(TMU) — Zoo animals are typically used to being stuck in their enclosures where they spend their days being the object of attention for thousands of visitors. But as the coronavirus close zoos and aquariums across the world, life has calmed down drastically—no doubt leaving many animals bored with their new routines.
So now, a Texas aquarium is giving their creatures an altogether new experience by giving some of their own residents a tour of their facility so that the animals could interact with one another.
The Texas State Aquarium has a vibrant and diverse collection of sea and land creatures, ranging from exotic fish to vampire bats, keel-billed toucans, Caribbean flamingos, a number of different tortoises, as well as sharks and dolphins.
Last Friday, staff at the zoo decided to take their sloth, Chico, to meet some of the bottlenosed dolphins at the Gulf of Mexico exhibit.
As a bit of a local celebrity, Chico can't tour the Aquarium on most days without being mobbed by his adoring fans. But with our temporary closing, our sleepy sloth Chico was treated to an eye-opening adventure through our Gulf of Mexico exhibits!#ClosedButStillCaring
Posted by Texas State Aquarium on Friday, March 27, 2020
Their interaction, which was shared on Facebook, show the intelligent sea mammals Liko and Schooner bursting with excitement as they encountered the arboreal mammal likely for the first time in their lives.
Chico, for his part, seemed hardly excited by the encounter—instead, the lethargic three-year-old tree dweller seemed like he wanted to take a nap.
Snapshots of the meeting have since gone viral, with the post being shared 10,000 times and thousands of people posting comments.
One Facebook user wrote:
“Was Chico asleep the entire time? Love this! Thank you for bringing us a few smiles and some good laughs!”
While another wrote:
“What fun enrichment. These pictures are amazing.”
With the Aquarium temporarily closed, Chico the sloth had the opportunity for an up-close and personal meeting with some…
A spokesperson for the aquarium told Bored Panda that “play dates” are not out of the ordinary. They explained:
“As some of our most popular animals, it seemed an obvious choice for our sloths and dolphins to get a chance to see each other while we were temporarily closed. We have another sloth, Xena, but on that day, she was more interested in sleeping than meeting the dolphins!
Our dolphins have had the opportunity to meet several other animals over the years, including baby gators, an African serval, a red-tailed boa and others. They’re almost always very curious about the other Aquarium residents.”
In the meantime, it’s perfectly understandable if we humans—confined to our homes as we are—feel a tiny by of jealousy for the residents of the Texas State Aquarium.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years
Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.
Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.
The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.
Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.
It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.
“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”
Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.
Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.
“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.
“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”
Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.
“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.
Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.
“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”
In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.
Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.
A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.