How the Phoenix Zoo Keeps Animals and Visitors Safe

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There is a distinct difference between what happened at the Cincinnati Zoo when a small child fell into a 450-pound gorilla’s enclosure, and what’s happening at the Phoenix Zoo, where the orangutans can walk right up to you.  “We wanted people to get up close and have that experience, but obviously not put them in a dangerous situation,” said Senior Primate Keeper with the Phoenix Zoo Denise Wagner

The Case for Treating Animals as Humans

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In the new documentary ‘Unlocking the Cage,’ attorney Steven Wise makes his case for why animals need legal personhood for their own safety.  Earlier this month, when Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center, the world’s largest chimpanzee research facility, announced it was moving all 220 of its chimps to a sanctuary in Georgia, it’s a safe bet the news made attorney Steven Wise the happiest man on the planet. That’s because two of the chimps, Hercules and Leo, had been the subjects in an ongoing legal battle about the rights of chimps, a legal case brought by Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, and the subject of D.A. Pennebaker a Chris Hegedus’s Unlocking the Cage, a documentary out now in New York, followed by a national rollout and an HBO broadcast early next year.

Video Shows Lions Licking Tent With Camper Still Inside

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A camper in Africa experienced a too-close-for-comfort encounter with nature when she recorded three lionesses licking her tent while she was still inside.  Francie Lubbe was camping at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana on May 9 when she recorded the lionesses licking water on the tent leftover from a heavy rain the night before. The lionesses, inches away, were visible through the tent’s clear mesh. Drinks and sunblock lotion can be seen on the other side of the tent, directly opposite the lionesses’ heads.

Could a Child Really be Raised by Animals?

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I recently became a first-time mother. In addition to my daughter, Myrtle, I share my home with a motley collection of rescued animals including dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and pigs. This multi-species, multi-generational co-habitation—along with the release of a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book—left me thinking about the phenomena of feral children, a topic I had considered in my book about human-animal interactions more generally. Certainly in some exceptional circumstances I can now appreciate how it might be possible for a human child to be cared for by a non-human surrogate.

A New Code of Conduct to Protect Animals From Drones

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A quick search online will reveal dozens of videos of drone and bird encounters. While it’s always impressive to see a bird of prey take down a pesky quadcopter, the disturbance could impact the animal in ways we don’t yet understand.  As the commercial drone industry kicks off and drones are increasingly used in conservation efforts, two Australian researchers have developed an animal-drone code of conduct to begin the conversation about how these machines should be ethically used.

Secret Life of Animals, Captured on Camera

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Scientists trying to learn about the lifestyles of elusive critters (tigers and cougars come to mind) have their work cut out for them.  Many animals will smell or hear a researcher long before the researcher sees them. As for observing nocturnal animals? Forget it. But in the last few years, many wildlife researchers studying animals in their natural habitat have had a technological assist from camera traps. These devices lie in wait until a passing animal triggers their motion sensor.

Johns Hopkins Ends Use of Live Animals for Surgical Training

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The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will end its use of live animals in medical education, school officials announced Wednesday.  For many years, surgical procedures on live pigs have been part of the core clerkship in surgery for Hopkins medical students at Hopkins. But the School of Medicine is now joining the nationwide trend of switching entirely to computer simulations for such training.  “Given that almost all medical schools have stopped using live animals in medical student education and that the experience is not essential, the School of Medicine has decided that the use of live animals in the surgical clerkship should stop,” school officials wrote in a message sent to students Wednesday.

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