Romans Want to Get Rid of Wild Boars, but Killing Them? That’s Another Matter

The euthanizing of a boar and her six piglets on a playground near the Vatican has aroused fury in Rome, a city that has long complained about the often aggressive animals.

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animals, #hunting-and-trapping, #italy, #pigs, #raggi-virginia-1978, #roads-and-traffic, #rome-italy

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Scientists Synthesize Jawbones From Pig Fat

The bones are among the hardest to replace in the body. A trial of the new technique in humans is about to begin.

#animals, #bones, #clinical-trials, #columbia-university, #fat-tissue, #jaw-body-part, #liposuction, #pigs, #prostheses, #science-translational-medicine-journal, #stem-cells, #vunjak-novakovic-gordana

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Battle Over Mink Fur Almost Brings Down the Polish Government

Legislation to ban mink farming cracked the governing coalition, forcing the country’s most powerful politician to assume formal office and exposing a struggle for control of Polish conservatism.

#agriculture-and-farming, #animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animals, #duda-andrzej-1972, #european-union, #fur, #law-and-justice-poland, #minks-animals, #morawiecki-mateusz, #poland, #politics-and-government, #radio-maryja, #ziobro-zbigniew

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Here are the Best Animal Livestreams

Research shows that watching footage of them can make you happier, so here’s a list of round-the-clock camera footage that will bring koalas, penguins and puppies straight to your screen.

#animals, #aquariums, #bears, #computers-and-the-internet, #dogs, #elephants, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #monkeys-and-apes, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #san-diego-zoo, #smithsonian-national-zoological-park, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #wildlife-sanctuaries-and-nature-reserves, #zoos

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How Oregonians Survived the Fires

What do you do when your world is burning? In mundane and harrowing ways, you figure out how to survive.

#air-pollution, #animals, #oregon, #wildfires

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Cheating in Utah Fishing Contest Results in Two Felony Convictions

Two men pleaded guilty to tampering to influence a contest, a third-degree felony, almost two years after the state started investigating where they caught their fish.

#animals, #bass-fish, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #fishing-sport, #lake-powell-utah-ariz, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching

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Bringing the Ocean’s Midnight Zone Into the Light

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has learned how to raise the deepest sea life to the surface and keep it alive for display.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #aquariums, #california, #california-academy-of-sciences, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #monterey-bay-calif, #monterey-bay-aquarium, #monterey-bay-aquarium-research-institute, #oceans-and-seas, #submarines-and-submersibles, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

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Are Exotic Skins Out of Fashion?

Covid-19 may be the tipping point when it comes to crocodile, python, ostrich, and clothes.

#agriculture-and-farming, #alligators, #animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animals, #biodiversity, #convention-on-international-trade-in-endangered-species, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #fashion-and-apparel, #fur, #kering-sa, #luxury-goods-and-services, #lvmh-moet-hennessy-louis-vuitton-sa, #minks-animals, #people-for-the-ethical-treatment-of-animals, #phillips-van-heusen-corporation, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #reptiles, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching, #your-feed-fashion

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Doctor Dolittle’s Talking Animals Still Have Much to Say

The children’s series is 100 years old this year. Its author, Hugh Lofting, was flawed — the original books contained racist ideas. Yet his animals continue to delight.

#animals, #books-and-literature, #children-and-childhood, #doctor-dolittle, #lofting-hugh, #the-story-of-doctor-dolittle-book

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I’m Not Alone. I Have My Cats.

The star of this short documentary calls himself ‘Catman.’

#animals, #austria, #breeding-of-animals, #cats, #documentary-films-and-programs, #loneliness, #pets, #switzerland

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‘Fixing the Damage We’ve Done’: Rewilding Jaguars in Argentina

Bringing back the top predator to Argentina’s wetlands could restore the health of an entire ecosystem. But inducing five felines with troubled pasts to hunt, and mate, is not easy.

#amazon-jungle, #animals, #argentina, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #jaguars, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #south-america, #tompkins-douglas-1943, #wetlands

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Bison Are On the Run After 125 Escape a Nebraska Feedlot

So many people have been chasing the 50 stragglers that the animals got spooked and split off into singles and pairs, complicating efforts to catch them, a sheriff said.

#animals, #bison, #cattle, #livestock, #nebraska, #traffic-accidents-and-safety

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Coronavirus creeps into US mink farms, “unusually larger numbers” dead

A mink puts his paw on his cage.

Enlarge / Coronavirus has swept through mink farms in Europe. (credit: Getty | Viktor Drachev)

The pandemic coronavirus has made its way onto two mink farms in Utah, leading to “unusually large numbers” of dead animals, according to a Tuesday announcement by the US Department of Agriculture.

These are the first reported cases of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, infecting mink in the country. For months, authorities in European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain, have reported outbreaks in mink pelt farms, leading to the culling of more than a million of the soft, furry mammals. From laboratory experiments, it’s also clear that ferrets, a relative of minks, are also readily infected with the novel coronavirus.

The affected farms in Utah reported cases of COVID-19 in people working on the farms, who may have spread the infection to the animals.

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#animals, #covid-19, #farms, #mink, #outbreaks, #sars-cov-2, #science, #usda, #zoonotic-disease

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Study confirms that painting eyes on cow butts helps ward off predators

Eyes painted on cattle rumps trick lions into thinking they have lost the element of surprise, a new study suggests.

Enlarge / Eyes painted on cattle rumps trick lions into thinking they have lost the element of surprise, a new study suggests. (credit: Ben Yexley)

Cattle herds in the Okavango delta region in Botswana are plagued by attacks by lions and other predators, prompting farmers to retaliate by killing the predators. An alternative nonlethal technique involves painting eyes on the butts of cattle to trick ambush predators like lions into thinking they’ve been spotted by their intended prey. It’s called the “Eye-Cow Project,” and a recent paper published in the journal Communications Biology provides some solid empirical evidence for the practice. There are now practical guides for using the “eye-cow” technique available in both English and Setswana, so farmers can try it out for themselves.

Neil Jordan, a conservation biologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, came up with the idea several years ago while he was doing field work in Botswana. Local farmers killed a pair of lionesses in retaliation for preying on their herds of cattle, and Jordan wanted to come up with a non-lethal alternative. The African lion population has dropped significantly from more than 100,000 in the 1990s to somewhere between 23,000 and 39,000 in 2016—much of it due to retaliation killings.

Jordan knew that butterfly wings sporting eye-like patterns are known to ward off preying birds, and are also found in certain fish, mollusks, amphibians and birds, although such patterns had not been observed in mammals. He also discovered that woodcutters in Indian forests have been known to wear masks on the backs of their heads to discourage any tigers hunting for prey. He had observed a lion stalking an impala, and noticed the predator gave up the chase when the prey spotted it. Lions are ambush hunters, Jordan reasoned, and decided to test his “detection hypothesis” that painting eyes on the butts of cows would discourage predatory behavior from the local lion population.

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#animals, #biology, #botswana, #ecology, #eye-cow, #predator-prey-dynamics, #science

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Coronavirus Strikes Mink in Utah

Five animals on two farms test positive, but many more are believed to be affected.

#agriculture-and-farming, #agriculture-department, #animals, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #europe, #humane-society-of-the-united-states, #minks-animals, #netherlands, #utah

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She Doesn’t Make Animals Cry, but She Collects Their Tears

By studying the numerous ways animals keep their eyes wet and healthy, scientists hope to help address human vision problems.

#animals, #birds, #crying, #evolution-biology, #eyes-and-eyesight, #frontiers-in-veterinary-science, #reptiles, #research, #turtles-and-tortoises, #veterinary-medicine, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

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How to Move Your Elephant During a Pandemic

After decades in captivity and a 1,700-mile road trip from Argentina into Brazil, an Asian elephant named Mara finally gained a chance to roam.

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animal-behavior, #animals, #argentina, #brazil, #buenos-aires-argentina, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #elephants, #photography, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-photojournalism, #your-feed-science, #zoos

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The Lightness of Being a Couch Potato May Work to Keep Us Fat

Sitting may confuse cellular sensors into thinking we are lighter than we are, prompting the body to put on weight.

#animals, #bones, #exercise, #obesity, #rodents, #weight

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Where the Wild Things Play

The animal world is full of games. And tucked in among wrestling monkeys, belligerent birds and wily coyotes are lessons for us all.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #dolphins-and-porpoises, #parenting-play-package

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Scientists unlocked the secret of how these ultra-black fish absorb light

One specimen of the ultra-black fish species <em>Anoplogaster cornuta</em>. A unique arrangement of pigment-packed granules enables some fish to absorb nearly all of the light that hits their skin, so that as little as 0.05 percent of that light is reflected back.

Enlarge / One specimen of the ultra-black fish species Anoplogaster cornuta. A unique arrangement of pigment-packed granules enables some fish to absorb nearly all of the light that hits their skin, so that as little as 0.05 percent of that light is reflected back. (credit: Karen Osborn/Smithsonian)

In the darkest depths of the ocean, where little to no light from the surface penetrates, an unusual array of creatures thrives, many of which create their own light via bioluminescence to hunt for prey, among other uses. But there are also several species of fish that have evolved the opposite survival strategy: they are ultra-black, absorbing nearly all light that strikes their skin, according to a new paper in Current Biology.

Karen Osborn of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History became intrigued by the creatures upon finding she was unable to capture these ultrablack fish on camera while working in the field, trying to photograph specimens caught in the team’s deep-sea trawl nets.  “Two specimens, the Anoplogaster cornuta and the Idiacanthus antrostomus, were the only two fish over the course of six years of field work that I was able to get decent photographs of,” Osborn told Ars.

To do so, she used a Canon Mark II DSL R body and 65 mm macro lens with four strobes, then tested various lighting setups by taking lots and lots of photographs. Finally, she adjusted contrast and applied a high pass filter uniformly across the images, the better to bring out the details.  It still wasn’t sufficient to capture most of the specimens caught in the trawl net. “Over the years I deleted thousands of failed shots of other fish as useless because I couldn’t bring out the details in the photos,” she added. “It didn’t matter how you set up the camera or lighting—they just sucked up all the light. I wish I had a few of them now to illustrate this.”

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#animal-coloration, #animals, #biology, #deep-sea-creatures, #fish, #physics, #science

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How Ultra-Black Fish Disappear in the Deepest Seas

Researchers have found fish that absorb more than 99.9 percent of the light that hits their skin.

#animals, #biology-and-biochemistry, #color, #current-biology-journal, #evolution-biology, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #research, #your-feed-animals

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How Exercise May Bolster the Brain

Exercise prompts the liver to pump out a little-known protein that appears to rejuvenates the brain, a new study found.

#animal-cognition, #animals, #brain, #elderly, #exercise, #mice, #rodents, #science-journal

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How Koalas With an S.T.D. Could Help Humanity

When it comes to finding a vaccine for chlamydia, the world’s most popular sexually transmitted infection, koalas may prove a key ally.

#animals, #antibiotics, #bacteria, #chlamydia, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #koalas, #queensland-australia, #sexually-transmitted-diseases, #vaccination-and-immunization, #veterinary-medicine, #your-feed-science

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This Ancient Sea Creature Builds Its Body With a Whisper, Not a Scream

Unlike vertebrate embryo cells, which signal to each other over long distances, sea squirt embryo cells talk only to those they’re closest to.

#animals, #biology-and-biochemistry, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #reproduction-biological, #research, #science-journal, #sea-squirts

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Elk Return to Kentucky, Bringing Economic Life

After a concerted reintroduction effort two decades ago, the state is now home to the largest population of elk east of the Mississippi. The animals’ home: reclaimed coal mines.

#animals, #appalachian-region, #coal, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #hunting-and-trapping, #kentucky, #land-use-policies, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #patton-paul-e, #your-feed-science

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In Fight to Ban Dog Meat, China’s Activists Find an Ally: The Coronavirus

A fast-growing network of activists sees the pandemic as an opportunity to push legislation that bans the consumption of dog and cat meats.

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animals, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dogs, #meat, #politics-and-government, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching

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The Pets Left Behind by Covid-19

The pandemic’s human toll in New York has been well documented. But what about the dogs and cats of those who become seriously ill?

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animal-care-centers-of-nyc, #animals, #cats, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dogs, #new-york-city, #pets

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The Return of the Platypuses

Rescued from Australia’s fires, a small fleet of wild platypuses is launched back into their wetland home and into an uncertain future.

#animals, #canberra-australia, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #platypus, #sydney-australia, #wildfires, #your-feed-science, #zoos

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With an Internet of Animals, Scientists Aim to Track and Save Wildlife

Using tiny sensors and equipment aboard the space station, a project called ICARUS seeks to revolutionize animal tracking.

#animal-behavior, #animal-migration, #animals, #biodiversity, #computers-and-the-internet, #conservation-of-resources, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #international-space-station, #mobile-applications, #poaching-wildlife, #research, #sensors, #space-and-astronomy, #wikelski-martin, #your-feed-science

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China Vowed to Keep Wildlife Off the Menu, a Tough Promise to Keep

The government has moved slowly to permanently stop the sale and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, raising fears the practice may continue.

#agriculture-and-farming, #animals, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #guangxi-china, #law-and-legislation, #poaching-wildlife, #politics-and-government, #rodents

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Mass Extinctions Are Accelerating, Scientists Report

Five hundred species are likely to become extinct over the next two decades, according to a new study.

#animals, #biodiversity, #ceballos-gerardo, #conservation-of-resources, #ehrlich-paul-r, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #international-union-for-conservation-of-nature, #missouri-botanical-garden, #national-autonomous-university, #population, #proceedings-of-the-national-academy-of-sciences, #your-feed-science

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Judge Gives Carole Baskin the Tiger King’s Zoo

The legal battle between Ms. Baskin, an animal-rights activist, and Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a former roadside zoo owner, played out for more than seven years and on a Netflix special.

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animals, #baskin-carole, #big-cat-rescue, #humane-society-of-the-united-states, #maldonado-passage-joseph, #netflix-inc, #tigers, #zoos

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The Coronavirus and a World Without Meat

If you care about the working poor, about racial justice, and about climate change, you have to stop eating animals.

#agriculture-and-farming, #animals, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #factory-farming, #foer-jonathan-safran, #grassley-charles-e, #meat, #meat-packers-and-butchers, #shutdowns-institutional, #trump-donald-j, #white-castle, #whole-foods-market-inc

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A New Viral Outbreak Is Killing Rabbits

This virus is deadly, long-lived and highly contagious, but it doesn’t affect people or other animals.

#agriculture-department, #animals, #arizona, #australia, #california, #canada, #colorado, #epidemics, #house-rabbit-society, #nevada, #new-mexico, #north-america, #rabbits, #texas, #veterinary-medicine, #your-feed-science

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How Watching Bald Eagles Build a Nest Prepared Me for the Pandemic

As the coronavirus forces many of us to conduct more of our lives online, nest cams reassure us that there can be value in parasocial companionship.

#animals, #birds, #california, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #eggs, #hummingbirds, #quarantines, #spiders

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Gecko’s soft hairy toes reorient to help it stick to different types of surfaces

Biologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics observed geckos running horizontally along walls to learn how they use their five toes to compensate for different types of surfaces.

The diminutive gecko is capable of some extraordinary feats of locomotion, zipping along vertical walls with ease and even running short distances across water. Precisely how they accomplish these feats has long interested scientists. A new paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports that geckos’ ability to reorient their flexible toes is a major factor, enabling them to realign and adjust to shifts in gravity (load). The work may one day help to improve the design of bio-inspired robots.

This work builds on a 2018 study from the laboratory of University of California, Berkeley biophysicist Robert Full. Geckos are known for being expert climbers, able to stick to any surface thanks to the tiny hair-like structures on the bottoms of their feet. The little lizards can also zip along the surface of water at high speeds to elude predators. They can’t do it for very long; the energy expenditure required is too great. But it’s amazing that they can do it at all.

As we reported in 2018, those creatures in nature capable of walking on water employ different mechanisms depending on their size. Small, lightweight water striders, for instance, rely entirely on surface tension to stay afloat, while the larger, heavier basilisk lizards employ a slapping motion with their feet that creates pockets of air bubbles to keep from sinking. The standard theoretical calculations set very strict boundaries for how small an animal has to be to use surface tension and how large it needs to be before the surface slapping mechanism is viable.

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#animals, #biology, #biomechanics, #biophysics, #geckos, #physics, #science

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How Not to Be a ‘Tiger King’

Please don’t steal the animals.

#animals, #social-media, #tiger-king-murder-mayhem-and-madness-tv-program

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A Shortage of Steak? Yes, and Ranchers Knew It Was Coming

The pandemic has laid bare the instability of the industrialized food chain.

#agriculture-and-farming, #animals, #cattle, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #epidemics, #food, #grass, #livestock, #sheep, #sioux-falls-sd, #south-dakota

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Pug in North Carolina Tests Positive for the Coronavirus, Researchers Say

A team at Duke University detected the virus in the dog this month.

#agriculture-department, #american-veterinary-medical-assn, #animals, #cats, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dogs, #duke-university, #pets, #research, #tests-medical, #veterinary-medicine

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Chicago Bans Horse-Drawn Carriages Starting in 2021

After the City Council’s vote on Friday, operators will be unable to renew their licenses and the city will stop issuing new ones.

#animal-abuse-rights-and-welfare, #animals, #carriages, #central-park-manhattan-ny, #chicago-ill, #horses, #humane-society-of-the-united-states, #people-for-the-ethical-treatment-of-animals, #politics-and-government

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The Sound of One Shrimp Snapping

How climate change is altering nature’s sonic landscape.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #australia, #birds, #drought, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #frogs, #global-warming, #krause-bernie, #nagelkerken-ivan, #oceans-and-seas, #puerto-rico, #reproduction-biological, #spring-season, #summer-season, #weather, #whales-and-whaling, #your-feed-science

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A 425-Pound Tiger Living in a Harlem Apartment? Yes, It Happened

Before “Tiger King,” there was New York’s infamous Tiger Man.

#animals, #antoine-yates, #public-and-subsidized-housing, #tigers, #true-crime

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Wildlife Collapse From Climate Change Is Predicted to Hit Suddenly and Sooner

Scientists found a “cliff edge” instead of the slippery slope they expected.

#animals, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #environment, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #oceans-and-seas

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Animals Are Rewilding Our Cities. On YouTube, at Least.

The videos of deer and elephants, whether or not they’re real, speak to a budding hope: that the pandemic might change society, and us, for the better.

#animals, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #urban-areas, #venice-italy, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

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Before You Adopt: Planning a Lifelong Commitment to Your Pet’s Health

Ask yourself these questions and think about these issues before you adopt. Your life — and that of your new pet — will be better for it.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #dogs, #pets, #veterinary-medicine

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Vampire bats bond by grooming first to build trust before sharing blood

A vampire bat in flight with spread wings. The creatures build strong social bonds through grooming, sharing blood.

Enlarge / A vampire bat in flight with spread wings. The creatures build strong social bonds through grooming, sharing blood. (credit: Samuel Betkowski/Getty Images)

Vampire bats can starve to death if they don’t feed for a mere three days, so strong social ties can be key to survival. For instance, a bat will sometimes share food with a hungry member of the same roost, regurgitating any blood it has consumed into the mouth of the hungry bat—a bit like a bloody French kiss. That’s a true “friend.” Evolutionary biologists have dubbed this behavior “reciprocal altruism.” But vampire bats can also form bonds with strange bats from outside the roost, building up trust with mutual grooming first before moving on to food sharing, according to a new paper in Current Biology.

What’s being tested here is a game theory model first proposed in 1998 colloquially known as “raise the stakes.” It’s similar to the famous prisoner’s dilemma, in which two criminal suspects are arrested and separately offered a deal. If one of them confesses and the other doesn’t, the defector will go free and the other suspect will get 20 years in jail. If both suspects confess, they will each get ten years in jail. The correct strategy, therefore, is to always confess, since one should assume the other party will act solely in his or her self-interest. Both players will reap the most benefit by cooperating with each other.

But cooperative behavior isn’t always quite so simple as a binary choice between cooperating or defecting; it’s more like a continuously variably investment. The “raise the stakes” model of relationships holds that two strangers can make low-risk, incremental investments to see if there is potential for further cooperation. If the other party reciprocates in kind, it builds trust and a relationship can form. If not, no relationship will develop, and nobody has spent too much time and energy on a worthless (from a survival standpoint) connection.

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#animal-behavior, #animals, #biology, #science, #social-bonding, #vampire-bats

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Coronavirus: Revenge of the Pangolins

China has banned the trade of wildlife, suspecting that exotic animals infected humans. What will that really do?

#animals, #chinese-food-cuisine, #convention-on-international-trade-in-endangered-species, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #meat, #national-peoples-congress-china, #pangolins, #poaching-wildlife, #politics-and-government, #smuggling

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