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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.

A police officer who was bitten in the genitals by a police dog is not entitled to sue for damages without first proving negligence. That was the decision Thursday from a narrowly divided Washington Supreme Court.

After nearly 50 years on the endangered species list, Columbian White-Tailed deer are moving up in the world.

Their numbers along the Columbia River have more than doubled since the species was listed in 1967. On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is upgrading their status from "endangered" to "threatened."

Officials are celebrating the occasion in Ridgefield, Washington, where the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge has played a key role in the deer's recovery.

There's a heated debate in the Arctic Circle. It's about reindeer. Lots of them.

Russian health officials want to cull a quarter million animals by Christmas, The Siberian Times reports. That's enough reindeer to fill about 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

In the last six years, about 10 confirmed cases of valley fever have popped up in Eastern Washington. And the state of Washington estimates there are even more exposures that haven’t been diagnosed.

For the last two months, wildlife managers in Washington state have been shooting wolves in the Profanity Peak pack from a helicopter. The director of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife authorized the killings back in August.

File photo of a panda.
Flickr Photo/Will Sowards (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5kiSHg

Large zoos in Washington are standing by while a private foundation tries to bring panda bears to the state.

Officials at the Washington Panda Foundation say they'll be attending a Chinese Panda Summit this month. The only other invitees? Zoos who host pandas.

The Chinese government charges $1 million a year for U.S. zoos to host panda bears and requires a minimum 10-year commitment to hosting.


Specially trained dogs have been known to sniff out explosives, drugs, missing persons and certain cancer cells, but author Alexandra Horowitz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that extraordinary olfactory abilities aren't just the domain of working dogs.

Finally — some good news for the bees of Hawaii.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given endangered status to seven species of yellow-faced bees native to the islands. These are "the first bees in the country to be protected under the Endangered Species Act," according to the Xerces Society, which advocated for the new designation.

There are less than 500 North Atlantic right whales left in the world. And now, one less: This weekend, one of the 45-ton creatures was found dead off the coast of Maine, completely entangled in fishing line — head, flippers and all.

This was not an isolated incident.

Emily Grason and Sean McDonald trudge through the mud of San Juan Island’s Westcott Bay on the hunt for something they hope not to find: A 3-inch menace: the European green crab.

In late August, a single adult male was found for the first time in Washington’s inland sea. University of Washington researchers responded, arriving at the location of that first sighting with hundreds of traps in tow.

Dead Whale Returns To Oregon Coast

Sep 20, 2016

The humpback whale whose carcass washed ashore near Arch Cape over the weekend, and then left with the high tide, is back again.

This time, the remains washed up at Oswald West State Park just south of Arch Cape.

State park staff plan interpretive talks at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday about the whale at the park, whether the remains are still there, or not.

"The twice-daily high tides predicted over the next few weeks are not expected to be high enough to take it back out to sea, though it is still possible for it to wash out," staff said in a press release Tuesday.

Stakeholders on all sides continue to grapple with a controversial management decision that would allow Washington state wildlife officials to exterminate an entire wolf pack in the Northeast corner of the state.

Cat-scratch disease, as the name suggests, is spread by cats. It has long been considered a mild illness, but a study finds that people are getting more serious complications, which can be fatal.

And kissing kittens increases the risk of being infected.

Five people. Ten bears. One desperate call for help.

On a remote Arctic island, five researchers at a weather station found themselves "besieged" by polar bears over the weekend, Russia's TASS news agency reports.

Vadim Plotnikov, the head of the weather station on Troynoy Island, told the news agency on Monday that the staff there had seen 10 adult bears around the station, as well as several cubs.

Two weeks ago, a polar bear ate one of the weather station's two dogs — and hadn't left the station since.

In the past month, wildlife officials have shot six wolves from a helicopter in the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington state. That’s likely to come up during a two-day work session for members of the state’s Wolf Advisory Group that begins Wednesday.

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