Extreme Home Makeover: Forever Wild Animal Sanctuary

tiger-profileThe Extreme Home Makeover folks took as its project the dilapidated home and small animal cages of a wild animal sanctuary. Forever Wild Animal Sanctuary in California has been taking in unwanted and abused animals, mostly exotic large cats, from for several years. As they struggled to make ends meet, they couldn’t afford repairs on their own house.

The Extreme Makeover team recruited about a hundred volunteers. Sponsors supplied earthmoving and construction equipment. The family, parents Joel and Charmain Almquist and four daughters from teen to toddler, were sent on vacation to Costa Rica. The team demolished the house and built a new, larger home with solar panels on the roof. Each child’s bedroom was a personal space that reflected the child’s interests.  The house became a secure sanctuary and change of pace. The local community college and university offered four-year scholarships for each of the children.

While the family was away, the team took one of the tigers for surgery to cure its longstanding paw injuries from “de-clawing” and relieve it of constant pain.

They built a learning centre for educating the public. The learning centre will enable Forever Wild to bring in school tours. There are new terrariums for the exotic (venemous) snakes. It also has a food preparation area and large fridges, so that the family can prepare 300 lb of meat a day for their animals. Each animal had a new sign with its picture, name, and story.

They made larger cages with more space for the animals and an animal playground for the tigers. They wove cat beds from indestructible used fire hoses.

The builders and volunteers collected $50,000 for maintaining the learning centre.  It was a fitting reward for the years of hard work and caring put in by the Almquists.

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Chimpanzee caches, and makes, throwing stones

A chimpanzee at the Furuvik Zoo has been observed collecting stones and leaving them in little piles to use later, for throwing at tourists. Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science has the story: “Chimpanzee collects ammo for ‘premeditated’ tourist-stoning.”

Even more interesting, when zookeepers removed the stones, the chimp, Santino, collected more and then began making them by breaking off chunks of concrete.

We already know that chimps were making stone tools 4,000 years ago.

A disaster of biblical proportions

John McCain made a very gracious concession speech and asked his supporters to work with Barack Obama. He was biting back tears in a few places. I imagine he feels a bit like this.

From Threadless Tees

Wolves are, too, smarter than dogs

The Economist cites an experiment that shows that a chance to learn human behavior, not intelligence, is the key to understanding human gestures. An experiment that concluded dogs understood gesture better because of selection to understand humans was flawed. It used wolves that had not been raised with humans. A second experiment found that wolves brought up by humans understand gesture better than do dogs.

My favourite saint

St. Tiggywinkles

St. Tiggywinkles

I’ve just discovered a new saint: St. Tiggywinkles Animal Hospital in England. It’s an animal hospital for wild animals and treats them free of charge. The hospital relies on donations and, I suspect, sales of animal photographs to keep going. It helps some of the millions of animals that are injured by cars, poisons, and the built environment every year.

Our veterinary team has pioneered much of the treatment now used for wildlife throughout the country. Our expertise and knowledge on all species is used worldwide. Over the years we have perfected techniques for hedgehogs, badgers, deer and other species and have a commitment to passing on this information through books, papers, courses and lectures to veterinary schools.

The experiences of our Hospital staff are helping many of the millions of casualties across the world, most of which are now being looked after thanks to the positive attitude of Tiggywinkles. Tiggywinkles survives on a solid base of membership and relies on donations from the general public and sponsors to thrive. It receives no state funding of any kind and no financial assistance from conservation groups.

“Tiggywinkle” is a nickname for a hedgehog.

There are domesticated hedgehogs, as well.

Ornate horned frog

NGSM-frogs-ornate-horned-4, originally uploaded by monado.

The ornate horned frog is looks like a malevolent puddle. It’s a large frog that waits for its prey from concealment.

At the National Geographic Society Museum in January, this one stood out in its bed of moss.

Blog monkey needs your help

Dr. Marc van Roosmalen is trying to protect this new species of black, woolly monkey and other new species in the Amazon jungle.

Cutest monkey ever

Cutest monkey ever

Donations will help to fund his research and protect the habitat for these animals. If he gets $31,000, he promises to name it the Blog Monkey — Lagothrix blogii.

Hat tip to PZ Myers at Pharyngula: “Blog Monkey.”

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