The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

Kat Eschner's newsletter about animal-human relationships Vol. 2 Iss. 8

With the news of anti-choice legislation being passed in Alabama (and Georgia, and Missouri) this week, I found myself asking, “Wait. What kind of bird is a Yellowhammer?” You can find out about The Yellowhammer Fund, Alabama’s abortion fund, here. Find out about other states’ abortion resources here. If you’re Canadian like me, find information here.  

Alabama’s state bird is more properly named the Northern Flicker and belongs to the woodpecker family. Per the state archives, Alabama has been called the “Yellowhammer State” as far back as the Civil War.  

CREATURE FEATURE is staunchly pro-choice, as am I. I recently set up a monthly donation of $10 to my local abortion clinic and I hope you’ll consider what you can do to protect the right to choose.

Image description: The most commonly-used photograph of Grumpy Cat laid out meme-style. The text on the photograph reads “I don’t want to know what love is/And I don’t want you to show me.” Image credit: The Internet/

Grumpy Cat just died

After making her owners fat stacks of cash, Grumpy Cat (real name, unfortunately, Tardar Sauce) has passed away at the tender age of 7. Gianluca Mezzofiore has the story for CNN. Her momager Tabatha Bundesen is joined by the internet in mourning Grumpy’s passing.

The most-observed monkeys in the world could help us understand human trauma  

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, about 1700 rhesus macaques on a Puerto Rican island may be the ones to watch. The monkeys’ ancestors were brought to the island in the late 1930s and their families have been observed ever since, writes Luke Dittrich for The New York Times Magazine. Observing them after a devastating hurricane swept their home could help researchers better understand how to help traumatized humans.

Fact: Rhesus macaques are native to big parts of Asia. However, due to their popularity with humans, both feral and research colonies can be found in the Americas.

Stay out of the cat’s way, lil bilby

Katherine Moseby wants to save the lives of Australia’s endangered marsupials by teaching them how to avoid invasive predators like feral house cats, writes Ashley Braun for Science. It’s a strange experiment, and one not without some controversy.

“In one early test, ‘We actually chased wild bilbies and rubbed them with a dead cat’ to see whether that would help them avoid the predators in the wild, Moseby recalls. (It didn’t.)”

An Australian territory is set to recognize animal sentience in law

Speaking of Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra and region) is preparing to pass a bill that recognizes animals as “sentient beings” and places specific rules around their confinement, write Elise Scott, Tahlia Roy and Niki Burnside in the ABC. The laws include a focus on pets and livestock.

Extra credit: In the United States, a woman was just arrested for cruelty to a pet tiger.

Bonus round

More things I read this week.

Please read me

My most recent work

  1. Thanks to climate change, Canada jays may eat freezer-burned food all winter

  2. Dog pee on the sidewalk does more than just piss off your neighbors

  3. A third of youth firearm deaths could be prevented without taking away a single gun

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Contact me at my email or on Twitter. If you enjoy this newsletter and would like to tip me, I am on Ko-fi.

CREATURE FEATURE is edited by Tracey Lindeman.

All images in CREATURE FEATURE are used under Creative Commons licensing. Efforts have been made to ensure that photographs of living animals or natural scenes have been taken ethically, in responsible pet ownership conditions, at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums or under safe, non-damaging conditions in the wild. If you see an issue with any image we share, please notify me.