Today was a fantastic day, particularly for Leslie. We went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation, education, and quality animal care of Alaska’s wildlife. The center provids care for hundreds of displaced animals. They rehabilitate and release whenever possible, but some animals cannot be returned to the wild.
We went on a behind the scene tour and Leslie got to bottle feed two sitka black tail deer. The first two pictures shows her feeding one of the twins that were born at the center. Their mother had complications after their birth. They are 3 weeks old. One of the fawns (second picture) has not learned to suckle so he was fed from a bowl. The other deer she got to feed was one whose mother had been hit by a car, she was 2 months old and very affectionate.
After refusing to go to the musk ox farm in Palmer because she thought musk ox were ugly (3rd picture), Leslie had to change her story when she got to play with two baby musk ox. They were very affectionate – sort of like dogs and very soft. The baby moose’s name is Tok and he was abandoned by his mother. He gave Leslie some kisses when she first went in with him and then she got to bottle feed him too.
The next picture is an eagle that is at the center because he was shot and has no wing on the left side. He has been in a few movies. The next two pictures are Snickers the porcupine who loves peanuts. We were wondering where his quills were because he looked so fuzzy and the intern lifted up that fur and showed us his quills (second picture). Luckily, he did not feel that he needed to bring them to the surface. We did not get to go into the enclosures with the adult moose and the grizzly bears – imagine that – but we still got good pictures.
As we were finishing our tour, the intern got a radio call that a car accident had blocked the entrance/exit of the center, so we decided to walk around a little more. The center has an elk herd that they keep pretty wild because they release them periodically and we were lucky enough to stumble upon an elk that was in labor. We watched her for an hour and a half and got to witness the birth. Then we watched for another hour while the mother cleaned it off and it struggled to stand and nurse. We have fantastic pictures and videos of the whole thing (although the most graphic did not make it in the blog). It was a totally awesome, amazing thing to watch.
The sad part of the day came when we learned that the wreck was very bad and there had been a fatality. The road was closed going south (which is where we needed to go) and was supposed to be for hours, so we went north to get some dinner. The road was closed until 10:30 and the traffic was backed up for miles. We finally made it back to the camper at almost midnight. Even that had a silver lining as we saw something that we have never seen before. As we were driving back at 11:30, we could look in front of us and see the moon rising and twilight darkness and when we looked behind us across the water of Turnagain Arm, the sun was setting and the sky was a beautiful pink orange. Absolutely gorgeous and absolutely cool.