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Shh! That Zookeeper Is a Total *&^%#!

5 Dec

by the Center for Biological Diversitycottontop

In New York City’s Central Park Zoo, a group of cotton-top tamarins — cute, social, squirrel-sized monkeys — has been caught whispering in the presence of zoo staff they do not like.

According to a new study published in the journal Zoo Biology, researchers have discovered in these tamarins the first example of whispering by nonhuman primates. While investigating the monkeys’ human-directed mobbing calls, whereby the tamarins attempt to confuse would-be predators with loud cries, researchers noticed that the monkeys actually lowered the amplitude of their vocalizations in the presence of one particular zookeeper.

Turns out the zookeeper had been involved in the tamarins’ capture and had also taken part in medical procedures involving the animals. And while the researchers weren’t able to explain just exactly what the monkeys were communicating under their breath in the staffer’s presence, it’s worth noting that every revolution begins with conspiratorial whispers.

Bear-Trap Saboteur in New Mexico Prevents Capture of Wild Bear

13 Aug

bearhuntSaboteurfrom North American Animal Liberation Press Office

A dangerous bear that broke into a house and bit the homeowner remains on the loose today in the Sandia Heights neighborhood east of Albuquerque, partly because someone sabotaged a Department of Game and Fish trap intended to catch the bear.

The Department has video of someone deliberately sabotaging a baited bear trap set at the home of the man who was bitten by the bear early Friday morning. The person who sabotaged the trap has put area residents in danger and could face charges if apprehended. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Department at (505) 222-4700.

The Department needs to catch the offending bear to prevent anyone else from being injured by it. The state Department of Health also requires that any wild animal that bites a human to be killed and tested for rabies.

Friday’s incident in Sandia Heights is another example of abnormal and dangerous bear behavior caused by habituation to humans as a food source. Many bears in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains have become accustomed to finding easy meals in residents’ trash, birdfeeders and pet food dishes. Some homeowners also have been known to intentionally feed bears, falsely believing that the bears have no natural food available. Supplemental feeding of bears leads to unnatural and dangerous behavior, and often leads to the bear’s death.

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Jaguar Threatens Open-pit Mine Plan in Southern Arizona

27 Jun

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by Tony Davis / AZ Star

A male jaguar has roamed the Santa Rita Mountains’ eastern flank for at least nine months, photos obtained from the federal government show.

The remote cameras have photographed the big cat in five locations on seven occasions since October.

Three times, the federally financed remote cameras photographed the jaguar immediately west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site in the mountains southeast of Tucson.

The photos were taken for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by University of Arizona cameras as follow-up after a hunter gave state authorities a photo of a jaguar’s tail that he took last September in the Santa Ritas.

The sightings next to the mine site were at roughly the same location where the earlier jaguar tail photo was taken, wildlife service officials said. Other photos ranged from two to 15 miles from the mine site.   Continue reading

David Hasselhoff Crabs Face Extinction

25 Jun

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

crabsYou may think this is a joke but it isn’t. The hairy-chested Yeti crab, nicknamed the “Hoff” by deep-sea scientists for its resemblance to the luscious body hair of David Hasselhoff, could very well fall into the oblivion of extinction due to warming oceans caused by climate change.

The Hoff was first discovered in 2009 hanging out around hydrothermal vents deep beneath the Indian and Arctic oceans where water temperatures can reach 716 degrees Fahrenheit. The vents spew noxious and acidic chemicals, heavy metals and hydrogen sulfide.

One might think the Hoff could then survival a dozen degrees of temperature change but, according to a recent report published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, as the ocean warms, the ability of oxygen-rich surface water to mix with deep ocean waters is diminished, reducing the oxygen levels in the deep sea, which will likely result in mass extinctions for many of the creatures that live within the precarious ecology of deep sea vents.

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Computer Eating Ants Could Cripple NSA Surveillance

13 Jun

An invading population of these little luddite ants at the no-longer-very-secret NSA data warehouse in Utah would strike a crippling blow to the surveillance-state.

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by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! Newswire

Nylanderia fulva, also named the raspberry ant after Tom Raspberry, the exterminator who first discovered them in Houston back in ’02, is an invasive ant species from Argentina and Brazil currently wrecking holy hell on computer systems, invasive red ant populations and native ecosystems across the U.S. South.

Since they were first spotted, raspberry ants, which are also called crazy ants because or their erractic, nonlinear movements, have spread to over 21 counties in Texas, 20 counties in Florida and several locations in Mississippi and Louisiana where they have caused more than $146.5 million dollars in damages to computer and electrical equipment in Texas alone. Its an odd thing, raspberry ants seem to have a yet unexplained suicidal hunger or perhaps hatred for computers. The cyber-sabotage occurs when a lone raspberry ant finds its way to a transformer and gets electrocuted. The ant fries but the electricity causes it to wave its abdomen about secreting a scent that lures other nearby ant scouts to the transformer. They too are electrocuted, increasing the fecundity of the scent that now wafts far and wide bringing a swarm of ants from the colony. They fry too. In time, so many ant bodies pile up that the insulation fries, the transformer overheats and blows, mechanical failure sets in and the system shuts the fuck down.  Oh yeah, and those toxic insecticides used to kill red ants have little to no effect on raspberry ants. Continue reading

Bloodthirsty ‘Factual’ TV Shows Demonize Wildlife with Lies and Sensationalism

11 Jun

Major US TV channels are promoting hysterical and outdated ideas about wildlife in popular, blood-soaked shows

Wolves are depicted as "mean, ferocious animals and they can tear a man apart real easy" on TV, despite evidence to the contrary. Photograph: Alamy

Wolves are depicted as “mean, ferocious animals and they can tear a man apart real easy” on TV, despite evidence to the contrary. Photograph: Alamy

by Adam Welz / The Guardian

Most people’s wild beasts live in the TV.

What I mean is that, in my experience, most people are highly unlikely to come eyeball-to-eyeball with a large wild animal in their everyday lives, and much of their knowledge of wildlife comes from a screen.

If you’re North American or get US-produced satellite TV, you’ve probably learned a lot about wildlife from outlets like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and History. You might trust these channels because you’ve seen educational, factually accurate shows on them, unlike the ‘trashy’ material that dominates free-to-air network TV.

But not everything on on these ‘factual’ channels might be as ethical or even as accurate as you might think, and the implications for conservation could be profound.

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Britain Tries (Again) to Re-Introduce Extinct Bees

4 Jun

by John R. Platt / Scientific American

Short-haired bee. Photo by Nikki Gammans, courtesy RSPB

Short-haired bee. Photo by Nikki Gammans, courtesy RSPB

Long live the queens. A species of bumblebee that went extinct in its native Britain decades ago now has a second chance, as several short-haired bumblebees (Bombus subterraneus) were released June 3 in a restored habitat on the southeastern corner of England. This is the third phase in a multi-step effort to both bring back the species and teach the public about the value of the U.K.’s declining bees, some species of which have decreased by 80 percent or more in recent years.

Short-haired bumblebees, like many other British bee species, started losing habitat after World War II. Massive increases in industrial agriculture during the 1950s and ’60s wiped out 97 percent of England’s wildflowers, which the bees depended on. Increased pesticide use also took a deadly toll. Short-haired bumblebees were last seen in the U.K. in 1988 and were declared extinct in 2000. Most of the U.K.’s other bee species suffered great losses at this time as well. Continue reading