Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adoptions, deep-sea murders, migration menace

A dozen or more animals ‘home for the holidays’

Last Saturday’s special adoption day for animals from the Ewing shelter was a big success, according to Mark Phillips, executive director of Easel Animal Rescue League, the all-volunteer organization that ran the event.

Eight cats and 4 dogs – with 1 or 2 follow-up possibilities this week – meant a needed drop in the shelter’s animal population. The Trenton Farmers Market proved to be an excellent place for the event.

Easel’s “regular” adoption days resume December 3. Check www.easelnj.org for times and places.

Say no thanks to ‘pearly’ jewelry

We’re “Loving the chambered nautilus to death,” according to a newspaper story late last month. Picture the nautilus, “a living fossil” with a spiral shell (sorry--no image available) that has inspired poems and – alas – attracted exploiters. People out to make money, in other words.

Even though it means killing a creature whose ancestors go back a half-billion years, the nautilus’s pearly shell is still a cheaper alternative to “real pearl.” In an example of deceptive marketing, the iridescent material is often sold as “Osmena pearl.”

Now chambered nautilus shells are made into earrings, pendants, display items and curios – an ignominious end for a deep-sea creature related to the octopus, which sometimes attains a breadth of 10 inches.

It’s the same old, same old: the nautilus shell caught on, humans killed chambered nautiluses by the millions . . . and now other humans are considering adding the creature to the endangered species list to “curb the shell trade.”

(http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/science/25 nautilus.html?emc=eta1)

Birds & glass-sided buildings

For migrating birds, glass-sided city buildings can be killers, especially when the glass facades are near parkland or vegetation. Birds see reflected trees and bushes, fly toward them and . . . . It’s estimated that 90,000 birds are killed each year by flying into buildings in New York City.

But, increasingly aware of the problem, some architects are employing design to lessen reflection. And some building managers have agreed to alter the exteriors of lower floors to cut down the incidence of bird-building crashes.

New York City Audubon volunteers scan for dead or injured birds during migration seasons and document where they’re found. Those numbers can be significantly lowered with building reps’ cooperation. One example is turning lights off after midnight during spring and fall so the bright lights don’t confuse birds in flight.

(http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/15/nyregion/making-new-yorks-glass-buildings-safer- for-birds.html?emc=eta1)


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