Oakland, CA…May 24, 2016 – Construction of the Oakland Zoo’s new California Trail expansion, including a new state-of-the-art visitor center, is in full swing thanks to a generous $3 million grant from Kaiser Permanente’s fund at the East Bay Community Foundation.

Slated to open in Spring 2017, the Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center at Oakland Zoo’s California Trail serves as the entry point to the developing 56-acre expansion; with Zoo guests arriving via Northern California’s first urban gondola offering awe-inspiring views of the entire SF Bay Area. The 15,500 square foot building will also feature viewing decks from 625 feet above sea level and the upper level will house an expansive, family-friendly restaurant.

“The California Trail at Oakland Zoo will be the first-ever of its kind, giving almost a million visitors each year the opportunity to connect with and learn about many California native species, like the Grizzly bear, that vanished from our lands so long ago,” said Dr. Joel Parrott, President & CEO of Oakland Zoo, “We are so pleased to have Kaiser Permanente’s name added to this monumental structure which will serve as the first experience for guests exploring the many attractions of the California Trail.”

In addition to securing naming rights to the Kaiser Permanente Visitors Center, the organization’s investment will support two prominent educational programs for youth at the Zoo, the Teen Wild Guide program and Field Biology workshops. Both programs offer Bay Area tweens and teens long-term, hands-on learning and research opportunities focused on conservation and wildlife both at the Zoo and beyond.

“Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve,” explained Vice President of External and Community Relations Yvette Radford. “We’re excited to help support the Oakland Zoo’s California Trail because it encourages people of all ages to enjoy outdoor physical activity and appreciate the beauty and environmental diversity of our incredible state.”  

As construction continues on the Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center and all of the exhibits and attractions within the California Trail, several naming opportunities remain for the many new habitats, viewing stations, pavilion, classroom and the only one of its kind in Northern California – urban gondola. The first animal residents are anticipated in the fall of this year with the addition of twenty American Bison from the Blackfeet Nation tribe in Montana. Other animals will be added to the Zoo family from both rescue situations and other Zoos in need of relocating animals. The California Trail is slated to open to the public in 2018.

**Click here for large versions of above images**



California Trail brings to life the rich natural history of California in a whole new way.  Designed to be more like a wild animal park, California Trail will feature the state's historic and iconic animal species in large exhibits, including grey wolves, grizzly bears, jaguars, mountain lions, bald eagles, California condors, black bears, and American bison. Through the California Trail experience, Oakland Zoo presents a dynamic and inspiring story about finding balance in how we steward our state's natural legacy. Interactive features along the Trail will help to complete the animals' stories with a vision for their healthy future in the wild and opportunities for you to help them thrive. For more information, go to:


The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to:


The Pets in the Classroom grant program is able to provide 60 teachers with funding to purchase classroom pets thanks to money raised during America’s Family Pet Expo.

The Pet Care Trust is pleased to announce that 60 teachers will be receiving Pets in the Classroom Grants thanks to a donation through the World Pet Association (WPA), Hikari Sales USA, and other pet-related businesses.  Nearly $6,200 was raised for the Pets in the Classroom grant program at the WPA’s April 22-24, 2016 America’s Family Pet Expo in Orange County, California. The money raised will fund 60 teacher grants, allowing 2,500 students to experience the benefits of interacting with pets in the school setting. Expo, which is known for its notable history of placing animals in forever homes and educating people on responsible pet care, featured a Betta Fish Toss booth in which attendees had the opportunity to win a betta fish by throwing a ping pong ball into cups of water.  Aquatic Companies Dolphin, Estes, and Hikari Sales USA, Inc. all donated products for the Betta Toss while Hikari Sales USA President and Pet Care Trust Board member Chris Clevers also spent the weekend helping at the booth.

"The Pet Care Trust sincerely appreciates the tremendous support that the World Pet Association and Chris Clevers have provided to the Pets in the Classroom program,” said Steven T. King, Executive Director for the Pet Care Trust.  “Thanks to their efforts and the donations made by Dolphin, Estes, and Hikari USA Sales, Inc., thousands of kids will be able to experience the joys of a classroom pet as a result. The support of those in the pet industry have been instrumental in the continued growth of this wonderful program.”

Clevers has been instrumental in raising funds for the grant program at the annual Expo since 2011.  His dedication to the program is evident in his and his wife’s donation of time and products to fundraising efforts, and in his involvement in the Pet Care Trust board.  Clevers commented:

“We feel this program is extremely important to teachers and their students as it allows children to interact with animals and reconnect with nature while providing firsthand experience developing responsibility and compassion as well as helping the teachers with daily lesson plans designed around the animals. No program in the pet industry does more to foster pet parents of the future than Pets in the Classroom. We’re pleased we could support such a worthwhile and important program. We only wish more companies in our industry would join us.”

The Pets in the Classroom program was established by the Pet Care Trust to assist teachers in obtaining or maintaining classroom pets. The Pets in the Classroom program benefits students by teaching them responsible, long-term pet care at an early age and providing the psychological and developmental benefits associated with the human-animal bond.  Studies have shown that caring for pets has a positive effect on children, improving school attendance and teaching children responsibility, as well as encouraging nurturing and building self-esteem.

For more information on the World Pet Association and its events, visit, or for more information on the Pet Care Trust and its Pets in the Classroom grant program, visit



The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry, announces the launch of its newest award, the AKC Paw of Courage, in an effort to show appreciation for the many sacrifices that working dogs make while serving and protecting our country. This award specifically recognizes the extraordinary sacrifices of dogs who have been severely injured or killed in the line of duty.

“These working dogs possess great courage and dedication,” said AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. “They continuously put their lives on the line, and have sacrificed their own safety, well-being, and in some cases even their lives, to keep us safe. Each dog awarded with the AKC Paw of Courage has made a significant sacrifice in the line of duty.”

Any working dog is eligible to receive the AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. Recipients of the award, or their former human partner, will receive a 2016 AKC Paw of Courage medal along with a certificate. In addition, the recipients will receive a photo and profile on

The first 2016 AKC Paw of Courage recipients are:

K9 Officer Ogar: of Smith County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, TX

K9 Ogar, a one-year-old Belgian Malinois of Smith County Constable’s Office in Texas, was shot and killed while attempting an apprehension this past January. K9 Ogar and his handler, Deputy Constable Kevin Petty, were conducting a routine traffic stop when a vehicle fled, leading to a pursuit. The vehicle was wrecked and the subject evaded on foot into a wooded area, and K9 Ogar was deployed. During this confrontation, K9 Ogar was shot and killed. Deputy Constable Petty says, “Ogar sacrificed his life to save mine.” He says that Ogar was always right by his side and looked at him with true love and devotion.

When K9 Ogar was not on duty he was like any other family dog. He loved to run circles around the swimming pool with Deputy Constable Petty’s two young girls. He also enjoyed playing tug of war and catch and was a master escape artist. From the moment he was brought home by his handler, he fit right in with the family. According to his handler, Ogar had mastered the combination of being both soft and strong simultaneously. He loved any attention he could get and in exchange, all he asked for was love. K9 Ogar touched many lives in his time as a K9 officer and he is dearly missed each and every day.

K9 Officer Jag: of Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Dept., CA

K9 Jag was an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois who served with the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department for five years. During his annual state certification, he was struck by a vehicle. “K9 Jag was everything a handler and a school Police Department could want. He knew his job and did it well,” says his partner, Sergeant Arlin Kocher. He describes Jag as intense, energetic, sweet and powerful. K9 Jag was the first ever Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department’s canine. He excelled in every aspect of his career; credited with hundreds of narcotics searches, over 50 suspect surrenders and three apprehensions throughout his time in the department.

Equally as important, K9 Jag also spent a ton of time doing public outreach in the schools and nearby communities. Students, staff and parents looked forward to seeing Jag on a daily basis. He was adored for being sweet and friendly while also serving as their fierce and dependable protector.

Throughout his career, K9 Jag competed in countless events and won numerous awards. According to his partner, Sgt. Kocher, K9 Jag wouldn’t let anyone leave a room without petting him. At the end of his shift, he was always eager to go back to the Police Department where the fellow officers were waiting, for what he thought was just to play with him. K9 Jag is sorely missed by Sergeant Kocher as well as the entire Twin Rivers USD as a uniformed working dog as well as a family dog.

K9 Officer Betcha: of Rutland County Sheriff’s Office, VT

K9 Betcha was a two-year-old Australian Cattle Dog who served as a narcotics/tracking K9 at the Rutland County Sheriff’s Office in Vermont. He was with the Sheriff’s Office for about a year when he was struck and killed by a vehicle while in the line of duty. “He was my fourth K9 partner but my first dog that I can say was my therapy,” says his handler, Deputy Sheriff Edward Hunter of Betcha. Deputy Sheriff Hunter has been in police work for 35 years and says that K9 Betcha truly helped him cope with his past and present in the job. When Betcha was off-duty, he loved playing Frisbee and driving down the road with his head out the window allowing people to snap pictures of him as he passed by. K9 Betcha gave his life for his career and is greatly missed by his partner, and his off-duty family, as well as his family at Rutland County Sheriff’s Office.

K9 Officer Krijger: of Norfolk Police Department, VA

K9 Kirjger, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois of the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia was shot and killed following a violent barricade situation this past January. Police were responding to a domestic violence call when the man barricaded himself inside his home with his wife as a hostage. After several hours, the man exited the home opening fire on the officers, fatally wounding Krijger.

K9 Krijger’s partner, Officer Ryan McNiff began his partnership and friendship during a 16-week training course. During the training, the duo became proficient in numerous skills including: obedience, tracking, open area searches, agility, building searches, apprehensions, and control commands. Even more importantly, Officer McNiff and Krijger learned to work together and to trust one another. “Krijger was not only my partner, he was also my best friend”, says Officer McNiff. “Krijger taught me many things about courage, honor, loyalty and friendship”. K9 Krijger has assisted in locating evidence for countless crimes and he is responsible for over 30 felony apprehensions. Not only was he constantly busy keeping the city safe, Krijger also performed many public demonstrations within the schools and the community. In his off-duty hours, K9 Krijger could be found hanging out on the patio enjoying a bone or running around the backyard with one of his many toys. Krijger loved backyard barbeques with his off-duty family and enjoyed relaxing by the fire pit at night.

When it came to making the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect his partner and his fellow officers, Krijger did not hesitate. “I truly believe that because of him, I am a better police officer and person”, says Officer McNiff. K9 Krijger’s sacrifice is deeply appreciated by his fellow officers, his partner, his off-duty family and the entire community that he served. He is commemorated by his community as a true hero.

For downloadable images of the recipients, click HERE.


Appropriations bill will prevent U.S. horse slaughter operations in FY2017 by eliminating funding for horse slaughter inspections

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commends the members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for approving an anti-horse slaughter amendment to its fiscal year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The Udall-Kirk Amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), and cosponsored by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Jack Reed (D-RI) was passed in the full committee by a bipartisan vote and will continue a ban on the gruesome horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil by preventing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to conduct horse slaughter inspections, which is a requirement for slaughterhouses to operate. An identical amendment was approved by the House Appropriations Committee in April.

“Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, environmentally and economically devastating to local communities and unsafe for foreign consumers,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Eighty percent of American voters oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption and now that both the House and Senate have approved this language we are one step closer to prohibiting the irresponsible and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars to fund this brutal practice. We are grateful to Senators Udall and Kirk for introducing this amendment to ensure this grisly industry does not establish itself in the U.S.”

"New Mexicans regularly write and call asking me to ensure we never allow horse slaughter in the United States, and this amendment will ensure no federal dollars are used to allow the practice to exist," Udall said. "Horses are a beautiful symbol of Western independence. Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and they have no tolerance for attempts to open horse slaughtering plants. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States." 

"Illinois banned horse slaughter in 2007 and I support the end of the practice in the United States,” said Sen. Kirk. “Americans have a long-established history with horses and overwhelmingly reject their slaughter for profit."

A recent Edge Research poll commissioned by the ASPCA shows that 2.3 million Americans have adequate space, resources, and strong interest in adopting horses. This new data suggests that there are more than enough homes available for the 125,000 American horses shipped to Canada and Mexico last year to be slaughtered for human consumption. The majority of these horses – 92 percent, according to the USDA – are young, healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners.

Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, the methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. In addition, meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption since horses are not raised as food animals. They are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.

While the Udall-Kirk Amendment prevents slaughterhouses from opening on U.S. soil for another year, it is not a permanent solution and cannot prohibit the current transport of U.S. horses from being trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. To address this issue, Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 1214 /H.R. 1942)—legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ensure animals have greater protection under the law, please visit

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Marbled Murrelet’s protected zone reduced by 98 percent, carbon sequestration cut by 38 percent

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(Washington, D.C. May 16, 2016)The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing a final forest plan for the forests it manages in Oregon that weakens existing protections for the threatenedMarbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl. These protections were put in place in 1995 as part of President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has submitted aletterto BLM, and is urging Obama administration officials to shelve the proposed plan and to keep the Northwest Forest Plan in effect until it can be updated next year in conjunction with the Forest Service.

“The Marbled Murrelet is an endangered species being placed at great risk by the BLM’s plan to increase logging in mature forests,” said Steve Holmer, ABC’s Senior Policy Advisor. “The Northwest Forest Plan provided for half-mile buffers needed to mitigate for the heavily fragmented landscape. This common-sense safeguard must be retained.”

The Marbled Murrelet nests on large branches of mature and old-growth trees. It is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of habitat loss caused primarily by logging of old-growth forests. An estimated 19,000 birds remain, but the Washington State population is currently in a steep 5.9 percent annual decline, and long-term population projections indicate a high risk of extinction in California and Oregon within the next 100 years.

Marbled Murrelet nests suffer heavier predation in areas where the forest is not intact. Clearcutting proposed in the BLM plan for Oregon will further fragment the landscape. The current buffers protect 503 acres of habitat based on a circular radius from the nest site. A 300-foot buffer provides for only 6.5 acres of protected habitat,a 98% reduction from the current standard.

The BLM plan calls for commercial logging that is not focused on restoration of late-successional conditions in the reserves, which raises doubt that they will function as intended. The Northwest Forest Plan would increase the amount of carbon stored in the area over the next 100 years by 82 percent, reducing the amount of heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. But the BLM plan would sequester much less carbon--only 44 percent, a blow to efforts to fight global climate change.

In the system of late-successional reserves, the loss of carbon storage is even more glaring. The Northwest Forest Plan anticipates that reserves will have a 100 percent increase in carbon sequestration. Under the BLM plan the reserves, which will be heavily logged, will only store 58 percent more carbon.

The BLM plan is proposing a five-to-eight-year moratorium on owl take until a Barred Owl control program is initiated in the planning area. Research on the effectiveness of Barred Owl removal has just begun, and uncertainty remains as to how much Barred Owl control the public will support over the long term.

“The Northern Spotted Owl will benefit from the proposed moratorium on take, but its habitat is at greater risk over the long-term because of the extensive logging planned in the late-successional reserves,” said Holmer. “We advise placing a much longer moratorium on owl take. In about 30 years, a large amount of new, suitable owl habitat will become available under the Northwest Forest Plan as forests mature. We need to stay the course and be as protective of the owl as possible until then.”

(Photo: The Marbled Murrelet nests on the branches of mature and old-growth trees. Photo by Thomas Hamer of Hamer Environmental.)


American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Marc Ching PetStaurant, consulting pet issues

PetStaurant owner Marc Ching draws on his background as a fourth-generation Japanese herbalist and holistic nutritionist to bring sick cats and dogs back to good health. Meanwhile, staff help patrons select from food prepared in-house or from about two dozen brands of healthy food and snacks — gluten-free, organic, and hypoallergenic. Dogs play in their own room or follow their owners around the small Sherman Oaks shop.

As the lead nutritionist, Marc brings eastern medical methodologies and homeopathic healing of animal ailments through healthful individualized real food diets. Marc creates species appropriate meals for both dogs and cats, understanding the anatomy of animals and how their bodies process and absorb nutrients. His belief and culture, a presence which has become the corner stone of the company – is that our pets are a part of our family.

“Many people who drive by think we are a pet store. We do sell pet products, but mostly we are an Animal Nutritional Center.” Marc states, “The majority of people whom come here are patients, who have found us through referral and the fact that they have been from vet to vet, and have been unable to find relief for their pet. Things like digestive issues, kidney failure, especially food allergies.”

Marc’s belief is that medication is not a cure. Most veterinarians only provide a band aid, whereas he and the PetStaurant use dietary changes, herbs, and homeopathy to cure ailments and help animals suffering from diseases.

“We see an overwhelming amount of people coming through our doors trying to find relief for their dogs itching or reoccurring ear infections. Yearly we see thousands of dogs with these so called Allergies. For the owners whom listen and actually follow what we say, we have a 100% cure rate.”

The PetStaurant is a company that not only makes Organic Pet Food, but a place where Animal Nutrition, Wellness, and Prevention is of primary focus. Not only does Marc work to help people that have pets find the right foods for specific ailments, but Marc also teaches people how to cook and prepare meals for their pets. In addition to this, Marc provides Hospice service free of charge to hundreds of Los Angeles pet owners around his store.

“I teach people how to take care of not only of their healthy animals, but when animals are sick. Many people do not know what to expect, or how to handle specific disease associated incidents when they happen.” The PetStaurant provides a Free Service, and has a 24 hour free hotline where people can ask Marc for help and seek correct answers to situations as they arise. “Over the years I have become the primary care giver to thousands of animals and their families across the country.”

At the PetStaurant, the founding philosophy the company centers itself on is one of wellness and the health of animals. Marc states, “We can help you, and guarantee results. We promise hope, and can show you a better way in regards to helping your dog or cat. Medication is not always a cure, and for many animals – it is just a band aid. But there is hope and power in education, and a better way of life through love.”

Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation

The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on rescuing and rehabilitating severely abused animals. Founded by Nutritionist and Herbalist Marc Ching, the foundation specializes in abuse and neglect cases. Ching rescues them, providing full rehabilitation services, then works to find them perfect homes.

What makes AHWF different from other rescues out there is the animals it takes in are not pound animals or strays, but animals that have been abused or severely beaten for years. The organization finds these animals through other organizations and a network of people whom inform of these abuse situations. AHWF goes into the streets and even into gang territory to rescue and save the animals, and then spend months rehabilitating them. Once they are healthy and fully adoptable, they are brought to the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation in Sherman Oaks, where they stay until they find their forever home.


In addition to saving domestic animals, Ching travels to China and Korea to save dogs from the meat trade and transport the dogs to the U.S. and find them forever homes. When they arrive, there are foster homes lined up for the dogs where they can recover and rehabilitate until they are healthy and can be matched with their perfect, forever, home.   Ching is also working with authorities in China in order to make it criminal to abuse dogs for the meat trade and they are doing work here in the U.S. to stop the illegal dog meat trade.

On his first trip to China, Marc left America without a plan, without knowing anyone in the country and without a hotel reservation. He came only with a bag and a ticket and a desire to save animals from abuse. China continues to have a dog meat and fur trade and general societal views of animals in the country are vastly different from America. While Ching understands you cannot tell a country who does not have the same value system as America to love dogs, he can plant the seed and let the dogs soften their hearts. In time he is certain there will no longer be a society that eats them and no longer bashes in their skulls because their lives will now hold meaning.

By talking to people on the streets, Ching has discovered slaughterhouses and puppy mills and animals that need saving. While on his journey he found the Little Flower Orphanage and created a partnership with them to utilize their farm for the first dog sanctuary in Bejjing. In return, Ching pays the orphans to take care of the dogs, and trains them to nurture the animals back to health so that they may be adopted locally, with the most horrific cases being flown back home to Los Angeles to the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation.


Ching also works to connect abused animals with human crime and abuse victims. It is his mission to connect these victims of crimes with human victims of similar crimes. The belief is that no one will be more understanding of the suffering then someone who lived through it. One survivor sums it up like this, “I am not a victim. I am an Animal Hope and Wellness miracle. I am the truth and proof behind the fact that dogs can rescue humans. Today - life spared me.”

Jon Patch Host
Jer Miller Co Host
Zach Budin Producer
Ben Boquist Network Producer
Bob Page Executive Producer
Special Guest
Author and Veterinarian Greg Martinez will join Jon and Talkin' Pets to discuss and give away his book "The Dog Diet Answer Book"

Reserve Expansion Will Help Create New Ecological Corridor to Conserve Vanishing Cloud Forests

El Oro Parakeets are among the rare species protected at the Buenaventura Reserve. Photo by

(Washington, D.C. May 10, 2016)The Ecuadorian nonprofit Fundación Jocotoco, with the support of American Bird Conservancy and U.K.-based international conservation group World Land Trust, has acquired 233 acres (94 hectares) of critically important cloud-forest habitat in Ecuador, home to a rare parakeet—the endangeredEl Oro Parakeet—as well as El Oro Tapaculo and other rare species. The acquisition expands the existing Buenaventura Reserve from 5,583 acres (2,259 hectares) to 5,816 acres (2,354 hectares), and contributes to the creation of an ecological corridor that will connect Buenventura to three proposed government reserves, encompassing an area 56 miles long.

“This corridor is vital because although Buenaventura Reserve is a safe haven for numerous endangered species, it is becoming isolated within a sea of cattle-ranched landscape,” said Wendy Willis, ABC International Conservation Program Officer.

“This is a crucial addition to Buenaventura Reserve,” said Martin Schaefer, Executive Director of Fundación Jocotoco. “Most important, the newly acquired property includes one of the last remaining forests in the area. Protecting it allows us to reduce the largest non-forested gap in the southern distribution range of the El Oro Parakeet.” Pastureland that is also part of the just-acquired land will be allowed to regenerate, restoring forest cover for the rare parakeet and other birds.

“Until 1999, when Fundación Jocotoco stepped in, none of this important habitat was protected,” said Roger Wilson, World Land Trust’s Director of Conservation. “Fundación Jocotoco are to be congratulated on successfully expanding this protected area and safeguarding the future of its endangered species, including El Oro Parakeet.”

The colorful, highly social, cavity-nesting El Oro Parakeet was only discovered in 1980, and its range is limited to a few areas on the western slope of the Andes in southwestern Ecuador. The Buenaventura Reserve, a stronghold for the birds, is the only place where they are protected. Fortunately, the reserve suffered no serious damage from the recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador, though other areas of the country were hard hit.

ABC and World Land Trust each raised half the money to cover the purchase of the land and related legal costs. The Buenaventura expansion was supported by more than 200 donors, including David and Patricia Davidson, David Harrison, Barbara Rizzo, and a matching contribution by The Robert W. Wilson Trust. ABC also raised an additional $15,000 to cover management costs for the new property, which includes guard salaries, fencing, and marking boundaries.

The acquisition enables Fundación Jocotoco to fill in some of the gaps in a landscape increasingly threatened by habitat loss and ranching. Less than 10 percent of the original forests in the area remain, putting both the El Oro Parakeet and other species like El Oro Tapaculo at risk.

“More than 14 years of intense research have shown that the genetic diversity of both species suffers from ongoing fragmentation and isolation,” Schaefer said. That makes the expansion of the Buenaventura Reserve and the longer-term creation of an ecological corridor in the area essential to the long-term conservation of the El Oro Parakeet and the many other species endemic to this unique and threatened area.

(Pictured: El Oro Parakeets are among the rare species protected at the Buenaventura Reserve. Photo by Francisco Sornoza, Fundación Jocotoco.)


American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

World Land Trust (WLT) is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre. Since its foundation in 1989, WLT has funded partner organizations around the world to create reserves, and give permanent protection to habitats and wildlife.

Fundación Jocotoco is an Ecuadorian nongovernmental organization established in 1998 to protect land of critical importance to the conservation of Ecuador’s endangered birds and associated biodiversity. Jocotoco primarily achieves this by purchasing lands and managing them as ecological reserves.

Talkin' Pets

Jon Patch - Host

Lisa and Vince Centonze DVM - Co-Host's

Lexi Lapp - Producer

Ben Boquist - Network Producer

Bob Page - Executive Producer

Special Guests:

Author of Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are, Frans De Waal, will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 5/7/16 at 5pm EST to discuss and give away his book

Dan Jaffee, President and CEO of Oil-Dri, the makers of Cat’s Pride will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 5/7/16 at 630 PM EST to discuss and give away his new fresh and light cat litter

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all our listening Mom's




by Frans de Waal

“A remarkable book by a remarkable scientist. Drawing on a growing body of research including his own, de Waal shows that animals, from elephants and chimpanzees to the lowly invertebrates, are not only smarter than we thought but also engaged in forms of thought we have only begun to understand.”

—Edward O. Wilson,

University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? will completely change your perception of the abilities of animals. This book takes the reader on the fascinating journey of discovery into the world of animal problem-solving.”

—Temple Grandin,

author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

“So, are we ‘smart enough to know how smart animals are?’ The question will occur to you many times as you read Frans de Waal’s remarkable distillations of science in this astonishingly broad-spectrum book. I guarantee one thing: readers come away a lot smarter. As this book shows, we are here on Planet Earth with plenty of intelligent company.”

—Carl Safina,

author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

A fascinating history of the study of animal behavior and cognition from a world-renowned expert, ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? [W. W. Norton & Company; April 25, 2016; $27.95 hardcover] reflects author Frans de Waal’s deep love for animals as well as his dedication to forwarding his field of study. With anecdotes and humor, de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, relates the story of his own career and surveys an enormous variety of animal intelligence, which he places on a spectrum that also includes human intelligence—putting to rest any lingering doubts that the era of behaviorism is over.

From ravens to wasps, elephants to whales, spiders to octopuses, de Waal explores the yin-yang relationship between studying captive animals and observing them in the wild, outlining the advantages and limitations to both. He reviews key theories and methodologies, giving generous and widespread credit to the scientists who came before him while also discussing the problematic attitudes that he and his contemporaries are still unraveling. Many of the controversies in the field center around one question: How unique is human consciousness in the animal kingdom? Winding through topics like language, culture, politics, and problem solving, de Waal asks us to measure animal cognition not against human cognition but alongside it.

Imagine a world that didn’t rely on an individual’s ability to recognize other individuals. Imagine that a trunk means for elephant cognition what a grasping hand means for ours. De Waal builds up to the idea that for scientists to truly chart animal cognition, they must stop measuring animals’ success at a presented task against human success at that same task and accept that animals are experts at what is required for survival in their own natural environments.

Full of compassion for humans and animals alike, ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?depicts aspects of animal behavior few people witness, and leads the reader to contemplate not only the definition of humanity but why we seek—or fear finding—humanity in nature.



Frans de Waal has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of The Bonobo and the Atheist, among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta.


AUTHOR: Frans de Waal

ISBN: 978-0-393-24618-6

PUBLICATION DATE: April 25, 2016

PRICE: $27.95 hardcover

PAGES: 352

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