlife. There are more than 4.9 million pet cats in Australia. With this number growing in recent years, it is important to consider how we best keep pet cats, and our native species, healthy and safe. Free-roaming cats, both feral and pet, are highly efficient predators. On top of the over 30 native species that cats helped push into extinction since colonisation, including the pig-footed bandicoot and the Macquarie Island parakeet, they now imperil at least another 123 nationally threatened species.

In fact, every day matters. On average, cats kill 2.92 million mammals1.67 million reptiles1.09 million birds0.26 million frogs and 2.97 million invertebrates every 24 hours. The stats are scary, and cats will continue to drive species toward extinction unless we intervene.  At any given point in time, there are between 7.0 – 11.2 million cats spread across 99.9% of the continent:

  • 1.4 – 5.6 million feral cats in the bush depending on rainfall conditions 
  • 0.7 million feral cats in urban areas 
  • 4.9 million pet cats           Cats can increase their population sizes faster than their native prey. That means, following periods of high rainfall, the country’s feral cat population can quadruple.
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If you have a dog or cat, chances are you’ve given your pet a flavored chewable tablet for tick prevention at some point. What if you could take a similar pill to protect yourself from getting Lyme disease?

Tarsus Pharmaceuticals is developing such a pill for humans—minus the tasty flavoring—that could provide protection against the tick-borne disease for several weeks at a time. In February, the Irvine, California–based biotech company announced results from a small, early-stage trial showing that 24 hours after taking the drug, it can kill ticks on people, with the effects lasting for up to 30 days. “What we envision is something that would protect you before the tick would even bite you,” says Bobby Azamian, CEO of Tarsus.

Lyme disease is a fast-growing problem in the United States, where approximately 476,000 people are diagnosed and treated for it each year, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which gets passed to humans through the bite of an infected tick. In most cases, a tick has to be attached for around 36 to 48 hours before the bacteria can be transmitted. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash that looks like a bullseye. Without a vaccine for Lyme disease on the market, current prevention includes using insect repellents such as DEET and permethrin and wearing closed shoes, long pants, and long sleeves when in a tick-infested area.

A more effective treatment strategy would be welcome, Auwaerter says, especially because Lyme disease can sometimes cause serious health issues. Antibiotics are usually effective when taken early, although about 5 to 10 percent of patients can have lingering symptoms for weeks or months. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints and cause arthritis. It can also become established in the heart and nervous system, causing persistent fatigue, numbness, or weakness.

The experimental pill that Tarsus Pharmaceuticals is testing is a formulation of lotilaner, a drug that paralyzes and kills parasites by interfering with the way that signals are passed between their nerve cells. Lotilaner is already approved as a veterinary medicine under the brand name Credelio to control fleas and ticks in dogs and cats. Tarsus first developed lotilaner for human use as an eye drop to treat Demodex blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelid, which is caused by tiny mites.

“A lot of drugs are tested in animals, but very few are commercialized for animal use and then go to human use,” Azamian says. Tarsus has not proven that its pill can actually prevent Lyme disease. That will require testing the drug in hundreds of people who are at high risk of contracting the disease.  Azamian imagines it as something people would take before going hiking or on a camping trip or just going outside in any tick-infested area.

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Police in Dubai rescued a cat from severe floods after unprecedented torrential rain.

The crying black and white moggy was discovered by rescue crews clinging to the door of a car after floods took over the normally blistering hot city.

The city struggled to cope with the record-breaking floods, and the poor animal was one of many victims trying to escape the water. Heartwarming footage showed a police rescuer come to the cat's aid and lifted it into his boat before taking it to dry land. A meow or cry of relief can be heard from the cat as it is picked up and carried to safety. 

On Tuesday, two years' worth of rain fell on Dubai, triggering flash flooding that crippled a city not accustomed to rain

"Every life counts in Dubai," the Dubai Media Office wrote on X, formerly Twitter, along with the rescue video.

The cat wasn't the only animal displaced by the flooding. Members of the Abu Dhabi Animal Rescue and Foster Facebook Group continue to post images and stories of felines that were rescued from the storm and need homes. 

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Reducing euthanasia in overcrowded animal shelters by preventing heartworm disease in shelter dogs is part the goal of an annual program that kicked off early this month.

In honor of Heartworm Awareness Month, Greater Good Charities, in cooperation with Boehringer Ingelheim, launched the fourth year of the Good Flights program last April 8, which successfully transported more than 12,800 at-risk shelter pets from the South to new homes on the East Coast and in the West. That number includes nearly 1,300 asymptomatic heartworm-positive dogs as part of the Save a Heart initiative.

“It is truly amazing to know that in three years, Save a Heart, a life-saving initiative of our Good Flights program, has provided thousands of at-risk shelter dogs in the South with a second chance and a new home where they can flourish,” says Liz Baker, CEO of Greater Good Charities.

Good Flights conducts air and ground transport missions around five times each month, frequently including pets from the Save a Heart program. Alongside relocating nearly 1,300 dogs that are asymptomatic but heartworm-positive to safe locations, the Save a Heart initiative has also provided medication to thousands of heartworm-positive dogs in shelters in Louisiana and Alabama.

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More than 24 million people in southern Africa face hunger, malnutrition and water scarcity due to drought and floods, an aid group has warned, as experts say the situation risks spiraling into an “unimaginable humanitarian situation.”  The warning from Oxfam on Wednesday came as Zimbabwe joined other southern African nations in declaring its drought a national disaster, following earlier declarations by Zambia and Malawi.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said more than 2.7 million people in the country will go hungry this year and more than $2 billion in aid is required for the country’s national response, Reuters reported.  The country’s top priority “is securing food for all Zimbabweans,” the president told journalists at the state house in Harare. “No Zimbabwean must succumb to, or die from, hunger.”

The drought has been fueled by El Niño, a natural climate pattern originating in the Pacific Ocean along the equator, which tends to bring high temperatures and low rainfall to this part of Africa. When it does rain, dried-out ground is unable to absorb the moisture, making flooding more likely.

El Niño is exacerbating the impacts of the climate crisis, caused primarily by burning fossil fuels, which is driving more frequent and severe weather — including drought and floods — across southern Africa, a region Oxfam describes as a “climate disaster hotspot.”  As southern Africa enters its traditional dry season this month, vast parts of the region — including Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe — have already been grappling with a prolonged dry spell.

From late January to February, rainfall levels were the lowest in at least 40 years, a recent report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs revealed. Central parts of the region experienced the driest February in more than 100 years, according to a report by the United States Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network. In Zambia, Malawi and Central Mozambique, extreme drought has damaged more than 2 million hectares of crops, Oxfam said. Zambia declared its drought a disaster on February 29.

Malawi’s president declared a state of disaster across the majority of the country on March 23. It’s the fourth consecutive year the country has been forced to do this due to the impact of extreme weather conditions. The World Food Programme said this week the El Niño impact is “exacerbating the devastating effects of the climate crisis in Malawi.”

Southern Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change despite being responsible for only a tiny portion of global planet-heating pollution. In Mozambique — a country accounting for only 0.2% of global emissions — 3 million people face hunger, according to Oxfam. The country’s capital, Maputo, experienced devastating floods in March, after Tropical Storm Filipo hit followed a few weeks later by further intense rainfall.  “With all these countries facing multiple crises simultaneously, the urgency cannot be overstated,” Marongwe said.

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Fossils discovered by an 11-year-old girl on a beach in Somerset may have come from the largest marine reptile ever to have lived, according to experts. The fossils are thought to be from a type of ichthyosaur, a prehistoric marine reptile that lived in the time of dinosaurs. The newly discovered species is believed to have roamed the seas towards the end of the Triassic, about 202m years ago. The team have named the species Ichthyotitan severnensis, meaning “giant fish lizard of the Severn”.

“This giant probably represents the largest marine reptile formally described,” said Dr Dean Lomax, a palaeontologist at the University of Bristol and co-author of the research, adding that comparisons with fossils from other ichthyosaurs suggested the creature would have been about 25 metres in length – about the size of a blue whale.

“Of course, we have to be careful with such estimates because we are dealing with fragments of giant bones,” he added. “But nonetheless, simple scaling is commonly used to estimate size, especially when comparative material is scarce.”

The team say samples from the fossils suggest the creature was still growing. And there is another twist. “We believe these ichthyosaurs are the last surviving members of the family called shastasaurida, which went extinct during the global mass extinction event at the end of the Triassic,” said Lomax.

The pair contacted Lomax, who alongside members of the Reynolds family, joined the search for further pieces. Among those who also joined the hunt was Paul de la Salle, an expert from the Museum of Jurassic Marine Life in Dorset who in 2016 had discovered a jawbone from what appeared to be a new species of ichthyosaur at a beach in Somerset. That specimen was subsequently studied by Lomax and colleagues.

When the team fitted the fragments of the new fossil together they found it belonged to the same species as the specimen discovered by De la Salle. In both cases the fossilised bone is the surangular – a long, curved structure that sits at the top and back of the lower jaw.

Lomax said: “When my team described the first specimen in 2018, it showed unusual features that suggested it might represent something new. However, we refrained from giving it a name, considering that it was incomplete and also partly eroded.”

“Having two examples of the same bone with the same unique features from the same geologic time zone supports our identifications of something new, especially when combined with the fact that these two bones appear roughly 13m years after their latest geologic relatives with a name,” he added. Dr Nick Fraser, a palaeontologist at National Museums Scotland, who was not involved in the study, said the identification of the bone as part of the lower jaw from an ichthyosaur was very convincing. “It hints that its one-time owner was a gigantic beast, possibly one of the largest marine reptiles of all time,” he said. But Fraser said it was questionable whether the creature should be assigned as a new species. “For me it is a bit too incomplete for that,” he said.

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When Anne Innis Dagg — who passed away Monday at 91 after a short illness — headed to South Africa in 1956 to become the first person to study giraffes in the wild, she couldn’t have predicted the influence she would have on succeeding generations.

“If I want to do something, I decide I’ll do it, no matter what,” the trail-blazing zoologist known as “The Jane Goodall of Giraffes” told The Record in 2020, recounting her love for the “beautiful, symmetrical” creatures and the research doors slammed in her face in an era of academic sexism.

Innis, whose accomplishments were finally recognized in a 2011 CBC radio doc and, more decisively, with the release of the award-winning 2018 documentary “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes,” lived long enough to see her work celebrated.

Dagg — born in Toronto in 1933 — was someone who wasn’t in it for the glory, she says. She loved giraffes. She loved her work. But she never lost perspective.

“She’s got the Order of Canada and all kinds of honorary doctorates, and yet she still would clap her hands and say ‘Oh goody!’ when something might happen and pop up and down like a little girl.

Recognized today as a pioneering zoologist, groundbreaking biologist, animal rights activist, feminist and professor, Dagg earned her BA with Honours in Biology (1955), MA in Genetics (1956) at the University of Toronto and PhD in Animal Behaviour (1967) at the University of Waterloo.

But due to sexist policies of the day, she was denied tenure, which relegated her to decades in the academic wilderness. “I think I should have been recognized right from the beginning and I could have got much more done,” she told The Record in 2020. “I don’t want it to happen ever again that women are told they don’t have a chance to show their work.”

After years of perseverance, publications and a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the tide began to turn: Dagg received worldwide recognition as the first Western scientist to study giraffes in the wild, and her 1976 book “Giraffe: Biology, Behaviour and Conservation” was championed as the bible of giraffes, still used by scientists today. In total, she authored more than 60 scientific papers and 26 books including “Pursuing Giraffe: A 1950s Adventure” and “The Fifty Per Cent Solution: Why Should Women Pay for Men’s Culture?”

“One of the things I love about Anne is that she said ‘I always thought I was a person’ and never thought about colour or gender. Everybody was special, everybody had value,” says Atkinson. “She put up with the fact that not everybody agreed with her, but she believed in what she was doing and went after it.” Dagg is survived by her brother Hugh Innis, sons Hugh and Ian Dagg, daughter Mary Dagg and four grandchildren: Julia, Sarah, Amanda and Nicholas. Her husband Ian Dagg, a physics professor at the University of Waterloo, died in 1993. As per her wishes, there will be no funeral but her ashes will be spread on the breeding grounds of her beloved giraffes when her daughter returns to South Africa this summer.An exhibit about Dagg’s life opens at Kitchener’s TheMuseum in June.

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Richland County, South Carolina – A woman who ran a non-profit animal rescue in South Carolina faces dozens of animal cruelty charges after the authorities made a chilling discovery inside her Columbia home on May 22. It was the smell of death that prompted a call leading deputies to the home of 47-year-old Caroline “Dawn” Pennington.

Pennington was the CEO and director of the nonprofit animal rescue, GROWL, and she was also employed by the Kershaw County Humane Society. But her affiliation with organizations dedicated to saving animal lives did not prevent her from letting 30 dogs and cats suffer slow and excruciating deaths inside of her home.

Dogs and cats were left inside crates and wire cages, without food or water, until death ultimately freed them from their agonizing misery.

One particularly grim image shows a dead dog, with its head laying in an empty food dish.

Sheriff Lott commented on the well-known rescuer:

“It’s appalling and it’s heartbreaking. This is someone who was entrusted by the community to care for these animals and find them homes. She betrayed that trust, and she betrayed the trust of these innocent animals who relied on her.”

Ironically, in 2019 Pennington stated that it was “inhumane” to let animals go without food and water. She was quoted in the Augusta Chronicle and was referencing troubling conditions at an animal shelter:

“The animals in Allendale did not and do not deserve to have to endure these conditions. Something must change immediately. This should be a priority to anyone in the county. Letting animals go without food, water and basic care is simply inhumane,”

The very thing that Pennington referred to as “inhumane” happened to the animals who were inside her home, under her care. These animals relied on this woman, and they were let down in the most heartbreaking way.

Please add your name to the petition as we fight for justice on behalf of the animals who were starved to death inside of her home. Pennington is facing 30 counts of ill-treatment of animals and we want her to be held accountable for each and every life she stole. Please sign your name to a petition at www.animalvictory.org

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Kansas City, Missouri – A daring goat with a “big dream” of scaling a tall bridge has survived his frightening escapade and he is being reunited with his long-lost family. The goat with a penchant for danger and skills like Spider Man managed to climb 80 feet up the structure before hitting the “uh-oh” point.

KC Pet Project recounts the life-or-death rescue mission, writing:

Let’s just say, it was a rescue mission worthy of an action movie. Jeffrey pulled a stunt that had our hearts in our throats when he missed a platform jump, got all tangled up in some rope and took a tumble. But fear not, our hero was swiftly freed by the fire department and sedated by Chief of Veterinary Medicine. With help from his friends on our Animal Services team, Jeffrey was carried to safety and transported to our veterinary clinic, where he received the VIP treatment: x-rays, fluids, the whole shebang. And just like that, our goat was back on his hooves, ready to conquer the world once more with thanks to our team members who all stayed late last night to help him.

According to KC Pet Project, “Jeffrey’s” real name is Chug and his family has been searching for him since February! The organization explains:

His original family, who lovingly raised him on their farm an hour and a half away from Kansas City, have been searching high and low for their beloved Chug ever since he disappeared back in February.
Imagine their sheer delight when they spotted their long-lost friend perched precariously on that bridge! With hearts pounding and joy overflowing, they reached out to our team, and today, their patience and perseverance have paid off in the sweetest way possible.

Adding, “We’re thrilled to announce that Chug is now en route to his rightful home, reunited at last with his people family and his original goat family! Let’s raise a glass (or a bale of hay) to this heartwarming reunion and wish Chug a future filled with endless adventures and boundless love!”

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Early detection, prevention, and delayed progression of eye abnormalities in dogs are at the core of the upcoming National Service Animal Eye Exam.

Led by diplomates from the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) every May, the Epicur Pharma-sponsored program benefits formally trained working animals. This includes those providing the following services: guide, hearing assistance, drug detection, police/military, search and rescue, therapy, and those assisting people with disabilities other than blindness.

“This event allows us to engage with a subset of the population that we might otherwise minimally have the opportunity to interact with, to offer thanks for their service, and to offer proactive care,”says Elizabeth Lutz, DVM, DACVO, ACVO Membership, Promotion, & Outreach Committee chairperson,. “Although most of the working animals that we screen have normal, healthy eye exams, we have the ability to identify and resolve minor issues quickly, and on rare occasion, identify and treat issues that could result in blindness and pain.”

The non-painful eye exam takes around 10 to 25 minutes and will not require sedation. The exam aims to determine ocular problems early, which may include sight-threatening conditions, such as retinal disease, cataracts, or glaucoma.

“These screenings offer a different and more specialized level of eye examination than are possible during a primary care or wellness exam, and we hope that every working animal will take advantage of this opportunity with a board-certified ophthalmologist each year,” adds Dr. Lutz.

The event will be participated by around 170 cities across the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, the UK, and Puerto Rico. Registration runs until April 30.

For more information, visit the ACVO National Service Animal Eye Exam website.

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Equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis (EMPF) is a lung condition in horses in which scar tissue forms throughout the lungs, creating diffuse miliaries or nodular pulmonary patterns on radiographic imaging. Experts believe that equine herpesvirus-5 (EHV-5) could also be associated with EMPF because similar viruses have been known to cause lung issues in humans and mice. However, not all cases of EMPF are caused by EHV-5, as some horses with EMPF-like symptoms don't test positive for the virus.1

A newly published study in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine researched EMPF and specifically the prognostic indicators for the disease since current clinical literature is limited.. The horses involved in this study consisted of 24 (52%) mares, 21 (46%) geldings, and 1 (2%) stallion, totaling to 46 horses. The median age was 15 years from a range of 5-26 years and horses came from 9 different clinics spanning across the United States, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.1

Prior to the study each horse was diagnosed with EMPF by a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine or the European College of Equine Internal Medicine, all specializing in large animal medicine.1 Researchers on the clinical study confirmed the diagnosis in 34 out of 46 cases by examining lung tissue either from biopsies or autopsies. In 12 other cases, lung tissue could not be examined directly, so researchers relied on clinical symptoms, like respiratory disease and abnormalities seen on lung scans, while also ruling out bacterial infections.1

Overall the study found that diagnostic factors of EMPF in these participants were weight loss (36/46, 78%), difficulty breathing (33/46, 72%), rapid breathing (32/46, 70%), and fever (18/46, 39%), however researchers indicated that fever is not a reliable sign of EMPF.1 Researchers also found that more horses with EMPF had abnormal cells in their respiratory fluid compared to horses with asthma.

Prognostic outcomes remain poor for this disease. During hospitalization, 19 out of 46 horses (41%) were either euthanized or died. The main reason for euthanasia was a poor prognosis (10/46, 22%), followed by the disease getting worse despite treatment (4/46, 9%). Two horses (4%) had complications such as colic, diarrhea, and laminitis, leading to euthanasia. One horse suffered from acute respiratory distress and died, while another owner declined treatment and requested euthanasia. One additional case did not provide a reason for euthanasia.1

Among the 27 horses that survived in the short term, 1 was lost to follow-up within 3 months. Eleven out of 45 horses (24%) survived for at least 3 months. Additionally, 15 out of 45 horses (33%) either died or were euthanized within 3 months after leaving the hospital.1

In conclusion, the researchers aimed to provide further insight into the prognosis of this disease, maintaining its poor outlook. Furthermore, corticosteroid treatment does not improve the 3-month survival time seen in most participants.

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There were 56 wild, endangered Puerto Rican parrots living around El Yunque National Forest before Hurricane Maria in 2017. After the storm, there was only one survivor.  "I'll admit that a couple of times I just cried," said Tom White, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who's been working for 30 years to re-establish a wild Puerto Rican parrot population at El Yunque.  The parrot is one of the most critically endangered birds in the world, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  

About 60 years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the parrot as an endangered species, a legal status that has resulted in a continuous and challenging effort to rebuild a healthy population of birds in the wild that continues today.  "If human beings have caused it, it is basically incumbent upon us to fix it," White said.  But the Puerto Rican parrot is also one of the many species whose habitat and survival is threatened by hurricanes, which are becoming more and more destructive due to climate change

Hurricane Maria killed almost 3,000 people, causing historic floods and landslides. Researchers found Maria's extreme rainfall was 5 times more likely because of climate change.    Battered by 175 mph wind speeds, White and his wife rode out the storm inside a hurricane shelter with 120 captive, breeding pairs of parrots, protecting them from the storm. Afterwards, they went outside to survey the damage.   "We were speechless," he said. "It went from being green and lush to brown and defoliated in a question of hours."  

All the captive birds White had in the hurricane shelter survived the storm. But because of heavy debris, crews could not reach the 56 wild birds that had previously been released and were living in remote areas of the forest.    While some of those wild parrots were killed by hurricane winds, many more died of starvation after the storm, with the island's forests stripped bare of vegetation.  "There was nothing for them to eat," said Marisel López Flores, leader of the Parrot Recovery Program.  Around the world, birds are in crisis — and not just exotic ones. Over the last 400 years, nine bird species in North America have gone extinct, according to the National Audubon Society. Within this century, the group estimates 314 species are threatened with extinction.  

Some of the largest declines, according to a landmark study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, are happening in the most common types of birds. The study looked at population decline between 1970 and 2019 and found major losses of:  

  • Wood thrushes, found across the eastern U.S.; 60% of them are gone.  
  • Baltimore orioles, also an eastern bird; two-fifths have been lost. 
  • Western meadowlarks, prevalent in the central and western U.S.; three-fourths have disappeared. 

Some of the major threats to birds come from habitat loss and global temperature rise. But more intense hurricanes also play a role.   While many birds are adapted to survive major storms, they may struggle to overcome damage to their habitats that are needed to nest, forage and roost — which is what happened to many Puerto Rican parrots. 

White explained that protecting the habitats of the parrots can also protect the habitats of thousands of other species.  "By doing so, you protect the world for many others at the same time," he said.  Since Hurricane Maria, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is successfully reestablishing a wild population of parrots, now with a new twist.   Before the hurricane, the birds were released into remote corners of El Yunque. Now, scientists and staff use behavioral techniques that encourage the birds to stay close to the aviary complex.  Essentially, this combines wild and captive birds into a single community at the aviary. In future disasters, this may give the birds a better chance of being rescued and fed when the forest is impassable. 

Biologists developed this technique at a sister parrot aviary in Puerto Rico, at Rio Abajo State Forest, where, after Maria, they were able to feed 90 birds and save their lives. The techniques developed in Puerto Rico have since also been successfully used in the release of endangered macaws in Brazil.  Tom White, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, said birds survive better with larger flock sizes.  "Flocks defend against predators and also to better find food resources," White said.  In January, the aviary in El Yunque released 22 birds from captivity. Between three aviary locations across Puerto Rico, today there are about 300 parrots living in the wild, a sign that the parrot recovery efforts here are working.  "When I'm old and I die, I can say I did something for my country. This is the way I think I'm contributing to my island," said López Flores. 

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