Five Rescued Eaglets Released into the Wild

Bald eagle released into wild

The Wildlife Center of Virginia releases one of five juvenile eaglets into the wild. Photo by the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

On Wednesday, the Wildlife Center of Virginia had cause for celebration when they released five juvenile bald eagles into the wild.

Three of the eagles were famous because a webcam had been tracking their daily activities in their nest at a botanical garden.  However, when their mother was killed after being struck by an airplane in April, webcam viewers became concerned for the chicks and alerted the wildlife rescuers. So the Wildlife Center of Virginia took the chicks into their care.

The other two eaglets were rescued independently; one was found in a landfill with its wing caught in some netting, and the other was found in a field in an emaciated condition.

For more information about the eagles’ release, see:

Wildlife Center of Virginia
The News Virginian

To learn more about bald eagles, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Bald Eagle.

Rare All-White Kiwi Hatched

May 1st saw the hatching of a rare all-white kiwi at the Pukaha Mount Bruce national wildlife center in New Zealand. The bird is not an albino, but does have white feathers. He was given the Manukura by members of the local Maori tribe.

Manukura is thought to be the first all-white kiwi born in captivity.

Kiwi are native to New Zealand and have had their population numbers drop, mainly due to the European stoat, an introduced species. All five species of kiwi are endangered.

For more visit Scientific American.

Disabled Penguin Receives Custom Boot

Lucky is a Humboldt penguin born at the Santa Barbara Zoo in April 2010.  As he grew up, zoo keepers noticed that he walked with a limp.  Further testing showed that his leg was not developing properly.  If not helped, he would eventually suffer from infections from the sores on his feet.  Teva, a sponsor of the zoo, was called in to help.  The footwear company custom created a boot that would assist Lucky when walking and swimming.

Watch the story below:

Stolen Koala is Found

An elderly koala (13 years old) named Banjo was stolen from an Australian wildlife park on Tuesday. Thieves had broken into Banjo’s enclosure with bolt cutters. An anonymous phone call led authorities to a dumpster outside the wildlife park, where they found the frightened and dehydrated koala in a plastic bin covered with a crate.

According to Banjo’s keeper, Tim Faulkner, “It’s good to have him back. People can’t care for this sort of thing. It’s not a dog.”

Koalas are marsupials native to Australia who feed mainly on eucalyptus leaves. They generally live 10-15 years.

To learn more about Banjo, see:
The Age

To learn more about koalas, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Koala.

Rescued Sandhill Crane and Orphaned Chick Bond at SeaWorld

Sandhill crane rescues at SeaWorld

An injured adult sandhill crane and an orphaned crane chick bond at SeaWorld. Photo provided by SeaWorld.

A few weeks ago, the aviculture team at SeaWorld Orlando took into their care an adult sandhill crane with a rubber gasket stuck around his bill. The gasket not only made it impossible for the crane to eat, it impeded upon the proper development of his bill. The SeaWorld team removed the gasket and provided around-the-clock care to rehabilitate the bird.

While caring for the adult, SeaWorld rescued a newly-hatched, orphaned sandhill crane chick. Although older cranes sometimes do not tolerate unfamiliar chicks, the team decided to see if their rescued adult might act as a surrogate for the chick. And to everyone’s delight, the pair bonded!

By taking the orphan under wing, the adult crane has given the chick the opportunity to mimic and learn behaviors needed to survive in the wild. Eric Reece, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Aviculture, adds, “The fact that the adult crane took to the chick bodes well for the development of the chick. It is now growing and doing well.”

Once the adult crane has recovered from his injuries and the chick learns to fly, both birds will be released into the wild together.

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Crocodile Expert Brady Barr

Dr. Brady Barr

Dr. Brady Barr speaking at the Garde Arts Center.

The editors of Animal Fact Guide had the pleasure of attending a talk this evening given by Dr. Brady Barr at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT.  As a herpetologist with the National Geographic Society, Barr has experienced a multitude of close encounters with reptiles in the wild.

In one entertaining story,  Barr recounted an episode where his team was trying to measure the speed of Komodo dragons using a radar gun.  His role was to run around with strings of goat meat tied around his waist to entice the large reptiles to give chase.  And chase they did!  Barr was chased left and right by the dragons, who took turns wearing him out.  Finally, out of breath, Barr took refuge up high in a tree.  Komodo dragons can be extremely dangerous creatures as their mouths are filled with many strains of bacteria, making their bite very hazardous.

Although Barr works with many reptiles, including salamanders, geckos, turtles, and snakes, his main passion is with crocodilian species: crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials.

On many occasions, Barr has gotten up close and personal with crocodiles, often called upon to relocate “nuisance” animals.  Barr and his team have captured many crocodiles known to attack people and have relocated the animals to wildlife preserves and zoos.  By doing so, Barr saves the creatures from being exterminated by the locals.

Throughout his presentation, Barr stressed the importance of conservation, noting that many reptile species are at high risk of extinction.

To learn more about Barr and his adventures, watch Dangerous Encounters on Nat Geo WILD. You can also buy the Best of Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr DVD from Amazon.

Vulnerable Indian Rhinos Moved to New Habitat

Indian rhinos

Two female Indian rhinos leave their crate for their new home in Manas National Park in Assam, India. Photo credit: Dipankar Ghose, WWF-India

Two female Indian rhinoceroses – one adult and one juvenile – have been successfully translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Manas National Park (both situated in Assam, India).  Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has a very dense population of rhinos in its 18 square kilometers (4,450 acres) of rhino habitat, so by moving some of its population to another park, conservationists hope to regrow a viable rhino population in Manas National Park.

The operation of relocating the animals was no small task. According to the International Rhino Foundation:

Under the guidance of veterinarians, field workers, park guards, conservationists and forest department officials, the two animals were captured and released within 24 hours.  Veterinarians darted the animals with tranquilizers, then transported them 250 km in crates specially-designed to hold the 1.5 to 2 ton pachyderms.

The successful translocation was made possible by a collaboration among the government of Assam, the International Rhino Foundation, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Bodoland Territorial Council, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Their project, the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020, aims to attain a population of 3,000 wild rhinos in seven of Assam’s protected areas by the year 2020.  The conservationists plan to relocate 16 more animals in 2011.

For more information, visit the International Rhino Foundation.

You can also learn more about Indian rhinos on Animal Fact Guide.

Get Involved: The Great Animal Rescue Chase

Deer rescueDid you know that there are animal rescue opportunities all around you?  From helping a turtle cross the road to taking in a stray cat to calling a wildlife rehabilitator to save an injured bird, there are actions great and small that you can take to help animals.  And a new online community wants to hear about it!  The Great Animal Rescue Chase is a website that celebrates the heroes that make an effort to rescue animals.

It’s free to register, so if you already have an animal rescue story to share, visit the site and get started.  If you’ve never rescued an animal but would like to get involved, this website is for you too!  You can read the rescuer’s code, which is a set of basic guidelines for interacting with wild animals, and you can learn from an international community of animal lovers.  There are amazing, heartwarming animal rescue stories that will inspire you to take action in your own neighborhood.

Here’s one story posted on the Great Animal Rescue Chase from Sarah Goodwin-Nguyen in Florida about rescuing a hawk who was stuck in a chain link fence:

Hawk stuck in fenceThis broad-winged hawk got himself in quite a predicament! My guess is he was after a rodent and got stuck. Luckily, the homeowners came to the Key West Wildlife Center for help. I followed them home and managed to squeeze myself between the fences to get a safe hold of the terrified hawk. Those talons and that beak are no joke, and he could’ve caused some serious injury to anyone who doesn’t know how to handle raptors.

At first, I was unable to dislodge him he was wedged in so deep. The very concerned homeowners agreed to sacrifice their fence and, with the help of a neighbor’s bolt cutters, we cut the hawk out to great cheers! The hawk was miraculously uninjured. I took him back to the Center to evaluate, gave him some fluids and a good night’s rest, and the hawk was released successfully the very next day.

My favorite thing about this rescue was how the homeowners and the neighbors got involved, taking time out from their busy days and putting their concern for this magnificent bird ahead of the cost of repairing the fence.

To read more inspirational stories and to get involved with the worldwide animal rescue effort, visit the Great Animal Rescue Chase website.

Little Elephant Rescued from Ditch

A young Asian elephant, around 4-5 years old, fell into a ditch while crossing a tea plantation in northern India with the rest of his herd.  His mother and other elephants in the herd tried to help him out, but to no avail.  Local people, forest rangers, and an animal welfare volunteer stepped in to help using a mechanical digger.  Because the volunteers widened the ditch, the elephant was able to flip onto his side and stand up by himself.  He then rejoined his mother and the herd.

Watch the rescue here: