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Jessi shares how some of the animals are continuing to grow and learn and have fun, while we also say a final goodbye to some beloved ambassadors.

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Jessi: Welcome back to Animal Wonders!  I want to tell you everything that's happening right now because it never seems to stop.  


First off, our newest sugar glider, Gadget, he's doing really well, he's getting along really well with his new buddy Gizmo, our old sugar glider, and he's starting to do presentations now.  He's a little bit shy, but he's coming right along.  Also, a few months ago, we rescued two European starlings.  They were brought into a rehabilitation center and they couldn't be released back in the wild because their mother died and they needed to be hand-fed, so we've been doing that for them.  And we just started our busiest season, summer, which means lots of summer camps, so we welcome back an old friend. 

Emily's back, she's here for six weeks this time, she's going to learn and help us even more.  And drink a lot of tea.  So lots of exciting things, but we've also had some sadness, too.  We had to say goodbye to three of our animals in the last month.  First, Gonzo, our crimson-rumped toucanet suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.  Second, one of the new rescued starlings passed away just three days later.  This made us concerned that the starling might have transmitted a disease to Gonzo, so we had our veterinarian perform necropsies on both of them, and sent samples to the lab.  After several weeks, we finally got the report back.  It said that the starling had passed from pneumonia and a bacterial infection, most commonly caused by ticks.  Gonzo showed no signs of either.  In fact, there's no definitive signs of what caused his death at all, just a slight malformation of his heart that could have been nothing but with the absence of another cause, heart failure seemed most likely.  Gonzo was a gorgeous bird, and he was an inspirational ambassador for the last four years, and the bird room just isn't the same without him.

However, the surviving starling, Romeo, he's really healthy and he's really active, too, and he's currently learning to be comfortable in front of an audience so that he can be an ambassador and share all the amazing things that European starlings can do.  

The third loss we had was Ash the Chinchilla.  He'd been struggling with infections for a few years now.  Most likely due to poor breeding and a really rough start in life.  After a few weeks of heightened activity and overall spunk, Ash finally started showing signs of how severe his illness really was, just half a day before he passed away.  It's common for animals to hide the symptoms of their illness.  It would help protect them from being singled out by a predator, but it makes it really difficult for us to detect it.  We'd been watching Ash closely for signs that he might need treatment, we were looking for things like lethargy, loss of appetite, labored breathing, or discharge from the nose, but Ash didn't show us any of these signs until it was too late.  I find comfort in knowing that we gave Ash a great life, full of adventure, great food, and the comforts of a loved and spoiled member of the Animal Wonders ambassador team.  While we grieve for our lost friends, we continue our adventures with the rest of the animals.

Chili Pepper, our Patagonian cavy is loving his walks.  Ecuador, the Jenday conure, is getting really good at his bang behavior, and Joy the blue and gold macaw continues to get better and better at traveling and presenting.  Hara, the Harris's hawk, got a new crate, which makes transporting her so much easier.  The slender shape and smooth walls helps protect her tail feathers from brushing up against the rough sides and getting damaged.  Gaia the Armadillo is loving the heat of the summer, and so is Yucca the red-footed tortoise, she really enjoys this sunshine.  Our adventures continue, and we're always looking for ways that we can help and improve the lives of any animals that we can, which means that while we respect our old friends, we do have some space that's opened up for any animals that might need it, and that's how I like to honor their memory, but continuing to help others, and you can expect to see some new faces in the next few months.  So if you'd like to continue this adventure with us, subscribe to our YouTube channel animalwondersmontana, you can leave comments below or you can ask me questions on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook throughout the week.  Thanks, guys.  


I have one very special armadillo to feature today, Gaia the Southern Three-Banded Armadillo.  She's part of the genus Tolypeutes, which means that she has three bands that connect her hip--