Category: Zoology

Why did this lioness kill the father of her cubs?

Lioness Zuri had lived with Nyack for eight years and the zoo said the two had never shown aggression before

Ritu Prasad writes:

A lioness at a US zoo has killed the father of her three cubs in their pen – an incident experts say is shocking and unprecedented.

The pair had lived in the same enclosure at Indianapolis Zoo for eight years.

According to the zoo, there had never been any unusual aggression between the pair before the attack last week.

The BBC asked lion researchers for their theories on what could have sparked the attack.

What happened?

Zuri, 12, attacked Nyack, 10, and staff could not separate the pair. Nyack died of suffocation, while Zuri was uninjured.

The zoo said it is conducting a “thorough review”.

A personality clash?

Prof Craig Packer, director of the University of Minnesota’s Lion Research Center, told the BBC this sort of attack is “unprecedented”.

“We’ve seen examples of males killing females, and groups of females chasing away males, but a single female killing a male? Never heard of it.”

He suspects the individual lions’ personalities played a role in the killing.

El Salvador's much-loved hippo Gustavito killed at zoo

The zoo's veterinarians found cuts on the hippo's neck and face
The zoo’s veterinarians found cuts on the hippo’s neck and face

A much-loved hippopotamus called Gustavito has died after an unexplained attack over the weekend in the National Zoo of El Salvador.

The police are trying to establish who entered the animal’s enclosure at night and brutally assaulted him.
Gustavito, 15, died from his injuries late on Sunday.
Officials have described it as a cowardly and inhumane attack on one of the most iconic animals at the city’s zoo.
BBC Central America reporter Will Grant says that in a country where murder has long lost the capacity to shock, the extreme animal cruelty that claimed Gustavito’s life has angered and upset all of El Salvador.
Unknown assailants entered the national zoo in San Salvador over the weekend and subjected the hippo to a sustained beating with what appears to have been sharp weapons and blunt tools.

Peter Medawar, British biologist, was born today in history: 28 February, 1915

Peter Medawar
Peter Medawar

Sir Peter Brian Medawar OM CBE FRS (/ˈmɛdəwər/; 28 February 1915 – 2 October 1987)  was a British biologist born in Brazil, whose work on graft rejection and the discovery of acquired immune tolerance was fundamental to the practice of tissue and organ transplants. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet. For his works he is regarded as the “father of transplantation”. He is remembered for his wit in real life and popular writings. Famous zoologists such asRichard Dawkins, referred to him as “the wittiest of all scientific writers”, and Stephen Jay Gould, as “the cleverest man I have ever known”.
Medawar was the younger son of a Lebanese father and a British mother, and was naturalised British citizen. He studied at Marlborough College and Magdalen College, Oxford. He was professor of zoology at University of Birmingham and University College London. Until he was partially disabled by a cerebral infarction, he was Director of theNational Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill.

"Los trabajos de Lorenz agrietaron seriamente la idea de que toda conducta es aprendida…"

Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Lorenz

Manuel Vitutia Ciurana escribe acerca de Konrad Lorenz que murió hoy en la historia, 27 Febrero, 1989:

“Los trabajos de Lorenz agrietaron seriamente la idea de que toda conducta es aprendida: ¿Quién enseñaba a los patos a seguir a su madre por el campo? ¿Quién enseñaba a las ocas a seguir a Lorenz hasta su despacho? El concepto de impronta, entendida como un vínculo entre la madre y su cría, entraba en colisión directa con los postulados conductistas. Y a medida que fueron acumulándose las investigaciones y los experimentos de los etólogos, fue más innegable que había conductas que no eran aprendidas, sino innatas.

El apego, la búsqueda de cercanía y contacto físico entre una madre y su cría, era una de ellas y tenía un importante valor de supervivencia. Este hecho, unido a los trabajos del René Spitz en las maternidades, sugería que el cariño en el proceso de crianza no sólo es lo natural y deseable, sino lo necesario.”