Animals are amazing navigators. Caribou, salmon, sea turtles, whales, monarch butterflies and many other species travel across continents and oceans to find food or have their babies. This is called migration. These animals have some kind of in-born knowledge about where to go as well as WHEN to go. This natural instinct helps them survive.
But there are some individual animals who have done the same thing…but AGAINST their natural instincts. Sometimes an animal returns to its home after being lost for YEARS. Sometimes an animal becomes uncommonly attached to a human. Sometimes two very different species of animals become close friends.
One of these unigue animals is Elizabeth, an elephant seal from Christchurch, New Zealand who lived in the Avon River in a city park. Humans tried to return her to her natural habitat in an elephant seal colony, but each time they tried…she showed up in Christchurch again! Sometimes it even took her several months to swim all the way back to her home in Christchurch. Try this story of one determined animal who insisted on living HER way. Finally, they just let her stay.
“Regional fisheries officer with the ministry, RV Reid, told The Press that Elizabeth was free to roam the streets. “Under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, we can’t disturb her at all.” She could go into Cathedral Square and bask in the sunshine for a week and we couldn’t do anything about it.” From Memories of Avon River’s Sea Elephant
So you see, this isn’t just a made up story, Elizabeth the elephant seal…was real. If you look here: Memories of Avon River’s Sea Elephant you can even see pictures of her. The author of this book is Lynne Cox, an American long-distance open-water swimmer. An open-water swimmer swims great distances not in a pool – mostly, Lynne swims in the ocean. Lynne has crossed the English Channel, the cook Strait in New Zealand, the Straits of Magellan in Chile, the Bering Strait in Alaska and many more…she even swam in Antarctica! Lynne heard Elizabeth’s story while she was in New Zealand. Lynne knew a good story when she heard it – animals sometimes have amazing relationships with humans, and with other animals. Take a look at the books below to learn about some other real animals and their amazing friendships.
Unique Animal Relationships:
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This is the fascinating story of one bird. He is a rufa red knot and his name is B95. His name is the number on the band scientists put on his leg. B95 is about the size of a robin, a bird we see a lot here in Indiana. B95 and the other red knots are migratory. That means they move in the Spring and Fall in search of food and nesting grounds. Red knots are AMAZING because they migrate from the South Pole…to the North Pole, and back again. That’s a long way!
B95 was banded as a young bird in 1995 when he was thought to be at least three years old. Each year scientists try to capture and band red knots to study their habiits. Amazingly, B95 has been re-caught in 2001, 2003, 2007 & 2009. He is thought to be around 20 years old. Scientists think has has flown more than 325,000 miles in his life…the distance from the moon and almost halfway back. And he weights 4 ounces!
This book is a really fascinating look at the scientists who study the red knots and also B95 himself. Each year, the scientists hope, hope, hope to see B95 again. He is a superbird – a true survivor! Author: Phillip Hoose
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