Special Edition: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

003Some people we met at a campground where we stayed had been to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and told us all about it.  It sounded like an interesting place, so yesterday afternoon we went over there.  Although we enjoyed looking at the animals, it was not quite as thrilling as photographing the ones we saw in the wild.  Even so, we had a good time.  The place was undergoing quite a bit of renovation so you may see construction equipment in the background.

There were 3 moose very close to us in the first enclosure.  This one seemed to have a powerful thirst and was totally oblivious of us.

The bears were the highlight of the afternoon for me.  They played and when the little one got to be bothersome, the larger one let it know who was in charge.  The larger one was probably 8′ tall when standing on its hind legs.

I am unfamiliar with the muskox.  I included the picture of its face because these guys didn’t want to turn around and face us.  Their coat is unusual to me.  It looks more like long hair than fur.  I am told it is the warmest fur of all animals.

There was a large group of elk lying around chewing their cud.  Elk, like deer and cattle, are ruminants, which means they swallow their food more or less whole. Later, they regurgitate it and chew it.  Their stomachs have more than one section.  I believe 4, but if anyone knows different, I’d love to hear about it.  I don’t want to give out false information.  Also, look at the elks’ coats.  They are shedding the heavy winter fur and you can see the sleek summer coats underneath.

The caribou are interesting animals.  They are the only species of the deer family in which the female also has antlers.  According to the young woman who described the animals to the crowd, males shed their antlers by Thanksgiving, but females keep theirs until January.  That means, I guess, that Santa’s reindeer were all female!  Rudolpha?

The Great Horned Owl and the Bald Eagle were both rescued after being injured.  They were in very large cages and seemed happy.  I don’t know if they will ever be released back into the wild.  The next picture is of a young caribou (reindeer) a little over a year old.  I think he wanted to eat the camera.  He was quite tame and let us pet him.  The last picture is of the exit.  It shows some of the equipment being used to renovate and enlarge the area.

This just in:  Special May 31 Birthday Post coming soon to a blog near you!

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