Feisty the Seal

We had some horrific flooding here in Minnesota last night. In Duluth, up there on the shore of Lake Superior, torrential rains overnight last night brought down 8-10 inches of water. There were roads washed out & sinkholes & flash flooding. Luckily there haven’t been any serious injuries but Governor Mark Dayton issued an emergency executive order declaring a state of emergency. Millions of dollars of damage. The early estimate is that about 10% of the city’s streets were damaged or destroyed.

The waters rose so fast when Kingsbury Creek overflowed that the Lake Superior Zoo lost several animals. The sole survivor of their barnyard exhibit was a miniature horse, but a donkey, four goats and six sheep died. They also lost three birds: a turkey vulture, a raven and a snowy owl.

Flooding in their polar exhibit enabled Berlin the polar bear to escape his exhibit, but he was tranquilized before getting any further. The seals also escaped their exhibit, but one of them, Feisty, lived up to her name and went on an adventure.

Feisty got into a culvert and made a break for it! She was found outside the zoo on Grand Avenue.

Photo credit: Ellie Burcar

I’m not sure if that look on her face is “Oops, they caught me!” or “I’m out! What do I do now?”

Both Ellie Burcar and Donald Melton thought it was an injured dog when they came upon it. After all, who expects to find a seal wandering around in Minnesota?! They used their cars to block the seal from oncoming traffic until they could flag down a fire crew.

After this picture went viral, someone started a Twitter account for Feisty.

It’s fun, with some serious mixed in. Some of Feisty’s Tweets:
“What’s there to do in this town?”
@lakecreature wanna do lunch?”
“they found me… I’m back inside now, but they’re giving me fish, so I’m pretty ok with that.”
“no time for a nap… I’ve got to tease the polar bear because he didn’t get out of the fence like I did.”

Feisty cares about the humans too though.
It looks like Feisty, her sister Vivian, and Berlin the polar bear will probably be coming down to the cities to stay at the Como Zoo for a while. It’s going to take a lot of work to get the Lake Superior Zoo rebuilt. Donations can be made through giveMN.org at: http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Lake-Superior-Zoological-Society

Photo credit: Ellie Burcar

Photo credit: Ellie Burcar



Stuff I Love: Minnesota Zoo

Stuff I Love: My favorite products, music, movies, geek obsessions and more. I think these things are awesome and you should too!

The Minnesota Zoo

Here in Minnesota we have what some longtime residents still refer to as “The New Zoo.” It’s not so new any more – it opened in 1978 – but it is a lot newer than the other Twin Cities Zoo (Como Zoo, which opened in 1897).

One of the things I love so much about the Minnesota Zoo is one of the things that visitors often complain about. The outdoor exhibits are large & natural, and the animals have plenty of room to move around. I take a lot of photos of the animals at the zoo and I hate it when there’s no way to get an image that doesn’t have a fence or enclosure in it. Even though I’m obviously not taking my pictures of tigers out in the wild, I want them to at least look as natural as possible.

For a while, due to lack of funding and interest, the zoo had very little change. Then, in 2000, they hired Lee Ehmke away from New York’s Bronx Zoo to be the new director.  Under Mr. Ehmke’s leadership the Minnesota Zoo has gone from being a good zoo to being a great world-class zoo. He’s gotten old exhibits such as the Minnesota Trail spruced up and rebuilt as well as bringing in entirely new exhibits with new animals such as the new Penguin exhibit and the Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit.

I’ve been a member of the MNZoo for over a decade now and I am consistently impressed by each new exhibit they build. They always hold member’s nights for the new stuff so that Zoo members can get the first look at it. Another awesome feature they’ve added to member’s previews in just the last few years is an 18+ preview night. Zoos are great for kids, and kids love them. But, if you don’t have kids and aren’t at the zoo with kids it is sooooo nice to be viewing the exhibits with only adults. My membership is just an individual adult one so I take advantage of the quieter preview.

I have taken hundreds if not thousands of pictures at the Minnesota Zoo. Here are just a few of them:


Amur Tigers, October 2005


Amur Leopard, September 2008

Mexican Grey Wolf

Mexican Grey Wolf, December 2005

Red Panda

Red Panda, February 2007


Flamingo, February 2007


Ring-Tailed Lemur, February 2007

Gray Wolf

Gray Wolf, March 2008