Graduated from Penn State University in 1983 and landed my first broadcasting job at the flagship station to SUN Radio Network in St. Petersburg, FL as a producer of talk radio. In 3 months advanced to a network producer, then on air as a national eventually local weather reporter for the Tampa Bay area. Held a position in management as a trainer to new hosts and producers and later Affiliate Relations Manager, eventually in 1990 started hosting, Talkin’ Pets. Left SUN radio several years later and worked with USA Radio Networks for 1 year. Have now been working with Business TalkRadio & Lifestyle TalkRadio Networks for the past 12 years under the title of Affiliate Relations and am still hosting the largest and longest running pet radio and internet show in the country, Talkin’ Pets, for the past 20 years… My one true passion in life is to help to educate the world through interviews with celebrities like Betty White, Tippi Hedren, Bob Barker, Linda Blair and others, authors, foundations and organizations like the ASPCA, LCA, HSUS, AHA, WSPA on the ways to make this world a better place for all animals and mankind in which share this very fragile and mysterious planet called earth. The only home we have so we all need to learn how to share and maintain it so that life for us all continues and evolves forever...
This material is being sent at the request of both Ms. Tippi Hedren and The Honorable Howard Buck McKeon (R-CA 25) and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA 46) regarding yesterday announcement about The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. The passing of this bill will finally mean that captive big cats-tigers, lions, cougars and other species - will not threaten public safety, diminish global conservation efforts, or end up living in deplorable conditions. Congressman McKeon's office contact can be found below. For more information regarding Ms. Hedren's efforts with The Shambala Preserve and The ROAR Foundation, please visit Shambala.org.
McKeon and Sanchez Introduce Big Cats & Public Safety Protection Act Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Howard Buck McKeon (R-CA 25) and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA 46) introduced H.R. 1998, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act would prohibit private possession of big cats, such as lions, tigers, panthers and cheetahs, except at highly-qualified facilities, like accredited zoos, where they can be properly cared for and restrained. Additionally, since no agency, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), state agencies, or local first responders, currently knows exactly how many dangerous big cats are being kept in private hands, under what conditions, and in what locations, the bill would require any persons who currently possess big cats to register those animals with USDA in order to keep the cats they currently own. The bill would also outlaw the breeding of any big cat except at accredited zoos and research and educational institutions. Violators of the law could have their animals confiscated along with any vehicles or equipment used to aid in their illegal activity, and could face stiff penalties including fines as much as $20,000, and up to five years in jail. The need for federal legislation regulating the sale and captivity of big cats has become dire. An alarming number of wild cats have been bred and sold as domestic pets in the U.S. This trend threatens public safety and often results in the severe mistreatment of these animals. Most recently, the fatal mauling of young intern at a private wildlife park in Dunlap, California, and the tragic events in Zanesville, Ohio in October, 2011, where 49 wild animals were killed after they were let loose on an unlicensed wild animal preserve, showcase the dangerous implications of this rising trend. Currently, only nine states have laws enforcing no wild animals permitted, and the remaining states have weak or no laws in existence. This bi-partisan bill will deter the dangerous private breeding, selling and keeping of lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats, and will help keep the public safe. This bill will also help global big cat conservation efforts and will work to ensure that big cats do not end up living in horrible conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty. No matter how many times people try to do it, wildcats such as lions, tigers, panthers and cheetahs are impossible to domesticate for personal possession, said Congressman McKeon. These wild animals require much higher living standards compared to a domestic house cat and demand care that most black-market owners are not able to provide for. When accidents happen or when individuals learn they can't take care of these animals, and these wild cats are released into our neighborhoods, it causes panic, puts a strain on our local public safety responders and is extremely dangerous. This bill is a step forward in protecting the public, ensuring that wildcats are not exploited and making sure those that are held in captivity are taken care of humanely in proper living conditions. State laws addressing the private ownership and breeding of big cats vary greatly, with some states banning the practice outright while others impose few and partial restrictions, said Congresswoman Sanchez. This patchwork of regulations is confusing and it jeopardizes the safety of the public and the welfare of our animals. The Big Cats bill is a federal solution that will clarify these regulations and will lessen the interstate traffic of various species. This legislation is supported by the Roar Foundation, Shambala Preserve, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Born Free USA, Humane Society of United States, Big Cat Rescue, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Ian Somerhalder Foundation. Sincerely, Congressman Buck McKeon OFFICE INFORMATION WASHINGTON DC OFFICE 2184 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 phone: 202-225-1956 SANTA CLARITA OFFICE 26650 The Old Road Suite 203 Santa Clarita, CA 91381 phone: 661-254-2111 PALMDALE OFFICE 1008 W. Ave M-14 Suite E Palmdale, CA 93551 phone: 661-274-9688 Safety Act Talking Points o There are as many as 10,000 big cats kept in private hands, but no one knows exactly how many and where. o The exact number is a mystery because few records are kept. What we do know is that these animals should never be kept as pets. o Just weeks ago, a young woman in Dunlap, CA was attacked by an adult lion while she was cleaning his enclosure. Tragically, the young woman died, and the lion had to be killed by authorities. The incident took place at a facility that breeds and frequently transports its big cats for public display. o In the last two decades in the U.S., dangerous incidents involving big cats have resulted in 22 people being killed (including five children) and nearly 200 being mauled or otherwise injured. The numbers are likely higher as these are only the incidents widely reported by the media. o It costs at least $10,000 a year on average just to feed a big cat, and they need huge spaces to roam. Many big cat owners, even those with good intentions, quickly realize they are in over their heads. o Local law enforcement and other first responders are neither trained nor financially equipped to deal with animals the likes of a 300-pound tiger, and taxpayers must pay the cost when animals escape or otherwise jeopardize the community. o Furthermore, the USDA does not have the resources to adequately inspect big cat licensees and enforce Animal Welfare Act compliance. o Co-sponsor the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act today. Passing this bill would mean an amendment to the Captive Wildlife Safety Act to generally restrict breeding and keeping big cats (lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, and cougars) as pets. Current owners of any of these big cats would just need to register them with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bill would provide exemptions for the following: zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), wildlife sanctuaries (that do not breed or allow public handling of their animals), wildlife rehabilitators, some research and education institutions, and some traveling circuses. o Unfortunately, reform came too late to Zanesville, Ohio. That's where a backyard exotic animal owner released 38 big cats and 18 other dangerous animals and then took his own life. To protect the surrounding community, law enforcement had no choice but to kill most of the animals. We can't stand on the sideline waiting for the next incident. Don't let your neighborhood be next. You, your family, and these animals all deserve protection. o Passing this bill will finally mean that captive big cats-tigers, lions, cougars and other species-do not threaten public safety, diminish global conservation efforts, or end up living in deplorable conditions
o One Rewards dog treats are all-natural pieces of 100% meat. Unlike the majority of dog treats created for pets, One Rewards do not contain additives, grains or fillers.
o These simple, savory treats come in:
§ Chicken Breast
§ Duck Breast
§ Chicken Liver
§ Ocean Whitefish
o Benefits of One Rewards pet treats:
§ Tasty flavor that dogs love
§ Easy to chew
§ Highly digestible
§ Low fat
§ High in protein
o The Process: One Rewards are freeze-dried to remove roughly 97% of moisture while locking in essential natural vitamins and nutrients of the meats. The treats come in a re-sealable bag to maintain their freshness for a minimum of 12 months from the production date. Proper feeding guidelines, developed by a leading independent pet nutritionist, are listed on each One Rewards package.
o Availability: One Rewards are currently available at Target stores across Canada with expected distribution to the US market in 2013. They can also be purchased online at OneRewardsTreats.com
One Rewards website: http://onerewardstreats.com/
o Hillside Farms start with natural, lean meat. All ingredients used are premium grad, fit for human consumption. Hillside Farms treats contain no fillers, soy, grains, sugar, animal by-products or artificial colors and flavors.
o These wholesome, savory treats come in:
§ Nutritious Jerky Wraps
· Chicken & Biscuits
· Duck & Sweet Potato Jerky Twists
· Jerky Twists Chicken & Apple
· Jerky Twists Chicken & Sweet Potato
· Jerky Wraps Chicken & Rawhide
§ Wholesome Jerky Treats
· Chicken Jerky
· Duck Jerky
§ Healthful Porkhide Chews
· Porkhide Rolls
· Smoked Porkhide Twists
o Availability: Hillside Farms are currently available at CVS locations, Winn-Dixie stores and various other retailers nationwide. They can also be purchased online at Hillside-farms.com.
Hillside Farms website: http://hillside-farms.com/
Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions and Bad Robot present a PG-13, 132 minute, 3D, action, adventure, sci-fi, directed by J.J. Abrams, written by Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman with a theater release date of May 16, 2013.
Reader’s Digest: When Animals Act Like People
April 17, 2013 – Reader’s Digest compiled a list of 12 stories that show animals at their most personal: practicing yoga, driving cars and comforting their closest friends. The stories include regular pets, such as cats and dogs, and animals as wild as a lion and marmots. Here are their stories:
· Lions Care About Their Hair – According to Peyton M. West, PhD, an evolution and animal behavior expert, female lions actively court males that are more heavily and lushly maned, especially at night, which is reserved for socializing and grooming. Of course, today such bald discrimination is frowned upon by men and women, but the big cats are content to be old-fashioned. When fights break out among members of the pride, lions with flowing tresses get preferential treatment.
· Whale Says Thanks – Each winter for nearly 20 years, Great Whale Conservancy co-director Michael Fishbach has traveled with other research scientists to the Sea of Cortez off Mexico’s west coast to study blue and humpback whales. In 2011, he and his team spotted a humpback whale trapped in a fishing net and spent an hour freeing it. Afterward, in an hour-long display of thanks, the whale swam near their boat and leaped into the air about 40 times.
· Pandas Like to Cavort – Is there anything cuter than a baby panda, except maybe a human baby? Even the word “panda” is cute. In fact, cubs sometimes behave like human babies: They sleep in the same positions and value their thumbs (pandas use theirs for holding the bamboo they munch on all day). Pandas have been known to wander inside mountain homes and get into the pots and pans. And although they grow into solitary adults who roam alone and mate just once a year, they also like to snuggle. If given the chance, they’ll sleep side by side with domestic animals.
· Bear Does Yoga – Santra, a female bear at Finland’s Ahtari Zoo, entertained visitors with a 15-minute “yoga” routine following a nap. Sitting upright, Santra used her front paws to grab her right back paw, then her left, stretching her legs as if doing a One-Legged Split. Next, she demonstrated the Open-Leg Seated Balance Pose with near-perfect form, pulling up both hind legs while keeping her balance.
· Horses Are Picky Eaters – Horses have an even keener sense of taste and smell than humans do, say equine scientists. When horses wrinkle their noses and flare their nostrils, they’re activating their vomeronasal organ, which allows them to sense smells we can’t detect. Horses also have taste buds on the back of their tongues and the roofs of their mouths, which might explain why they reject stale water and meticulously move around meadows, grazing on only the tastiest herbs, experts say.
· A Cat Honors Its Owner – A sprig of acacia, paper towels, and a plastic cup are just a few of the gifts that Toldo, a devoted three-year-old gray-and-white cat, has placed on his former owner Iozzelli Renzo’s grave in Montagnana, Italy, every day since the man died in September 2011. Renzo adopted Toldo from a shelter when the cat was three months old, and the two formed an inseparable bond. After Renzo passed away, Toldo followed the coffin to the cemetery, and now “stands guard” at the grave for hours at a time, says Renzo’s family.
· Pigeons Serve Their Country – Pigeons’ speed and navigational skills made them prized military messengers in World Wars I and II and the most decorated animals in military history. Thirty-two messenger pigeons have received the Dickin Medal, a British award that honors the gallantry or devotion of animals in war. At the moment, pigeons are resting on their laurels. They’ve fallen out of military favor and are no longer used — for now.
· Dogs Drive Cars – Three New Zealand dogs recently navigated a specially modified Mini Cooper around a racetrack at about 20 mph. (Engineers raised the gearshift and pedals and added handles to the steering wheel.) The stunt was an effort by the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to show off canine intelligence and boost adoptions from animal shelters. After months of practice, Monty, a giant schnauzer, Porter, a bearded collie mix, and Ginny, a bearded collie–whippet mix, followed trainers’ commands to put the car into gear, press the accelerator, and steer with their paws. Since a video of the test drive appeared online last December, all three dogs have been adopted.
· Monkeys Do Math – If capuchins ran the world, we might have avoided the recent banking crisis. In an experiment conducted at Yale, capuchins demonstrated an understanding of pricing and budgeting, as well as a desire to avoid losses when required to buy food with tokens.
· Cat Guides Blind Dog – After Terfel, an 8 year-old chocolate Labrador retriever in North Wales, U.K., developed cataracts last year, he began to bump into walls and furniture. Soon enough, the once energetic dog was spending most of his time in his dog bed, unable to find his way around. On a whim, Terfel’s owner Judy Godfrey-Brown let a stray cat, whom she named Pwditat (pronounced Puddy-tat), into her home. The feline made a beeline for the blind dog and began using its paws and head to herd Terfel into the garden. Now the unlikely friends sleep together, and Pwditat helps Terfel find his way everywhere.
· Camel Eats Breakfast with People – The first time Joe dined with British farmers Nathan and Charlotte Anderson-Dixon, he was uninvited. The four-year-old Bactrian camel stuck his head through their open kitchen window in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and proceeded to empty the contents of a fruit bowl. Now the couple, who rent out reindeer, camels, goats, and other creatures for television shows, movies, and photo shoots, set a place at their table for the assertive double-humped creature, where he munches on cereal and his favorite: bananas on toast.
· Marmots Befriend a Boy – A colony of marmots in the Austrian Alps has embraced eight-year-old Matteo Walch, whose family vacations there in summer. The Alpine marmots are the largest of their species, sometimes reaching 15 pounds. Typically, they beat their tails, chatter, and whistle to warn other marmots of danger, but with Matteo, they behave much differently, allowing the boy to feed, pet, and even touch noses with them.
To read about these personal animals, please visit: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/animal-stories-when-beasts-act-like-humans/#slide2=&slideshow=slide1.
More: Visit ReadersDigest.com to subscribe. This hot topic and additional interesting Reader’s Digest stories are now available at www.ReadersDigest.com. Reader’s Digest, recognized by 99% of American adults, simplifies and enriches consumers’ lives by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting ideas, stories, experiences and products. Reader’s Digest is available in print; online at ReadersDigest.com; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, Zinio; books and music. Obtain a subscription at www.ReadersDigest.com or on your favorite digital download device.
Follow Reader’s Digest on Twitter: @ReadersDigest @ReadersDigest
Follow Reader’s Digest on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ReadersDigest
Collaboration Promotes National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 19-25
WASHINGTON — As a prelude to National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the Postal Service released its dog attack city rankings today and urged pet owners to help reduce the incidence of dog bites to letter carriers.
“If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat, you’ll be asked to pick up your mail at the Post Office until it’s safe to deliver,” said Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, where 69 postal employees were attacked last year, placing the City of Angels as the most vicious for dog attacks. Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked.
Snavely noted that in situations where a dog roams the neighborhood, delivery to the owner’s neighbors could be curtailed as well. Additionally, when letter carriers come to a customer’s door, pet owners are asked to place dogs in a separate room and close the door, as many canines have been known to jump through screen and glass doors.
Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked last year, but that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs — more than half of whom are children — according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by declaring May 19-25 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
“Many dogs are cherished members of their family and people believe their dog won’t bite, but given the right circumstances, any dog can attack," said Snavely. “Dogs do not reason like people do and they will react to their instinct to protect their family and territory. Working with animal behavior experts, the Postal Service has developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.”
How to be a Responsible Dog Owner
The National Dog Bite Prevention Week partners offer the following tips:
The Postal Service; the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),aap.org; the American Humane Association (AHA) americanhumane.org, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), microsurg.org;the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA),avma.org;the Insurance Information Institute (III),iii.org; State Farm Insurance,statefarm.com; and Prevent The Bite (PTB),preventthebite.org, are driving home the message that dog bites are a nationwide issue and that education can help prevent dog attacks to people of all ages.
American Academy of Pediatricians
“Parents, please don’t ever leave a young child unsupervised around any dog, even a dog well-known to your family,” said AAP President Dr. Robert Block. “Even very young children should be taught not to tease or hurt animals. And with school almost over for the year, children will be spending more time in parks, at friends’ homes, and other places where they may encounter dogs.
American Humane Association
Children should be taught to never approach an unfamiliar dog. Infants and young children should never be left alone with any dog; interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure safety for both the dog and the child. Children should be taught to treat the dog with respect and not engage in rough or aggressive play. American Humane Association has a brochure“Pet Meets Baby”, available for families with infants, that is available online americanhumane.org/assets/pdfs/interaction/pet-meets-baby-2013.pdf and offers many helpful tips.
American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery
“Most children love dogs and like to put their face up close to the dog’s face. Parents should never permit this,” said Dr. Joseph Serletti, president of the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery. “Even the friendliest dog may bite when startled or surprised. Be cautious, once a child is scarred they are scarred for life. We hear this line all the time ‘The dog has never bitten anyone before’. A dog’s reaction to being surprised or angered is not predictable.”
American Veterinary Medical Association
Any dog can bite. Protect your family and community and the welfare of dogs with early education programs. The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD is targeted and tested for children from 3 to 6 years old and is intended as a tool to be incorporated as part of a more comprehensive prevention program. Visitavma.org/dogbite for information on dog bite prevention material from the AVMA and its National Dog Bite Prevention Week partners.
Insurance Information Institute
Dog bites account for more than a third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability if your dog injures another person or damages someone else’s property. The best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place.
Prevent The Bite
A nonprofit organization devoted to keeping children safe fromdog bites, Prevent The Bitemeets the national standards of education, and makes it possible for anyone to teach children how to avoid being bitten. Dog attack victim Kelly Voigt is available for interviews.
State Farm Insurance
As the nation’s largest property and casualty insurer in the country, State Farm understands the damage that a dog bite can do. In 2012, the company paid more than $136 million dollars as a result of nearly 4,500 dog bite claims. There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners. State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns in the United States. Instead, we urge owners to be responsible with their pets. Visitlearningcenter.statefarm.com/ for information on keeping your family and pets safe.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
# # #
DENVER, CO - Alpacas have been highlighted on national news shows, on syndicated television stories, in your favorite magazine, and the most popular newspapers. Most recently, they were even featured in a Super Bowl commercial!
But what better way to learn more about the alpaca industry than to talk to hundreds of breeders and meet over 1,000 alpacas face-to-face, all under one roof? Now you can. And it's FREE!
Alpacas and alpaca enthusiasts, as well as fiber art enthusiasts, gather from across the country for the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) National Alpaca Show. This year, the show will be held at the National Western Complex in Denver, CO beginning THIS Friday, May 17th and continuing through Sunday, May 19th.
Admission is FREE and open to the public. Hours are:
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Alpacas from across the country will be featured in the show ring competition. The show will be comprised of classes judging conformation and fleece quality in many categories for both Suri and Huacaya alpacas.
Artisans will showcase alpaca fiber and examples of felting, fiber arts, and more. Dozens of vendors and farm displays will sell the latest alpaca fashions and hand-crafted items.
On Friday, at 10:00 a.m., an alpaca costume contest will take place. This is one event you won't want to miss! Children and adults show their creativity with themed costumes for themselves and their alpacas.
Later that day, an alpaca auction will begin at 1:00 p.m. and run until 6:00 p.m. Admission is free and a cash bar will be available. The National Auction is the premiere event of the year for the North American alpaca industry.
Mayor Hancock Declares May National Alpaca Awareness Month
In honor of the Great Western Alpaca Show (held May 3-5) and National Alpaca Show being held in Denver, as well as the growing interest in the alpaca industry resulting in more than 500 alpaca farms throughout Colorado, Mayor Michael B. Hancock declared May to be known as National Alpaca Awareness Month.
Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are beautiful, intelligent animals native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The United States first commercially imported alpacas in 1984. There are now more than 180,000 ARI (Alpaca Registry, Inc.) registered alpacas in North America.
There are two types of alpacas in the United States today. Although almost physically identical, what distinguishes the two types of alpacas is their fiber. The Huacaya (wa-Ki'-ah) is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. The Suri (SUR-ee) is the rarer of the two and has fiber that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.
Adult alpacas stand at approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors. Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.
About Alpaca Fiber
Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every 12 to 18 months. They produced five to 10 pounds of luxurious fiber. Long ago, alpaca fiber was reserved for royalty. Today it is purchased in its raw fleece form by hand-spinners and fiber artists. Knitters buy it as yarn.
Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Making the fiber even more coveted, it has the luster of silk. Alpaca fiber is just as warm as, yet 1/3 the weight of wool. It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade.
Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic. Most people who are sensitive to wool find that they can wear alpaca without the itching or irritation they feel from wool because alpaca fiber is smooth. Additional performance characteristics include: stretch, water repellency and odor reduction. For travelers, clothing made from alpaca is desirable because it is wrinkle-resistant.
Alpacas come in 22 natural colors, but they are all green!
Sensitive to their environment in every respect, alpacas have soft padded feet instead of hooves and can leave even the most delicate terrain undamaged. Damage to topsoil decreases long-term soil fertility and in the process, the soil is eroded and weed invasion is encouraged.
However, alpacas do not mind eating brush, fallen leaves and other "undesirable" vegetation, leaving the "good stuff" for species that do not have the stomach to digest such roughage.
Alpacas' pellet-like droppings are PH balanced and are an excellent, natural, slow-release, low-odor fertilizer. This rich fertilizer is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. Because alpacas consolidate their feces in one or two communal spots in the pasture, it is easy to collect and compost, and the spread of parasites is controlled.
While alpacas are environmentally friendly ... and even beneficial... to the land, what makes them even more "green" is the fiber they produce. No chemicals are employed either during feeding or during the industrial production of alpaca fleece into fiber. If dying is desired, only 20% of a normal dye quantity is required.
All fiber from an alpaca can be used. Even the fiber from the lower legs, belly, neck, etc is being used for things such as natural weed mats to be placed around trees. Alpaca fiber is biodegradable.
Alpacas require no insecticides, herbicides or fertilizers that pollute the groundwater.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., the Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association (AOBA) serves to facilitate the expansion of a strong and sustainable alpaca industry through the growth and development of the national herd and its products. Since AOBA's formation in 1988, its membership has grown steadily to more than 3,500 members with over 180,000 registered alpacas in North America.
For more information about alpacas or the AOBA National Alpaca Show, visit www.alpacainfo.com.
(Washington, D.C., May 13, 2013) A new study from scientists at Boise State University shows that even bird species considered “tolerant” of human activity, such as American Kestrels, may be adversely impacted by human disturbance to a far greater degree than many had believed.
The study, authored by Erin H. Strasser and Julie A. Heath of Boise State University, was just published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology.
A key finding of the study was that American Kestrels nesting in close proximity to roads and developed areas had elevated stress hormones and high rates of nest abandonment – about ten times higher than kestrels in less-developed areas. American Kestrels are small, colorful falcons often seen perched along roadways and are abundant in urban and agricultural areas.
“In the case of the kestrel, the bird is possibly drawn into the urban environment by the abundant nesting and perching opportunities that environment provides and by the improved prey visibility provided by shorter grass. Unfortunately, this dynamic creates an ecological trap as ultimately the stresses caused by human activity lead the bird to abandon nests far more frequently,” said Heath.
The study involved the monitoring of 89 nest boxes along Idaho’s Interstate 84 (28 nests) as well as on posts and trees along secondary roads in other areas such as suburban (10 nests), rural-residential (24 nests), agricultural (22 nests) and shrubland (15 nests) in the breeding seasons of 2008 and 2009. Most (23 nests, 88%) of the nests that failed did so during incubation. Only three nests failed during the nestling stage. Sixteen of the 26 failed nests (62%) were abandoned.
The study says that cavity nesting birds, such as kestrels, who inhabit noisy environments may compensate for decreased auditory cues by increasing vigilance behaviour, such as visual scans from the nest entrance or flushing from the nest, leading to changes in energy allocation or extended periods away from the nest during incubation. This behavior appears to be followed, at a high rate, by nest abandonment.
The researchers looked at corticosterone levels, which indicate degrees of stress – the equivalent of cortisol in humans. Corticosterone can lead to behavioral and physiological changes that enable individuals to cope with stressful situations, while suppressing other activities such as reproduction.
The data showed that female kestrels nesting in areas with high human activity, such as along noisy roadways, have higher corticosterone levels, but males do not. This could be because females spend more time in the nesting box and thus are exposed more often to stressors such as vehicle noise. These effects lessened the further a nest was from the road.
“Birds evolved in an environment that was not dominated by humans,” Heath noted. “In recent history, human roads and structures have left few areas untouched. We’re just starting to understand the real consequences.”
Given that the vast majority of land in the continental United States is within a mile of a road, wildlife increasingly are exposed to chronic levels of road noise. The resulting increase in stress levels could cause fundamental changes in physiology and behavior across species inhabiting human-dominated environments, which over time could lead to population declines.
As scientists continue to connect the dots between human disturbances and the resulting long-term effects on wildlife, changes already are yielding positive results. Research conducted in preserve areas, such as state parks, has led to reduced speeds and attempts to limit noise, although noise mitigation, while locally effective, may not protect widespread populations such as kestrels from the pervasive threat of traffic noise.
The study concludes that until regulations or economic incentives are developed to encourage engineering innovations that result in quieter roads, projects in areas of human activity with favorable habitat should be discouraged in order to decrease the risk of ecological traps.
According to Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy, one of the leading U.S. bird conservation organizations, “Many people think that since they see certain species of birds in urban environments, that they must have adapted to those unnatural surroundings. This study certainly suggests that at least in some circumstances, the exact opposite is true. Birds are being lured away from their more natural environment, into areas where their ability to reproduce is clearly being compromised.”
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.