Animals in the wild have to continually contend with the expansion of human civilization. Certain wild animals have learned to coexist and even thrive in urban settings, pigeons and raccoons being obvious examples.
Well, subway goers in Moscow are becoming familiar with stray dogs. These dogs have become accustomed to using the subway system as a means to travel across Moscow, even managing to catch a nap along the way. The dogs hop on in the morning and travel to the city center where they spend the day begging for scraps. At the end of the day they get back on the subway and travel to the suburbs where they sleep in relative safety.
The dogs have become experts at judging the length of time they need to stay on the train, and seem to work together to ensure that they exit the subway at the right stop. Scientists believe this phenomenon began after the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, and Russia’s new capitalists moved industrial complexes from the city center to the suburbs.
Dr Andrei Poiarkov, of the Moscow Ecology and Evolution Institute, said: “These complexes were used by homeless dogs as shelters, so the dogs had to move together with their houses. Because the best scavenging for food is in the city center, the dogs had to learn how to travel on the subway – to get to the center in the morning, then back home in the evening, just like people.”