In the past week, I've been witness to a few deer, a rafter of turkey (yeah, I had to look that one up), a gaggle of geese and a lot of ferrell cats. Something about seeing these animals sparked my memory to an entry Chris Echols posted on this blog, almost a year to the date, about the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
Recently, I've read a few articles focusing on sanctuaries and shelters, in our region, for animals native to Appalachia and some from across the globe. I've also been noticing more and more old traditional bluegrass songs where the subject matter is a four-legged furry friend. We here in the mountains have always been fortunate to live among such animals. They gave us part of our independent spirit through the necessity of hunting and survival by our area's first settlers. They also instilled the values of "waste-not" and resourcefulness, passed down from the generations before us. We also know to bring a bear bag when we go camping unlike some cityslicker that drives to the Smokies for a weekend of roughin' it.
I've compiled a list of some interesting animal related links below. It's a brief list and so feel free to drop us a line and link us to some of your favorites.
Appalachian Bear Rescue
North Carolina Zoo
Located about 75 miles west of Raleigh in Asheboro, N.C. Zoo is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s finest zoos. It was the first American zoo designed from its inception around the "natural habitat" philosophy--presenting animals and plants in exhibits that closely resemble the habitats in which they would be found in the wild.
Among the most popular exhibits are those that display polar bears, sea lions, river otters, alligators, elephants, gorillas, baboons, rhinoceros, giraffes, and zebras. The 37-acre African Plains exhibit alone is as large a many entire zoos.
The 11-acre Prairie exhibit in the North American region showcases the zoo’s collection of bison and elk. The Sonora Desert, an indoor recreation of the famous desert of the American Southwest, is alive with roadrunners, rattlesnakes, gila monsters, tarantulas and many more fascinating denizens of that hot, dry climate.This was the nation’s first state-supported zoo and remains one of only two state zoos, the other located in Minnesota.
The N.C. Zoo is also the nation’s largest walk-through natural-habitat zoo. Its African and North American exhibit regions span more than 500 acres with more than five miles of walkways. Another 900 acres are available for future development on this scenic site in the Uwharrie Mountains, considered by geologists to be one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges.Kangaroo Conservation Center
We are dedicated to the preservation of kangaroo species thru captive breeding and public education. Currently exhibiting over 300 kangaroos of 8 species, our Center has successfully bred and cared for over a dozen different species of marsupials in the past 23 years. We invite you to visit and enjoy the unique wildlife educational adventure that we offer, an experience to remember forever!
Groundhog - The Watson Family
Off to the woods for to catch a groundhog.
Run here Sally with a ten foot pole, (repeat)
To twist that whistle-pig out of his hole.
Here comes Sal with a snicker and a grin, (repeat)
Groundhog gravy all over her chin.
Look at them fellers, they're a-goin' wild, (repeat)
Eat that hog before he's cooked or biled.
I dug down but I didn't dig deep, (repeat)
There laid a whistle-pig fast asleep.
Now the meat's in the cupboard and the butter's in the churn, (repeat)
If that ain't groundhog I'll be derned.
Well you eat the meat and save the hide, (repeat)
Make the best shoestring ever was tied.
Look at them fellers, they're about to fall, (repeat)
Eat till their britches won't button at all.
Little piece of cornbread a-layin' on the shelf, (repeat)
If you want any more, you can sing it yerself.
Cougars are shy and avoid humans. Many people live entire lifetimes in cougar country and never see one. Cougars are known occasionally to follow people, apparently out of curiosity. Fatal cougar attacks are extremely rare: a total of 13 people since 1890, compared to 18 people killed every year by dogs. (Beier, Paul. "Cougar attacks on humans in the U.S. and Canada, Wildlife Soc. Bull. 19:403-412, 1991)
There are some simple ways to avoid problems if you encounter a cougar in the woods:
DON'T RUN AWAY. Running triggers a chase.
STAND TALL. Open your arms to make yourself big. Speak loudly but calmly. Keep eye contact. Back away slowly, taking care not to trip. Keep children close to you.
FIGHT BACK if attacked, with sticks, stones, or fists. Cougars can be driven away by resistance.
Mountain Lake Biological Center
The Mountain Lake Biological Station is a field research and teaching facility located in the deciduous hardwood forest of the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia. It is the field station of the Biology Department at the University of Virginia. MLBS provides a wide array of natural environments as well as two modern laboratories. Full living accommodations are available on site. We invite researchers and students of biology or environmental science to use this site or contact the station about research and course opportunities.