Defender Radio and The Switch

The sun is shining, the rain is washing away the last of the snow, and families are hitting the trails and sidewalks with their four-legged companions and that means it’s time for some spring training. Whether you share your home with a young puppy or a senior dog, getting out and reviewing the basics like sit, down, stay, and a good recall (coming when called) is a great idea, both for the safety of your pet, and for building your relationship. Of course, turning these exercises into fun games makes it even more enjoyable.

From lazy hounds to neurotic herders and every type in between, getting to know your furry family member through play and training, and finding ways for them to interact socially in appropriate ways with other dogs and people will make your home a little bit happier. To help us with our spring training, and answer questions from our social media audience, we were joined by dog trainer, and a good friend to both The Fur-Bearers and my own family, Kyla Boyer.

Direct download: 2017-03-27_DefenderRadioPodcast.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 2:01pm EDT

Steven Wise stood up in a New York court room to make his case last week. It’s something he’s worked toward for years, and so far, the courts haven’t supported his efforts. But Steven knows that his clients need him – because they simply can’t speak for themselves.

Steven is the founder and president of the Non-human Rights Project, and his clients are chimpanzees being kept in confinement. The goal is to get these chimps, individuals of a species that experts have long identified as sentient, emotional, and social, out of cages and into sanctuaries. The case is to appeal the failure of the New York County Supreme Court to issue writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two captive chimpanzees, Tommy and Kiko, who were recently featured in the HBO documentary Unlocking the Cage.

Steven took a break from preparing his arguments last week to join Defender Radio and explain the background of the cases of Tommy, Kiko, and other non-human animals for whom the Non-human Rights Project is speaking, why the law should grant them freedom, and how animal lovers around the world can help.

Direct download: 2017-03-20_DefenderRadioPodcast.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 5:04pm EDT

Raccoons are the enemy, and green bins are the battlefield. At least, that’s how some Torontonians view an ongoing saga between themselves and the furry neighbours that so successfully live in Canada’s largest city.

Attitudes on raccoons in the Greater Toronto Area are split surprisingly evenly, but due to their problem-solving skills the sneaky fur-bearers do make it into the news and even political discussions regularly. And that’s where Dr. Suzanne MacDonald got involved.

Dr. MacDonald, a professor of psychology and biology at York University, helped the city test which new green bin designs would best prevent raccoons from enjoying a feast; and now, she’s trying to determine if the new bins will help the city’s raccoons shed a few pounds, and potentially have smaller litters.

On this week’s episode of Defender Radio, Dr. MacDonald joined us to discuss her fascinating hypotheses on raccoon learning and their potential evolution, as well as how she tests their problem-solving skills, and some practical advice on preventing conflict.

Direct download: 2017-03-13_DefenderRadioPodcast.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 3:06pm EDT

Spring is in the air. Well, right now it is. Later today, it might be snow. Or hail. Or summer. It’s been a bit hard to tell exactly what to expect in regards to the weather, but one thing is certain – we’re in a season of change.

As the weather changes, we’ll also be seeing changes in the behaviours of all sorts of life – from spiders spinning new webs, to birds stretching their wings and picking up the early worms of 2017. Of course, we’ll also be seeing all kinds of local wildlife scurrying about to find leftovers from beneath the snow, a new mate, or pushing their young out to find their own homes. While it can be wonderful to watch, our influence on these animals can be significant, so understanding who’s doing what, and how we might be affecting them, is vital this time of year.

To talk about this season of change, what we can expect from our furry neighbours, and how to prevent conflict in and around our homes, Defender Radio was joined by Janelle VanderBeek of the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC.

Direct download: 2017-03-06_DefenderRadioPodcast.mp3
Category:Season 04 -- posted at: 1:08pm EDT