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Author Topic: For All Daemon Souls and Dog Lovers  (Read 15813 times)
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« Reply #405 on: Aug 26, 2014, 08:12 AM »


It's World Dog Day, let's think about the whole dog

Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
By: Kati Loeffler
IFAW
Posted: Tue, 08/26/2014

Dogs need freedom to keep body and soul together: the freedom to move, to meet friends, to avoid non-friends, to choose where to rest, to greet loved ones, to go to the toilet away from where one eats and sleeps. On a hot, dusty afternoon in South Africa last spring, a man approached our mobile veterinary clinic with five dogs radiating on bits of rope and chain from his hand like so many spokes on a wheel.

The man settled in the shade of a little tree and patiently waited his turn. Four of the dogs settled down with him. They were plump and shiny and panted gently as they watched the chaotic queue of people and dogs and cats and puppies and children bouncing everywhere.

The fifth dog couldn’t settle.

He strained at his chain, lunged and twisted and barked at everyone and everything. He was a tall, athletic dog, but very thin and mangy and his fur dry and patchy.

He was clearly stressed out of his mind.

When the man’s turn came, he explained that he had recently acquired this frenetic dog from someone who wanted to abandon him. He was worried that the dog was not eating well and had bitten people and other dogs.

The other four dogs had come along just to keep the family whole on this excursion, and for us to see how well they looked: the man was proud of how well he took care of his dogs.

He worked as a night security guard at a school, and his dogs went with him to his job. While he spoke, he stroked them in turn, and they blinked and panted and returned his affection with their soft, brown gaze. But the new dog whom he had saved from abandonment couldn’t be stroked: he was too restless and jumpy.

The man explained that the dog had been chained at his previous home, and he kept him chained now because he was so “crazy”.

He was only a young dog, just a year or two.

The man asked if  he was possessed?

Perhaps an angry neighbor had put a curse on the dog for barking too much?

We frequently need to dispel superstitions about animals in our work around the world, but in a way, yes, it was a curse.

It was the curse of perpetual chaining.

This young, gorgeous animal was being driven out of body and mind by restriction of one of the most fundamental things that any creature - dog, human, hedgehog, parakeet, wombat, kudu, whale, butterfly and everything in between needs to keep body and soul together: the freedom to move, to meet friends, to avoid non-friends, to choose where to rest, to greet loved ones, to go to the toilet away from where one eats and sleeps.

Living permanently on the end of a chain or in a cage takes away all of an animal’s choices for the most basic decisions, natural behaviors and social needs that we take for granted.

Boredom, isolation, lack of exercise, the elimination of all choices, restriction from the opportunity to interact with the world.

This is what we do to dogs when we chain or cage them.

Taking the dog for exercise and play is as important as feeding her. Moreover, a dog is built to move – particularly a young dog, and one built like our thin, frantic friend.

They must run and play and work their muscles hard.

If they can’t, their minds can’t work properly, just like a child who doesn’t get enough exercise can’t concentrate in school. Add to this the incessant frustration of not being able to do any of the other things that a dog needs to do, and we end up with a mad dog who can express his frustration only by biting and barking and straining at the tether.

He isn’t a “bad” dog.

He isn’t inherently crazy.

He isn’t cursed.

He’s chained.

This problem isn’t restricted to dogs who are chained in a dusty shanty town in Africa.

I see it all over the world – from American suburbia to urban China – where dogs are confined to long, lonely, boring days in the house or chained to a stake in the yard while the owners are away at work.

They wait all day for the moment that we return home and take them to the park to run and run and run and play, and to do that with us.

We are their Person, their Pet Human, the Most Important Thing in their World.

We owe them this daily time for exercise and play for what they bring to our own lives, and as responsible and humane guardians of animals.

Taking the dog for exercise and play is as important as feeding her.

Every day.

So, we did what we do – we looked beyond the immediate problems of bad skin and poor appetite, and looked at the whole dog.

We helped the lovely man with his five dogs fix the fence around his house, and then he removed the thin dog’s chain. We dewormed and vaccinated the dog as standard measures of preventive health care, but he didn’t need any drugs for his skin. His skin would heal as his mind healed.

We also neutered him, which of course is essential for the dog to want to stay home rather than to go out chasing estrous-fragrant lady-dogs all over the county and getting hit by cars and fighting with other boy dogs over said fragrant lady-dogs. In many areas of the world, a dog’s main job is to guard the home.

A neutered dog who is properly exercised and who is made to feel part of the family will stay home and look after that family with a loyalty and commitment that no high-tech alarm system can duplicate.

He or she can’t do that if s/he is chained and isolated and frustrated.

Every day, the man took his dogs into an empty lot in the township where they could run and play until they sank into happy exhaustion.

At home, the dog now mixed with the other four and soon behaved as part of the family. A month later, when I saw him for his booster vaccinations, the dog was filling out and his fur growing in thick and shiny.

His tongue lolled in a happy grin.

He was still very energetic, but this time when he lunged, it was to plant a big slurp on my face.

His Person stroked him and smiled.

--KL

Learn more about IFAW efforts for cats & dogs on our campaign page: http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/our-work/cats-and-dogs


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« Reply #406 on: Aug 26, 2014, 08:20 AM »


Chartered flight brings rescued baby elephant “Ntubya” to Zambia orphanage

IFAW
Sarah Davies, Public Relations Manager, Game Rangers International
By: Sarah Davies
Posted: Mon, 08/18/2014

"Ntubya" being fed in her travel crate as she arrives at Lilayi Elephant Nursery.Last Wednesday, an 18-month-old elephant calf, named “Ntubya” after the village in which she was rescued, safely arrived safely at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery.

People living in the remote village of Ntubya in Musungwa Chiefdom, bordering Kafue National Park, found her scared and alone after she had been sighted without her herd several times over the last three weeks.

They knew that she needed help and called the Zambia Wildlife Authority who asked the Elephant Orphanage Project to respond.

In this isolated area of Zambia, local residents have limited access to electricity or phone signal but they still managed to get a message out to help this little elephant. The team at the Kafue Release Facility travelled straight to Ntubya and found the calf severely emaciated and dehydrated. It is thought that she has been away from her mother for at least 2-3 weeks.

She is very weak and all our efforts are being concentrated on stabilising her condition.

Also on IFAW.org:  On World Elephant Day in India, a “thumbs-up” for the elephants

A rescue mission like Ntubya’s could not have been possible without chartering a plane for which we have to thank Royal Air Charters.

We would also like to thank our partners the Zambia Wildlife Authority for veterinary support, the Millers of Lilayi Farm for logistical support and the communities of Ntubya in Musungwa Chiefdom.

Ntubya has a tough few weeks ahead of her...your support is key to upping her chances.

The Elephant Orphanage Project and Ntubya herself have a tough few weeks ahead of us.

She will be given 24-hour care and all of her medical and emotional needs attended to.

--SD

Your support is one of the keys to increasing Ntubya's chances. Donate now: https://www.ifaw.org/united-states/secure/donate/help-save-starving-orphan-elephant?ms=UONDF140820060&cid=701F0000000Razg

The Elephant Orphanage Project (EOP) is a project of Game Rangers International, which works in close collaboration with the Zambia Wildlife Authority and is supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation


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« Reply #407 on: Aug 27, 2014, 06:40 AM »


Illegal wildlife trade along the Burma-China border - in pictures

The Guardian
08/27/2014

The town of Mong-La in Burma's Shan state, close to the border with China, is at the crossroads of illegal wildlife trade routes that are sucking the forests, jungles and plains of India, Burma, Laos and Thailand dry of their native animals and plants – many of them endangered

Click to view: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/-sp-endangered-species-on-sale-along-burmachina-border


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« Reply #408 on: Aug 27, 2014, 07:50 AM »


VIDEO: Unheard stories of the unsung heroes working to save India's tigers

By: Sheren Shrestha
IFAW
Posted: Wed, 07/23/2014

A tiger in the Kanha Tiger Reserve, one of the animals that Ram Singh Dhubre died protecting.

Every year a number of frontline staff lose their lives while protecting India’s natural heritage.

They often face better-armed poachers, and other threats including wild animals themselves.

To ensure the welfare of the guardians of the wild, IFAW-WTI runs a unique accident insurance plan for the frontline staff, providing them and/or their families quick relief in case of injuries or death on duty.

Also on IFAW.org: Death of elephant tusker Satao in Tsavo must not have been in vain

Around 20,000 frontline staff from over 23 Indian states are registered under this insurance plan, and since its launch in 2001, more than 110 families have gratefully received its benefits.

The video below tells the story of a family of one frontline staff member, Ram Singh Dhubre, who worked as a daily wage labourer with the Kanha Tiger Reserve Forest Department.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiW7ndkQH4c

Dhubre was killed in an accident on duty in December 2012 and his family was provided with relief from the insurance plan.

--SS

Your support helps keep this insurance program running, consider a donation to IFAW today.

https://www.ifaw.org/united-states/secure/donate/support-ifaws-work?ms=UONDR140001013&cid=701F0000000RB6Z


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« Reply #409 on: Aug 28, 2014, 07:10 AM »


A life of freedom for our six Russian tigers

IFAW
Anna Fillipova, Campaigner, Russia
By: Anna Fillipova
Posted: Wed, 08/27/2014

When my work day starts, the first thing that I do is check where our released tiger cubs are. They are of course not tiger cubs any more, but independent adult tigers, however, I continue to think of them as babies, as a mother who thinks that her child is always a child.

Recently we received new information about Sparta: she is healthy and again gave birth to a litter cubs. She lives in a Swedish zoo called Norden Ark.As long as there are many tigers whom we helped to survive, let's talk about them one by one.

I will start with Sparta, it is a female tiger, who was rescued by IFAW in 2007. Altogether there were four tiger cubs. We did not have the large rehabilitation center available then, therefore it was not possible to reintroduce those tigers into the wild and they all had to go to different zoos.

Recently we received new information about Sparta: she is healthy and again gave birth to a litter cubs. She lives in a Swedish zoo called Norden Ark.

Let's now go back to our tigers who were a bit luckier and were able to go back into the wild.

The first of these tigers is Zolushka, who is now independently roaming the taiga for over a year.

At the beginning we were also tracking her movement with satellite collar. But one day it stopped transmitting the signal, which really concerned everyone who was involved in Zolushka's rescue. But in projects like this one, there are also backup elements.

By the time the collar stopped transmitting signal, Zolushka already established her territory, and it was highly likely she was not far from that area. Therefore with IFAW support, experts of Ecology and Evolution Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Special Inspectorate “Tiger” and Wildlife Conservation Society went to look for her tracks, and also continued trying to determine her location through the collar satellite tag.

It is important to note, that such a tracking requires high professionalism, good physical and field training.

Other widely used modern ways to study animals are trail cameras. These are cameras which are placed in locations where animals could pass. The camera is triggered by movement and takes pictures of everything within its range.

Such trail cameras with IFAW support were placed within the territory of Bastak Nature Reserve, where Zolushka was released.

Zolushka is hunting successfully: in the first days after her release she was hunting badgers, then she started to hunt larger animals – boars and deer. Experts found many of Zolushka's hunting and resting locations.

These two methods, tracking and trail cameras, provided us with large amount of data confirming that Zolushka successfully found a niche in her “new home”.

She learned to interact with other animals – bears, deer, wolves and lynxes. It is considered that wolves do not inhabit places where tigers live. But there already were wolves in the Bastak Reserve. It is interesting to see how the situation changes: if the wolves remain there, if they leave the area or their population will decrease considerably.

Zolushka is hunting successfully: in the first days after her release she was hunting badgers, then she started to hunt larger animals – boars and deer. Experts found many of Zolushka's hunting and resting locations.

Every Zolushka (Russian for Cinderella) must have a prince: our prince is called Zavetny. It is a strong adult male, who is very interested in Zolushka. Winter tracking showed, that Zavetny followed Zolushka's tracks more than once, and trail cameras placed him in locations which Zolushka visited before.

Earlier the male tiger only stopped by the Bastak territory, now he spends more time there. During the summer Zolushka must get stronger and we are hoping, that the second winter will be as successful for her as the first one. Everyone is waiting for even happier news with bated breath: what if after meeting the male tiger...?

But let us not rush things: Zolushka is quite young, let us wait...

When Zolushka was leaving the rehabilitation center, several other tiger cubs have already been there for several months: Ilona, Svetlaya, Ustin, Borya and Kuzya.

Zolushka.

As well as for Zolushka, release of these tiger cubs is just the beginning.

Now we have to make sure that they are able to provide food for themselves and also avoid humans. All tigers were tagged with satellite collars and we are receiving data about their movement. As soon as the tigers moved away enough for the experts to follow their tracks without troubling the tigers, they started tracking. As satellite data allows only for guesses about successful hunts of our tigers, it has to be checked.

A team of staff members of Special Inspectorate “Tiger”, Russian Academy of Sciences and Wildlife Conservation Society implement post-monitoring of the five tigers.

Ilona was the most successful tiger in the first days of her new life. Remains of her meals of wild boar piglets and even an adult roe were found on her path.

No one could think that would happen, as Ilona was the tiger who did not want to leave the transportation cage!

Ilona and Borya remain not far from each other, they are systematically getting familiar with a territory of 40 by 40 km.

We were not able to find remains of Borya's prey, but his feces contained fur and bones of a boar.

Kuzya, while at the rehabilitation center, behaved as a more cautious tiger, but after the release he moved alone to explore further territories and within the first two months he moved over 200 km. At the beginning Kuzya made us all worried, as his movement could not signify successful hunts. But then remains of a very large boar were found.

This was the first large prey of Kuzya!

Ustin and Svetlaya, who were released within the territory of the Jewish Autonomous Region, at the beginning moved alongside, but then they moved somewhat away from each other. Ustin started to move far from the release location, while Svetlaya was gradually enlarging her territory, making larger and larger rounds.

None of these five tigers so far have come out to humans.

All project participants really hope, that these five tigers will have the same experience as Zolushka: successfully spending the winter and making their home in the taiga.

--AF

For more information about IFAW efforts to help save the last of the world's tigers, visit our campaign page.

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/our-work/saving-the-last-tigers


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« Reply #410 on: Aug 29, 2014, 07:16 AM »


Experts dispute claim that panda faked pregnancy to get more bamboo

By Jonathan Kaiman, The Guardian
Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:01 EDT

Claims that a six-year-old panda faked signs of pregnancy in order to receive better treatment from her conservation centre carers have been debunked by one of China’s leading panda experts.

China’s state newswire Xinhua reported on Tuesday that Ai Hin may have deliberately demonstrated tell-tale signs of panda pregnancy, including “reduced appetite, less mobility and a surge in progestational hormone”.

Pandas that staff believe to be expecting are given a single, air-conditioned room, as well as more buns, fruit and bamboo than non-pregnant pandas. “So some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life,” Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu research base of giant panda breeding, told Xinhua.

Yet Zhang Heming, director of the China research and conservation centre for the giant panda told the Guardian that Ai Hin’s behaviour was probably more of a hormonal issue than a deliberate ruse. “This phenomenon occurs in 10 to 20% of pandas,” he said. “After the mother panda is inseminated, if her health isn’t so good, the pregnancy will terminate, but she’ll still behave as if she’s pregnant.”

He continued: “This phenomenon also happens to wild pandas, if they don’t have enough bamboo to eat.”

The giant panda is one of the most endangered species on earth – about 1,600 live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of southwest China, according to Xinhua. About 300 live in captivity, and they’re notoriously bad at breeding – only about 24% of captive females give birth.

Pandas ovulate only once a year, and remain fertile for at most 36 hours. Determining pregnancy is complicated because of the size of the foetus – a typical newborn panda is only 1/900th the size of its mother.

***********

Star panda off live broadcast after phantom pregnancy

English.news.cn   2014-08-26 01:59:55    

CHENGDU, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- A celebrated giant panda was removed from a widely-anticipated live birth after it was discovered she was not actually pregnant.

The panda Ai Hin, 6, was scheduled to star in the world's first live broadcast of the birth of panda cubs, but the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Center told Xinhua Monday that the panda had a "phantom pregnancy."

Phantom pregnancy is common among the endangered bears. Non-pregnant pandas can exhibit prenatal behaviors as a result of progestational hormone changes. But experts said sometimes the pandas, noticing the difference in treatment after exhibiting initial signs of pregnancy, may carry on with the pregnant behavior.

"After showing prenatal signs, the 'mothers-to-be' are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care. They also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life," said Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu Base.

Ai Hin showed signs of pregnancy, including reduced appetite, less mobility and a surge in progestational hormone in July, but her behaviors and physiological indexes returned to normal after a two-month observation.

Ai Hin was born to panda Mei Mei in December, 2006 in Japan along with her twin brother. The twins quickly became star attractions and were returned to China in 2012.

There are only about 1,600 pandas living in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, while about 300 are held in captivity in zoos worldwide. Most pandas in captivity are not good breeders. Only 24 percent of females in captivity give birth, posing a serious threat to the survival of the species.

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