animals

  Woodstock Farm Sanctuary takes in – or works to place – farm animals who are victims of cruelty and neglect. Most of these animals are rescued during investigations of farms, stockyards, auctions, and slaughterhouses – others arrive from humane societies and SPCA cruelty cases.

After 10 years of doing their good work in Woodstock, they are moving to a new 150 acre location in High Falls, NY. The new space is a former camp and retreat center in the heart of the Hudson Valley -- just 20 minutes from New Paltz and 90 minutes from New York City.

With more than six times the space they had in Woodstock, the sanctuary will have the resources to rescue additional farm animals as well as to increase the scale and scope of the sanctuary’s public programming.

The sanctuary is celebrating their re-opening this Saturday, September 5th. Jenny Brown is the Co-Founder and Director of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and she joins us.

Stephanie Rivkin / Facebook

State wildlife officials are still on the lookout for a black bear that was videotaped licking the leg of a hiker in Burlington, Connecticut.

The World's Disappearing Natural Sound

Aug 31, 2015

With guest host Jane Clayson.

A legendary natural sound collector shares his recordings from around the world. We’ll listen in.

We’re at an osprey nest in Tilton with Iain McLeod, director of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Our goal is recruiting another individual for Project OspreyTrack. He explains that Project OspreyTrack began in 2011, “to try to understand a little bit more about osprey migration and foraging.” 

David Scheel

The octopus has always been the stuff of spine-tingling legend, like that of the Kraken, the many-armed sea monster believed to drag ships to the bottom of the sea after dining on the crew. Or  Gertie the Pus, the giant Pacific octopus that lives under the Narrows Bridge connecting Tacoma, Washington to Gig Harbor.

In reality, the octopus is more benign but equally fascinating.  Did you know the octopus has two-thirds of its brain neurons distributed throughout its eight arms? Or, that the severed arm of an octopus can walk independently toward a food source and move it to where its mouth should be? 

The natural world is abuzz with the sound of animals communicating — crickets, birds, even grunting fish. But scientists learning to decode these sounds say the secret signals of African elephants — their deepest rumblings — are among the most intriguing calls any animal makes.

Take a close look at a house cat's eyes and you'll see pupils that look like vertical slits. But a tiger has round pupils — like humans do. And the eyes of other animals, like goats and horses, have slits that are horizontal.

Scientists have now done the first comprehensive study of these three kinds of pupils. The shape of the animal's pupil, it turns out, is closely related to the animal's size and whether it's a predator or prey.

Does Your Dog Really Know How You Feel?

Aug 4, 2015
Chion Wolf / /WNPR

Our show is all about "man's best friend." 

Dogs are, generally, cute and cuddly and many of us adore them. But what's the science behind our puppy love? We talk with researchers and reporters who study whether or not our dogs are as intuitive as we sometimes think they are or whether they are just "dumb as a dog."

Peter Harrison / Creative Commons

This past week, a Minnesota dentist and father of two shocked us out of our complacency. Desensitized by the weekly shootings this summer of African Americans by white policemen, moviegoers in theaters and African American churchgoers by a young white racist,  his ambush of Cecil the lion was a visceral blow to our collective gut.  Yes, we're still horrified by the way human beings treat each other. Our outrage over Cecil doesn't change that horror, but animals are somehow out-of-bounds of our cruelty to one another. In some ways, they're like civilians in a war - innocent victims in a world outnumbered by humans with the power to destroy all that is natural in this world.

CT Herp Consultants, LLC

An initial draft of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (DEEP) updated ten-year action plan to protect wildlife, released last week, includes plans to look closely at wildlife road mortality, especially that of amphibians and reptiles. 

PANAFOTKAS/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The CDC recently announced that kissing or cuddling your chickens is a health hazard. Because… Well, because people kiss or cuddle their chickens, apparently. Some people probably kiss and cuddle their chickens. But you shouldn’t kiss or cuddle your chickens. Because your chickens are basically just waddling featherballs of salmonella, it turns out. So, ya know. Don’t kiss or cuddle your chickens.

But before we get to that, two other stories:

Michael Pennay / Creative Commons

Researchers at UMass-Amherst are working to develop a device to help protect bats from wind turbine blades that could kill them.

Goats Seized at Cornwall Farm Up for Auction

Jul 24, 2015
Courtesy Department of Agriculture

Thirteen goats from a herd which became part of the legislature’s budget discussions are being auctioned off. 

Rhode Island researchers have received $500,000 in federal grant money to investigate a fungus that’s killing native bats. The mysterious illness has attacked bats across North America.

Over the last decade, biologists believe an illness known as white-nose syndrome has killed some six-million bats in North America. The fungus appears on the bat’s muzzle. It targets hibernating bats, causing serious infections on their wings, and bodies.

Robert Dewar / Creative Commons

Neanderthals have long been recognized as humans’ closest relatives. They were highly intelligent, skilled hunters, with a rugged build, and a knack for toolmaking.

Department of Agriculture

The goats were taken in January from the Butterfield Farm Company in Cornwall. They were said to be malnourished with many suffering from a number of highly-transmissible diseases. Now, the state has announced a plan to manage the herd of 96 animals that fell into state care following an animal-cruelty investigation.

davejdoe / Flickr Creative Commons

The idea that fishing for fun at your favorite lake could change how a fish evolves is relatively new, but Jan-Michael Hessenauer says it's real. He says fish seem to be developing slower metabolisms. That means they're less hungry, and less eager to take the bait from a fisherman.

Diana Robinson / Creative Commons

Lots of awards were handed out in New York this weekend. The annual Tony Awards were given to the best Broadway productions of the year. But no amount of theatrical showmanship could top what happened in the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah completed horseracing's elusive Triple Crown.  Finishing a few lengths behind him in third place was Keen Ice, who is part-owned by two Connecticut residents. This hour, we speak with one of the local owners.

Understanding Hierarchies in Nature and Society

May 20, 2015
Creative Commons

Social structures, in almost all cases, are defined by some form of hierarchy. Whether in academics, sports, religion, business, or politics, there's usually someone at the top and others whose goal it is to get there. But while it's easy to think that we've designed our world to be this way, the truth may be that we had no choice.

Flickr user: nicoleym / Creative Commons

A rare die-off of about 100 diamondback turtles has led New York to temporarily ban harvesting of shellfish and gastropods in portions of Long Island.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to continue to monitor daily the three beluga whales exploring Narragansett Bay. Biologists want to make sure they return safely back to their Arctic habitat.

Mystic Aquarium

Three beluga whales have been spotted off Rhode Island's coast in Narragansett Bay, a bizarre diversion for a species generally found much farther north. 

Famed British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has been lending his calming voice to nature documentaries ever since TV was in black and white.

FolioRoad / Creative Commons

A young bear that chased two runners in Granby's McLean Game Refuge on Monday has been euthanized. Officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are hoping a necropsy will give them clues about the bears unusually aggressive behavior. One test result late Wednesday showed the bear did not have rabies.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Since March, avian influenza has hit 14 farms in the western and mid-western United States. So far, at least four million chickens and turkeys have died or been euthanized.

There are no bird flu cases yet in the northeast this year, but the Connecticut Department of Agriculture is advising poultry farmers and backyard flock owners to follow simple precautions.

Martie Swart/flickr creative commons

Barking, fleas, Lyme disease, pet food, biting, housebreaking, shyness, pet insurance, animal rescue. Top flight advice from vet Dr. Todd Friedland. Don't miss his adventures with animals of all kinds.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Fishermen can be pretty clever with where they hide their illegally-captured fish.

"We've had people hide them in secret compartments in boats. We've had them hide them in vehicles, rocks, all kinds of places to prevent us from finding them," said Cpt. Ryan Healy of the state environmental conservation police.

Greg Breese/USFWS / Creative Commons

Each year, the red knot shorebird flies thousands of miles from the southernmost tip of South America, to the Arctic, and back. Along the way, it feasts on horseshoe crab eggs, which provide fat and fuel for the long journey ahead. 

Tom Barnes / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hike through any forest in Connecticut and you're bound to encounter a relic of the state's agricultural past: stone walls. Decades ago, the walls enclosed large tracts of open pasture and farmland, which was ideal habitat for animals like the New England cottontail rabbit.

But as farms were abandoned and that open space turned into mature forest, those rabbits disappeared. Now, federal efforts are underway to recreate some of that open space, and bring the New England cottontail back.

The Case Against Owning Exotic Pets

Apr 1, 2015
Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

It's official: owning a dog or a cat is just not as cool as it used to be. Nowadays, anybody who's anybody owns a monkey, or a leopard, or a slow loris... Whatever that is. Indeed in today's age, with the desire to stand out leading us to make ever more questionable decisions, owning a creature everyone else is smart enough (or ethical enough) not to own is a true mark of distinction.

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