Beanie, a nine-month old albino wallaby in a UK theme park, has undergone a cataract operation to restore his sight. It's the first time this surgery's been attempted on a wallaby.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals wants to see the unedited footage from Survivor where one of the contestants killed a wild pig to see if it constitutes cruelty to animals. Since I don't watch Survivor, I can't form an opinion on this one... did anyone see it? Any comments?
I certainly wasn't expecting to see this after my last post about the injured right whale, one of only 300 right whales remaining... but apparently scientists are going to go after him again, this time with a different sedative to see if they can untangle him. I wish them the best success, and will keep an eye out for more news about their venture. Also on the ocean-front, New Scientist reports that there are fish that try to apologize to other fish by petting them with their fins.
Yahoo had an interesting article on what seals use their whiskers for. Not all decoration, it seems. And off the Animal Planet site, a rather amazing story (bordering on News of the Weird) about a human woman who saved a couple of panda cubs with spare milk.
CNN has this interesting article, Wily coyote outgunned by bigger canine cousin, about how coyote populations in Yellowstone National Park have been affected since the reintroduction of gray wolves in 1995. Coyote populations have been decreasing due to competition from the wolves, but naturalists are not concerned, seeing it as restoring the natural balance between these two predators, noting that the coyote population probably increased when wolves were eliminated from the park in the 1930s.
There's definitely something bizarre about being attacked by a komodo dragon. Fortunately, the man who got bitten had a good sense of humor about it. Read about the incident, and then for laughs check out Salon's interview with the dragon in question.
Some of you might remember a post I found off New Scientist a while back about rescuers attempting to free a male right whale, one of the few left in the wild. Unfortunately, their attempts didn't work and now they're hoping the whale will be able to free himself. This has to be one of the more frustrating times to be a scientist... being unable to save a creature so rare there are only 300 left, and giving it up to fate. You can read more about it at Salon. On a more upbeat note, cows also enjoy music, though they prefer ballads to hardcore rock and roll.
The NY Times reports an entrepreneur in upstate New York wants to engineer a cat without the protein that causes allergic reactions in 60 to 90 percent of sensitive people. He plans to sell sterilized animals for up to $1000. (Free registration required to access that site.)
Some random animal news now: NOAA embarks on a mission to rescue an injured right whale despite the weather and difficulties involved; and two lynx kittens found in a clear cut forest in Maine. The latter article is especially interesting in its mention of how humans can plan how they're going to use the resources of nature in such a way that it can actually provide more opportunities for wildlife than would have occurred naturally. This is similar to the premise of a book I finished reading by a naturalist, Eco-Geography (link to Amazon). Worth the read for those of you interested in sustainable living in a way that neither insists that all human life is inimical to the pristine and perfect natural world nor assumes that we're hell-bent on destroying everything in our selfish quest for material wealth.
No, I'm not making it up. A computer game company has decided that pets are an undertargeted niche market and has written a game for housecats to play. I suppose I should buy stock in online catnip sales as the web will be next...
Excepted from http://www.animationblast.com/news/
In the latest issue of CREATIVE SCREENWRITING, there is an interview with Tab Murphy, the sole credited screenwriter of Disney's upcoming ATLANTIS, and a writer on HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and TARZAN. (...) For those curious about Murphy's next animation project, he's developing an animated feature for DreamWorks called WOLVES.
I did my scan of mentions of animation films in development but didn't find this one anywhere so it must be EARLY in the cycle.
I heard a story about this on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" yesterday. Here's some information on the project.
These are working elephants, who had been used in Thailand's forestry and construction industry. The use of elephants in these activities has steadily declined over the years, putting both the animals and the people who made their living training and caring for them in jeopardy. Someone came up with an idea to see if elephants would paint. Apparently only about one in four elephants care to. Whether what they produce is really art or not is subject to much debate.
The website again is: http://www.biotrails.com/elephant/art.htm
New Scientist had an interesting article on the possible evolution of sharper hearing being due to the small size of ancient mammals. Includes a photograph of a recently unearthed skull that's really amazing to look at. Check it out.
This article at CNN is a neat read. Evidentally, last Thursday, May 3rd, the National Zoo welcomed the one millionth visitor to their new giant panda exhibit. Some intriguing facts are peppered throughout the article, including just how we convinced China to loan us the pandas. I, for one, didn't even know it was a loan...