Welcoming Happy Hoppers into your Home

Welcoming Rabbits into your Home

Rabbits are masters at wrapping us around their little bunny paws. Yet, as adorable, cuddly, smart and entertaining little creatures as they are, they come with great levels of responsibility, as demonstrated in our article below…

Companionship

Rabbits are social creatures by nature and should preferably share their company with at least another rabbit of a similar size to avoid any bullying incidences. Siblings from the same litter tend to be compatible together but should be neutered. Unrelated females have a greater tendency to get along than unrelated males, who will most likely fight with and potentially injure each other.

It’s recommended to pair a neutered male with a neutered female, however, as with people, they may not take kindly to each other so let your vet advise you on how to properly introduce them to each other.

Child-friendly

Rabbits are not appropriate for younger children. They need to be handled with tenderness from a young age, so they grow to trust those who interact with them on a day to day basis, thereby becoming friendly and confident around people. These long-eared bundles of fluff require loving, patient owners who are willing to devote plenty of time to them and ensure they are given ample space and play opportunities. Rabbits have a lifespan of between 8 – 12 years, so owners must be committed to them for the long-run.

Living space

A hutch with a permanently attached run is an ideal home for a rabbit, regardless of whether they reside indoors or outdoors. They should be given the choice to be either inside the hutch or outside in the run. Cages are therefore a no-go as this eliminates their freedom of choice, thereby trapping them in a closed off space like a prison. 

The hutch should:

  • have enough space between the floor and ceiling so the rabbit can stand on their back legs without restriction and fully stretch out
  • have enough floor space for them to perform at least three to four hops
  • have separate feeding and toilet areas
  • have a toilet vicinity that is deep-sided and covered in newspaper and hay, so it can be regularly replaced with clean ones
  • have a space for rabbits to retreat to when in need of some privacy from their companions
  • have a floor lined with newspaper and straw or dust-free wood chippings to soak up any urine and keep their home cosy and comfortable
  • be dry, cool and well-ventilated. Heat can be detrimental to the fluffy dears so indoors, avoid radiators and heaters and outdoors, avoid facing the hutch in direct sunlight. Provide your cotton-tailed companion with warm bedding or move them indoors when the cold weather sets in.

Words of caution:

  • Indoor Rabbits – Bunnies love to gnaw on things and electric cables can prove to be especially hazardous. By covering them up with metal ducting you can keep a dangerous situation at bay. Wooden or laminate flooring can cause your bunny to slip, potentially straining their little lower backs so ensure there are carpets available for your bunny bop to utilise.
  • Outdoor Rabbits – Predators such as birds of prey, cats and snakes may be lurking in the midst to hunt your bunny buddy. Fear of predators can cause your rabbit much stress and panic so ensure they are protected in their hutch from any predators and are unable to see them if they do come into your garden, especially at night time. Place your bunny’s living space in a quiet and tranquil section of your garden, far away from loud neighbours and children, traffic or barking dogs

Diet

Rabbits have high maintenance digestive systems that require constant movement through the gut with the aid of a combination of digestible and indigestible fibre. A rabbit’s body is unable to absorb the necessary nutrients the first time the fibre passes through the digestive system, so they ingest it on round two by consuming their hard droppings. An imbalance of digestible and indigestible fibre can cause critical health issues to a bunny.

  • Hay and Grass: Superior quality hay and grass should form the majority of your bunny’s daily food intake. As rabbits’ teeth never stop growing, these foods are especially important to encourage gnawing to wear their choppers down.
  • Fresh green fruits and vegetables: Not only will these give your happy hoppers a nutritional boost, but they will introduce some variety to their diets. It must be cautioned, however, that quantity is key and only small amounts should be fed, especially fruits high in sugar.
  • Beneficial Greens for Bunny: Apples (pipless), asparagus, banana, basil, brussel sprouts, cauliflower leaves, celery, chicory, dill, fennel, green pepper, kale, mint, oregano, parsley, Savoy cabbage, spinach, turnip, watercress, red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce (Note: Large amounts of iceberg lettuce can cause upset stomachs)
  • Bad Greens for Bunny: Apple pips, avocado, carrot, potato, and potato tops, rhubarb (leaves and stalks), tomato leaves, locust pods and beans. Anything that grows from bulbs can be dangerous to your rabbit.
  • Fresh Water: Ample amounts of fresh, cool water must always be available to your bunny. Water should be changed daily and be vigilant that it hasn’t iced over in the colder months.
  • Common garden Plants Poisonous to Rabbits:
    autumn crocus, begonia, black nightshade, busy lizzie, buttercup, carnation, chrysanthemum, clematis, cowslip, geranium, hemlock, laburnum, laurel, poison ivy, poppy and yucca

Safe Handling

Give your new bunny a few days to ease into their new environment and family. Rather than picking them up, gently stroke and talk to them until such a time that you win their trust and they feel comfortable enough for you to hold them. When this special moment arises, use two hands to pick them up and secure most of their weight under the bottom hand. Do not handle your bunny from a height for the first couple of times as they may panic and jump, subsequently injuring themselves and their future trust in you. It’s advised to handle them on a soft surface like a towel or a carpet. Never hold your bunny by their ears or the scruff of their neck as this is excruciatingly painful and traumatising for them.

Grooming

Some long-haired bunny breeds require daily grooming to remove matted hair as well as the risk of hairballs. Use a comb/brush that’s made especially for rabbits. Never brush long-haired bunnies roughly as their skin can tear if the hair is pulled too hard.

Exercise and Play

Bunnies require both mental and physical stimulation in the form of play to avoid behavioural issues arising from boredom. Pet stores sell bunny-friendly toys and you can improvise with objects around the home such as small boxes for bunny to stand on, large enough pieces of plastic pipes that bunny can run through without the risk of getting stuck in etc. Foraging is an instinctive habit of rabbits so encourage this behaviour by allowing them to seek food concealed in piles of hay. Rabbits need space to run and hop, so create a large, safe and covered section in your garden or indoors for them to run a mock.

Adopt Don’t Shop – Bunny Adoption Facilities:

Johannesburg

Woodrock Animal Rescue

Little Critters Rescue Club

The Lonehill Bunnies

  • 082 888 5895

The Bunny Hop Haven

Cape Town

Happy Rabbit Rescue

Animal Rescue Organisation:

Barefoot Rescue

Noordhoek Bunnies

  • 062 124 5325

Cape of Good Hope SPCA

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

 

Giraffes just silently went to the list of endangered animals facing extinction

Two subspecies of giraffes were recently added to the list of “critically endangered” species for the first time ever, as per the latest report by IUCN.

Two subspecies of giraffes were recently added to the list of “critically endangered” species for the first time ever, as per the latest report by IUCN.

Two subspecies of giraffes were recently added to the list of “critically endangered” species for the first time ever, as per athelatest report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which administers the world’s official endangered species list.

The IUCN reported on Saturday that they have moved the giraffe from the list of ‘Least Concern’ to that of ‘Vulnerable’ status in their Red List of Threatened Species report.

The next slots after ‘vulnerable’ are ‘endangered’, ‘critically endangered’, ‘extinct in the wild’, and ‘extinct’. Thus, if we do nothing about it, giraffes could become extinct in the wild in the medium-term future.

Giraffes just silently went to the list of endangered animals facing extinction

Which giraffe species are facing extinction?

There are nine subspecies of giraffes. Five of them are declining in numbers, two are improving, and one is stable, reports the New York Times.

Two subspecies of the world’s tallest land animal — the Kordofan giraffe and the Nubian giraffe – were added to the list of “critically endangered. These giraffe subspecies are found mainly across East, Central, and West Africa.

Another subspecies living in the Horn of Africa — called the reticulated giraffe – was listed as “endangered”.

Giraffe subspecies which got a status upgrade

Even though the Kordofan giraffe and the Nubian giraffe are now critically endangered, the West African and the Rothschild’s giraffe species have seen an increase in their numbers, leading to an upgrade in their conservation status.

The smallest subspecies of West African giraffes grew from just 50 in the 1990s to 400 today, thanks to immense work by the Niger government and conservationists.

Giraffes are overlooked in conservation practice

Giraffes have never been considered to be at any big threat of disappearing, but the truth is — they have been steadily decreasing in number over the years.

However, this new classification came as a surprise even to some conservationists, as observing them often in zoos or in movies makes us believe “they will be fine” and we barely guess that they could be in danger. The cries for help have centred on rhinos, elephants and the illegal trade of pangolins for the last decade.

The dwindling populations of giraffe species — some as low as 400 — happened so quietly that barely anyone got an idea of the tallest land animals reaching so close to disappearing off the face of Earth. They are shockingly more endangered than any gorilla.

As per a report by The Guardian by Damian Carrington, the number of giraffes has dropped from 157,000 in 1985 to 97,500 in just the last 31 years. That’s a decline of almost 40 per cent.

Giraffes have already disappeared from seven countries — Eritrea, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Malawi, Mauritania, and Senegal. They have been in danger for the last century in Africa.

Cause behind giraffes becoming endangered

As with the endangerment or extinction of any animal or plant species now, humans are at the root of it. Increased urbanisation, poaching, illegal hunting practices, and civil unrest in parts of Africa prove to be an increasing danger for giraffes.

The top cause for concern is that the world’s tallest land animals are losing their habitat primarily because of land being taken over for agriculture, mining or construction. Stopping this is a huge task as it essentially means hampering the economy and livelihood of people and stopping land development.

Other than poaching or villagers eating its meat for food scarcity, they are also shockingly killed just for their tails as they are seen as a status symbol in some cultures and can be used as a dowry, as per National Geographic reports by Jani Actman.

Source: India Today

 

Should we be walking our CATS?

Should we be walking our CATS?

Should we be walking our CATS? Scientist who walks his feline friend on a lead says pet owners should treat cats more like dogs to increase their happiness.

Scientists have said that pet owners should start walking their cats on leads in a bid to give them more ‘enrichment’.

A growing movement, with the hashtag #catwalking, calls on pet owners to begin taking their furry friends on walks, especially if they’re stuck indoors all day. 

With many cats cooped up indoors for long periods, particularly in urban towns and cities, there has been an increase in interest to provide them with more freedom. 

Scientist Dr David Grimm, a deputy editor of Science magazine, has been walking his two cats on a leash for thirteen years and wants others to follow suit.

Writing in the New York Times, he said: ‘We just wanted our two kittens to experience more of the world than our cramped apartment in Baltimore.’   

‘We need to start walking our cats. I’m not saying that you should put your cat on a leash like we did but it does keep them from running out into traffic.’

Dr Grimm said we should ‘let our cats outside for thirty to sixty minutes a day to rove yards, stroll sidewalks and disappear into shrubbery’. 

‘We should pick them up when they head for the street. We should whistle or clap when they begin stalking a bird. And we should have a bag of treats ready when it’s time to call them back indoors.’ 

The hashtag #catwalking has more than 38,261 posts on Instagram that consist of pictures of owners taking their cats through cities, trains, buses and parks. 

It can be traced to organisations such as Adventure Cat, a website launched in 2015 dedicated to valiant domestic cats enjoying the great outdoors. 

Well known pet brands have released their own line of cat walking products, with specialists including PetSafe UK and PetPlanet stocking a range of cat harnesses and leads. 

Should we be walking our CATS?

However, some animal rights groups believe that a cats sense of control is very important and putting them on a leash removes their independence.

An RSPCA spokeswoman told MailOnline that while they appreciate the need for cats to be mentally stimulated, toys and climbing frames are likely to be more beneficial to their welfare. 

‘Some cats may be frightened by the experience of being on a lead, so we would ask all owners to take this in to consideration.

‘This is because a sense of control is very important to cats and being walked on a collar or harness prevents them from having control. 

‘It may be more difficult for them to be able to move away or hide from anything which might scare or worry them.

‘If an owner feels that putting their cat on a lead would not be stressful for their pet then they should introduce them to this experience in a slow, gradual and positive manner.

‘If any signs of distress are seen such as the cat trying to pull away or get away then this should be stopped immediately.’ 

Although some animal lovers disagree. Cat behaviourist Anita Kelsey says that if a cat clearly wants to go outside, you should train him or her on a lead.

‘If a cat is going mad being kept indoors, they’re crying at the windows all the time, and you’ve done everything you can to bring the outside in, that’s when I help people train the cats to walk on a lead,’ she told the Guardian in an interview last year.

She added that letting a cat outside can help to solve some pets’ ‘destructive behaviour’. 

Source: Daily Mail

Tears feels Eskom pinch

tears-animal-rescue-feels-eskom-pinch

Working in the dark.

Tears Animal Rescue in Sunnydale has been hit hard by load shedding. Their operational productivity in general has been affected as they rely on their computer systems to capture all veterinary processing for the clinic and also for all the animals at Tears.

Tears has two clinics, namely the welfare clinic and the satellite feral cat clinic. The clinics have a proud history of providing animal medical services to low-income households, as well as sterilising and treating animals brought to them as a result of various outreach projects, such as the feral cat project.

Monthly, they treat hundreds of animals for a wide range of conditions, advocating sterilisation as the primary means of reducing overpopulated domestic animal populations.

Tears general manager Lauren Carlyle said: “Sterilising humanely reduces the number of unwanted pets and homeless animals, and indirectly the amount of contagious pathogens for diseases such as rabies, parvovirus, and canine distemper virus in dogs; and feline enteritis, feline panleukopenia and feline respiratory disease, or snuffles, in cats. We strive to educate responsible pet ownership and sponsor sterilisations, vaccination, defleaing, tick treatment and deworming to all the low-income communities that we serve, i.e. Masiphumele, Red Hill, Vrygrond and Ocean View. Because we provide a veterinary hospital facility to these communities we find that the reasons for the patients coming in are mostly because of ignorance or because pet owners are unable to afford the basic primary healthcare (sterilisations, vaccination, defleaing, tick treatment and deworming) for their animals.”

When there is no electricity they have to rely on head lamps and torches, which greatly affects the services they offer to the animals in need

Carlyle said: “It is extremely disheartening that we are unable to be efficient and to provide the clinic services to the best of our ability. We do the best that we can with what we have – however the vets are limited in their ability to treat, operate on and care for animals when there is no electricity. Without electricity we have to limit the number of animals that we see. During load shedding we have at least 10% downtime. We are unable to do X-rays, run blood tests, etc.” she said.

Apart from treating the animals they also struggle to do all their applications for adoptions, while general queries are mainly corresponded via email. Hence the impact on their operations and adoptions is significant. Some of their equipment can’t operate without electricity, so the current situation is disheartening for them.

“Equipment such as surgical light, X-ray machine, hair clippers for pre-surgical shaving, fridges for drugs and vaccines, blood machines, microscope (for screening/testing), body freezer and sterilising pots need electricity. With electricity going on and off it can cause electrical damage,” said Carlyle.

If the situation continues like this, the animals treated by Tears will be greatly affected.

They are now appealing for help with generators, UPSs and solar energy. “If we get this, we don’t have to worry about having no electricity. On an average day we sterilise between 30 and 50 dogs and cats. The hospital has a capacity to care for an average of 30 patients per day which are hospitalised in-house patients. An average of 20 to 30 out-patients are treated on a daily basis which are brought in by our mobile (ambulance) clinic services.

“The vet starts her rounds in the hospital at 08:30 by doing treatments for hospital patients. The vet will then proceed to sterilise from 09:30 until 13:00. The rest of the afternoon is spent treating out-patients and all in-house hospital patients including emergencies. The animals that are sheltered at the Tears kennels and cattery are also seen during this time,” she said

Although acquiring generators, solar energy or UPSs is a pressing issue for now, the clinic still needs a lot of help. “The clinic needs Kwikspace units, a mobile van fully kitted with cages, a rescue vehicle (bakkie), X-Ray collaborator, dental machine, ultrasound machine and spay kits just to mention a few. We really need our clinic up to standard so that we can continue with the work we do in the communities,” said Carlyle.V To donate or to volunteer email Tears on [email protected] or call 021 785 4482

Source: Tears Animal Rescue

Don’t Give a Dog a Bone

Frequently, while shopping for my dog’s food, I often overhear shopkeepers tell pet owners that dogs in the wild eat bones and therefore, it is not only necessary but also essential to give them to our pets. I cringe every time I hear this false myth. So below is my grand attempt at trying to set these salespeople straight and give pet owners valuable advice. My hope is that this new knowledge will save another dog or two from the misery of ill health due to the ingestion of bones and save pet owners hundreds of dollars in veterinary dental bills.

Feeding your dog bones is an extremely dangerous practice for the following eight reasons:

  1. Fractured teeth. Marrow, ham and knucklebones are just a few examples of bones that are too dense for your pet to chew on. Although technically not animal bones, I would like to add elk antlers and the new trendy Himalayan dog bones to this list of dangerous “bones” given to pets. Chewing on dense bones not only can fracture your pet’s teeth but also can wear dental crowns down. Chewing on bones is like chewing on coarse sandpaper. Worn teeth can be highly sensitive to pressure and temperature gradients resulting in a painful pet.

Earlier this week I was forced to extract two upper fourth premolar teeth on a 2-year-old Labrador retriever after it chewed on a raw knucklebone and fractured them right down the center. Not only was this dog in dental pain prior to the oral surgery but also the loss of these two major teeth will adversely effect how he will eat food in the future. Wild dogs do chew on bones in the prairie — but not the size of a cow bone femur. Wild dogs do fracture their teeth, succumb to illness and die young. Our pets live much longer — 13 to 16 years for many — and they would like to have a healthy mouth. They have been domesticated for over 2,000 years. They are not wild dogs living in Africa. Why is it so hard for people to accept the fact that nature did not provide a foolproof way for keeping a dog’s mouth clean?

  • Gum or tongue lacerations. The sharp edges of bones, especially chicken, cooked, sawed, and rib bones, can easily cut the tongue and gums of a zealous pet chewing on a bone. These lacerations can be quite serious to your pet requiring a veterinary visit for antibiotics and potential oral surgical care.
  • Bones can get caught in the mouth or around the jaw. Years ago, my previous golden retriever was frantically running around my back yard with a cow’s mandible caught in her mouth. How she got it I never found out. I imagine a neighbor thought it would be nice to give it to her or maybe a squirrel dragged it into my yard. It took me quite a long time to wrestle it out of her mouth. She was panic-stricken and I was quite frightened to say the least.
  • Fragments of bones or small bones can get caught in the trachea or esophagus. I can’t tell you how many clients have called us through out the years screaming that their dog is choking on a bone. This can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. These pets need immediate medical attention. Depending on the temperament of the dog and the position of the bone in the dog, I may instruct the client to try to open the mouth and try to grab it. If the bone has been swallowed I may instruct the pet owner to do a modified Heimlich procedure on their pet by repeatedly squeezing their pet’s belly just behind the last ribs. Another method for retrieving a swallowed bone would be lifting the dog’s back legs up and hanging the dog upside down while repeatedly squeezing the abdomen. Unfortunately, in many cases the pet needs to be sedated and the bone is retrieved either surgically or by inserting an instrument, called an endoscope, down your pet’s esophagus to try to grasp it and pull it out.
  • Bones caught in the stomach or small intestine. Sure small fragments may travel down the esophagus, but they can get lodged in the stomach or small intestine. These pets will present with a history of happily eating a bone and then, vomiting immediately or just a few hours after eating their next meal. These trapped bones can be extremely painful to your pet and may require surgical intervention or endoscopy to retrieve the lodged bone.
  • Bones can cause diarrhea. Bones are not digestible in dogs. Ingested bone fragments can be very grating as they pass through the gastrointestinal tract and can cause diarrhea with or without blood. Just the other day I accidentally discovered one of my clients was feeding their little Yorkshire terrier, Lucy, dehydrated duck feet while I was doing a rectal examination. In Lucy’s feces was a partially digested duck foot encased in mucous. The owners had given Lucy this treat after being told by a boutique pet storeowner that it would be good for her teeth. However, the storeowner did not tell them that if she ingested it, it could cause inappetance and diarrhea — which symptoms Lucy had been suffering from for the last 24 hours.
  • Bones can tear the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and cause peritonitis. Sharp fragments of bone can tear the lining of the intestine and cause leakage of intestinal contents into the abdomen. The spillage of intestinal contents into the abdomen, called peritonitis, is a life threatening condition that needs immediate and aggressive surgical and medical attention. Pets with peritonitis will be extremely painful, febrile and weak.
  • Bones can cause straining to defecate and bleeding from the rectum. Bone fragments can be very sharp and scrape the lining of the intestine and rectum as it passes through. This is extremely painful to your dog and you may see blood in your pet’s stool and witness your pet unsuccessfully trying to defecate. Please see your veterinarian if your pet is straining to defecate or/and is bleeding from the rectum.

Why do people believe that our domesticated dogs need bones? Is it because they believe that this is the best way to clean their teeth? Chewing on hard objects is not the correct solution to our pet’s dental problems. Today, the professionals know better. Pet’s teeth are just like ours. They need the proper care and attention, which includes brushing and professional veterinary oral care when deemed necessary. Chewing bones may decrease tartar on pet’s teeth, but they also can fracture teeth and cause many problems as previously mentioned above that are simply not worth the risk. Veterinary medicine has advanced throughout the last 20-30 years to the point that dentistry is not a novelty but a part of our pet’s accepted standard of health care.

Why regress in the care of your pet’s teeth by giving your pet a bone when you can execute quality dental care at home by routinely brushing your pet’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and pet approved dental paste. In addition, you can add additives to your pet’s water (like “Healthy Mouth”), offer treats (like “Tartar Shield Soft Rawhide Chews for Dogs”), or diets (like Hill’s T/D) that are designed to reduce tartar in your pet’s mouth. For a more extensive list of tartar and plaque reducing dental products please go to the Veterinary Oral Health Council website.

A knucklebone may be natural but it’s not healthy for pets. Don’t fall victim to the glorified concept that what is naturally found in nature is a better solution to your pet’s dental issue. Items found in nature are not always safe. We have progressed so far in veterinary medicine that it would be tragic to turn our backs on progress. If you’re looking for an object for your pet to chew on for entertainment, look at purchasing a safe, indestructible rubber toy (like a “Kong toy”) sold at most pet stores.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the answer to solving dental problems were simply chewing on something hard? But it is not! Don’t give a dog a bone. Brush your dog’s teeth and consult with your veterinarian if your dog has bad breath or is experiencing dental pain.

Source: Huffington Post

Global insect decline may see ‘plague of pests’

Global insect decline may see 'plague of pests'

Many species of butterfly are in retreat according to the review

A scientific review of insect numbers suggests that 40% of species are undergoing “dramatic rates of decline” around the world.

The study says that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles.

But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom.

The general insect decline is being caused by intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change.

Insects make up the majority of creatures that live on land, and provide key benefits to many other species, including humans.

They provide food for birds, bats and small mammals; they pollinate around 75% of the crops in the world; they replenish soils and keep pest numbers in check.

Many other studies in recent years have shown that individual species of insects, such as bees, have suffered huge declines, particularly in developed economies.

But this new paper takes a broader look.

Published in the journal Biological Conservation, it reviews 73 existing studies from around the world published over the past 13 years.

The researchers found that declines in almost all regions may lead to the extinction of 40% of insects over the next few decades. One-third of insect species are classed as Endangered.

“The main factor is the loss of habitat, due to agricultural practices, urbanisation and deforestation,” lead author Dr Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, from the University of Sydney, told BBC News.

“Second is the increasing use of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture worldwide and contamination with chemical pollutants of all kinds. Thirdly, we have biological factors, such as invasive species and pathogens; and fourthly, we have climate change, particularly in tropical areas where it is known to have a big impact.”

Global insect decline may see 'plague of pests'

Dung beetles are on the retreat according to the new review

Some of the highlights of study include the recent, rapid decline of flying insects in Germany, and the massive drop in numbers in tropical forests in Puerto Rico, linked to rising global temperatures.

Other experts say the findings are “gravely sobering”.

“It’s not just about bees, or even about pollination and feeding ourselves – the declines also include dung beetles that recycle waste and insects like dragonflies that start life in rivers and ponds,” said Matt Shardlow from UK campaigners Buglife.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious our planet’s ecology is breaking and there is a need for an intense and global effort to halt and reverse these dreadful trends. Allowing the slow eradication of insect life to continue is not a rational option.”

Pests on the rise

The authors are concerned about the impact of insect decline up along the food chain. With many species of birds, reptiles and fish depending on insects as their main food source, it’s likely that these species may also be wiped out as a result.

While some of our most important insect species are in retreat, the review also finds that a small number of species are likely to be able to adapt to changing conditions and do well.

“Fast-breeding pest insects will probably thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear, ” said Prof Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex who was not involved in the review.

“It’s quite plausible that we might end up with plagues of small numbers of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful ones that we want, like bees and hoverflies and butterflies and dung beetles that do a great job of disposing of animal waste.”

Prof Goulson said that some tough, adaptable, generalist species – like houseflies and cockroaches – seem to be able to live comfortably in a human-made environment and have evolved resistance to pesticides.

He added that while the overall message was alarming, there were things that people could do, such as making their gardens more insect friendly, not using pesticides and buying organic food.

More research is also badly needed as 99% of the evidence for insect decline comes from Europe and North America with almost nothing from Africa or South America.

Ultimately, if huge numbers of insects disappear, they will be replaced but it will take a long, long time.

“If you look at what happened in the major extinctions of the past, they spawned massive adaptive radiations where the few species that made it through adapted and occupied all the available niches and evolved into new species,” Prof Goulson told BBC News.

“So give it a million years and I’ve no doubt there will be a whole diversity of new creatures that will have popped up to replace the ones wiped out in the 20th and 21st centuries.

“Not much consolation for our children, I’m afraid.”

Source: BBC

Is your Child Pet-Ready?

The bond between a child and their furry companion is undoubtedly a precious one and empowering your child to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet of their own can be a significantly positive step in shaping their future personality and behaviour.

Pets Add Value to Children’s Lives

  • Having a pet by their side teaches children to be responsible and empathetic while providing them with a playful companion that can keep them on their toes and give them that much needed physical activity!
  • Pets foster family bonds by encouraging members to come together and participate in collaborative activities with each other and their pets.
  • Studies have proven that pets reduce children’s susceptibility to asthma and allergies. When living with an animal before the age of one, children have shown to develop fortified immune systems compared to children who have had no exposure to pets in their homes.
  • Pets build a child’s self-confidence. When old enough to realise their pets are solely reliant on them alone to survive and thrive, a child’s self-esteem is boosted. They feel a sense of pride and ownership, knowing they play a significant role in keeping their pet happy and safe and this increases their inner confidence.
  • Pets teach children the beautiful traits of forgiveness, loyalty, companionship, trust, love and empathy. These are invaluable qualities they will learn to transfer onto other animals and people throughout their lives.
  • The companionship of both cats and dogs instils a sense of calm, comfort and security in all human members of their families. Research has proven that pets reduce stress and anxiety levels in their human counterparts. 
  • The joys of having a four-legged friend comes with a long-term responsibility and commitment, therefore kids who take ownership of their furry friends will learn to commit to things in life at an earlier age than those without that important sense of duty.

So, with all this said, when does a child become fully prepared for pet ownership and what is the right time to introduce a loyal companion into their life? Depending on your child’s age and personality, you may need to consider certain factors before making this significant decision.

Babies and Furry Friends

At this age your (human) bundle of joy can’t obviously be expected to understand the responsibility that comes with having a pet. If you already share your home with a fur child prior to your newborn’s arrival, it’s important to put your fur baby at ease with the upcoming changes and guide them into the new routine without feelings of stress or neglect. Training your pet for the new arrival is the first step in this transitional process. Set a certain time in your daily schedule where you don’t engage with your pet, empowering them to play and explore on their own, thereby encouraging independence. This way when the baby arrives your four-footed child won’t suddenly feel abandoned as your focus shifts towards taking care of your baby. Having said that, your pet is still, and will always be, your fur child, so while it is understandable that a few months will pass before your timetable finally adjusts, make a concerted effort to shower your pet with all the love and attention they so rightfully deserve. 

Toddlers and Furry Friends

Getting your toddler a pet of their own can be quite the delicate situation. While your child may now understand what pets are, they are not yet prepared to take accountability for them. If you’re planning on adding a pet friend to your household with a toddler in tow, consider having bigger breeds of dogs and cats as a toddler may obliviously mistreat or harm smaller animals. Also take into consideration the fact that you will be taking on the responsibility of your new fur baby, consuming even more time and commitment on your part. It’s essential to do your due diligence about potential breeds that will seamlessly fit in with your unique family culture and requirements.

School Age Children and Furry Friends

Children aged 6 years and upwards are probably the best prepared and most enthusiastic about the prospect of taking care of a fluffy friend. At this impressionable age your child may begin to openly express a desire to have a pet of their own. If your child is not used to having a pet, start with smaller animals such as a goldfish or hamster to teach them the important foundations of taking care of another living soul. You will still need to monitor tasks such as feeding the little one, cleaning their living quarters along with monitoring any signs of sickness that your child may easily overlook.

Pre-teens and teens are even better prepared and more pedantic when owing pets. Depending on their levels of interest, you can consider adding larger breeds of dogs and cats and even non-traditional pets such as hedgehogs, birds, rodents or reptiles to your family!

Although age plays a substantial part in determining when the right time to get a pet for your child is, it’s also crucial to factor in their unique personality. If your child shows no interest in having a pet, then either forget the idea entirely or take on a pet with the knowledge that as parents, any associated responsibility may very well fall on your shoulders, so be sure that you have the physical, emotional as well as financial capacity to do so.

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

Animal testing for cosmetics banned in Australia

Animal testing for cosmetics banned in Australia

The Australian government has passed a bill that effectively bans animal testing for cosmetics in the country.

The Industrial Chemical Charges Bill 2017 was introduced into the House of Representatives in June of 2017, Fashion Journal reported, though this is the first time action has been taken.

Australia will no longer accept results derived from animal experimentation as evidence of a cosmetic product’s safety or effectiveness. This means cosmetic brands will be required to show that their products are safe and operational with non-animal testing methods.

In partnership with Humane Society International (HSI), the government outlined 11 measures to guarantee that all cosmetic ingredients are covered in the ban. Funding will be delegated to help businesses implement testing methods that do not rely on animals.

Animal testing, though said to be expensive, ineffective, and unethical, is still widely used around the world. HSI estimates that around 100,000 to 200,000 animals “suffer and die” for cosmetics every year.

Animal testing for cosmetics banned in Australia

Hannah Stuart, HSI Campaign Manager for #BeCrueltyFree Australia, said the organization has been negotiating with the government for nearly three years. “[T]his ban reflects both the global trend to end cosmetics cruelty, and the will of the Australian public which opposes using animals in the development of cosmetics,” Stuart said. Humane Research found that a majority of Australians – 85 percent – are against animal testing for cosmetics.

“This is a huge win for animals, consumers and science,” Stuart added.

“Today we are celebrating a major win in the fight to end animal testing,” said Shannon Chrisp, Marketing and Corporate Responsibility Director for The Body Shop, a cruelty-free cosmetics company.

“The Body Shop has been on a mission to end cosmetic animal testing globally for over 30 years, so to have this bill passed in Australia is fantastic progress. Hopefully, we will see more governments around the world follow suit,” Chrisp added.

Late last year, The Body Shop, along with anti-animal testing organization Cruelty Free International, delivered a petition to the United Nations urging that it end cosmetic animal experiments around the world. The petition, which featured 8.3 million signatures, is the largest ever for the cause.

Source: Live Kindly

 

Is your Cat’s Hair Falling Out, Wearing Out and Tearing Out?

 is your Cat’s Hair Falling Out, Wearing Out and Tearing Out?

Stroking your feline friend’s soft coat is a pastime many pet parents obviously enjoy, but you may find yourself a little bewildered upon noticing the gradual thinning of your purry pal’s fur volume. If your cat is losing a reasonable amount of hair because of shedding season, then you can breathe as this is rather normal. However, a sudden and drastic loss of hair is a problem that you should address immediately.

Causes of Hair Loss or Alopecia in Cats

If you’ve noticed that your kitty has become abnormally engrossed in chewing and licking their fur of late rather than spending their time playing, sleeping or eating, various reasons could be triggering this unusual behaviour…

Cancer, especially in older felines, along with allergies to food, dust, pollen, medicines and insect bites can contribute to the emergence of bald spots. In an attempt to relieve the irritability, your furry feline may consistently lick the area of irritation until hair growth in that region is compromised. Your vet may also be able to identify whether the hair loss is a consequence of a hormonal imbalance due to an overactive thyroid or excessive levels of steroids.

Alopecia can also be attributed to diabetes or immune system issues so it’s vital you describe to your vet in detail what your kitty’s diet consists of, and any current behaviourial or environmental changes they may recently have experienced to help him diagnose the root cause thereof.

Parasites, for instance ticks, fleas and mice as well as fungal infections such as ringworm appearing as a dry, scabby hairless ring, are also common triggers of hair loss.

Continuous licking of the same spot may also be your cat’s way of relieving pain caused by arthritis.

Like humans, stressed and anxious felines can develop obsessive behaviours such as over-grooming, picking on their skin as well as scratching and licking which is known as “psychogenic alopecia”.

Certain feline breeds, such as Bengals and Himalayans tend to experience a higher likelihood of hair loss and are more prone to developing alopecia.

Symptoms                

The most common symptoms of alopecia appear in the form of:

  • partial or extensive hair loss
  • bald spots
  • scabbing
  • redness
  • itching

In some cases, the hair loss presents itself in wide-ranging patterns on the feline’s body, while in other scenarios, it appears more symmetrical.

Diagnosis

To identify the cause of alopecia, your vet may conduct a skin biopsy or culture to categorise any skin issues and related conditions. Any hormonal problems or imbalances are discovered by conducting a blood serum chemistry panel. Moreover, an ultrasound or X-ray maybe recommended for pinning down diseases such as cancer that could be contributing to the hair loss.  

Treatment

The treatment plan for alopecia depends on your pet’s diagnosis report. Causes such as hormonal imbalances and various skin conditions that contribute to hair loss can be treated with the prescription of topical medications. If, however, alopecia is a consequence of stress and anxiety, the vet may recommend behavioural management and training to control this problem in addition to anti-anxiety or antidepressant treatment.

Management

To manage your cat’s hair loss effectively, be sure to monitor their habits such as excessive licking, biting, scratching and chewing on parts of their body to ensure that they do not become more severe despite being treated with prescribed medication. Remember to consult with your vet periodically to report your feline friend’s progress and discuss any concerns related to their condition. Unfortunately, treatment options for hair loss are fairly restricted and effective prevention techniques are not yet available.

You know your purry pal best, so picking up on any changes in their behaviour and hair volume early on is vital to ensure you get to the bottom of the problem and receive the best treatment for it. This will ensure you have a higher possibility of restoring your full-volumed fluffy feline to their happy, healthy self.

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

 

Company Decides To Bring In Cats To Counter Employee Stress

Company Decides To Bring In Cats To Counter Employee Stress

Company Decides To Bring In Cats To Counter Employee Stress.

Having cats in the workplace truly sounds like a win-win for everybody.

The Japanese IT firm called Ferray has officially introduced an “office cat” policy to combat the stressful environment of the Japanese workplace.

A total of nine fur friends are allowed to freely roam around in the office and do whatever their little hearts desire.

Hidenobu Fukuda, who heads the firm, introduced the famous kitty policy back in 2000 upon request from one of his employees, allowing staffers to bring their own kitties to work. He agreed, and ever since that time he allows any employee to bring in their trusted companions.

Eri Ito, who works at Ferray, stated she is sold on the animal’s soothing ways.

“Cats are sleeping just beside us…It’s healing,” Ito stated.

Not only does Fukuda encourage bringing cats to the job, but he also encourages rescues from Japan’s over populated shelters/streets.

“I also give 5,000 yen ($45) a month to those who rescue a cat,” he explained of his charges.

While the pros totally and completely outweigh the cons, there is still some obstacles.

“Sometimes a cat will walk on a phone and cut off the call, or they shut down the computers by walking onto the off switch,” he stated.

Still, cats in the workplace have been a tremendous success for his employees, and the cats as well. The policy has actually lead to various other companies to do the same, and let’s not forget the 60 registered cat cafes that are popping up on every street.

Just goes to show you cats truly do make everything better.

Source: The best cat page