-- by Susan Eirich, PhD -- As Jean walked into the bear area, he caught something unusual out of the corner of his eye. He turned to his right. Teton Totem was in his pool enclosure facing east, bathing himself in the early morning sun. He was balancing on his ample bottom, with his feet up in the air in a “v” shape, his front paws holding onto his back paws. He was holding perfectly still. Jean couldn’t believe it. He rushed to get someone else to witness it; “Do you see that? Do you see that? Teton is doing yoga!” Drawings by Jean of Teton Totem (Left) and Humble Bumble (Right) stretching It wasn’t a fleeting action. He held the position for several minutes. And he hadn’t...

-- by Susan Eirich, PhD -- The phone rang: “I have something that belongs to you,” the voice said. “But first we have to meet because it comes with an explanation.” Judith and I met at the local library. She was carrying a flat dress box. Inside lay a very intriguing work of art. Inscribed on the first leaf of this handmade “book” was the statement: “I am Bluebell.” Judith, a fiber artist, began to tell me about its two-year journey. Connecting with Bluebell “I received a request to create an art piece for a nonprofit benefit on the theme “Bison.” I had seen the massive creatures in Yellowstone with butterscotch calves. I had seen the lovely paintings and...

-- By Susan Eirich, PhD -- Sometimes, the veil between species is pierced and it is a very beautiful thing. Life’s strong, biologically driven sense of individual preservation, common to all species, gives way under extreme circumstances. As a last resort, we overcome our fear and ask for help when there is no other option left. One exquisitely touching example of this is in the accompanying video. Four wild young deer, exhausted by swimming across the icy waters of Stephens Passage off the coast of Alaska, see a boat, swim towards it and essentially ask for help from humans. Which is gladly given. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yhnEs_mzOo There are many such videos: The raven...

There comes a time, in the course of human events, when you have to give a bear a pill. Or in this case, eight of them twice a day because unfortunately they don’t come in bear size. You might think it would be easy. With a wolf, as long as there is breath in their body, put the pill in a piece of meat and they “wolf” it down, no questions asked. If there is any difficulty at all you keep a second piece of meat in your other hand and they focus so much on the second piece they might miss, that they wolf down the first while eyeing the delectable second (the grass is always greener . . . ). If there should be any possible problem even then, you offer a piece to another wolf, and they...

A little black fox furiously running straight to the cougar cage ready to kill was the last thing we thought would happen, but it did. Though hardly small, we had recently moved the young cougar, Tahi, to an enclosure adjoining the Small Animal Garden. It was a good move. She is closer to people and is happy there until we get the funding to build the Cat Gardens. During a retreat last week we took everyone into the Small Animal Garden to meet Foxy Whitefoot, a tiny but very very lively fox who was rescued from a fur far a few years back. She is an emotional being, who loves people and expresses herself quite dramatically (or loudly) as one would observe. We brought her to the...