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WebClawer: U.K. cow escapes slaughter, orcas turn up in the Gulf of Mexico, Oprah Winfrey's parvovirus-afflicted puppy returns home

March 30, 2009 |  6:45 pm


From a plucky cow to a rare killer whale sighting (with some good news for an ailing puppy thrown in), animal news is all over the Web today:

-- Alysheba, the Thoroughbred racehorse that won two legs of the Triple Crown in 1987 and earned the nickname "America's Horse," died Friday at age 25.  At the time of his retirement, Alysheba was horse racing's all-time top money winner; his winnings totaled more than $6.6 million from a career 26 races.  His sire (father) was another legendary racehorse, Alydar.  "He looked majestic on the track," jockey Chris McCarron recalled. "He'd stop and let people take photographs. I believe he loved it."  Alysheba fell in his stall, apparently as a result of a chronic degenerative spinal condition, injuring a rear leg.  The decision was made to euthanize him since the injury caused him severe pain and he was unable to stand without support.  He was buried Saturday at Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions.  ESPN

-- A female Highland cow that escaped slaughter and spent nine months living in the wild has a new home: The Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk.  The cow, named Floss, was purchased at a U.K. market and takento a beef ranch.  She escaped and was sighted sporadically as she traveled approximately 60 miles.  "She is quite a cow, she remained free by finding some really good hidey-holes," said Tracey Jaine, who with friend Sue McAuley raised £500 to buy Floss from her owner and "retire" her to the sanctuary.  "She would hide in the bushes on a piece of land used for paint-balling and then would only come out at night to find food.  She walked through drainage ditches to reach farmland where she would pinch hay from a stable.  One of the locals told me how she moved on from Keadby because the boys on quad bikes who used the isolated land would drive at her and scare her."  Eventually Jaine was able to befriend Floss, who was then tranquilized by a local veterinarian and taken to Hillside.  "Floss trotted off the back of the trailer and it was the most wonderful thing," Jaine recalled of the cow's release.  "She ran straight towards the other Highland cows and the hay."  Telegraph

-- Charter boat captain Eddie Hall was shocked to discover approximately 200 orcas feeding on tuna in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  "It was like being at Sea World because they'd come right up to the boat,” Hall said of the sighting last October, which created such a stir that an informational meeting was held for members of the public in Orange Beach, Ala., last week. "It was pretty neat."  Contrary to common belief, the whales have probably lived in the deep waters off the Gulf Coast for years, according to U.S. government biologist Keith Mullin.  The whales are typically thought to live in cold waters and eat primarily seals.  Associated Press

-- Sadie, the cocker spaniel puppy recently adopted from a Chicago-area shelter by Oprah Winfrey, is back at home and "doing well" following a bout with the highly contagious disease parvovirus.  Sadie's littermate Ivan was also adopted by Winfrey, but died shortly thereafter as a result of the disease commonly known as parvo.  "We had some ... nights where we thought she might not make it," Winfrey recalled of Sadie's illness on her talk show.  People Pets

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Alysheba, left, with jockey Chris McCarron aboard, heads for the finish line ahead of Bet Twice to win the 1987 running of the Kentucky Derby.  Credit: Bob Daugherty/Associated Press.

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