The Dingo Is Smarter Than Pet Dogs

Studies in the past have shown that wolves are smarter than domesticated dogs when it comes to solving spatial problems, and now new research has shown that dingoes also solve the problems well.The dingo is considered a “pure” prehistoric dog, which was brought to Australia tens of thousands of years ago by the Aborigines. While they have in the past been associated with humans, they have adapted to surviving “wild” in the Australian outback.

The dingo lies somewhere between the wolf, its ancient ancestor, and the domestic or pet dog, and has cognitive differences between the two. There has been little research done on dingoes, even though studies would aid in the understanding of the evolution of dogs, and it was unknown whether the dingo was more “wolf-like” or “dog-like”. Researchers in South Australia have now subjected the Australian dingo (Canis dingo) to the classic “detour task,” which has been used by previous researchers to assess the abilities of wolves (Canis lupus) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) to solve non-social, spatial problems.

The detour task involves placing a treat behind a transparent or wire mesh fence. The dog can see the food but cannot get to it directly and has to find its way along the fence and through a door and then double back to get the food. More

China To Train Pandas To Survive In Wild

China plans to build a center where giant pandas born in captivity will be trained to survive in the wild, state media reported Thursday.The $8.8 million (60 million yuan) center will be located in Sichuan province’s Dujiangyan city, according to Zhang Zhihe, the head of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The facility is expected to house three to five giant pandas when it is completed within five years. The center will include 21.5 acres (8.7 hectares) of an experimental zone, along with 2,800 acres (1,128 hectares) of woodlands, Zhang said.Groundbreaking for the new center starts at the end of the month, Xinhua said.

Giant pandas are among the world’s most endangered species. Some 1,600 pandas live in the wild, while more than 300 pandas are raised in captivity in China.

Supercats That May Still Be Too Wild For A Family Home


Supercats” closely descended from wild animals represent a danger to other pets and even small children, animal welfare groups fear. Mild-mannered moggies are increasingly being replaced by new breeds in which African or South American wildcats have been crossbred with domestic cats.Despite price-tags of up to £6,000 for new kittens, breeders report waiting lists of up to six months. The savannah, the most popular, is bred from a serval, a cheetah-like wildcat found in Africa. It can grow three times larger than a domestic cat and can jump 7ft vertically.

Another breed to have arrived in Britain is the safari, produced by mating a domestic cat with a South American Geoffroy’s Cat. There are also plans by breeders to import the caracat, descended from a caracal, a lynx-like wildcat found in the Middle East and Africa. The savannah is banned in some US states and in Australia, where there were concerns it could kill koalas.

In Britain, the “first generation” of savannah and safari cats descended from wildcats can only be kept under licence and in outdoor cages, in accordance with the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (DWAA). Subsequent generations, however, can be kept as normal pets.


Taronga Zoo Hand-Rears A Wombat


Just today (Australia time) the Taronga Zoo unveiled their newest baby wombat. Baby Matari will be hand-reared at the zoo. In the wild, wombat moms are professional diggers and rarely take maternity leave. For this reason they have backwards facing pouches (unlike most other marsupials) to protect their young from flying dirt and rocks.




Baby White Rhino Born At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

white baby-rhino

Just like you, we’re suckers for adorable baby animals, and the new baby white rhinoceros at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida, more than fits the bill. Just look at those big feet! She’s not even as big as her mama’s head!

The 100-pound (yowza!) baby was born last Wednesday, November 11, to Mlaleni and Tambo. This rhino pair’s first calf, Malaika, was born in 2004 and was the first white rhino birth in Busch Gardens’ history. The newborn female is their fourth calf and brings the park’s total black and white rhino population to a total of 12 (nine white and three black).

The baby has yet to be named, but a spokesperson for Busch Gardens tells us that this is totally normal: “Names for baby animals are traditionally chosen after they reach 30 days of age. This allows the animal care team time to see the animal’s growth and character traits.”

Largest Wild Animal In Britain Is 300lb, 9ft Stag


Measuring 9ft tall, weighing in at 300lbs and known as the Exmoor Emperor, this stag is thought to be the largest wild animal in Britain. The annual mating season for deer is on and the wild stag has been spotted near the Devon-Somerset border.

Weighing in at more than 300 lbs – and standing nearly nine feet from hoof to antler-tip – the stag has been identified by a local authority on wild deer as a “truly magnificent” example of the species. “Red deer stags are the biggest indigenous land animal left in these islands, so it’s possible that this is the largest wild animal in the country today,” commented Dulverton’s Peter Donnelly, who has many years’ experience in deer management.

Super Size Meeeeeee-oooow


Because having just a plain old cat won’t do, Brits are now breeding super cats.

What’s a Super Cat you ask? Take your average domestic cat, breed it with a wild exotic like a Savannah or a Geoffrey and you get a 35 lb. super-duper cat with claws, teeth and jaw muscles to match its hefty weight, reports the Daily Mail.Beyond the fact that a half-exotic could cause some serious harm to a child or small animal, you’d need a litter box the size of a sandbox!

Despite safety and litter box concerns, some breeders boast a six-month long waiting list and a price tag of almost $9,000 for a super kitten. Thankfully these cats are illegal in several U.S. states and Australia reports the Daily Mail.

Creatures Nearing Extinction

Typically, a species becomes extinct 10 million years after its first appearance. Up to 99.9% of all species that have ever existed have become extinct

pic 1hjuik

Amazonian manatee
These large, gentle mammals have forelimbs that have modified into flippers, and a paddle at the rear of their body. When Douglas and I set off to find them 20 years ago, we only saw a pair of nostrils disappearing underwater. But Stephen and I found a rescue centre, where an orphaned manatee was about to be released into the wild.We both found it deeply moving, because the rescuers showed such love and tenderness to the little manatee. Here, on our first few weeks together, I saw just how deeply out of his comfort zone Stephen was.

We slept on a tiny wooden boat with nowhere for Stephen to plug in his mobile phone or laptop. He was so optimistic that he always carried several phones in the hope of getting a signal in the middle of the Amazon.

The crew and I quickly realised that if we wanted Stephen to trek up a hill, we only had to say, ‘There’s probably a signal there,’ and he would hike up without complaining. He never found a signal, but he did lose more than four stone.

white rihno

Northern White rhino
Nine months after Stephen’s accident, we resumed our journey. We flew to the Democratic Republic of Congo to find the northern white rhino. We planned to go into the Garamba National Park to find it, but we were warned by UN forces that the park was swarming with rebel soldiers.
Under threat: The northern white rhino lives in the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo

Stephen’s high profile meant that we would be at risk of kidnap. It was such a tough decision – we had come on a mission, and it was so hard not to just travel across the river and face the danger.

Sadly, we decided not to risk it. Instead, we sat among a family of mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest just over the border in Uganda. One baby gorilla even tripped over Stephen’s size 12 boots, and the mother gave him such a glare.

aye aye

In Madagascar, this gremlin like creature is thought to bring bad luck. It is killed on sight, and we were stunned to learn that if an aye-aye wanders into a village, the entire village is burned to the ground and rebuilt again, to ‘rid’ it of any bad omens.

One night, after wandering around with our torches, Stephen and I found two aye-ayes high in the treetops. It was our first real success in seeing one of these endangered species in the wild, and we were both elated.

The Rhino Cowboy

rino cow boy 1

They are famed for their vicious tempers, so images of this wild bull rhino ridden bareback by a warden are truly remarkable.The two-tonne beast formed an extraordinary bond with keeper James Ndlolvu after he was critically injured.

The white rhino, nicknamed Dennis the Menace, spent 17 months recovering at the Moholoholo reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa, following a fight with another dominant animal.
But despite being released back into the wild, the 12-year-old regularly visits his one-time carer to be fed horse pellets and get a scrub down with the brush.Game warden Mr Ndlolvu, 32, can even ‘steer’ Dennis with his legs as they explore the reservation ranch together.

Orangutans Make Musical Instruments, But Not To Party


They may not take requests, but orangutans play musical instruments. In fact, they’re the only non-human animals to do so, and new research explains why they do it.

The hairy apes strip leaves from trees, fold them, hold them to their mouths and make a “kiss-squeak” sound, primatologist Madeleine Hardus told Paw Nation. Hardus, a researcher at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, studied wild orangutans in Indonesian Borneo and observed their music-making first-hand.

“To our knowledge, orangutans are the only non-human primates to manipulate sound with tools,” she said.

As far as wind instruments go, the folded leaves don’t exactly rival clarinets and flutes, but they serve an important purpose, Hardus found. The apes’ kiss-squeak noise is actually an alarm call. Hardus discovered that when the orangutan makes the sound through the folded leaves, the pitch of the kiss-squeak is lowered significantly, reports New Scientist magazine.

Hardus told the magazine that orangutans also kiss-squeak with their mouths alone, or sometimes with their hands placed over their mouths. They seem to use the leaf instruments only when they’re really distressed. She believes the lower-pitched noises made through the leaves help orangutans deceive would-be predators like snakes, leopards and tigers. Deeper calls often mean bigger animals. Predators fooled into overestimating the size of the squeaking ape might abandon the hunt.

“This study clearly indicates that the abilities of great-ape communication have been traditionally undervalued,” Hardus told Paw Nation. “Researchers [have been] studying the orangutans for years and they keep on surprising us.”


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