An alert reader sent in a link to a story about ‘village’ dogs in Russia who have figured out how to forage for food in an urban setting. The dogs actually hop onto trains that take them into the city where there is a great deal of food. But they don’t just forage in garbage pails, their strategies are far more sophisticated. There are reports of dogs sneaking up behind people eating and barking loud enough to startle the person into dropping their food. They schmooze up to children, rest their heads on the leg and look–well, you know–all soft and pleading and get fed snacks from the kids. Reportedly they have learned to use the traffic lights to cross the road safely and it is said they that know what stops to get off on and even to alert one another when the stop is coming up.
I’m a bit skeptical of the last part of that statement, not disbelieving entirely, just skeptical, but I have no trouble believing that they can easily understand traffic lights. Check out this video of crows who not only have learned to drop nuts onto a busy street for cars to run over them and crack their shells, they’ve learned to use the pedestrian cross walks to collect their bounty when the cars are stopped at red lights!
Meanwhile, back in Botswana, and having nothing to do with crows or dogs, here are some of a few favorite photos from my last trip to Africa:
I don’t know if we’ll see many elephants in the Okavango Delta, but I’m sure we will have seen many in Kenya. I can’t describe to you what it is like to be within a few feet of one of these magnificent animals, and to watch their intricate social relationships and communicative signals. On my last trip we watch a small herd of elephants walk out of river and almost into the lap of a resting pride of lions. The lead matriach elephant threw up her trunk and tail, flapped her ears and trumpeted loudly while trotting quickly toward the pride. The lions looked stupefied for one moment, and then lept up and ran away. You can imagine that we loved watching it, and patted ourselves on the back for telling our driver to just let us sit in one area for awhile and let things unfold around us, rather than driving willy-nilly to look for ‘more animals.’