Many people feel a deep connection with their pets and even with the wildlife that cross their paths. That sense can come from interaction and observation alike. Vint Virga, an animal behavior specialist, has spent more than three decades observing the creatures he treats. He wrote about his experiences in "The Soul of All Living Creatures," a 2014 Silver Nautilus award-winning book. We speak with Virga via Rhode Island Public Radio.
May I Ask Who’s Calling? We learn to identify one of the most elusive animals in North America just by its distinctive call. Our guide is Courtney Flatt of Northwest Public Radio.
To satisfy the global demand for ivory, poachers have killed more than 100,000 African elephants in the last three years alone. This staggering figure has inspired conservationists and politicians alike to buckle down on illegal animal harvesting. In kind, Wildlife Conservation Society has launched an investigation of poaching in Mozambique. We speak with Alistair Nelson, program director of the group’s Mozambique headquarters.
Sounding the Alarm for Animal Control Officers:Animal safety is a rising priority in the Nation’s Capital, thanks to one member of the Washington, DC Council. Councilmember Mary Cheh proposed legislation to allow the use of sirens on animal control vehicles responding to emergencies. If the measure passes, WAMU’s Metro Connection reporter Lauren Landau says, officers of the Washington Humane Society’s Animal Care and Control unit could benefit as much as the animals and people they serve.
Thinking Outside The Box: An 8-year-old tabby cat in Virginia has inexplicably started using the area outside of the litter box and its caretaker can’t figure out why. Dr. Weitzman has a few unusual but useful suggestions.
Dental Dos And Don’ts: In Washington, D.C., a 14-year old dog named Nina needs her teeth cleaned but the owner is terrified by the prospect of using anesthesia. Is there an alternative?
Feline Tailspin: A cat in Bethesda, Maryland seems to be frightened of its own tail and has had several, self-inflicted injuries that have required surgery as a result.
California’s central valley is a critical stopping point on the western route for millions of migrating shorebirds. However, the worst drought in the state’s history is preventing the birds from having the water they need for a journey that lasts thousands of miles. Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton has a story about a novel partnership between environmentalists and local farmers that could provide a solution to the problem.
The Stigma of Grieving For a Deceased Pet: For some people, the death of a companion animal is comparable to losing a beloved family member. But they are reluctant to express grief to others, fearing a lack of understanding. More than 25 years ago, social worker Kathy Reiter formed Virginia’s first support group to address the complex nature of pet bereavement. She has helped thousands of people since then. We speak with Kathy about her pioneering work.
Music: “Madeira River” & “Calango em Pedra Quente” by Uakti.
Raccoon Etiquette Dr. Gary Weitzman of The San Diego Humane Society fields a request for more information about the proper handling of a visit to a Washington, D.C. home by a raccoon. Raymond Noll, director of Animal Control Field Services at the Washington Humane Society joins the conversation and offers advice.
Cat Cohabitation A San Diego, California woman wants to know the best way to expand her family of felines.
Music: “Purus River” by Uakti. Special Thanks to Natalie Yuravlivker
Before British musician James Bowen wrote A Street Cat Named Bob, the best-seller about his extraordinary relationship with a wandering feline, he was homeless, suffering from a long term heroin addiction and playing music for pennies on the streets of London. We speak to Bowen about his transformation from wayward busker to best-selling author and international celebrity.
Invasive Species Threatens An African Island:Madagascar became the fourth largest island in the world when it split from India some 88 million years ago. That event allowed plants and animals there to evolve in relative isolation. In fact, 90 percent of its wildlife is found nowhere else on earth. Now the African nation has a new, invasive species that is having a frightening effect on environmentalists and local residents. Bobby Bascomb of PRI’s The World has details.
Seven days a week, 24 hours a day officers of the Washington Humane Society's Animal Care and Control Field Services Division handle the mostly unpredictable and often dangerous responsibility of rescuing injured, threatened or abandoned animals in the nation’s capital. As the only rescue organization charted by the U.S. Congress, it has a unique place among animal welfare agencies by coming to the aid of both pets and wildlife - since 1870. To learn more about the work of these dedicated individuals, we sent WAMU’s Metro Connection reporter Lauren Landau to ride along with them.
Using Foxes As a “Rosetta Stone” For the History of Fido: Fifty years ago, scientists in Siberia attempted to domesticate wild foxes to find out more about how wolves changed over thousands of years to become dogs. What followed was a significant breakthrough in the study of canine behavior. As a result, the experiment continues today and Ashley Cleek of PRI’s The World went to Russia to report on its progress.