We at KPCT are deeply saddened by the death of Sea World Trainer Dawn Brancheau. It is a very unfortunate accident that has left many wondering how can something like this ever happen. The argument that this should never have happened is misguided.
Like most greyhounds, my 13 year-old greyhound, Sydney, has a quiet, gentle soul. But boy, can she bark! She barks when she wants to go out and she barks when she wants to come in. She barks when she’s happy and she barks when she is bored. I admit, it can be irritating, particularly at 5am when I want to relish that last hour of sleep before my alarm sounds. But would I consider permanently silencing her so that I can get that last hour of sleep? No. So what to do?
Discovery News reports that the Zoo Atlanta has used positive reinforcement training methods to teach their gorilla, Ozzie, to accept the "Gorilla Tough Cuff". The Tough Cuff is a blood pressure cuff that was recently designed through partnership with the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Cardiac disease is the leading cause of mortality in male gorillas living in captivity, and this invention will help to monitor high blood pressure in older gorillas, which is a frequent precursor to Cardiac disease.
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One thing I can't get out of my own mind after reading Karen Pryor's new book, Reaching the Animal Mind, is the fascinating neuroscience about how the click follows deep physiological, non-cognitive pathways involving the amygdala. Combine this with the "seeker circuit" physiology, and you have a big part of what make the clicker training process so powerful—it's permanent and impossible to resist.
I have always wanted to go to Wolf Park, a nonprofit education and research facility where you can get up close with wolves and learn about their behavior. Having heard about it for years, and having met people who raved after attending one of the seminars offered there, it was on my list of places I'd most like to see.