Archives for April 2008

Animal Attacks in the News

I just arrived home after a couple of days away and was catching up on my reading. The comments are full of thoughts related to captive animal management and animal attacks around the globe.

I am short on time this morning but found it interesting that several articles came across my desk–a disturbing elephant attack video of a temple elephant attack in Kerala has graphic video of a tusker that went on a rampage–killing three people.

Locally, a woman is claiming that a mountain lion attacked her dogs–killing one. However they did not see the animal nor were there any pug marks to substantiate the claim. They want to blame the attack on a mountain lion because they saw a cougar near the property last year.

Usually it is the urban coyotes that pick off the pets. Not to say that a mountain lion wouldn’t (we had one jump into a yard after two large dogs up here in the mountains not too long ago) but the probability is much lower than that of coyotes.

In the meantime, not too long ago a cougar was killed on the North Side of Chicago by police and a DNA analysis is being done because the theory is that the animal is thought to have migrated some 1,000 miles from South Dakota.

I suspect that it is probably a local animal that they were not aware of–animals do move into new territory or over long distances if they have the motivation but I doubt this is the case in this situation.

Cougar territories have been known to maintain a range from 13 to 124 miles with one instance of the range being over 1134 miles.

Anyway, just thought you might find these incidents of interest. One reader said that his friend was killed by an elephant during a safari. I wrote about the rise in elephant attacks a couple of years ago–and so did the New York Times.

National Geographic did a documentary called, Elephant Rage and estimates (in 2005) are that at least 500 people per year are killed by elephant attacks. 

It is no longer as rare as it once was. I think the reasons behind it are complex and include many influencing factors.

Here are a few other news stories:

Elephant attack on jogger 

Wendy Martin has something to say about safari elephant attacks 

Veronica & Charlotte Parker 

Elephant Charge in the Congo 

 National Geographic (Search Elephant Attacks)

Califauna: Art & Conservation in Education

The following is a guest post by my pal Chris McCormick, founder of Califauna and a passionate artist. The project is currently targeted to launch in late 2008. I hope you will support it.

There are many ways that we learn. A method used increasingly by forward thinking schools is “arts integration.” The belief is that by integrating the arts into other studies there is a better understanding of the lessons taught. To this end I have started a nonprofit called “Califauna.”

The goal of Califauna is to bring art education and eco-awareness to the students of California. By integrating art lessons with information about our wildlife I believe we can have an impact in helping people understand the need to care for our forests, deserts and beaches and all the animals that live there.

By picking an animal then discussing its habits and habitats we can educate on that animal and our effects on them, then by transitioning the lessons to some form of artwork based on that animal we can better help the student understand the need to care for and help our wildlife to survive.

Can art be integrated into animal careers? Of course it can, you can partner with local artists and develop programs of your own.

I believe we each have a responsibility to do our part, to share information to help people make better choices. Whether done through animal careers or art careers or a combination of both, if children are informed on the need to care for our native animals and what they can do to help, they will then share that information with their friends and family. Kids are always eager to share what they learn!

About the Contributor: Chris McCormick is an artist and animal lover. He runs a variety of blogs including Southern California Potters, and Califauna. He was recently interviewed as a featured artist in the Fawnskin Flyer.

About Califauna: Califauna is a nonprofit project and operates under the guidance of the Pasadena Arts Council, a 501(c)(3) Organization. Califauna seeks to integrate arts education with Eco Awareness for the youth of today in hopes that they will take with them a better understanding of the need to care for our environment, from their own backyards, to our local beaches, mountains and deserts.