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Wolves Helping the Bears in Yellowstone

The return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, may be leading to an improvement in the diet of grizzly bears, a study suggests, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

When wolves were eradicated from Yellowstone in the early 20th Century, the elk population boomed, devastating berry-shrubs relied upon by bears.  A team from Oregon and Washington links the reintroduction of predatory wolves with a decline in over-browsing by elk.

There is a consequent recovery in the availability of late-summer berries, the favoured pre-hibernation food of the grizzly bear.  The study indicates that the number of berries measured in bear droppings has doubled as elk numbers have decreased, following the wolves’ return in the 1990s.  The complex interactions of the Yellowstone ecosystem were revealed in data measured before and after the reintroduction of wolves.

David Mattson, a US Geological Survey (USGS) wildlife biologist, commented previously on Yellowstone: “It’s a complex system and grizzly bears are a kind of consummate connector of all of the species in that system.”

The study shows that berry shrubs have increased since elk populations declined, and as shrubs recover from over-browsing the fruit consumption of bears has increased.

William Ripple, lead author, commented: “Wild fruit is typically an important part of grizzly bear diet, especially in late summer when they are trying to gain weight as rapidly as possible before winter hibernation”.

“Elk browsing reducing berry production is well known in Europe as well,” said Atle Mysterud, an ecologist from the University of Oslo.

“The study shows that new patches of berries have formed after the wolves were reintroduced. It is clear that berry production is very important for bears.”

“This is an interesting paper and it is important that we understand the consequences of wolf recovery”, Dr Middleton added.

 

The latest results demonstrate that acknowledging the many inter-relationships between species and environments in these systems is key to understanding that complexity.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23495074

Banana Girl

A young couple takes their toddler-aged daughter to the zoo, specifically so she can see the monkeys, while wearing her new banana costume.

The resulting picture is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Monkday :_)

POV Bunny-Feeding

Take a break from your day, and enjoy POV (that’s point-of-view) bunny-feeding.  Imagine you are holding the strawberry, and letting the cute little bunny face nibble away, right at your fingertips…. it’s rather soothing actually….

 

 

Happy Bunday ^_^

The Benefits of Cuddling

Feeling depressed, anxious, or sick?  Find a cuddle-buddy to squeeze and hug out all the negativity.  Let these kitties show you how it’s done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Caturday =^_^=

A Triumph for Chimpanzees

The National Institute of Health, the largest funder of medical research in the United States, has announced that they will finally stop using chimpanzees in laboratory experiments.  The primates are retiring from all United States government research.  This is a huge triumph for anti-vivisectionists and chimpanzees everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The head of the National Institute of Health (NIH) said its decision to retire more than three hundred chimpanzees from research would help usher in a “compassionate era” of scientific research.  NIH director, Dr Francis Collins, said that chimpanzees, as man’s closest relative in the animal kingdom, “deserve special respect.  These amazing animals have taught us a great deal already,” he said, as he announced the policy change at the end of June.

 

The use of chimpanzees in biomedical research has been on the decline for some time, but for activists seeking to end the practice, the NIH decision is still a “game-changer”.

 

Happy Monkday :_)

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23322774

Dinner, Interrupted

Three lovely housecats are in the middle of dinner, when a raccoon makes a surprise appearance… and an even more surprising exit.

 

You might have noticed the raccoon putting the cat food in the water bowl before eating it.  Washing food is a very common behavior for raccoons, and is even so-named for the activity.

The word “raccoon” was adopted into English from the native Powhatan term, as used in the Virginia Colony.  It was recorded on Captain John Smith’s list of Powhatan words as aroughcun, and on that of William Strachey as arathkone.  It has been identified as a Proto-Algonquian root ahrah-koon-em, meaning “the one who rubs and scrubs with its hands”.

In many languages, the raccoon is named for its characteristic dousing behavior in conjunction with that language’s term for bear, for example Waschbär in German, orsetto lavatore in Italian, mosómedve in Hungarian and araiguma (アライグマ) in Japanese. In French and Portuguese, the washing behavior is combined with these languages’ term for rat, yielding, respectively, raton laveur and ratão-lavadeiro.

 

I’m sure those three cats won’t soon forget their encounter with the weird food-washer….

 

Happy Caturday =^_^=

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon