Few people distress me more than Jairam Ramesh, the Minister for Environment and Forests. For two years I and every animal/environment group have supported him because we believed him. Now we all realize that everything he says is a lie. He speaks very well, and is publicity crazy, so it is easy to fall for his “green” language – but his track record is much worse than the last two ministers – Raja and Baalu. Mining licences are given easily, forest clearances have been given, “no go zones” have been made into mining zones, the nuclear plant which is going to destroy so much of land has been cleared, the Mumbai airport which will kill two rivers, one mountain and all the mangroves has been cleared, the last breeding site of vultures in Gujarat has been allowed to be destroyed for a tourist ropeway, Posco and Vedanta were “threatened” and then mysteriously cleared, Mrs Indira Gandhi’s law on no construction on beaches which resulted in the Coastal Zone Regulation Act has been repealed, 85 tigers died last year and the new tiger count showing their increase is very suspicious – I am on the Project Tiger committee from Parliament and not one suggestion made by anyone on the committee has been done in two years, no action has been taken on the railways after dozens of elephant deaths. The Environment Tribunal, is a weak, anti environment, pro-business legislation which I opposed in Parliament. Jairam has a unique way of keeping NGOs quiet – he makes a committee out of them, tells them to draft some rules, look into some Act, come up with proposals…. everybody works for months with great hope, then he does nothing or just the opposite. The Wildlife Act amendments that were worked on for months have been discarded. 
 
It is a rare day in which Jairam does not make up some story. Industry should be and is thrilled with him, but anyone wanting to save any part of India is frightened to death. He has a typical modus operandi. Every time he wants to make some NGO quiet, he pretends to agree with them and to show his great commitment he has a press conference and puts the proposal made by the NGO on his Ministry website. This is supposed to be done only when some action – a law, a notification etc is being done in the next month. However, the proposal lies on the site for over a year and is withdrawn. But till then the hopeful NGO does not criticize him and the press keeps waiting for the legislation. This is what has happened with the pet shop laws. 
 
In the last ten years, thousands of pet shops have spread through India. They smuggle animals and birds in from other countries or poach them from the forests and sell them in black without a licence. Two years ago, the laws to control them were made and passed by the Animal Welfare Board. They were sent to the Ministry. Nothing happened. Then the Minister wanted my endorsement for some nonsense and in return for my keeping quiet he would pass the notification on the pet shop laws. To show his sincerity he would put them on the Environment Ministry website. I fell for this trick!! This was last April. The notification was put and taken off and put and taken off and put again. This will happen for as long as Jairam is Minister because, as he told me privately, he has no intention of doing anything. 
 
In sheer despair, in December 2010 I wrote to the Revenue department, the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Minister of Finance. The letters are self explanatory: “I am not sure the Ministry of Finance and the CBDT is aware of the sudden and huge spread of “pet shops” across the country. These shops are technically given licences to sell animal food and accessories. But they sell the animals and birds themselves. Every market in Delhi for instance has a pet shop selling birds, dogs, fish (aquarium) etc. Many of them have illegal species in them like turtles, monkeys, snakes etc. which they produce on order. Most of their birds which they claim to be “exotic” are artificially coloured Indian ones poached from the jungles. Even the ones that they claim to have imported – none of them have import licences. 
 
Dogs are coming in illegally by the thousands every week through airlines like Uzbeki Airlines because of an order given four years ago by the then Commerce Minister that 2 dogs could be brought in by anyone coming to India. These are brought by tourists, sold to breeders (ordered in advance by breeders, these tourists are simply professional couriers of dogs). They are not put on the passport and not taken out again. There is no quarantine and many are diseased. There are now hundreds of illegal breeders of dogs selling animals without paying any taxes. The entire sale is in black money with no receipts being given or taken. On an average, business of over 2 crores happens every week in Delhi alone. 
 
Lately, Nepal has also started smuggling dogs to India. A consignment of 50 dogs meant for India was caught a few days ago. Breeders abound on the Net selling dogs. They rarely give correct addresses and many have just phone numbers. Once you pay online, the animal is delivered to your door. It is a different matter that it usually dies in a week. Thousands of people had written to the Ministry of Environment and Forests to make rules regarding the breeding and sale of animals/birds/fish. These rules were even put on the Ministry site in April/May 2010 but were withdrawn as the Minister was “approached” by 22 groups of sellers, all of which are proven smugglers and have spent time in jail for selling wild animals and their parts – and continue to do so even though they are out on bail. 
 
The other group opposing any rules is the Kennel Club of India which is a collection of dog breeders and sellers who earns lakhs of rupees from illegal sales and pay no taxes. I am enclosing a single day’s perusal of the advertisements on the Net. If you would ask someone to list the pet shops in Delhi, it would be more than 500. I have personally had more than 100 raided and caught puppies that came from either the slums of Shadipur or the Uzbekis. You will find the same in any city in India.  
 
I would be grateful if: a. the CBDT would ask the MOEF to make the rules immediately so that this sale could be taxed and rules made. b. if you could issue notices to all these tax evaders and have them arrested if possible. I am sure that they keep private books and several raids would show you the extent of the trade. 
 
With regards Thank God someone listens!!! In March I read in the papers that the Income Tax Department has issued a directive to all its regional offices to visit breeders and pet sellers “The Rs. 500-crore pet business has come under the scanner of the Income Tax department. According to the I-T directive it has been noticed in recent years that pet shops have spread rampantly across cities. These shops are technically licensed to sell animal food and accessories, but they also deal in canines and exotic birds illegally. The order stated that it is suspected that a majority of these transactions are outside the tax net so appropriate action should be taken against them. According to a modest estimate there are an estimated 20,000 or more such breeders across the country. 
 
“Do you want to do something for animal welfare? If you come across any pet shop, send me the name, address and owner’s name and I will forward it to the Income tax department. Jairam can go on playacting. Let us solve this environmental problem ourselves.  

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The Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana refers to three principal forms of the female force: Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasarasvati. Every woman would like to be a combination of all three : the Goddess Lakshmi of her house, feared like the Goddess Kali and eternally wise and virtuous like the beautiful Sarasvati. If I had to choose one form , it would be Kali, the one freed of having to look beautiful, the problem solver, destroyer of injustice and divinely energetic.

Each goddess has a Vahana , an animal companion without whom she is incomplete. As the assistant of a deity, the vahana serves the function of doubling his or her powers. Durga the warrior could not have destroyed the demon Mahishasura without the aid of her mount, Manashthala the lion.

Lakshmi represents the beautiful and bountiful aspect of nature. As Bhoodevi, the earth-goddess, she nurtures life; Lakshmi bestows power, pleasure and prosperity on those who deserve her grace, dispensing both material and spiritual riches from her mount, Uluka the owl. One of her names is Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl. One full moon in autumn, the brightest night of the year, it is believed that she showers wealth and takes away the darkness of poverty, stagnation, anger and laziness from our lives. Her owl represents penetrating sight and intelligence..

Durga is the unconquerable form of the female goddess.She contains within her the power of all the gods combined and destroys evil. Durga’s vahana is a lion which represents heroism. In her gentlest form she is Parvati, the consort of Shiva. But Parvati has a lion as a vahana too which since Shiva has the bull, makes a statement. The imagery is slowly changing from lion to tiger as the word sher stands for both . But both animals are symbols of power and truth over lies.

Sarasvati the goddess of art, music and learning, is the river of consciousness. To realize her one must go beyond the pleasures of the senses and rejoice in the serenity of the spirit. Sarasvati’s vahana is a peacock or Hams the swan. The swan is a symbol of spiritual purity, and those who have transcended the material nature are sometimes called supreme swans, or "paramahamsa".

The seven mothers (Matrikas) who are all forms of the goddess(Devi) :

BRAHMANI: This goddess has four faces and a body bright as gold.. She is seated upon a red Lotus and has the Hamsa as her Vahana as also the emblem of her banner.

VAISHNAVI: She has a lovely face is of dark complexion. She wears a yellow garment and all the ornaments generally worn by Vishnu. The emblem of her banner as well as her vahana is Garuda the eagle.

INDRANI: Indrani has three eyes and four arms; The colour of goddess is red. Her vahana and the emblem of her banner is the elephant.

CHAMUNDA: The Goddess Chamunda has four arms and three eyes and is red in colour. Her hair is abundant and thick and bristles upwards. Her Vahana is an Owl and the emblem of her banner an Eagle. She is surrounded by jackals.

MAHESVARI. Mahesvari has four arms. Her Vahana and banner is the Bull.

KUMARI: She is the feminine of Subrahmanya who is known as Kumara. Her Vahana and emblem is the Peacock.

VARAHI. Varahi has the face of a boar and the colour of the storm-cloud. Her Vahana as well as the emblem on her banner is the elephant.

While every village goddess has her own animal companion spirit, other important Devis are the tiger-riding Jagaddhatri and the snake-goddess Manasa. Shashthi is the goddess of fertility and her vahana is the cat. All three are important deities of Bengal .

The goddess Ganga, the personified river Ganges has a makara or crocodile, riding on a makara which is half elephant or crocodile or deer with a fish tail .I think it should be a full crocodile who really does take care of the rivers Yamuna, the personification of the river Jamuna, has a tortoise (not turtle) as her vahana.

The donkey is the Vahana of Goddess Kalaratri and of Goddess Shitala. Goddess Kalaratri is one among the nine goddesses worshipped during Navratri. Shitala is the goddess of fever and small pox.

Kama’s consort, Rati’s companion is a parrot who stands for love

In Bengal Gauri’s emblem is the Monitor Lizard or what is now known as Sita’s Lizard (Sitana ponticerinaor) or chameleon. The name of the Vahana is Godhika

Many of the vahanas have a divine history of their own. For instance, According to the Kanda Puranam, the Tamil version of the Sanskrit Skanda Purana, Shiva’s son, Murugan, (Kartikeya) defeated the demon Simhamukhan. On his defeat, Simhamukhan begged forgiveness so Murugan blessed him to turn into a lion and serve as the vehicle of Durga.

The peacock, representing splendor and majesty. This apparently incongruous relationship has been traced to the bird’s formidable ability to destroy snakes. The hansa or goose/swan represents the arts, the power of discrimination and peace. The Hamsa is said to have the quality of separating milk and water meaning the quality of separating good and bad.Lakshmi’s owl is a warning against distrust and isolationism and selfishness.

If you respect and worship the goddess then you must respect their vahanas, many of whom represent divine attributes, as well. Not eat them or hurt them or think of them as lesser beings.

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Millions of years ago, the first humans appeared. Their knowledge in the use of tools for hunting, clothing and building homes passed through the generations and today, humans are capable of doing the things that would be deemed impossible a thousand years ago. We became smart because our ancestors were able to adapt to their environment and developed the necessary skills for our survival. That is called intelligence. We eat other beings because we refuse to believe that they are intelligent.

What constitutes intelligence? How do humans learn? "Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information "Meaning, trial and error. The first time you burn yourself is the last time you will stick your hand in a fire.

How do animals learn? Are they mindless robots who are programmed at birth to behave in a certain manner or do they evolve themselves into smart beings in the same way that we do – through observation, being taught , fear, incentives, trial and error ?

Of course they learn the same way. Whether domestic or wild, from guinea pig to lion, they learn every day. Just as young children are helpless, when young birds leave the nest, they need time to learn to find food and avoid predators. Both species are more likely to starve or be killed till their learning increases.

Learning extends across all species. Even to the microscopic vinegar worm which feeds on bacteria. If it eats a disease-causing strain, it becomes ill. Worms are not born with an aversion to the dangerous bacteria. They learn, with time , to tell the difference and avoid becoming sick. Bacteria can alter behavior to help their survival. If a microbe senses a toxin, it swim away. If it senses a new food, it can switch genes on and off to alter its metabolism. E. coli, for instance, is amazingly good in adapting itself.

Insects are good at learning. Biologists at Mc Master University realized that the fruit fly learns how to associate certain odours with food and other odours with predators. They also discovered that young male flies learns by hit and miss to court females by reading their signs correctly.

Researchers presented the insects with a choice of orange or pineapple jelly to eat. Both smell delicious. But the flies that land on the orange jelly discover that it is spiked with bitter quinine. At egg laying time, researchers presented the flies with orange and pineapple jelly plates. The flies chose pineapple.

Rats learn very fast. Not just how to find their way out of mazes and to pull levers to reward themselves. If you release metal-caged laboratory bred mice into the wild , they soon learn how to dig, find food, mates and safe hiding places for a group. In a study at the University of Georgia researchers were astonished to discover that rats display evidence of metacognition: they know what they know and what they don’t know. Metacognition, supposedly a human ability only, is exemplified by students who have answered exam questions. They have a pretty good sense of what their grade is likely to be. In the Georgia study, rats were asked to show their ability to distinguish between a sound tone lasting from 2 to 8 seconds, by pressing one or another lever. If the rat guessed correctly, it was rewarded with a large meal; if it judged incorrectly, it got nothing. For each trial, the rat could, after hearing the tone, opt to either take the test and press the short or long lever, or poke its nose through a side of the chamber designated the, "I don’t know" option, at which point it would get a tiny snack. As the test got more complicated , the rats made clear they knew their limits. When they knew the tone they expressed confidence in their judgment by indicating they wanted to take the lever test and earn their full-course dinner. But as the tones became mixed the rats began opting for the third option which gave them tiny morsels instead of pressing potentially wrong levers.

The popular belief that fish have a memory span of 3 seconds is just to make you feel better when you eat them. Scientists have discovered that fish are adept learners, with distinct personalities that change as they pick up information about the world. The study by the University of Liverpool, found that individual trout display very different personalities — some are bold and inquisitive; others are shy and passive. These traits, however, change in response to particular experiences, as the fish learn how best to cope with their environment. Bolder fish are much more likely to approach and eat unfamiliar forms of prey and tend to eat more which may make them more vulnerable to anglers. Shy trout, by contrast, will leave strange-looking food alone protecting themselves from the risk of being caught. Each adjusts its behaviour according to what they see from others’ experiences, becoming shyer or bolder.

Like us animals learn how to learn—that is, once they have mastered a particular task, they can more quickly learn future tasks that have the same design but rely on different stimuli. Like us they apply accumulated knowledge to new situations. The classic example is the chimpanzee in a room with a few sticks and boxes in one corner and a banana hanging from the ceiling. The chimpanzee climbs on top of the boxes and reaches for the banana with a stick. Crows, dolphins, elephants, and parrots are creative problem-solvers as well.

If intelligence is not the ability to do tricks by rote but grasp ideas and experiences and apply them to one’s own survival, then all animals are intelligent. Your goldfish swims to the surface looking for food when you move near its tank. Young creatures who live by the sea need to learn how to fish so seals, sea lions and polar bears will learn from their parents how to dive into the water and come up with a fish. A mother deer teaches her fawn to fear man by herself demonstrating such fear at the sight or scent of man.

Intelligence is the ability to reason, to solve a new problem by using previous experiences. The most famous kind of trial and error method is the maze.

Mazes are based on the idea that an animal that is placed in an entrance must find the exit. As it proceeds, it finds a series of branches. The animal must make a choice at each branch or fork. If it chooses the wrong one, it comes to a dead end. Then it must go back to take the other path. The reward at the end is food . Experiments have shown that ants can master very complicated mazes, as well as frogs, turtles, rats, cockroaches and crabs. Another way to study trial and error is to place an animal in a box. Food is placed outside and the animal can reach the food only by unlocking a door. Then the animal must open the same door to get back into the box. The problem is figuring out a lock to open a door. Raccoons can open really complicated locks. Monkeys can also open locks. Both figure out the mechanism much faster than humans.

Where does this ability to learn and modify behavior come from ? One of the answers could lie in the 1992 discovery of the mirror neuron. A mirror neuron is a brain cell, a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. The same neurons are fired, for instance, when I eat and when I see another eating. Mirror neurons enable us to recognize and understand what another is doing. Some scientists consider this to be one of the most important recent discoveries in neuroscience. First supposed to be only in the human brain, they have now been found in primates – and will probably turn up in every single tested animal or insect.

There will always be people who see animals as only slightly more flexible than machines- but that again, is a reflection of their own intelligence.

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In spite of the reams of paper written on dog psychology, I notice the way people communicate with their own dogs is often counterproductive. Here are some points that might help out in better interaction with the canine.

1. Dog runs onto the road. Owner comes out of house, stops at doorstep and starts screaming at the dog. Dog ignores human. Reason : Dogs do not listen to unstable beings. When one dog wishes to tell something to another dog they do not start screaming and yelling.

2. Dog barks at human to ask for the food the human is eating. Human hands the dog a piece.

Problem: This is going to lead to the dog getting the message that he is boss. This is not respectful in the canine world. A lower member of the pack would never dream of barking at a pack leader while they were eating.

3. Dog sees another dog and starts to bark. Human tells dog, "No" and proceeds to pet their dog on the head giving affection. Problem: This is really like saying "Good dog for barking.". The fog has received mixed signals and until they are made clear he will continue his behaviour or increase it.

4. Dog is on a leash and pulls the leash tight to sniff where he pleases as the owner talks to another human.

What is Needed:This is bad leash manners. Asking the dog to wait patiently would provide the dog with a mental challenge, which all dogs need.

5. Owner corrects the dog by yelling the dogs name over and over again, but never actually addresses the dog with any type of body language. The dog does not know what it is the owner wants. Human proceeds to have a conversation in human words with the dog stating they are going to punish the dog.

Correction: One should only use a dog’s name for positive things so the dog associates his name with something good. Otherwise he will stop responding to his name.

6. Owner allows small dog to greet a human by putting their paws on a person’s leg. In the dog world this is not a respectful way to greet another being. There is no difference between that 5 pound Lhasa Apso and that 90 pound German Shepherd in regards to the meaning behind the behavior.

7. Owner corrects a dog long after the deed was done and the dog has moved onto other thoughts. Whatever the dog is doing at the moment you correct them is what the dog will think you are upset about.

8. Dogs only being corrected ‘some’ of the time. Bark bark... Allowed... Bark bark. Dogs name yelled. Bark bark.No follow through, no real communication, no consistency. When you are not consistent your dog will not listen to you as they will know that ‘sometimes’ they are allowed. Also, the dogs name should not be used in the correction.

9. Dogs walking slightly in front of the person holding the leash. Then the human expects the dog to ignore other dogs when they LET the dog lead. The signal to the dog is : you are my leader, but listen to what I say. That is confusing for a dog

10. Humans approaching a gate or doorway let the dog nose their way first. Dogs should be sent back a step and be watching for the humans cue that it’s their turn. Not pushing.

11. Human attempting to go first through an entrance way, telling the dog to wait but never following through. Dog paused, but still had their his nose in the doorway and was tense in posture, showing he did not give in to the idea. Dog should have stepped back and relaxed before the human allowed the dog to pass.

12. Owner picks up small dog. Dog wiggles, and or whines to get down and the owner obeys, reinforcing the dogs power over the human.

13. Dog barks at another dog. Human corrects dog by telling them "No". Dog turns their head to avoid eye contact with the human. Human turns the dogs head back to get the dog to look at them, thinking the dog should look at them when being reprimanded. When actually the dog turning away was the dog communicating to the human that they do not wish to challenge them. In the human world making eye contact when being spoken too is respect, however in the dog world staring straight into ones eyes can be taken as a gesture of a challenge.

14. Tiny dog is being carried by owner and barks and growls at another person. Owner laughs, grabs dogs snoot. Says "stop" in a neutral tone. The laugh by the owner and their tone were praise in the dog’s eyes. Dog barks and growls even more. Owner repeats the "correction" laughs and apologises to stranger. Later dog is seen pulling on the leash. All humans including the stranger laugh thinking the aggression coming from such a small dog is funny. This dog is going to become a biter.

15. Owner is sitting with tiny dog on lap. Tiny dog barks at someone passing by. Owner pulls the dog close to her body trying to get it to be quiet. Owner just gave the dog affection for barking.

16. Another dog walks by a small dog who is on their owners lap. Owner covers the small dog’s eyes to try and stop the small dog from barking. The small dogs excitement escalates as dogs do not need their eyes to know another dog is near. They can feel it, smell it and hear it.

17. Small dog is on owner’s lap and barks as some kids run by. Human hugs dog to their body while smacking it’snose. Again: mixed signals of affection and smacks.

18. Little dog is in a heightened, excited, dominant state as it barks at people and other dogs passing by while sitting on owners lap. Owner gives dog hugs, kisses and scratches behind the ear as they tell little lap dog in human words to "be good, do you hear me?". Human words, ‘be good’ mean nothing to the dog. The affection tells dog you agree with how they are feeling at that moment. Good dog for being excited and dominant.

19. Dog wanders too far out of the house. Owner calls dog back. Dog lowers their head and walks back to owner. When dog gets to owner, owner smacks dog and says, "You are not allowed over there!" Owner just told dog it was bad for coming back to them.

20. People trying to win over an aggressive dog’s affection with words of praise and affection. When one sweet talks a dog who is in a defensive or aggressive mood it is like saying, good dog I agree with how you are feeling. Food should only be tossed to a dog for rewarding good behavior, not during bad behavior. Remember, however the dog is feeling or acting at the time of the reward is what you are telling the dog you agree with.

21. Owners going for a family walk with the kids and allowing the dog to walk in front of the stroller or a walking child. This is communicating to the dog that they are above human children in the pack order.

22. Dog frightened by firecracker. Owner immediately looks through window or opens door. Owner starts petting dog.

Problem: This reinforces dog’s fears that something is not normal. The correct action would be to ignore the crackers and behave normally with the dog. He will calm down.

23.Dog vomits in car. Owner stops and gives him biscuit.

Problem: All food snacks should be associated with good achievement. Now dog will behave weirdly in car as his activity has been praised.

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People talk all the time. With their mouths, eyes, bodies. So do animals. Communication is so important that even the amoeba, an organism made up of a single cell, communicates with other amoebas. Chimpanzees greet each other by touching hands. Male fiddler crabs wave their giant claws to attract female crabs. White-tailed deer communicate danger by flicking their tails. Dogs stretch their front legs out in front of them and bow when they want to play. Giraffes press their necks together with love. Gorillas stick out their tongues to show anger. Kangaroos thump their hind legs to warn others of danger. Prairie dogs bare their teeth and press their mouths together to discover if they are friends or foes. Swans entwine their long necks to fight. Horses rub noses as a sign of affection.
 
But do animals talk in complex ways?
 
For hundreds of years it suited humans to believe that even if animals talked it was to convey immediate information: I want food, I want sex, I am angry, run from the predator etc. Now researchers find that animal communication is far more layered and subtle and that the same gesture may have multiple distinct meanings depending on the situation. For example, even a  dog’s tail wag has so many meanings including: excitement ,anticipation ,playfulness ,contentment, relaxation, anxiety ,questioning, reassurance ,brief acknowledgement, statement of interest, uncertainty, apprehension ,submissive placation . Combined with other body gestures such as yawns, direction of vision each one means something different.
 
Birds sing. So do whales. Monkeys and frogs jabber continuously. So do chickens.  But is it “proper language? A recent development is the discovery that the use of grammar and the ability to produce “sentences”, is not limited to humans . The first scientifically acceptable evidence of syntax came in 2006 from the Greater Spot-nosed Monkey of Nigeria.  The language consists of separate words which when sequenced together in sentences means something different.  A sound like ‘pyow’ warns against a leopard and, and ‘hack’ is used when an eagle is nearby. However three pyows with four hacks means lets go . Two pyows with five hacks means something else. A dog’s range of vocal sounds—barks, growls, howls, whines, and yelps would probably form sentences as well.
 
A Swedish study from Uppsala University, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, shows birds have evolved complex and sophisticated talk patterns as well. Siberian jays mob predators into leaving. But before doing that they use over a dozen different calls to communicate the level of danger and predator category to other members of their own group. Some are specific for owls and other for hawks and contain information as to where the predator is and what the level of risk is and how many birds are needed. A University of Washington study has found that the chickadees’chick-a-dee-dee-dee calls contain a surprising amount of information. For instance when they see flying hawks, owls and falcons they issue a soft, high-pitched call. However, when they see a stationary or perched predator, chickadees use a loud, wide-spectrum chick-a-dee-dee-dee alarm to recruit other birds to harass the predator and chase it away.  Chickadees change the dee-dee-dee note at the end of the calls, sometimes adding five, 10 or 15 dees. These additional words describe the size and threat of the predator - a pygmy owl or a great horned owl for instance. .
 
Orcas learn dialects which vary from pod to pod. When orcas interact with one another they  improvise melodic phrases they seldom if ever repeat again. In humans its called language.
 
The waggle dance of the bee is not a simple gesture. It is as complex as any human communication. The bee communicates sun position, a system of measure  and precise direction. It the desirability of a food source denoting a syntax composed of adjectives and adverbs. One waggle communicates the location of standing water which is used to cool an overheated hive . Another alerts the bees that their hive is irreparably damaged. They are directed to commence a swarm. In effect the dancer says, “ Gather round, Most of us need to form into a search party. We’ll leave tomorrow at sun up, fly off in every direction. Our mission is to locate a new hive cavity. Whoever finds an appropriate site, send out a pheromone to signal the rest of us. We’ll pass the word around, and delegate some individuals to inspect it. If you all agree, we’ll start constructing the new hive immediately. But some of you need to stay behind. You have the critical job of protecting the queen. When the new hive is built, you can transport her to our new home”.
 
In the 1920s, South African naturalist, Eugene Marais  studied termites and ants, concluding that the tasks of the group were communicated through a mechanism comprising syntax and vocabulary.  If termites were brought to a nest further away, the newcomers were always killed, implying that the new group spoke a “foreign language”. Ants communicate  alarm, invite friends to eat from a new food source and organize military tactics when attacking an enemy, to mention a few  communications observed by zoologists.
 
In response to the sight of weasel invading the coop, a bantam hen emits a high-pitched “Kuk-kuk-kuk”. If the invader is a hawk circling overhead, she’ll shriek a single long note. In 1980 biologists discovered that vervet monkeys in Kenya also possess a vocabulary. A certain grunt is the actual word for eagle. When it is vocalized, all the vervets in earshot scan the sky. A bark means leopard, prompting the monkeys to scamper to the top of a tree. Other sounds express territoriality, kinship, and social standing. As in human languages, meaning varies depending on who is speaking. When a vervet infant screams out the word signifying a certain predator, only its mother responds directly. Until these discoveries, linguists insisted that the use of sounds as symbols (i.e. words) was a unique trademark of human communication.
 
Alex, the African gray parrot understood the meaning of colour, shapes, objects, and numbers. Alex also connected words together to communicate and satisfy his own curiosity, learning the words “carrot” and “orange” by  asking a researcher eating a carrot what color it was and what it was called. Alex’s achievement demonstrated that consciousness is not limited to us.
 
Bottlenose dolphins whistles are so sophisticated that they convey their own names and everything else in a series of whistles .Gregory Bateson, who spent years with dolphins, wrote that their language is not a sterile collection of things and functions but a dynamic  relationship bound together by communication with the concepts of syntax and grammar
 
Beluga whale chirp and chortle producing hundreds of different sounds. Their discourses are like a raucous party with the revelers talking coherently to one another. Elephants talk with a combination of sound and body language signals that range from low frequency rumblings to high frequency trumpets, roars, bellows, barks and snorts. Although lions are not renowned for their small talk, research shows that they are excellent communicators. A male’s roar is a warning that freezes a prey or a male rival in its tracks. But lions are social cats, they also roar just to keep in touch with the other members of the pride. This type of roar is softer and less assertive. One researcher reported a lion that was heard roaring every 15 minutes until his cousin answered. The chit chat continued for 15 minutes until they finally met up to hang out, after which the roaring stopped.
 
The idea of animals holding an abstract conversation meets with an innate resistance in scientists. It is easier to objectify them so that you can use and eat them. But with every passing hour, we learn that they have every attribute we do.  Koko the gorilla learnt 2000 words of spoken English. As her language skills increased, her ability to communicate emotions and concepts leapt far beyond the mastery of words. She even learned to tell lies, so far thought a uniquely human trait. When Koko was asked by a journalist if she was an animal or a person, her response was “fine animal gorilla.”
 
As Jim Nollman says in his book The Charged Border: Where Whales and Humans Meet. “The practices of traditional culture confirm the virtues of interdependence. Native people observed other species closely, seeking practical insight to help meet their own life challenges. Unhampered by the hierarchal organization that positions one species above or below another, they had great freedom to learn from every species. By contrast, our anthropocentric society has not yet learned that the prevailing “separate but not equal” worldview is killing the planet and us along with it".
 
One day eating animals will be regarded as cannibalism.
 
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