Heard this fascinating item on NPR right before Christmas: A woman who started out studying depression in (other) animals reported that those in captivity can be driven mad by boredom.
Laurel Braitman, author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves, began a campaign to try concerts for animals in captivity and in the wild — no humans allowed except the musicians — and observe the results.
The results reported in on WNYC are fascinating. Listen on http://www.studio360.org/story/making-music-for-animals! Among the concerts was one by a member of U2 for sea lions; another was hard rock for gorillas.
Wolf Haven, a rescue site in Washington state, was one of the sites described. Wolves who’d been literally chained in captivity now inhabit this wilderness site about 100 miles north of Portland, OR. Cue the Mozart: Braitman explains how the wolves, free to roam within the preserve, came right up to the fence where the orchestral group was playing. Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, joined her on the program. Henotes that canids — dogs, wolves, coyotes — can of course hear overtones our human ears will never capture. An intriguing thought.
Kudos to public radio writer/producer Britt Wray for this really riveting Studio 360 program.