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Date: 09-10-2015

Bear family adopts Paducah family SUV

 video of several bear cubs trying to get into a Paducah family' s SUV during a Labor Day weekend trip to the Smoky Mountains has gone viral. It took the family about an hour to realize the cubs were trying to get to their mother, who was trapped inside the vehicle. Ultimately the mother escaped unscathed, but the same can' t be said for the SUV's interior. video of several bear cubs trying to get into a Paducah family' s SUV during a Labor Day weekend trip to the Smoky Mountains has gone viral. It took the family about an hour to realize the cubs were trying to get to their mother, who was trapped inside the vehicle. Ultimately the mother escaped unscathed, but the same can' t be said for the SUV's interior.

BY GENEVIEVE POSTLETHWAIT
The Paducah Sun

Bill Perrin of Paducah knew his family's Labor Day weekend would be one to remember the moment his nephew said the words, "Uncle Bill? You have a bear in your car."

When Perrin and his family returned from a picnic Monday to their rented cabin outside Gatlinburg, Tennessee, they found several bear cubs "playing" atop Perrin's parked SUV.

At a loss for what to do, they watched from their cars for almost an hour. Finally they took a chance to dart past the cubs and up to the cabin's deck. From there family members broke out their smartphones and started filming as Perrin tried to shoo away the cubs.

"I started to use the water hose just to get the cubs off the car, but they wouldn't go very far," Perrin said.

Once the cubs walked off a little ways, Perrin's nephew peeked through the SUV's tinted windows to see the mama bear looking back at him from the front seat.

"I thought he was kidding!" Perrin remembered. "My nephew opened the door, and as soon as the mother busted out of the car she looked around, saw her cubs, and they just walked away like nothing had happened."

He asked the kids not to post the videos on Facebook, but they did, and it didn't take long for the video to spread.

The local news station in Gatlinburg picked up the story, one of many recent tales of hungry bears breaking into cars and cabins in the Smoky Mountains for treats in preparation for hibernation. As a Great Smoky Mountains National Park spokesman told WVLT-TV, cherries (one of the bears' favorite food sources) didn't grow in the park this summer, and the park's also seeing fewer acorns and nuts.

The Perrin family had been warned the local bears were especially hungry this season and took special care not to leave food in their cars. Still, the mama bear found her way inside the SUV and couldn't quite find her way out. Her efforts to break free all but destroyed the vehicle's interior, but Perrin was still able to drive home.

The family is unsure how the bear got into the SUV, though they suspect she managed to open a door. 

Perrin, who works at Computer Services Inc., has heard a lot of bear puns and jokes at the office and from friends since returning home, but he said it's all in good fun. It certainly made for a vacation his family will never forget. They're already joking about it themselves.

"My nephew asked me if I was going to contact the insurance company, and I said probably, and then he said, 'Well won't that be em-bear-rassing?'" Perrin couldn't help but laugh too.

Perrin said he does have full coverage on his bear-ravaged SUV, and he intends to call his insurance provider soon. At this point he's thankful his family members got the whole thing on video. Without that precious footage, they might never believe his story.

08-12-2015

BUTTERFLY WAYSTATION DISPLAYBUTTERFLY WAYSTATION DISPLAY 

FRANKFORT -- More than a dozen Kentucky State Parks are working on projects to help Monarch butterflies by preserving habitat and planting milkweed plants the butterflies need for survival.

The butterflies – easily identified because of their orange and black colors – are known for their annual journeys to Mexico each year for winter hibernation. Some scientists are concerned that loss of habitat is causing a decline in the Monarch population in some areas.

Five state parks – Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Waveland State Historic Site, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site and John James Audubon State Park – are certified Monarch “waystations” through Monarch Watch, a group working to protect the butterflies. The park system also uses a children’s menu that illustrated the life cycle of Monarch butterflies, designed by the Garden Club of Kentucky.

“We’re very proud at Kentucky State Parks to be part of this initiative to educate people about these special insects,” Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker said in a news release. “This shows that we all can make a difference and do something to preserve a part of our natural world.”

Ten other parks are in the process of getting certified or have planted milkweed plants. The waystations are places where milkweeds are planted to provide food and a place for Monarchs to lay their eggs.

Lincoln Homestead State Park near Springfield reduced mowing and the use of chemicals to allow a 10,000-square-foot section area to grow milkweed over the last two years. Monarchs have been seen on the area.

The park system began working on the Monarch project in 2013 with the Garden Club of Kentucky.

“We began working with state parks in 2013 and many of them expressed interest in the waystation project,” Joanna Kirby, who served as president of the Garden Club of Kentucky from 2013-2015, said. “The parks have been a great way to spread the word about this program and help us explain why it’s important.”

Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed September as “Monarch Butterfly Awareness Month” for Kentucky. Three parks have special events planned in September related to Monarch butterflies.

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg is hosting a “Butterfly and Native Plant Weekend” Sept. 25-27 that will feature seminars, workshops, field trips and Monarch tagging. A two-night lodging package that includes meals and program registration is available for $250 a person. Registration for the program is $30 a person. Call 1-800-325-0142 for reservations and information.

John James Audubon State Park in Henderson will present its “Monarch Butterfly Migration Mysteries” program on Sept. 12 and 19. Guests will learn about Monarch migration and then go out and tag Monarchs to study where they travel. The cost is $5 a person or $15 for a family. Programs start at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. Call 270-826-2247.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park is hosting its Caterpillar Weekend Sept. 11-12. There will be walks and presentations both days, plenty of photographic opportunities, and programs for kids. The fee is $10 for adults and $5 for youths 17 and under. Call the park at 1-606-663-2214 for more information.

AUGUST 10, 2015

 

The Beauty of Pollination - Moving Art™

CLICK PIC FOR VIDEO

The hummingbird doing rolls chasing a bee is not to be missed.

Be sure and watch closely (around 2 min 40 sec), and check out the baby bat under its mother. Unreal. 

- some of the finest photography you will ever see. 

Date: 08-10-2015

Officials still investigating mountain lion shot in Kentucky

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists Laura Patton and Steven Dobey began the necropsy with veterinarian Iga Stasiak in December.Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists Laura Patton and Steven Dobey began the necropsy with veterinarian Iga Stasiak in December.

A wildlife expert suspects that the mountain lion shot by a fish and game officer in Central Kentucky last year was a wild animal — not someone’s escaped pet, as Kentucky officials initially suggested.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources officials must certainly know the truth by now, because it does not take eight months to complete genetic testing, said ecologist Michelle LaRue, executive director of the Cougar Network.

But the state agency has for the third time rejected a request from The Courier-Journal under the Kentucky Open Records Law for a copy of the big cat’s necropsy and genetic testing. Those documents, said agency General Counsel David B. Wicker, are part of an “ongoing investigation,” and because of that, their disclosure is not required.

The Cougar Network is a nonprofit research organization that studies cougar-habitat relationships and the role of cougars in ecosystems. It is especially fo­cused on how mountain lion populations are expanding into their former habitats. 

There were three more confirmations recently, two in Wisconsin and one in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, LaRue said. 

She said she would not be surprised if the Kentucky mountain lion, the first confirmed in the state in more than a century, was a wild animal that wandered into the state. Increasingly, mountain lions are making their way back home to other corners of the Midwest, she said. 

State officials early on speculated that the mountain lion shot and killed in Bourbon County in December by a fish and game officer might have escaped from a private home or facility, suggesting it might have been in too healthy for a wild animal. They said the DNA testing to confirm the animal's origin would take a few weeks. 

Keeping mountain lions as pets in Kentucky is illegal, and state officials list them as “inherently dangerous wildlife.” 

LaRue said she has been asking around for details, too, and has also come up with nothing. Her network, however, lists the mountain lion on a its map of confirmed sightings as number 612. 

An increasing number of big cat reports in the state coincides with the return of the bobcat to Kentucky's landscape, the Kentucky department writes on its website. “Bobcats, which were considered rare as late as 1974, have increased in range and abundance throughout Kentucky. They are now found in every county in the state.” 

By James Bruggers
The Courier-Journal

JULY 20, 2015

volunteers counted 438 horses on reclaimed land in five Eastern Kentucky counties

Horses roaming on abandoned strip minesHorses roaming on abandoned strip mines

Horse owners in coal-depressed Eastern Kentucky have been abandoning horses on "land owned or leased by coal companies that was in various stages of being reclaimed," Sarah Coleman reports for Horse Channel. The result is that hundreds of domesticated horses are now roaming wild and new generations of horses that have never been handled by humans have been born on these lands. (Kentucky Humane Society photo)

Lori Redmon, president and CEO of the Kentucky Humane Society, said that in March 2014 she led a group of volunteers that counted 438 horses on reclaimed land in five Eastern Kentucky counties, Coleman writes. "The vast majority of the mares appeared to be pregnant or have foals by their side. When she returned in June, her assumption of mares being in foal was validated with an increased number of foals. In fact, one of the largest herds observed consisted of 120 horses and roughly 30 foals."

Turning out the horses isn't anything new, Coleman writes. "For the past 20 years or so, local citizens, many of them miners, would release their horses out onto the land that was being reclaimed by the coal mining companies.The horses could then be caught and brought back to homes and farms when the owners wanted to ride them."

"When the recession came in 2008, more and more horses were being turned out onto the mining lands (for reference, mine sites can up as large as 20,000 to 40,000 acres of land) increasing grazing stress onto the limited grass lands," Coleman writes. "Additionally, fewer horses were being gathered at the end of summer to go back to their homes. People began to travel from farther away to dump horses on the mine’s land. Some left stallions that bred the mares, leading to unplanned and unwanted foals that were feral because of their lack of human contact. The population of these free-roaming horses began to outgrow the ability of the habitat to sustain them."

One problem is that when the horses run out of food on reclaimed land, they often wander into residential areas looking for something to eat, Coleman writes. The best solution to reduce the populations has been increased adoption efforts. (Read more)

Written by Tim Mandell