Posts Tagged ‘Wild Animals’

Are zoos an anachronism from a time before the internet and Animal Planet?

May 21, 2008

Animal deaths or injuries at zoos often result in renewed debate about whether wild animals should be kept in captivity. Recently, the deaths of over 40 cownose stingrays at the Calgary Zoo and the death of a visitor at the San Francisco Zoo stirred up more questions on whether animals should be kept for public viewing.

While the institutions often tout their educational programs as one of the many reasons for people, and especially children, to visit, saying they can learn a great deal about animals from zoos, Rob Laidlaw, executive director of Zoocheck Canada, a national wild animal protection charity, disputes this argument.

“The menagerie-style zoo, like Toronto and Calgary, emerged in the 19th century in Paris and London and Berlin. This concept emerged at a time when there was no international travel, there was no internet, there was limited access to books for most people, there was no television, there was no Discovery Channel.

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Profile: Official Roadkill Scraper a Wild Animal Caretaker

April 11, 2008

Scraping roadkill off the asphalt is a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

That someone is Bill Miller.

For the last eight months, Miller has served as supervisor for the Redlands Animal Shelter, where he has had to clean up roadkill and take care of the wild and stray animals within the city limits.

Though the job has its sad moments, Miller said the rewards make the job worth doing. He said he enjoys animal rescues the most.

“Saving the little kittens stuck in the walls or the dog that’s hanging himself on his chain and you get there in time to rescue him – that’s very rewarding,” Miller said. “It’s like what happens on Animal Planet.”

Miller also has to deal with the wild animals around Redlands. He takes on wild cats, skunks, raccoons, mountain lions, snakes and any other wild critter that might be lurking around the city.

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Hunting wild animals – with cameras

April 10, 2008

Reno Taini and Chris Wemmer wade through banks of fern and wild blackberry on this February morning. A crisscross of shadows, cast by gnarled oaks, sweeps over their gray heads and denim shirts as they move. They follow a faint trail, just the type that might lead to a stash of trashed beer bottles and Twinkie wrappers – but this is no human trail.

“These are all animal trails,” says Mr. Taini, pointing to several tracks that snake across the steep slope. Deer, pigs, and the like have worn these trails – not humans.

Taini and Mr. Wemmer read the trails as they walk, choosing branches to follow. They’ve come to this wilderness area to trap the animals that travel them – not with snares, but with cameras.

Wemmer has spent his life learning to think like animals, from Tasmanian devils to Burmese brow-antlered deer; he conducted research at the Conservation and Research Center at the National Zoo in Virginia until retiring in 2004. Today he and his friend Taini search for the right spot to mount a camera so that whatever beasts prowl these hills will voluntarily strike a pose for a photo. They’ll leave four cameras here for a month; infrared motion sensors will trigger the shutters.

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