Archive | Animals

City Folk: 'My Dog is Like a Child to Me'

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Aug. 18 (UPI) — People with city backgrounds tend to see their pets as family members while those with rural backgrounds tend to see pets as animals, U.S. researchers say.

“Which makes sense given the utilitarian relationships people in rural areas are more likely to have with a range of different animals — from farm to wild animals,” David Blouin of Indiana University South Bend says in a statement. “People who think of their pets as their children often re-evaluate this thought when they have human children of their own.”

Whether the pet was seen as a child, a companion or just another animal, albeit a useful one, affected the frequency of owner-pet interactions and veterinarian visits, Blouin says.

Veterinarians were visited at least yearly by 93 percent of dog owners and 77 percent of cat owners, and pet owners spent 2 or more hours daily were with their pet by 81 percent of dog owners and 67 percent of cat owners, the study finds.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

City Folk: 'My Dog is Like a Child to Me'

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Aug. 18 (UPI) — People with city backgrounds tend to see their pets as family members while those with rural backgrounds tend to see pets as animals, U.S. researchers say.

“Which makes sense given the utilitarian relationships people in rural areas are more likely to have with a range of different animals — from farm to wild animals,” David Blouin of Indiana University South Bend says in a statement. “People who think of their pets as their children often re-evaluate this thought when they have human children of their own.”

Whether the pet was seen as a child, a companion or just another animal, albeit a useful one, affected the frequency of owner-pet interactions and veterinarian visits, Blouin says.

Veterinarians were visited at least yearly by 93 percent of dog owners and 77 percent of cat owners, and pet owners spent 2 or more hours daily were with their pet by 81 percent of dog owners and 67 percent of cat owners, the study finds.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

Study: Ancient Turtles Victims of Humans?

SYDNEY, Aug. 16 (UPI) — A species of giant ancient turtle outlived most of the outsized, extinct animals known as megafauna — until humans came along, Australian researchers say.

A discovery of turtle leg bones — but not shells or skulls — suggests humans helped drive the giant turtles to extinction almost 3,000 years ago, the BBC reported Monday.

The bones found on the island of Vanuatu date to just 200 years after humans’ arrival, suggesting they were hunted to extinction for their meat but lived much longer than other megafauna like wooly mammoths.

Most Australian megafauna species are thought to have died out almost 50,000 years ago but the giant turtles were still around when a people known as the Lapita arrived in the area — evidently with an appetite for turtle meat.

A research team led by Professor Matthew Spriggs of the University of New South Wales discovered a graveyard full of bones on a site on the island of Efate that was known to be home to a Lapita settlement.

The turtles, of a never-before-seen species in the genus Meiolania, were over 8 feet in length.

Bones found by researchers were overwhelmingly from the creatures’ legs, their only fleshy and edible part, strongly suggesting humans’ role in the animals eventual extinction.

“It’s a really lovely example — you have this amazing beast that’s been around for tens of millions of years surviving as a relic population on this island. Then these people arrived and they basically disappear in a couple of hundred years,” Professor Chris Turney of the University of Exeter in Britain said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

Asian Taste for Soup Endangers Sharks

CAIRO, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Egypt says six Yemeni fishing boats captured in its waters might have escaped notice but for their cargo — 20 tons of dead sharks, caught just for their fins.

Shark fishing is big business, with up to 73 million sharks killed each year to feed a global taste for shark fin soup that threatens to drive the animals into extinction, Inter Press Service reported Monday.

“The capture of these boats provided more evidence that a commercial shark fishery is operating in the Red Sea,” Amr Ali, managing director of an Egyptian environmental group said. “These boats don’t have normal gear for catching fish — they’re only after sharks.”

Shark meat is high in uric acid and almost worthless, but the fins are in demand as the main ingredient in the soup, a delicacy in Asia that can bring more than $100 a bowl in Hong Kong, the report said.

“In the last 25-30 years with wealth growing in China, demand has grown for shark fin soup,” says Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation, “and with no limits on the number (of sharks) that can be caught, this has led to a dynamic in which 30 percent of the world’s shark species are threatened.”

Fishermen usually cut all the fins off the live shark and throw it back into the sea to die. The fins are then dried or frozen and shipped to East Asian markets, the report said.

Marine conservation groups consider the practice, called “finning,” cruel and wasteful.

“Without its fins, the shark is left to either suffocate or bleed to death,” Elizabeth Wilson of Washington-based Oceana says. “It is similar to the ivory trade in that the animals are targeted for a single body part that is sold at very high prices on the international market…and this trade is decimating wildlife populations.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Conservation, Fish, Other0 Comments

Sponge Genome Could Give Cancer Clues

BERKELY, Calif., Aug. 4 (UPI) — Scientists say the gene sequence of sponges, the simplest and most ancient of animals, could provide clues to how multi-cell animals — and cancer — developed.

University of California, Berkeley, researchers say the common ancestor of sponges and humans — in fact of all animals — lived 600 million years ago, and a sponge-like creature may have been the first organism with more than one cell type and the ability to develop by repeatedly dividing the one cell created by the merger of egg and sperm cells, a university release said Wednesday.

“Our hypothesis is that multicellularity and cancer are two sides of the same coin,” Daniel Rokhsar, a professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley said.

“If you are a cell in a multicellular organism, you have to cooperate with other cells in your body, making sure that you divide when you are supposed to as part of the team,” he said. “The genes that regulate this cooperation are also the ones whose disruption can cause cells to behave selfishly and grow in uncontrolled ways to the detriment of the organism.”

Rokhsar’s team looked in the sponge genome for more than 100 genes that have been implicated in human cancers and found about 90 percent of them.

Future research may show what roles these genes play in endowing sponge cells with team spirit — or with destructive, out-of-control growth.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

Study: Imitation Important to Learning

VIENNA, July 30 (UPI) — Dogs automatically imitate the body movements of their owners, and such imitation is also a crucial part of social learning in humans, Austrian researchers say.

The phenomenon, where the sight of another’s body movements causes the observer to move in the same way, is seen in many other animals and may provide clues to how this kind of “imitative” learning evolved, the BBC reported Friday.

Researchers at the University of Vienna say the way children interact with and play with their dogs shapes the animals’ ability to imitate.

“It’s not a spontaneous thing,” Dr Friederike Range said. “The dogs needed a lot of training to learn it.”

In the study, dogs were rewarded if they successfully imitated a human’s simple task, such as opening a door with a hand, which the dogs had to learn to imitate using their paws.

Because dogs have a very different body shapes than people, they had to interpret and then imitate what they saw, Range said.

“This type of learning has obvious evolutionary advantages for animals,” Range said. “They can learn about certain aspects of life without having to learn by trial and error, which always comes with some risk.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

Rabid Bats Found in Orange County, Calif.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., July 28 (UPI) — Officials in Orange County, Calif., are urging residents who may have encountered two bats that tested positive for rabies to seek immediate medical help.

Two bats spotted Monday in Newport Beach during the afternoon have tested positive for the deadly disease, and health officials are warning locals to be especially aware of the animals, as bat bites often go undetected because the animals’ teeth are so small, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The bats were seen before 3 p.m. Monday near the Bank of America branch at 2680 N. Tustin Ave., and again before 6 p.m. near the bike trail at University Drive and Jamboree Road, the Times said.

Officials recommend washing any animal bite wounds immediately before seeking medical attention.

Anyone who may have been exposed to the bats should call the Orange County Health Care Agency at (714) 834-8180.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

Monitoring Diabetes in Patients and Pets

COLUMBIA, Mo., July 26 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say a diabetes monitoring device reduces the stress of obtaining multiple blood samples from patients — whether human or animal.

Charles Wiedmeyer of Missouri University College of Veterinary Medicine says a continuous glucose monitoring device — commonly used in humans with diabetes — is being used to help treat dogs and other animals, as well. The device provides a detailed glucose picture over several days help pets as well as people manage diabetes.

“Our research has found that continuous glucose monitoring devices can be used in dogs, cats, cows and horses,” Wiedmeyer says in a statement. “Use of this system alleviated the need for multiple blood samples. It also reduces the stress associated with obtaining those samples. This system may provide greater monitoring capabilities in animals with diabetes and promote the diagnostic and research potential of glucose monitoring in veterinary patients.”

The device — produced by Medtronic — sits under the skin between the shoulder blades in an animal and records blood glucose data every 5 minutes. Monitoring the blood glucose levels can help veterinarians determine the proper dosage of insulin and how diet is affecting the animal’s diabetes.

“Dogs with diabetes are similar to children with diabetes,” Wiedmeyer says. “Both rely on caregivers to manage their disease. Both have little control over their diet or when they receive insulin.”

Wiedmeyer presented his findings at the Friends for Life: International Children with Diabetes Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

African Livestock Under Genetic Threat

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 21 (UPI) — A rapid loss of genetic diversity in native African livestock could create a threat to the continent’s food supply, experts say.

The genetic diversity that maintains drought- and disease-resistant animals providing food and income to 70 percent of rural Africans is being lost at an alarming rate, a release by the International Livestock Research Institute said Tuesday.

Efforts must be made to identify and preserve the unique traits of the continent’s rich array of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs developed over several millennia but now under siege, the ILRI said.

The loss of livestock diversity in Africa is part of a global “livestock meltdown,” the institute said.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, some 20 percent of the world’s 7,616 livestock breeds are now viewed as at risk.

“Africa’s livestock are among the most resilient in the world yet we are seeing the genetic diversity of many breeds being either diluted or lost entirely,” Abdou Fall, leader of ILRI’s livestock diversity project for West Africa, said.

Cross-breeding with “exotic” breeds imported from Europe, Asia and the Americas is a major problem, ILRI officials said.

“What we see too often is an effort to improve livestock productivity on African farms by supplanting indigenous breeds with imported animals that over the long term will prove a poor match for local conditions and require a level of attention that is simply too costly for most smallholder farmers,” Carlos Sere, ILRI’s director general, said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Drought, Other0 Comments

Scientist: 'Nurturing' Drove Evolution

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., July 20 (UPI) — Our nurturing of other species — cats, dogs and the like — may have played a crucial role in our own human evolution, a U.S. scientist says.

Pat Shipman of Pennsylvania State University argues man’s relationship with animals goes well beyond simple affection, and that “the animal connection” played an important and beneficial role in 2.6 million years of evolution, a university release said Tuesday.

“Establishing an intimate connection to other animals is unique and universal to our species,” Shipman, a biological anthropologist, said.

“Every mouthful you feed to another species is one that your own children do not eat. On the face of it, caring for another species is maladaptive, so why do we humans do this?”

Shipman argues the connection resulted from the invention of stone tools 2.6 million years ago.

“Having sharp tools transformed wimpy human ancestors into effective predators,” Shipman said, and that knowing your prey — observing animal behavior — was vital to hunting success.

Detailed information about animals became so advantageous that our ancestors began to nurture wild animals, which led to domestication and the “animal connection,” she suggests.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animals, Other0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement