Tag Archives: wildlife

Bats, Caves, and White-Nose Syndrome

Weird! Cool! Bats!

Weird! Cool! Bats! [Image: www.nature.org/]

Bats are awesome. They are a crucial part of insect control, pollination, and seed dispersal within their environments. They’re adorable, they help mitigate mosquito populations, and they have suffered huge, tragic population losses over the last 10 years because of a fungus that is incredibly spreadable, Pseudogeomyces destructans (Pd).

Over six million bats have died because of white-nose syndrome (WNS), which is caused when Pd is present in a cave where bats are hibernating. The hibernating bats are understandably awoken by the discomfort of having a fungus growing on their faces, but being awake prematurely is terribly costly in terms of energy. The bat is supposed to be sleeping the winter away because its food sources are limited or nonexistent, and it will likely starve or die in pursuit of food in weather and temperatures they aren’t built to withstand.

Poor bat.

I don’t think any of us would get a good night’s rest with that kind of thing going on. [Image: www.whitenosesyndrome.org/]

All this to say: While WNS is spread mostly between bat neighbors, humans can contribute to the problem if explorers delve into a cave where Pd spores are present, and then without proper precautions, wear the same gear to an uninfected location. That is, even though human transmission is neither the primary mode of transmission between bat populations, nor very common, precautionary measures are a critical aspect of protecting a very important species, especially when we haven’t entirely figured out how to combat it.

Snack!

Dinner on the fly. [Image: www.scienceinseconds.com/]

If you’re an avid spelunker or cave explorer, especially on the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, you’ve probably already read up on the appropriate decontamination protocol for your subterranean equipment. But for those of you who are new to the activity, it’s best to think of white-nose syndrome as an invasive species. One should endeavor to avoid contact with an area where the fungus has been documented, and certainly contact with bats, regardless of the confirmed presence of the fungus or not.

Here at Pocket Ranger®, we support the noble spirit of subterranean exploration! It’s a great way to stay active in the year’s hottest months and is a fun and enriching way of experiencing an inverse of our lives above ground. But with the deadly proliferation of white-nose syndrome in American bat populations, there are responsibilities that cave explorers must recognize. Hopefully we all keep them in mind as we spelunk our way out of the oppressive summer heat.

The Discovery of Species

As tech-savvy human beings armed with our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps and other excellent technologies, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re not just curious explorers or chroniclers of the manufactured and natural worlds. We’re animals, too, and are part of the community of strange and exotic creatures that we investigate and dutifully record. In discovery of the world, we discover something integral to our own being. This year is already a fascinating foray into that very exploration, with several new species coming to light in some of the most inhospitable or least expected environments.

A Tiny Frog in Karnataka, India

This guy's chirp sounds like a cricket's.

Hey there, little fella. [Image: www.techtimes.com/]

The Laterite narrow-mouthed frog was recently discovered in the Indian state of Karnataka in a namesake laterite marsh area that occurs around rural and semi-urban human settlements. It likely remained undocumented because of its diminutive stature—it is roughly the size of a thumbnail. But its discovery in a developed area is instructive and a crisp reminder that, just because there’s an established human presence somewhere, doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to discover!

Creepy-Crawly in the Southern Oregon Coast Range, Oregon

[Image: www.phys.org]

What has eight legs, too many eyes, and probably wears a neon sign that blazes NOPE? Why, Cryptomaster behemoth, of course! [Image: www.phys.org/]

This spider was recently found in the woods of southwestern Oregon. It was named “behemoth” because its size outstrips nearly all of the other nearly 4,100 described Laniatores, and “Cryptomaster” because it’s good at remaining unseen. Thankfully the behemoth, like most spiders, is perhaps as disinterested in us as we are it and keeps itself hidden beneath decaying leaves and fallen trees of the old-growth forests in the Southern Oregon Coast Range.

Octopod says, “Aloha!” in Hawaiian Archipelago

Thanks, Okeanos!

Another previously unknown creature of the deep to grab our attention and make us think about ecosystems beyond our commutes? Thanks, Okeanos! [Image: www.itv.com/]

Researchers also made another many-legged discovery this year: a disarmingly cute octopod scientists are calling “Casper.” The indeterminately friendly octopus has un-muscled arms, with only a single row of the usual suction cups, and beady black eyes set adorably in its milky-white mantle. But Casper hasn’t been much described by researchers beyond its cursory appearance, as it revealed itself to NOAA scientists while Okeanos Explorer, the remotely operated underwater vehicle, explored the Hawaiian Archipelago. What we do know is that it dwells much deeper in the ocean than its known octopus cousins and that the wee cephalopod serves to keep our expectations in check.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready for this Jelly…Near the Mariana Trench

Cue Twilight Zone music.

In an environment called and characterized as the Midnight Zone, it helps to have glowing reproductive organs, which scientists suppose this jellyfish has in the golden orbs that are very likely its gonads. [Image: www.eutopia.buzz/]

The Mariana Trench is one of the last great terrestrial frontiers to thwart explorers and befuddle scientists, and it’s no wonder that it remains a consistent source of discovery and veritable fount of new species. What is a wonder are the extraterrestrial qualities of the creatures that thrive in that deep, dark pit beneath the ocean. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is in the midst of conducting a survey of the baseline formation and the areas around the trench that began April 20 and will extend to July 10. Already several new and exciting species have been encountered, but the jellyfish with a “jack-o-lantern meets the future of spaceship engineering” appearance has been a thus-far highlight of the exploration. With more than a month to go, we’d all do well to keep our eyes peeled for more live cam weirdness and intrigue!

Humans are one of the most adaptive and widespread species on the planet, thanks in large part to our combined intelligence and technology. This indispensable combo not only helps us persevere in all sorts of extreme conditions, but also allows us to engage with curiosity in our surroundings. As technologies improve, we are able to explore our world at deeper depths, in greater detail on microscopic and subatomic levels, across more of the electromagnetic spectrum, and sometimes—perhaps just to keep our collective ego in check—right in front of our faces.

*hop*

Or even on our faces! (Happy belated, David!) [Image: www.primogif.com/]

The moral of the story is, of course, that you can get out, explore, and maybe even find a new species in places you have been to before. Our Pocket Ranger® apps are a technology that is here to help. Whether your discovery is new to the scientific community or to you in your observations, it’s your duty as a human to investigate! And it’s always worth the adventure.

Avoiding Animal Heat Stress

On Earth Day, Sambo, an approximately 40–45 year old elephant, dropped dead from heart failure and extreme heat exhaustion after walking for 40 minutes in 40° Celsius weather in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The irony of an elephant dying on Earth Day surely didn’t escape many. It’s a sad event to see that an elephant has been overworked in such intense heat without anyone caring for its physiological needs. One of the questions that begs to be answered then is: How can we avoid animal heat stress?

sambo the elephant

Sambo was only one of the many elephants used as a tourist attraction in Cambodia. She had been working for Angkor Elephant Company since 2001, part of a couple of elephants made to bring tourists to the popular Cambodian temple complex, Angkor Wat. [Image: www.dankoehl.blogspot.com/]

During summer, animals experience heat stress. As temperatures rise, medical risks, such as heat stroke and heart attack, are common symptoms of heat stress for animals. Below are some tips to help keep animals well-cared for in the summer.

Provide easy access to water and shade.

dog tub

This dog is spending his summer in the best way possible: Chilling in his very own pool with other “friends.” [Image: www.opensecretsdc.tumblr.com/]

Summers can be brutal—they can make one dehydrated if there isn’t enough water ready to replenish the system. Shade is also another vital companion to prevent constant exposure to extreme heat, making both water and shade critical aspects of properly caring for animals.

Handle only when the time is right.

playful cat

“But what do you mean I can’t go outside and play? I want to!” [Image: www.wallpaperswide.com/]

It is highly recommended that all handling activities—this includes training animals—be postponed to dates or changed to times when the heat isn’t as intense. The reason for this is that some animals have less of a tolerance to heat than others, and any movement under such high temperatures outside can easily increase the animals’ internal body temperature.

Know heat stroke indications.

grizzly bear bathing

A grizzly bear luxuriously bathing in a creek. [Image: www.grizzlybearblog.wordpress.com/]

Fortunately, heat stroke has a few key identifiable factors. Here are a few:

  • High body temperature (above 104° F/40° C)
  • Altered mental state or behavior
  • Alteration in sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid breathing

Animals are vulnerable to heat stress and heat stroke, so it is important to be able to identify key signs of behavior and physiological symptoms in order to take care of them properly.

This summer, there’s no need to put your animals in danger. And as always, with the help of your Pocket Ranger® mobile apps, you can go out and have some unforgettable adventures together! Make the sun a friend and not a nemesis.

Life After Chernobyl: Wildlife Thrives

30 years after the Chernobyl disaster, wildlife thrives in the radioactive zone.

The Chernobyl disaster was a wildly catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine. The accident occurred on Tuesday, April 26, 1986 and has since then been categorized as the worst nuclear disaster in history. It was also classified as a level seven, which is the maximum classification in the International Nuclear Event Scale.

chernobyl

The Chernobyl nuclear plant after the disaster. The catastrophe involved more than 500,000 workers, left 31 dead, cost approximately 18 billion rubles, and led to massive radioactive contamination that contributed to long-term effects, such as cancer. [Image: www.nytimes.com/]

The catastrophe was such that the city of Pripyat where the Chernobyl power plant was located was completely evacuated of all residents. It is now an abandoned city and is considered part of the 30-km Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation (also known as the “Chernobyl Exclusion Zone,” the “30 Kilometer Zone,” or “The Zone”).

Since then—with the exception of other structural collapses, contamination-limiting projects, and spontaneous fires in the vicinity—the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has been devoid of people. But 30 years after the disaster, in an area devoid of human occupancy, wildlife activity is seen to thrive.

bison herd in chernobyl

A bison herd near the abandoned village of Dronki, Belarus. [Image: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters]

While there may have been some immediate effects in wildlife, nature has since reclaimed the area. Moose, deer, European bison, hares, foxes, wild boars, and grey wolves are only a few of the animals that are thriving in the radioactive zone. Perhaps one of the greatest questions is: How are wildlife surviving in such a highly radioactive area?

chernobyl horse

The wild Przewalski’s horse (other common names include the Dzungarian horse, the Asian Wild horse, Mongolian wild horse, takhi, or the Przewalski’s wild horse) is an endangered species and extinct in the wild, but was introduced to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. After the introduction, the species rapidly thrived and grew to up to 200 individuals from only a dozen until they were reduced to 30–40 individuals as of 2011 due to poachers. [Image: Genya Savilov/AFP–Getty Images]

The answer may lie in different genetic makeups and some less contaminated areas of the seclusion zone. But the genetic effects are still evident in the Chernobyl animals. Many of the grey wolves, for instance, have cataracts in their eyes, and some birds have smaller brains. Though there are no other easily identifiable direct genetic consequences of just how much the radiation is affecting the animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in terms of genetic damage and injury, the animals are, for all intents and purposes, indeed thriving in a zone where humans have been removed.

With the exception of the occasional illegal hunting that occurs in the Exclusion Zone, wildlife’s numbers have been increasing impressively. The grey wolves’ numbers in Chernobyl are estimated to be more than that of the numbers present in Yosemite and are seven times bigger than the official Ukraine nature reserves.

Wildlife’s flourishing numbers are a testament to the damage that humans can do to them. Abandoned farms and hollowed-out hotels have given way to overgrown weeds and thick shrubs that are now prime for new animal homes. Because of this, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is now considered one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Europe. It is an important reminder of the extent of human influence and just how much we can affect wildlife’s populations.

With that, we leave you a video of an ingenuous Chernobyl fox making a sandwich. Sure shows how much they’re flourishing!

Most Endangered Species in the U.S.

As a nod to the most recent World Wildlife Day, we put our lenses toward four of the most critically endangered species in the United States. So what classifies species as critically endangered, you may ask?

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is the organization heralded as the leader for research, data analysis, field projects, advocacy, and lobbying primarily for nature conservation. Established in 1948 in France, the organization has since expanded as a respected key influencer for species and habitat conservation throughout the world. It produced the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which gives the categorization levels of species based on their status within their ecosystem and how they are being affected by internal and external factors.

The IUCN Red List has three main categories: Extinct, Threatened, and Lower Risk. Threatened and Lower Risk have five and three subcategories, respectively. Threatened has Extinct in the Wild (EW), Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU), and Near Threatened (NT). On the other hand, Lower Risk has Least Concern (LC), Data Deficient (DD), and Not Evaluated (NE).

IUCN's Red List.

Breakdown of IUCN’s Red List. [Image: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/]

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Critically Endangered (CR). These animals are at high risk for extinction. There are about 1,500 species that fall under the CR category, and approximately 300 of these alone are in the United States. Below are a few animals who are on the critically endangered list.

Red Wolf

red wolf part of the most endangered species sitting on long

A gorgeous red wolf seemingly suspicious of whatever it’s staring at. [Image: www.forechange.com/]

The red wolf is known for its characteristic reddish fur, with some brown and black colors running along its back. It is shorter than its relative, the much more powerful grey wolf, only standing at an average 45–80 pounds, 26 inches at the shoulder, and about four feet from the tip of its nose to its tail.

The red wolf is in danger due to habitat extinction and as a result of poachers and hunters. Unfortunately the red wolf’s closeness to coyotes have made it a growing target of accidental killings due to hunting. The USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) has been attempting to increase support and conservation of the red wolf as its numbers continue to decrease in the wild.

American Burying Beetle

american burying beetle

The American burying beetle as seen under a careful photographic lense. [Image: www.fws.gov/]

The American burying beetle is a large insect characterized by black and orange bands on its body; its antennae, head, and front legs have orange tips, patches, and spots. It suffers from dangers of extinction from a variety of causes: Less habitat range, unavailability of carcasses that these beetles utilize as a crucial part of their breeding habits, a possible reduction of reproduction due to genetic characteristics, and more carcass competition.

The U.S. FWS have been attempting to slowly reintroduce the American burying beetle to the public with a laboratory colony in Massachusetts. They are hoping to pinpoint the cause of the decline of these species.

Hawksbill Turtle

hawksbill turtle

A beautiful photo of a hawksbill turtle luxuriously swimming in the ocean. [Image: www.worldwildlife.org/]

The hawksbill sea turtle is an old species that primarily resides in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific areas, with some numbers found in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii as well. It is characterized by a flat body, beak-like mouth, and protective carapace with black and brown across its back and sides. It can grow up to one meter long and can reach up to 280 pounds.

The hawksbill’s numbers have been decreasing due to human exploitation, loss of habitat, human and animal encroachment on its nesting sites, and the reptile’s slow maturation. Currently the IUCN and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service consider it endangered.

Gopher Frog

gopher frog on ground part of the Most Endangered Species list

The Mississippi gopher frog averages three inches in length with a dark brown or black dorsal surface covered in warts. [Image: www.onegreenplanet.org/]

From its widely spread numbers, the gopher frog, also known as the Mississippi gopher frog, is now quickly declining to its extinction. It is now one of the rarest amphibians in North America, with only a 100 adults remaining in Harrison County, Mississippi. This population shift is largely due to adult mortality and a large difference in ages at maturity (females mature at 24–36 months while males do so at six to eight months), and the males not returning to mate because of the animals’ predisposition to being highly solitary. Conservation efforts are now in place to preserve the gopher frog’s population, with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service combining forces in order to rehabilitate and create a future breeding site for these amphibians.

The aforementioned species are only four of the more than 100 critically endangered species in the United States. It is unfortunate that the most common denominator for their extinction is human involvement. Currently massive rehabilitation and conservation efforts are in place in order to put a stop to their declining numbers. If you wish to be more involved in the conservation efforts, we suggest visiting USFWS, U.S. Forest Service, and IUCN’s websites to learn how you can join in on the conversation of rehabilitation efforts.

And as always, don’t forget to check out your Pocket Ranger® apps to check out volunteer options in your state parks or viewing options for the other endangered species in the country. The app is available in both the Apple Store and Google Play. Download now, and get involved!

Wildlife Extinction and Endangerment

Since the rise of the Industrial Revolution, human advancements have been catapulted to undeniable heights. Renewable energy, dams, bridges, sky rises, and housing created and now dot the skyline. But with the rise of these developments came continuing damage to multiple wildlife ecosystems, causing wildlife extinction and endangerment. Many areas that were previously home to various wildlife were manipulated, condensed, or in certain circumstances even completely eliminated in order to accommodate the needs of the human population.

By the turn of the 21st century, thousands of animals have gone extinct and even more entered the status of critically endangered as identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Poaching and requisitions for believed, though often unfounded, medicinal effects or even just for internal decoration and clothing have caused an alarming degradation of these animals’ numbers, with some even going completely extinct. Below are a few of these animals that experienced a problematic decline.

Baiji Dolphin

baiji dolphin

A male baiji dolphin typically was around 7.5 feet long and 8.2 feet for females, with a record length of 8.1 feet. They had a bottle-nosed, slightly upturned beak and a bottle-shaped body.[Image: http://mnn.com/]

The baiji dolphin was native to the Yangtze River in China. It is currently declared extinct, with the last verified sighting reported way back in 2004. There was evidently a supposed sighting of a lone baiji back in 2007, but with no other sightings since and with no other known baiji in the area, it is said to not have any possible way of maintaining its population. Their extinction was due to massive pollution in the Yangtze River and the building of dams and land reclamation that illuminated their niche. The further industrialization of China has made the baiji a popular hunting target as its skin and eyes hold a high monetary value as well. Although hunting was not the most significant factor in the extinction of the baiji and it was instead caused by massive human industrial expansion, a lack of of knowledge and timely conservation ultimately led to the demise and extinction of the species.

Western Black Rhinoceros

western black rhino

A western black rhino weighed as much as 1.5 tons in its prime. It primarily resided in Africa and was a kind, social animal. [Image: http://i.imgur.com/]

The western black rhinoceros was native to Africa and was rich in population up until around the 20th century when hunting for their horns became more common. Their decline was such that their numbers deteriorated to just 10 within a century, and just a year after that sharp decline, only five were left before their complete demise in 2004. The major cause of the western black rhino’s extinction was poaching and hunting for their horns. Some cultures held the belief that their horns contained medicinal attributes, and with a lack of conservation efforts and the demand of the horn and skin from the rhinos in the black market, they were hunted extensively to extinction.

As of now, other rhinos are also facing a critical endangered status, and preservation efforts are currently underway to keep them from following in the tracks of the western black rhino. Unfortunately, preserving them is proving to be difficult due to a lack of sufficient conservation efforts in place. Hopefully with more awareness, these ancient creatures can be saved and left to peacefully roam in the lands where they have thrived for millions of years.

Tiger

tigers

Tigers are probably one of the most elegant creatures in the wild, its white, gold, and black stripes a staple of the animal. Part of the charismatic megafauna, it is commonly the face of conservation advocacies. [Image: http://spiritanimals.wikia.com/]

While tigers are generally prohibited from being hunted and are well protected by conservationists, they are still subject to poaching, their continuously dwindling numbers a testament to this. Like rhinos, tigers are also subject to being sold in the black market as medicine, ornaments, and aphrodisiacs. While conservation efforts are strict, there is still a large case of tiger poaching and selling them within the black market.

Sumatran Elephant

sumatran elephant

Sumatran Elephants are social, gentle mammals. They have an average length of five to nine feet and can grow up to 20 feet and weigh approximately five tons. [Image: http://www.berdiri.org/]

Another critically endangered species is the Sumatran elephant. The decline in their numbers is primarily caused by poaching for their ivory tusks as well as an immense loss of habitat due to agricultural efforts. Found in the Riau province in Sumatra, Indonesia, these elephants once roamed the island widely before poaching led to their sharp and continuous population regression; they lost 50 percent of their population in just 22 years due to poaching. In certain local places in Sumatra, they are now locally extinct where they once were widespread. A combination of these factors continues to threaten their existence even today.

These animals are only a few examples of those that were badly affected by the illegal poaching and industrialization efforts of mankind. It is important to be aware of the proper rules and regulations toward wildlife in order to continue the preservation methods currently in place. Head on over to our Rules & Regulations sections in our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to help you stay informed of the proper do’s and don’ts. With combined preservation efforts, we can still assist in keeping these beautiful creatures safe and sound.

Wildlife in the White House

In celebration of President’s Day, let’s turn our heads not to the presidents of the United States, but to the pets that ruled the White House. Surprised? Don’t be! Wildlife has long entrenched its presence in the White House even before local and international fascination placed them in the spotlight. Below we’ll discuss some of the odder White House wildlife that eternally left their paw prints in the cemented steps of the executive palace.

Gifted Alligators

President John Quincy Adams had two—that’s right, two!—alligators that occupied the White House during his presidency. These alligators were said to have been a gift by the Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat who had an allegiance to the United States and was a key player in the American Revolutionary War. Not much backstory was provided as to why the Marquis gifted President Adams the alligators, but the story goes that the president then decided to place them in the White House bathtub.

alligator bro

President Adam’s alligators might have offered the same invitation as above. Won’t you return the favor? [Image: http://weknowmemes.com/]

Much hilarity (and fright) must have ensued once guests asked to use the lavatory and—surprise, surprise—they were met by two alligators!

Ike and his Flock

Ike began ruling the White House when President Woodrow Wilson experienced growing administrative difficulties during the conflict sparked by World War I. Evidently, President Wilson decided that the best way to maximize manpower was to purchase a flock of sheep and let them perform the White House garden maintenance duties; this would free up the gardeners so they could make more important war contributions. The fleece was also auctioned off to buyers eager to contribute to war efforts, a useful financial benefit.

sheep in white house

A flock of sheep grazing the White House grounds. [Image: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/]

Ike was actually part of this flock and was by far the most renowned, if not for his stature then for his impressive temperament. Apparently, Ike was not shy. When he didn’t get his royal requests, he showed his displeasure through ram-like aggression.

angry-ram

This is not Ike, but it’s easy to imagine our old pal holding this kind of expression during one of his liminal outbursts. Just put a cigar in his mouth, and you’d have quite a historical picture! [Image: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/]

But possibly one of the more humorous things about Ike was that he had a particular fondness for chewing cigars. He chewed cigar butts whenever he made such a golden find. Such was his love of cigars that during his last breath in 1927, his caretaker reported that he died “peacefully munching” on the cigar that was last given to him! Old Ike must now be resting peacefully, hopefully in a cigar haven.

Lions or Taxes?

President Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, was automatically inducted into presidency after the death of President Harding. He was well-known for his silence and for having, by all intents and purpose, a literal zoo in the White House.

Amazingly, Coolidge had 25 pets during his term; though most of these consisted of cats and dogs, there were some obscure additions to the pack, such as Enoch the goose; Rebecca and Reuben the raccoons; Ebenezer the donkey; a black bear; a wallaby; Billy the pygmy hippo; and Smoky the bobcat. However, the most impressive of the pack are the lion cubs given to him by the dignitaries of other nations, which he named Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau.

taxreducbudgetber

Docile and tame? Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau were the lion cubs that Coolidge kept in the White House. [Image: http://i.imgur.com/]

The story goes that both of the lions’ names were inspired by Coolidge’s economic policies. While having pet lions may raise many eyebrows, they fit in quite well with the Coolidge family.

Pauline Wayne, At Your Service

The last one on our list is the “Queen of the Capital Cows” and also the last cow that ever grazed in the White House, Pauline Wayne. She was actually a successor of Mooly Wooly, the first bovine pet of President William Howard Taft.

pauline-taft-pet-cow

Pauline Wayne, 1911: “The Royal Cow.” She stood at about four feet tall and was a sturdy spotted bovine. [Image: http://i1.wp.com/]

If there was ever a celebrity animal in the White House, one of the strongest contenders is probably Pauline Wayne. Transported from Kenosha, Wisconsin by train, Pauline was a gift from Senator Isaac Stephenson. Her job was to provide milk and butter for the First Family.

Sound odd? Not as odd as it seems, actually! Pauline was a proficient milk and butter provider. In fact, her celebrity status was such that many media outlets sought to cover this majestic girl. She was also frequently invited to cow shows and even to guest star as a traveling cow in a musical, all declined by President Taft, of course. Other stories circulated about Pauline Wayne, including a mistaken identity case that almost got her sent to the slaughterhouse as well as a purported robbery of Pauline Wayne’s milk by a visiting professor right on the White House lawn.

Two years after her arrival at the White House and at the end of President Taft’s term, Pauline’s health started to decline. She was eventually sent back to a local Wisconsin farm to live the rest of her days as a regular cow. She served the president well during those days, not only acting as a pet but as a charitable provider to the First Family.

Want to discover more interesting tips and fun FAQs about wildlife? Head on over to our Pocket Ranger Fish & Wildlife apps, and let us help you with your next wildlife viewing excursion. Find us now in the Apple Store and Google Play!