Atlanta's Duck Pond cracking down on geese

One of the last places it was safe for families to feed ducks falls for the frenzy to eliminate Canada geese.

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If you’ve got a beagle, take them on a trip down south

Beagles are treated like kings down south, especially by old men who have rabbit hunting tales. The dogs love the heat, the beach, the affection.

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Hunters kill 4th endangered Whooping Crane in 2 months

Baby picture of Crane # 412, 2004-2011

Hunters kill 4th endangered Whooping Crane in 2 months. This bird, #412, learned to migrate by following an ultralight aircraft from Necedah, WI to Cherokee County, AL. Last year his chick disappeared. Hunters killed three whoopers in GA this winter. Less than 600 survive. The bird was discovered Jan. 28–two days before the end of waterfowl hunting season. The main hunting area in Cherokee is the Little River National Preserve, which got national parks funding and designation in 1992, but with the special exception that hunting be allowed there. Great idea.  Chattanooga Times Free Press

Rare and freaky blanket octopus spotted octopus off Florida. It’s red, huge and has cape-like arms. People rarely see these regular residents, which live far off shore when the Gulf Stream isn’t acting funny. via Scienceblogs

Michigan wants to ban wildlife rehabiliators from helping sick or injured mute swan. They want to restore the native trumpeter swan, instead. MLive

Israel tests bomb-sniffing mice for airline passengers. Om Dagens Nyheter

Leaked report shows Tanzania’s road through the Serengeti would carry a million cars a day. The road would cut off the migration of elephant, zebra and wildebeest, the country’s main economic engine. Chicago Tribune

Obama administration says, sure, walruses deserve endangered species protection, but they won’t get it. LATimes

Wild Mexican wolf count up to 50; GA to cut hunting lands

50 Mexican wolves survive in NM and AZ, up from 42 last year, despite an effort by ranchers to sue and shoot them off public lands.

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Hunters shoot 3 more whooping cranes; picture Palin targeting animal research lab workers

Whooping Crane Hunts

Add three more dead bodies to hunters’ have a long history of shooting endangered whooping cranes. Imagine if Palin had posted a map with cross-hairs on animal research labs. And a tour of other animal news.

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Atlanta’s Wildlife Hosptial

Flirty Arigato - SW Bobcat - L. rufus baileyi (Merriam)

Just 20-30  minutes south-east of Atlanta, wildlife rehabilitator Michael Ellis is nursing some dwarf baby squirrels, teaching a great-horned owl independence and giving permanent shelter to a couple bobcats. His outfit, AWARE (Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort), is the biggest wildlife rehab center so close to such a big city  I’ve seen.

Ellis, whose been rehabbing wildlife for two decades, says having big Route 20 nearby is crucial. You ride a few miles off the highway through farmland and the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and you’re at Aware, which looks like a house with an extensive kennel system. If you serve animals, why  be near a city? Most wildlife injuries involve people (or their cars or cats). But more importantly, the best way to help animals is to teach people how not to kill them.

“I could spend 45 days saving one opossum or 45 minutes with one class of 30 kids and end up saving 1,000 animals over their lifetime,” Ellis says. The grim truth of wildlife rehab is that–except for maybe a few endangered species–its broad impact on animal populations is pretty much nothing. Squirrels and starlings are in no danger of going extinct. “But it makes a big difference to that one animal,” says Ellis. And each of the animal treated impacting the people who find them or learn about them at the center. That’s why Aware wants to reach every kid in Atlanta.

A few of those that can’t make in the wild live out their time at

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Big Foot Tours $499

Nobody was impressed with the evidence presented at the Bigfoot press conference last week. Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer say they have a bigfoot carcass in a freezer in northern Georgia somewhere. But that’s not all! They also have video of a few live big foot or sasquatch hanging around the area.

Whitton and Dyer have alternately been described as hunters, hikers and big foot hunters. I tracked down an older story from a big foot blogger, who linked to their expedition site, Back then Whitton was were referred to as a cop and Dyer a former corrections officer. Dyer says he’s a married dad and former Army ranger. Matt calls himself Gary and says he’s a great tracker who “has associates who train bloodhounds for tracking.”

Most of their current stuff is on the site of Tom Biscardi, who is a more experienced and perhaps more oily bigfoot hawker. The sites share not only a quest for Sasquatch, but also a fondness for blaring completely unrelated music. Biscardi’s site includes field reports from around the country–but none in Georgia.

Whitton and Dyer on bigfootblogger describe getting started on the big foot hunt when being awakened by one “on the side of a mountain north of Helen, Georgia.” They claim to have sold out a trip to the Blue Ridge-Smokies in June where “there have been actual big foot sightings this year” and plan a September trip to “an even more specific area” in September. They brag that

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Kangaroo Ranches in Both Georga and South Dakota

For years I’ve wondered why entrepreneurs don’t set up kangaroo ranges around the country. Now they are starting to. I visited the Kangaroo Conservation Center outside Atlanta last year. It’s a bit of a stretch to call hauling kangaroos thousands of miles from their natural habitat to live in a fence visited by tourists “conservation.” But it’s a fun visit just the same.Now there’s a another kangaroo hot spot: the Roo Ranch in South Dakota.The ranch made it into the news when one of their wallabies briefly escaped at the airport.I haven’t visited–yet–but they seem to be a little bit smaller and less programmed than Atlanta’s Kangaroo center. Admission is only $15, but they do seem to count on making a lot of money off getting your picture taken with a kangaroo–kind of low rent like an amusement park.

Where to See Animals Down SouthWhere to See More Unusual Animals

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A Trip to Georgia’s Kangaroo Conservation Center

Kangaroo Conservation Center, Dawsonville, GAOn a farm 90 minutes north of Atlanta, hundreds of kangaroos hop in fields as if they were in their native Australia. The “Conservation Center” is the largest outpost of kangaroos outside Australia and a major source of zoo kangaroos. How much conservation is really on any one’s mind is a big question. People come because it’s fun to see herds of kangaroos on American soil, some up close.

You’ll start out seeing an Australian greenhouse full of birds and tiny rat kangaroos. Then it’s onto a tram tour, where you see three kinds of kangaroos behind tall chain link fences. Most kangaroos here happily live in natural social groups and with minimal human interference. After that there’s barn show, where you’ll get close to the tamer kangaroos and other Australian animals. You’ll learn, for instance, that their pouches aren’t as big and open-hanging as the cartoons make you think.

Afterwards, you can walk among the kangroo pens or see some other animals. Don’t miss the Dik-Dik, an African antelope who wants to mark you with a tar-like substance from a gland under his eye.

Where to See More Animals Down South

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