It’s been called the largest mortality event related to marine diseases ever seen. But now scientists are close to solving the mystery behind the massive die off of starfish in the Pacific Ocean. Ashley Ahearn of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s EarthFix project tells us more.
Science historian Laurel Braitman describes herself as someone who “spends a lot of time thinking about humans thinking about other animals thinking about us.” Dr. Braitman’s extensive study of and personal experiences with pets and wildlife has revealed a singular perspective on the subject of animals and mental illness. And her new book, "Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves" is a best seller. Braitman tells us how to identify psychological disorders in non-human species and she suggests several therapeutic options.
We know less about what’s in our oceans than we do about outer space; only about 5 percent of the ocean floor—and about a half a percent of the ocean itself—has been explored. Much of the knowledge we have about the pelagic universe can be found with oceanographer Sylvia Earle, affectionately known as “Her Deepness." Earle shares more than 60 years of unlocking the mysteries of the sea in a new documentary, Mission Blue. We have a preview of the film with a little help from Ms. Earle and celebrated director Robert Nixon.
Saving Chesapeake Oysters From Impending DOOM:The Chesapeake Bay is the largest oyster-producing body of water in the United States but the future for the bay’s ancient mollusks is dim; one estimate puts their population at less than 1 percent of historical levels. One of the suspected causes is a rapid depletion of oxygen, referred to as Dissolved Oxygen Oyster Mortality. The laboratory where researchers are working to understand the problem is known as The Room of DOOM. We sent WAMU reporter Jonathan Wilson to have a look at the groundbreaking science that takes place there.
Joyce Poole is the world’s foremost elephant researcher and a National Geographic Explorer. Her brother Bob Poole is a celebrated wildlife filmmaker. In recognition of World Elephant Day 2014, we speak to them about their efforts to protect African elephants.
The Loh Down On Science: Sandra Tsing Loh introduces us to Joshua Plotnik from Emory University, who studied dozens of Asian elephants in Thailand. Plotnik found out that when the world’s largest land animals panic, they emote a low-frequency, “I’m having a meltdown” rumble that is a highly sophisticated way of communicating their feelings to other elephants.
Calming A Restless Cat: Dr. Gary Weitzman of The San Diego Humane Society offers advice to a Maryland resident seeking a cure for a feline’s distressed behavior.
A Canine Resists Being Home Alone: A Virginia woman has two Tibetan Terriers (despite the name the breed is not actually a member of the terrier group). One dog is perfectly fine when their caretaker leaves the house, but the other is totally freaked out. Nicole Wilde, a canine behavior specialist and author of Don’t Leave Me! Step-By-Step Help for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety, has a few suggestions.
Music: “Purus River” by Uakti. Special Thanks to Natalie Yuravlivker
Animal safety has risen to a new priority level in the nation’s capital as a result of proposed legislation introduced by a member of the Washington DC City Council. The bill supports the use of sirens on animal control vehicles responding to emergencies, which is currently not allowed. If the measure is adopted, WAMU’s Metro Connection reporter Lauren Landau says, there could be dramatic changes for officers of the Washington Humane Society’s Animal Care and Control unit .
Cat Café Makes American Debut: A cat café is a place where patrons pay an hourly fee to participate in what amounts to a supervised, short-term indoor pet rental. The practice started nearly 20 years ago in Taiwan and has become popular, especially in Asia. North America’s first cat café recently opened in New York City and we sent reporter Nadia Wilson to have a look.