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Archive for June, 2008

Yesterday Chicago Police pulled a small (five or six feet) alligator from the Chicago River on the near South Side near 37th Street.
This almost certainly was yet another example of a discarded exotic pet that some idiot thought would be cool, then threw out when they finally realized they couldn’t handle it.

But that opens the big question of when it was released and how long was it able to survive in the wild in Chicago? At five feet long, that alligator is probably several years old.

Did it really survive an Illinois winter or was it released this spring? Did it find some industrial water release that keeps water warmer (the trick of some Florida manatees)? According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, alligators can tolerate limited freezing temperatures.

The alligator was captured by two great volunteers from the Chicago Herpetological Society. After tests it will go “back to the South” one of the semi-anonymous volunteers told the Sun-Times.

If it was raised as a pet I doubt it could be released in the wild. I wonder where he’ll go?

The San Diego Zoo says that the American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis “was once considered endangered, but through protection plans, management, and captive propagation it has made a remarkable comeback.”

Where to See Wildlife Around the Midwest

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Iceland is starting to get polar bears, but so far is just getting rid of them. Two polar bears have shown up in the last two weeks on the island that’s hundreds of miles away from where polar bears usually live, Discovery reported.

Not knowing what to do with the first one, they shot it. They’re trying to catch the second one and move it to Greenland. Icelandic billionaire Thor BjorgolfssonBjoergulfur Thor Bjoergulfsson has volunteered to pay for the move so that Icelandic authorities don’t shoot the second bear.

Polar bears would normally be pouncing on seals from polar ice eating seals, but that ice melt has caused them to look for other territory. The one in Iceland was seen eating eggs and birds.

Who knows whether the polar bear could survive on Iceland, which because of cold and an over-farming environmental disaster has very few plants and animals. But the best away to find out would be to let them try. It’s not like we’re talking about a heavily populated area here–it’s Iceland, northern Iceland. When I went to Iceland one of the few disappointments was how little wildlife they had. Polar bears in Iceland would be a big tourist attraction.

Where to See Wildlife in Europe
Where to See Bears

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The NYPD took the last of the three Houston Street baby hawks into custody last night. Now all three eyasses are in the custody of wildlife rehabber and fireman Bobby Horvath, who hopes to have them back in the area within a week.
Documentary filmmaker Adam Welz did an amazing job chronicling the drama. The third hawk flew across the street ok, but ran into trouble flying back. It flew into the school building (where its nest sits on an air conditioner). The hawk tried to cling to the wall, failed, then fell to busy Houston Street.
The hawk watchers swooped in, stopped traffic and picked up the hawk in a shirt. The commotion caused a car accident. The hawk people got the hawk to the yard of the project across the street and wanted to release it. Meanwhile, somebody called 911. The cops came, took the hawk into custody. The hawk guys argued the bird should be left alone. The cops took him up to the dreaded ACC, but Bobby sprung him.

Where to See Animals Around New York City
Accesible Places To See Hawks

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A unicorn-like deer is drawing animal tourists to the the Italian Center for Natural Sciences (Centro di Scienze Natural) outside Prato, which is in turn outside Florence.

The unicorn is really a male one-year-old Roe deer, so don’t expect to see rainbows and sparkles behind him. His twin has the regular two antler.

The deer has some kind of genetic flaw, but it’s even special in that. The AP’s Marta Falconi reports that even deer with one antler tend to have it on one side. Plus, this guy’s antler looks like a little horn.

The center seems to be handling the occassion with smile. They named him Unicorn. And the director Gilberto Tozzi says: “This is fantasy becoming reality.”

Where Else to See Wildlife in Europe
Where You Can See Deer and Elk

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