The Truth About Black Cats

It’s that time of year when animal shelters have to combat a lot of misinformation regarding black cats. Some shelters stop adopting black cats in October for fear they will be tortured. However, in the history of humane work, no one has ever documented any relationship between adopting black cats, and cats being killed or injured. The belief that adopting black cats will result in ill consequences can be traced to three sources:

1) Ignorance:

Some suggest “witches” adopt black cats for use in ritualistic sacrifices. Actually, witches do not harm their “familiars,” who are supposed to be their eyes and ears in the spirit world. To harm a familiar would be to blind and deafen oneself. Continue reading “THE TRUTH ABOUT BLACK CATS AND HALLOWEEN”

Polls Show Younger Travelers Shun Attractions That Exploit Animals by Ed Boks

Young travelers shun attractions that exploit animals

September 27th is World Tourism Day.  That makes this a good day to consider the impact this trillion-dollar industry has on wildlife.

A recent poll suggests young travelers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact tourism has on animals.  This awareness is influencing their travel choices for the better. Continue reading “Polls Show Younger Travelers Shun Attractions That Exploit Animals by Ed Boks”

Consider the snail by Ed Boks

Consider the snail

In my last blog I discussed what we can learn from the ant regarding the benefits of collaboration and cooperation in the development of society.

Today I want to examine what we can learn from the snail regarding the detriments of social isolation.

In a recent article in the Independent, Sarah Dalesman explains that while stress negatively impacts the cognitive ability of numerous species, including their ability to learn and remember, the problems arising from stress are personal, and blanket statements regarding species may be misguided.  Like humans, Dalesman explains that “not all individuals of a particular species are equally good at cognitive tasks to begin with, and they respond to the effects of stress in different ways.” Continue reading “Consider the snail by Ed Boks”

Consider the ant by Ed Boks

Ancient wisdom tells us to “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)

Conventional wisdom tells us that two heads are better than one.  Yet, on an individual level two heads will often butt — and we are told that when resources are scarce, competition is better than collaboration.

In a recent study published by Nature, a biologist looked to the ant to help understand how cooperation may have played an important role in the development of civil societies. Continue reading “Consider the ant by Ed Boks”

Advocates for Snake Preservation by Ed Boks

Imagine a world where snakes are respected and appreciated instead of feared and hated.

I recently became aware of an organization that I am so excited about that I want to immediately share my find with you.  Advocates for Snake PreservationASP, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way people view and treat snakes

Continue reading “Advocates for Snake Preservation by Ed Boks”

July 14: First World Chimpanzee Day by Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall

14th July 2018.  The very first World Chimpanzee Day.

58 years to the day since I arrived for the very first time in what I then referred to, in my letters home, as “Chimpanzee Land”.  At the time it was the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in what was then Tanganyika – a British Protectorate.  Today, of course, it is the Gombe National Park in the independent country of Tanzania.

Jane at 26

I was 26 years old back then, and 58 years is a long time.  But if I close my eyes and let my mind free to wander into the past, I can relive that boat ride along the shore of Lake Tanganyika.  Continue reading “July 14: First World Chimpanzee Day by Jane Goodall”

Your dog and the great outdoors by Ed Boks

Take your best friend hiking

The sun is shining, the temps are rising, and it’s time to put on our hiking boots and appreciate the beautiful outdoors.  But don’t head out without your four-legged friend; they’re itching to enjoy the spring air with you!

Outdoor opportunities you can enjoy with your dog abound. When taking Fido with you to explore, be aware of trail etiquette, safety factors and leash laws.

Most communities require dogs to be on a leash not to exceed six feet in length. The leash law keeps your dog safe from run-ins with wildlife and vegetation. In addition, it helps others feel safe on the trail who may not know that your dog is friendly or, worse yet, may have an unfriendly or timid dog with them.

Train you dog to walk with loose leash for enjoyable experience

If your dog isn’t trained to walk calmly and politely on a leash—don’t leave them at home; practice makes perfect!  There are many techniques to teach your dog “loose leash” walking. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

• The more exercise a dog gets, the easier leash training will be.

• Positively reinforce your dog walking close to you by being generous with high value rewards (like good treats).

• Play red light/green light: If the dog begins to pull, stop and wait. If they stop and loosen up, reward with a treat and then proceed.

• Before your dog gets to the end of the leash to pull, lower your leash and move backward a step or two. Reward your dog when he comes back to you.  If repeated enough times, dogs will learn that any tension on the leash will only delay them from getting to what they want.

I mentioned run-ins with defensive wildlife and one concern on nearly every pet owner’s mind when they put on their hiking boots is the rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes are particularly active in the springtime and it’s important to be attentive.

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training and vaccine helps protect your dog

There are some helpful precautions you can take for your four-legged hiking buddy, one of which is a rattlesnake vaccine. While the canine rattlesnake vaccine won’t make your pet immune to all effects of a rattlesnake’s venom, it can give you extra time to seek medical attention for your dog and may lessen the need for antivenin. That’s a big benefit, for your pet and your pocketbook. Call your veterinarian to learn more about the canine rattlesnake vaccine.

Another safety measure you can take is rattlesnake avoidance training.  Rattlesnake avoidance trains your dog to recognize and avoid the sight, smell and sound of a rattlesnake, which can be a lifesaving skill that can protect not only your dog but for you as well.  Ask your local Pet Emergency Hospital if they know who is offering a community class on Rattlesnake Avoidance Training.

Be sure to also keep the temperatures in mind and provide plenty of water for your dog.

Public comment sought for Bison in Grand Canyon by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and buffalo
Are we really willing to concede we don’t have the collective brainpower to humanely accommodate a few hundred bison without resorting to killing?

In the 16th century North America contained 25-30 million buffalo. However, in the 19th century bison were hunted almost to extinction – with less than 100 remaining by the late 1880s. This mass destruction came with ease to hunters. When one bison is killed, the others gather around the fallen buffalo, which leads to the easy annihilation of large herds.

As the great herds began to wane William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, among others, spoke in favor of protecting bison because he feared the pressure on the species was too great. In 1874, President Ulysses S. Grant “pocket vetoed” a Federal bill to protect dwindling bison herds. In 1875, General Philip Sheridan pleaded to a joint session of Congress to slaughter the herds to deprive the Indians of their source of food. By 1884, the American Bison was close to extinction. Continue reading “Public comment sought for Bison in Grand Canyon by Ed Boks”

Marine Mammals and Birds Stranded on Beaches Expected to Increase by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and sealMarine mammals stranded on beaches are expected to increase over the next 3 to 4 months. One sensitive location for migratory sea birds and marine mammal strandings is the North Channel area in Venice/Marina Del Rey.

Lifeguards have reported as many as 50 free roaming dogs at any one time in this area. Free roaming dogs pose a significant risk to the health and safety of these animals. All Angelenos are reminded they must comply with the City’s Leash Law. LA Animal Services is increasing patrols in the Venice Beach area and will cite leash law violators.

Recently a reported hypothermic seal attempting to beach at the North Channel area was forced to retreat into the ocean by over 20 free roaming dogs. Rescue efforts were thwarted by citizens who allow their dogs to run free in violation of the leash law.

Two years ago, dogs prevented a domoic sea lion from beaching, chasing her into the water each time she tried. The animal ultimately drowned. Domoic causes seizures and disorientation, if a sea lion is not allowed to beach, it will most likely drown.

Marine Animal Rescue has rescued over 50 marine mammals so far in 2008, and this number is inceasing weekly.

The majority of the birds rescued are Oiled Grebe’s. Grebe’s hips are placed so far back on their body that they cannot move well on land and become easy targets for playful or aggressive dogs. Harbor Seals and Elephant Seals cannot climb well which explains why these animals are seldom seen on the rocks; they need the beach.

Dogs are susceptible to diseases (Leptospirosis or Bruceloss) when they come in contact with Sea Lions. Sea Lions have been known to inflict fatal bites to dogs.

For 20 years, Marine Animal Rescue volunteers, working in concert with LA Animal Services, has come to the aid of entangled or beached whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and sea birds along the California coast. Marine Animal Rescue volunteers have rescued thousands of marine animals. For more information on Marine Animal Rescue visit:

Urgent Action Needed for Kangaroos in California by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and kangaroos
Help stop legislation that would allow kangaroos to be killed in even greater numbers to supply soccer cleats to Californians

Senate Bill 880, a bill that would allow the sale of kangaroo skins and body parts in the state of California, is sailing through the legislative process. Sadly, it has now passed the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and moves to the Assembly for a floor vote. This means that the kangaroos still need your help. So even if you have already taken action on this issue, please take this opportunity to speak out one more time in opposition to SB 880.

If this bill passes it would erase a law that was implemented in 1970 to protect kangaroos by prohibiting the sale of their skins. A similar bill passed the legislature last session that reversed this protection for alligators, allowing their skins to be sold in California. It is important that the same fate does not befall the kangaroos.

Remind Your State Legislator of these Kangaroo Facts:
Kangaroos are not farmed. They are taken from the wild in Australia, and exist only in Australia.

Kangaroos are shot at night by hunters. Hunters are not always able to distinguish between kangaroos who are “approved” to be killed and others who are endangered. In Queensland, Australia, the Western Grey Kangaroo is not allowed to be killed, but it can be mistaken for the Eastern Grey that is allowed to be hunted.

The existing law that would be changed by this bill was made to protect certain “look-alike” species, so that Californians do not unwittingly contribute to the extinction of a species.

If a kangaroo that is killed is a mother with a baby in her pouch, the baby is taken out and killed by a heavy blow to the head (according to the Australian Code of Practice). Similar methods are used in Canada’s seal hunt; both California and Federal laws prohibit the sale of seal products from Canada because of the cruel killing methods used.

According to official Australian government statistics, kangaroo populations continue to decline and are now the lowest they have been in over a decade. Current populations are well below half of what they were in 2001. (Source: Sustainable Wildlife Industries, Dept of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra, 2006). Reintroduction of the trade in kangaroo skins into California would be disastrous, as there are already too few kangaroos to meet the industry’s demands.

SB 880 recently was modified (amended) in a way that appears at first glance to place a maximum limit on the number of kangaroos that could be killed in a given year. However, the new wording does not provide any real protection and, in reality, could allow kangaroos to be killed in even greater numbers to supply soccer cleats to Californians.

For more information on SB 880 visit: