Gallery: Animals and Us


Animals and Us

Andi und der Adler

Photographer Jos Schmid took portrait pictures of people and their animals to illustrate the UZH Magazin's focus topic.

Marc and the magpie

Marc und die Elster

The magpie is about three months old. It came to us as a baby, and we first fed it with a pair of tweezers, but now it has to learn how to feed itself so that we can set it free. To the bird I’m a surrogate father; it begs me for food whenever I’m around. As soon as the magpie can feed itself, it’ll no longer be interested in me – it’s the same for any bird’s parents. Magpies don’t develop parent-child bonds as we people do.

Marc Stähli is an animal caretaker at the Voliere Zürich aviary hospital,

Picture: Jos Schmid

Caroline and Mila

Caroline und Mila

Mila is our family dog. She’s a 14-year-old Golden Retriever and was my first-ever scientific “research object”: I used her in my matura project to examine the language acquisition abilities of dogs. The pots of paint are for an object permanence test. Mila loves these kinds of tests. She wants to do them every time I see her when I’m at my parents’. For her the tests are a fun and entertaining challenge. And afterwards she’s rewarded with a treat.

Anthropologist Caroline Schuppli researches the development of intelligence at UZH.

Picture: Jos Schmid

Andi and the long eared owl

Andi und die Waldohreule

The long-eared owl injured its wing and shoulder and broke many of its flight feathers in a collision with a car. That’s why we have to wait for the molting of the wing and tail feathers before we can release it back into the wild. In the birds of prey rescue center Berg am Irchel, we care for wounded birds of prey. The owl might appear to be at ease, but I know that being up close with a human is very stressful for it – as it is for all wild birds.

Biologist Andi Lischke heads up the birds of prey rescue center Berg am Irchel, www.

Picture: Jos Schmid

Nadine and Duda

Nadine und Duda

Duda is an Indian Praying Mantis. Whenever I walk into the room, she instantly reacts to me. She fixes me with her gaze and doesn't let me out of her sight. This makes me happy. Once a week I feed her a cricket with a pair of tweezers. Duda quickly grabs it with her claws and eats it with relish. When I play video games or watch a film, I often take her out of the terrarium and let her crawl around on my hands or the video game console.

Nadine Tschopp works in a pet store and keeps two praying mantises, 11 tarantulas, two lizards, two cats and a crested gecko.

Picture: Jos Schmid

Aline, Denia and Romeo

Aline, Denia und Romeo

Denia is a 17-year-old white Kromfohrländer, and Romeo is a three-year-old black mixed-breed Border Collie. The picture captured a moment of jealousy: While Denia has secured the best spot in my lap and appears to be enjoying the photo shoot, Romeo is desperately trying to get my attention. He’s never been very good at sitting still anyway. Discovering nature together with my dogs is an incredibly gratifying experience.

UZH historian Aline Steinbrecher is one of the pioneers of animal history. Her family includes two dogs and two cats.

Picture: Jos Schmid

Claudia and Xairel

Claudia und Xairel

Xairel is a 15-year-old Lusitano gelding. He’s very people-oriented and can be fairly stubborn. This requires clear posturing so that he understands who’s in charge. Horses live in the here and now. You have to communicate immediately and unambiguously, otherwise they’ll do what they want – it’s quite a challenge. When I show Xairel something, for example when I cross my legs as in the picture, he imitates me. I taught him to do that. He loves these kinds of games. Also because he gets a treat afterwards, of course.

Claudia Reusch is professor of small animal medicine and director of the Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine of UZH.

Picture: Jos Schmid