Tag Archives: Animals

What Does The Fox Say?

After watching this mother fox diligently tend to her young, I think she says “I’m exhausted!”

On and off for many years in the Spring, red foxes have made a den in the rocky ledges of friends’ rural backyard in the Kansas City. This year, there are two adults and six kits. A fox family consists of a male and female adult, plus their offspring, although sometimes a female from the previous litter will help. The gender of the second adult in this family wasn’t clear. The kits (also known as pups or cubs) may be about three weeks old in these photographs, taken April 5, 2014. They are gray and roundish, but are quickly turning red like their parents. Last year when I saw young foxes in early May, they already looked like smaller versions of the adults.

The foxes are very active in this rural neighborhood, and my friend Pat has seen all sorts of behavior, including adults carrying prey, burying it in leaves and then retrieving it; carrying tiny kits in their mouths; nursing the kits; and grooming behavior. Earlier, one of the adult foxes spent about two hours screaming as he ran around the area, possibly as a way to announce his territory. The screaming was so loud that neighbors called out of concern that something terrible was happening, Pat said.
About Foxes.

Click on a photograph to see a full-size version and begin a slideshow with descriptions.

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Filed under Animals, Kansas, Kansas City

Please Share This Artwork

Please Share This Photo

ElephantVoices campaign: EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE
This is from a press release from ElephantVoices, which is launching a campaign against the ivory trade.  The trade of ivory is causing the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants every year. Elephant expert and Co-Founder of ElephantVoices, Dr. Joyce Poole, observes, “It is with a sense of déjà vu and deep sorrow, though little surprise, that following the torpedoing of the 1989 ban by the ‘one-off’ sales of ivory stockpiles, we find ourselves living through, and battling against, another elephant massacre.”

Each new tusk on the market means more death, trauma and destruction.

“We are asking people to help us reach out to potential buyers of ivory who don’t realize that elephants are dying in record-high numbers for trinkets and decorations. The only way to stop this wanton slaughter of elephants is to choke demand for ivory and stop the trade,” states Joyce Poole.

ElephantVoices is basing its campaign on two powerful pieces of graphic art by New York artist, Asher Jay. The artworks, with the slogans, EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE; DON’T BUY IVORY and EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE; STOP THE TRADE, target potential buyers and decision-makers, and are also specifically directed toward a Chinese audience. “ElephantVoices is doing something unique by making the graphic art available online in several versions, so they can be shared on social networks and be used for T-shirts, bumper-stickers, posters and banners”, says Executive Director, Petter Granli.

“We urge people to share these messages far and wide, making them go viral. The poaching is endangering elephants, jeopardizing biodiversity, and threatening tourism, people’s livelihoods and stability in elephant range states. The writing is on the wall for elephants and we must act now”, says Joyce Poole. The two pieces of art shown are avialble to download in several forms.

You Can Download the Artwork Here.

Yellow Stars Shed Light

There are too many people buying ivory in too many countries. The current demand for elephant tusks is unsustainable and is swiftly mining Africa’s elephants. The largest demand is in China and, hence, the Chinese government and her people have a special responsibility for taking a lead to end the decimation of elephants. China was permitted to buy a restricted amount of ivory from stockpiles, a decision by the international community that has caused immense harm to elephants. Ninety percent of the ivory available in China is from slaughtered elephants, illegally sourced, traded and sold. Chinese buyers deserve to know that tens of thousands of elephants are being killed to supply them with ivory. Every tusk costs a life.

China has the ability to raise public awareness and to enforce their strict laws to quickly strangle the trading, buying and poaching. China can stop her countrymen causing the destruction of Africa’s heritage and biodiversity, while concurrently protecting her enormous investments on the African continent. We urge China to take action now to end any trade in ivory – we cannot afford to lose Africa’s keystone species. 中国 Zhōngguó means China. Star power is needed to save Africa’s elephants from extermination.

Elephant Family Values

CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS TO SEE FULL-SIZE PICTURES AND IVORY SEIZURE MAP

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March 27, 2013 · 4:08 pm

Of Elephants and Alcohol

Is this elephant dreaming of the delicious marula fruit as she eats grass at a game reserve in South Africa?

Is this elephant dreaming of the delicious marula fruit as she eats grass at a game reserve in South Africa?

I love fruit, but I’d never heard of marula fruit until a friend (Thanks, Anita!) introduced me to Amarula, a creamy liqueur made in Africa from fermented marula fruit.

Elephants like to eat the marula fruit, which when fermented makes a delicious drink when mixed with cream for humans, called Amarula.  Elephants will eat the fermented fruit, but it's a myth that they'll get drunk.  They couldn't eat enough to get inebriated.  The Amarula Trust promotes Africa elephant protection and social development in Africa.  This elephant sculpture is on display at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Fermented marula fruit makes a delicious drink when mixed with cream for humans in a liqueur called Amarula. Elephants will eat the fermented fruit, but it’s a myth that they’ll get drunk. They couldn’t eat enough to get inebriated. The Amarula Trust promotes Africa elephant protection and social development in Africa. This elephant sculpture is on display at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Elephants like to eat marula fruit and are Amarula’s symbol. Folklore through the ages told of elephants getting drunk on fermented marula fruit, but that tall tale has been debunked.  I don’t want to be a party pooper, but elephants couldn’t eat enough fermented fruit to get bombed.  According to a 2006 scientific study cited in Smithsonian Magazine, “Elephants do have a taste for alcohol, but when scientists sat down to look at the claim, they found several problems. First, the elephants don’t eat the rotten fruit off the ground. They eat the fresh fruit right off the tree. Second, the fresh fruit doesn’t spend enough time in the elephant to ferment and produce alcohol there. And, third, even if the elephant did eat the rotten fruit, the animal would have to eat 1,400 pieces of exceptionally fermented fruit to get drunk.”
Smithsonian Magazine: The Alcoholics of the Animal World.

Elephants like to eat marula fruit, but much of what elephants eat is not fully digested.  Here, some marula fruits have passed through an elephant.  The surviving marula fruits might be eaten by other animals or germinate into new trees.

Elephants like to eat marula fruit, but much of what elephants eat is not fully digested. Here, some marula nuts have passed through an elephant. The surviving marula fruits might be eaten by other animals or germinate into new trees.

While the elephants don’t get soused from fermented fruits, elephants are among the many species that enjoy the versatile marula fruit for its flesh and its nut, which is full of protein. The marula fruit and its nut have been important source of nutrition in Africa for eons. The fruit has eight times the Vitamin C of an orange, too. Among the animals that eat the marula fruit and nut are antelopes, including impalas, kudus and nyalas. Baboons, warthogs, zebras, porcupines, vervet monkeys, small mammals and even millipedes also feed on the marula, which belongs to the same plant family Anacardiaceae as the mango, cashew, pistachio and sumac. Browsing animals eat the leaves. Marula nut oil is also supposed to have rejuvenating effect on your skin, so the marula can give you a glow both inside and out. About the Marula Tree and Fruit. About Marula Oil for Your Skin.

While reading this post I recommend an Amarula cocktail, which has a mild creamy citrus flavor. If you can’t find Amarula, you can sip Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua. Drink responsibly, of course!

Amarula.

Amarula.

Here’s My Recipe for a Wild Elephant, which is really a White Russia, replacing the Kahlua with Amarula:
2 oz vodka
1 oz Amarula liqueur
light cream

Pour vodka and Amarula liqueur over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass. Fill with light cream and serve.
Serves one.
For other recipes. click on Cocktail Recipes. 

In a game reserve in South Africa, baboons congregate in and under a marula tree to eat the marula fruit.  Impala antelope stand under the tree to eat the dropped fruit.

In a game reserve in South Africa, baboons congregate in and under a marula tree to eat the marula fruit. Impala antelope stand under the tree to eat the dropped fruit. Click on the photo to get a better view.

The long-time belief that elephants and other animals get drunk on fermented marula fruit was popularized in the 1974 documentary “Animals are Beautiful People.” Some smaller animals can get drunk from fermented fruit, but people have claimed that the supposedly drunkenness of the animals from fermented marula was staged in the movie, after alcohol had been added to their food.  If so, that’s animal abuse. The narration is over the top, too, but the video does show the types of animals that eat the marula fruit. It also shows elephants shaking marula trees to knock down the fruit.
Scientific American: Do Animals Like to Get Drunk?
Drunken Elephants: The Marula Fruit Myth
About “Animals are Beautiful People.”

The marula fruit on this tree is not quite ripe.  It'll turn yellow.

The marula fruit on this tree will turn yellow when ripe.

Owls don't eat marula fruits, of course, but the branches make a handy perch. And perhaps some unsuspecting creature looking for fruit may become the owl's dinner.

Owls don’t eat marula fruits, of course, but the branches make a handy perch. Perhaps some unsuspecting creature looking for fruit may become the owl’s dinner.

Marula fruit is washed along with sand over a walkway after a rainy night at the South African game reserve lodge where we stayed in January 2013.

Marula fruit is washed along with sand over a walkway after a rainy night at the game reserve lodge where we stayed in January 2013.

I’m going to be party pooper again by listing this new Study from the Boston University School of Public Health that shows links of alcohol to cancer. Darn it!

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Filed under Animals, Drink, Environment, Life, Nature

100 Years of the Kansas State Fair

Gourds form the heads of these prize-winning scarecrows at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012. The scarecrows are modeled after artist Grant Wood’s famous painting, “American Gothic.”

I’ve lived in Kansas most of my life, but this is the first year I’ve visited the Kansas State Fair, which happened to be the 100th fair. My daughter-in-law has visited with her family every year since she was a small child, and she and her family always find new things to see and do. I barely scratched the surface. As the fair motto goes: The Fair “Never Gets Old.”

Here’s fair fare — a carrot cake funnel cake on the top and a corn dog on the bottom — at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

According to the website, the fair’s mission is “to promote and showcase Kansas agriculture, industry and culture, to create opportunity for commercial activity, and to provide an educational and entertaining experience that is the pride of all Kansans.”

More than 350,000 people from all 105 Kansas counties and several other states visit the fair each year, which begins the Friday following Labor Day and lasts for 10 days at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. Many thousands of those visitors seemed to be there the day we visited, the first Saturday. It was busy! There are more than a thousand commercial vendors, including those wonderful funnel cake and corn dog stands. There are about 30,000 entries in various competitions. There are lots of musical acts from local to national, including “Boston” and “Heart.” I didn’t see any concerts, unfortunately, but I did try some carrot cake funnel cake. Delicious!

I’ll let my photographs do the talking. The Kansas State Fair website.

Sculptor Sharon BuMann is creating a train and cars from 450 pounds of butter. The cars carry the Kansas icons of Dorothy wearing her red shoes and her dog Toto.

Check out the movie “Butter,” starring Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone and Olivia Wilde. Two women battle in their town’s annual butter carving competition. "Butter" movie.

A girl, who has already enjoyed a face painting session, plays with the grains in the wheat fountain. A volunteer warned me that my photograph might be “grainy.”

A little girl meets a dog available for adoption at the Hutchinson Animal Shelter booth at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

A family watches chicks at the Kansas State Fair, 2012.

Judges examine pumpkins at the Kansas state Fair, September 2012.

Holstein Cows, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Scarecrows, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

The sunflower is the Kansas State Flower, so it’s only fitting that sunflower seed heads have a special category at the Kansas state Fair.

Judges measure the longest gourd at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

What a sunny face!

No visit to the Kansas State Fair is complete without a trip on the train.

Prize-winning needlework, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Fruits and Vegetables, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Children play on the giant sunflower fountain at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Clothing Display, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

What is this bird? It’s in the 4-H Poultry Exhibition at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Kansas fish are displayed in the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism aquarium at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012. You can see the Sky Ride gondolas passing overhead.

Sorghum, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Mini Donkey Show, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

The Tin Man and Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz greet visitors to the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Quilts, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Note the sign of the Peterson Farm Bros, who are Kansas farmers. Check out their very popular video at the bottom, “I’m Farming and I Grow It.”

That engine is hot! A Ford pick-up truck is now a barbecue pit, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Ferris Wheel, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

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Filed under Kansas, Travel

316 Pet Adoptions in Three Days!

So many happy people and happy animals at the Adoptathon at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri!  Now, we absolutely, positively need to find a home for Virginia!

Ask Me About Virginia Button button

Most cats and kittens at Wayside Waifs find a home within a week or two of being made available for adoption, but Virginia hasn’t found a family yet.  Life at Wayside Waifs is pretty plush, but it doesn’t take the place of a “furr-ever” home.  Here’s what I wrote about Virginia previously.   “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus…”

In the top photograph, Grace (left) stops to gossip with Virginia (on the chair) about the newest feline residents at Wayside Waifs. In the bottom photograph, Virginia waits at the door, hoping her "fur-ever" family will finally appear.

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Dogs, Kansas City, Life, Pets

Animal Rescue in Joplin, Missouri, after the May 22nd Tornado.

This is a slideshow of cats at the emergency tornado shelter annex in the care of the Joplin, Missouri, Humane Society.  As of  June 3, 2011,  nearly 1,000 pets had been rescued and almost 300 had been reunited with their families. The shelter is caring for animals whose families are currently unable to house them along with those  animals who are missing  from or have lost their families.

In Joplin on May 22, a powerful EF5 tornado killed at least 138 people and injured more than 900 people, some critically.  It also destroyed or damaged about 18,000 vehicles, more than 8,000 homes and 500 commercial properties, which was about 30 percent of the town. Among the buildings damaged was a hospital that employed 1,700 people.  The tornado was the deadliest single tornado in more than sixty years in the United States.

The YouTube slideshow above includes photos published by Joplin Humane Society on June 1 to give the public an inside view of the facility’s cattery section.  Thanks to Life With Cats TV for the information.  For links on how you can donate click on Joplin Tornado Cats.

Wayside Waifs volunteer Scott Cotter talks about his experience with animal rescue in Joplin:   After the disaster: Notes from Joplin.

Wayside Waifs is a Kansas City, Missouri, no-kill animal shelter. Staff members and volunteers from Wayside Waifs helped with the animal rescue and brought some of the animals who had already awaited homes in Joplin before the tornado to the Wayside Waifs shelter.

On June 1, the Joplin Humane Society director detailed the massive operation that took place. Below are excerpts from that letter.  Many of  the people helping were also dealing with the loss of family members and their homes and businesses.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for their offers to help and words of
encouragement. Many of you have offered assistance and asked what you can
do. Here’s an update:

Our shelter was not hit and we are intact. The ASPCA (I will refer them
here on out as the A) had their emergency response team on the ground THE
NEXT MORNING! One of JHS’s benefactors owns the property next door and
there are three empty warehouses. I called them and they were more than
willing to allow the use of those warehouses…

We just put the third warehouse into use to house the animals. There are pictures up on our facebook page which can be found by going to our website:

www.joplinhumane.org

At my and the A’s request, American Humane Association (AHA) deployed a team to help us out at the emergency shelter and at JHS so my staff can rotate a
day off. HSUS teams are also here at our request. PETPOINT sent a team out
immediately and they are taking care of all of the documentation of the
almost 600 animals we have received since Monday. We are at real time in
putting pictures up on our website. I’m guessing it will hit 600 today. We
have reunited more than 150 pets with their families.

Petsmart Charities sent two tractor trailer loads of supplies and equipment
so the emergency shelter could be set up and we are prepared to handle up to
1200 animals. We have everything from goldfish, hermit crabs, birds, boas,
33 chickens, rabbits, you name it!

We called regional shelters to empty the JHS (Joplin Humane Society) shelter
of adoptable animals so we could use ours for tornado victims. The triage
center is at JHS and we have had an army of volunteer vets taking care of
injured animals. JHS is also the hospital ward.

We are contracted with 17 municipalities and already intake about 12,000
animals each year so the surrounding areas keep bringing in more animals who
are not tornado animals. We are continuing to send them out to other
shelters as their stray hold expires.

We are so grateful to all of the national groups that have responded, all
the local groups who have helped, the food and supply companies that have
equipped the operations and all of the wonderful people who have offered and
actually come in to help. We are humbled and so appreciative.

I think we have enough supplies at the moment. Truckloads of food have
arrived along with sheltering supplies and droves of volunteers. We are
opening a food and supply bank for families affected by the tornado. What
we need now is money for medical supplies and equipment.

Some wonderful, anonymous person sent a swamp cooler for the warehouse.
That was met with applause as the warehouses are heating up.  We have lots of
industrial fans but warm air is warm air.”

The director, who lost a step-daughter to the tornado, asked  “So many in Joplin have lost so much. If you pray, please
pray for them.”

Video and story: Veterinarian Tells Own Joplin Tornado Firsthand Account.

Video of some of the dogs rescued and their injuries and treatment.

June 17, 2011, update on status of animals at the Joplin Humane Society, from the AP:

900 pets still homeless after Joplin tornado

By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER and JIM SALTER

The Associated Press, June 17, 2011

JOPLIN, Mo. | Hundreds of dogs and cats peer out from their cages at the Joplin Humane Society, some with cuts, infections and broken bones from the deadly tornado that turned their lives, like those of their owners, upside down.

Since the tornado, the Humane Society has found itself overflowing with animals, with about 900 now calling the shelter home — three times its usual inventory. One way or another, the pets became separated from their owners in the chaotic aftermath of the May 22 twister that tore through this town, killing 153 people. In some cases, the owners — scrambling to find housing for themselves after 7,000 homes were destroyed, leaving nearly one-third of the city’s 50,000 residents homeless — have simply given up their pets.

But the Joplin Humane Society is determined to find a home for every cat and dog. To that end, it plans an “Adopt-a-thon” the weekend of June 25-26, when animals that haven’t been claimed by their owners will be given away free to good homes, after being spayed and neutered.

“The reality is, a lot of these people aren’t in a position to come get these animals,” said Joplin native Tim Rickey, a field investigator for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “They’ve lost everything.”

Executive director Karen Aquino said it’s not that the Humane Society hasn’t tried to find the owners.

“We feel we’ve exhausted every avenue to get the word out,” Aquino said. “We’ve placed 250 yard signs. We have posters at food and donation distribution points, public service announcements on radio and TV, ads in the newspaper — everything we could think of to let people know their pets might be here if they’re missing.”

To handle the additional cats and dogs, the organization fixed up two vacant warehouses next to the shelter into air-conditioned kennels. A gravel parking lot outside a former used appliance store has been converted into an owner’s waiting room, with plastic chairs and Polaroid snapshots of unnamed animals stuffed into thick three-ring binders.

Aquino said none of the pets left homeless by the tornado will be euthanized.

“If all of them aren’t adopted, we’ll start looking to rescue organizations and ways to get some of them to larger cities, where they have a better chance at adoption,” she said.

More than 100 volunteers from across the country, many from other shelters, are in Joplin helping out — cleaning cages, providing veterinary care and exercising the animals. On most days, a half-dozen veterinarians are at the shelter tending to the wounded.

The work is exhausting, the plight of the animals sad. But spirits are buoyed by good news, such as the recent story of a cat found alive by its owner 16 days after the tornado.

“We’ve heard some amazing stories,” Aquino said. “Animals are pretty resilient.”

When Steven and Debbie Leatherman found their lost dog, Sugar, at the shelter, her back legs were paralyzed. Someone had apparently dropped off the 10-year-old cocker spaniel after finding her in a drainage ditch and about to drown. The University of Missouri said the Leathermans’ son, Daniel, drove the dog to its veterinary hospital in Columbia, where veterinarians performed spinal surgery that gave Sugar back the use of her legs.

But some owners, such as 47-year-old Linda Head, still haven’t been able to find their pets. Since the storm, Head has been looking for 2-year-old Isabel, a Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix, and 5-year-old Puddles, a cockapoo.

Both dogs hunkered down with Head, her 23-year-old son and a third dog, Max, in and around a bathtub in their home that was obliterated by the tornado. Head lost Puddles when the dog jumped through the shattered window of a car as Head’s son was driven to seek medical care. Max also jumped out in the tumult, but he turned up nearly two weeks later at a Kansas veterinarian’s office. Isabel hasn’t been seen since the tornado, though Head’s hopes were briefly buoyed when a neighbor thought he saw the dog running loose. He was mistaken.

Head visits the shelter twice a week, hoping her dogs will turn up.

“Honey, when I left here the first time, I bawled all the way home,” Head said during a recent visit to the shelter. “I’ll bawl all the way home today, because I don’t have my buddies.”

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/06/17/2956304/900-pets-still-homeless-after.html#ixzz1PXujAKM2

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Dogs, Life, Pets

Rizzie and Polly Paddlefoot — the Polydactyl Cats

 

Rizzie is a polydactyl cat, available for adoption at Wayside Waifs, a Kansas City no-kill animal shelter. She has an extra toe on each of her front paws, giving them a mitten appearance. Her extra toes are not very noticeable unless you look closely. Sailors favored cats with extra toes because they were thought to be more nimble, better able to climb and excellent hunters of rats on the ship.

The first time I ever saw six-toed cats was on a visit to the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida. More than fifty cats roam the Hemingway estate, about half of them with six toes on each front paw, all descendants from Hemingway’s first six-toed cat. Cats normally have five toes on each front paw and four on each back paw. There are many variations of polydactylism in cats, which you can read about in the link below. The record is 28 total toes! Normal is eighteen.

Rizzie's front paw shows the mitten shape of a polydactyl cat -- a cat with an extra toe.

A ship’s captain gave a six-toed cat to Hemingway, who became one of the more famous lovers of polydactyl cats. After Hemingway died in 1961, his former home in Key West became a museum and a home for his cats. Because of his love for these animals, “Hemingway cat”, or simply “Hemingway”, is a slang term used to describe polydactyls. There are also official breeds of polydactyl cats, including the American Polydactyl Cat and the Maine Coon Polydactyl.  Polydactyl cats are very common in the Cardigan area of Wales, where they are known as “Cardi-Cats.”

According to Wikipedia, polydactylism  seems to be most commonly found in cats along the East Coast of the United States and in South West England.  The most common variety of the trait spread widely as a result of cats carried on ships originating in Boston.  (The polydactyl cats must have gotten a weekend pass and fraternized with the local cats…)  Sailors valued polydactyl cats for their superior climbing skills and for their extraordinary abilities to hunt shipboard rats.  Some sailors also considered them to be extremely good luck when at sea.

Anne Boleyn was reputed to have a sixth finger, but detractors may have created that rumor, because polydactylism was supposed to be a trait of witches. But the only thing witch-like about polydactyl cats is that they will bewitch you!

About Polydactyl Cats.

Hemingway House cats.

Wayside Waifs.

Click here to go to Live Cam of Hemingway cats.

Polly Paddlefoot has an extra toe on each of her front paws, which are not very noticeable unless she stands. A lucky family took Polly Paddlefoot to a new home. Polydactyl cats bring good luck!

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Filed under Cats, History, Kansas City, Life, Nature, Pets, Photography, Science