Tombili was the most famous street cat in Istanbul thanks to her round physique and laid-back attitude. So when she died, locals put up a statue to make sure she was never forgotten ❤️
The famous photo of Tombili, now a meme for cat lovers everywhere is the spirit of the Aegean, not just chilling but always ready to take on the world. It was a photo of a chubby, white-bellied cat with one arm hugging the pavement as if he were imitating a man. The photo became an instant hit on social media, shared thousands of times with captions, comments and add-on images such as raki (the anise-scented traditional alcoholic beverage of Turkey) glasses, worry beads, teacups and backgammon sets.
Tombili's transformation from a neighborhood mascot to a national phenomenon was so complete that the news about the statue received coverage in all of Turkey's media outlets.
Cats are loved in Turkey, although the majority live on the streets, where residents help feed them. Cats are seen as clean animals, also helpful in decimating the rodent population in their vicinity. There are several sayings in Turkish about cats and folkloric beliefs that anyone deliberately harming a cat commits a sin that can only be repented for by paying the expense of building a mosque.
On the island of Madagascar, the musical calls and howls of the native lemurs contribute to the bustling natural chorus.
And now new research has revealed that one of the world’s largest lemurs, the indri, actually shares similar musical traits to us humans.
The 12-year study found the primates’ distinctive songs, which can last as long as three minutes, actually have categorical rhythm (1:1 or 1:2 rhythm).
“This is the first evidence of a ‘rhythmic universal’ in a non-human mammal,” Dr. Chiara de Gregorio, from the Life Sciences and Systems Biology department at the University of Turin, explained.
The research was conducted to investigate how rhythm capacities originated in humans, with 636 recordings of vocalisations from 39 lemurs analysed.
As well as showing classic rhythmic categories, researchers also found a ‘ritardando’ in their songs too. Male and female vocalisations had a different tempo, but still had the same rhythm.
Describing the sound of their songs, Alanna Marron, lead educational technician at the Duke Lemur Center, told USA Today: “It’s incredibly beautiful and haunting.”
So why were these large wet-nosed primates specifically chosen for the experiment?
“In the primate family tree they’re on the exact opposite end from us,” Marron explained.
She added: “In studying lemurs and studying primate evolution, that allows us to look at the history of primates and how we evolved.”
On July 17 field staff and some tourists in the Virunga volcanoes conservation area that is home to more than half of the world’s 790 remaining mountain gorillas witnessed a group of gorillas getting close to a snare.
One of the staff members reported he moved to dismantle the snare when a silverback (adult male) in the group grunted at him warning him to stay back. Then two youngsters named Dukore and Rwema and a blackback (teen male) named Tetero ran toward the snare. Together they jumped on the taught branch attached to a rope noose and removed the rope. They then ran over to another nearby snare and destroyed it the same way. Pictures the staff members took show the young gorillas then examining broken sticks used to camouflage the noose on the ground.
Every year, Fossey Fund field staff remove more than a thousand such simple but deadly snares set by bush-meat hunters. They speculate the younger gorillas learned to destroy snares by watching the older silverbacks do so.
Fossey Fund staff cannot teach gorillas how to dismantle snares because it is against their policy to intentionally change gorillas’ natural behavior, but they are pleased to know the gorillas are apparently teaching each other to protect themselves.
“Our battle to detect and destroy snares from the park is far from over,” said Vecellio. “Today we can proudly confirm the gorillas are doing their part, too.”
Staff at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda recently witnessed two 4-year-olds and a teenage mountain gorilla work together to destroy the types of snares that have killed at least two young gorillas this year. It was also the first time staff members have been able to see up close exactly how gorillas dismantle the snares.
“We knew that gorillas do this, but all of the reported cases in the past were carried out by adult gorillas, mostly silverbacks,” said gorilla program coordinator Veronica Vecellio. “How they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill.”