One of the best parts of my job while working with animals is the unpredictable nature of the game. There's no telling which animals I'll be working with in the near future or the ones I'll unexpectedly run into. A few examples include the walking sharks, money collecting parrots, The Today Show, actor Ken Jeong, and a beaver. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at a few recent over-the-top Animal Encounters!
Prior to heading off to New York, I stopped by our local NBC affiliate KTVB to promote my upcoming Today Show appearance. Joining me was one of the best smelling animals I've ever worked with- An eight month old binturong also known as a bearcat. They literally smell like hot buttered popcorn!
Bearcats are perfectly adapted for living high up in the trees in Southeast Asia. Their claws are sharp and quite efficient for climbing branches. My back was the perfect example of how powerful these animals can be!
Next stop was Boise's hit radio station Mix 106 with "Mike and Nicole in the Morning". Joining us was one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, a spider monkey named Mogli. Conservation messages are an important component of any media appearance, and Mogli served as a fantastic ambassador for his species. Sadly, all spider monkeys are currently threatened or endangered (like Mogli) mainly due to habitat loss.
Mogli was very selective on who he preferred to be around....(I think this might be the last time my sister volunteers to help out on the show!)
Nearly two months went into planning this particular segment for The Today Show. I wanted to focus on unique animals, incredible behaviors you rarely, if ever see on TV, and one that had a strong conservation message. Another major plus was finding out a few days prior that actor Ken Jeong, famous from playing "Mr. Chow" in the Hangover movies, was going to be co-hosting.
There's just something about this city. Maybe it's because I live in a small town, home to no less than a 1,000 residents. Maybe it's the fact that they say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere! Whatever it is, I'm always thrilled to return to the big city.
Spring time means baby time! I was literally shocked to see how developed these macaw chicks were at just 4 weeks of age. Blue and Gold Macaws are born completely blind and helpless, relying on both parents for care. Interestingly, these particular chicks are raised by both parents AND the trained handlers at Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections.
As the weather warms, we are more inclined to explore the outdoors, therefore increasing our chances of running into wildlife. Sometimes these wildlife encounters are less than desirable, ex: jellyfish! If you ask anyone what to do if you are stung by a jellyfish, the majority would tell you to urinate on it. WRONG. The experts say 1). Wash it clean with sea water 2). Scrape off any remaining tentacles with a credit card 3). Wash it with a solution made up of 1 cup of baking soda and 1 gallon of fresh water.
Another creature people often fear: Sharks! I've been wanting to talk about sharks on The Today Show for quite some time now, so you can imagine my excitement when it became a reality. Did you know out of the 440 species of shark, only a dozen are dangerous towards humans?
The whole reason why we do segments on The Today Show and other national programs is to raise awareness about animals and their conservation issues they face out in the wild. We took it one step further during this appearance. We had two very intelligent parrots named Indie and Maya take dollar bills from the anchors and put it in conservation fund box. 100% of the proceeds are going to protect endangered vultures in southern Africa. It just doesn't get better than that!
In case you missed the segment:
As much as I love traveling to the Big City, visiting the show, and eating pizza, there's nothing like coming home to these faces!
As I was completing this blog in the morning over coffee, I noticed a strange bump in my neighbor's yard. I went out in the pouring rain to discover the strange "bump" was in fact a young, badly injured beaver. This is the second one I've come across living out here on the Snake River. Both were badly injured. After making several calls and speaking with an experienced beaver rehabilitator, I decided to go ahead and try to rehabilitate him, with the goal of a wild release. I've cleaned his injuries (probably from another beaver) and fed him their favorite food: willow branches. Only time will tell if this little guy can pull through and make it back into the Snake River. I promise to keep everyone updated with his recovery.
Until next time,
BEAVER UPDATE 4/19/17 9:11 am
Mr. Beaver made it through the night! Something which is a major milestone considering his deep injuries and lethargic behavior. I learned that beavers have a very high tolerance for pain. Eating willow bark helps. It contains salicylic acid, an active ingredient found in aspirin. As you can see, Mr. Beaver stripped the bark clean off this willow branch! Stay tuned for more updates! - Corbin