Animals

Science & Technology
2:00 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Is The Carolina Dog Native To North America? New Science Says: Maybe

Pittsboro resident Marielle Hare owns a dog, Oona, that she believes might have traces of Carolina Dog in her. She is interested in testing its DNA.
Credit Marielle Hare

The first Carolina dog that I. Lehr Brisbin took home with him smeared fecal matter all over the back seat of his car. He found her at a pound in Augusta, Georgia in the 1970s, and despite strong discouragement from the pound’s staff (they said she bit everyone who touched her), he managed to wrangle her into a carry crate in his back seat, where “she immediately had a diarrhea attack,” Brisbin recalls. But he was far from discouraged.  Brisbin wanted to take her home because he thought there was something strange and special about her. She resembled some wild dogs he’d seen in the woods along the Savannah River. And Brisbin was starting to put together an exciting hypothesis about why there were wild dogs in the South Carolina lowland that looked and acted different from most others.

At the time, I. Lehr Brisbin was a biologist studying wildlife at the Savannah River Ecology Lab, a field research station of the University of Georgia in Aiken, South Carolina. His research often took him into the 300 square mile wilderness of the Savannah River Ecology site. That’s where he first noticed the wild dogs.  They had long, pointy snouts, ears that permanently stood up and tails that curled back on themselves.  And their behavior, he noticed, was unusual, too. They dug small pits in the ground with their snouts. They hunted in packs and signaled to each other by flashing the white undersides of their tails. They moved as a pack, like wolves.  They were more like Australian Dingoes than European-bred dogs brought to America by colonists.  Brisbin hypothesized that the wild South Carolina dogs descended from canines that belonged to Native Americans, that the dogs’ ancestors had crossed the land bridge between Asia and North America with humans around 12,000 years ago.

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Science & Technology
4:38 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

N.C. Scientist Helps Discover New Carnivore In The Andes

The olinguito is the first new species of carnivore discovered in the western hemisphere in 35 years.
Credit NC Museum of Natural Sciences

A North Carolina scientist is part of a team that's made a big find: the first carnivore to be discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.  

The new animal is called the olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe). But for the longest time, olinguitos were thought to be olingos, small raccoon-like carnivores that live in the Andes Mountains.

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Environment
2:00 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

N.C. Zoo's Baby Gorillas Celebrate First Birthday

Baby gorillas Bomassa (left) and Apollo (far right) with moms Jamani (second from left) and Olympia will both get a first-birthday party at the N.C. Zoo on August 3.
Credit N.C. Zoo photo by Diane Villa

Baby gorillas Bomassa and Apollo, who were born at the North Carolina Zoo, have reached a milestone: their first birthdays. 

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Arts & Culture
2:14 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

UPDATE: NC Zoo's Third Baby Gorilla Born In 11 Months Dies

This male baby gorilla was delivered by C-Section at N.C. Zoo Sunday Acacia. A name has not yet been chosen.
Credit Aaron Jesue

UPDATE: The North Carolina Zoo announced on Wednesday that the baby gorilla born to mother Acacia has died. They say that the cause is uncertain, although it is possible that the mother may have accidentally rolled over onto the the infant in her sleep.

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The State of Things
10:41 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Red Wolves Return To The Wild

The Secret World of Red Wolves by Delene Beeland.
Credit www.delene.us

Frank Stasio talks to Delene Beeland about red wolves.

When most people think about wolves, they picture the large grey kind made famous in numerous movies. But its smaller cousin, the red wolf, faced extinction at one point. Preservation efforts managed to replenish the animal’s stock, and it now thrives in the wilds of North Carolina. Science writer DeLene Beeland tells their story in her book, “The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America's Other Wolf” (University of North Carolina Press/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks with Beeland in the studio

The State of Things
11:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Deadly Bat Disease Spreads In NC Caves

Little brown bat; close-up of nose with fungus, New York, Oct. 2008.
Credit Photo courtesy Ryan von Linden/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

An emerging disease known as White Nose Syndrome has wiped out bats across the Northeast, and now it's spreading in the North Carolina mountains.

Mass bat die-offs could have huge implications for the state's ecology and economy.

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The State of Things
11:38 am
Mon June 17, 2013

What Is The Relationship Between Art And Advertising?

Image of George W. Bush from the series Culture of Corruption.
David Alsobrooks
  • Artist Dave Alsobrooks discusses the lines between art and marketing

When Nike used the Beatle’s song “Revolution” in an ad campaign, the Beatles sued. Their lawyer released a statement: “The Beatles’ position is that they don’t sing jingles to peddle sneakers, beer, pantyhose or anything else.” 

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Environment
9:03 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Numbers Of Red Wolf Pups Dwindling In North Carolina

A litter of red wolf pups
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wildlife researchers have noticed a slight drop in the number of pups being born to the state's native red wolf population.  According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, 34 wolf pups in seven litters were found in eastern North Carolina habitats.  That's down by an average of seven pups over the last three years. 

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Politics & Government
9:29 am
Sat June 1, 2013

Senate Bill Seeks To Halt Outside Undercover Investigations

A snapshot from inside the Butterball processing facility in Hoke County,
Credit Mercy for Animals

WUNC's Gurnal Scott reports on a state Senate bill that seeks to stop outside undercover investigations at businesses.

A bill in the state Senate could put an end to secret videos seeking to expose shoddy business practices.  The N.C Commerce Protection Act would stop advocacy groups from getting hidden-camera evidence of crimes unbeknownst to employers. 

Mercy For Animals made one such video at a Butterball plant in Hoke County in 2011 that led to charges.  The group's lead investigator Matt Rice says the bill would go beyond just animal cruelty.

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Politics & Government
5:01 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Puppy Mill Bill Passes State House

A Rhodesian ridgeback mother dog and her puppy.
Credit m_h via flickr, Creative Commons

The State House has passed a bill that would require basic standards of care for commercial dog-breeding operations.

The "puppy mill bill," as it's known, would apply to facilities with more than ten breeding females. Breeders would have to provide food and water, exercise, appropriate housing, vet care, and humane euthanasia if needed.

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