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Small Pets

Zoo Uses Chickens To Train Trainers

"Because of their lack of intelligence, they respond to exactly what you ask them to do," zoo trainer Colleen Baird said. "It teaches our keepers how to concentrate on the three elements of training, (including) timing, criteria and rate of reinforcement."

Big Apple Dims Lights For Birds

"The bright lights of New York City will be a little dimmer starting next week. That's because many of the city's buildings—including famous skyscrapers such as the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center—have agreed to turn down the glow in an effort to protect migratory birds. Millions of birds pass through New York City during the fall and spring migration seasons. Window reflections and bright city lights disorient the birds, causing many to crash into buildings and die. The new bird-friendly policy, crafted by the city and the Audubon Society, requests that buildings taller than 40 stories dim or turn off their lights at midnight during the September, October, April, and May migrating periods. Glass buildings along the migration corridors of the Hudson and East Rivers were also asked to dim their lights. Daniel Klem, an ornithologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, estimates that 100 million birds die every year from building collisions, and the Audubon Society has collected more than 400 dead birds from a small sampling of buildings in New York City since 1997. A similar program in Chicago has resulted in 80 percent fewer bird deaths." (California Wild This Week)

If you can, your toucan can...

This question came up recently on the AZA training list:

"Does anyone have experience handling/training Toucans? If so, or if you know of anyone could you e-mail me the contact name." Thank you-

Katrina and the Animals: How you can help save desperate pets in the Gulf Coast

The most silent victims of Hurricane Katrina may be tens of thousands of pets that either died during the storm and ensuing flood or were left behind by owners who in some cases were not allowed to evacuate with their beloved animals. Many organizations are rescuing abandoned animals and helping to reunite them with their families. Many rescue organizations need money, crates, and animal beds. Foster families are also needed. Click here for information on how you can help.

Clicker trained rats saving lives in Africa

The Telegraph: Rats are on the scent of Africa's landmines

Until now, removing mines has been the job of technicians with bomb-proof lorries and metal detectors. But metal detectors cannot trace mines made of wood or plastic or distinguish unexploded mines from shrapnel. Now scientists have shown that rats can be trained to be a safe, fast, reliable and cheap method of locating mines of all kinds, according to this month's issue of BBC Wildlife, published today.