WebClawer: Michael Vick goes to bankruptcy court, Facebook-famous sea otter released, Wisconsin says 'please don't feed the squirrels'
From a freshly rehabilitated sea otter to an in-need-of-rehabilitation manatee to squirrels to ... squirrels again, the animal kingdom is making all sorts of news today:
-- Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, whose bankrolling of a dogfighting ring led to a 23-month jail sentence which he is currently serving, appeared in bankruptcy court last week. During the hearing, his lawyer Michael Blumenthal told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Santoro that Vick has lined up a $10-an-hour construction job which he will begin upon his release from prison. Vick's sentence ends in July, but reports suggest that he could serve his final few months at home due to lack of space at a halfway house. John Robert Lawson, a longtime friend of Vick's who will be his employer at the W.M. Jordan construction company, said the fallen football hero should be given a second chance. "He's not a bad person. He made some bad choices," Lawson said. (Associated Press)
-- Officials from the California Department of Fish and Game have released Olive, a sea otter who amassed a Facebook following after washing up on a Monterey beach coated in oil from a natural oil seep. Olive swam into the ocean off Sunset State Beach this morning after six weeks of rehabilitation at the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz. "Olive ... taught us a great deal about the pollution-related problems sea otters face," DFG veterinarian Dave Jessup said of the otter, who by this afternoon was reportedly "acclimating well and currently resting." (Greenspace)
-- Colorado Springs National Public Radio affiliate station KRCC offered an unusual thank-you gift to early donaters to its twice-yearly pledge drive. Past gifts have included symphony tickets or museum passes. Presumably owing to widespread economic troubles, KRCC's current gift of choice is...squirrel underwear? "They are really tiny cotton underwear," said the station's general manager, Delaney Utterback. The mini-undergarments are sold by the novelty company Archie McPhee and have a 3-inch waist. (Denver Post)
-- In other squirrel news, the state of Wisconsin has issued a plea to tenants at a downtown Madison office building near the state capitol: Please don't feed the squirrels. According to Ron Blair of the Division of State Facilities, an unknown person has been throwing peanuts to the squirrels on the lawn of the capitol building. Blair raised the concern that a wayward peanut could come in contact with a child with a peanut allergy, since many schoolchildren tour the building each year. (Associated Press)
-- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists say a 50-pound, three-feet-long female manatee calf rescued last week is one of the smallest manatees they've ever aided. The calf, who was found alone with no sign of a manatee parent nearby, was taken to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, where she'll get round-the-clock care from a specially-trained manatee rehabilitation team. (Outposts)
Photo: Lucas, one of Vick's former fighting dogs, practices his agility at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, where 22 of the pit bulls were sent after being seized by authorities. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press