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Showing posts from May, 2016

How Human-Animal Studies can help us coexist with carnivores

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Reposted from the Animals in Society blog.

When I was eight years old, my mother took me to a medieval re-enactment theme park. I was not very interested in learning about village life during medieval Britain, except for the fact that people at that time appeared to have a much closer relationship with other animals. As an animal lover, I remember being fascinated with the idea that every home at that point had their own barnyard menagerie, which helped to feed families for their entire lives.

In one of the model villages at the theme park, some chicks had just hatched from their eggs. The hen was doing her motherly duties of guarding and warming her little balls of fluff. Along I came, totally in awe at these beautiful and cute chicks; all I wanted to do was pick one up. Absolutely besotted with a tiny yellow one, I gathered it up in my small hands and trotted off to show it to my mum. In horror, my mother gasped at the sight of this poor little chirping bird, as the realisation dawn…

US government's policy on wolf culling may have increased poaching

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Reposted from my article on the BBC

As the cold early spring sun began to shine between the trees, the only sound heard for miles around was the gentle rustling of leaves in the bone-chilling breeze. But faintly, in the distance, the galloping of footsteps began to thunder through the forest.

The wolf pack darted between the conifers on the trail of a deer. Suddenly, a deafening explosion echoed through the woods, and a wolf at the rear of the pack yelped and dropped to the floor. A poacher had shot it dead.

Such illegal killings are thought to be relatively common in the US. However, because poaching is illegal, we do not have a firm grasp on how often this illicit behaviour really goes on.

Conservationists have previously thought that poaching subsides if either legal culling by government officials, or trophy hunting, is allowed. The idea is that these legal forms of killing can make local people more tolerant of the wildlife they live with, reducing their urge to illegally kill animal…