Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Food and Boos

BOOBuckley

Photo: Brian Buckley

Now that Halloween is over, what to do with those spent Jack-o-lanterns? In the frontier state, the non-profit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) near Anchorage will collect about 10 tons of leftover pumpkins from markets this fall, according to KTUU television. The squash will feed the animals living at the center—sick or injured animals who are rescued, treated and, when practical, released back to the wild.

The AWCC is dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wild animals through public education. Their 120 acres of land, maintained in a state as close to nature as possible, is home to bears, bison, wolves, caribou and more.  Visitors to AWCC get rare opportunities to observe Alaska’s beasts close-up in a setting so scenic that parts of the Sean Penn film Into the Wild were filmed there. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the center is fund-raising to expand its bear education/treatment facilities and to build a new bison enclosure on 40 acres of land adjacent to the center.

hugoResting

HugoResting

Perhaps this is what Hugo looks like after a pumpkin feast. A female grizzly, Hugo was emaciated and pricked with porcupine quills when taken in by the AWCC. She now shares 18 acres of AWCC land with two brown bears. Photo: Gary Lackie