“Pig Scramble” Cancelled 

The Sonoma County Fair in Northern California is finally putting animal welfare above family entertainment. It is putting the brakes on a longtime children’s event pitting kids against pigs, according to the LA Times. For half a century, the fair has hosted a “pig scramble” in which dozens of children race after a drove of squealing piglets, dragging the swine out of a dirt pit by their hind legs to the amusement of cheering parents. The annual event was meant to expose kids to farm life, fair officials said. But this year, there will be no animals at the Aug. 4 event. Instead, children will be given greased watermelons to carry through an obstacle course.


Special Needs Dogs Find Forever Home

Earlier this week, staff at the Asheville Humane Society had the kind of day that every person who works in an animal shelter dream about. A woman named Leslie walked in and said, “Which two dogs have been here the longest, with the most special needs? I’m here to take them both home with me.” Staff introduced her to Sam, who had extensive medical issues and was with them for six months, adopted then returned, and Brutus, who has severe separation anxiety, and was with them for five months. He originally was surrendered to be euthanized at 13 years old. We love happy endings like this. Kudos to the shelter for their tireless efforts to find animals their forever homes.


Bald Eagles Making a Comeback

Researchers say the breeding population of bald eagles along the James River in Virginia has hit a new milestone. The Center for Conservation Biology recently reported that this year’s survey of eagles nesting along the river found 302 pairs. In previous decades, the species hadn’t disappeared as a breeder along the river. Eagle strongholds along the river include Charles City, James City, Surry and Prince George counties.


Trumpeter Swans Build New Nest

In similar news, trumpeter swans have built a nest in a western Montana wildlife refuge that biologists hope will lead to the first offspring documented in the Bitterroot Valley following restoration efforts. The Ravalli Republic reported last week that the large waterfowl couple constructed the nest on top of a muskrat lodge on a remote pond at the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge. Reintroduction efforts began decades ago after the swan population was decimated by hunters and feather collectors. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Director Dale Becker says 60 trumpeter young were recorded from about 18 nests in Montana last year.