animals

LAPhotographer on Flickr Creative Commons

This is the Monday Scramble, the show we assemble on very short notice to challenge ourselves and keep things fresh.

Two film icons died over the weekend, Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine. Attention gravitated to O'Toole because of his larger than life roles and his larger than life off-screen behavior. We'll be talking about O'Toole with one of his co-stars and with a director but we didn't want to ignore Fontaine, famous for her Oscar-winning role and for her decades-long feud with her sister, Olivia DeHaviland. 

Melissa Logan

How does your animal companion let you know that you're loved? Has your dog or cat recognized your sadness? Has your animal ever tried to help you, even save you? 

The Last Wolf in Connecticut

Nov 29, 2013
Connecticut Historical Society

Israel Putnam is a name that stands out in the colonial history of Connecticut as a war hero of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Prior to his wartime glory, he earned the nickname “Wolf Putnam” by killing what was believed to be the last wolf in Connecticut when he was a young farmer in the eastern Connecticut town of Pomfret.

Yukari/flickr creative commons

Today's show originally aired October 28, 2013.

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.

zigazou76

B.F. Skinner thought pigeons were so smart they could be used to guide missiles during WWII. He proposed a system in which pigeons would essentially pilot the missile. Skinner said pigeons could be trained to peck at a screen to adjust the trajectory of a missile toward its target. Project pigeon was funded but never used. It's one of the many reasons I could talk about pigeons all day. 

The news for moose is not good across the country's northern tier and in some parts of Canada. A recent and rapid decline of moose populations in many states may be linked to climate change, and to the parasites that benefit from it.

In Minnesota, moose populations have dropped from a high of more than 12,000 two decades ago to fewer than 3,000 now. Moose in some parts of Manitoba have declined by 50 percent and more.

Yukari/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.

understandinganimalresearch, Flickr Creative Commons

Almost every cure and treatment of diseases exists thanks to medical research on animals. Through animal research, we can understand the addictive nature of Oreos like in a study from Connecticut College recently, and Macaques are crucial for the development of AIDS vaccine strategies. We’ll find out why certain animals work best for certain studies, some big challenges in finding the healthiest control subjects, and more.

GUESTS:

BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

News has been pretty rough lately, between the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. Now comes word that America’s favorite cookie can produce similar effects on the brain as addictive drugs. New research from Connecticut College finds that the Oreo cookie is just as addictive as cocaine, at least for lab rats.

Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

Puppies and kittens are a big draw at pet stores. Their cuteness draws customers in and helps pet store owners make money. However, that may not be the case in the future. A state task force is holding the first of two public hearings on Wednesday on whether to ban the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.

The government shutdown is likely to mean an early death for thousands of mice used in research on diseases such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Federal research centers including the National Institutes of Health will have to kill some mice to avoid overcrowding, researchers say. Others will die because it is impossible to maintain certain lines of genetically altered mice without constant monitoring by scientists. And most federal scientists have been banned from their own labs since Oct. 1.

Serge Melki / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut Supreme Court justices heard an appeal Tuesday that all started with a horse named Scuppy. He allegedly bit a boy, and the family sued. An attorney representing horse owners in Connecticut asked the justices to overturn an appellate court ruling. That court found Scuppy's owner to be liable, saying the species is naturally vicious.

Paul J. Fusco / CT DEEP

Seen a moose lately? Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection wants to know if you have -- and to let you know to be on the lookout while you're driving, as well. If you spot a moose, you can call (860) 642-7239 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, or use this handy online moose sighting report form.

Saperaud / Wikimedia Commons

Whether it's the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Connecticut, the head of a nasty-looking anvil cloud, or the head of a horse you're looking to avoid: today's Wheelhouse Digest has you covered.

If this is a trick, it's a spectacular one.

A video that purports to have been taken by a GoPro or similarly small camera strapped to an eagle soaring above Chamonix, France, is quickly going viral.

How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their earwax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of earwax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.

The study used the earwax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.

Johan Hansson/flickr creative commons

The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery—these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the groundbreaking ideas that push forward our lives, our society, our culture?

And They’re Off!

Aug 16, 2013

The day was cool and 10,000 spectators crowded the stands at Charter Oak Park to see the gray stallion Alcryon come from behind to beat the great trotting mare Geneva S. and the flagging favorite Nelson in the Charter Oak Stakes on August 28, 1889.

Charter Oak Park opened in 1873 near the Hartford/West Hartford line. In addition to a race track, it also came to include Luna Park, a popular amusement park, and the grounds served as the venue for the Connecticut State Fair, an annual two week event.

Scientists have known for years that dolphins recognize each other by the sound of each animal's signature whistle. But it wasn't known for just how long dolphins could remember these whistle calls.

The individually specific whistle that each dolphin generates before its first birthday "for them functions like a name," says Jason Bruck, who studies animal behavior at the Institute for Mind and Biology at the University of Chicago.

Alan Levine/flickr creative commons

Michael Lejeune

For the past few months, a group of people has been gathering each night along an industrial stretch of Route 5 in Hamden. There, next to a nondescript building, they lift their binoculars,  focus their telescopes and gaze across the street--past the traffic, over the railroad tracks, and up about 70 feet high.  

Nestled in a crook of two branches in a tree sits a large nest.  Inside is a  bald eagle chick, with a watchful adult hidden nearby.

"This is the only birdwatching I’ve ever done."

Michael Lejeune works at the town library. 

lanbullock68 Flickr Creative Commons

According to Wyoming's Game and Fish Department, there has been a 70 percent decline in migratory elk calf production in Yellowstone since 1992. For years, researchers suspected predatory wolves were to blame. Now, a new study details a more complex set of circumstances that account for the low calf numbers. 

Stewart Black/flickr creative commons

You've seen them. Hanging on telephone poles and posted on supermarket bulletin boards.

But have you ever wondered about the stories behind them?

When her orange tabby, Zak, disappeared, Nancy Davidson did what countless people before her had done. She made a lost cat poster. And after days of frantic searching, she found him. Nancy was ecstatic. Zak seemed happy, too—although being a cat, it was hard to tell.

Stewart Black/flickr creative commons

You've seen them. Hanging on telephone poles and posted on supermarket bulletin boards.

But have you ever wondered about the stories behind them?

When her orange tabby, Zak, disappeared, Nancy Davidson did what countless people before her had done. She made a lost cat poster. And after days of frantic searching, she found him. Nancy was ecstatic. Zak seemed happy, too—although being a cat, it was hard to tell.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

This year the state legislature will consider bill that would forbid the outdoor the tethering of dogs between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., prohibit pet shops from selling dogs and cats bred at commercial animal mills, establish the idea of an animal advocate -- probably a law student working pro bono -- to investigate and argue for the welfare of an animal subject to cruelty, and prohibit municipalities from adopting breed-specific dog ordinances.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

This year the state legislature will consider bill that would forbid the outdoor the tethering of dogs between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., prohibit pet shops from selling dogs and cats bred at commercial animal mills, establish the idea of an animal advocate -- probably a law student working pro bono -- to investigate and argue for the welfare of an animal subject to cruelty, and prohibit municipalities from adopting breed-specific dog ordinances.

The legislature is considering a bill that would allow students to opt out of dissecting a dead animal at school.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. State Representative Diana Urban supports the bill. "There are students who actually avoid going to biology class because they object to using an actual animal in their dissection...And I know there's a lot of teasing that goes on in the classes." Urban says students should have a way to choose to use a computer model or simulation instead. Some high schools already allow the choice, while others specifically don't.

The legislature is considering a bill that would allow students to opt out of dissecting a dead animal at school. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. State Representative Diana Urban supports the bill.

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