In the last week of every month we take a look back at the crazy creatures and amazing animals that have made the headlines in recent weeks. Here’s a reminder of what October’s headlines told us about some of the animals that share our planet:
The eyes have it
Recently published research has confirmed what everyone with a dog in their life already knows – that these clever canines produce meaningful facial expressions when communicating with their humans. Scientists studying evolutionary psychology at the University of Portsmouth have discovered that dogs produce more facial movements when people pay attention to them – showing their tongues and raising eyebrows to make their eyes appear bigger (a trait us humans are known to find ‘cute’). They conclude that whilst this is not proof that our pets develop a deep emotional connection to us, it does show that dogs are sensitive to our attention. Which anyone who has ever tried to eat a snack whilst being closely watched by a dog will fully appreciate!
Penguin population plummets
Earlier this month it was reported that a ‘catastrophic breeding event’ had occurred amongst a large colony of Adélie penguins being observed by French scientists in Antarctica. In the colony of about 18,000 breeding penguin pairs on Petrels Island, just two surviving chicks were recorded; whilst sadly thousands of starved chicks and unhatched eggs were found scattered across the island. This is the second time in four years that disaster has hit the colony, believed to be due to a localised increase in the extent of sea ice that has resulted in parents having to travel much further afield to find food. Calls have been made for the urgent establishment of a Marine Protected Area, to limit commercial fishing nearby and thus shield penguins from similar problems in future.
Big cat spotted inside Indian factory
Security guards at India’s largest car manufacturing plant in Manesar, New Delhi couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw an adult leopard captured on CCTV roaming inside the factory. It took 36 hours and 200 police and wildlife officials to track down and tranquilise the big cat in order that he could be safely removed from the building. Production was shut down and workers evacuated whilst the hunt went on. The animal was subsequently released back into the wild, none the worse for his ordeal but perhaps a little more knowledgeable about the process of car assembly?!
Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support