ANIMAL NATURE

Last week, the Santa Barbara Zoo was presented with the Edward
H. Bean Award for significant achievement in their giant anteater
breeding program. The Zoo has hosted 11 births of giant
anteaters – the most successful births of any zoo in North
America – and boasts the oldest anteater to survive in captivity to
date. Their most recent triumph was the birth of an avocado-loving
baby named Nozzie last May.

A llama yearning for freedom escaped from a pen on the upper San
Marcos Pass on Tuesday, briefly shutting down traffic on Highway
154. Llamas can get feisty, but no one was hurt.

Numerous stingrays have been discovered tied to the Goleta pier,
stabbed, slashed, and burned with cigarettes. The perpetrators are
unknown, as is their motive. However, the recent death of the
“Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin – who was stabbed in the heart by a
stingray’s barb – suggests that the stingray torture may be
motivated by revenge. An official at the Sheriff’s Department said
he had not heard of the incidents; officials at the state Fish and
Game Department did not return phone calls by press time.

Two local men were killed when their vehicle swerved to avoid a
coyote, hit a guardrail, and rolled. Douglas Cameron Baker, 25, of
Goleta and William Jae Wiersma, 23, a Westmont alum and Santa
Barbara resident, were driving near Coachella in Riverside County
when the crash occurred. Both men were wearing seatbelts.

Unconfirmed reports drifted in late last month of a shark
sighting at Sands Beach near Coal Oil Point in Isla Vista.
According to an account on the Shark Research Committee Web site,
three friends were surfing at around 6:30 p.m. on September 11
when – paddling about 80 yards offshore – they were confronted by a
dorsal fin that clearly didn’t belong to a dolphin. There have been
no reported sightings since.

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