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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Marc Bekoff accurately depicts the general tendencies heard and seen in the reporting of wild anima; stories on network and local tv newscasts------Oftentimes, Reporters flagrantly misrepresent what's actually happening to the animals(when surrounded by humans or in situations that could involve their death) ,,,,,,,,,,,,mocking making jokes about the obvious fear and stress that the animal is clearly feeling--------Case in point is the St. Louis Zoo story that surfaced this past week regarding the Raccoon that found itself trapped in a monkey pit, being thrashed and tossed about -----Thankfully, the Raccoon escaped but the Reporters showed no empathy for the creature and in fact suggested that they would like to see the raccoons in their backyards treated similarly-------------Marc accurately states that: "High profile people should set clear examples of generating respect, compassion, and empathy, rather than disrespect, for other animals"-----(click on the video link to have a look for yourself at the Reporters flippant commentary)

Do animals think and feel?

Animals In the Media: Flagrant Misrepresentation--Norah O'Donnell and Anthony Mason laugh as a raccoon is tormented by chimpanzees

While things seem to be slowly getting better, nonhuman animals (animals) often get a bad rap in the media. A sensationalist video of chimpanzees tormenting and tossing around a raccoon at the St. Louis Zoo is a good example of just what we don't need on television, namely, the flagrant misrepresentation of what's actually happening and the fear and stress the raccoon is clearly feeling.
To begin, news anchor Norah O'Donnell laughs about the "monkey business" that's occurring seemingly ignorant of the fact that chimpanzees are not monkeys. Sure, the lead-in to the story is cute, but chimpanzees and monkeys are taxonomically quite distinct and chimpanzees do not have tails.

Raccoon being thrashed in the Monkey Pit at St. Louis Zoo


          But it gets worse when both O'Donnell and Anthony Mason giggle at the torment and the fear that the raccoon is clearly displaying, and Mason laughingly says at the end of the video, "I've wanted to do that to some of the raccoons in my backyard." I'm glad that he seems not to have had the opportunity and joy of tormenting the animals into whose home he moved.

I have a good sense of humor, as do the people who alerted me to this story, but I didn't find the coverage of this encounter to be especially humorous. Indeed, while it appeared that the chimpanzees might have at first been playing with the raccoon, if it had gone on longer their excitement could easily have escalated into a full-blown attack. And, if the raccoon were a dog, I assume/hope O'Donnell and Mason would have had a different reaction although raccoons are no less sentient than dogs or other mammals. And, neither are raccoons rag dolls to be flung here and there to be laughed at.

The media should cultivate respect, compassion, and empathy for other animals

Animals depend on our knowing about who they are and what's happening in their lives and I found this video to be rather troubling not only because of the danger to which the raccoon was subjected but also because of the cavalier - some might say arrogant - attitude of the news anchors. High profile people should set clear examples of generating respect, compassion, and empathy, rather than disrespect, for other animals.

Raccoon seeking escape from Monkees at St Louis Zoo

That's not really asking too much.
An animal fearing for his or her life and animal suffering in general are not entertainment and should never ever be ridiculed.
You can watch a video about this horrific incident here. This truly is no laughing  matter.

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