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Archive for May 2nd, 2009

White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest

True, we’re a dog website, but sometimes we just have to veer to deer, especially when we come across something like these elegant and ethereal creatures.

Native Americans considered them magical. So did Jeff Richter, a nature photographer who went to track down a herd he had heard about in north central Wisconsin. “I was just instantly hooked by them,” he says.

Richter’s book, released last year, is the result of his 10-year quest.

According to John Bates, the Wisconsin naturalist who provided the text for the book, references to the deer — he considers them albino, despite the lack of pink eyes — can be found in the journals of European explorers. They are thriving now in Wisconsin because state law prohibits hunting them, and communities have taken to feeding them.

Richter says the white deer, a genetic fluke, can be born to regular deer, and seem not to be singled out by other deer because of their color. “They just seem to be regular deer as far as the deer are concerned,” said Richter.

There are several other well-established populations of white deer, including an enclave at the closed-down Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, New York, where in the 1950s a depot commander issued orders forbidding the shooting of them.

Richter’s book is available from Manitowish River Press

To see a video of the deer, click below: 

(Photo by Jeff Richter)

Best Friends, Operation Scarlet lead voting

Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, and Operation Scarlet, a Shar Pei rescue group based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania have won the first round of voting — and $1,000 grants — in the The Animal Rescue Site’s $100,000 Shelter+ Challenge.

A total of $100,000 in grants will be awarded to shelters and rescue organizations in the 2009 Challenge, which wraps up July 26.

Members of the public can vote for their favorite shelters once a day at theanimalrescuesite.com.

This year, a grand prize of $20,000 will go to the top vote-getting organization. The second place winner will receive $5,000 and third place will receive $3,000. Honorable Mentions of $1,500 will go the fourth and fifth highest vote-getters.

“Because the voting lasts for fifteen weeks on our site, there is plenty of time left for new shelters to leap into the lead,” said Rosemary Jones, a spokesperson for The Animal Rescue Site. “We’ve also increased the number of grants, so there are more even opportunities for all types of Petfinder.com shelters and rescue organizations to receive anywhere from $1,000 weekly winner (for the most votes cast that week) to regional awards to the $20,000 grand prize.”

As of April 30, the top ten shelters in the Challenge in alphabetical order were: Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah; Days End Farm Horse Rescue; Lisbon, Maryland; Humane Society of Huron Valley, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc., Pittsville, Wisconsin; Oasis Sanctuary, Benson, Arizona; Operation Scarlet Inc, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary, Ovando, Montana; SBU Cat Network, Stony Brook, New York; Seminole County Animal Services, Sanford, Florida; and Wynne Friends of Animals, Wynne, Arkansas.