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Return To The Wild: When Abandoned Dogs And Cats Become Predators
María Paulina Baena Jaramillo

BOGOTÁ — In a kind of eerie, Darwinian evolution, abandoned pets in parts of Colombia have become feral beasts and predators that are proving more fearsome than wild animals. Once again, wildlife is proving defenseless in the face of yet another man-made threat, produced in this case by former owners of an unwanted dog or cat.

Signs of their presence were recently seen in the Chingaza national park east of Bogotá, and in coffee producing areas west of the capital. We recently traveled to Chingaza to look, together with members of the Wii Foundation, for spectacled bears. In the park's buffer zone, we stumbled across the scattered, half-rotting, half-dried remains of a lowland paca. The large rodent didn't seem to have been killed by a bear, an ocelot or a puma — which in any case are now thought extinct in the park — but by a wild dog, or pack of dogs.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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