Monday, November 30, 2009

Southern Company Sponsors Operation Migration USA to Help Protect Endangered Whooping Crane

/PRNewswire/ -- For the second consecutive year, Southern Company is sponsoring Operation Migration USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of migratory species, including the most famous endangered bird in North America - the Whooping crane.

The support will help Operation Migration USA to increase the number of Whooping cranes it raises and leads south by ultralight aircraft from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. This year's class of 23 birds marks the largest ever cohort of young Whooping cranes on their first migration. Operation Migration hopes to increase the number of new Whooping cranes released annually to 24, with the goal of helping the flock reach a self-sustaining population level in four to five years.

"Flying with birds isn't a job," said Joe Duff, Operation Migration's CEO, Whooping crane project leader and senior pilot. "It's a passion. What we are doing can save a species from extinction. Our entire team of staff, volunteers and sponsors such as Southern Company are dedicated to preserving this magnificent icon of endangered species for future generations of North Americans."

A three-year grant to Operation Migration USA was made beginning in 2008 through the Power of Flight, a partnership between Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to protect birds through habitat and species restoration and environmental education.

"Southern Company is proud to be a part of the ongoing effort to save the Whooping crane and support the conservation of migratory species through innovative research, education and partnership," said Chris Hobson, chief environmental officer for Southern Company. "Our continued support of Operation Migration is a great example of how we address environmental challenges - by partnering with a variety of stakeholders to achieve real, measurable and long-term results."

"Operation Migration is a prime example of the clear results garnered by Power of Flight, a partnership fueled by Southern Company's leadership and commitment to conservation," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. "At the time of the program's launch, nobody knew the critical gains we'd be achieving today. Not only is our Southern Company partnership supporting significant benefits for the Southeast's imperiled species and habitats, but the program serves to inspire others as a model for future conservation ventures."

The cranes for this project are hatched at the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. They are taught to follow a specially designed ultralight aircraft before being shipped to Wisconsin at 50 days of age. Eventually, they follow a team of four ultralight aircraft on their first migration from Wisconsin to Florida.

Once the birds learn the migratory route, they can return, on their own, the following spring. Each year a new generation is taught this route and released. Once this flock reaches 125 birds, including 25 breeding pairs, it can be considered self-sustaining.

This year, Operation Migration's ultralights will travel 1,285 miles through seven states, including three - Alabama, Florida and Georgia - that are served by Southern Company. The cranes began their flight in October; their arrival date depends on the weather but the trip is expected to take at least 50 days. Progress reports on the flight are updated regularly and posted on Operation Migration USA's Web site at

Southern Company is also the presenting sponsor of the daily Operation Migration EarlyBird E-bulletin, which provides updates on flight progress.

Since 2001, Operation Migration has played a leading role in the reintroduction of endangered Whooping cranes into eastern North America. During the 1940s only 15 birds survived in the world, although the species was not declared endangered until 1971. The primary reason for the birds' disappearance was the destruction of its natural habitat; however, thanks to conservation efforts, more than 500 whooping cranes survive today.

Operation Migration USA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of migratory species through innovative research, education and partnerships. Operation Migration is a founding partner of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), the coalition of non-profit organizations and government agencies behind the project to safeguard the endangered Whooping crane from extinction. For more information, visit

A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded over 10,000 grants to more than 3,500 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged - with its partners - more than $600 million into over $1.5 billion for conservation.

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TN Family Visits Shot Eagle They Rescued, Now Cared for by American Eagle Foundation at Dollywood

AAA Note: Seeing Bald Eagles in flight in nature is a glorious sight. Perhaps the young eagle in the story below will join the other Bald Eagles who choose to winter over in Fayette County. It's almost time to start the bird watch- and we're ready to shoot them with our digital cameras!

(BUSINESS WIRE)--An American Bald Eagle shot in Tennessee earlier this year has a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving - it's flying again. But so does the family who rescued it.

In late March 2009, the immature female eagle suffered multiple wounds from a shotgun and was found and rescued by the Hornsby family in the Cumberland County area of Tennessee (Daysville).

Both the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were notified by Cheryl Hornsby that she and her husband Jeff and son Jacob had found an injured eagle in their yard that could not fly. Those agencies responded and made sure the bird - now named “Cumberland” - was picked up from the Hornsby home and received proper initial treatment.

"My son threw a blanket over the eagle to keep it calm by covering its eyes and to catch it," said Cheryl Hornsby. "We fed it Special Kitty Ocean Perch brand cat food and the bird was hungry enough to eat the entire contents of the can. We also gave it some water."

On April 4th, a careful examination by veterinarians at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Knoxville revealed that numerous steel shot fragments had fractured the eagle's left wing and also damaged its toe, tail, spine and shoulder. Many of those fragments could not be removed and still remain in the bird's body today.

After the doctors at UT provided initial emergency treatment to the eagle, it was then brought to the American Eagle Foundation's United States Eagle Center in Pigeon Forge ( on April 8th for further rehabilitation. The eagle has been under the care of the AEF since that time going through various stages of recovery.

"We're very grateful to the Hornsby family for taking the action they did," said AEF president Al Cecere. "The eagle was seriously wounded and injured and would not be living today if they had not rescued it when they did."

Mrs. Hornsby contacted Mr. Cecere several months ago to ask if she and her family could possibly visit the eagle “Cumberland” at some point to see firsthand how it was doing. This week, as a special Thanksgiving gift, they were given that opportunity to see the bird for the first time since they found and rescued it 8 months ago.

"I have been trying to keep up with her progress," said Mrs. Hornsby. "This has been such a great joy for all of us and we are so thankful."

This eagle presently resides in a 150 foot long flight enclosure at the AEF bird facility, where it can exercise its wings and practice flying. Due to the bird having only 80 percent of normal range of motion in its left wing when it first came to the AEF facility, the initial prognosis of it returning to full flight was fair to poor.

However since that time, the eagle's wounds have healed and it has been flying increasingly better than it did when first placed in the flight enclosure. Now, the possibility of release back into the wild has increased - but no final determination will be made for a few more months.

The Cumberland County eagle shares the flight enclosure with two other bald eagles that were recently injured. One young eagle was found tangled in fishing line in the Bristol, TN area, causing significant damage to a wing. That immature bird is on the mend and already flying nicely. The AEF staff is still waiting for four new primary feathers to grow back in on the injured wing. The other bald eagle, an adult, suffered a broken leg, which has fully mended.

“If all three birds continue to heal, they may be ready for possible release in the spring of 2010 - the 25th Anniversary of the AEF,” said Cecere.

Several federal, state and private conservation groups, including the AEF, have joined together to offer a combined $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for shooting the eagle from Cumberland County. To date, the shooter has not been found - but the reward still stands.

Bald Eagles are protected under federal law, and the poacher could face fines and up to a year in federal prison.

The public is urged to call the TWRA at 931-484-9571 if they can provide any information about who may have shot the bird.

“We were told so many times by people that we may never hear anything about her again,” said Hornsby. “But the American Eagle Foundation has proven them all wrong.”

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Safeguard Your Pet From Cold-Weather Dangers

(NAPSI)-While they may enjoy frolicking in fresh snowfall, dogs, cats and other pets can often experience danger in the colder months. To protect your pet from sore paws and worse, watch out for these symptoms:

• First, if your pet ever walks across a sidewalk freshly treated with an ice-melting product, he might start to limp, whine or even hop and favor one leg over the other. The problem could be a burning sensation from the heat produced by moist particles of calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, common ingredients in ice-melter products.

• Second, your pet may also experience a strong cooling sensation because the slush left behind after deicing may actually feel colder than the snow or ice before it melted.

• Third, if your pet eats snow treated with traditional ice-melting chemicals, he may experience some inflammation in the digestive tract.

• Fourth, some ice-melting crystals are large enough to become lodged in your pet's foot pads, causing irritation and discomfort.

What To Do

One way to give your pet relief is to check for and remove ice--melter crystals from paws after a walk. Rinse the paws thoroughly in lukewarm tap water and then gently run your finger in between foot pads to remove any lodged crystals. Using a soft towel or cloth, wipe off any remaining residue on paws.

To minimize the harmful effects of ice-melting products, you can use a pet-friendly ice melter from Morton Salt.

Because it's made of smaller granular crystals, it's less likely to become lodged in a paw. Also, it does not contain large amounts of calcium chloride or magnesium chloride, which, when moist, may cause a strong burning or cooling sensation, and it contains additives with a higher ingestion tolerance than rock salt.

What's more, unlike other safety blends that may only work in temperatures above 25° F, Morton® Safe-T-Plus® Eco Safe™ Ice Melt performs well in temperatures as low as -5° F.

Learn More

For more information on pet-friendly ice-melting products, visit, call (888) 644-9147 or write to Morton Salt, 123 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

NBC's 'National Dog Show Presented by Purina,' to Provide Online Coverage of All 160-Plus Competing Breeds

/PRNewswire/ -- America's dog lovers, including those hopelessly devoted to their favorite breeds, will be able to get up close and personal as their favorites are judged at "The National Dog Show Presented by Purina" on Thanksgiving Day, November 26 (Noon - 2 p.m. in all times zones), as well as having exclusive coverage at The television broadcast will also be available online after 2 p.m. ET on, a popular online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips.

To complement the TV special and showcase all the breeds on Thanksgiving Day, will feature video of the walks, examination and judging of all the breed-winning dogs with expert commentary from veteran announcer and dog show expert Wayne Ferguson, who is the President of the host Kennel Club of Philadelphia.

In a "National Dog Show" first, NBC is asking viewers of the broadcast to vote for their favorite group winner in Purina's "Viewers Choice Best in Show" poll. Once the remaining seven "Best In Show" competitors have been selected, the television audience will be able to vote online at or by texting the word "DOG" to 51515 on their cell phones. Viewers will also be encouraged to vote for their favorite group winner throughout the day.

A total audience of 18.7 million viewers tuned in to "The National Dog Show" last year and this year's edition will once again follow the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is America's most watched dog show, featuring the Best in Show competition plus features and vignettes about the wonderfulness of man's best friend through the eyes of host John O'Hurley and expert analyst David Frei.

"The success and popularity of the 'National Dog Show' is because it reaches all generations and families can watch the show together," said Jon Miller, Executive Vice President of NBC. "There is also growing interest in all of the different breeds and we recognize the importance of providing online coverage of each one."

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

AVMA Encourages Pet Owners to Quit Smoking... for Their Pets

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is letting smokers know there is another good reason to take part in the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19 -- the health of their pets.

"We're all aware of the scientific research that shows that people who smoke are more likely to get certain types of cancer and other diseases, but a lot of people don't know that the same goes for the pets of smokers," said Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer, in a video encouraging pet owners to kick the habit.

Lung cancer and nasal cancer are particularly threatening to dogs while cats that live with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma -- fatal to three out of four cats within a year -- and are more likely to get mouth cancer.

Dr. John Reif, professor at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says that dogs with short noses have double the risk of lung cancer and long-nosed dogs such as collies have two and half times greater risk of nasal cancer from secondhand smoke.

"Smoking is a very dangerous exposure for many human diseases -- cancer, cardiovascular disease and others -- and anything we can do to encourage people to stop smoking would be helpful," Dr. Reif said in a podcast encouraging pet owners to kick the habit.

"I'm hoping that by publicizing this information that more people will get involved in the Great American Smokeout this year, and the love of their pets will inspire them to finally kick the habit," Dr. DeHaven said.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

North Georgia Honda Dealers to Demo All-New Dog Friendly Element at Thursday's Paws for Cocktails Event Benefiting the Atlanta Pet Rescue

Thursday, November 19, 2009
5:30 p.m.
Silent Auction: 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Live Auction: 8:00 p.m.

Park Tavern

Corner of 10th and Monroe
500 10th Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 249-0001

Atlanta-area animal lovers will have a chance Thursday to experience Honda's all-new, Dog Friendly Element at the Paws for Cocktails event benefiting the Atlanta Pet Rescue. The event, now in its eighth year, will feature food and cocktails, celebrity hosts including Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet's "It's Me or the Dog," more than 200 silent and live auction items featuring art by internationally- renowned artist Marc Tetro, a pet psychic, trivia, prizes and more.

Designed to improve safety, comfort and convenience for dogs and their owners alike in the EX trim level, the Honda Dog Friendly Element includes a stowable ramp, pet bed, water bowl, electrical fan and more-all designed for the safety and comfort of your canine companion and you. Convenience is also improved for owners with easy to clean surfaces and a full suite of matching Dog Friendly accoutrements.

The Dog Friendly equipment package is available now and has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $995. For more information about Honda's Dog Friendly Package for the Element EX models, please visit your local North Georgia Honda Dealer or log onto

A $15 donation at the door includes a food and drink ticket.

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Holiday Travel With Pets: Tips From the American Humane Association

/PRNewswire/ -- Some pets love traveling -- while others find it extremely stressful. However, with increased awareness of the risks inherent in traveling with animals, owners can prepare and minimize undue stress on their pets. These travel tips from the American Humane Association can help ensure that holiday trips, and travels year-round, are safe and enjoyable for people and their pets.

1. Properly identify pets with ID tags and microchips -- Make sure your
pets have ID and current rabies tags and are microchipped. To be extra
cautious, give your pets an additional tag with the address and phone
number of where you will be staying for the duration of the trip, in
case they get lost after you arrive.
2. Train pets to travel in their crates -- Whether you're heading to your
holiday destination by plane, train or automobile, getting your pets
used to their crates will make the entire traveling experience less
stressful. Even when away from home, pets still view their crates as a
safe haven from stressful situations.
3. With a crate, size does matter -- Crates should be large enough for
pets to stand and turn around in comfortably. Remember to keep water
inside the crate or allow for breaks every three hours so that your
pets can drink and stretch.
4. Never leave your pets unattended -- Just as you would never leave a
child unattended, never leave your pets alone in a car.
5. Be prepared -- Take your pets' health records with you, just in case
they need to see a veterinarian during your trip. Be sure to ask your
veterinarian if she recommends heartworm prevention or treatment for
fleas or ticks for the area in which you are traveling. Keep pet dishes
in your car, as well as extra water and pet food, in case of car
trouble or bad weather.
6. To fly or not to fly -- As a rule, puppies and kittens, sick animals,
animals in heat, and frail or pregnant animals should not travel by
air. If a pet is too large to fly in the cabin with you, perhaps a stay
at a boarding kennel would be a safer choice. You should also plan
ahead because many airlines have restrictions regarding pets, and your
pets may need a health certificate to fly.
7. Visit your veterinarian -- Your vet may prescribe a sedative to help
reduce your pet's stress level while traveling. However, sedatives are
not always safe for pets so be sure to give your vet the details of how
your pet will be traveling and how long the trip will take.
8. Boarding is an option -- If your pets are too large to fly in the cabin
with you, or if a long car ride might be too stressful for them,
boarding your pets at a kennel may be a safer choice. Or you could hire
a licensed pet sitter to take care of your pets in the comfort of your
own home.
9. Try to keep pets on the same "schedule" -- Stop when you would normally
let your pets out at home and at feeding times.
10. Plan lodging ahead -- Research your route, make reservations and carry
a list of pet-friendly lodging along the way. Also, ask for a room on
the ground floor so it is easier to walk your pets. Don't let your
pets stay in the car.

The American Humane Association wishes everybody safe and happy travels this holiday season and throughout the year. For more information on pet travel tips visit; for more information about American Humane, go to Follow us on Twitter at, on MySpace ( and on Facebook ( The information contained in this release can be reused and posted with proper credit given to the American Humane Association.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Amazing Video with a Leopard Seal

This video of a leopard seal taking care of a photographer is just awesome. Watch it and be amazed by nature at its finest. We just couldn't resist the big grin of the seal.

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First Dog Bo Pens His Own Memoir

/PRNewswire/ -- Just in time for the holiday season the pawfect book for pet lovers, "Bad to the Bone: Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger" (published by Kensington Books/ It's the first memoir ever written by a dog published in non-fiction, and is a laugh-out-loud look at how a canine and two seemingly normal people wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world while creating a lifelong bond in the process.

Bo Hoefinger is not your everyday, run of the mill author; he's a mixed-breed shelter dog with an attitude.

Let's get this clear right away: I'm a dog.

I'm 1'10" and weigh 63 lbs, and although I'm a mutt on the outside, I'm a purebred on the inside. My good nature comes from the Golden Retriever side of the family, while my stubbornness is clearly from my Chowchow bloodlines. I've got Rastafarian ears, a black tongue for licking, and paws that should be on a dog twice my size.

I type 60 words a minute.

My name is Bo, and this is my story.

Join this incorrigible canine as he welcomes us into his life, complete with his wacky "parents," a constipated feline housemate, and chipmunk warfare. All tales are 100% true and will put animal lovers in fits of laughter. Bad to the Bone is an unforgettable tale of love and loyalty that reveals the true heart of a modern American family.

From the mind of man's best friend, comes the funniest book of the year. Critics agree:

"You'll laugh, you'll howl, you'll practically wag with pleasure."-Dr. Marty Becker

"His 'voice' is utterly original, sharp, and kind."-Ask Dog Lady

"A real treat."-Tracie Hotchner

Grab a copy for yourself and the pet lovers in your life, or anyone who just needs a laugh. It's the perfect stocking stuffer, order now! A portion of the proceeds is donated to help rescue dogs.

Bo lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his sisters Copper, a Rhodesian ridgeback rescue, and Moose, a grey run of the mill house cat. He also shares accommodations with his two owners. Everyone is allowed on the bed.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Sabertoothed Males Were Pussycats

Despite their fearsome fangs, male sabertoothed cats may have been less aggressive than many of their feline cousins, says a new study of male-female size differences in extinct big cats.

The researchers report that while male American lions were considerably larger than females, male and female sabertoothed cats were indistinguishable in size. The findings suggest that sabertooths may have been less aggressive than their fellow felines, researchers say.

In species where males fight for mates, bigger, heavier males have a better chance of winning fights, fending off their rivals and gaining access to females. After generations of male-male competition, the males of some species evolve to be much larger than their mates.

Most big cats have a form of sexual dimorphism where males are bigger than females, said co-author Julie Meachen-Samuels, a biologist at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC. So she and Wendy Binder of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles wanted to know if extinct sabertooths and American lions showed the same size patterns as big cats living today.

When it comes to fossils, sorting males from females can be tricky. “It’s hard to tell who’s a male and who’s a female in the fossil record,” said Blaire Van Valkenburgh, a biologist at UCLA who has studied these animals extensively but was not an author on the paper. Unless you’re lucky enough to get some DNA, or you’re working with an animal where males have horns and females don’t.”

For species that keep growing into adulthood, simply separating the fossils into two groups by size may not do the trick, either. “It’s easy to get a younger, smaller male confused with an older, larger female if you’re just dividing them by size,” Meachen-Samuels said.

The researchers accounted for continued growth using subtle clues from fossilized teeth. “Teeth fill in over time,” said Binder. “In young animals the tooth cavity is basically hollow, but as they get older it fills in with dentin. It won’t give you an exact age, but it can give you a relative age in terms of young, middle aged or old,” Binder added.

Meachen-Samuels and Binder x-rayed the lower teeth and jaws of 13 American lions and 19 sabertoothed cats recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. To account for growth over time, they measured tooth cavity diameter and plotted it against jaw length for each species. Plotted this way, the data for the American lion fell easily into two groups, regardless of age. The researchers concluded that "the little ones were females and the big ones were males,” said Van Valkenburgh.

In contrast, sabertoothed cat sizes seemed to be governed solely by age. It would appear that the males were indistinguishable from their mates. “Even by incorporating a measure of age, you can’t distinguish males and females,” said Meachen-Samuels.

Size differences between the sexes tend to be more impressive in species where male aggression is more intense, and in the extinct American lion, size differences between the sexes were even more dramatic than in lions living today.

The closest living relative of the American lion, "African lions engage in aggressive takeovers where one to several males will take over an entire pride – the males have battles to the death,” said Van Valkenburgh.

Living lions have huge sexual dimorphism,” said Meachen-Samuels.

Based on their findings, the researchers think the American lion probably lived in male-dominated groups, where 1-2 males monopolized and mated with multiple females. “My guess would be that the American lion was similar to African lions, where males guard groups of females,” said Meachen-Samuels.

“But we don’t see that in the sabertoothed cat,” Binder said. The size similarity in sabertoothed cats suggests that male sabertooths may have been less aggressive than their larger cousins. “Rather than males having harems of females, the males and females in a group might have been more equal,” Binder said.

By Robin Smith

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brown Pelican's 40-Year Recovery Victory for Supporters of Environmental Protections

/PRNewswire/ -- National conservation groups focusing on the restoration of coastal Louisiana are hailing today's announcement by federal officials that the state bird of Louisiana, the Brown Pelican, is being removed from the Endangered Species List. Audubon, the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation view the recovering pelican as powerful proof that a healthy coast and strong environmental protections can benefit people and nature alike.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the species has sufficiently recovered from the impact of DDT contamination compounded by continuing habitat loss to be taken off the list in areas where it is not already delisted. Populations along the Atlantic Coast, in Florida and Alabama were delisted in 1985.

"The delisting of this iconic Gulf of Mexico species shows that cooperation produces results," said Mary E. Kelly, senior counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund's Center for Rivers and Deltas. "Now, we need to ensure that same spirit of cooperation and results extends to restoration of coastal Louisiana's wetlands, which, among many other benefits, provide habitat and food for this beautiful bird."

"This is an Endangered Species Act victory that demonstrates the great success we can achieve when we work together," echoes NWF's John Kostyack. "Maintaining that success will require confronting climate change and its relationship to coastal restoration and the species that depend on these important ecosystems."

According to Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count, Brown Pelican population trends have risen in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and California for the past 40-50 years. Hurricane Katrina took a toll on the Gulf Coast populations that has not been thoroughly erased, but the prospects remain good, provided coastal recovery stays on track.

"The future of the Brown Pelican depends on the same strategies that will benefit coastal residents," said Audubon's Louisiana Bird Conservation Director Melanie Driscoll. "Pelicans and people need a strong, well-funded coastal restoration plan that will speed the recovery of coastal marshes and the barrier islands that are our first defense from hurricanes and their primary source of food and shelter."

Continued monitoring of Brown Pelicans is essential to detect any unexpected future population declines. Conservationists also caution that proper site selection, operational guidelines and vigilance will be needed to ensure that proposed wind power projects don't threaten recovery in Texas and other areas.

Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 700,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit

The National Wildlife Federation is America's largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.

Audubon -- Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dogs Welcome Home Their Favorite Veterans

Who could resist these great videos? Pet lovers will just smile as they witness the joy the pets have when their favorite soldiers return home from battle. Thanks, veterans. You make us all proud.

The Late Movies: Dogs Welcoming Home Soldiers

I can’t begin to imagine how hard it would be to leave my family for months at a time, especially if my destination were Iraq or Afghanistan. And I don’t know how I could deal with my wife being deployed overseas. These reunion videos—for me, at least—shed a tiny beam of light on how emotionally draining being a military family can be. They’ll also make you want a dog. To commemorate Veterans Day, here are some overjoyed dogs greeting returning soldiers.....

HT to sepetrescue
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Three More Ferrets Diagnosed With Pandemic Influenza H1N1

/PRNewswire/ -- Three more ferrets in Oregon have tested positive for the 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus, state officials confirmed this afternoon, bringing the total number of cases affecting ferrets in the state to four.

Dr. Emilio DeBess, the Oregon state public health veterinarian, says the ferrets that tested positive for the H1N1 virus are among a group of nine ferrets that live with a family in the Roseburg, Ore., area. All nine ferrets, DeBess said, exhibited flu-like symptoms, but only three were taken to the veterinarian. Those three tested positive.

DeBess says members of the family that owns the ferrets were sick with flu-like symptoms the week prior to the animals becoming ill. He adds that there are no indications that the ferrets passed the virus on to people or any other species of animal.

The first ferret in Oregon confirmed with the 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus was diagnosed in early October. All of the sick ferrets have recovered.

DeBess reminds pet owners that they should contact their veterinarian if their pets show any signs of illness, and that they should take precautions to help reduce the spread of influenza between themselves and their pets.

"The key message is to protect your animals much like you protect your family," he says. "Wash your hands, cover your cough and your sneeze, and do your best to prevent contaminating objects your pet may come into contact with."

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Monday, November 9, 2009

The HSUS Offers Reward in Georgia Halloween Cat Mutilation Case

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for inflicting burns across the body of a small kitten in Stockbridge, Ga., on Halloween night.

The Case: News reports give the following account: An 8-week-old kitten was found wandering around the Waterford Place Apartments in Stockbridge on Halloween night, covered with burns. The kitten, now named Sweetie, was taken to the Alpharetta Animal Hospital for evaluation. The veterinarian believes the scars were likely caused by an acid burn, and that her fur will likely never grow back. Despite the horrible injuries, Sweetie is said to have a wonderful disposition and is being adopted out by the PeachState Pet Partners.

Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

"Anyone capable of hurting a kitten like Sweetie can be dangerous to people," said Cheryl McAuliffe, The HSUS' Georgia state director. "Americans have no tolerance for violence against the creatures who share our world."

The Investigators: The Clayton County Police Department is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Capt. Mark Thomas at 770-477-3509.

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Protect Your Pet From Theft

(StatePoint) America's fascination with canines knows no bounds. Just look at the late notorious hotel operator Leona Helmsley's multi-million dollar trust fund she left for "Trouble," her beloved Maltese. The inheritance not withstanding, pet theft has become an increasing problem that only now has begun to be addressed.

By following some important tips and being aware of red flags, you can keep your pet better protected from dognappers.

"It's not just about the financial value of the dog for any of these people. It's an emotional attachment that can't be replaced by getting another dog," says Lisa Peterson, a spokesperson for the American Kennel Club (AKC), who started seeing enough concern over pet theft to begin tracking the problem. "Some owners, desperate to find their beloved pets, have contacted us, wanting to know what they can do to help get their 'family' members back."

Indeed, pet theft is growing at a hearty rate, with the AKC having begun tracking and reporting such incidents over the past two years. And concern over the theft of dogs has inspired legislators to act by proposing new laws against such thefts and AKC to spread helpful advice for pet owners.

The most obvious step in addressing the issue of pet theft is prevention. By paying extra attention to your pet, the prospect of theft goes down. Simple things, like not letting your dog off its leash and not leaving it unattended in your yard or car can help avoid potentially-dangerous scenarios. Tying up your dog and leaving it unattended on the sidewalk can be particularly problematic, especially with small dogs.

In the unfortunate event that your pet is taken, there are a few methods of recovery.

By getting your dog a SpotLight collar with a GPS tracking device or by embedding a permanent microchip in your dog, retrieving and identifying a stolen pet can be made easier. There are other services available to help recover stolen pets. Sites like work in conjunction with the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery and send e-mail alerts regarding missing pets to every shelter, vet, and animal-control agency within a 50-mile radius.

Even if your pet isn't worth millions, the sentimental value of a loyal animal can be incalculable. But unfortunately there is a market out there for stolen animals. Keeping that in mind, some short-term precautions can contribute greatly to a long-term relationship with a pet.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

FDA Health Alert for Certain Pet Treats Made by Pet Carousel

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is issuing this health alert to warn consumers not to use Pig Ears and Beef Hooves pet treats manufactured by Pet Carousel because the products may be contaminated with Salmonella. The products were distributed nationwide in both bulk and retail packaging for sale in pet food and retail chain stores. Pet Carousel is based in Sanger, Calif.

The products were manufactured under conditions that facilitate cross-contamination within batches or lots. Although no illnesses associated with these products have been reported, the FDA is advising consumers in possession of these products to not handle or feed them to their pets.

The affected pig ear products were packaged under the brand names Doggie Delight and Pet Carousel. The affected beef hooves were packaged under the brand names Choo Hooves, Dentley’s, Doggie Delight, and Pet Carousel. All sizes and all lots of these products made by Pet Carousel are included in this alert.

During September 2009, the FDA conducted routine testing of pig ears made by Pet Carousel. The test results detected a positive reading for Salmonella. This prompted an FDA inspection of Pet Carousel’s manufacturing facilities. During the inspection, the agency collected additional pet treat samples. Further analysis found Salmonella present in beef hooves, pig ears and in the manufacturing environment.

Salmonella can affect both humans and animals. People handling dry pet food and/or pet treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the treats or any surfaces exposed to these products. Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella may experience some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Although rare, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their health care provider immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets may only experience a decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed any of the affected products or is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The FDA will continue to investigate this matter to determine the source of the Salmonella contamination and offer updates as appropriate.

Consumers can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food and pet treat products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in their area. You can locate the nearest consumer complaint coordinator at:

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Congress to Consider Python Ban; Noted Reptile Experts Question Science

/PRNewswire/ -- Today a U.S. House Subcommittee will consider H.R. 2811 a bill that could determine the fate of much of the reptile trade in the United States. Introduced by U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL), who recently announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, the bill could add the entire genus python to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act; a designation reserved for only the most dangerous alien invaders to our natural eco-system. Such a move would prevent all import, export, and interstate transport of pythons in the U.S. The scientific justification for such a move hinges on a recently published report of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) entitled 'Risk Assessment of Nine Large Constricting Snakes', which paints a picture of large constrictor snakes on the verge of taking over much of the U.S.

Proponents of H.R. 2811 including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are quick to suggest potential environmental harm from trade in large constrictor snakes, and have hailed the 300-page USGS report as "erasing any doubt."

However, critics of a python ban maintain the science is simply not there to justify such a move. "H.R. 2811 aims to legislate science," responded Andrew Wyatt, president of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK), a national trade association advocating responsible private ownership of, and trade in reptiles. "There exists a scientific process at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make these types of determinations. For sake of expediency, or political gain, Congress appears intent on destroying a viable industry and forcing reptiles out of the homes of responsible owners," added Wyatt. "The scientific basis for such an action is simply not there."

Over the past 60 years, the practice of keeping reptiles has changed from an obscure hobby to an incredibly widespread and mainstream part of the American experience. With over 5 million Americans involved, and thousands of small businesses, the reptile trade in the U.S. is reported to represent 3 billion dollars annually.

Dr. Elliott Jacobson, Professor of Zoological Medicine at University of Florida, and a highly respected expert in reptile biology also remains unconvinced on the science. "Although the USGS Report is an attempt to assess the ability of large constrictor snakes to invade substantial areas of the US, it is an oversimplification of a very complicated topic," said Dr. Jacobson. "The fact that the boa constrictor can be found in Mexico near the Arizona border, but has never entered the U.S. means there are factors operating that cannot be explained by this report."

H.R. 2811 will receive a hearing in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism & Homeland Security, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building at 10:00AM.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Can Humans Pass Swine Flu to Pets?

According to ABC news, a cat in Iowa is the latest victim to develop swine flu after being exposed to it in his home.

Cat in Iowa Catches Swine Flu
by Lauren Cox
ABC News Medical Unit

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Season of Suppers Strives to Double Pet Food, Monetary Donations in 2009

Editor's Note: Fabulous! Just fabulous!

/PRNewswire/ -- The Banfield Charitable Trust, in partnership with Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) and Banfield, The Pet Hospital®, is helping feed hungry Pets this holiday season with its annual Season of Suppers campaign, a national Pet food drive, which runs Sunday, Nov. 1 through Thursday, Dec. 31. The Season of Suppers campaign, now in its fourth year, aims to feed Pets of homebound seniors who receive meals from Meals On Wheels.

The Banfield Charitable Trust is hoping to double monetary donations in 2009 to fund, or start, new Pet feeding programs through We All Love Our Pets (WALOP) grants. During the 2008 campaign, the Trust raised $42,000 in monetary donations, which funded more than 50 WALOP grants. Meals On Wheels programs throughout the country can apply for these grants to initiate or sustain Pet-food distribution programs locally.

"Season of Suppers touches many people's hearts, and it is a joyful time for everyone involved," said Dianne McGill, executive director and chief executive officer of the Banfield Charitable Trust. "When we first started this campaign, we never imagined how quickly it would grow. The support from volunteers and MOWAA program directors has exceeded every goal we envisioned for the program's growth. We are humbled by the generosity donors have shown with their support, especially given our difficult economic times. We hope to meet the increased need with even greater participation this year."

In addition to the money for WALOP grants, the campaign also collected thousands of pounds of Pet food that local Meals On Wheels programs distribute. Banfield alone collected 13,000 pounds in 2008 at its main campus in Portland, Ore. Across the country, more than 750 Banfield hospitals act as food collection donation sites.

"MOWAA's mission is to eradicate senior hunger by 2020. That is our focus, and we do it one day at a time, one nutritious meal at a time and one senior at a time," said Enid A. Borden, president and chief executive officer of Meals On Wheels Association of America. "One thing we have seen firsthand is how important Pets are to these homebound seniors. In many cases, their Pets are their only family. It goes without saying that keeping Pets as nutritionally healthy as their owners is critically important. In more cases than we can count, the Season of Suppers campaign has made that possible - and a home is a much brighter place when the whole family gets the nutrition they need."

There are three ways to help make the 2009 Season of Suppers campaign even more successful:

1. Purchase Pet food and place it in the Season of Suppers donation bin in
any Banfield Pet hospital. The BCT suggests items that are easy to
transport, such as small bags and cans.
2. Donate money at Banfield Pet hospitals. During November and December,
Banfield Pet hospitals are collecting Pet food and monetary donations
in more than 750 hospitals nationwide. To find your nearest Banfield
location, visit
3. Contribute online at by clicking the "donate now"
button. Your donation of $30 will help Meals On Wheels programs feed
one Pet for an entire month.

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Cats found to offer support to breast cancer patients

(ARA) - Women facing breast cancer report that their cats rank among the most important of the many loyal, loving and understanding supporters they rely on to help them through their treatment. In fact, cats rank alongside parents and siblings as an important source of daily support, according to a recent survey.

Studies show that an important emotional connection exists between pets and their owners. During times of stress or illness, the bond between a pet and owner can be particularly strong. Missy Fish is undeniable proof of this.

Fish, a two-time breast cancer survivor, leaned on the companionship of her two cats, Phoebe and Jack, during her treatments.

"They were the perfect companions when I needed them most,” Fish says. “They were silent sources of strength and empowerment.”

Fish is far from the only breast cancer survivor to attest to the power of her cat. A recent Purina Cat Chow national survey of breast cancer survivors with cats underscores this important emotional connection and relationship.

The survey found that 84 percent of women battling breast cancer said their cat had a calming effect on them during their treatment. Cats also provided daily support to the patient, according to 76 percent of survivors surveyed.

Dr. Karen Sueda, a Diplomate at the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, says that cats are perceptive to their owner's needs during an illness.

“Whether pet owners are fighting a disease such as breast cancer or going through a rough period in life such as job loss or financial stress, their cats often display intuitive behaviors of knowing when they need extra love and support," says Sueda.

Inspired by one cancer survivor’s touching story of the role her cat played during her battle with cancer, Purina Cat Chow is doing its part to help the fight against breast cancer. This year, in a partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Purina Cat Chow will donate more than $200,000 to the cause and will raise awareness for breast cancer through the Purina Cat Chow Connected for the Cause campaign.

“We have heard countless stories from breast cancer patients and survivors of how they have been emotionally supported by their cats,” says Katy Laciny, Purina Cat Chow's assistant brand manager. “Purina Cat Chow’s Connected for the Cause campaign honors this exceptional relationship and invites consumers to help us raise awareness and increase support for Susan G. Komen for the Cure so that a cure can be found.”

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. The organization has invested $1.3 billion toward ending breast cancer, becoming the world’s largest source of non-profit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.

Visit to hear survivor stories, read about the unique connection between survivors and their cats and share photos of support. For every picture uploaded, Purina Cat Chow will donate an additional $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure up to $10,000.

The Purina Cat Chow Connected for the Cause campaign culminates this October with limited-edition pink bags at grocery, mass and pet retailers nationwide in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Products featuring pink bags include Purina Cat Chow Complete Formula and Purina Cat Chow Indoor Formula, both available in 3.5 pound and 16 pound bags.

For more information on the Purina Cat Chow Connected for the Cause campaign, go to

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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