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Jessi talks about Ash's rescue from a neglectful home, reveals that not every story has a happy ending, and how important it is that the animals Animal Wonders rescues become ambassadors for their species.

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Hey guys! Welcome back to Animal Wonders. I'm Jessi. Today we are going to do another unscripted show, Yay!   We are going to meet one of our animal ambassadors and I'm going to tell you a little bit about how we got him and what he's all about.     This is Ash, and Ash is a Chinchilla. These guys are found in South America, but we did not find him in South America; we found him right here in our town and he was owned by a private owner. She was actually trying to sell him on Craigslist and I had been hearing that she had been trying to sell him for several months.   And, so, um, eventually she actually contacted us and asked if we could take them, and I say "them" because it wasn't just Ash it was him and his brother. She actually asked if we would take their entire family. We couldn't take their whole family because it would just take up too much space.   So we did take him and his brother Dusty, we have Ash and Dusty, and, uh, they were about a year old, maybe a little less, and they were in really, really, really terrible condition. Um, they had several infections going on in their eyes and their nose, and their mouths, and other places as well.   And, uh, they had been living in an improper enclosure, their fur was barbered, meaning it was chewed down by the other chinchillas that were being housed with them in an aquarium, and so they didn't have proper ventilation or space. And they were also being fed a pretty terrible diet;  they were being fed rodent blocks.   They are rodents, but they don't take the same type of diet that a rat would take and rodent blocks are made for rats. Um, these guys have a really sensitive digestive system and they need to just have chinchilla pellets, and, um free-fed hay.   So, both of them took a lot of vet care to rehabilitate their body and we focus on rehabilitating their body and their mind. They weren't really socialized before we got them, so that took a lot of, um, assessing their behavior, and getting them used to human interaction, and just being comfortable being held, and also in front of an audience as well.   Ash has always been the really calm one; he took to interaction a lot better.  I mean, you can see he's just kinda chillin' in my hands here. He likes to be held, or doesn't mind to be held, and he does like some massages on his body, and he'll let the kids touch him when we do a presentation, which is really nice because chinchillas are amazingly soft; they're the softest animals in the world. So it's really cool and we let them touch him, and they're like, "Oh its like touching clouds! You can't even feel him he's so soft".   So that thick fur we talk about, not just their adaptation with the kids and how they use it to keep warm in the Andes mountains, but we also talk about why they're endangered. This fur is why they're endangered. Because it's so incredibly soft, which they get to feel, they will then understand. You know, a lot of them will say, "Oh, I just want to bury my face in it, I want a pillow made out of chinchilla fur!" People make coats, and hats, and scarves, and gloves, and you name it out of chinchilla fur.   And so they were harvested out of the wild and they became critically endangered, so you know its a really good way to educate them by experiential learning, and Ash is just awesome at doing that.   Now Ash's brother, Dusty, who we also rescued was always the feisty one and he never really calmed down and it was really a pretty rough rescue, um, it wasn't-- it wasn't the easiest transition, or it was a pretty terrible one. One of the sad rescues that you hear about where they are really suffering and struggling. Ash overcame it and Dusty never really did.    We worked really hard, um, months and months of making progress and then not, and eventually Dusty did succumb to infections that he had, internal infections, and so that was rough but, but we were able to completely rehabilitate Ash and he's been an ambassador for about four years now, so he's pretty awesome.   I love how every single one of our animals has this story and, um, it's-- it makes them each individuals, but then we also get to educate about their species as a whole, and it's-- just both of those combined, are just, I love being able to help each one of them out and then I love being able to share the amazingness of their species with the people that we meet.   So, I am happy to share Ash with you, and his personal story, and I hope that you guys keep wondering about chinchillas! And if you'd like to go on an adventure with us and learn more about animals, you can follow all the links below and find me on Twitter, Tumbler, and Facebook, and make sure you subscribe. Thanks guys.       [Inset] That porcupine is Stinky! What?? No, really. That porcupine is stinky, REALLY stinky! Don't take my word for it, lets see what other people think.    [Talking to Ash]  Where you gonna go? Up there? Are you just gonna sit? Huh, huh. There's a good spot, huh?