Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"City Creatures" Blog!

Please visit the wonderful project CITY CREATURES BLOG in place of Urbanimalia, which is offline for now ~

City Creatures is a project of the Center for Humans and Nature.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hand Painted

Thought as art students you may appreciate this.  The artist had about 16 different animals he's painted. Enjoy. MPM

Friday, April 17, 2009

Animal Communication

Whenever I tell the story of Marty Meyer (no relation)animal communicator, I usually like to post the website as well. I know the whole idea of "talking to the animals" may be bizarre, and I was negative about the experience, until Marty seemingly corrected behavior in our Lucy.
Marty has workshops as well to develop your communication, going into, what I believe is a "delta" state. My friend Linda G, has had several encounters with Marty. You can read her testimonials on the website if you choose. MPM

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wolf Plays Tug of War

Dyami got a hold of a water bottle and so we had to get it back. A long chase of 30 minutes ensued, but we finally got it back.


“Our Life at the Cost of Theirs?”

click the link check it out


Michael Akshay

Zoo Reflection

I think few people could honestly say they don't enjoy being able to experience wild animals in the flesh rather than just seeing them on tv or in a picture. Going to the zoo has always been an interesting and exciting trip for me but I have always been weary of the way they are being held as prisoners and looked at as objects or possessions while not in their native habitat. During our first trip to the zoo, I was on the con team.. and there were quite a few things I had problems with but at the same time I learned a lot as well. I believe the zoo should put more effort into providing equally equipped habitats for the animals, being that many of them like the penguins, sea birds and some of the outside areas were not as luxurious and well kept as other environments like for example the monkey house. As the whole class discussed, I also had a problem with the mixing of entertainment and conservation/education which should be dealt with in separate ways. Overall, I believe that it is a valuable institution, more than I believed it was before our visits and it does a lot in educating people of all ages about our beloved creatures of the earth. Although I don't think the amount of animals they are currently housing is necessary, having fewer or just certain types of habitats would be interesting and adequate enough and comunicating the same messages they are trying to get across.

Man bites snake in epic struggle

This is to good.

A Kenyan man bit a python which wrapped him in its coils and dragged him up a tree during a fierce three-hour struggle, police have told the BBC.

The serpent seized farm worker Ben Nyaumbe in the Malindi area of Kenya's Indian Ocean coast at the weekend.

Mr Nyaumbe bit the snake on the tip of the tail during the exhausting battle in the village of Sabaki.

Police rescued Mr Nyaumbe and captured the 13ft (4m) reptile, before taking it to a sanctuary, but it later escaped.

The victim told police he managed to reach his mobile phone from his pocket to raise the alarm when the python momentarily eased its grip after hauling him up a tree on Saturday evening.

“ We want to arrest the snake because any one of us could fall a victim ”
Peter Katam Police superintendent
Mr Nyaumbe used his shirt to smother the snake's head and prevent it from swallowing him.

His employer arrived with police and villagers, who tied the python with a rope and pulled them both down from the tree with a thud.

Peter Katam, superintendent of police in Malindi district, told the BBC News website: "Two officers on patrol were called and they found this man was struggling with a snake on a tree.

"The snake had coiled his hands and was trying to swallow him but he struggled very hard. The officers and villagers managed to rescue him and he was freed.

"He himself was injured on the lower lip of the mouth - it was bleeding a little bit - as the tip of the snake's tail was sharp when he said he bit it."

Mr Nyaumbe told the Daily Nation newspaper how he resorted to desperate measures after the python, which had apparently been hunting livestock, encircled his upper body in its coils.

"I stepped on a spongy thing on the ground and suddenly my leg was entangled with the body of a huge python," he said.

"I had to bite it."

'Very mysterious'

Supt Katam told the BBC the officers had wanted to shoot the snake but could not do so for fearing of injuring Mr Nyaumbe.

"If it wasn't for the villagers and officers who helped him, he would have been swallowed by the snake over the Easter holiday," said Supt Katam.

He added: "It's very mysterious, this ability to lift the man onto the tree. I've never heard of this before."

The police officer said they took the snake to a sanctuary in Malindi town but it escaped overnight, probably from a gap under the door in the room where it was kept.

"We are still seriously looking for the snake," said Supt Katam. "We want to arrest the snake because any one of us could fall a victim."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/04/15 11:29:32 GMT


Mike Akshay... Killah Snake


I had already been to Lincoln Park and was aware of its conditions, so on top of the reading and looking over the website I knew how I was going to feel. I was put on the positive team and had the hardest time trying to be positive. I wouldn’t say that I like zoos but I believe there are ones that have facilities, which are adequate enough for their animals. After the first visit my feelings for the Lincoln Park Zoo was reaffirmed- I did not like that zoo. But upon the second trip, through collecting data, where I was actually gathering information and writing down what others had to say I was able to realize I was half wrong. I didn’t have the data I was looking for to support the general thesis that this was a horrible zoo. While some of the zoo’s facilities were inadequate, I do feel like there were certain aspects of it that were positive. I think through re-going I was able to let my guard down because I just figured I would see the same bad things I had seen before. Sure some of them were still there, such as the single bear that paced back and forth and the zoos lack of educational signage for its patrons, but I also observed children learning and saw animals such as the warthogs that had plenty of space and seemed comfortable.

Making zoos work

I think being an observer these last two weeks makes me take more stock in how the zoo isn’t, and shouldn’t be thought of, as a static institution. Before our visit, I felt that zoos would better meet their goal as a means of both conservation and recreation by focusing on at least matching animals to zoos in environments closer to the animals' natural habitats. But after that trip, I felt like not enough people in general support the efforts of the zoo as a whole. I was surprised to see the association between the concession stands and gift shop as the zoo’s main means of getting funds from the general public. I think it’s great, as I’d rather get a sticker or a book in place of a ticket stub. But there didn’t seem to be a big visual push throughout the zoo to inform people of how they could support it right then and there, as well as in the future. What if there was a reading time about different animals from time to time in the gift shop? Or if the gift shop was part retail, part exploration destination with more interactive components for kids? Kind of like the COSI museum in Columbus, OH (http://www.cosi.org).

After our second trip, I recalled how for many “city kids” who have very limited contact with or knowledge of animals, visiting the zoo is a rare chance to observe living animals in general. I don’t think that just watching an animal on television shares the same kind of information that seeing, smelling, and hearing one in person does. If humane conditions is the problem that frustrates people, then the condition of the facilities should be addressed, and not validity of the zoo. In some ways the zoo is treated like a museum, but then criticized for not evolving fast enough to the changing needs of the animals. It will never be able to satisfy both roles successfully without starting to embrace more unorthodox means of educating the public both to its mission of conservation and its need for committed financial support in order to keep its infrastructure current. Actively partnering with local educational groups and organizations, providing informative and more interactive ways to engage to children should be a focus so that it is recognized as a resource that needs conscious feedback and support from the public in order to sustain itself and the care of the animals.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

oh the zoo, what a place to be

I've always been a huge fan of the zoo. I love seeing the animals, I get really giddy and start acting like an excited little kid. And when I finally see the animals I spend as much time as possible just staring at them. After the first visit to the zoo I was still pretty possitive about them, although I hadn't realize just how many people were actually against them (and not just told to be for those 3 hours). There were many things about the zoo that had upset me or that had crossed my mind but they had never detered me from going and enjoying myself. After the second visit on the other hand I started to have a few more problems with it. I had always watched kids come up to the animals and their excitment always made me smile, but sitting there and recording what they were saying was quite different. The kids all seemed to view the animals as objects that were purely there for their entertainment, whether that take 4 seconds or 4 minutes. I stared to realize that many of the people who went to the zoo (kids and adults alike) didn't apreciate or really respect the animals, that the zoo wasn't a learning tool unless the learning was enforced. What really upset me was standing infront of the Sun Bear exhibit. One of the Sun Bears has a missing jaw, his tongue is always sticking out because of this and for some reason his face is all scrunched up. There is absolutely no information around telling you why he looks the way he does so people walking by just make comments about how ugly or stupid he looks. I know the bears have no idea what people are saying, but it still upset me becuase if one of the zoo's purposes is to educate then the least they can do is educate people about the specific animals they have. I even tried finding something on the website and couldn't find a thing.


Animals and Death as Art

The readings about the SFAI reminded me of this story from last year:

"This chained dog was Costa Rican artist Guillermo Habacuc Vargas‘ “art installation.” Guillermo paid two kids to catch this dog on the street, had it tied in this “art gallery,” and told everyone not to feed it. And because the dog naturally died, he was chosen to represent his country in the “Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008.”

I couldn't find an actual website for Vargas, but I think this is his blog: http://artehabacuc.blogspot.com/

~ NV

Monday, April 13, 2009

Polar Bear attack at the Berlin Zoo!

Breaking News: This woman actually scaled the fence to jump in into the polar bear tank, only to have to be rescued. Her injuries at not life threatening, having got out in time.

The questions: Why on earth did she even think this was reasonable to do?

Why is it even possible to do this?

What does this potentially say about how people view and understand polar bears given the context the zoo creates? Did she think they were cute? cuddly? lonely? hmm...


Do Dogs go to Heaven? Two Churches Battle it Out.

A hilarious conversation between two churches that face each other in Castle Rock, CO. I apologize that the image seems too big to load, but be sure to take a look at it courtesy of http://nancyrommelmann.typepad.com/nancy_rommelmann/2009/03/holy-dog-war.html.

the new presidential dog

Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts apparently gifted the Obama household with its first official White House Puppy - a Portuguese water dog!

His name is Bo, and I have to say it is a really cute pup. Look for a boom in this breed in coming months, no doubt.

a little water dog FYI video


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Polar Bears!!!!

After class was over last wednesday I went back up to the polar bears, and finally she was there!
I stayed there for a little over an hour, at first she was just sleeping with her tidy cats bucket but after a while it got interesting, it looked as though she was sniffing the air and kept standing on her hind legs. Low and behold her trainer was up in the bushes waving food at her. I ran down to the underwater viewing area and channel five was all set up for a video segment about the polar bears at lincoln park zoo. Aparently Anana (the one in all the photos) is the sister of Lee, and Lee was just transfered to another zoo in Detroit. There are 2 female Polar Bears in Detroit that the zoo keepers are hoping Lee will make babies with. I watched the trainers side of the conversation while at the zoo. but here is the live segment:



It's all happening at the zoo?

 After two visits to Lincoln Park Zoo I believe that the conservation and animal behavioral research may have beneficial outcomes. It is the wild animals such as bears, tigers, lions, gorillas  and the animals of the African savannah that are housed there I find very disturbing. These animals are not in their natural biome, they do not have adequate running space, or living space. They are living in an artificial environment, for the pleasure of people. And while there may be research or conservation, I think it would better to observe these animals more naturally, in their own habitat.  How can you observe an animal like a zebra, in a confined space with no grass or trees? These animals clearly were pacing, and reacting to human interaction. How can observation be unbiased?  I think that the Field museum is just as educational for children to see wild animals and maybe more educational than to see these animals dying from boredom. MPM

zoo reflection

For my first visit to the zoo I was in a negative mind set. I was super critical of every little problem I saw because it was what I was suppose to do. The second time around I was a little calmer about it. The animals are in the position they are in and I doubt that there will be any real change because they are well cared for. My biggest problem was that some animals are made to seem like the main attraction, while other animals are given what almost seems second rate attention because they do not have the same 'product' i.e sea birds and penguins vs gorillas. I'm just looking for an even playing field for all the animals.-Michael Akshay Braunlin

Kerry Yang:
I was assigned to be one of the cons before our first visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
After the zoo readings, I was led to believe with the critique that zoo was somehow built to fulfill people's curioscity towards exoticism and was a cultural byproduct of colonialism.
Having that belief in mind; however, I changed my attitude towards zoos after the first visit. I guess it's one of the magical power why zoos attract people from all ages. When I first saw a young giraffe starring at me with his innocent eyes wide open, I felt a sense of sympathy and loving towards him. I had an urge to pet him the way I'd pet a new born baby. A sense of nostalgia came to me, recalling some bits of childhood zoo-visiting memories. I wanted to spend more time, simply to observe him and wonder about the similarities and differences between him and me.
For me, it was definitely a very pleasant time to walk around the zoo, immersing myself in this land of nature with animals, plants and sun.
I came to believe the importance of the recreational aspect of zoos and wonder about why we can't view zoos as an art museum-like place where people simply go and enjoy the the beauty of animals and try to have some inner conversation within themselves by looking at the living creatures.
During the second visit to the park, I began to wonder about the relationship between a zoo and an art-museum and the meanings of men's visit to these institutes.
There is a gap between preserving a piece of art work and a group of rare animals.
An art work is a manifestation of an artist's vision, holding its values and philosophies to reflect each individual artist's belief from that time period. Even when an artist is dead, what's unique about the piece is the mighty voice behind that work of art.
An art-musueme goer is meant to challenge the mortality of men and to be amazed by the immortality of artistic creation.
On the other hand, a group of living animals are the art work itself, the magical creation made by a greater being. In a sense, we should go to the zoo with a humble mind as if we are going to see another type of living creatures like humans. We are asked to appreciate them and to have a mutual exploration of each other.
But rather than see it as an object that is made to be utilized and to convey ideas.
In other words, a zoo goer is meant to challenge the gap between different types of living creatures and to be amazed by the force of creation itself. -Kerry Yang

Friday, April 10, 2009

My most interesting observation at the Lincoln Park Zoo:

Just one or two sentences; can include quotes of what you overheard:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

View on Zoos

(post yours here by using the EDIT TEXT function)


"It's the tropics. It's part of living in Miami"

A recent hawk attack on a local college student drew some attention. Suffering a concussion from the attack, the federally protected hawks apparently are known to be aggressive in protecting their nesting territories in the spring.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tokyo cat cafes booming

Leave it to our kindred post-industrial powerhouse urbanites, the Japanese, to innovate like we wouldn't even imagine. Of course there are all sorts of things to consider in terms of the human animal and its need in the city life of this new- century...

One rule in the cafes that I found interesting and sweet: Don't wake a napping cat"

I do that to my resident cat all the time, but I guess Louise and I have an understanding.

"I first heard of Calico cat cafe when it opened in March 2007, but then it was an oddity and the preserve of lonely women and cat fanciers. It is now staggeringly popular. This March it opened a second branch in the high-rent Shinjuku business and shopping district. Last October it published a glossy coffee table book featuring its "feline staff." The original branch is so packed that reservations are recommended on weekends."

This seems to ride off the earlier trend of Rental Pets

Here s a range of cat cafe articles of late:

Huffington Post
Christian Science Monitor


Wolves and Ambulances howl together in Chicago

Emily pointed out this interesting video/audio of Lincoln Park Zoo wolves howling to passing ambulances... I wonder what the wolves think of that. Nicole - any inside information of wolf psychology in this regard?


Watch more YouTube videos on AOL Video

Coyote in Chicago Downtown Quiznos

I know this is an oldie from 2007 but it shows just how close wildlife can be. The wild things can certainly surprise us once and a while.

"For one day, at least, the roadrunner was safe. It seems the coyote was hankering for another kind of fast food. Employees and customers at a downtown Chicago Quizno's sandwich shop were stunned to see a coyote walk through the propped-open front door Tuesday afternoon and lie down in a cooler stocked with fruit juice and soda."

Full article can be found here


Wolf and Humans Interacting. Video and Photos

Here are some photos of me being greeted by the alpha female of the pack I work with. You'll notice that she's mouthing me and licking me. Wolves greet each other face to face and react the same way when they greet humans.

And here's a video of some interactions between the pack and my friend.

This is what's known as a rally and my friend was caught in the middle. The wolves all get together and howl as a family rallying to each other, licking at each others faces, and sometimes it can turn into a display of dominance as you will see at the end of the video. I partially instigated this with a howl, but only because a wolf in another enclosure started howling.

You'll notice that one wolf in particular seems to be in my friend's face all the time and has to be pushed away. This is because Dyami has a tendency to be extremely over enthusiastic during howls and rallies and will nip and mouth your face if you let her. This is natural wolf behavior as subordinate wolves will lick and nip at the dominants muzzle during a rally, but it's uncomfortable for us.

If the embed doesn't work here's a direct link to the video on my photobucket account.

I hope to have at least another video up soon of tug of war between Dyami and my friend.

Monday, April 6, 2009

hott chicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

last weekend Pat and i met with people who have chickens in Chicago. we got to see how the coop was constructd, we were shown the proper way to hold them, and even ate some fresh eggs-----> attached below are photos, as you can see this was a mighty fine flock- fat and feathery.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baby Elephant Born in San Diego

With the current controversies surrounding elephants in captivity, this is in the "pro" camp. A male baby elephant was born in the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It is doing well and nursing. This is the sixth elephant born to a herd that was brought from Swaziland in 2003. Five have survived. The San Diego Wild Animal park is about 35 miles North East of the San Diego Zoo, in the wide open spaces of Escondido.


This moment at the Lincoln Park Zoo was a compendium of kids observing, primate observing and me observing. It was quite interesting. I'm not sure who was more fascinated with the guy squatting doing research in the primate house. They were pretty much nose to pencil.

Doctor Dog

Last September, local ABC news reported a
high demand for canine-assisted therapy -
"There are a number of dog owners who want to get involved with animal assisted therapy programs. But not every dog qualifies to do this kind of work."

To find out what it really takes, and also to evaluate the program,
I will be visiting Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.
Their program is only a couple years old.
"The animals provide a unique dimension of care that is unlike any
other therapy around," said Diane Colville, hospital manager of
cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and a volunteer dog handler herself.
I plan to interview Diane Colville and/or some of the other volunteers very soon
[as research for my final project]. JS

Gorilla at LPZ

My dad took this photo of the gorilla at the Lincoln p. Zoo in August. It amazes me more how much their movements and emotions resemble that of humans each time I observe them.. this guy looks like he is contemplating his next move... I was watching this one silver back gorilla on wednesday and he had his back to me the entire time..they must all get so accustomed to being watched all the time that they just start ignoring everyone..

First fatal wolf attack recorded in North America?


Conservationists have long assuaged the public’s fear of wolves by saying that there have been no documented instances of a healthy wild wolf killing a human being in North America. Until now, that is.

On Nov. 8, a search party found the partially consumed body of 22-year-old Kenton Joel Carnegie in the woods of northern Saskatchewan. Carnegie had gone for a walk and didn’t return to the surveyors camp where he was working.

Paul Paquet, a University of Calgary ecologist who investigated the case, says a recent increase in energy development has drawn more people to the remote area and left it peppered with open garbage dumps. Four wolves fed regularly at a nearby dump and had lost their natural fear of people.

Those wolves are the most likely culprits, and at least three have been killed. But investigators have not yet ruled out the possibility of a bear attack.

To prevent wolves from becoming accustomed to humans, Paquet advises securing any food left in dumps or campsites. People should stay at least 100 yards from wolves, he says.

In the United States, there are some open dumps in wolf country, says Fish and Wildlife Service wolf recovery coordinator Ed Bangs. But, he adds, many people already bear-proof their garbage, and authorities haze overly bold wolves with noise-making "cracker shells" and rubber bullets.

Given that a handful of fatal wolf attacks have been recorded in India and Europe, experts say such an attack in North America has always been a possibility. But the odds are extraordinarily low, points out L. David Mech, a leading wolf biologist: "Wolves are still not any more dangerous than they ever were."

there was a response to it as well...

Posted by Anonymous User at Apr 24, 2007 09:39 AM
wolves are dangeruos they shuold be hunted down

Posted by Anonymous User at Sep 25, 2007 12:19 PM
No one can prove that this was a wolf attack. Yes it is tragic what happened to this boy but there is no proof. Many will just blame wolves because they are afraid of them. They don't fear the actual wolf, they just fear what they can't understand. There are more reported (accurate) bear attacks than those made by wolves. If more people are getting killed by bears than wolves, then why were the wolves the ones who were hunted down for being "cold blooded dangerous killers"? Wouldn't bears make more sense, according to the facts? But overall, neither bears nor wolves should be hunted down for these attacks. It's in their nature as much as it is the nature of cats to catch a mouse or a dog to bark at a stranger. We can't change the laws of the wild. So instead, it seems, people are trying to tame the wild all together. It will never work.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sacrificial Animals

These are images of a traditional rural Taiwanese religious ceremony.
The animals are sacrificed as offering to the spirits and the ancestors during specific months. (called ghost months)

posted by kerry

Stray Dogs in Taiwan: Cross Ocean Animal Adoption Between the U.S. and Taiwan

This project will be exploring the history stray dogs in Taiwan and how the movement of cross-ocean adoption between Taiwan and the U.S. was formed and developed. There will be discussions about the causes of stray dogs, the urban sources that keep them alive, and the negative repercussions of feral animals living among humans. We will be looking at the biology of mixed-breed dogs and the current feral dog problem. Also at the historical context of the original domestication of wolves as they where bread into the modern dog and its Farrell digression back into the wild.
We will be exploring on the urban life style in Taipei and how the expansion of the city from the 90s to 2009 has become a threat to the animals’ rights...

posted by kerry yang

birds readings the human gaze

According to a study out this week, apparently birds called "jackdaws" that are closely ralated to crows and ravens are self-conscious critters - not only aware they are being watched by humans, but aware if that person is a stranger or not and even paying attention to their gestures as cues of direction!

This raises all sorts of questions fr sure, an I'f think particularly for considering animals in the zoos, where the are gazed at constantly by humans.