Wildlife photography competition a hit

Joe Hong an Anatomy Laboratory Assistant at Murdoch University has won the Murdoch University Wildlife Association’s 2011 Wildlife Photography Competition held recently in Perth.

The competition, open to staff and students at Murdoch University, drew more than one hundred photo entries featuring an array of wildlife from African carnivores, to marine mammals, birds, insects and zoo animals.
Hong won the competition with his image of a family of primates walking across a fallen log in the jungle.

Second year Biomedical Science student Samuel Montgomery was awarded second prize with his evocative image of a Tasmanian Devil and first year animal science student Ian Barron took out third prize with a cleverly composed image of two birds. Sen Hon Won’s stunning underwater image of a fish under a jetty on Mabul Island in Malaysia won the People’s Choice Award voted by those who had viewed the exhibition of photographs. The winners received a gift voucher to The Finishing Touch Gallery in Fremantle.

Veterinarian and photographer Phil Tucak judged the photography competition and gave students a presentation about his photography including some tips and advice on taking photos. Tucak said the photographic entries in the competition were of a very high standard which made judging difficult.
“There were so many interesting and captivating shots, which highlighted the quality of the photography, making it hard to choose the winners,” he said.
“Many of the African photos are taken on the annual Veterinary Conservation Biology trip organised by the vet school, whilst other students travel to Africa and other Continue reading Wildlife photography competition a hit

Contemplating the creation of killers

The act of killing, not least when it is violent, can strike us as repellent and also as strangely fascinating. In certain circumstances, such as when it goes beyond a crime of passion and receives a degree of social approval, the phenomenon of killing calls out for explanation. What leads us to kill and how easy is it to cope with the act before and after? In his book Killing: Misadventures in Violence, Melbourne writer Jeff Sparrow recounts his personal attempt to understand the psychology of people who kill.

Sparrow’s starting and finishing point is wartime killing, an interest sparked by the discovery of a combat trophy in the form of a Turkish soldier’s semi-rotted head. Such souvenirs of battle, real or photographic, were and are by no means rare. Continue reading Contemplating the creation of killers

Juvenile nephropathy in a boxer dog resembling the human nephronophthisis-medullary cystic kidney disease complex

A juvenile nephropathy in a 4-year-old male boxer dog, closely resembling the nephronophthisis (NPHP)-medullary cystic kidney disease complex (MCKD) in humans is described.

Gross examination of the kidneys revealed several multiple cysts at the corticomedullary junction and in the medulla. Histological examination was characterized by a widespread tubular atrophy and dilatation, with a marked thickening of the . . . → Read More: Juvenile nephropathy in a boxer dog resembling the human nephronophthisis-medullary cystic kidney disease complex

A cat’s game of hide and seek

Hiding may play an important role in relaxing cats according to University of Queensland honours student Mark Owens.

Working in the Centre of Animal Welfare and Ethics , Owens’ project focuses on the behaviour and welfare of domestic cats in shelters.

“Welfare is a major issue in many countries for animals that are kept in cages, shelters and captive environments like zoos,” he said.

The study looks at cats’ behaviours and emotions, which indicate if they are feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated or content and examines 37 cats over seven days.

Half the cats Owens is observing are provided with a hiding box, and the remaining cats are in open view.

“A big part of my research is whether hiding provides a certain type of enrichment for cats in stressful situations,” Owens said.

“Unfortunately I am not sitting in a room playing and watching cats, I have pre-recorded the cats for 24 hours over seven days, and have just finished coding their behaviours on the videos,” he said.

A cat’s position in the cage, its posture and certain escape behaviours are all observations that contribute to identifying their emotions, stress levels and ability to adapt to their environment. Continue reading A cat’s game of hide and seek

Avian pox on the rise in Britain

Photo by Luc Viatour

Alarm bells have been raised in Britain over the health of the country’s great tits, following a confirmed case of avian pox virus in a great tit population in Oxfordshire. Although the disease has previously been found in house sparrows and wood pigeons in Kent, Sussex and Surrey, the spread to great tit populations is of great concern to researchers, since tits are among a number of wild bird species that are known to be less resilient to the disease.

The first confirmed case of AVP in a British great tit occurred in 2006, but the latest incident was found in a great tit population that has been continuously monitored by scientists from the University of Oxford, and the Zoological Society of London, since 1947.

When the presence of AVP was confirmed Professor Ben Sheldon from the University of Oxford’s Edward Grey Institute said researchers were: “using our detailed observations to try to understand how this new form of pox affects survival and reproductive success.”

Historically AVP is known to affect bird species worldwide, but it is more commonly found throughout temperate regions. Transmission occurs either through mosquito or other insect bites, or by direct contact with infected birds. Infection is also possible via contaminated communal food and water sources.

Symptoms include weakness, emaciation, soiled facial feathers, reduced egg reduction, and the growth of warty lesions on unfeathered areas of birds’ bodies, particularly the eyes and beaks.

AVP is a slow-developing disease that ultimately affects the birds’ ability to see and fly, causing them to gradually weaken until they become more susceptible to predators. Continue reading Avian pox on the rise in Britain