Animal suicides

Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2003 11:16 am

Are you referring to the 'Antwerp mannerists'?
(However, since they worked 100 earlier then you mentioned and had different themes ...)
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Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2003 04:56 pm
No Valter, i'm referring to the Dutch Mannerists, such as Jan Steen . . . and many others . . .

I'd go get you a link, but i'm too damned lazy, can't be arsed . . .
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 08:32 pm
Piffka wrote:
Horses will damage themselves in fits of rage, fear or anger, but I think it is not on purpose -- just a moment of craziness. A horse may run into a burning barn (or not leave one willingly) but it is said they are fearful & craving the security of their stall. Fire Marshall rules here require that all horses in public barns have individual halters & lead ropes at each stall in case of fire.

Typical fight or flight response.
I've always wondered if horses could think in abstract terms. They clearly do feel loss and depression so I do not see why not but in what construct I guess we may never know.
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Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2003 08:48 pm
I heard, as a kid, about arctic dogs and wolves who'd go off into the snow when they got old (and maybe sick?) to die.

Setanta got to the whale beaching theroy before I. Whales have been beaching on cape cod since before sonar. The sonar probably makes it happen, but there are other reasons. And no one really knows what they are.
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Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2003 03:26 pm
Maybe the whales are men and won't ask for directions.

Cetaceans are mammals. Maybe there's some genetic/instinctive memory of having lived on land?

Hey, if Oprah and Rosie can do it....
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Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2003 01:28 pm
sozobe wrote:
There's whales and such, who beach themselves...

well, yes and no.

Whales are mammals, and as such, require direct air to breathe. There are several ideas on the reasons /why/ they strand.

1. Illness. If a cetacean (whale or dophin) is terminally ill, it is thought that the animal would rather perish on shore than to drown. Simple enough, if I were a whale, and I was tired and sick, I'd probably swim to shore and rest on shore, so that I didn't just drown. Then the tide would go out, and I'd be stuck there, and my weight would crush my internal organs unless someone saw, or was able to put me back into the water or transport me to a rehabilitational facility.

2. Discrepancies in the magnetic orientation fields of the Earth. As you may know, there are magnetic fields embedded in the Earth's crust. Some scientists believe that the cetaceans follow these fields, and if one goes on shore, it follows them to shore.

3. Red Tide. If the species is a coastal variety, the toxic Red Tide blooms could cause them to escape onto the shore.

4. Sonar Blasts. With such sensitive hearing, as cetaceans are animals that rely on the sense, any sharp or loud noises can drive them litterally, on to shore.

A stranding is when a single animal is found on the beach. A mass stranding is when there are multiple animals.

In the case of a mass stranding, not all of the animals are necesarily ill. If a calf was ill and beached itself, the mother may follow, and then any animals that are related to the mother follow.. and on and on. As pod animals that are closely knit, where one goes, the rest follow.

By the same token, all of the animals that participate in a mass strading may be ill.

So, as you can see, stranding is typically a "last ditch effort" to survive, and therefore /not/ a suicide attempt.

Myself assisting in the rehabilitation of an adult Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps) in Key Largo, Florida. In conjunction with the Marine Mammal Conservancy. For more information, www.marinemammalconsv.org (check out their current situation, a small pod of juvenile Pilot Whales that are days away from release)
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Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2003 01:35 pm
dupre wrote:

Some would argue that language is unique to humans, but I'm not really sure about that one . . .

I'm almost certain that cetaceans (dolphins and whales) are capable of direct language. It lacks either syntax or symantics, though I forget which at the moment.

How do I know they're capable of communication?

At a facility that I frequently visit, they have a stimulus known as "Innovate." When a trainer issues the Innovate stiumulus, the animal it's given to can perform any behavior that it would like to, whether it be made up, or previously trained. The only stipulation is that the animal cannot perform the same behavior twice in a single session.

When the innovate signal is given to a pair of dolphins at the same time, they spend a few seconds longer under water, moving their heads back and forth, and then they come up and together perform the same exact behavior.

The trainer asked them to do anything they wanted, and each time, they confer to each other and pefore the same behavior. To me, that is evidence of communication.
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Reply Sat 26 Jul, 2003 01:48 pm
FreeLolita wrote:
Whales... well orcas for that matter, have been known to commit suicide. Like Junior, poor guy. He was locked in a warehouse, at Marineland Canada, in a tiny tank, he never got to breath fresh air, or see sunlight. He also had to listen to barking seals and nosy fans. As well as being abused and starved. Well after taking this for 4 years, he decided to end it. He start to bang his head against the wall over and over... till he died.

This intrigues me. I'm a firm believer in that if you haven't seen it, then you can't comment. For one, I know how rare those are that have see the "warehouse" at Marineland Canada. As we know, photos aren't any representation of the size of things in real life. If you ever watch Basketball on TV, and then go see it in real life, you know what I'm talking about. Unless you went back in time and saw the exact conditions Junior lived under, then you could stipulate on his situation.

However. The "warehouse" you speak of, which is really an Animal Care area, most likely isn't as dark and dingy as you make it seem. I don't believe it's common knowledge that the area has huge skylights.

Also, cetaceans hearing range is far higher than our own. The probabality that Junior could hear the /Sea Lions/ (as Seals [P. vitulina] make grunting and hissing noises, Sea Lions [Z. californianus] bark), or fans is very, very low.

Junior was not abused during his stay in Animal Care. The reason he was in the Animal Care Unit was due to his mental illness. If Junior would have been placed outside with the other whales, he could have injured them, or they could have injured him. Furthermore, in Animal Care, Junior's caretakers could get to him at a moments notice, and not have to push people back. Undoubtedly, Junior received more personal, and attentive care than would have been possible in a public setting.

I have heard many, many misconceptions about the Animal Care area at Marineland Canada, and it's care of Junior. However, the accusation that he committed suicide by banging his head against the wall is a new one to me. I will research it further and get back to you.

FreeLolita wrote:

Hugo, at the Miami SeaAquarium, died by massive head trauma, which was caused by banging his head against the wall.

Ruka (God Bless her), at the Nanki Shirahama Adventure World, Japan, Died during a show, of traumatic shock. She had been in captivity for 18 years, and my guess she wasn't going back, at just sank to the bottom of the tank and never came back up again.

Orcas in the wild, beach themselves when they are so sick the know they aren't going to be well again, so they end their misery.

As for other animals I'm pretty sure they could, I've heard of it, but have nothing to back it up

Again, I'll have to see necropsy reports before I believe any of the accusations you've made. Most of those points are ones that are new to me- I've never heard those animals' stories told in quite that way.
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