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: 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:

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)

Gorilla Reunion

Kwibi is a ten year old lowland gorilla who has spent the last five years of his life living in the forests of Gabon. The first five years of his life he spent being raised by Damian Aspinall at a wild animal park in England. In this incredible video we join Damian as he searches for his old friend.

SeaWorld Rehabilitates Chilly Turtles

Aquarist rehabilitating green sea turtle.

SeaWorld aquarist Jenny Albert covers up a “cold stunned” endangered green turtle to keep the animal warm at SeaWorld’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

Many green sea turtles have been adversely affected by the Arctic blast that has swept over most of the U.S.  recently. Two dozen “cold-stunned” green sea turtles have been taken in by SeaWorld’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Orlando, Florida, where they are treating the endangered turtles with heat lamps, blankets, and warm fluids.

To learn more about green sea turtles, read Animal Fact Guide’s article: Green Turtle.

Black-footed Ferrets Reintroduced

black-footed-ferret09062Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, Canada is now the home of 34 endangered black-footed ferrets. On Friday evening scientists and conservationists released the animals into the park in an effort to reintroduce them to their natural habitat.

The ferrets were nearly extinct until 1981, when a colony was found in Wyoming. This group was used to increase the population. Scientists and zoos from Canada and the United States worked together to breed and reintroduce the black-footed ferret.

After several years of effort, the ferrets were ready for release into the wild.

For more, visit CBCNews.