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Innovative Cockatoo Stuns Scientists By Making Its Own Tools

Scientists Stumped Over How Cackatoo Learned to Make Tools to Obtain Food

Alice Auersperg of the University of Vienna said she was surprised when a captive cockatoo named Figaro was seen using a tool to help him obtain an object. When researchers saw him actually make a tool, they were stunned.

According to University of Oxford’s announcement regarding the research, which has now been published in the journal Current Biology, the scientists are unsure just how Figaro ever learned to make a tool, but hope it will shed light on the “evolution of intelligence.”

Here’s how the team witnessed Figaro’s new skill, according to Auersperg:

“During our daily observation protocols, Figaro was playing with a small stone. At some point he inserted the pebble through the cage mesh, and it fell just outside his reach. After some unsuccessful attempts to reach it with his claw, he fetched a small stick and started fishing for his toy.

“To investigate this further we later placed a nut where the pebble had been and started to film. To our astonishment he did not go on searching for a stick but started biting a large splinter out of the aviary beam. He cut it when it was just the appropriate size and shape to serve as a raking tool to obtain the nut.

“It was already a surprise to see him use a tool, but we certainly did not expect him to make one by himself. From that time on, Figaro was successful on obtaining the nut every single time we placed it there, nearly each time making new tools. On one attempt he used an alternative solution, breaking a side arm off a branch and modifying the leftover piece to the appropriate size for raking.”

Watch Figaro make his tools:

Oxford University professor Alex Kacelnik said that Figaro is the only known one in his species to exhibit such tool-making capabilities, but crows have been observed to do similar things. Kacelnik said a crow named Betty made hooks out of wire to obtain food out of reach.

Still, Kacelnik said researchers are “struggling to identify the cognitive operations that make these deeds possible.”

With observations from these birds, Kacelnik hopes it may help scientists “unlock many unknowns in the evolution of intelligence.”

(H/T: theBlaze, GeekOSystem, Science Daily)

November 8, 2012 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , | Leave a comment

Animal Protection Repression-Files Prove Political Motivation in Austria

10 chained animal activists in orange Guatanamo-suits staged a protest outside the Austrian Home Office this week to highlight police repression against animal protection

Vienna, 16th May 2009

The special commission set up by the Austrian Home Office in 2006 has carried out the most extensive investigation operation since the founding of Austria’s 2nd Republic against the animal advocacy movement. In this political move to wipe out legitimate work on behalf of animals, VGT has been particularly severely hit.

The political background to this case can be shown clearly by the following points:

  • Although legally obliged to present all evidence showing an accused person’s innocence, police have omitted all such findings from their final reports. This includes results of DNA tests, tracking devices, surveillance, bugging operations and under cover agents, as well as the existence of concrete alibis. These things are simply not mentioned. It is as if they never took place.
  • On 24 February 2009 a judge ruled that police were no longer allowed to restrict those accused having access to their complete files. Following this ruling the special commission completed the final reports even though the investigations have not been formally closed. Why? The law states that once final reports have been submitted it is permissible to restrict access to files and this is exactly what the police have now done! The police are fully prepared to undermine and ignore a court ruling.
  • In minutes from one of the special commission’s meetings from 19 June 2008 it is detailed how those present discuss how best to destroy VGT: taking away the organisation’s charity status is what they come up with. Without having charitable status VGT would have to pay tax on all donations over the last years, effectively financially destroying the organisation. And just this has happened: On 30 April this year police started actions to have VGT’s charitable status taken away.
  • In an internal report form the special commission dated 23. 1. 2008 it is documented that, from now on all information stands and events to do with animal protection “regardless of the topic“ are to be visibly heavily policed through out the whole country with the aim to “give the public the impression that animal campaigners are extremely dangerous”.
  • As a medium-term solution the commission orderd that all targets of information stands, for example, fur shops “are to be protected by a 100 m distance between information stand and shop”. This effectively prohibits any information stands within a 100 m radius, although there have never been any problems or aggression which could justify such a move. The head of the commission proudly announced these measures which totally contravene the right of assembly law: “The militant animal campaigners throughout the whole of Austria will experience resistance from the National Security Agency for the first time”.
  • The special commission has collected an extensive DNA database on campaigners. In a file dated 2 July 2007 it states that plain clothed officers stole bottles of drink from campaigners at information stands in order to have them DNA tested. Similarly, cutlery and plates were taken during the raid on the VGT office for DNA analysis. No legal authorisation was given for these procedures.
  • Green MP Peter Pilz was given access to confidential police documents in connection with this case. Peter Pilz exposed these documents on his website http://www.peterpilz.at. The documents show not only that police advised the animal protection movement’s political opponents how to represent themselves to the media, and recommended measures they could take against legal animal protection actions, but also that the head of Vienna’s Police Force was instructed to “utilize all administrative possibilities to stop information stands and protests taking place“.

VGT’s DDr Martin Balluch commented: “With these documents we can prove that the police allowed themselves to be used as a political instrument, carrying out politically influenced measures, which were in part unlawful, in order to attack the animal advocacy movement. This is an alarm signal for democracy. With today’s action here in front of the Home Office we call on all citizens and especially all those in positions of responsibility to ensure that the police be held to account for their actions and that we bring Austria back to being a constitutional state”.

If you live outside of Austria please write to the Austrian Minister of the Interior asking her to bring an end to the repression of Austrian NGO work on behalf of animals. You can see a sample letter/e-mail and find her address here:
http://www.vgt.at/presse/news/2009/news20090421m_en.php

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And this should be an alarming issue to Americans and aninal advocates everywhere!!  Animal Advocacy Groups are listed on U.S. Homeland Security’s rightwing extremists list…

     

    Vienna, 14th May 2009

    Misuse of Law Crushes NGOs

    Austrian animal advocates gathered this week on the steps of the Ministry of Justice to symbolize the misuse of Austrian Mafia law 278a crushing free speech and legitimate NGO work.

    The final police reports in this case leave absolutely no doubt that classic NGO-work is being criminalised. Be it school talks on animal rights, founding new groups, negotiating with companies and running legal campaigns, as well as animal rights conferences, investigations into animal abuse, actions of civil disobedience and computer encryption.

    25 activists were being squashed by giant “§ 278a”-symbols directly in front of the ministry of justice, where in the coming weeks it will be decided whether charges will be brought against the animal activists for forming a criminal organisation or not.

    May 23, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment