Chicago so excited about bald eagle nest it cancels nearby shooting range plans

IL eagle flies on blue sky

Bald eagles chose the post-industrial wasteland of Chicago’s way South Side to build their first nest in the city in 130 years. The Chicago PD cancelled plans for a huge outdoor firing range nearby that environmentalists hated anyway.

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Whooping cranes may make AL home after fluky weather and FAA rules dispute

13 endangered whooping cranes now call Wheeler NWR their winter home–maybe permanently–thanks to the quirks of weather, FAA rules and bird stubbornnes.

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Erich Klinghammer, pioneer of wolf watching, dies

The animal behavior professor got wolves to study in his Indiana yard, but the public pestered him till he opened Wolf Park. It was one of the first wolf sanctuaries and probably inspired many more.

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Another light sentence for a whooping crane killer

Indiana got a confession in a 2009 whooping crane shooting, but only charged a $1 fine. Birders and hunters say that’s too low for an endangered species that cost $110,000 to raise.

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Charming hobo dog gets place at Best Friends, MO tries to repeal prop B

Dozens fed and tried to catch Rusty in Oak Brook, IL. After 3 year chase, he’s headed to UT’s Best Friends.

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Happy Joint Birthday, Indiana Wolves, Enjoy Your Frittata

Would you like to treat a wolf to a frittata? What if you know it was his birthday? And that the wolf happened to looove frittata? Indiana’s Wolf Park–probably the most innovated wolf sanctuary in the country– is having a joint birthday party for its wolves this Saturday, April 24.

All the wild canids (including coyotes and foxes) at Wolf Park breed and give birth around the same time. Last year the center, which started in 1972, started having an adorable birthday party. You can buy your favorite wolf a birthday cake (a $25 donation) and then get a picture of them devouring it.The cakes aren’t really cake, but a frittata with eggs, butter, cheese and chunks of meat, says assistant manager Dana. “The wolves don’t really have much of sweet tooth,” she says. They are very popular with the wolves. The human visitors enjoy the happy spectacle.

For the wolves that live in pairs or their own enclosures, delivering the cake isn’t much of a problem. But some in the main pack got ripped off last year. “The trickeist ones we have are the main pack. Last year we made larger cake they could all eat. One wolf, Tristan, the alpha a the time, just ate it all and was sick afterwards with a tummy ache,” Dana says. This year, they’ll deliver individual cakes, which they expect the wolves to run off with.

Cake time is 2 p.m. Saturday. Since they don’t want any wolves to go

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Easter Bunny Will Leave Eggs At Wolf Park–Then Quickly Leave The Enclosure

Kailani finds goodies in an old stump.  Monty Sloan/

The Easter Bunny visits Indiana’s Wolf Park this weekend, but don’t worry about his personal safety.The park assures visitors “The Easter Bunny will hop into the wolf enclosure (the wolves will be elsewhere) and will hide Easter eggs for the wolves to find (after the Bunny leaves).” Whew!

The non-profit, educational park is really clever in coming up with events that both keep wolves busy and gently persuade the public to enjoy wolves instead of fearing them. They recently had a Twilight event, give the wolves pumpkins at Halloween, have a communal birthday party (all the wolves are born around the same time) and have overnight kids camps.

Volunteer Caity did let us in on an Easter secret: the wolves prefer other treats to the traditional colored hard-boiled eggs (just like people!). Wolves go for peeps and sausages. “The eggs are not necessarily their favorites, but they do look really cute,” Caity says. The wolves catch onto the game right away. “They’re very inquisitive,” she says. “Some are braver than others when it comes to exploring new items, but they all  pretty quickly notice it is food.”

The event, now in its eighth year, also includes Easter egg hunts for kids–no sausage included.

Where to Go To See Wolves See More Animals in the Midwest To see more animals go to

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Wolf Parks Jump on the Twilight: New Moon Bandwagon

Wolf at Longleat Captivated by Twilight New Moon

The wolves at Longleat Safari Park in England were impressed with the realism of Twilight: New Moon. At a special showing in the their park west of London, they paid attention to the wolf scenes and howled back, the Telegraph reports. They’re just the latest tie-in wolf parks are making with the vampire movie.

Sure, the whole “World Wolf Premiere” thing is a ploy for the DVD release. “Whilst we’re used to deafening screams for Robert Pattinson, it’s a nice change to hear howls of approval for the rest of the cast, including the screen wolves themselves,” one movie promoter said. 

But at least the wolves were entertained. Or enriched, as animal care people say. They circled the giant screen pulled by a semi, making sure it wasn’t a predator about to attack. Then they started watching and sometimes howling. “They seem to be really keen on the wolf bits,” Ian Turner, the park’s deputy head warden said.

The folks at Indiana’s Wolf Park were way ahead of the Brits. In January they hosted a special night for Twilight fans, who learned the differences between real wolves and those hunks in the film.

As every hack journalist knows, you need three events to make a trend, so here you go. Turns out the animators for the movie got their accuracy on by hanging out at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in California. “They all climbed into a 40ft pen with the wolves

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Visit the Bison off Route 80

Wild Winds Buffalo Ranch, Fremont, Ind. On our way to Illinois for Christmas, David and I stopped at the Wild Winds Buffalo Ranch, which is off Route 80 in Indiana, just a few miles from the Ohio border. We arrived on Christmas Eve. The guide, Three Paws, let Jolly come into the lodge, where he cooked us buffalo burgers for lunch. He explained that the ranch was started by a doctor who wanted to see the buffalo preserved and eventually opened it up to the public. David and Jolly stayed back (dogs spook buffalo), while I got to drive out to the herd with Three Paws. They keep the buffalo wild, don’t touch them. A grandmother runs the herd and decides when they are through with the pasture they’re in. She signals the humans by standing apart (in the wild she’d be off exploring), then she charges in alone to the new pasture (in the wild, she’d be looking for predators). The ranch takes to heart the native America spiritual beliefs about the buffalo. A local tribe blessed the ranch and it’s the site of primitive camps and gatherings for descendants of Native Americans. The grandma buffalo will decide when her time has come by separating herself from the herd. In the wild, she’d be taken by predators. Here she is taken by the humans, who then honor her by posting her skull in this display.

Where to See Animals in the MidwestWhere Can I See a Bison Herd

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