Wildlife and Exotics
While many assessments of amphibian species have examined their risk of extinction, this study analyzed the rate of change in the probability of amphibian occupancy in their habitats across the U.S. The study found an overall annual occupancy decline of 3.7% between 2002 to 2011. The authors warn that these findings indicate that the decrease in amphibian populations may be far more extensive than previously thought.
Primates housed in zoos are prone to stereotypic behaviors such as pacing and hair-pulling, which can arise when their ability to engage in natural behaviors is restricted. This article examines how 24 different species of primates are impacted by the captive conditions of zoos. The findings indicate that large-group and wide-ranging primates are more likely to experience distress in captivity. The results also showed that 75% of the species under study engaged in hair-pulling and 50% engaged in pacing.
Findings coming out of this article suggest that monkeys are able to distinguish between humans who pose a threat and those who do not. This study with wild monkeys in a national park in Ecuador presented the primates with humans engaged in three types of behavior (gathering, hunting, and researching). The results showed that monkeys had the strongest response to humans who posed as hunters. A finding such as this that adds to the understanding of how animals can serve as their own advocates is an interesting one for animal protectionists to consider.
A Veterinary and Behavioral Analysis of Dolphin Killing Methods Currently Used in the “Drive Hunt” in Taiji, JapanSubmitted on Apr 26, 2013 (Original item from 2013) General Animal Protection | Wildlife and Exotics
A newer method of dolphin slaughter where the spinal cord is severed with a metal rod is in use in Japan, where it is purported to bring about a quick death. In this study, video footage was analyzed of dolphins being killed by this procedure in “drive hunts” in Japanese waters. It was found that the length of time it took animals on the video to die was not at all consistent with a previously published account. As a result of this and other findings, the authors conclude that this approach does not conform to recognized welfare requirements. During the article, the authors provide detailed commentary on the killing process and offer insights into the resultant implications for animal welfare.
As humans, we frequently socially evaluate individuals not only during our interactions with them, but also by witnessing their interactions with others. This study looked at how a specific species of monkeys evaluates humans after witnessing their either helpful or unhelpful third-party interactions. The findings showed that monkeys were less likely to accept food from individuals who they witnessed continually refusing to offer help to others.
This study looked at the risk of collisions between ships and several species of whales off the coast of Southern California. Based on the study’s findings, the authors advocate spreading traffic between an existing shipping route in the Santa Barbara Channel and a proposed route south of the northern Channel Islands to reduce the ship-strike risk for humpback and fin whales. They concluded however that measures to concentrate shipping traffic in the routes under study would not be helpful for blue whales—a species whose risk of ship collisions is thought to be greater than that allowed under U.S. law.
This study examined attitudes towards three unpopular animals (mice, snails, and woodlice) in a group of youth. One group was exposed to animals from these three species, while the other was not. At the conclusion of the study, the youth who had hands-on contact in the classroom reported far fewer feelings of disgust and fear in relation to these animals than the control group. The idea that perceptions of animals can be positively shaped by physical contact is an interesting one for advocates to consider as they seek to improve the plight of so-called pests, while also avoiding situations where humans interact with these animals in an exploitive way.
In the face of negative impacts of human land use, some conservationists have looked to physical separations such as fences to help foster human-carnivore coexistence, while others have opted for landscape-level approaches that leave these big cats unfenced. In this study, the authors looked for trends in African lion populations in 11 countries. They determined that populations in fenced reserves are notably closer to their target densities than their unfenced counterparts, and as a result the latter are at considerable risk.
Certain risks come with giving domestic cats free range of the outdoors, including threats to their wellbeing as well as that of billions of small wild animals. This study looks at the safety of one approach to this issue—cat collars with ID tags and predation deterrent devices—which some guardians shy away from due to fears they are hazardous for their companions. Data analyzed from a number of sources indicates that cat injuries and deaths attributed to collars are infrequent.
This study speaks to the highly threatened nature of the African forest elephant. The authors quantified a serious downturn in their population by undertaking a broad review of survey data from nine years of observational field research in five countries. This pointed to what the authors refer to as a widespread and catastrophic decline in the African forest elephant population (down 62%), much of which they say can be tied to poaching and the trade in ivory. The authors also reference a number of contributing issues and call for effective multi-level action.
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