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Season 15 | Episode 8

Saving Animals

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One place you absolutely, positively do not want to be if you're a healthy, middle-aged American lobster: trapped in a suburban grocery store in western Pennsylvania. But that's where this week's podcast begins.

It doesn't stay there long, though. Bonnie Hazen and Toni Leone take us on an adventure that carries us by car, by plane, and by boat toward a deeper understanding of those mysterious protective feelings that sometimes sweep over us -- well, some of us -- when we encounter our fellow animals -- um, okay, some of them. Trevor Corson, author of the bestselling The Secret Life of Lobsters, assists.

Then we travel to 1911, and look at a box with a dead raccoon that showed up in Washington D.C., at the office of Gerrit S. Miller. After pulling it out and inspecting it, he realized this raccoon was from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, and unlike anything he’d ever seen before.  He christened it Procyon minor and in doing so changed the history of Guadeloupe forever.  

We move from the storage rooms of the Smithsonian to the sandy beaches of Guadeloupe, chasing the tale of this trash can tipping critter. All the while trying to uncover what it means to be special. 


Comments [4]

Karen Dawn from Pacific Palisades

Cool segment -- the best part of which was the way the couple whose watermelon farm was being ravaged responded to the suggestion they should kill the raccoons. "Killing them is, uh, a little harsh." Amen. Listening to how the people of Guadeloupe feel about their raccoons gives me hope that all of the people of our Earth will one day feel that way about all animals.

Dec. 12 2017 09:06 PM
David from Somerville, MA

The strong feelings expressed by the locals about the Guadeloupean racoon and its re-categorization from native to invasive species reminded me a bit of the heated discussions that took place when Pluto went from "ninth planet" to "dwarf planet" There was real outrage by the general public in the beginning, and it took several years for people's emotions to catch up with the new scientific description.

Dec. 11 2017 11:59 PM
Rosemarie from Long Beach Island NJ

My adult son was sitting on a deck fronting an oceanfront dune in the wee hours in early October. He sensed what he thought was a cat nearby. He turned his head to look and a huge raccoon attacked. It leapt across his lap, trying to bite his neck. My son turned and raised his shoulder to protect himself. The raccoon bit his upper arm. Weeks of rabies shots followed and although the CDC and animal control followed up by baiting traps, the raccoon was never caught.

Dec. 10 2017 02:18 PM
Elizabeth from CA

I love Radio Lab, but for this story, it seems like a gaping omission to have not mentioned the ritual of Buddhist monks buying and releasing lobsters off the coast of Nova Scotia

Dec. 07 2017 12:58 PM

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