Inside This Issue:

  • Canine Respiratory Illness Unnerves Dog Owners – Should It?
  • Songbird Conservation: More Complicated Than You Might Think
  • Critically Endangered Rhino Born in Indonesia
  • Charges Dismissed in Wyoming Penis Bleaching Fracas

Canine Respiratory Illness Unnerves Dog Owners – Should It?

Dog owners are understandably concerned about a new canine respiratory illness going around that has been reported to cause severe symptoms and fatalities. But just how unnerved should we all be?

Unfortunately, the information available to reporters on this illness is piecemeal, out of context, and sometimes lacking in even basic “who, what, when, and where” data. Our own research on this illness – through reading literature, and asking questions of veterinarians, animal professionals, and kennel clubs across the country – has yielded some preliminary conclusions. But these conclusions are anecdotal, and based on less data than is available to the scientists and veterinarians who do this work as a profession.

So, instead of sharing the results of our limited inquiry, we are providing you with a link to the best single resource we’ve found on the subject, the Worms and Germs Blog, authored by Drs. Scott Weiss and Maureen Anderson, who are experts on the subject. This site always has excellent information, and their treatment of canine respiratory illness is unrivaled, as you can read below.

A Dog Owner’s Guide to Navigating Respiratory Disease Concerns

★     NAIA: Canine Respiratory Illness Unnerves Dog Owners – But Should It?
★     New Weird Canine Respiratory Pathogen? What Do We Know?



Songbird Conservation: More Complicated Than You Might Think

American songbirds are a sought after item in the wildlife trafficking world, often for the purpose of participating in singing competitions. Wildlife trafficking, including the illegal trade of songbirds, is a global issue that involves the unlawful capture, transportation, and sale of protected or endangered species. Threats like outdoor cats and habitat loss have already wreaked havoc on the North American songbird population, and trafficking only compounds the challenges.

Conserving these birds means coordinating several governments and migratory paths, all the while going up against highly sophisticated poachers, so this is an extremely complicated task. This is why American Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program has launched a special branch committed to saving North American Songbirds (NAS). The program, SAFE NAS, has members across the US, but the folks down in Texas are in the belly of the beast, since the birds migrate through there every year. Our native songbirds are indeed beautiful to listen to and look at, but more importantly, they are integral components of ecosystems: they pollinate flowers, eat pests, disperse seeds, and perform numerous other valuable roles within the niches they fill. Efforts like SAFE NAS that work to protect songbird populations are vital for maintaining biodiversity and the overall health of ecosystems.

Protected Texas songbirds show up in pet stores abroad, due to elusive trafficking industry

★     Six indicted for trafficking songbirds
★     Bird singing contests: A clash of culture and conservation



Critically Endangered Rhino Born in Indonesia

Dang, what a cutie!
Photo source: Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Just before Thanksgiving, we shared the news that an endangered Sumatran Asian elephant had been born in Way Kambas National Park in Indonesia. This week, we have another bouncing baby to announce: a critically endangered Sumatran rhino that was born in the exact same park! After a 16-month gestation, the male calf, weighing in at a whopping 55 pounds, is one of only 80 living on Earth.

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest and most hairy of the rhino species and are only found in 4 small populations within Indonesia. The only viable breeding population can be found at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, Lampung Province. What makes this story even more special is that the calf’s sire, Harapan, is a captive born rhino from America. He was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and sent back to the sanctuary to help keep the breeding program going... and it paid off - this is his first calf! The mom, Delilah, was also born at the park. The small success is a big feather in the cap for the researchers and conservationists who worked together to make this happen.

Cincinnati Zoo-born Sumatran rhino sires first calf in Indonesia

★     Sumatran rhinoceros
★     Critically Endangered Sumatran Elephant Born In Indonesia



 Charges Dismissed in Wyoming Penis Bleaching Fracas 

Don't even think about it.

In this week’s weird news, charges were dismissed without prejudice against two Wyoming men, Patrick Sean Carroll and Tucker Kye Carroll, who were accused of bleaching phalluses and other shapes into the bodies of their neighbor’s cattle. Allegedly, the men were none too pleased with their neighbor, as his cattle had repeatedly crossed onto their property. So they responded as any respectable Wyomingite would: penis graffiti.

Unfortunately for the Carrolls, their neighbor was not an aficionado of fine art. When he discovered that 195 of his cattle had been bleached (yes, you read that total correctly), he was not amused. In fact, he was annoyed enough to press charges. He claimed the phallic shapes knocked thousands of dollars off the value of his cattle. This was an overstatement, but an expert did later estimate the loss of value to be around $500-700 per head, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

A lack of solid evidence is what caused the judge to dismiss this case against the Carrolls, and they are very lucky for this. Had the case been advanced to felony-level court, they could have faced up to 10 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Cattle ain't cheap, and it's a serious business. If you mess with a man's cow, even in a way that doesn't necessarily harm the animal, you may also be threatening his livelihood.

Charges Dismissed Against Wyoming Ranchers For Bleaching Penises Onto Cows

★     Judge Reaches Decision In 10-Year-Old Cattle Dispute
★     Beef giant JBS to pay $52.5 million to settle price-fixing lawsuit




Also in the News...

★     Woman believed to be victim of dog attack after sons find her body near bayou with bite marks (Loose Dogs; Dangerous Dogs; Public Health & Safety)
★     Unknown animals left birdlike footprints long before birds existed
 (Paleontology; Birds Are Real)
★     The sex lives of animals: three hours of foreplay – and mass orgies on the move (Life, Uh, Finds a Way)
★     'Owners Will Euthanize Their Pets'—America's Animal Shelters Are Broken (Rescue & Shelter Crisis; Fewer Intakes Don't Make up for )
★     10 iconic animals that were at risk of extinction but rebounded after the Endangered Species Act passed 50 years ago (Inspiring Lists; Bald Eagle: From a Few Hundred to a Few Hundred Thousand!)

Click here to see what is happening legislatively

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