The owners of Chris P. Bacon, a little piglet born without hind legs, constructed a mini wheelchair out of K’Nex pieces. This special contraption is attached to the piglet with a harness and allows the little guy to explore to his heart’s content.
At the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT, a 14-year-old penguin named Yellow Pink molted his waterproof feathers last year. They never grew back. Without the waterproof feathers, swimming became uncomfortable for the penguin.
Fortunately, a team of veterinarians, trainers, and research staff made him a custom neoprene wetsuit out of an old aquarium diving suit. Now Yellow Pink can stay warm as as swims.
Watch a video of Yellow Pink swimming in his suit below:
Now for the first time you can see footage of the giant squid living in its natural habitat. Giant squid are longer than school buses (40 feet long!) and weigh nearly a ton. Their eyes are the size of dinner plates. They live in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. A few years ago, a team of Japanese scientists took still photos of the elusive creature. After hundreds of deep sea dives in a submersible, scientists finally captured the giant squid on video.
Watch a special on the giant squid, Monster Squid: The Giant is Real, on the Discovery Channel on Sunday, January 27 at 8pm EST. For more info, see discovery.com/giantsquid.
The National Wildlife Federation is offering events in cities throughout the US this fall where kids can get up close and personal with wildlife. Their Hike and Seek event features a 1-2 mile nature hike and scavenger hunt. Activity stations along the way feature live animals, wildlife experts, and crafts.
Millions of bats have died from a disease called white-nose syndrome. When bats are hibernating in the winter, a white fungus covers their noses, wings, ears and tails. Bats with the disease display unusual behavior such as flying outside in the winter and clustering near the entrance of a cave. This leads bats to starve to death from excess activity or to freeze to death. The disease was first documented 2006 in eastern New York and has spread to other eastern U.S. states and Canadian provinces since then.
Currently, conservationists are attacking the problem from multiple angles, including treating the infection or developing a vaccine. But The Nature Conservancy is taking a different approach. They have built an artificial cave in Tennessee hoping to lure bats from a nearby natural cave that displays early signs of white-nose syndrome. If they are successful in attracting tenants, they will be able to control the disease in their cave by cleaning it every summer. In a natural cave, they cannot spray or hose it down without destroying the other natural organisms that thrive in that environment. Building a man-made cave specifically for bats allows for a safe, disease-free shelter for the bats every winter without disrupting the flora and fauna of the natural cave.
Did you know you don’t have to be human to be an environmentalist? Specially-trained dogs from the group Conservation Canines have been assisting scientists protect endangered species since 1997.
With their highly sophisticated sense of smell paired with their insatiable urge to play (their reward at the end of the day), dogs can track scat, or animal droppings, from miles away. Once located, the scientists can analyze the scat for genetic, physiological, and dietary information. This provides clues to the animal’s behavior and environment which helps conservationists determine the best way to protect it.
The dogs, which are adopted from animal shelters and then trained by the crew at Conservation Canines, track scat from a variety of endangered animals. The list includes tigers, orcas, fishers, spotted owls, bears, wolves, caribou, giant armadillos, giant anteaters, pumas, jaguars, and Pacific pocket mice.
Watch a video below about Tucker, a black labrador mix who specializes in tracking orca scat. This is a tricky task because he must catch the scent over open water, the scat can move around and/or sink in the water, and he must provide signals to his human coworkers so they can steer the boat in the correct direction.