Weekly News Roundup 2/22 to 2/28


Botswana mulls turning elephants into pet food

The Republic of Botswana, Africa, should lift its four-year ban on big-game hunting and also allow the canning of elephant meat for pet food, according to senior government officials in the southern African nation. Botswana, home to nearly 130,000 elephants, is one of the most popular tourist destinations for wildlife lovers who want to glimpse the animals. But tension over the elephant population has grown, with some arguing they damage crops. . . . more

Long Island man arrested for allegedly shooting at pet-rescue drone

A Long Island man was arrested last Saturday after he allegedly opened fire on a drone that was being used to find a lost dog. Police in Suffolk County, New York, arrested Gerard Chasteen, 26, after he allegedly fired three shots at a drone deployed by Missing Angels—Long Island, an organization that searches for wayward pets. Missing Angels—Long Island was using a Mavic 2 Zoom drone at around 4:45 p.m. when it suddenly stopped working. . . . more

Hospital bills good Samaritan bitten by cat $48,512

Compassion for a hungry stray kitten led to a nip on the finger—and also took a bite out of Jeannette Parker’s wallet. She spotted the cat, who looked skinny and sick, in a rural area just outside Florida’s Everglades National Park. When Parker, a wildlife biologist, offered up some tuna she had in her car, the cat bit her finger. After cleaning off the wound, she did some research and began worrying about rabies, since Miami-Dade County had rabies warnings in effect at the time. She then drove back to her home in the Florida Keys and called the health department. But it was closed, so she went to a nearby emergency room where she received two types of injections and an antibiotic. She says she never talked with a doctor. “I went home happy as a clam,” she said. Then the bills came. . . . more

Proposed legislation would ban cat declawing in California

A bill that would ban declawing cats, a surgical procedure many consider cruel and unnecessary, has started its way through the California legislature. Declawing has been banned in many parts of the world and is illegal in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and six other California cities. Many veterinarians have called the practice barbaric, causing needless pain and suffering, and leading to unexpected complications (AAHA also opposes the declawing of domestic cats). The most common reasons giving for declawing cats is to prevent them from tearing up the furniture or from scratching their owners. “Declawing is one of the most painful and unnecessary surgeries in all of veterinary medicine,” said Jennifer Conrad, DVM, founder of the nonprofit, Paw Project. “We want veterinary medicine to be about helping animals, not helping couches.” . . . more

Human food might be making bears age faster

Bears with diets based largely on human food are hibernating less, which is causing them to age more quickly, according to a new study. A research team tracked 30 black bears near Durango, Colorado, between 2011 and 2015, paying close attention to their eating and hibernation habits. The researchers found that bears who foraged on human food hibernated less during the winters—sometimes, by as much as 50 days—than bears who ate a natural diet. The researchers aren’t sure why human food is causing bears to spend less time in their dens, but they say shorter hibernation periods are accelerating bears’ rates of cellular aging. . . . more

NEWStat Interesting/unusual