Hello everyone and welcome to The Animal Guide for Curious Humans podcast. I’m your host Maureen Armstrong. This is a brand new podcast for animal lovers and those curious about animals who want to expand their knowledge of animal species and pick up some strategies to ensure our interactions with them are positive and respectful. Through discussion with experts, we will examine the habits and behaviours of all manner of animals, from pets and farmed animals to the wildlife of land and sea. We will look at how human behaviour impacts them both positively and negatively and share practical tips for having appropriate interactions with them at home, on vacation and in the wild.
Researchers have documented over 1.2 million species of animals but they estimate the total number of species to be more like 8.7 million. Now, those numbers are constantly changing as more species are discovered and, sadly some become extinct. But it gives us an idea of how vast the animal kingdom really is. And we humans are one species in that kingdom.
Many animals have habits and behaviours that are very similar to ours. They have communication systems. They create tools to assist with daily living. They develop distinct personalities relative to other members of their family or group. They can express emotion. Some of the similarities between humans and non-human animals are remarkable. For example, researchers studying whales living in the Caribbean Sea have discovered they have a different accent than whales in other oceans. Baby elephants will suck their trunks to sooth themselves much as human babies will suck their thumbs. And did you know that some wild chimpanzees in west Africa consume a fermented palm sap containing ethanol (ie alcohol) by choice. So, they like a little drink from time to time just as humans do.
Just as there are striking similarities between animals and human, they have skills and abilities that are totally outside the realm of human capability. Cheetahs can run at speeds up to 70 km/h. Cuttlefish can make themselves invisible to the human eye. And, for the dog lovers out there, our dogs’ sense of smell is so powerful, they have been trained to detect COVID 19 in humans. There is so much to learn about and from other members of the animal kingdom. They are sentient beings. Shouldn’t we recognize them as such?
This podcast is a celebration of non-human animals and comes from a place of optimism about the future of our relationship with them. Personally, I find that a lot of animal welfare related content on the internet and in social media is really hard to watch and hard to listen to. We aren’t going to do that here. Absolutely we are going to discuss the issues of needless suffering of animals, how/why that is happening and what we can do about it. Much needs to be done to improve the plight of animals. But we are going to avoid as much as possible shocking descriptions of animal cruelty.
Also, the show is designed for adult and youth audiences. There are many excellent animal podcasts designed for children. Here we will delve into scientific data and research, legal issues affecting animals, how public policy around the globe can protect or endanger them and how we can individually help make a difference through our purchasing power and community engagement. So, while kids are welcome to listen to the show, it is really pitched to adults and those nearing adulthood.
This podcast is born out of my lifelong passion for animals. I am semi-retired and can dedicate my time and energy to this project. While I do not have any specific expertise around animals, I know how to connect with people who do. Together, we will learn from scientists, philosophers, and those working with various animal rights, protection and welfare organizations. It is my hope that this show and website will be valuable resources for everyone who is curious about animals and their wellbeing.
Please join me on this journey of discovery by tuning in to the podcast regularly, subscribing to it and sharing it with others. Until next time, take care of yourself and the animals in your life.