A news site about animals

Injured Silverthorne Moose Calf is Out of the Woods

Wednesday, April 16 marks the two-and-a-half-week point since a calf moose was found injured along the banks of the Blue River in Silverthorne, CO. The now-notorious youngster appears to be doing well and is on his way to making a full recovery.


In recent days, the calf and mother moose have been seen venturing at increasingly greater distances to the north through Silverthorne, but continue to return to the protective sanctuary along the banks of the Blue River.




“He has a very obvious limp, but he’s getting increasingly more mobile every day,” said Parks & Wildlife district wildlife manager Elissa Knox. The cow and calf “have plenty to eat in town and he’s eating, drinking and moving around just like he should be.”


Despite public concern about a perceived lack of action from Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials, the calf has many factors working in his favor, Knox said, which was why, in addition to the obvious danger of trying to separate it from his mother,  officials wanted to see first if the calf would begin to exhibit signs of a recovery, before they attempted any human intervention.


Among those positive factors are the fact that the calf sustained a totally closed fracture, meaning there is no break in the skin, which also significantly reduces the chances of an infection. The calf also is still growing, Knox said, which provides a higher chance of recovery than an older moose because his bones are still developing.


The Silverthorne Police Department has been assisting Parks & Wildlife officials by closing sections of the Blue River Trail to minimize human interaction. Knox is asking residents to respect those closures and to continue to keep their distances, not just for the moose’s safety, but also for their own.


“Moose are tolerant of people to a point, but they’re beginning to show signs of agitation when people or cars get too close,” Knox said. “There’s a lot of moose activity in Silverthorne in addition to these two by the Blue River,” Knox said. “People can encounter moose anywhere in town including on trails and bike paths, which is why it is so important for the public to be safe.”


In addition to the injured calf and cow near the Blue River, Knox said a moose sighting was reported last week near Banana Republic at the Outlets at Silverthorne. A second moose was sighted Thursday, April 10 on Interstate 70 between Frisco and Silverthorne.



As a reminder, signs of moose aggression include licking of the snout, ears pinned back and raised hairs on the back, Knox said. A moose walking slowly towards people also should be interpreted as an act or potential act of aggression.



Should anyone encounter a moose in town or on one of Summit County’s many trails, Knox said it is important to stay at a safe distance and make sure the moose has an escape route. Should a moose charge, locals are advised to put something big, like a tree, boulder or a car, between themselves and the animal.


Happy Humpday (^_^)

A Dog and his BFF: a Stray Cat

A family decided to take in a stray cat after they discovered that everyday the cat waited outside the door to see their dog. “I caught my dog meeting with him daily.  They have been inseparable since,” said their human.

“Boots was a 3-month old kitten at the time, and he would interact with Diego and follow him around whenever we went for walks, usually in the back yard. We thought it was strange they got along so well!”

“We got him immunized and took him in when we realized Boots was almost always waiting outside the door for him. They really are like brothers, they play and teach each other and keep each other out of trouble,” they added.


Happy Caturday =^_^=

Wanna Hold An Otter Baby?

In what may be the cutest play date ever, Colorado’s Pueblo Zoo is offering the chance to interact with the zoo’s three adorable newborn otter pups.

The first two people who offer the zoo a $500 donation will be able to hold the tiny animals and help with their wellness checks, Pueblo Zoo spokeswoman Abigail Krause, director of marketing and communications at the Pueblo Zoo, said.


“It’s an opportunity for people to get an up close look at what happens with otters and at a zoo,” Krause said. ”The mother, Freyja, has been very trusting with the keeper, but the amount of time people can have contact with them right now is once a week.”
The pups, two females and one male, were born on March 3 and now weigh a little more than a pound each, Krause said.
She expects the pups, which also need to be named, will make their public debuts this summer.



Happy Ottersday :#)

The Camel Lady

It’s been announced that on May 23, 2014, the movie Tracks will be released in the US (was shown at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.)  This film, based on the 1980 book on the same name, tells the true story of Robyn Davidson, a young Australian woman who in 1977 undertook a perilous solo trek across 1,700 miles of Australian outback with four camels and a dog.

The Camel Lady: Robyn Davidson, 1977


I can’t wait to see it. :-)










“It just seemed to me to be like something I wanted and needed to do, I had some instinctive understanding that I needed to do something like that to make an individual of myself, to forge a person out of these rather unprepossessing bits and pieces.”


It took Robyn two years in Alice Springs to prepare for the trip which proved to be an adventure in itself.  Robyn feels she’s not a courageous person, she says she just took very small steps and continued to do so until she found she had completed something.


“It was a scary place…I had to deal with some pretty heavy duty antagonism. I was an urban girl who dressed in sarongs, I was a leftie and I fetched up in this town.”


Dealing with the camels that accompanied Robyn on her journey proved to be “a lot of trial and error and dealing with a lot of mad men. I was up at five every morning, running around with a lot of camels barefooted so my feet would toughen up.”


She eventually got her own camels and the whole thing came together and off she set across the desert.


‘I didn’t plan it as a trip from A to B…the original intention was just to take these animals and disappear into the bush and wander around the desert and come out when I felt I was ready to come out.”


It ended up being a long journey from Central Australia to the West Coast, which took her almost nine months and changed her in two ways:


“You get a perspective on what is normal because you’re away from it…I’ve never lost the sense that we’re all at least half-mad. And also because you’re alone, and because you’re hyper-aware of the environment you’re in, it’s as if the self starts to melt out into the environment. You’re not this unit separated from everything else: you become a part of your environment. Of course that’s a very scary feeling at first, because it’s like disappearing.”


Happy Humpday (^_^)

Rare Tawny Frogmouth Has Hatched

A powderpuff is born.  The first ever born of its kind at the Denver Zoo, this Tawny Frogmouth hatchling has been named Kermit, and is the new star attraction at the Birdworld exhibit.

As their name indicates, tawny frogmouths are known for their wide frog-like mouths, which they use to catch insects and other small animals. They are sometimes mistaken for owls as they have very similar body types, but are actually more closely related to birds like whippoorwills. Tawny frogmouths are also masters of disguise. When they become adults, their feathers turn beige and brown, and resemble the tree branches in which they roost. When they feel threatened they sit perfectly still and rely on their camouflage to hide from predators.


The zookeepers say the species is difficult to breed and over the years they had problems finding compatible pairs. Kermit is the first chick for both father, Nangkita, and mother, Adelaide. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals.

Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.


Otter Community Recovers from ’89 Oil Spill

It took about twenty-five years, but the northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) living in Alaska’s Prince William Sound have finally recovered from the effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Back on March 24, 1989, the oil spill itself killed an estimated 40% of the sea otters living in the sound.  The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council was created to oversee restoration of the Prince William Sound ecosystem and was funded by a $900-million civil court settlement after the disaster.  The council blames the mortality rates and slow recovery on “chronic exposure to hydrocarbons” that persisted in the environment, especially in the otters’ feeding grounds.

In 1993, scientists started conducting annual aerial surveys of sea otters in Prince William Sound.  The population returned to health in 2008 and 2009. Since then the numbers have risen nicely; the USGS reports that the main sea otter population in the sound was 4,277 last year.

Recovery also was assessed using studies to detect oil exposure using gene expression as a biochemical indicator. The most recent genetic evidence suggested a reduction in oil exposure since 2008.

Scientists concluded that the status of sea otters in western Prince William Sound is now consistent with the criteria established for population recovery set by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

Happy Ottersday :#)


The publication “2013 update on sea otter studies to assess chronic injury from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, Prince William Sound, Alaska” is available online.

Dogs Process Voices and Emotions Like We Do

Researchers have now discovered that dog and human brains process the vocalizations and emotions of others more similarly than previously thought. They are wired to grasp what we feel by attending to the sounds we make.

These are the dogs that took part in this study.

To compare active human and dog brains, postdoctoral researcher Attila Andics and his team from MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Hungary trained 11 dogs to lie still in an fMRI brain scanner for several six minute intervals so that the researchers could perform the same experiment on both human and canine participants. Both groups listened to almost two hundred dog and human sounds, from whining and crying to laughter and playful barking, while the team scanned their brain activity.

The resulting study, published in Current Biology today, reveals both that dog brains have voice-sensitive regions and that these neurological areas resemble those of humans.



Harbor Porpoises Return to San Francisco

After a 65-year absence, harbor porpoises are back in San Francisco Bay, providing scientists a unique view into their lives.

Marine biologists are studying some of San Francisco’s least-known residents from an unlikely laboratory: the Golden Gate Bridge.  Through binoculars, Bill Keener suddenly spots a harbor porpoise, its dark gray dorsal fin appearing briefly before re-submerging. Keener predicts the porpoise’s course and, just as it surfaces again, photographs the animal before it disappears. “Got it,” he declares triumphantly.

This harbor porpoise is one of more than 600 that Keener and the other marine mammal scientists of Golden Gate Cetacean Research have recorded in the San Francisco Bay since 2008, compiling the world’s first photo catalog of wild harbor porpoises.


“What was known about harbor porpoises until now has mainly been from dead, dying or captive animals,” says Keener, “It’s an avocation rather than a vocation,” Szczepaniak says, grinning.

With financial support from the National Wildlife Federation and its donors, the researchers are taking advantage of unique circumstances that are bringing the behavior of these normally elusive animals to light. Because porpoises predictably gather in deep, turbulent waters near the Golden Gate at high tides, presumably following small fish that school there to eat accumulated plankton, the scientists  closely observe and photograph the animals either from the bridge or a nearby shore without changing their behavior. “We are getting this wonderful, natural glimpse into their lives that no one has ever had before,” says Webber.  This is remarkable given that just six years ago no porpoises were found in the bay.


Happy Humpday (^_^)