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When South Korea's mountain town of PyeongChang hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games next year, a white tiger and a black bear, respectively, will serve as mascots. They've been introduced as cuddly icons of Korean history and folklore.

'Uber For Veterinarians' Coming To Portland

Jan 6, 2017

Portland’s about to become home to a new kind of business: VetPronto. The company's founder describes it as an "Uber for veterinarians." VetPronto is scheduled to arrive in Portland at the end of January.

The pitch is that you can have a vet come to your home, instead of taking your pet to a clinic.

Sounds expensive, right?

“Yeah, that’s a common misconception," said company founder Joe Waltman.

He's already rolled the idea out in 10 cities.

Tilikum, possibly the most famous orca in the world, has died, according to SeaWorld Orlando.

He was the subject of the influential documentary Blackfish, and outcry over his story prompted SeaWorld to stop breeding orcas in captivity.

The vaquita is a small porpoise found only in the northern Gulf of California, in Mexico. Today, the species is critically endangered, with less than 60 animals left in the wild, thanks to fishing nets to catch fish and shrimp for sale in Mexico and America. The animal is an accidental victim of the fishing industry, as are many other marine mammals.

Adam Truitt, owner of Pest Fighter, sets traps for rats in an alley behind the University Book Store in Seattle. There are two kinds of rats in Seattle, the Norway rat and the roof rat.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

2017 may not be a good year for Seattle’s booming rat population.

The city’s new building code as of Jan. 1 requires developers to get rid of rats from any property they plan to tear down.

Annual Bird Count Opens A Window Into Climate Change

Dec 30, 2016

Scott Atkinson and Diana Antunes are tramping around a flooded field in an abandoned farm just north of Everett. They pick their way through blackberry brambles and wade through water halfway up to their knees. Antunes stops short when she spots something in the distance.

“What do you got?” Atkinson asks her.

Antunes points to a peregrine falcon perched on a tree, eating a bird.

“Oh! Nicely done!” Atkinson says.

After the results of the November election, more than half of U.S. states have now authorized medical marijuana. And eight of those states also allow recreational marijuana. So if pot helps some humans feel better, how about people's best friends?

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a sound coming from one of the deepest spots in the ocean. They believe it’s the song of a Minke whale, but it’s not like any they’ve identified before.

The so-called “Western Pacific Biotwang” is more horror movie than Nashville ballad. A low moan at the beginning is typical of baleen whales, but it was the end that caught the ear of OSU researcher Sharon Nieukirk.

“What makes this call special is the second part, and the way it sweeps way up and it sort of has that metallic twang sound to it,” she said.

Wondering if your pet rat is feeling happy? You should check its ears, researchers say.

A team of scientists in Switzerland found that a rat's ears are more pinkish and are positioned at a more relaxed angle when it is experiencing positive emotions. The researchers recently published their findings in the journal Plos One.

Americans waste a staggering amount of food. Instead of letting it rot and wreck the environment, some entrepreneurs want to put it to work feeding insects, and see the potential to revolutionize how we feed some of the livestock that provide us our meat.

Phil Taylor's enthusiasm for insects is infectious. The University of Colorado Boulder research ecologist beams as he weaves through a small greenhouse in rural Boulder County, Colorado. A room about the size of a shipping container sits inside.

There's a lot of time for contemplation when you're milking cows in Mongolia. 90-year-old Lkhagvajav Bish has milked them for decades. She's a nomadic herder, and she follows them in their endless search for grass.

Today, the ger, or tent, she and her son live in is pitched in a valley surrounded by brown hills whose tops are white with frost, and as her hands squeeze the last milk from one of her herd, Bish reminisces about a time when this valley looked completely different.

Giraffes are dying at an alarming rate and could face extinction if the trend doesn't reverse, according to a new conservation report on animal populations worldwide.

The report was released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains the so-called Red List of species threatened with extinction.

Feral pigs are a problem in 39 U.S. states and the Northwest is not immune. That’s why officials from four Washington agencies issued a reminder to residents last week to be on the lookout.

The state Fish and Wildlife departments in Washington and Oregon are seeking -- and getting -- help from hunters and hikers to track a perplexing epidemic. It's a hoof disease that causes heartbreaking scenes of limping or lame elk.

The humble, hardy gray jay is poised to become the national bird of Canada — and that's causing quite a flap.

Mr. Sea the penguin receives laser treatment at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. Mr. Sea
Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

How do you treat a penguin with arthritis?

First, you watch him walk.

When I give public talks about animal intelligence and emotion around the U.S., I'm struck by one thing: a big audience response to the behavior of octopuses.

Mantis shrimp, a group of aggressive, reef-dwelling crustaceans, take more than one first-place ribbon in the animal kingdom. Outwardly, they resemble their somewhat larger lobster cousins, but their colorful shells contain an impressive set of superpowers.

It’s the deep-bellied growl that stops them.

The researchers are just approaching the grizzly bear when he begins expressing his displeasure. Grizzly No. 1225 had been smart enough to avoid a huge, metal box trap. But not the leg snare next to it.

This is the first story in a three-part series. Read part one and part two.

For wildlife in Oregon, the best way to stay alive is to make sure someone wants to kill you.

As the cat-tentious — or rather, contentious — political season winds down, there's something afoot that may help voters relax: cat yoga. Animal shelters in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Texas and other states across the country are partnering with yoga studios to raise money and increase adoptions.

At the Supreme Court on Monday, the justices heard arguments in the case of a girl with disabilities, her service dog and the school that barred the dog from the premises.

Ehlena Fry was born with cerebral palsy, which significantly limits her mobility but not her cognitive skills. So when she was about to enter kindergarten in Napoleon, Mich., her parents got a trained service dog — a white furry goldendoodle, named Wonder.

Agreement Reached To Help Oregon's Spotted Frog

Oct 28, 2016

The Upper Deschutes River and the Oregon spotted frogs that live there will see higher water flows under an interim deal reached Friday between environmental groups, irrigation districts and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The agreement comes after conservation groups filed suit.

“This is the first of many steps to restore a natural flow regime in the Deschutes,” said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity in a release.

The Center and WaterWatch of Oregon were parties to the agreement.

The 2016 finalists for the second annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been announced, and they are predictably delightful.

A grinning owl. A fish slapping a bear in the face. An unfortunate interaction between a buffalo and a bird. At least two eagles with very little dignity. Click through the slideshow for a selection of the finalists.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Tyrone Hayes's TED Talk

Biologist Tyrone Hayes talks about the concerning effects of the herbicide atrazine, which is part of a group of chemicals that are found in everyday food and household products.

About Tyrone Hayes

Flickr Photo/Javacolleen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Seattle has a rat problem. Rat sightings in Seattle are double the national average. Population growth is part of the problem; so is the weather.

That’s meant good business for Adam Truitt, owner of Pest Fighter.

Larry Schwitters is putting a lot of hope into a five-gallon bucket of bird poop.

It’s one of the ways he plans to lure thousands of Vaux's swifts into his homemade version of the chimneys these birds use as a nightly roost.

"The idea is we throw it in the chimney and it has an odor supposedly the swifts can smell," he said. "If they fly over it and take a sniff, they’ll think, ‘Hey, swifts have used this before. This is a good one. You can smell it.’”

Back in the 1970s, Gens Johnson got really interested in handmade and regional art. She started buying pieces from shops in Portland and across the Northwest.

“I bought two pieces that were scrimshaw, and they were done on whale ivory and walrus tusk,” she said.

Scrimshaw is a kind of carving – typically of boats and sea life. It was popularized by whalers in the 1800s.

“I was concerned when I bought it that it wasn’t elephant ivory, and I really didn’t think there was any problem with it being a sea mammal product,” Johnson said.

The government and a conservation group both are offering reward money for help find whoever killed a federally protected gray wolf in South-Central Oregon.

The wolf, a radio-collared 3-year-old female known as OR-28, was found dead on Oct. 6 in the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

It’s a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act to kill a gray wolf, which is listed as endangered in the western two-thirds of Oregon. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon State Police are investigating.

Scientists have discovered a new kind of spidey sense.

We already knew that jumping spiders have exceptional vision. We knew that they are great at perceiving vibrations. We even knew that they can "hear" at extremely close range.

But in research published in Current Biology, researchers at Cornell University found that a common species of jumping spider called Phidippus audax can actually hear from much farther away than we thought — at distances of 10 feet away, or more.

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