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:
Reuters
BBC
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.

Continue reading

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:

Wounded Swan Gets Second Chance

In Grantsburg, Wisconsin, a hunter came across a tagged trumpeter swan who was suffering from two gunshot wounds.  Locals who were familiar with the swan (tagged 88F) and his mate managed to capture the injured swan and bring him to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville.

After 10 days of treatment, the swan grew strong and healthy, and WRCMN volunteers released 88F back into the Grantsburg wildlife area.

But his mate was nowhere to be found.

A few weeks later,  88F was sighted in Hudson, Wisconsin, 60 miles south of where he’d been released!  Swimming alongside him was his lifetime mate.  They had reunited at their wintering site.

Trumpeter swans are native to the United States and Canada. It is illegal to hunt trumpeter swans in the US because they are federally protected.

For more information about 88F, see:

TwinCities.com Pioneer Press
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota

Smoking Chimpanzee Taken in by Wildlife Sanctuary

Omega - smoking chimpanzee

Omega, a 12-year-old chimpanzee who was living at a private zoo in Lebanon and entertaining visitors by smoking cigarettes, will go to a wildlife sanctuary in Sao Paolo, Brazil on Monday.  At the sanctuary, Omega will have the opportunity to live a more enriched life, interacting with other chimpanzees.

This will be a big contrast to the life he has known.  When Omega was young, he lived at a restaurant and was trained to smoke cigarettes and interact with customers.  At the zoo in Lebanon, zoo patrons would toss cigarette butts into his 430 square foot (40 square meter) cage, and Omega would pick them up to smoke.

Lebanon has no animal rights regulations.  Animals Lebanon, the group that rescued Omega from the zoo, has been advocating that Lebanon join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and adopt laws that protect primates.

For more information, see:

Animals Lebanon
Associated Press

Sea Turtle Hatchlings Enter Gulf Waters

Sea turtle hatchlings

Photo: Alabama Convention and Visitors Bureau

Seventy-three loggerhead sea turtles hatched at an Alabama beach Wednesday and entered the waters into the northern Gulf of Mexico.

For the past two months, scientists have deemed the Gulf of Mexico unsafe for sea turtle hatchlings due to BP’s catastrophic oil spill.  They have transported 28,000 eggs from Alabama and Panhandle beaches to Florida’s Atlantic coast.  After incubation at a Kennedy Space Center facility, the hatchlings were released into the Atlantic at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

However, after further examination of the Gulf waters, scientists have determined the northern Gulf of Mexico is now safe for sea turtles.

According to Dianne Ingram of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “It was a good decision based on the best information we can get. It was more risky to ship them to Florida than it was to let them go straight into the water.”

The group of loggerhead hatchlings that entered the Gulf Wednesday was the first batch in Alabama allowed to enter their native waters.

For more information: AL.com.

SeaWorld Cares for Orphaned Baby Manatee

SeaWorld rehabilitation experts have been working around the clock tending to a baby manatee orphan.  Every three hours, the 3.5-foot, 41-pound marine mammal is bottle-fed with a nutrient-rich formula. Every other day, the animal care specialists weigh the manatee and monitor her progress. Although her condition remains guarded, park veterinarians hope to eventually release her back into the wild.

The manatee, just weeks old, was rescued from the waters of Daytona Beach, Florida and transported to SeaWorld by the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In the wild, all three species of manatee are considered threatened by the IUCN Redlist. The Florida manatee subspecies is considered endangered.  Threats include habitat destruction, red tide, and boating accidents.

Baby manatee orphan at SeaWorld

SeaWorld animal care specialist Jeff Braso bottle-feeds a baby manatee, Tuesday, July 27, at SeaWorld’s Rescue & Rehabilitation Center in Orlando, Fla. The park’s animal staff has been providing 24-hour care for the animal since she was orphaned by her mother in Daytona Beach, Fla. on July 24, 2010. (Photo by SeaWorld Orlando)