(TMU) — While some zoos go to great lengths to recreate enclosures to be like the natural habitat as much as possible for each species it houses, many others don’t take the animal’s natural needs into consideration at all.
A recently released video taken at the Beijing Zoo in China of a scrawny tiger in a cramped enclosure walking endlessly in a circle has raised concern over the cat’s health. The deep track etched into the ground by its endless walking seems to indicate this behavior has been going on for quite a while and is likely a psychological response to its cramped living conditions, vastly different from habitat it should be roaming in.
After the video went viral, concerned social media users in China responded in dismay with comments such as “There is not enough room for the tiger,’’ “It’s ill, mentally ill,” and “The tiger looks depressed.”
In its response last Sunday to the video going viral, the Beijing Zoo said that the video wasn’t filmed recently. The tiger was apparently removed from the enclosure at the end of March after zookeepers noticed its strange behavior.
A staff member told the press: ‘’This kind of behavior is expected after animals have stayed in a zoo for a long time.’’
According to the Beijing Zoo, the tiger had been given “psychological counselling” to help the animal return to normal.
‘’We have taken the animal to receive behavior training. We also brought more food and toys for the tiger,’’ they claimed.
Concern has been raised about China’s captive animals after a series of news reports on poor conditions in zoos across the country. This was echoed by doctor Sun Quanhui, a senior scientific adviser at a non-profit organization called World Animal Protection China, who confirmed that the living conditions of creatures inside China’s animal facilities are a cause for concern.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Quanhui said that although zoos—usually run by local governments—are generally better supervised than private wildlife parks, the living conditions of animals in captivity leave a lot to be desired. He blames this on the country’s inadequate laws concerning animal rights.
He said: “Let’s just give the example of how beasts of prey are kept.
“In almost every Chinese zoo, we see them in cement cages or behind steel bars, which to some extent is considered maltreatment.
“Some are species that naturally live in groups, but they’re often isolated, which also causes them huge psychological distress.”
China’s wildlife protection law classifies wildlife according to their scarcity, but it there is no legislation to ensure the rights of other animals. There is also no oversight in the country’s zoos, which are mostly unsupervised due to the overlaps between different government agencies.
For example, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development oversees government-owned zoos, while wildlife parks fall under the jurisdiction of the State Forestry Bureau, and the fishery bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for aquariums.
A horrific incident captured on video which made headlines in 2017, highlights the disparity between different species.
The video footage, taken at a zoo in southern China, shows a group of men dragging a live donkey from a truck and pushing it off a wooden ramp into the moat around the tigers’ enclosure. The donkey was quickly attacked by one of the tigers while another clawed at its head and back.
The donkey suffered for around 30 agonizing minutes before it finally died. To this day the zoo has not faced any consequence for the incident.
One can’t help but assume that this type of incident is a regular occurrence at many zoos.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years
Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.
Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.
The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.
Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.
It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.
“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”
Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.
Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.
“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.
“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”
Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.
“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.
Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.
“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”
In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.
Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.
A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.