Aw, Chips: “Too nice” bobcat kitten doesn’t fear humans enough to live in the wild  »

Remember little Chips, the bobcat kitten who was rescued after a fire in the Sierras in August? She was taken to Sierra Wildlife Resuce by firefighters whom she was following around, rubbing against their giant boots. Poor little orphan! Look at how tiny she was!

Now she’s a bigger girl, but she’s also entirely too desensitized to humans to live successfully in the wild. She has to learn how to feed and care for herself, and fear humans, because humans are collectively terrible jerks who will not be kind to a friendly bobcat.

She’s being desensitized with the help of two other rescued bobcats, Tuffy, who was hit by a car, and Sierra, who was abandoned by his mother. The Sacramento Bee reports the trio will be released in the spring. In the meantime, good luck turning into a proper wild animal, Chips! Get mean, you adorable, beautiful fluffball!

[Photos by USDA via Flickr; AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Randall Benton via SFist]


Yellowstone’s famous alpha-wolf shot dead :(  »

From the New York Times:

Yellowstone National Park’s best-known wolf, beloved by many tourists and valued by scientists who tracked its movements, was shot and killed on Thursday outside the park’s boundaries, Wyoming wildlife officials reported.

The wolf, known as 832F to researchers, was the alpha female of the park’s highly visible Lamar Canyon pack and had become so well known that some wildlife watchers referred to her as a “rock star.” The animal had been a tourist favorite for most of the past six years.

The wolf was fitted with a $4,000 collar with GPS tracking technology, which is being returned, said Daniel Stahler, a project director for Yellowstone’s wolf program. Based on data from the wolf’s collar, researchers knew that her pack rarely ventured outside the park, and then only for brief periods, Dr. Stahler said.

This year’s hunting season in the northern Rockies has been especially controversial because of the high numbers of popular wolves and wolves fitted with research collars that have been killed just outside Yellowstone in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Also with her and killed was her bff, a wolf known as 754. Heartbreaking news, life is the worst. Also, total bullshit! Our national wolf populations can’t handle these state-sanctioned killings, and this just brings that sad fact into the light even more. 

The first wolf hunts in decades were authorized in Wyoming this fall. 832F was the eighth collared by researchers that was shot this year after leaving the park’s boundary. Seriously, fuck everyone. We reintroduced wolves in the 90s and now hunting is OK because they’re fucking with the business of factory farmers and hunters?

Our human relationship with other animals is so sick, it makes me wish an asteroid would just hit us. Or some sort of plague comes unto humans and future reign is handed off to the gorillas — naturally vegan, fairly peaceful, and content to munch leaves all days and think wise thoughts. Take it away, gorillas!

Once you’re done sobbing, check out Defenders of Wildlife to see how you can help the wolves.

RIP, 832F and 754. I’m sorry.


Guest post: We can have tigers as pets? WTF, right?  »

Rachel wrote about the tragedy in Ohio last week; I’m sure it didn’t escape your notice—the release of 56 wild animals kept as pets before their owner Terry Thompson committed suicide, and the subsequent death of 49 of them, got a lot of media coverage. That meant that many of my friends read about it, and pretty much universally asked “How the hell did he get those animals in the first place?”

Well, the short answer is that Thompson bought them, mostly, and he was not doing anything illegal when he did. Near the end of his term, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued an order that outlawed the ownership or sale of certain wild animals—but Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources never enforced the rule, and the order expired in April when it wasn’t extended by now-Governor John Kasich.

As it stands, in Ohio you can own animals like grizzly bears and lions, as long as you house them on your private property, and aren’t breeding, exhibiting, or selling them—even if you have an animal-cruelty conviction, as Thompson had. Further, you can have those animals living on your property and don’t have to let anyone know about it. And in some states, these animals are available for sale, which is how people like Thompson got them in the first place.

I posted on Pawesome a while ago about a petition to change laws about exotic-animal ownership in Indiana; this isn’t just a problem in one town or one state. It sounds crazy that in Ohio and other states you have to license your dog and can’t own a pit bull, but you can literally have a baboon or wolf in your backyard. But it’s true. 

This is not a good situation for these animals. Born Free USA campaigns against keeping wild animals like the ones at the Ohio property in captivity. Taking care of an animal like a tiger is no small feat: Think of what your cat eats in a day and multiply that by about 100 times. They need a huge quantity of food, as well as specialized veterinary care. And when they don’t have the proper environment or enough space—which is hard to provide for a large animal when it’s living on private property—they suffer physically and mentally.

Keeping these animals as pets is just cruel. Many owners of these animals claim to love them, but as Susan Orlean said in the New Yorker, love isn’t defined by a desire to possess.

It’s dangerous for people, too, when wild animals are kept as pets. Dogs and cats have been domesticated for millennia; tigers and lions and wolves are all wild, unpredictable animals. We can’t know how they’ll react, or what will upset them, and we can’t blame them when that happens. That is how they are: They’re wild. Someone easily could have been killed by one of the animals let loose in Ohio this week, and it’s remarkable that nobody was.

Want to know what the laws are in your state? Check out this Wall Street Journal interactive infograph to find out if your state allows private ownership of large cats, wolves, bears, primates, or dangerous reptiles. If you’re not happy with the answer, write to your state and federal representatives to tell them why, and ask them to change things. A reminder of the toll of this week’s Ohio deaths—and that it could have been a hell of a lot worse—wouldn’t hurt; neither would pointing out that elections are coming up.

Regardless of the laws where you live, head to to sign the petition letting Gov. Kasich know that Ohio’s laws need to change, now, before something like this happens again.

[photos from top by Matthew Burpee, planetc1, and fatedsnowfox via Flickr]

Terri Coles lives in Toronto, Ont., where she enjoys barbecuing, feeding feral cats, going to local music shows and getting really mad about hockey games. She blogs about her adventures in plant-based eating at The Vegina Monologues.


Super fucking sad: Last Javan Rhino in Vietnam now dead   »

Super sad news alert: The last Javan Rhino in Vietnam* is dead, and so now they’re completely extinct (in Vietnam). Yep, some poachers wanted the last rhino’s valuable horn so they killed him and cut it off. Or maybe they cut off his horn while he was still alive and left him to die. Who knows! Who cares! Answer: nobody, and that’s why they’re extinct.

Anyway, the horn will now be used in some bullshit fake medicine for stupid humans and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Maybe part of it will even be carved into some hideous tchotchke! Perhaps in a couple hundred years, someone will find it in a locker in San Dimas, and it’ll be appraised at a couple thousand dollars, and woo! Won’t that be great? I am not sure what we can do, but I did spend some time looking around the Stop Rhino Poaching website. Anyone know anything about them? Might be worth looking into? 

What a sad, fucked up world this is.

*correction, there are some in other countries still. 


Wild Animals Dead in Ohio; Cute Dolphin Photos to Ease Trauma  »

You’ve probably heard all about the super-sad situation in Ohio this week, but in case not, grab a pint of Coconut Bliss for consolation (but not a spoon, because you’ll just want to poke your eyes out with it):

The worst wildlife preserve owner ever killed himself after letting 56 of his dangerous exotic pets out to roam the wild. Freakin’ lions, tigers, and leopards were all scared and miserable in Zanesville, Ohio, as were the residents of said hamlet. 

Sheriff’s deputies figured the only way to solve the problem was to shoot the animals. The death toll as of 9:30 Thursday morning, according to the Washington Post, “includ[es] 18 rare Bengal tigers, 16 lions, six black bears, two grizzlies, three mountain lions and a baboon. Only six animals were captured alive.”

ARHRHGHH! This guy should not have been allowed to keep those poor animals in cages, but he didn’t have to ensure their slaughter to save them from circuses or shitty zoos.

Our hero Rachel Maddow had Jack Hanna on her show last night to discuss the tragedy.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on]

"The Humane Society on Wednesday urged Ohio to immediately issue emergency restrictions on the sale and possession of dangerous wild animals," reports USA Today.

Now, are some pictures of a nice person helping to save an orphan dolphin that might ease the utter desolation you now feel:

Awww. So I guess that’s good, at least. Go see more dolphin pics on Buzzfeed if you need a bigger dose.

[Thanks to Kristina Bjoran for alerting me to both stories.]

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