New information on WNS, July 2013

» 07 August 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on New information on WNS, July 2013

Scientists identify key fungal species that help explain mysteries of white nose syndrome

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 – 20:02 in Biology & Nature
This big brown bat was tagged in Wisconsin as part of a research project.

Dan Lindner, U.S. Forest Service
Forest Service scientists Andrew Minnis and Dan Lindner generated DNA sequence data and found evidence supporting a shift in the genus to which the fungus behind WNS belongs, resulting in a new name: <i>Pseudogymnoascus destructans</i>, or <i>P. destructans</i>.

Dan Lindner, U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Forest Service researchers have identified what may be a key to unraveling some of the mysteries of White Nose Syndrome: the closest known non-disease causing relatives of the fungus that causes WNS. These fungi, many of them still without formal Latin names, live in bat hibernation sites and even directly on bats, but they do not cause the devastating disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States. Researchers hope to use these fungi to understand why one fungus can be deadly to bats while its close relatives are benign. The study by Andrew Minnis and Daniel Lindner, both with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Madison, Wis., outlines research on the evolution of species related to the fungus causing WNS. The study is available online from the journal Fungal Biology.

“Identification of the closest known relatives of this fungus makes it possible to move forward with genetic work to examine the molecular toolbox this fungus uses to kill bats,” according to Lindner, a research plant pathologist. “Ultimately, we hope to use this information to be able to interrupt the ability of this fungus to cause disease.”

The study is an important step toward treating WNS, according to Mylea Bayless, Bat Conservation International’s director of conservation programs in the U.S. and Canada. “This research increases our confidence that this disease-causing fungus is, in fact, an invasive species,” Bayless said, “Its presence among bats in Europe, where it does not cause mass mortality, could suggest hope for bats suffering from this devastating wildlife disease. Time will tell.”

White Nose Syndrome was first observed in 2006 in a cave in Upstate New York. Since then, it has spread to 22 states in the United States and five Canadian provinces and has killed large numbers of hibernating bats, a problem resulting in substantial economic losses. A marked decline in bat populations in the eastern United States was documented in a study published last month in PLoS One by Sybill Amelon, a research biologist with the Forest Service in Columbus, Mo., and co-authors Thomas Ingersoll and Brent Sewall. The study found cumulative declines in regional relative abundance by 2011 from peak levels were 71 percent for little brown bats, 34 percent for tricolored bat, 30 percent in the federally-listed endangered Indiana bat, and 31 percent for northern long-eared bats.

In 2009, researchers identified the culprit behind WNS as a member of the genus Geomyces, resulting in its name Geomyces destructans, or G. destructans. Minnis and Lindner generated DNA sequence data and found evidence supporting a shift in the genus to which the fungus belongs, resulting in a new name: Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or P. destructans.

“This research represents more than just a name change,” according to Bayless. “Understanding the evolutionary relationships between this fungus and its cousins in Europe and North America should help us narrow our search for solutions to WNS.”

The study is based on a foundation of collaborative research among the U.S. Forest Service, the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and is a continuation of pioneering research initiated by Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta and European researchers, including those at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures in The Netherlands.

“Collaboration is key to responding to problems as devastating as WNS,” said Michael T. Rains, director of the Northern Research Station. “We have come a long way since we first encountered WNS, in large part due to the cooperation among government agencies, universities and non-government organizations. For this study in particular, USGS and Fish & Wildlife Service partners played critical roles collecting the fungi used in these studies. Problems this large will not be solved without unprecedented cooperation, and this study is a great example of that.”

Source: USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station

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We need a more Conscious America!

» 06 August 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on We need a more Conscious America!

I had visited Alberta, Canada once before, about 10 years ago. I had forgotten how impressed I was with their good environmental choices until my most recent visit back. Just last night I returned once again from Alberta: specifically, Edmonton, Calgary, and the Banff area.

Picture landing into an airport full of recycling bins, not only for all recycled material, but bins for plastics, a bin for papers, and a bin for glass. Yes, there was also regular trash cans. Not one item of trash was seen anywhere inside or outside the airport. We had a three hour drive from Calgary to Edmonton. This stretch of Highway is traveled on a regular basis by  Canadians. Guess how many pieces of trash were seen on this stretch? None! Zero! Zip! What I saw were beautiful rolling hills of Canola fields in such a vibrant shade of yellow to equal the sun. I saw fields and fields of canola with the occasional livestock farm…clean as a whistle. A few, very small towns were along the way and even the towns were vey clean. I do not know if it  was the citizens or government that had this amazing idea, but small pull-over spots were sprinkled every 30 miles or so equip with various recycling bins and garbage bins. This gives even irresponsible people a chance to dispose of unwanted items in an environmentally friendly way. Are you a “granola” or “tree-hugger” if you choose to place your trash in bins versus tossing them from a window for others to see and later pick up? I hardly think so.

Besides the clean environment, Alberta also understands the balance of nature and the importance each animal plays in our ecosystem. not only did I see many signs warning people of a well-traveled wildlife route or area, but they even went a step further! In high-traffic wildlife areas, periodic bridges were built so the animals can still continue on their regular routes….without people hitting them with human-encroaching cars. How do these animals know to use these safety bridges? Because grass and plants are on top…a simple trail of nature. Think these bridges only saves animals’ lives? Think again. How often do humans hit a deer and it is either a fatal accident or causes sever injuries to the driver and passengers. These bridges are a win-win.

bridge-tunnel-alberta-banff-highway-227239

During a a couple month duration, some secondary roads are closed to protect the native wildlife. Alternate routes are provided. Do Canadians complain? Absolutely not, because it is ingrained into minds from childhood, to care for our Earth. Why isn’t every parent teaching this in America? Why are we so behind in times? Why do so many of us choose not to care? Does it start with a government that role models these eco-freindly choices?

I visited a wildlife rehabilitation center while in Edmonton. It merely was another vet office, except for wildlife. I was so jealous when I asked how they obtained their wonderful digital x-ray machine. The director’s reply was, “Oh, we are so fortunate that our city acknowledges the necessity and value of what we do, so they bought it for us.”  Are you kidding me? Am I in a dream? Does this stuff really happen? Not only did the city purchase this important equipment for them, but the city also gives a share of casino revenue to them so they can maintain a reliable budget. C’mon Louisville, help us out here. Why do we not have a wildlife center in our city? We are READY to make that change. Here we are! Help us help our city! Why is there not a wildlife rehab center in every major city? Why is it that we receive animals purposely hit by cars and Canada reroutes people to avoid them?

Now, I understand that my post is a general stereotype and there are some wonderful people that live here and probably some Canadians that don’t make great choices, but from my experience, we have a lot of educating that needs to be done here and a lot of self-reflecting. Canadians just seem to automatically think of others and our environment. Is this solely my opinion from my visits? No, it seemed to be obvious to my children as well. I hope that my children learned from our trip and I hope they can share similar values as the many, many wonderful people that live next door to our endearing Good Ole USA.

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How do dogs help penguins?

» 14 June 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on How do dogs help penguins?

How Dogs Help Protect Threatened Species

By )

A sheepdog can help protect penguinsA sheepdog can help protect penguinsIn 2005, the Little Penguin population of Australia’s Middle Island dropped to fewer than 10 birds. When volunteers began keeping records in the 1990s, more than 700 penguins lived there.

Faced with the possibility of losing the colony entirely, the Warrnambool City Council knew something had to be done, but they faced numerous challenges.

At low tide, the small rocky island, which is situated just a few hundred feet from the mainland, is easily accessibly by trampling tourists and hungry predators – namely, the European red fox, an introduced species. A boardwalk was built to keep people off the rookery and efforts were made to shoot and poison the foxes, but the penguins continued to die.

Then David Williams, an environmental science student who worked part-time at a free-range egg farm approached the city council with a proposal. He suggested placing Maremma sheepdogs – the same dogs his employer used to protect chickens – on Middle Island.

Maremmas have been used in Italy to protect sheep from predators and thieves for centuries. Unlike herding breeds that nip and chase flock, these dogs bond with the animals they protect and integrate with the herd, making them ideal guardians.

The city council agreed to a four-week trial to test Williams’ idea, and a Maremma named Oddball – an experienced chicken protector – was selected for penguin duty. Seven years later, the experiment continues.

The project has had its downsides – the first couple of dogs ran home at low tide and a few penguins died of internal bleeding from roughhousing puppies – but the Middle Island Maremma Project has been a success. Since its implementation in 2005, penguin numbers are back in the hundreds.

Today, Middle Island is home to not only many pairs of happy feet, but also two Maremma sheepdogs known as Eudy and Tula, whose names come from the technical name for Little Penguins, Eudyptula minor. The dogs bonded with the penguin colony as puppies and now identify the birds as members of their pack.

Birds of a feather

Inspired by the success of the Middle Island Maremma Project, Williams went on to supervise a similar program in Portland, Australia.

Williams trained two Maremma sheepdogs, Elma and Reamma, to protect the country’s only mainland breeding colony of Australasian gannets. Although the large seabirds aren’t endangered, they produce just one chick a year and their preservation is important to the tourism industry.

There were difficulties at first when Elma and Reamma discovered that Australasian gannet eggs made for a yummy snack, but an old farmers’ trick – filling eggs with pepper – taught the dogs a lesson.

Drawing on the success of the Middle Island project, the puppies were taught at a very young age that the birds and chicks were part of the pack and that the area was their territory. Today, Elma and Reamma have free reign of the colony and are successfully protecting the birds from predators.

Sniffing out poachers 
Deep in the wilderness of South Africa, dogs are working to protect another threatened species: rhinos. The animals rebounded from the brink of extinction in the last century, but the war on rhinos is being waged again, and on average, a rhinoceros is killed every 18 hours in South Africa. Armed with weapons and technology, park rangers are fighting back, and many are serving alongside man’s best friend

With heavily armed poachers roaming the parks, trained dogs provide early warnings and safety barriers for anti-rhino poaching units. The dogs are taught to locate poachers by scent and follow the sound of gunshots and vehicles in poaching hotspots.

“It takes 36 hours before a person’s smell disappears from a scene,” said a Pilanesberg Nature Reserve ranger who works with a Belgian shepherd dog named Russell. “When we hear gunshots or suspect that there are poachers in the reserve, Russell will track them down easily.”

In addition to tracking down poachers, the dogs are also taught to locate wounded rhinos and stashed weapons, and they distract poachers and defend their handlers.

“While the poachers cut the horn on the downed rhino the rest of the group lays an ambush in case the field rangers come upon them. This is where the value of a well-trained dog is immeasurable,” says David Powrie, operations manager at the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa.

“In situations where there is contact, the dog can go forward and distract the poachers giving the field rangers an advantage. The early warning and scent-tracking ability of the dogs give us an edge at night, which is mostly when poachers are active in the field,” he said.

Although anti-poaching dogs are involved in dangerous work, the dogs’ safety is of the utmost importance. Handlers develop close relationships with their canine sidekicks and are taught when it’s safe to send their dogs into the field.

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Birds Hitting Windows

» 14 May 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Birds Hitting Windows

LIVING LIGHTLY: FLYING CLEAR

 

Indigo bunting, © Bigstock

© Bigstock

Exhausted at the end of a 1,200-mile journey from South America, a male indigo bunting descends slowly toward what looks like an inviting tree in a lush backyard. Then, thwack! He hits a window that’s reflecting a tree instead.

Temporarily stunned, the bunting flutters to a shrub to recover. Fortunately, he wasn’t going fast enough for a fatal collision, and after a few hours he’s well enough to begin looking for food and a mate. But studies have shown that every year up to a billion birds die after colliding with windows on low-level structures in the United States.

“Birds don’t perceive glass as a barrier,” says Anne Lewis, president of City Wildlife in Washington D.C. “Either it reflects trees they think they can fly into, or it’s transparent and they try to fly through it.”

If you’ve never heard a bird thud, it’s likely you just weren’t home when it happened, and the bird was scavenged or flew off to die of a brain hemorrhage or starved after breaking a beak.

So how can people who want birds in their backyards keep them from crashing into windows?

“First of all, the location of your bird feeders is important,” says Lewis. “If you have a feeder in your yard, it should either be right up against a window, or more than 30 feet away.” A startled bird may fly into a window right next to a feeder, but it won’t gather enough speed to hurt itself.

Also analyze your windows. In most homes, windows change in transparency throughout the day. Remember that birds are most active in the morning and evening hours. For mostly transparent windows, simply keeping the blinds or drapes closed can help. It’s also a good excuse to let your windows get a little grimy—the less reflective they are, the more birds will recognize it as an object.

With really reflective windows try applying something to the outside of the window to ensure birds recognize it as a barrier. The rule of thumb is to have no more than a four-inch interval between clear glass. Depending on the situation, try window decals, hanging pieces of string or drawing on windows with soap or Tempera paint. It’s a fun activity for kids, and the paint is nontoxic and long-lasting even in the rain but comes off with a damp rag or sponge.

Get creative and you could be saving dozens of birds’ lives each year. Keeping cats indoors and replacing weed killers and pesticides with organic alternatives helps even more.

With just a few changes, you can create a safe haven for birds so they can live to fly another day.

–Article from Defenders of Wildlife, Haley McKey

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White-Nose Syndrome Trial

» 17 April 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on White-Nose Syndrome Trial

 

Retired military bunkers used as artificial bat hibernacula at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge in Maine (April 9, 2013)

In an effort to address mortality rates of little brown bats, biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries, Vermont Fish and Wildlife, New York Department of Environmental Conservation and Bucknell University have investigated the potential for using decommissioned military bunkers on national wildlife refuges as artificial hibernacula for imperiled bats. These sites could offer predator-free winter habitats for bats where biologists can monitor behavior and implement possible treatments against WNS. These sites may also be decontaminated during summer when bats are absent, which may slow or delay progression of the disease in individuals housed there the next winter.
article from white-nosesyndrome.com

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Palm Oil….What’s the Big Deal?

» 21 March 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Palm Oil….What’s the Big Deal?

Large buyers of palm oil — including the Girl Scouts, Dunkin’ Donuts and Sara Lee — are responding to environmental and wildlife concerns about the product’s use. But experts believe many animal populations are still negatively affected by palm oil plantations.

One of the hardest hit species is the pygmy elephant.

“The pygmy elephants of Borneo are baby-faced with oversized ears, plump bellies and tails so long they sometimes drag on the ground as they walk,” according to a World Wildlife Fund fact sheet. “They are also more gentle-natured than their Asian elephant counterparts.” Only about 1,500 of these mild-mannered, endangered elephants remain.

NEWS: Africa ‘Hemmorhaging Elephants’ at Record Rate

 

Human demand for baked goods without artery-clogging trans fats has grown and farmers are rushing to cash in on the ever-growing market for palm oil.

“The problem is that natural forests have a rich diversity of trees and fruits for animals to feed on and house themselves in, whereas oil palm is almost always grown as a monoculture, which really does not provide suitable habitat for most species,” Oscar Venter, a leading expert on the matter and a researcher at James Cook University, told Discovery News.

Large mammals, such as the pygmy elephant, have been impacted particularly hard. Venter explained that at least 31 percent of the pygmy elephant’s range is threatened by natural forest conversion to palm oil plantations.

In addition, humans aren’t the only ones craving foods with palm oil. Animals such as pygmy elephants and orangutans want it too.

“These species can be attracted into palm oil plantations by the bunches of palm fruit that are awaiting harvest,” Venter said. “But once in the plantations, these animals are highly exposed and susceptible to hunting. So, large animals and oil palm really are not compatible.”

Recent headlines have touted that major cookie, doughnut and other baked good manufacturers have gone “green” and “sustainable.” The situation is a bit more complicated, however.

NEWS: Elephants Show Cooperation on Test

 

Some manufacturers are working with organizations such as GreenPalm, which is a certification program.

“The certificates offer a premium price to palm oil producers who are operating within the guidelines for social and environmental responsibility set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil,” said Michelle Tompkins of Girl Scouts of the USA.

There is also a new carbon payment policy called REDD+, which stands for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Venter is involved in that effort.

“Before we got started, we didn’t have much hope, as oil palm is a really profitable crop,” he said. “It produces more food oil than any other crop, like soy or cottonseed. But what we found surprised us, which was that REDD could compete financially at CO2 prices of $2-16 per tonne if it targeted the plantations which stored the most amount of carbon, and at the same time were not very suitable for oil palm, so this was a pretty exciting finding, that carbon conservation could maybe compete financially with oil palm.”

When such money exchanges hands, the recipient country then uses the funds to develop forest protection strategies. For example, Indonesia and Norway recently reached an agreement whereby Norway is giving Indonesia $1 billion to trial a national REDD program.

“The most exciting thing to come out of this so far,” Venter said, “has been the government moratorium on any new palm oil permits in natural primary forest. This is by all means a major first step, though it doesn’t do much for those 46 species that are in places where permits have already been granted.”

Unfortunately, the pygmy elephants are among those species. 

Discovery.com, MAR 15, 2013 06:50 AM ET // BY Jennifer Viegas

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Benefits of Environmental Education

» 18 March 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Benefits of Environmental Education

Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan

approved by Kentucky Board of Education

Press Release from the Education Cabinet

Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan approved by Kentucky Board of Education
 
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2011)
The Kentucky Board of Education today approved the implementation of the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan (KELP) by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The plan’s objective is to ensure that Kentucky students are educated about the environment when they graduate from high school.
 
The plan was developed by the KELP Task Force, which includes a diverse group of educators and other key stakeholders appointed by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. Environmental literacy is defined by the KELP Task Force as “the ability to recognize the components of healthy natural and man-made systems and the actions necessary to maintain, restore or improve them.”
 
Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear applauded the approval of plan. “The Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan uniquely promotes energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental preservation through valuable classroom learning,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Providing students with a strong foundation in environmental knowledge and practices today will benefit the overall environmental quality of the Commonwealth for future generations.”
 
Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Joseph U. Meyer, said, “Innovative approaches are essential to helping Kentucky meet our goals of workforce development and college preparedness. Implementing this plan will help our students develop important collaboration, teamwork and problem-solving skills in the context of real world concerns that we face in Kentucky.”
 
Felicia Smith, KELP Task Force co-chair and associate commissioner for KDE, said that the plan will help students reach proficiency in all subject areas, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). “The Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan is ambitious, but achievable as a means for reaching core competencies in STEM education and across the curriculum,” she said.
 
Research demonstrates that using the environment as a framework for study across academic disciplines, including math, language arts, science and social studies promotes academic achievement. In addition, this type of instruction positively impacts cognitive development, child health, workforce development and a healthy environment, said Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC) Executive
Director Elizabeth Schmitz. The agency is in the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
 
“Among other benefits, studies show that student motivation increases when environment-based education is incorporated into schools, as measured by increased attendance, decreased tardiness and fewer discipline referrals,” said Schmitz. “This occurs at the same time that standardized test scores improve, especially in language arts. The marked improvement in language arts shows the truly interdisciplinary nature of environmental education.”
 
Dr. Melinda Wilder, KELP Task Force co-chair and director of Natural Areas at Eastern Kentucky University, said, “Taking our students outside, for even 15 minutes, to write an essay about something that they can see and touch – for example, a tree – gives students experiences that help them include vivid, real life details in their descriptions. That same tree can be used to learn math – calculating the tree height, circumference, and board feet, for example. It can also be used to teach about scientific concepts, social studies and history.”
 
The KELP Task Force also was co-chaired by Billy Bennett, director of the Center for Environmental Education at EKU. Development of KELP was funded by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council using America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money. The next phase of the KELP is to develop an Implementation Plan as directed by the Board of Education. This effort will be led by the KELP co-chairs and an Implementation Advisory Team named by Commissioner Holliday. The Implementation Plan will be completed in spring of 2012.
 
 

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Getting Rid of Skunks

» 19 February 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Getting Rid of Skunks

Do you have skunks under your deck or porch?

In Kentucky, March is the time to send them on their way (IF you have dogs and don’t want them there). If you wait much longer, moms will have her tiny babies there. You can’t get rid of babies like you can adults and you don’t want to make these little ones orphans.

Animals don’t like the taste of castor oil so you can spray that on your grass. The castor oil you can get from a hardware store is designed for grubs so to deter a bigger animal, spray double. It hooks up to your hose. Easy, cheap, and does hurt not the animals.

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Killer Cats

» 30 January 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Killer Cats

Behind Cute Face, A Cold-Blooded Killer: Study Finds Cats Kill Billions Of Animals

by EYDER PERALTA

Emma looks out from her cage at a pet trade show in Dresden, Germany.

Emma looks out from her cage at a pet trade show in Dresden, Germany.

Maybe that New Zealand environmentalist we told you about — the one who wanted to rid the country of cats because of all the birds they kill — was on to something: A new study published in journal Nature Communications found that cats are some of the most efficient and successful killers.

In all, the study found, cats kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year.

Here’s how The New York Times sums up the study:

“The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.

“Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and an author of the report, said the mortality figures that emerge from the new model ‘are shockingly high.'”

NPR’s Véronique LaCapra spoke to Marra in a piece for All Things Considered.

Marra told Véronique that they were given a grant by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to try to estimate the number of animals being killed as the result of humans, which included measuring deaths attributable to their activities, buildings and pets.

What they found is that the roughly 47 million pet cats and the 30 to 80 million feral cats were killing way more animals than any other source, including cars and wind turbines.

What’s more, the scientists say they’re pretty confident in their estimate.

“We felt like we only used the best studies out there,” Marra said. “We eliminated studies that had small sample sizes, or were only conducted for short durations. And we eliminated studies that had really, really high estimates, or really, really low estimates. So we tried to be as conservative as possible.”

Marra said that at the rate cats are killing things, “their hunting could be causing some wildlife populations to decline in some areas.” It’s not clear yet which species are most affected.

 

For another, more detailed report on this study, click here: http://www.birdingwire.com/releases/278900/.

 

 

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Unusual animal friends

» 18 January 2013 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Unusual animal friends

This true story is from a wildlife rehabber named Brenda. I love this story.

Most wild opossums and domestic ones too, live well with cats. Of course it depends on the cats and opossums. If they are aggressive animals –they won’t get along at all. However, I’ve had Sport for nearly 13 years now and he has been raised with dogs, other cats and opossums. The squirrels were a different story, he would sit for hours and watch the little squirrels, like “wow, Mom is raising my food now!!” However, my little Lizzi Beth Anne changed his mind about that!! She loved the baby squirrels and would lay right at or near their cage and let no one but me near them. Even when released, she would continue to monitor them. 

One morning as my husband was leaving for work, she kept getting in his way and trying to steer him toward a large tree in the yard. Under this tree was a  barrel where I would put a cage to release the squirrels from. I could still feed them until they left the area. This is where every morning she would check to see if “her” baby was ok!! Since Daddy belonged to Lizzi and was supposed to do everything she wanted, he said “OK,baby what do you want me to see?” She happily prissed (yes she walked with a definite sashay) her way to the cage, all the while looking back to make sure Daddy was right behind her. Once there, he saw that the blanket I had placed over the cage had fallen down so she couldn’t see her “baby”. Daddy repositioned the blanket and asked if this was what she wanted? She sat down and monitored the squirrel and let Daddy go to work. His job done for the day for “His” baby girl.
 
Knowing this, one day Sport, obviously forgetting his upbringing, came in the patio door with a squirrel in his mouth. The squirrel was dead, this didn’t matter to Lizzi, that stupid cat had one of her babies. She jumped all over Sport who dropped the squirrel and ran like his tail was on fire. Lizzi picked up the squirrel like it was a puppy, put it in her bed and covered it with her blanket using her nose. Then, without missing a beat, she went after that stupid cat like a shot, and she continued to reprimand him all day!!
 
I picked up the dead squirrel wrapped it in a baby blanket–put it in a cage so Lizzi could see that I was taking care of it.
That night after Lizzi finally went to sleep, I buried the squirrel and put a baby I was taking care of in the cage. She was happy to see the baby doing great the next morning and continued to check on it until release and then started her outdoor squirrel watch on her baby that she had saved from the devil cat!!
 
Sport, to this day, does not even look at a squirrel, even though Lizzi has long since gone over the Rainbow Bridge. He is convinced she would come back and get him. I’m not so certain she wouldn’t do just that!!
 
I still miss my sweet little Southern Belle,with her little white gloves and white Mary Jane’s, plume of a tail and blond curls. She was Southern to the core. A beautiful little Golden girl with a heart of the same color. She has been gone for 3 years now and not a day goes by that I don’t remember something she did that was just special Lizzi Beth Anne.
 

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