animals

Gianna Stadelmyer/Shutterstock

All dogs are born cute. But most of them aren’t born obedient. Basic obedience training is easy and important. You don’t want your dog getting a bad reputation.

The key element of the most successful obedience training is positive reinforcement, not punishment. The idea is simple: every time your dog obeys a command during training, he gets a treat. This method is much more effective than yelling or swatting your dog with a newspaper.

Serguei S. Dukachev / Wikimedia Commons

A report published last month found that an unusually high number of bottlenose dolphins have been dying all along the Gulf Coast since February 2010. This unusual mortality event, or UME, began two months before the 2010 BP oil spill, but groups including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the spill is responsible for the continued die-off of this species.

Jason Saul / WWNO

Animal shelters see a lot more than just dogs and cats. At the Louisiana SPCA we get hamsters, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, rabbits and a variety of birds. We call these types of animals “pocket pets.”

Pocket pets are a great option for people who love animals, but don’t have room for a cat or dog. They’re also a great way to teach kids about responsibly caring for a pet. 

Mark Richardson

If there’s one thing in the world that can make you love your cat a little less, it’s a ruined couch. Some cats seem determined to pee everywhere in the house except their litter boxes. If this sounds familiar, here are a few tips.

First and foremost, make sure your cat is spayed or neutered. Cat mating rituals involve spraying and marking — definitely not something you want in your house. 

Audubon Zoo

Up in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow, sending shivers down many a meteorologist’s spine and presaging six more weeks of winter — but here in New Orleans we have more, er, refined methods of predicting the weather.

Madhusudan Katti / Flickr

Elevated lead levels in the environment can cause a number of health problems for children and adults, and parts of New Orleans have consistently tested high for lead pollution.

Researchers at Tulane University are experimenting with a new way to test for lead exposure — by listening to bird songs to find out what they can tell us about heavy metals in the environment. 

Tulane researcher Renata Ribeiro spends a lot of time out in the field, recording the songs of Northern Mockingbirds.

Mary Ehret

 

Life is stressful. Luckily, Louisiana is home to several animal sanctuaries where you yourself can go to take refuge. 

Take Avery Island — it’s more than just Tabasco! Each spring, thousands of Snowy Egrets nest in the island’s bird sanctuary. The egrets settle on piers in a pond nicknamed “Bird City.” 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

If you drive west on Highway 90 you might notice bear crossing signs. That’s right, bears.  

The large but gentle Louisiana Black Bear is our official state mammal. They were once common in the Lower Mississippi Valley and Atchafalaya Basin region, but habitat loss and over hunting have reduced the population to about 300. In 1992 they were listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 

National Park Service / Wikimedia

Scores of endangered turtles hurt by the unusual cold in Massachusetts have been brought to the Gulf Coast to be rehabilitated and eventually released into the wild.

Hundreds of cold-stunned young Kemp's ridley sea turtles have washed up on Massachusetts beaches since November. The condition, like human hypothermia, can be fatal.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans says it received 27 of the turtles on Monday. Institute for Marine Mammal Studies director Moby Solangi says 32 are in Gulfport.

Rachele Totaro Shutterstock.com

Lately, people have noticed that my dog Sparky seems to have gained some weight. Luckily, he’s not sensitive to the comments, but it has made me wonder if I need to add a few more minutes to our daily walk, or put less kibble in his bowl. 

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. 

Pages