Wednesday, November 21, 2007

a bear in the house

Brutus, a four-and-a-half-year-old grizzly bear, will be attending Thanksgiving dinner at the Grizzly Encounter, a bear rescue and educational facility in Bozeman, Montana.

He's a pup and darned cute.

Herbivores kick carniverous butt!

This is one of the most astonishing things I've ever seen. As Dooce says, " be prepared to experience every emotion on the spectrum."

"A battle between a pride of lions, a herd of buffalo, and 2 crocodiles at a watering hole in South Africa's Kruger National Park."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Maggie update

Here is the chronology of updates for Maggie, an elephant recently moved from the Alaska Zoo to the Performing Animal Welfare Society's sanctuary in San Andreas.

November 17, 2007 Maggie's Walk on the Wild Side (includes a video of Maggie's stroll, which is truly amazing and wonderful to see. She and the other elephants are developing a close bond and she is clearly entranced with her new expansive habitat.

November 10th - Maggie is settling in nicely - are we surprised? Nope :) Elegals and human residents are bending over backwards to make Mags comfy in her new digs. It takes a village! (of beings who know elephants inside out and these would include elephants, natch!)
November 7th - Pat Derby has a wonderful update. Maggie and the gals are bonding well.
November 5th - Pat Derby has an update!

SAN ANDREAS, Calif. -- Maggie, a 25-year-old African elephant, checks out her new home at Performance Animals Welfare Society, or PAWS, after the journey from Anchorage, Alaska, to here on a Air Force C-17 Globemaster III Nov. 2. Maggie's trainers from the Alaska Zoo said the elephant handled the trip well and will stay at PAWS for several weeks to help her adjust to life in the sanctuary. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Keith Brown) full story

Friday, November 16, 2007

Elephants-A spy in the herd

A delightful and intimate look at wild elephants from the point of view of "dung" cams, narrated by David Attenborough.

Dungcam, the four-wheel drive buggy, disguised as dung, carries a camera mounted in a revolving turret. Smaller static plopcams and motorised aquatic floatercams were also used. These special cameras captured over 80% of the images.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Her body language says it all. Maggie is happy!

November 10th - Maggie the elephant rescued from the Alaska zoo is settling in nicely at PAWS. Are we surprised? Nope :)

Elegals and human residents are bending over backwards to make Mags comfy in her new digs. It takes a village! (Of beings who understand elephants inside out and these would include elephants, natch!)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A message for the troglodytes in Alaska who barraged PAWS with whinemail

The Alaskans who are in an uproar about being asked to restrict their viewing time should consider the following:

The expense for caring for Maggie is enormous and PAWS is assuming this expense for Maggie’s entire life. Had Bob Barker, a PAWS benefactor, not stepped up to the plate, it’s unlikely the Alaska Zoo would have let her go. The cost of the elecam is being borne by PAWS.

That residents of Alaska would demand that PAWS allow them indeterminate viewing time, as if Maggie is their property, is offensive to say the least.

Maggie never belonged in Alaska in the first place. She is not the property of Alaskans but an individual in her own right who, thanks to PAWS and animal welfare advocates who fought for her, has a home in a suitable place.

While it’s nice that so many Alaskans are eager to see Maggie, if they want to support her, they’ll also support PAWS and kick in some money to pay for that elecam service.

After all, they were willing to pay to see Maggie in the Zoo! Watching Mags on the elecam entertains the viewer; it doesn’t support Maggie.

You'd think Alaskans would have learned something from Maggie's story but I can see, from some of the comments below the article, that it's still all about them. Many of these whiners are the same people who fought to keep Maggie in a jail cell for their own entertainment. Now that she's safe in a sanctuary, they demand viewing time as if she's still their captive. Story follows...

Watch Maggie all you like, PAWS representative says

OOPS: Alaskans swamped the sanctuary with protests after its request to limit Web site use.

Published: November 9, 2007
Last Modified: November 9, 2007 at 08:39 PM

Spend as much time as you want watching Maggie on the elephant cam at her new California home.

Three days after a notice went up on the Performing Animal Welfare Society's Web site asking visitors to limit their Maggie fixes to 20 minutes, PAWS is backing down.

They got mail. From Alaskans.

"We are exploring options for reducing our costs," elephant trainer Pat Derby said in a written statement issued Thursday.

"We certainly do not wish to curtail any enthusiasm for (Maggie's) activities at the sanctuary, especially from her many loyal friends and fans in Alaska."

Fat chance of that.

Maggie moved to the San Andreas elephant sanctuary last week. Since then, huge numbers of Alaskans have been watching her adjust to her new life -- so much so that PAWS feared soaring satellite costs.

Tamara Wilder, a PAWS director, said some Alaskans were upset by the notice.

"We want them to know they're welcome to access that camera for as long as they want," she said.

The sanctuary is installing a second Web cam to cover a heavily treed habitat beyond the elephant barn. The animals are now blocked from view by trees when they roam in that area, Derby said.

Meanwhile, Maggie continues her across-the-fence flirting with her four African barn mates: Ruby, Mara, 71 and Lulu. On Wednesday, she reached under the fence to swipe a tree branch from Ruby, according to an update at

Later, as the elephants settled into their barn stalls for the night, Maggie and Ruby roared at each other.

At one point, "Maggie, Lulu and Ruby were all running around in their separate stalls rumbling, trumpeting, urinating and defecating as wild elephants do when they are excited," says a written report on the Web site. "To add to the excitement, 71 and Mara, who were still outside, joined in the display creating a cacophony which reverberated over the hills. ...We humans who were part of the scene were partially deaf for the next hour."

army of dude. go support the troop.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Another elephant needs help

From the date it looks like the petition should have expired but apparently it's still good.

It is routine in circuses for handlers to beat and scream at their wild captives. It's part of the "training" ritual. (Google Tom Frisco for an example. But not while you're eating lunch.)

Elephants (like other wildlife) aren't keen on performing tricks and wearing silly costumes. Beating them into submission is how circuses get them to do it. I'm not kidding. One (now reformed) handler beat an elephant over the head with axe handles for days.

Animal acts will only end when people stop buying tickets. In the meantime...

Signing takes a few seconds.

Monday, November 5, 2007

PAWS: Maggie Comes to San Andreas

Video by Mike Taylor

Click the play button to start. The video can also be watched on the full screen. Click icon at the far right of the bottom of the video for the options.

Maggie, a nearly 8,000-pound pachyderm who was the last of her species living in Alaska, has safely relocated to San Andreas.

In an unbelievable logistical maneuver, the U.S. Air Force, two cranes and two trucks helped Maggie make her journey to the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s Ark 2000 sanctuary in Calaveras County Friday.

This video, shot by Enterprise reporter Mike Taylor, follows Maggie as she first rolls into the 2,300-acre facility and eventually takes her first steps in the Mother Lode.
Also see Pat Derby's update on the PAWS' web site.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What I want for Christmas

Devices Enforce Cellular Silence, Sweet but Illegal

Published: November 4, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 2 — One afternoon in early September, an architect boarded his commuter train and became a cellphone vigilante. He sat down next to a 20-something woman who he said was “blabbing away” into her phone.

“She was using the word ‘like’ all the time. She sounded like a Valley Girl,” said the architect, Andrew, who declined to give his last name because what he did next was illegal.

Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer’s cellphone transmission — and any others in a 30-foot radius.

“She kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening on the other end,” he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? “Oh, holy moly! Deliverance.”

As cellphone use has skyrocketed, making it hard to avoid hearing half a conversation in many public places, a small but growing band of rebels is turning to a blunt countermeasure: the cellphone jammer, a gadget that renders nearby mobile devices impotent. Oh yeah...