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Oatlands crash mum shares joyful news

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sydney woman who lost her three children after they were struck by a drunk driver has announced that she is pregnant.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Leila Abdallah </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://honey.nine.com.au/latest/oatlands-crash-leila-abdallah-pregnant-again-after-losing-three-children-in-oatlands-crash-tragedy/070935f7-47ac-4c0e-8d86-b706af6221a5" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">shared</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the news on Instagram, posting a sweet photo of herself and her husband Danny Abdallah cradling her growing tummy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“God blessed us with a gift from above,” she captioned the post.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW8MxwMhS5j/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW8MxwMhS5j/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Leila Geagea Abdallah (@leila._abdallah)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple suffered the heartbreaking loss of their three children, Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna, eight, as well as their niece, when a drunk driver struck the group of seven children as they walked to buy ice cream in Oatlands, in north-west Sydney.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW8MCZsB3aw/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW8MCZsB3aw/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Leila Geagea Abdallah (@leila._abdallah)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The families have been in an ongoing fight with Oatlands Golf Club, where the incident occurred, to have a permanent memorial installed near where the children died.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So far, the plan, which was submitted by Parramatta Council on the families’ behalf, has been rejected because of its size.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Samuel Davidson, the driver responsible for the deaths, has since apologised to the families and faced court.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Davidson was drunk while driving the vehicle, and a report made after the incident found he had been travelling up to 133 km/h in the 50 km/h zone. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The vehicle was moving at about 111 km/h at the time of impact.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He was convicted on four counts of manslaughter, and his punishment is yet to be decided on by the court.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @leila_abdullah (Instagram)</span></em></p>

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More than 200 Australian birds are now threatened with extinction – and climate change is the biggest danger

<p>Up to 216 Australian birds are now threatened – compared with 195 a decade ago – and climate change is now the main driver pushing threatened birds closer to extinction, landmark new research has found.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate-Site/Documents/Animals-and-plants/Scientific-Committee/Determinations/Preliminaries/conservation-assessment-mukarrthippi-grasswren.pdf">Mukarrthippi grasswren</a> is now Australia’s most threatened bird, down to as few as two or three pairs. But 23 Australian birds became less threatened over the past decade, showing conservation actions can work.</p> <p>The findings are contained in a new <a href="https://ebooks.publish.csiro.au/content/action-plan-australian-birds-2020">action plan</a> released today. Last released in 2011, the action plan examines the extinction risk facing the almost 1,300 birds in Australia and its territories. We edited the book, written by more than 300 ornithologists.</p> <p>Without changes, many birds will continue to decline or be lost altogether. But when conservation action is well resourced and implemented, we can avoid these outcomes.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434641/original/file-20211130-21-1i8g2ou.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="small bird perches on twig" /> <span class="caption">Without change, threatened birds such as the southern emu wren, pictured, will be lost.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Barry Baker</span></span></p> <h2>The numbers tell the story</h2> <p>The 216 Australian birds now at risk of extinction comprise:</p> <ul> <li>23 critically endangered</li> <li>74 endangered</li> <li>87 vulnerable</li> <li>32 near-threatened.</li> </ul> <p>This is up from 134 birds in 1990 and 195 a decade ago.</p> <p>We assessed the risk of extinction according to the <a href="https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/RL-2001-001-2nd.pdf">categories and criteria</a> set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in its <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/assessment/red-list-index">Red List</a> of threatened species.</p> <p>As the below graph shows, the picture of bird decline in Australia is not pretty – especially when compared to the global trend.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434586/original/file-20211129-22-xrs2e5.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Authors supplied</span></span></p> <h2>What went wrong?</h2> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434618/original/file-20211130-24-11eplat.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="two black birds nuzzling" /></p> <p><span class="caption">Birds are easily harmed by changes in their ecosystems.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Dean Ingwersen/BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA</span></span></p> <p>Birds are easily harmed by changes in their ecosystems, including introduced species, habitat loss, disturbance to breeding sites and bushfires. Often, birds face danger on many fronts. The southeastern glossy black cockatoo, for example, faces no less than 20 threats.</p> <p>Introduced cats and foxes kill millions of birds <a href="https://www.nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au/media/eeufmpqx/112-the-impact-of-cats-in-australia-findings-factsheetweb.pdf">each year</a> and are considered a substantial extinction threat to 37 birds.</p> <p>Land clearing and overgrazing are a serious cause of declines for 55 birds, including the swift parrot and diamond firetail. And there is now strong evidence climate change is driving declines in many bird species.</p> <p>A good example is the Wet Tropics of far north Queensland. Monitoring at 1,970 sites over 17 years has <a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.23.453540v1">shown</a> the local populations of most mid- and high-elevation species has declined exactly as climate models predicted. Birds such as the fernwren and golden bowerbird are being eliminated from lower, cooler elevations as temperatures rise.</p> <p>As a result, 17 upland rainforest birds are now listed as threatened – all due to climate change.</p> <p>The Black Summer <a href="https://www.awe.gov.au/sites/default/files/env/pages/ef3f5ebd-faec-4c0c-9ea9-b7dfd9446cb1/files/assessments-species-vulnerability-fire-impacts-14032020.pdf">bushfires</a> of 2019-20 – which were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-020-00065-8">exacerbated</a> by climate change – contributed to the listing of 27 birds as threatened.</p> <p>We estimate that in just one day alone – January 6, 2020 – about half the population of all 16 bird species endemic or largely confined to Kangaroo Island were incinerated, including the tiny Kangaroo Island southern emu-wren.</p> <p>Some 91 birds are threatened by droughts and heatwaves. They include what’s thought to be Australia’s rarest bird, the Mukarrthippi grasswren of central west New South Wales, where just two or three pairs survive.</p> <p>Climate change is also pushing migratory shorebirds towards extinction. Of the 43 shorebirds that come to Australia after breeding in the Northern Hemisphere, 25 are now threatened. Coastal development in East Asia is contributing to the decline, destroying and degrading <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14895">mudflat habitat</a> where the birds stop to rest and eat.</p> <p>But rising seas as a result of climate change are also <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rspb.2013.0325">consuming</a> mudflats on the birds’ migration route, and the climate in the birds’ Arctic breeding grounds is <a href="https://www.fullerlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Wauchope-et-al-2017.pdf">changing</a> faster than anywhere in the world.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434625/original/file-20211130-17-1o8c7vz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="dead bird lies one charred ground" /> <span class="caption">The Black Summer bushfires devastated some bird populations.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">James Ross/AAP</span></span></p> <h2>The good news</h2> <p>The research shows declines in extinction risk for 23 Australian bird species. The southern cassowary, for example, no longer meets the criteria for being threatened. Land clearing ceased after its rainforest habitat was placed on the World Heritage list in 1988 and the population is now stable.</p> <p>Other birds represent conservation success stories. For example, the prospects for the Norfolk Island green parrot, Albert’s lyrebird and bulloo grey grasswren improved after efforts to reduce threats and protect crucial habitat in conservation reserves.</p> <p>Intensive conservation efforts have also meant once-declining populations of several key species are now stabilising or increasing. They include the eastern hooded plover, Kangaroo Island glossy black-cockatoo and eastern bristlebird.</p> <p>And on Macquarie Island, efforts to <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/26198759.pdf">eradicate</a> rabbits and rodents has led to a spectacular recovery in seabird numbers. The extinction risk of nine seabirds is now lower as a result.</p> <p>There’s also been progress in reducing the bycatch of seabirds from fishing boats, although there is <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/conservation/marine-and-coastal/marine-conservation-services/reports/final-reports/antipodean-albatross-fisheries-overlap-2020.pdf">much work</a> still to do.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434639/original/file-20211130-13-1suwehz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="lyrebird under leaves" /> <span class="caption">The Albert’s lyrebird has been a conservation success.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Barry Baker</span></span></p> <h2>Managing threats</h2> <p>The research also examined the impact of each threat to birds – from which we can measure progress in conservation action. For 136 species, we are alarmingly ignorant about how to reduce the threats – especially climate change.</p> <p>Some 63% of important threats are being managed to a very limited extent or not at all. And management is high quality for just 10% of “high impact” threats. For most threats, the major impediments to progress is technical – we don’t yet know what to do. But a lack of money also constrains progress on about half the threats.</p> <p>What’s more, there’s no effective monitoring of 30% of the threatened birds, and high-quality monitoring for only 27%.</p> <p>Nevertheless, much has been achieved since the last action plan in 2010. We hope the new plan, and the actions it recommends, will mean the next report in 2030 paints a more positive picture for Australian birds.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/172751/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-garnett-4565">Stephen Garnett</a>, Professor of Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/barry-baker-1295242">Barry Baker</a>, University associate, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/more-than-200-australian-birds-are-now-threatened-with-extinction-and-climate-change-is-the-biggest-danger-172751">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shuttershock</em></p>

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How do animals see in the dark?

<p>On a moonless night, light levels can be more than 100m times <a href="http://bit.ly/2mZLkEL">dimmer than in bright daylight</a>. Yet while we are nearly blind and quite helpless in the dark, cats are out stalking prey, and moths are flying agilely between flowers on our balconies.</p> <p>While we sleep, millions of other animals rely on their visual systems to survive. The same is true of animals who inhabit the eternal darkness of the deep sea. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the world’s animals are primarily active in dim light. How is their formidable visual performance possible, especially in insects, with tiny eyes and brains less than the size of a grain of rice? What optical and neural strategies have they evolved to allow them to see so well in dim light?</p> <p>To answer these questions, we turned our attentions to nocturnal insects. Despite their diminutive visual systems, it turns out that nocturnal insects see amazingly well in dim light. In recent years we have discovered that nocturnal insects can avoid and fixate on obstacles <a href="http://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6240/1245">during flight</a>, <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v419/n6910/full/nature01065.html">distinguish colours</a>, <a href="http://bit.ly/2mi1XqU">detect faint movements</a>, learn visual landmarks and <a href="http://bit.ly/2miaSIF">use them for homing</a>. They can even orient themselves using the faint celestial polarisation pattern <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v424/n6944/full/424033a.html">produced by the moon</a>, and navigate using the constellations of <a href="http://bit.ly/2nvmNUu">stars in the sky</a>.</p> <p>In many cases, this visual performance seems almost to defy what’s physically possible. For example, the nocturnal Central American sweat bee, <em>Megalopta genalis</em>, absorbs just five photons (light particles) into its tiny eyes when light levels are at their lowest – a <a href="http://bit.ly/2miaSIF">vanishingly small visual signal</a>. And yet, in the dead of night, it can navigate the dense and tangled rainforest on a foraging trip and make it safely back to its nest – an inconspicuous hollowed-out stick suspended within the forest understorey.</p> <p>To find out how this kind of performance is possible, we recently began to study nocturnal hawkmoths. These beautiful insects –- the hummingbirds of the invertebrate world –- are sleek, fast-flying moths that are constantly on the lookout for nectar-laden flowers. Once a flower is found, the moth hovers in front of it, sucking the nectar out using its proboscis, a mouth-like tube.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/160495/original/image-20170313-19263-1u8f9id.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"><em>Deilephila elpenor</em>.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>The nocturnal European Elephant hawkmoth, <em>Deilephila elpenor</em>, is a gorgeous creature cloaked in feathery pink and green scales and does all its nectar gathering in the dead of night. A number of years ago we discovered that this moth can distinguish colours at night, the first nocturnal animal <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v419/n6910/full/nature01065.html">known to do so</a>.</p> <p>But this moth recently revealed another of its secrets: the neural tricks it uses to see well in extremely dim light. These tricks are certainly used by other nocturnal insects like <em>Megalopta</em>. By studying the physiology of neural circuits in the visual centres of the brain, we discovered that <em>Deilephila</em> can see reliably in dim light by effectively adding together the photons it has collected from different points <a href="http://bit.ly/2mi1XqU">in space and time</a>.</p> <p>For time, this is a little like increasing the shutter time on a camera in dim light. By allowing the shutter to stay open longer, more light reaches the image sensor and a brighter image is produced. The downside is that anything moving rapidly – like a passing car – will not be resolved and so the insect won’t be able to see it.</p> <h2>Neural summation</h2> <p>To add together photons in space, the individual pixels of the image sensor can be pooled together to create fewer but larger (and so more light-sensitive) “super pixels”. Again, the downside of this strategy is that even though the image becomes brighter, it also becomes blurrier and finer spatial details disappear. But for a nocturnal animal straining to see in the dark, the ability to see a brighter world that is coarser and slower is likely to be better than seeing nothing at all (which would be the only alternative).</p> <p>Our physiological work has revealed that this neural summation of photons in time and space is immensely beneficial to nocturnal <em>Deilephila</em>. At all nocturnal light intensities, from dusk to starlight levels, summation substantially boosts <em>Deilephila</em>’s ability to see well in dim light. In fact, thanks to these neural mechanisms, <em>Deilephila</em> can see at light intensities around 100 times dimmer than it could otherwise. The benefits of summation are so great that other nocturnal insects, like <em>Megalopta</em>, very likely rely on it to see well in dim light as well.</p> <p>The world seen by nocturnal insects may not be as sharp or as well resolved in time as that experienced by their day-active relatives. But summation ensures that it is bright enough to detect and intercept potential mates, to pursue and capture prey, to navigate to and from a nest and to negotiate obstacles during flight. Without this ability it would be as blind as the rest of us.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/74101/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/eric-warrant-344184">Eric Warrant</a>, Professor of Zoology, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lund-university-756">Lund University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-do-animals-see-in-the-dark-74101">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: United States Geological Survey</em></p>

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“Hey, doesn’t this look like the prince’s dog?”

<p dir="ltr">Two young women got the shock of their lives when they discovered a lost dog while out walking and called the phone number on its collar, only to discover the dog belonged to none other than Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and his family.</p> <p dir="ltr">The dog, Siri, who lives with the Prince, his wife Princess Sofia and their children, is known for escaping the palace, with an escape in 2018 ending with Siri being<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/2018090762038/prince-carl-philip-princess-sofia-dog-siri-missing/" target="_blank">found by police</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">This time, it was a pair of young women who found the pooch while walking around Stockholm, and they thought to call the phone number on the dog’s collar. When nobody picked up, they tried the police animal unit, but after waiting “a long time”, they still hadn’t received a response.</p> <p dir="ltr">At this point, one of the girls joked that the dog looked like the Prince’s pup, at which point they searched Google for photos of Siri and realised they were in the presence of royalty.</p> <div class="embed"><iframe class="embedly-embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2F7033463733485604101&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40angieberge%2Fvideo%2F7033463733485604101%3Fis_from_webapp%3D1%26sender_device%3Dpc%26web_id7007617673963046402&amp;key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" scrolling="no" title="tiktok embed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></div> <p dir="ltr">"I searched Google and came up with an article about the prince's dog having escaped in the past. I saw the picture of the dog and fell to my knees — I couldn't stop laughing because it was so hilarious," Angelina Berge, who posted a video to Tiktok about the incident, said. "We started talking to the dog and said her name: 'Siri, Siri'. She was super happy. Then we realised it was probably the prince's dog."</p> <p dir="ltr">They carried Siri to the royal couple’s residence Villa Solbacken, as they said her legs were “a bit tired”. Understandable after fleeing a palace and wandering around Stockholm!</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CGfRIbNnX20/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CGfRIbNnX20/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Prinsparet (@prinsparet)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">When they arrived, they were greeted by a grief-stricken Prince Carl Philip. "We rang the doorbell of the prince and princess' house," Berge said. "Prince Carl Philip came down with his son and picked up the dog. He was so very nice and kind and thanked us again and again."</p> <p dir="ltr">Berge said of the interlude, "We were both kind of shocked and thought. 'What are the odds of this happening to us?'"</p> <p dir="ltr">Considering how often Siri seems to escape, the odds might be better than you think!</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Tiktok</em></p>

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Julia Roberts shares rare pic of twins in sweet tribute

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Julia Roberts has shared a rare snap of her twins, Hazel and Phinnaeus, in a sweet tribute for their 17th birthday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taking to Instagram, the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pretty Woman</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> star wrote, “Seventeen of the Sweetest years of life” along with 17 birthday cake emojis to accompany a throwback photo of the twins as babies.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW1VDguBV6F/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW1VDguBV6F/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Julia Roberts (@juliaroberts)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Her husband, Danny Moder, also took to social media to celebrate the special occasion. He shared a more recent photo of the pair, writing, “These rabble rousers. 17 today. Thank you for helping me through fatherhood.”</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW1g7ubvW7L/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CW1g7ubvW7L/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by modermoder (@modermoder)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Julia and Danny have kept their personal lives far away from the spotlight, and their daughter Hazel made her <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a38376389/julia-roberts-celebrates-twins-17th-birthday-pics/" target="_blank">first red carpet appearance</a> at the Cannes film festival earlier this year. Dressed in a pastel yellow long-sleeved dress, Hazel made the rare appearance in celebration of her Danny’s movie <em>Flag Day</em>, which also premiered at the festival.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ7iWowrv2_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ7iWowrv2_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by modermoder (@modermoder)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The star couple recently marked another family milestone, with Danny posting a photo from the early days of their relationship to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Today we start our 20th year of marriage,” Danny began the caption. “This photo was on a dusty road before that big idea … just holding on to this beautiful girl one day at a time. One epic day at a time.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Danny and Julia were married on July 4, 2002, after first meeting on the set of Julia and Brad Pitt’s film </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Mexican</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2004, the couple welcomed Hazel and Phinnaeus into the family, before having their third child, Henry, in 2007.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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MP cycles to hospital while in labour

<p>In the early hours of Sunday morning, New Zealand Member of Parliament Julie Anne Genter welcomed her new baby into the world.</p> <p>The MP took to Facebook to share her dramatic birthing story, and how she cycled to the hospital while in labour.</p> <p>The Greens politician wrote, "Big news! At 3.04am this morning we welcomed the newest member of our family. I genuinely wasn’t planning to cycle in labour, but it did end up happening."</p> <p>"My contractions weren’t that bad when we left at 2am to go to the hospital - though they were 2-3 min apart and picking up in intensity by the time we arrived 10 minutes later."</p> <p>"And amazingly now we have a healthy, happy little one sleeping, as is her dad."</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJulieAnneGenter%2Fposts%2F4916210785057860&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="797" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share"></iframe></p> <p>Her extraordinary story has racked up thousands of likes on Facebook, with many well wishers commending her strength.</p> <p>One person wrote, "Wow, cycling in labour... not sure I could've done that!"</p> <p>Others shared their congratulations and called Julie a "Wonder Woman" for riding a bike while enduring contractions. </p> <p>Julie also praised the medical staff that assisted in the delivery, saying, "Feeling blessed to have had excellent care and support from a great team, in what turned out to be a very fast (and happily uncomplicated) birth."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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New book names royal family member who asked about Archie’s skin colour

<p dir="ltr">In his upcoming book<span> </span><em>Brothers And Wives: Inside The Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan,<span> </span></em>Christopher Andersen seemingly reveals the identity of the royal who asked about Archie’s skin colour, a claim that was originally made in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s astonishing interview with Oprah earlier this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">The book claims that following the announcement of Harry and Meghan’s engagement, on November 27, 2017, Prince Charles sat down to breakfast with Camilla and asked, “I wonder what the children will look like?”, to which Camilla responded, “absolutely gorgeous, I’m certain”. Charles then clarified what he meant by following up with, “I mean, what do you think their children’s complexion might be?”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the book, Camilla was “somewhat taken aback” by the question. While the source for these claims is “well-placed”, Andersen stops short of claiming that Charles is the unnamed “senior royal” referred to in the Oprah interview.</p> <p dir="ltr">In their March interview with Oprah, Meghan said there were “concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he was born… Those were conversations that family had with Harry”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Andersen presents the question as an example of Charles’ curious nature that was seized upon and distorted by “scheming courtiers” to make it look racist, pointing the finger at a group of palace advisers known as the “Men in Grey”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Andersen writes, “The question posed by Charles was being echoed in a less innocent way throughout the halls of Buckingham Palace.” The gossip allegedly focused on how the royals would “look to the rest of the world” once Meghan’s blood became part of the mix.</p> <p dir="ltr">Andersen also reveals Harry’s frustration with his relatives throughout the saga, with Charles telling him he was being “overly sensitive about the matter” and William describing Charles’ comment as “tactless” but “not a sign of racism within the family”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prince Charles told the<span> </span><em>New York Post,<span> </span></em>“This is fiction and not worth further comment,” while a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan did not respond to requests for comment.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images</em></p>

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Crowd goes nuts as man learns he's a dad on the big screen

<p><em>Image: Youtube</em></p> <p>A new dad-to-be has been given the surprise of his life while attending a basketball game – and as far as pregnancy announcements go – this is up there with one of the best we've seen.</p> <p>The Orlando Magic fan was happily watching the big game with his partner when the ‘kiss cam’ panned across to them during a break.</p> <p>The man and his partner looked suitably delighted at the attention – but something about the woman's behaviour was not quite right. Almost as though she knew something ELSE was about to happen.</p> <p>Sure enough, as the camera lingered on the couple, a special message appeared along the bottom of the screen: ‘Congrats James! You are you going to be a dad’.</p> <p>At first James did not notice the message – but slowly it became apparent that the rest of the crowd certainly had, as the cheering swelled to a giant crescendo.</p> <p>Then the magic moment arrived: the dad-to-be finally looked a little closer at the big screen, took a second or two to comprehend what he was reading, and was then completely overcome with shock, surprise and pure joy. His reaction will be preserved forever for the young family, and it really was a tremendous one.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fNWuld3hwa8" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Sadly, James’ team lost the game – going down to the Charlotte Hornets 106-99. But there's no question that he went home a happy man regardless, with a story he will be able to share for many years to come.</p>

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How do birds make their nests?

<p>The first thing to know is not all birds make nests. For example, emperor penguin fathers carry their precious egg on their feet (to keep it off the frozen ground).</p> <p>Some birds, such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo">cuckoos</a>, will lay their eggs in someone else’s nests. Others lay them on the ground among leaves or pebbles, or on cliffs with very little protection.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433852/original/file-20211125-25-1be6ny0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433852/original/file-20211125-25-1be6ny0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="Eggs among pebbles" /></a></p> <p><span class="caption">Some birds will lay their eggs among pebbles on the ground, which doesn’t offer them much physical protection.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>For the birds that do build nests, there is one main goal: to keep their eggs and chicks safe.</p> <h2>Many places to build a nest</h2> <p>Many birds also make their nests in tree hollows, including parrots. That’s just one reason it’s important to not cut trees down!</p> <p>Meanwhile, kookaburras use their powerful beaks to burrow into termite nests and make a cosy nest inside. And the cute <a href="https://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/spotted-pardalote">spotted pardelote</a> will dig little burrows in the side of earth banks – with a safe and cosy spot for its eggs at the end of the tunnel.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433827/original/file-20211125-19-1en7ivf.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433827/original/file-20211125-19-1en7ivf.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The tiny spotted pardalote is one of the smallest Australian birds, and measures about 8 to 10 centimetres in length.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>Some birds, such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_brushturkey">brush turkeys</a>, spend months building huge mounds on the ground which can heat up from the inside. The male turkey makes sure the ground is exactly the right temperature inside the mound, and then lets the female lay the eggs inside. He’ll take big mouthfuls of dirt surrounding the eggs to check it’s not too hot or cold.</p> <h2>What materials do they use?</h2> <p>Birds construct many different types of nests. There are floating nests, cups, domes, pendulums and basket-shaped nests. They can be made out of sticks, twigs, leaves, grasses, mosses or even mud.</p> <p><a href="https://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/white-winged-chough">Magpie-larks</a> (also called “peewees”), <a href="https://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/apostlebird">apostlebirds</a> and <a href="https://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/white-winged-chough">choughs</a> make mud bowl nests that look like <a href="http://www.birdway.com.au/corcoracinae/apostlebird/source/apostlebird_100486.php">terracotta plant pots</a>. To do this, they gather mud and grasses in their beaks and shake it around to mix it with their saliva. They can then attach it to a branch and build upwards until the nest is complete.</p> <p>In fact, bird saliva is a really strong and sticky material to build nests with. Birds will often mix saliva and mud to make a type of glue. And some swiftlets make their nests entirely out of solidified saliva. People will even eat these nests in <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-12/birds-nest-soup-bird-blown-to-australia/11953830">bird’s nest soup</a>!</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433823/original/file-20211125-23-7mufq4.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433823/original/file-20211125-23-7mufq4.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Some swiftlets will make their nest entirely out of solidified saliva.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>Willie wagtails use another type of glue - sticky spiderwebs. They “sew” grasses together using spider webs and the webs help keep the nests strong against wind and water, too. They have to perfect the technique of gathering the spiderweb though, otherwise it can get tangled in their feathers.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433824/original/file-20211125-19-3ejs71.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433824/original/file-20211125-19-3ejs71.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Willy wagtail’s nest is a neatly-woven cup of grasses, covered with spider’s web on the outside and is lined with soft grasses, hair or fur.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>Magpies and crows, both common visitors to our gardens, are also clever nest builders. Not only can they expertly layer their sticks into a bowl, but they also use many human-made materials in their nests. You might find them using fabric, string or a wire to hold a nest together.</p> <p>Some birds such as red kites have even been seen “decorating” their nests with human rubbish. And Australian babblers line the inside of their nests with a thick wall of kangaroo poo, followed by soft fluff, to keep their chicks warm.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433851/original/file-20211125-23-ljn8ga.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433851/original/file-20211125-23-ljn8ga.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The chestnut-crowned babbler lives in the desert and can have up to 23 birds roosting in one nest.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <h2>The building process</h2> <p>To actually weave the nests, birds will usually create a base by layering sticks or twigs in the place they want it. Then they use their beaks and feet to weave a chosen materials through, to hold the sticks in place.</p> <p>They can pull strips of material with their beaks over and under, just like weaving a rug. They can even tie knots! Nests can take a really long time to make, so they’re often reused year after year. Weaver birds are so good at weaving, they can build complex nests that <a href="https://www.wired.com/2014/08/absurd-creature-of-the-week-the-bird-that-builds-nests-so-huge-they-pull-down-trees/">cover entire trees</a> and have several chambers.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kVlyUNRtQmY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span class="caption">Check out this baya weaver bird build an incredible hanging nest using the weaving method. These birds are found across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.</span></p> <p>To summarise, birds are really intelligent animals. They use their intelligence, along with their beaks and feet, to find the most clever ways to make nests with whatever materials are available. And they get better at this by learning from others, such as their parents or peers.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/172391/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kiara-lherpiniere-1276069">Kiara L'Herpiniere</a>, PhD Candidate, Wildlife Biologist, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/curious-kids-how-do-birds-make-their-nests-172391">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shuttershock</em></p>

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Camilla assumes role held by Prince Philip for 70 years

<p>The Duchess of Cornwall has discussed succeeding a "cherished" role from the late Duke of Edinburgh, as she described it as one of the "great honours" of her life. </p> <p>Camilla made the emotional comments during an awards dinner for the Rifles: the largest infantry Regiment in the British Army. </p> <p>The Duchess was named Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles after the role was transferred from Prince Philip in July 2020. </p> <p>The Duke previously held the role for nearly 70 years before he died. </p> <p>Speaking to guests about serving in the role, the Duchess of Cornwall said, "To step into the boots of my dear, much missed, late father-in-law, The Duke of Edinburgh, is quite frankly terrifying."</p> <p>"I know it was a role that he cherished and of which he was immensely proud and it is one of the greatest honours of my life to have followed him into this illustrious role."</p> <p>The Duchess already had close links with the Regiment, <span>having served as Royal Colonel of its fourth Battalion since 2007.</span></p> <p>Joining Camilla at the event was the Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, all of whom are Royal Colonels of Battalions with the Rifles. </p> <p>At the distinguished event, Camilla <span>wore her Bugle Horn brooch, made of silver and diamonds, which is central to the heritage of the Regiment and every Rifleman wears a silver bugle as their cap badge.</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Puppies born ready to communicate with people

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>In a result that won’t come as a surprise to dog lovers, US researchers have found that puppies are born with an innate ability to interact with humans.</p> <p>The team studied eight-week-old puppies to see how they responded to human gestures without much (if any) training by giving 375 dogs the exact same tasks. They found that up to 40% of a puppy’s capacity to interact comes down to its genes.</p> <p>“We show that puppies will reciprocate human social gaze and successfully use information given by a human in a social context from a very young age and prior to extensive experience with humans,” says Emily E. Bray, an animal behaviour researcher at the University of Arizona.</p> <p>“For example, even before puppies have left their littermates to live one-on-one with their volunteer raisers, most of them are able to find hidden food by following a human point to the indicated location.”</p> <p>But this communication only seemed to work when a human initiated it; otherwise, puppies didn’t naturally look to humans to indicate how to find the food.</p> <p>The study, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.04.055" target="_blank">published</a> in the journal <em>Current Biology</em>, found that based on their genetics some puppies have a better innate ability than others to interact with humans, with 40% of the variation in following human gestures explained by inherited genes.</p> <p>“All these findings suggest that dogs are biologically prepared for communication with humans,” Bray says.</p> <p>Bray and team have been studying dog behaviour for a decade, in collaboration with a US service dog organisation called Canine Companions. All of the dogs in the study were budding service dogs with a similar rearing history and known pedigrees, allowing the researchers to build a statistical model that could assess genetic factors in comparison to environmental factors.</p> <p>These findings not only add to our understanding of how dogs develop their abilities to think and problem solve, but also have implications for determining what makes a successful service dog.</p> <p>The next step is to identify specific genes contributing to the displayed behaviours – and to keep tabs on these puppies to see whether success on these early tests can predict their successful graduation into service dogs.</p> <p>Bray says that their findings may also “point to an important piece of the domestication story, in that animals with a propensity for communication with our own species might have been selected for in the wolf populations that gave rise to dogs”.</p> <p> </p> <div style="position: relative; display: block; max-width: 100%;"> <div style="padding-top: 56.25%;"><iframe src="https://players.brightcove.net/5483960636001/HJH3i8Guf_default/index.html?videoId=6257155470001" allowfullscreen="" allow="encrypted-media" style="position: absolute; top: 0px; right: 0px; bottom: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%;"></iframe></div> </div> <p class="caption">An 8-week-old yellow retriever puppy participating in a trial of the pointing task. Credit: Arizona Canine Cognition Center</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=154279&amp;title=Puppies+born+ready+to+communicate+with+people" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/nature/puppies-born-ready-to-communicate-with-people/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/lauren-fuge">Lauren Fuge</a>. Lauren Fuge is a science journalist at Cosmos. She holds a BSc in physics from the University of Adelaide and a BA in English and creative writing from Flinders University.</p> <p><em>Image: Canine Companions for Independence</em></p> </div> </div>

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Too old for a dog? Author sparks huge debate

<p dir="ltr">British author Jilly Cooper has inadvertently sparked a heated debate about the ethics of elderly pet ownership after telling a newspaper that she planned on getting another dog after the death of her beloved greyhound Bluebell.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 84-year-old romance writer told<span> </span><em>The Daily Express<span> </span></em>that she was “heartbroken” after losing Bluebell, and hoped to adopt another dog after finishing her next book. This seemingly innocuous statement caused enough controversy to warrant its own segment on<span> </span><em>Good Morning Britain,<span> </span></em>where columnist Lara Asprey argued that older people don’t have the energy to look after dogs. “ I think you have to be a bit careful about taking a dog on when you're in the later stages of life. You have to be considerate to the dog. It needs to have a home it can live in for its life too," Asprey argued.</p> <p dir="ltr">She continued, "As you get older, things start to get a bit creakier, and although I understand they can be good exercise and dogs can be amazing companions, I don't see why they need to have a dog as a sole responsibility.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Otherwise I feel it's not really fair on the dog. It's a bit selfish."</p> <p dir="ltr">The show’s hosts then invited 79-year-old newsreader Jan Leeming onto the show, who argued that pets can be an important lifeline for the elderly. Leeming said, "I am 80 in January and I have always had dogs and I have always tailored my dogs to my ability.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She also responded to Asprey’s claims that elderly pet ownership was selfish, saying, "I think that's being a bit narrow. I had a friend who died at 103 and she always had Shelties and at the age of 60 she said, 'I am too old to have anymore'.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Well just think, she could have had two more lots of dogs and given them a loving home."</p> <p dir="ltr">Viewers took to social media to express outrage at Asprey’s views, and many shared their own stories of elderly relatives enjoying time with their furry friends.<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/susie_retro/status/1463062962722193410" target="_blank">One user said</a>, “Absolute rubbish @GMB If it wasn't for the fact that my elderly Dad had a dog after my mum passed away his life would have been much shorter, it gave him the motivation to get out every day &amp; get on with his life,” while<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/wendiywoo/status/1463063833673621507" target="_blank">another said</a>, “It's much better an older person who is home all day than these people getting a dog and leaving it locked, alone in the house for 10 hours a day”.</p> <p dir="ltr">An<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/HopeRescue/status/1463064073650720768" target="_blank">animal rescue based in Wales said</a>, “Age is not a barrier, key is matching up the right home with the right dog. Fostering is also an option for those older dog lovers who need additional support as the rescue will provide food, vet bills etc.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Jamie Grill</em></p>

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Ginger Spice rocked by family tragedy

<p>Spice Girl Geri Horner (nee Halliwell) has been left devastated by an untimely family tragedy. </p> <p>Geri's older brother Max Halliwell has died in intensive care after collapsing at home, according to reports by The Sun. </p> <p>Geri was in the Middle East with her Formula One champion husband Christian, as he prepared for the Grand Prix in Qatar, when concerns were raised over Max's welfare. </p> <p>Close friends said that Max and Geri have always been "incredibly close".</p> <p>A source close to the singer explained, “This is the most awful, devastating, heartbreaking news and Geri is utterly broken by it."</p> <p>“It has been a terribly traumatic time since the moment she heard Max had been taken to hospital, and the worst outcome which everybody close to the family hoped might not be."</p> <p>“They are all rallying together but she barely knows what to say or think just now – she loved him dearly.”</p> <p>Police reported that Max has been transferred to hospital after being found at his home.</p> <p>In a statement a Hertfordshire Constabulary spokeswoman said, “Police were called at 9.40am on Wednesday 17 November to report the concern for welfare of a man at a residential property in Berkhamsted."</p> <p>“Officers, along with the East of England Ambulance Service, attended the scene."</p> <p>“The man was located and taken to hospital for treatment, where he sadly later died."</p> <p>A spokesman for Geri has asked that everyone "respect the family's privacy at this difficult time", as the family mourns. </p> <p>Max and Geri famously jetted off to Paris together when the singer quit the Spice Girls at the height of their fame in the 1990s, in order to escape the limelight. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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QLD Police make a Brisbane boy's dreams come true

<p>A Brisbane boy has been gifted a support puppy in a heartwarming gesture from Queensland Police.</p> <p>Remi Rooney was given his new best friend, a Labrador puppy named Copper, on Tuesday to help him face the tragic reality of life without his parents.</p> <p>Remi lost his father back in June after he was allegedly killed by Remi's mother, who is now facing charges over the man's death.</p> <p>Bonita Vivien Coue was charged with murder after allegedly killing 51-year-old Kerry Rooney by stabbing him earlier in the year.</p> <p>The case has faced lengthy delays due to "significant" material being missing from a brief of evidence.</p> <p>Before his father died, Remi and his dad both desperately wanted to get a dog but couldn't get one in the unit they shared.</p> <p>But now, Remi's dreams have come true as he has a new best friend to keep him company.</p> <p>When Remi was surprised by the puppy, he was overjoyed and asked officers, "Is he mine?"</p> <p>Police responded with, "He's all yours!"</p> <p>Remi's grandmother Noeline spoke to <em>Sunrise</em> to tell them of the tragic impact her son's death has had on both her and Remi.</p> <p>“Remi’s been our main priority, but I’ve still lost my son.”</p> <p>“I try to cry quietly at the sink, but he’s got ears like elephants and he comes and says - are you upset?”</p> <p>Senior Constable Karen Edwards told Sunrise that the idea of gifting the puppy came from Remi's counsellor.</p> <p>“It all came about through a counsellor, when she said he really could do with something for him to love for himself.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p>

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Princess Eugenie's father-in-law dies before baby August's christening

<p>Princess Eugenie's father-in-law George Brooksbank has died just days before his grandson August was christened. </p> <p>The 72-year-old battled Covid-19 last year and was in hospital for nine weeks, with some reports suggesting he never fully recovered. </p> <p>A source told the MailOnline, "George had been in hospital with Covid and had not been the same after that."</p> <p>"He had been unwell for some time. It’s been a difficult time for Jack losing his father before the Christening."</p> <p>After being diagnosed with Covid-19 in March 2020, George was put on a ventilator for five weeks as he fought to overcome the virus.</p> <p><span>When he was eventually discharged from hospital more than two months later, Princess Eugenie thanked the UK's NHS staff "saving my father-in-law's life".</span></p> <p><span>"George came back to us the other day so happy, and as the 'miracle man' as he called himself," she said.</span></p> <p><span>George went on to thank the medical personnel who helped him through his illness, and praised them for their efforts. </span></p> <p><span>"It was a real eye-opener for somebody who has not been in hospital before for any length of time. I certainly owe them my life," he said.</span></p> <p>George's exact cause of death is not yet known, but it is believed he passed away last week. </p> <p>Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank baptised their son August <span>at the All Saints Chapel at Windsor in front of the Queen, members of the royal family and friends.</span></p> <p>August's cousin Lucas Tindall, the son of Zara and Mike Tindall, was also christened in the rare double service. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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AGAIN! Kochie welcomes arrival of another grandchild

<p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p> <p>We've scarcely had time to blink before Sunrise host David ‘Kochie’ Koch has announced the arrival of ANOTHER grandchild – his 8th and counting – on Saturday.</p> <p>The 65-year-old posted on Instagram to share the happy news, revealing his son AJ and wife Carolina had welcomed their first child, a daughter named Catalina May Koch, together on Thursday.</p> <p>The news came just three weeks after Kochie welcomed his 7th grandchild, after his eldest daughter Samantha gave birth to a baby girl name Florence May Brown.</p> <p>‘Our little Mexican burrito has arrived. Congratulations to Pepe and Laura on their first grandchild,’ Kochie continued: ‘Our cultural diversity is one of the things I love about our country. It has enriched my family.’</p> <p>'P.S if you’re thinking "hasn’t he just had a new grandchild" you’re right,' the post continued. 'Florence was born 3 weeks ago... it is going to be so much fun watching these two cousins grow together.'</p> <p>Kochie also shared a picture of himself and his wife Libby holding little Catalina and Florence, captioning the image: 'When Cali met Florrie. How blessed we are to have two little granddaughters born within three weeks of each other.</p> <p>'Watching these cousins grow is going to be fun. Great to have Cali home… and to top of a great day her other grandparents, Pepe and Laura from Guadalajara, received their Visa to come for Christmas.'</p> <p>Samantha and her partner Toby share three other children together - Lila, Oscar, and Matilda.</p>

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Queen attends christening of her great grandsons despite recent injury

<p dir="ltr">Queen Elizabeth II has attended the joint christening of two of her great-grandchildren in Windsor despite recently<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/queen-elizabeth-ii-releases-message-after-back-sprain" target="_blank">spraining her back</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Queen was photographed being driven to the All Saints Chapel near the Royal Lodge on Sunday afternoon, where the joint christening of Princess Eugenie’s son August and Zara Tindall’s son Lucas was taking place, in what is believed to be the first joint royal christening.</p> <p dir="ltr">Princess Eugenie and husband Jack welcomed their first child, August Philip Hawke Brooksbank in February, while Zara Tindall and husband Mike welcomed their third child, Lucas Philip, in late March. Both boys share the middle name Philip in honour of their great-grandfather Prince Philip, who died in April.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLgrGXhlpuK/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLgrGXhlpuK/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Princess Eugenie (@princesseugenie)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">August and Lucas are cousins, as are Eugenie and Zara, Eugenie being the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson and Zara being the daughter of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips.</p> <p dir="ltr">The private service was attended by a small number of relatives, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of York. The Queen wore a matching lime green hat and coat for one of her first outings since her recent injury.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Queen has been resting for roughly a month per doctors’ advice, and had to cancel her appearance at the COP26 Climate Conference as a result, instead<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/my-dear-late-husband-queen-elizabeth-discusses-prince-philip-in-climate-speech" target="_blank">delivering her speech via video link</a>. In a sign of improving health,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/queen-makes-first-in-person-appearance-since-being-hospitalised" target="_blank">late last week</a>, she hosted the outgoing armed forces chief at Windsor Castle in one of her first engagements since the injury.</p> <p dir="ltr">Holy water from Prince Charles and Camilla’s<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/prince-charles-and-camilla-to-embark-on-first-royal-tour-since-2019" target="_blank">recent royal tour</a><span> </span>to Jordan is believed to have been used during the baptism. The Prince of Wales reportedly brought back roughly a dozen bottles from the River Jordan, where Christians believe Jesus Christ was baptised, to use for future royal baptisms.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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Best in show: See the adorable winners of the Dog Photography Awards

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As well as being our best four-legged friends, dogs can also be quite photogenic, as revealed by winners of the International Dog Photography Awards.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After receiving nearly 2000 stunning photo submissions from all over the world, a panel of dog photographers made the tough choice to pick just one winner for each of their three categories.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">See the winners and the runners up for the Portrait &amp; Landscape, Action, and Studio categories below.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span>To see all of the amazing entrants, visit the Dog Photography Awards <a rel="noopener" href="https://dogphotographyawards.com/galleries/" target="_blank">contest page</a>.</span></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>All image credits:</em></p> <ol> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>1st place (Portrait &amp; Landscape) - Janine Ulbrich</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>2nd place - Heike Willers</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>3rd place - Izabela Łysoń</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>1st place (Action) - Chiara Hofmayer</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>2nd place - Michelle Dawkins</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>3rd place - Jess Bell</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>1st place (Studio) - Franca Lombardo</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>2nd place - Patrick Reymer</em></p> </li> <li> <p dir="ltr"><em>3rd place - Marcus Knoedt</em></p> </li> </ol>

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Our pets strengthen neighbourhood ties

<p>Talk to any pet owner and you are bound to invoke stories about the joy and companionship of having a pet. But evidence is mounting that the effect of pets extends beyond their owners and can help strengthen the social fabric of local neighbourhoods. Now a cross-national study involving Perth, Australia, and three US cities has lent weight to the observation that pets help build social capital.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qcsvDLgfjRw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>This is not a frivolous notion, given the erosion of sense of community is often lamented. As Hugh Mackay <a href="http://theconversation.com/hugh-mackay-the-state-of-the-nation-starts-in-your-street-72264">recently observed</a>, not knowing our neighbours has become a sad cliché of contemporary urban life.</p> <p>I stumbled into pet-related research some 15 years ago when undertaking a PhD on neighbourhoods and sense of community. I was curious about the elements of a neighbourhood that might help people connect to one another, so I threw some in some survey questions about pets.</p> <p>In what has become my most-cited <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953605000535">academic paper</a>, we found that pet owners were more likely to have higher social capital. This is a concept that captures trust between people (including those we don’t know personally), networks of social support, the exchange of favours with neighbours and civic engagement.</p> <p>Fast-forward a decade to a much <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827317300344">larger study</a> to look at the relationship between pets and social capital. Pet owners and non-owners were randomly surveyed in four cities (Perth, San Diego, Portland and Nashville – four cities reasonably comparable in size, urban density and climate).</p> <p>In all four cities, we found owning a pet was significantly associated with higher social capital compared with not owning a pet. This held true after adjusting for a raft of demographic factors that might influence people’s connections in their neighbourhood.</p> <h2>How do pets help build social bonds?</h2> <p>It is often assumed that the social benefits of pets are confined to social interactions that occur when people are out walking their dogs. Lots of dog owner anecdotes support this. In this large sample study, however, levels of social capital were higher among pet owners across the board.</p> <p>We did nonetheless find that social capital was higher among dog owners and those who walked their dogs in particular. Dog owners were <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122085">five times more likely</a> to have got to know people in their neighbourhood. This makes sense, as dogs are the most likely to get us outside the home.</p> <p>Yet our survey data and qualitative responses show that a variety of pets can act as a social lubricant. Pets are a great leveller in society, owned and loved by people across social, age and racial strata. Perhaps it is having something in common with other people that strikes a chord, regardless of the type of pet.</p> <h2>What does this mean for how we live?</h2> <p>That pets can help build social capital is not just a social nicety or quirky sociological observation. Hundreds of studies internationally show that social capital is a positive predictor for a raft of important social indicators, including mental health, education, crime deterrence, and community safety.</p> <p>Given pets are <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-the-rise-of-apartment-living-whats-a-nation-of-pet-owners-to-do-58738?sr=1">entrenched in the lives and homes</a> of many Australians, it makes sense to tap into this as a way to strengthen the social fabric of local communities.</p> <p>Not everyone can or wants to own a pet. But two-thirds of the population does, so our cities and neighbourhoods need to be “pet friendly”.</p> <p>Australian suburbs are generally pretty good for <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-there-a-place-for-dogs-in-public-space-or-must-they-make-do-with-dog-parks-56147">walkable parks</a> and streets. In this study, we also found that having dog walkers out and about contributes to <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-016-3659-8">perceptions of community safety</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/175751/original/file-20170627-21898-vaps3d.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/175751/original/file-20170627-21898-vaps3d.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> </p> <p><span class="attribution"></span>However, in Australia, pets have traditionally belonged to people living in detached housing with backyards. Many rental properties, apartment complexes, and retirement villages still <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-pet-owners-suffer-rental-insecurity-perhaps-landlords-should-think-again-63275?sr=1">default to a “no pets” policy</a>.</p> <p>Other countries, where renting and higher-density living is more the norm, seem more accepting of pets across the housing spectrum.</p> <p>Given ageing populations, housing affordability and the need to curb urban sprawl are critical social trends in many countries (including Australia), maybe we need to <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-need-a-better-understanding-of-how-we-manage-dogs-to-help-them-become-better-urban-citizens-64749">recalibrate our notions</a> of who can own a pet and where they can live. This is not to say that pets have to be allowed everywhere, but the default to “no pets allowed” is questionable.</p> <p>My father-in-law in his 80s, for example, couldn’t downsize to a retirement complex because his extremely docile rescue greyhound exceeded the “10kg pet” rule. He couldn’t bear to part with Moby, a faithful companion through whom he met many local residents daily at the park nearby.</p> <h2>Constant companions in times of change</h2> <p>A lot of my current research is around homelessness. Chatting recently with a man who was homeless with his dog on the streets of Melbourne, he told me how his dog gets him up in the morning, keeps him safe at night, and gets them both walking daily.</p> <p>His dog was one of the few stable things in his life, so he needed a public housing option that would allow pets.</p> <p>People who are homeless also need crisis accommodation options that accept their pets. Hence it is great to see places such as <a href="https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Find_Help/WA/Homeless_Mental_Health_Services/Tom_Fisher_House/">Tom Fisher House</a> in Perth, opening its doors to rough sleepers with pets needing a safe place to sleep.</p> <p>Beyond the practical implications for pet-friendly cities, the potential for pets to enrich the social fabric of communities has strong appeal in an era of global uncertainty, frenetic “busyness” and technology-driven communications. As cultural analyst Sheryl Turkle has said, the ways people interact and forge relationships have undergone massive change and we can end up “<a href="https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together">connected, but alone</a>”.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MtLVCpZIiNs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p> <p>By contrast, humans have been drawn to companion animals since early civilisation. In many people’s lives, they remain a tangible constant that can yield enduring social capital benefits.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/79755/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lisa-wood-167802">Lisa Wood</a>, Associate Professor, Centre for Social Impact and School of Population Health, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-pets-strengthen-neighbourhood-ties-79755">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Wrote/flickr</em></p>

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