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Today is World Animal Day, and according to here, and I quote verbatim,

“World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.”

I cheated; I found Alex before today. I waited until now to share him with you because it seems appropriate to bring him up for this topic.

Technically speaking, it should be A.L.EX and not Alex. An African Gray Parrot was thus named because he was the first subject for the Avian Learning Experiment conducted by Professor Irene M. Pepperberg and her research team.

Alex was…amazing. He reminded us of the potential of life forms and how we may achieve beyond what were originally thought to be our capabilities by keeping the passion for learning strong and working on ourselves a little bit more each day.

As I listened to Science journalist and author Virginia Morell recount her meeting with Alex, I found myself alternating between states of mirth and moments of poignancy. Click on the link below for an approximately 30-minute broadcast on not only Alex, but also ‘ants that teach, rats that giggle, elephants that mourn, chimps that deceive and dogs who just want to be close to us’.

If you’re running short on time, just fast forward to around 09:27 to listen to the segment on Alex. You really don’t want to miss this.

Animal Minds

Here’s to the animals who have taught us about ourselves, about trust and acceptance, about friendship, about life and loss, about laughter, and most of all, about love.