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Otters Return Home to Thompson Park Zoo

After months away, the two river otters of the Thompson Park Zoo in Watertown, New York are back in town.

 

Father and son otters Otis and Ricky are just a few weeks from going onto exhibit, and zoo staff are seeing signs of enthusiasm from the pair as they became reacquainted with their surroundings.

 

The otters were previously kept at The Wild Center, in Tupper Lake, as repairs and upgrades took place at their home exhibit, ranging from the installation of new filters, to the delivery of a new glass sheet, which should be installed by Saturday, according to Lesley Clark, the zoo’s director of operations. The pond in the exhibit was completely resurfaced after leaks were discovered.

“If you don’t have quality products, it’s not going to last long,” she said.

A new off-exhibit holding area has been set up with a new drainage system, expanded space for the otters and heating elements that will allow the otters to stay at the zoo year-round.

 

The repair work at the exhibit has led to an increase of interest from visitors about when the fan favorites would return.

“All we have heard is ‘When are the otters coming back?’” Ms. Clark said. “We’re excited to see them.”

Ms. Lyndaker said the otters’ social nature has made them beloved by many visitors.

“They’ll come right up to the glass and look at kids, and look at them through the fence,” she said. “They’re always running around, splashing in their pool. They’re very interactive, very fun to watch.”

Thank-you YouTubeChannel Watertown Daily Times for the cute otter video.

 

The project cost about $35,000, after volunteer labor and donated materials cut about $10,000 from the cost of the renovations. Among the major donors noted by Ms. Clark was Carthage Savings and Loan, which contributed $25,000 to the project.

 

River otters have historically been found in all watersheds in New York, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The animals primarily eat fish, but have been known to also eat amphibians and crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates when available.

 

Happy Ottersday :#)

 

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/otter-pair-returns-to-thompson-park-zoo-video-20160714

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubOJL0VdBeg

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFxmjJ1lksR2fqe-Z6zBeeA

 http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9355.html

 

The Notortoise BIG

Henry the Tortoise, known on Facebook as The Notortoise BIG , has become the most famous tortoise in New York City. Why? Because as he is pushed in a stroller to Central Park, for his daily outing, he turns more than a few heads.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/thenotortoisebig/

The 17 pound (7.7 kg) sulcata tortoise is the pet of 24-year-old Amanda Green who lives in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. He led a reclusive existence until Green took to Craigslist to advertise for a tortoise walker.

New Yorkers are accustomed to dog walkers but no so much tortoise walkers, so Green expected only a few responses. Instead, the listing went viral and hundreds of people from all over the world applied for the $10-an-hour job.

“Just like a person who has a dog would hire a dog walker, I figured why not a tortoise walker?” Green said in an interview with Reuters TV. “It took on a life of its own … I heard from about 500,” said Green, a copywriter for a style and beauty website.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-new-york-tortoise-idUSKCN0YB283

The job went to Amalia McCallister, who has experience from having worked in a pet store. “You honestly do have to keep your eye on him,” McCallister said, describing the job as fun and not too taxing. “I could, maybe, read a book, but you’ve got to make sure he doesn’t eat the wrong thing.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-new-york-tortoise-idUSKCN0YB283

Sulcata tortoises are native to north central Africa but they adapt well to different environments. Land-dwelling reptiles with a shell, they are mainly herbivores. Henry, who is taken to the park by stroller and then allowed to roam free, particularly likes dandelions and grass.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-new-york-tortoise-idUSKCN0YB283

He has amassed an online fanbase with more than 5,000 Instagram followers and over 400 likes on Facebook. The profile’s name is, of course, a play on the stage name used by the late rapper Christopher Wallace, who called himself The Notorious B.I.G.

 

Green adopted Henry a couple of years ago from a woman who was unable to manage her growing family and the tortoise. She said Henry is friendly and curious but needs lots of attention.

 

Green said she knows that Henry will one day outgrow her apartment. Male sulcata tortoises can reach a length of more than 30 inches (76 cm) and tip the scales at up to 200 pounds (90 kg).

“Am I going to somehow get a backyard in New York City?” Green asked. “These animals do need exercise so it is really great that I have a walker now.”

 

There’s some good “thinking outside of the shell”, Ms. Green.

 

Happy Humpday (^_^)

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-new-york-tortoise-idUSKCN0YB283

https://www.facebook.com/thenotortoisebig/

 

Baby Otter Alert!

Meet the Bronx Zoo’s newest resident: an adorable new Asian small-clawed otter pup. This Spring birth is especially noteworthy as Asian small clawed otters occupy a shrinking range in Southeast Asia, specifically in India, Taiwan, the Philippines, and parts of southern China. The species is currently classified as “vulnerable” by IUCN. This bebeh otter is currently classified as “squeetastic” by me. ^_^

Thank-you YouTube Channel Wildlife Conservation Society for this adorable video!

 

Happy Ottersday :#)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPR9xZq0e3I

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKXpVRDK92uObLftjwKEIQQ

http://www.timeout.com/newyork/blog/the-bronx-zoo-welcomes-a-brand-new-adorable-baby-otter-042916

 http://www.inquisitr.com/3039691/bronx-zoo-welcomes-baby-otter-and-rare-fruit-bats/

 

 

After 13 Years at a Shelter, Cat Finds Forever Home

Thirteen years ago, a tiny tabby kitten arrived at Mid Hudson Animal Aid, a no-kill shelter in Beacon, New York. Shelter workers named the feral kitten Archie, and Archie grew up at the shelter, befriending the other cats, socializing litters of kittens and watching his feline friends leave again and again as they found their forever homes.

Jennifer Blakeslee. Source: http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/after-13-years-shelter-archie-cat-finds-forever-home

Archie was a staple at the rescue. It wasn’t until December, when the shelter shared a photo of him on its Instagram account, that volunteer Jennifer Blakeslee learned Archie had spent his life at the shelter.

“I had no idea,” she said. “See, he’s very feral. He does fine with other cats, but is terrified of people, which vastly reduces the likelihood of his getting adopted.”

Jennifer Blakeslee. Source: http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/after-13-years-shelter-archie-cat-finds-forever-home

Blakeslee had recently adopted one of Archie’s closest furry friends, a deaf, toothless, half-blind Siamese named Eddie, and Eddie’s departure had left Archie lonely and depressed. So Blakeslee, determined to find Archie a home of his own, helped Eddie write a letter to Santa. “I posted a photo of [Archie] and Eddie cuddling at the shelter to Instagram with a “Dear Santa” letter, and it went viral,” she said.

“Dear Santa,

” the letter reads. “I’d like you to meet Archie. He was my best friend when i was at the shelter that saved my life …He’s been at the shelter for THIRTEEN YEARS, ever since he was a kitten. That’s a human’s entire time in school, plus kindergarten. He’s very shy, but he’s also very sweet and gets along with other cats. And he really, really, really, really wants to find his forever home. 
And that’s what I want for Christmas, Santa.”

 

The photo of Archie and Eddie was shared hundreds of times on Instagram, and seen by people across the nation, including Chicago resident Jennifer Baird. “I understood that Archie socialized the majority of kitties at the shelter but was never chosen for a home. It broke my heart,” she said. “I saw that he was in New York and waited a day or so for someone to speak up as I live in Chicago.”

 

After a couple days of seeing people post again and again that they wished they could do something but couldn’t, Baird stepped in. “That’s when I responded to Jennifer and said I’ll take him. I’m in Chicago. I need help in getting him here to me.”

 

Baird has rescued numerous cats, often taking in abandoned ones she found on the street, and Archie was going to be her 14th rescue. The fact that he was feral didn’t faze her. “I have had feral cats and have a great understanding of their needs and embrace that,” she said.

Source: http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/after-13-years-shelter-archie-cat-finds-forever-home

It took several weeks for the shelter to coordinate travel, but soon a plan was in place. Archie would take a road trip to Chicago, as this would be better for the skittish senior cat. A couple of people volunteered to make the drive, and Archie passed his pre-transport vet check with no problem. The only hurdle left was the transport costs.

 

Blakeslee set up a YouCaring campaign with a goal of raising $750, and she shared it on Instagram with the hashtag #OperationBringArchieHome. “It got shared like mad, and we met our goal in less than an hour,” she said. “In fact, people kept donating, and as a result, we’ll be able to donate $250 to the shelter.”

 

With the money raised, Archie left New York on April 3 and slept for most of the two-day drive to his new forever home.

“During the weekend of the transport, I posted updates and photos throughout the day, and we had fans and followers all around the world rooting for this one little old tomcat,” Blakeslee said. “It was glorious.”

 

Archie has been home for a few days now, and Baird says he’s making good progress in adjusting to her and her other rescue cats. “I see that he wants to be friends with his new sisters and brother so badly, and I know this will happen over time. Everyone is getting adjusted, and right now we have time on our side,” she said.

 

Archie is no longer hiding very much, and he enjoys spending time in his new cat bed. He’s even come within a few inches of Baird while eating his treats.

“Archie is like my other feral,” she said. “They want their love and affection to come from their siblings — not humans. He has to develop trust, and I want him to know that this relationship is about his safety and creature comforts — not about me having an affectionate kitty.”

Baird says she’s still shocked by the outpouring of support she’s received on social media, but she’s grateful for all the kindness being sent her way. “My biggest thank you is to Jennifer. She stood up and told Archie’s story. She’s the hero. Without her, Archie’s life may as well have ended in the shelter where it began.”

 

Blakeslee hopes that Archie’s story will inspire other people to adopt shelter cats, especially those that are often overlooked. “The message here is that every cat deserves a chance — the senior cats and the special-needs cats,” she said. “The effort involved in caring for them becomes completely worth it when they start to trust you and start treating your home like it’s their home.”

Source: http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/after-13-years-shelter-archie-cat-finds-forever-home

As for Archie, he won’t need anyone to write a letter to Santa on his behalf this year. He’ll be spending the holidays at home with his family.

 

Happy Caturday =^_^=

 

http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/after-13-years-shelter-archie-cat-finds-forever-home

 

Fishing Cats for Binghampton

The Binghamton Zoo in New York unveiled to the public today two new fishing cats: adorable endangered felines native to southern Asia, in the hopes that they will help grow the fishing cat population.

(Source: http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/2016/03/18/new-species-zoo-unveils-endangered-cat/81965252/)

Hunter and Malikai, arrived in Binghamton earlier this week. Hunter, the male, was driven north from where he was raised at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C.  Malikai, a female, was flown in from the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond, California.

“I’m hopeful everyone is really going to love them; they’re really lanky and really slick and they like to play a lot,” said Binghamton Zoo General Curator Nancy Kitchen. I have no doubt that everyone will really love them <3

(Source: http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/2016/03/18/new-species-zoo-unveils-endangered-cat/81965252/)

Fishing cats are aptly named after their feeding method of diving into the shallow waters of wetlands to snag fish and crustaceans. At the zoo they will be fed small rodents in addition to fish like herring and capelin. While fishing cats are larger than the typical household cat, they are considerably smaller than other wild felines like the Amur leopard, cougar, and snow leopard.

The potential mates are being held in separate enclosures while they adjust to their new homes but will soon be introduced, at first through a mesh barrier, and hopefully, they will eventually produce kittens.

(Source: http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Zoo-welcomes-fishing-cats-372550671.html)

Happy Caturday =^_^=

 

http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/2016/03/18/new-species-zoo-unveils-endangered-cat/81965252/

http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Zoo-welcomes-fishing-cats-372550671.html

 

 

Humpback New Yorkers

Humpback whales are taking Manhattan!  There have been twice as many sightings of humpbacks off of Rockaway Beach in Queens than there were two years ago.  That’s amazing!  Also amazing: these shots that New York photographers are capturing of whales against the New York skyline are absolutely jaw-dropping.

 

 

Scientists attribute the return of the whales to cleaner water, and increased populations of Menhaden- a popular prey fish.  I find it interesting that fish named the “menhaden” lives around the island of “Manhattan”.  Could there be a connection?

 

Happy Humpday (^_^)

The Squirrels of New York City

Most longtime New Yorkers have adopted habits to cope with life in a city of more than eight million people.  A new stud finds that even the city’s squirrels have made adjustments in order to better co-exist with people- in fact, they barely seem to notice them at all. Compared to rural squirrels, city squirrels allow pedestrians to come relatively close, and only move away when they feel people’s eyes intently watching them. This suggests that they can clearly discriminate between threatening and nonthreatening behavior.

“Some animal species never behaviorally adapt to humans- they always run when they see them,” Bill Bateman, a biologist at Curtin University in Australia, who led the study, said this in an email: “if an animal runs when it sees a human, it is because it sees the human as a and is prepared to stop doing what it is doing to escape. It pays a cost of stopping eating, or courting, but that is better than possibly being caught.”

 

In rural areas, most country squirrels view humans as potential predators. They become cautious and alert around people, keeping their distance, whether or not the human is looking directly at them. Bateman observed Eastern gray squirrels in a residential area in Manhattan’s highly populated and extremely busy Lower East Side. He dropped colored pins on the ground to measure the squirrels’ “alert distance,” or the distance between a squirrel and an observer once the squirrel was aware it was being watched. Bateman also measured the “distance fled,” or how far the squirrel distanced itself from the observer.

 

Ninety percent of the squirrels moved out of the way when they noticed humans walking on a footpath, while only 5 percent stopped, froze and showed signs of being alert and vigilant, like a deer in headlights. Bateman said city squirrels are aware that humans are everywhere and that they can’t run away all the time as a country squirrel would.

 

“In the city, the squirrels have honed this reaction down to tiny cues: Are the humans looking at me? That indicates higher risk than them ignoring me,” Bateman said.

 

Animals should still be sensitive to the potential threat of humans, but to be able to live freely in the presence of humans is one of the key behavioral traits of a successful urban adapter. Bateman and his co-author wrote in their study, published June 12 in the Journal of Zoology, that these animals don’t see humans quite as predators. In fact, humans might become “predation-free predators,” the researchers said, and so the animals ignore people, rather than react fearfully. Armed with this lack of fear, the animals are in a better position to thrive and persist in the urban environment.

 

As urban areas continue to grow around the world, more wildlife may need to adapt to city life. In the future, Bateman would like to explore the behavior of birds, mammals and reptiles in Australia that thrive in urban areas full of human activity.

Follow Jillian Rose Lim @jillroselim Google+. Follow us@livescienceFacebook Google+. Original article on Live Science.

 

Happy Bun(rodent)day (|^_^|)

 

http://www.livescience.com/47009-nyc-squirrels-adapt-to-urban-environment.html?cmpid=514627_20140726_28462886

The Otters of Prospect Park

These three North American River Otter Pups, all male, were born in Brooklyn, NY, in February, and the triplets have just made their debut at Prospect Park Zoo, where they will help “educate people about the importance of keeping local waters and ecosystems in good health.”

The zoo breeds these otters as part of the Species Survival Program, and have created a naturalistic representation of their natural habitat on their Discovery Trail, where you can now go visit them.

Happy Ottersday :#)

 

http://gothamist.com/2014/07/18/river_otters.php

Central Park Monkeys Caught Whispering

In the first ever recorded evidence of whisper-like behavior in non-human primates, the tamarins of New York City’s Central Park Zoo have been observed making very quiet, almost inaudible vocalizations in the presence of zoo supervisor whom they found threatening.

These cotton-top tamarins had a history of going berserk in the presence of this supervisor, whom they associated with their both capture and uncomfortable medical procedures.  In the past, they had harassed him with loud vocalizations, but when researchers from the City University of New York recorded the tamarins’ behavior before, during and after visits from the supervisor, they found that the monkeys didn’t mob him as they had previously done, instead, they emitted low amplitude chirps and whistles, the monkey equivalent of whispers.  The calls were so quiet that the researchers didn’t even catch them at first.

 

“Although it is unclear what the motivational state of the tamarins was when in presence of the supervisor, it appears that they were responding to him as an ambiguous threat and may have been investigating the situation by cautiously approaching him to determine the actual level of threat and communicating to each other the appropriate behavioral response to take,” they write.

 

This is the first observation of monkeys whispering, but other animals do this aw sell. Richardson’s ground squirrels use ultrasonic whispers to warn nearby relatives of danger, some birds, bats, and even a species of fish have also been found to lower their voices in threatening situations, while hunting, and during courtship.  It’s very possible that more animals than we realize have the ability to whisper, but since the whole point of a whisper is to be subtle, scientists just haven’t noticed yet.

The full study is available in Zoo Biology.

 

Happy Monkday :_)

 

http://www.popsci.com/article/science/central-park-monkeys-caught-whispering-about-hated-supervisor