animals

The week between Christmas and New Year's is one of the best times of the year to watch grey whales migrating along the Oregon coast.

From Facebook.

About 18 months ago, a volunteer at a Forks, Wash., animal sanctuary took photos of the shelter where she worked. She captured grim images of a rundown warehouse where the animals – mostly dogs but also reptiles – were housed, focusing on their cages, rib cages, feces and exposed wiring.

Displaced By Development, Urban Goat Herd Needs A New Home

Dec 3, 2013

A dozen goats tromp around on their very own playground while traffic zooms by in Southeast Portland's industrial district.

Here, on the city's so-called "goat block," bike tours and families with children stop to visit the goat herd outside a chain-link fence. Each goat has a name and a "friendliness" rating posted outside the fence and once a day, a caretaker walks one of the friendly goats around the neighborhood for people to pet.

This is a Thanksgiving story about a horse. Actually, a horse artist. I don't mean an artist who paints horses, like Degas or Remington, but a horse who paints — and thereby also raises money for less fortunate horses.

Really.

Oregon Restricts Pesticides Responsible For Bee Die-Offs

Nov 25, 2013
Xerces Society Photo/Rich Hatfield

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of two pesticide ingredients implicated in the deaths of more than 50,000 bumble bees earlier this year.

Big Life Foundation Photo/Nick Brandt

They’re calling it The Crush.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to destroy six tons of elephant ivory on Thursday to draw attention to the ongoing decimation of wild elephants by poachers. Wildlife service officials will grind up tusks, trinkets and carvings seized from traffickers over the past 25 years. The tusks are typically trafficked in the illegal Chinese and Japanese ivory market.

Fresh off Tuesday's election, another is just around the corner: The National Zoo wants you to help name its new panda cub by casting a vote at Smithsonian.com.

You can vote online (no photo identification required and the balloting continues until Nov. 22).

At NPR, we always strive to ensure that our audience is informed of the candidates — even when they're names for pandas.

That's Not What The Fox Says. It Goes Wow-Wow

Oct 23, 2013
Flickr Photo/US National Archives

"What does the fox say?" — the viral video in which a child’s barnyard sounds book goes “Gangnam Style” — has spurred many parodies,  including one from longtime local drive time show, Bob Rivers on KJR. Their Twisted Tunes team spun the tune into a pep rally ditty for the Seattle Seahawks.

This inspired KUOW host Bill Radke to ponder — and answer — the cosmic question himself. Play the audio clip to find out exactly what a fox says.

KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

Ava Anissipour is on a mission to convince Federal Way to re-classify pygmy goats as pets, not livestock. Anissipour has had a pygmy goat since she was nine years old; she's 12 now.

Anissipour says pygmy goats make perfect household pets: affectionate, smart and well behaved. The Federal Way City Council plans to vote on pygmy goat classification in the coming weeks.

Marcie Sillman sat down with Anissipour to talk about her efforts.

Weird Science: The Conversation Explores The Natural World

Aug 26, 2013
David Montgomery's book "The Rocks Don't Lie"

The world is a mysterious place. In labs and observatories around the world, people are trying to make sense of nature’s secrets. This hour on The Conversation we talk to scientists and science writers about the natural world around us and what scientists are doing to harness its power.

Flickr Photo/Sharyn Morrow

Actor, Model Isabella Rossellini On Making “Green Pornos”

Isabella Rossellini became famous for high-fashion modeling and for her acting roles in over 60 films and television shows. But she also makes films about sex. Specifically, the sex lives of animals. From the elephant seal to the little anchovy — all erotic encounters are on the table. Isabella Rossellini joined us back in 2009.

Sir Ken Robinson On Creativity

"All children are born artists. The problem is to remain artists as we grow up," says Sir Ken Robinson, an international expert on creativity. School, he says, encourages us to become good workers, not creative thinkers. So how do we fix it? Marcie Sillman talked with Sir Robinson in 2009 about his book, "The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything," and the challenges of teaching creativity.  

A Conversation With "Game Of Thrones" Author George R.R. Martin

With HBO's "Game of Thrones," George R.R. Martin's world of Westeros is seducing TV viewers much as it captured readers. Martin began writing science fiction stories in the 1970s, and early on his stories were nominated for awards. Raised in a housing project in New Jersey, he used to write monster tales for the neighborhood kids. Steve Scher talked with George Martin in 2012.

Of all the creatures in the sea, one of the most majestic and mysterious is the whale shark. It's the biggest shark there is, 30 feet or more in length and weighing in at around 10 tons.

Among the mysteries is where this mighty fish migrates and where it gives birth. Now scientists have completed the biggest study ever of whale sharks, and they think they have some answers to those questions.

Northwest Chimps Compete In National Art Contest

Aug 20, 2013

Two chimpanzees living in the Northwest are competing in a national art contest.  The chimps and their caretakers are trying to win a $10,000 first prize for their respective sanctuaries. 

The abstract artwork entered by Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington was created using children's finger paint enhanced with sunflower seed shells. "It's kind of a mixed media piece," says sanctuary outreach director Diana Goodrich. She says the chimp artist is a retired biomedical study subject named Jamie.

Inside The Brains Of Animals

Apr 25, 2013
Sad chimp
Flickr Photo/Tom Holbrook

Some animals display very human behaviors: chimps grieve, rats love to be tickled, and moths remember living as caterpillars.

Science journalist Virginia Morell explores the complex minds of animals in her new book, "Animal Wise." From field sites to laboratories, Morell shows how animal cognition research has evolved, and how animals possess traits many feel are unique to humans.

She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on April 8, 2013.

Found A Dead Bird? Science Could Use It

Apr 23, 2013
KUOW Photo/Sarah Waller

THUD. It’s the sickening sound of a bird hitting your window. You hope it’s just stunned; that it will fly off. But there it is: A motionless lump of feathers on the ground. Before you bury it or toss it in the trash, consider an alternative. Some Seattle residents are donating these avian casualties to science. 

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