Goat tops self in Canadian zoo

January 22, 2009

Swingball presents choking hazard

A Turkmenian markhor shuffled off its mortal coil last Friday when it became entangled in an “enrichment toy”. Staff at Calgary Zoo were alerted to the unfolding drama by a horrified visitor, but were slow to grasp the seriousness of the incident, telling Aubrey Williams: “Oh, they do that all the time”.

The endangered Himalayan goat had leaped from a log in its enclosure, strangling itself with a rope in the process.  Medics were unable to save the animal, despite administering “mouth-to-nose resuscitation and CPR”.

Whether the markhor was unhappily betrothed to a Sudanese man is not known.

(tvm: Tim)

The lobster’s off

January 20, 2009

Crusty crustacean dodges death by broth

A 140-year-old lobster named George, recently captured in Canadian waters, is to be set free by the restaurant that bought him, according to a Reuters report.  The methuselan malacostracan briefly served as a mascot at City Crab and Seafood, but will be tipped back into the icy depths following the intervention of PETA.

“We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace,” said Ingrid Newkirk of PETA.

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” added restaurant manager Keith Valenti.

Calculating a lobster’s age is an inexact science, but a rule of thumb (or perhaps claw) is that they pile on an additional pound every seven to ten years.  Incidentally, this makes me over 1270 in lobster years.

More than you ever wanted to know about lobsters can be found in a David Foster Wallace article for Gourmet Magazine.

Putting the “ape” in escape

July 24, 2008

Another animal gave his captors the slip on Wednesday, as you can see in this video:

When dealing with recalictrant equids, one must usually choose between the carrot and the stick.  With apes, meanwhile, the alternatives are the dart gun or the banana.  This is evidently not the first time Ichiro has had a taste o’ the tranx, and he seems reluctant to repeat the experience.

SeaWorld: aquarium or circus?

June 30, 2008

Readers might be interested in a more recent post detailing the sad events in Orlando, February 2010.

Reuters reports a stunning jailbreak, led by a giraffe, in which several camels, zebras, llamas and some pot-bellied pigs threw off the yoke of human slavery and made a bid for freedom in the streets of Amsterdam.  Sadly all the creatures were subsequently returned to captivity.  I suspect collusion between the three species of even-toed ungulate, while zebras are known associates of giraffes.  The pigs, in all likelihood, simply noted the circumstances and pressed the advantage: Sus domestica have form.

It is nowadays deeply unfashionable to use performing animals in a circus; the public appears to have accepted that animal suffering is too high a price to pay for a couple of hours’ entertainment.  The popularity of human-only ciruses like Cirque du Soleil is perhaps testament to this, though we still see the occasional dog and pony show here in the UK.

Yet having said all that, there is one sphere in which performing animals still seem acceptable: the aquarium.  Read the rest of this entry »