Houston organizes rehabbers in Wildlife Center of Texas

The women who care for wildlife around Houston have professionalized the group, which treats mockingbirds, armadillos, pelicans, sea turtles and anything covered in oil.

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Wild Kingdom: the drama of an otter family in Monterey Bay

The contemporary Wild Kingdom a mother sea otter that gives birth to a pup on a dock in Monterey Bay.

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Homosassa Wildlife Park: Manatees in rehab and wild in the river

Crystal River Manatee

Probably the easiest and most reliable way to see manatees on the Nature Coast in northeast Florida is at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, right off the main drag, route 19. You can see female manatees that can’t leave and young manatees that will be released someday getting fed at the Manatee Care Center. Plus, it’s one of the very few places in the area you might get to see wild manatees from the shore (easier on you and the manatees)–provided you show up in January or early February.

Like pretty much all the Homosassa manatee attractions, it’s hard to get your head around where the logistics. The wildlife park used to be a private zoo in Florida’s roadside zoo attraction heyday; the lone hold-over is the hippo, Lu, now 51. Otherwise, it now only takes native wildlife that can’t live in the wild because they were injured, sick or raised in captivity.

The park has a big parking lot and outpost on route 19 but the real action is closer to the shore. You either take a pontoon boat (they leave about every 15 minutes) or you walk. Or, you can just drive there. The park really begins deep in the pretty, winding Spanish moss covered roads of old Homosassa.

Captive manatees getting fed at Homosassa Wildlife Park

Some people will tell you the park only has captive manatees. Not true. Wild manatees visit the area. I heard varying accounts of

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Daily AnimalTourist: Horsemeat, Nazi Dog and Ohio Bear Pets

Horsemeat lovers unite, Nazis hated dog who did Hitler salute and OH finally bans exotic pets.

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Yellowstone: Bears, Otters and Wolves

otters loll  on land

Yellowstone Otters Loll on Land

Grizzly Bears Walk through Yellowstone

I just got back from about a week in and around Yellowstone and I’m overwhelmed. Like many wildlife watchers, for years I’ve listened to people talk up the park and its animals as a kind of Galapogos of the west. It always seemed too far, too expensive, too crowded and corny when so much wildlife is so much closer. Man, was I wrong.

Staying just four days in the park, I saw 22 species I’d never met before–and that’s not including all the weird birds I still have to look up. Without a guide, my husband David and I  got to see the big ones everyone wants to see, grizzly bears and wolves. I didn’t realize that everyone is going to see so many bison and elk that it’ll soon seem like you’ve been seeing them every day for years. If those were the main courses, we also got plenty of amuse-buche, animals I never expected to be able to spot: otters, mountain goats, pushy ground squirrels, plenty of pelicans and some freaky kind of grouse that boomed in front of us.  And not just fast, distant glimpses of a dark spot on a far off ridge (well, except for the wolves). We got to see them eating, playing, fighting up close.

So, no, you don’t have to have the skills of a backwoods tracker to see bears and wolves in Yellowstone. You just have to be

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