by Matthew Cobb
Two tales (tails?) of animal resilience, from opposite sides of the world. One finishes well, the other not so well.
First, the puma. In the middle of the night on 11 June, a young male puma/cougar/mountain lion (they are different names for the same beast) was knocked down by a car in Connecticut. That’s surprising (and sad), as this was the first puma to be seen in the state for a century – the animal is now largely restricted to the western part of the USA.
Amazingly it turned out that the DNA from the cat matched samples that were taken from the Black Hills region of South Dakota, a couple of years ago. That’s from a region that’s about 3,000 km away. And there’s an awful lot of urbanized land in between – including the Chicago area (maybe it crept past underneath Jerry’s window?). [EDIT: As the poor thing was neither de-clawed nor neutered, the vets reckon he is a genuine wild animal, and not an escapee…] [EDIT by GCM: the genetic match was not just with the South Dakota source populations, but with samples from an individual lion which had crossed through Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2009-2010, so we know part of the actual path it took.]
Although the obvious solution is that the puma walked that distance, maybe it was a hobo-puma and jumped on a train? Isn’t that what those two dogs and the siamese did at one point in The Amazing Journey? Or is my memory in a bad way?
The goldfish story is a tale of survival under the grimmest conditions – the aftermath of the terrible Christchurch earthquake. The quake claimed 181 lives and destroyed much of the city. Now there’s an uplifting coda – two goldfish, now named Shaggy and Daphne after the characters in Scooby Doo, have been found alive in their 26 gallon tank which was in an office in part of the city that was closed off for safety reasons.
They were not fed during this time, and no filter to clean the crap out, but they were still alive. The story is not quite so cheery though, as there were originally six fish in the tank. One was found belly-up, the other three are missing, presumed eaten, though I suspect they may have been sloshed out of the tank during the terrible quake.