Treats on the Internets

An article in The Guardian follows six British cats, including the author’s, with GPS collars to see where they go when they’re not at home. Although the owners expressed concern about the cats’ safety and welfare, none changed to keeping their cats strictly indoors after tracking their movements across train tracks, busy streets and other dangerous areas:

Unlike in the US, where domesticated cats typically stay indoors, in the UK just 26% of British cats are indoor-only, according to the animal charity PDSA.

Citing the beneficial effects of parasites and how little the animals have been studied, a group of ecologists and wildlife biologists are proposing a conservation plan:

Among their recommendations, they write that, when studying wildlife, researchers need to account for and preserve parasites, rather than picking them off of animals with tweezers in the belief that the parasites are harming them.

Don’t worry, fleas on our dogs and cats are not on the list.

Sulfur-crested cockatoos, common in Sydney, Australia, developed a technique to open trash bins so they could forage for food. Other cockatoos learned by watching and modified the required steps. This is significant:

Not only do the birds acquire the skill by imitating others, which is social learning. But the details of technique evolve to differ in different groups as the innovation spreads, a mark of animal culture.


The process is similar to the spread and evolution of human cultural innovations like language, or a classic example of animal culture, bird song, which can vary from region to region in the same species.

There is a video of a cockatoo opening and raiding a trash bin at the link.

A fascinating examination of the practice of raising and ultimately rewilding orphan grizzly cubs in British Columbia reveals mixed initial results. Rehabilitated cubs have been killed during transport, eaten by another bear or simply gone missing when the transmitter in the bear’s radio collar stopped pinging. Long term tracking will hopefully let researchers know if the bears in the program not only survive but avoid conflicts with humans and best case scenario, reproduce.

Image of the week:

A yellow-throated marten, caught on a camera trap in eastern Russia. Image via Twitter.

Warning: language ahead.

In a recent release, the Hollister Police Department said that on June 26 officers were dispatched to the area of Highway 25 and Union Road for an animal detail. Officers contacted the reporting party who witnessed a driver of a white Ford Explorer release three kittens from the moving vehicle onto the shoulder of the road.

I’ve never been to California but is the shoulder of Highway 25 at Union Road some kind of fucking nature reserve and does the word moving mean safely and securely parked? Because if not, those kittens were not released from a moving vehicle. The words you’re looking for there are thrown out the goddamn window onto the side of the road. I would compare it to tossing garbage from a car but I don’t think I’ve ever heard police describe littering as trash released from a moving vehicle. That’s reserved for kittens for some stupid reason, I guess. No charges as of yet for the releasers.

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