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Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Own?

An argument is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia over who owns the rights to a photo a black macaque monkey took with Slater’s equipment.  The website says the famous photo should be freely distributed, because it believes the animal’s self-portrait isn’t bound by copyright law.  The man who owns the camera equipment feels differently.

This 2011 image captured by a cheeky black macaque after turning the tables on a photographer who left his camera unmanned has ignited a debate over who owns the photo.

The dispute stems from 2011, when Slater’s wildlife photography field trip to Indonesia produced a striking image of a smiling crested black macaque; another image shows it holding the camera. The story went viral, with Slater explaining that a group of macaques had taken over his equipment for a bit during the three days he spent in their company.

 

As he told The Telegraph back then, ”one of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off because the sound caused a bit of a frenzy.  At first there was a lot of grimacing with their teeth showing because it was probably the first time they had ever seen a reflection. They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button.”

 

Slater added that the primates took hundreds of photos, most of them out of focus. By far the most famous of them was the grinning female macaque’s “selfie” that was then licensed for use by many media outlets.

 

The Telegraph gave us an update on the story this week, saying Wikimedia had refused to change the image’s open-copyright classification. Slater tells the newspaper that he went through a great deal of effort and money to get the photo, noting that he traveled to the area and set up the camera.

“That trip cost me about £2,000 for that monkey shot,” he says. “Not to mention the £5,000 of equipment I carried, the insurance, the computer stuff I used to process the images.”

 

The folks at Wikimedia don’t agree that Slater is the photo’s author, and they refused his request to remove the image from the Wikimedia Commons section for open-source material.

 

Perhaps you’re thinking that if Slater doesn’t own the photo’s copyright, then the monkey does. But as GigaOM reports, “the editors at Wikimedia (which manages the library of more than 22 million images and videos associated with the open-source encyclopedia) rejected the photographer’s demands because they believe that no one holds the copyright. A monkey can’t hold the rights to an image, or anything else, for that matter, because they aren’t human, and therefore don’t have the legal standing required to do so.”

 

Slater notes that a court case might be the only way to resolve the authorship and ownership issues. If that occurs, it’s unlikely that the macaque would be represented in the proceedings, or in the debate its brief career as a photographer has set off.

 

Happy Monkday :_)

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/08/07/338668652/if-a-monkey-takes-a-photo-who-owns-the-copyright

Beavers Born to Britain

Beavers being born in Britain may not sound like news, but beavers haven’t been found in England- let alone this bank on the Otter River in East Devon, in hundreds of years, and no one knows exactly where these blokes have come from.

 

Wildlife experts there are taking extra precautions that the beavers are healthy, with the beavers’ welfare in mind.  The return of the beaver to England would be a welcome boom to their riparian (river)  ecosystems.

 

 

Also, the accents in this are wonderful, especially the farmer!

 

Happy Bun(rodent)day (|^_^|)

Sleepy Otter Starfeesh

The latest in cute Japanese otter videos is here! ^_^

A young sea otter sleeps with his arms outstretched, which is very unusual (and adorable)!  Usually, sea otters sleep with their paws folded in.  In humans, the arms-outstretched sleeping position is called “the starfish” and only 5% of people (including myself) sleep in this manner.  I wonder if sea otters are the same way….

 

Happy Ottersday :#)

The Squirrels of New York City

Most longtime New Yorkers have adopted habits to cope with life in a city of more than eight million people.  A new stud finds that even the city’s squirrels have made adjustments in order to better co-exist with people- in fact, they barely seem to notice them at all. Compared to rural squirrels, city squirrels allow pedestrians to come relatively close, and only move away when they feel people’s eyes intently watching them. This suggests that they can clearly discriminate between threatening and nonthreatening behavior.

“Some animal species never behaviorally adapt to humans- they always run when they see them,” Bill Bateman, a biologist at Curtin University in Australia, who led the study, said this in an email: “if an animal runs when it sees a human, it is because it sees the human as a and is prepared to stop doing what it is doing to escape. It pays a cost of stopping eating, or courting, but that is better than possibly being caught.”

 

In rural areas, most country squirrels view humans as potential predators. They become cautious and alert around people, keeping their distance, whether or not the human is looking directly at them. Bateman observed Eastern gray squirrels in a residential area in Manhattan’s highly populated and extremely busy Lower East Side. He dropped colored pins on the ground to measure the squirrels’ “alert distance,” or the distance between a squirrel and an observer once the squirrel was aware it was being watched. Bateman also measured the “distance fled,” or how far the squirrel distanced itself from the observer.

 

Ninety percent of the squirrels moved out of the way when they noticed humans walking on a footpath, while only 5 percent stopped, froze and showed signs of being alert and vigilant, like a deer in headlights. Bateman said city squirrels are aware that humans are everywhere and that they can’t run away all the time as a country squirrel would.

 

“In the city, the squirrels have honed this reaction down to tiny cues: Are the humans looking at me? That indicates higher risk than them ignoring me,” Bateman said.

 

Animals should still be sensitive to the potential threat of humans, but to be able to live freely in the presence of humans is one of the key behavioral traits of a successful urban adapter. Bateman and his co-author wrote in their study, published June 12 in the Journal of Zoology, that these animals don’t see humans quite as predators. In fact, humans might become “predation-free predators,” the researchers said, and so the animals ignore people, rather than react fearfully. Armed with this lack of fear, the animals are in a better position to thrive and persist in the urban environment.

 

As urban areas continue to grow around the world, more wildlife may need to adapt to city life. In the future, Bateman would like to explore the behavior of birds, mammals and reptiles in Australia that thrive in urban areas full of human activity.

Follow Jillian Rose Lim @jillroselim Google+. Follow us@livescienceFacebook Google+. Original article on Live Science.

 

Happy Bun(rodent)day (|^_^|)

 

http://www.livescience.com/47009-nyc-squirrels-adapt-to-urban-environment.html?cmpid=514627_20140726_28462886