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Meet the street animals that stole scientists’ hearts

TRACI WATSON: ‘Archaeologist Louise Hitchcock went to Israel in 2017 to look for artefacts from the Iron Age. She also found something else — a large dog who wormed his way into her heart. The mongrel was skinny and skittish when he appeared at the dig site where Hitchcock, who studies Greek prehistory at the University of Melbourne in Australia, was working… Today, the 35-kilogram saluki mix, who is named Fred, enjoys a life of walks and belly rubs… Like Hitchcock, many researchers spend substantial time in the field, where they might confront large numbers of apparently homeless cats and dogs… Inevitably, some of these street animals are hurt or sick, prompting some scientists to intervene or even to adopt one…

Free-roaming ‘street dogs’ number perhaps 300 million globally, says Andrew Rowan, chief scientific officer at the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington DC. Studies of ‘street cat’ numbers are limited, but Rowan’s self-described “crude estimate” of the worldwide cat total is 700 million; this includes cats that live in a community setting and those claimed by humans… Whenever possible, scientists who want to help such animals should first try contacting local groups, says Meredith Ayan, executive director at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International’. SOURCE…


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