All posts in "Animals"
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#925 Wildlife as teachers

By Cathryn Wellner / January 27, 2014

Bears, crocodiles, mountain goats and owls are among the teachers at Wildlife Associates in Half Moon Bay, California. Steve Karlin founded the sanctuary in 1980, with the vision of helping humans “to better perceive their relationship with the living world.” The environmental educator started taking reptiles to school assemblies. The demand for his interactive, whole-brain […]

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#884 Pig to the rescue

By Cathryn Wellner / December 17, 2013

Some stories bear repeating, like the one about LuLu, the pot-bellied pig. Back in 1998 she was one of those unlucky creatures who were part of the craze for pet pigs. Someone thought she would make a great 40th-birthday gift for Jackie Altsman. When Jackie went whale watching on her next birthday, she asked her […]

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#857 Nothing keeps Rodan from his beloved Malena

By Cathryn Wellner / November 20, 2013

A love story made the rounds of the Web in 2010, and it is worth retelling. Like all storks, Rodan and Malena had mated for life. In 1993 a hunter shot one of Malena’s wings. Thanks to the kind care of Stjepan Vokic of the village of Brodski Varos in Croatia, Malena survived. But with […]

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#851 Horses give wings to special riders

By Cathryn Wellner / November 14, 2013

I cannot walk, or run, or play a game of tennis everyday…. But I CAN ride through the forest trails… when carried high, my feet take wings… John A. Davis “My feet take wings” is such an apt and beautiful description of the spirit-buoying freedom that many physically and developmentally disabled people experience on the […]

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#837 The ethereal cricket chorus

By Cathryn Wellner / October 31, 2013

In the foreground we hear the chirping of crickets, played at normal speed. In the background, an ethereal chorus sings rising and falling notes, like a meditation inspired by the spirit’s search for meaning. The chorus is made up of crickets, recorded and slowed down until they sound like a magnificent choir singing a cappella. […]

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#825 Eerie world of the sea

By Cathryn Wellner / October 19, 2013

The sea is vital to life on the planet, yet its mysteries are seen by so few of us. One of the best ambassadors for the astonishing creatures at home in the watery world is David Gallo. He gives us new eyes in the water that covers 70 percent of the earth. In his 1998 […]

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#797 A girl and her dog graduate from the University of Illinois

By Cathryn Wellner / September 21, 2013

A fresh-faced, 21-year-old Bridget Evans entered the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2010. At her side was Cole, an 11-year-old black Labrador retriever who had been her faithful sidekick for years. Evans has spina bifida so Cole pulled her wheelchair, picked things up for her, opened doors and turned switches on and off. In addition […]

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#791 They brake for toads

By Cathryn Wellner / September 15, 2013

Around the third week of August, millions of western toadlets begin their migration from the shores of British Columbia’s Summit Lake to their destination in an upland habitat. And every year the tiny creatures, about the size of a dime, get squashed as they cross Highway 6. It is bad for the highway, which becomes […]

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#780 Invasive plants get their goats

By Cathryn Wellner / September 4, 2013

Farmers know more about invasive plants than any of them want to know. When I farmed in the Cariboo region of central British Columbia, I became entirely too familiar with the purple blossoms and spiny leaves of Canada thistle. Pigs and camels were our best control. The two camels loved the spiny tops. The pigs […]

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#776 Down in the muck, up in the stars

By Cathryn Wellner / August 31, 2013

Consider the lowly dung beetles, whose cuteness factor is nil but whose usefulness is high. They are one of nature’s humble custodians, rolling feces into balls that are their sole source of food. They are so devoted to their clean-up task the state of Texas imported them in the 1970s. Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension says […]

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