Wednesday, August 27, 2014


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NC Zoo Bobcat Kitten

The NC Zoo bobcat kitten has completed quarantine and will soon go on exhibit, according to Senior Staff Meeting Notes from today. [Photo by Valerie Abbott]

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"Economics of Wildlife Tourism"

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Don't Wanna Wait!

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Sheepdogs Follow 2 Simple Rules

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ivory Crush & Burn

When National Geographic did its October 2012 Investigative Report" (Blood Ivory: 25,000 Elephants Were Killed Last Year", pp.28-61), it focused on the Philippines and China as the main destination for ivory, mainly poached in Africa.

In recent months, however, the governments of both countries have demonstrated their understanding of the problem (and solution) by destroying ivory. Hong Kong has done the same.

The NC Zoo announced it would do the same in recent weeks. ("We must all act now!" - David M. Jones, NCZoo Director) But now it awaits "clarification".

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Putting His Life at Risk for Wildlife

"There were political problems in Guatemala in those days...the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had already sent people down to look into the plight of the poc, and those agents had disappeared and were presumed dead." - from Mike Lubbock's journal, in "The Waterfall Man (of Sylvan Heights) by Dale True, 2014, about his 1984 trip to try to save the vanishing Atilan Grebe (a.k.a., poc).

Reading the above referenced book, I've learned about some of the times waterfowl champion Mike Lubbock put his life at risk for animals.

He survived a swim to, and a few days stranded on, a deserted island in the Patagonia, Chile area in 1981 while collecting eggs of the rare Magellanic Steamerduck. His boatmate did not survive: "The wave was huge, possibly appearing even bigger by the fact that the boat was already low in the water...The outcome was undeniable - they would not make it to the island unless they could swim there."

A 1971 expedition to the Canadian Arctic on behalf of Perry White-fronted Geese saw Mike and his bush pilot make dangerous landings on unknown lakes. Rocks were hit hard, pontoons were  punctured and truly repaired, more than once, with chewing gum and hair-raising take-offs were made. "I really learned a lot about bush pilots and how they fly by the seat of their pants." Unfortunately his pilot, a few years later, "severed his arm right down to nothing basically", starting a float plane for "people fishing for gar and the like." ("Charlie flew the plane back by himself with one arm. How he did that I don't know.")

By 1981, Mike Lubbock had, among other accomplishments, "helped save the White-headed duck. If that were all he ever accomplished in aviculture, it would have been a tremendously successful career," according to author Dale True.

But Mike has earned not one, but 17 World's First Breeding Awards, because he also put his life at risk for wildlife and waterfowl on many other occasions - risking his life to threats from humans, nature, crocodiles, hippos, leeches, infection, disease and more.

Thank you, Waterfowl Man.

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"Spotted Owl Never Had It this Good"

"Frack Quietly, Please: [Greater] Sage Grouse Is Nesting" - New York Times, Diane Cardwell & Clifford Krauss (Hat Tip: Hacky Pitts)

"...a chickenlike bird known for its flamboyant courtship strut — has seen its numbers plunge far and fast."

"Every year, males return to relatively open areas called leks, splaying their tail feathers and puffing up their chests as they waddle and call to attract hens. Vulnerable to predators like coyotes and eagles, the grouse depends on vast expanses of sagebrush for food and shelter."

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Monday, August 25, 2014

And Sometimes I'm the Danger

"Bird calls sometimes signal danger is nearby", Charlotte Observer, Piedmont Birding by Taylor Piephoff.

' abrupt change in the tone of your local bird calls...may be alerting you to something interesting..."

As a long-time trail jogger turned hiker, I have often heard American crows, other birds and squirrels warn each other about my approaching their habitat.

Hat tip: Hacky Pitts

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Coming Soon to a Habitat Near You

"...human [& animal] lives at risk"

So sad that so many humans [& animals] in Gaza [&Israel] live lives constantly at risk:

 "Wild Welfare has been saddened to hear about the extremely distressing conditions for the animals caught in the conflict between the crossfire of Israel and Hamas conflict at Gaza zoo. Alongside North Carolina Zoological Society we managed to source a small donation to buy food for the animals, and have been investigating possible options to get aid to these animals. However, through our research we unfortunately revealed that the zoo in previous years has been used by militants as an integral part of the war-zone, and have received advice from our on the ground sources that the current situation is still extremely dangerous at present.

"We lack reliable information as to how many animals are still alive, and we have no established partners in Gaza to help us plan or carry out a safe and effective food delivery operation. While we applaud the bravery of individual Gaza residents who are trying to help the zoo’s animals, Wild Welfare has been unable to locate any contacts or infrastructure that would allow a safe, legal or effective way of getting food or other help to these animals. Until we have reasonable prospects for successfully reaching and helping these animals, we are not willing to put human lives at risk.  We are obviously sad that we cannot help, but we will have the funds on standby if it becomes legally possible and responsible to take action in the future."

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Zoo View

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Asheboro>Sioux Falls>Asheboro

"Jb Minter starts work today as our new Senior Veterinarian. Many of you already know Jb. He was with us as a resident for three years before he accepted a position at the Great Plains Zoo in South Dakota. We are thrilled to welcome him to his new position." - Dr. Mike Loomis, NC Zoo Lead Veterinarian

Welcome back Jb!

Note to self: check out Great Plains Zoo. (Regularly fly in and out of Sioux Falls on way to wife Ann's hometown of Vermillion, SD; the Sioux Falls airport is abbreviated by the air authorities as "SUX"; the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce is trying to get that changed.)

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rhinos & Positive Body Image

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Little Zoo that Could...

...attract polar bears.

It is just 17 acres. It operates in the shadows of the nearby Minnesota Zoo (only the NC Zoo and Minnesota Zoo are true U.S.A. state zoos). But the Como Zoo (St. Paul, MN) will receive young polar bears (male and female!) from Toledo in the Fall.

AND Como Zoo got a female polar bear, Berlin, in 2012, when the Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth suffered from flooding...AND three polar bears for a time after flooding affected the zoo in Minot, ND.

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More on Elephant Keeper Ivory (Ms. Ivory)

It has been a while, but i have new info on the NC Zoo elephant keeper who happens to have the last name of "Ivory":

"Erin comes to us with over 11 years animal care and training experience with approximately 10 of those years working with elephants. In addition to internship, seasonal and volunteer jobs training animals with Walt Disney World’s The Living Seas, Sea World of San Diego and Project Wildlife (also in San Diego) respectively, Erin was a senior elephant keeper at the San Diego Safari Park, a senior elephant care specialist at Busch Gardens Tampa, the animal care manager for elephants and rhinos (and some hoofed stock) at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, and project manager responsible for moving a lone African elephant cow from New Zealand to the San Diego Zoo, including all the crate training, transport arrangements, locating the right facility and most of the fundraising. Most recently, Erin was a captive wild animal management advisor, working for the non-government organization, Animals Asia. Her main focus was improving the care and welfare of wild animals at the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Center in Vietnam, but she was also asked to assist the Hanoi Zoo and facilities in China and Thailand." - Guy Lichty, Curator of Mammals, NC Zoo 

"...and most of the fundraising"! 

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

So Interact!

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Endangered Species Humor

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"...You're the One"

@FLOTUS Tweets Panda Video

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