May 2009

Lizard Sex

While claiming to have a headache is the stereotypical method for the human female to avoid having intercourse with her partner, the Lake Eyre dragon lizard has her own (and possibly more effective) methods of getting out of her "wifely duties". From here:

"When Lake Eyre lizards copulate, the male bites the female's neck, climbs on top of her, wraps his tail around hers and inserts one of his two penises."

Sounds kind of like human copulation so far. Well, with the exception of the two penis thing. That would definitely change things....but for the female lizard, the bites on the neck are less like the hickeys you may remember from your teenage years and more like a predatory animal attacking you.

Misplaced Outrage over tiger attack settlement

The Dhaliwal brothers of San Jose California will split $900K from the San Francisco Zoo and City of San Francisco after their friend was killed by a tiger at the SF Zoo. The brothers were accused of being drunk and taunting the tiger, causing it to escape its pen and attack and kill their friend. Tatiana the tiger was shot and killed by police. The Zoo hired an aggressive PR man who tried to turn the tables on the kids by making them the scapegoat. Now people are outraged that these "derelicts" are getting paid while a tiger was shot to death. The problem here is not whether these two boys were drunk or stoned or even whether they taunted the tiger. The point is, A TIGER ESCAPED FROM ITS ENCLOSURE. This is a 1,000-pound killing machine that brings down full-grown water buffalo in the wild. If it can escape because some kid insulted its mama, then something is wrong with the zoo's enclosure. Anyone who thinks these kids are to blame is not looking at the facts.

Rough week for animals in the news

White Tiger attack

In New Zealand a white tiger attacked and killed a zoo keeper at the Zion Wildlife Gardens near Auckland. Apparently two zoo keepers were in the cage cleaning when the large cat attacked one of the keepers. The other keeper and more staff tried to pull the cat off but it was to no avail as the keeper later died from injuries. A group of tourists was watching the cat when it attacked. In keeping with some sort of barbaric us vs. the animals theme, the zoo killed the wild predator that it had caged for the bulk of its life. Seems cruel to keep one of Earths most raw killing machines in a cage, sending men in, then killing it when it does what comes natural. I suppose it couldn't survive on its own in the wild, plus with like 300 left, who cares about one more dead tiger, right? To top it off, local agencies had already shined the media light on the zoo for cramped and unsanitary conditions. Good job Zion Wildlife Gardens.

California K-9 Officer dies in backseat of warm SUV.

Say No to Bullfighting

Bullfighting is a traditional sport that is beloved by many people across the world from France to Argentina. Man versus bull contests exist across the globe and throughout history in various forms, few are as gory as the Spanish-style corrida. The public spectacle is essentially a ritualistic killing of the bulls. The actual fight is broken down into three charming sections. First, the bullfighter comes out with the well known cape and dances a bit with the bull to test its ferocity and strength, then the fighter goes away and the Picador enters the ring on horseback to draw first blood from the bull with his lance. Once the bull is bleeding and enraged, the torero again enters the ring. This time he uses the colorful spears called 'banderillas' to further wound the bull by sticking five or six of these sharpened, barbed spears into the bull's neck, causing further bleeding. The final round, called the Third of Death (as the third and final stage) begins when the torero again enters the ring, this time armed with a sword.

The Pleasures of Being an Animal

It seems humans aren't the only species that like to eat things because of taste rather than nutrition, and would prefer to play than work.  A recent study published in Applied Animal Behavior Science has shown that many types of animals like to have a good time when it comes to food, playing, touch and sex.

The study revealed that humans aren't alone in pursuing certain activities purely for pleasure, with no direct survival goals, and also highlight that many of our so called 'guilty pleasure' are natural tendencies which we share with the rest of the animal kingdom, whether they are healthy or not.  Comfort eating, for example, is one such pleasure which may not be limited to the human race, as many animals eat for pure enjoyment, and will usually opt for foods that they prefer the taste of, rather than foods which offer a higher amount of nutrition.

Say No to Shark Finning

If humans were sharks, I wonder which part of us would be sliced off and used for soup-our ears, or an arm, maybe? It doesn't really matter; after it would be chopped off our skin, we'd just be thrown back into the water to survive without it.

That's exactly what fisherman do to sharks in the process of "finning." Finning involves slicing off a shark's fin--to use in a soup, of all things, because we all know that soup is important enough to condone amputating living creatures and using their appendages a nice, hot meal alongside a grilled cheese--and then tossing the finless shark back into the sea.

These fins are then used as an Asian delicacy, "shark fin soup," which sounds about as appetizing as monkey butt on a stick. The fin doesn't even have flavor on its own-it actually floats along in a bowl of chicken broth to make the soup look fancy. Chicken and shark-sounds like a Colonel Sanders special from hell.

Drought in Mali Threatens Elephants

Elephants in the African nation of Mali are sadly dying because of the worst drought in 26 years.  The scorching heat not only means that there is no water,  but that vegetation is dying and causing a shortage of food.  The severe heat is also a risk to younger elephants whose bodies cannot cope.

Some baby elephants have been so desperately searching for water that they have lowered their trunks too far into wells and fallen in. The elephants then become trapped, and the distressed parents are unable to help them out.

Knock knock

In Tampa, Florida, seeing an alligator isn’t really that uncommon as they are all over the place, but to have one of the 11-foot beasts hanging around your front door is a little unnerving.
Belinda Donaldson, who lives in a Tampa suburb, recently found out a huge gator was resting on her front porch after a neighbor phoned her and warned her not to open her front door!
She didn’t really believe what she heard until she peeked out the window and saw the 500 lb. giant lying around like a porch ornament.
Donaldson phoned animal control officers to have an alligator wrangler come out and handle matters.

Unnecessary Pig Slaughter in Egypt

Although the country hadn’t suffered any reported cases of swine flu, Egypt started to slaughter the approximate 300,000 to 350,000 pigs in the nation on April 29th for precautionary reasons. Egyptian Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly told reporters that he met with President Hosni Mubarak and it was decided the pigs should immediately be taken to the country’s slaughterhouses.
The decision had farmers up in arms and they blocked streets and attacked Health Ministry workers’ trucks and bulldozers with rocks when they came to get the animals.
The slaughter shows how much panic the deadly flu has caused around globe, especially in poorer nations with weaker health systems.

Positive New Seal Hunt Law Passed

There is some good news this week for those who oppose the seal hunt (and for the seals themselves of course,) as Euro-MPs voted for a complete European ban on the trade of all seal products.
The MPs decided to ban the seal-product trade after public outcry over the yearly slaughter of baby seals in Canada and Norway. The new law will ban the products from the European market, but how it will affect the hunt remains to be seen.