If you happened to hear the name Balto, you’d likely picture the Disney movie about the brave husky’s journey.
But it wasn’t just the cartoon pooch who led a team of sled dogs for miles to deliver lifesaving medicine — he was a real dog who, along with many other huskies, helped to stop a deadly disease outbreak in Nome, Alaska.
In 1925, the small town’s only doctor was concerned when he began noticing that multiple residents were showing signs of diphtheria, an extremely contagious infection affecting the nose and throat. About 15,520 Americans died from the disease in 1921, so you can imagine how worried he was about it turning into an epidemic. In fact, several children had already died.
The only way to treat diphtheria was with an antitoxin, and the closest city that had it was Anchorage, which is more than 500 miles away from Nome. Unfortunately, the only aircraft that could have delivered it was out of commission.
Though the serum was able to be transported by train from Anchorage to Nenana, it was still hundreds of miles away. City officials decided that their only chance to get the medicine in time would be to break up the journey between multiple sled dog teams made up of 20 mushers and 150 dogs.
The historic 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, began on January 27 with Wild Bill Shannon and his team of sled dogs. After picking up the serum in Nenana, they traveled in brutal temperatures that reached negative 62 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time they met the next team, Shannon’s nose had turned black from frostbite and four of his dogs had died.
After being passed through several more teams, the package carrying the serum was handed to Leonhard Seppala. He and his group, led by a Siberian husky named Togo, traveled over 170 miles in temperatures as low as negative 85 degrees Fahrenheit before giving the serum to Charlie Olsen on February 1. By this time, 28 people in Nome had diphtheria.
Ian McIntosh was being filmed for a project called “Paradise Waits” when things went very, very wrong. The professional skier was in the Neacola range of Alaska when, during a run, he tripped over an unseen five-foot-deep trench.
From there, he fell 1,600 feet.
This is NOT what you want to happen. OMG.
Miraculously, he survived the fall without major injury.
If you want to see more stunning ski videos (that may or may not include people cartwheeling for hundreds of feet), check out Paradise Waits.
When you leave an expensive camera, like a GoPro, in the wild, the point is for the animals not to notice. After all, the point is the capture footage of the creatures in their natural habitat. Besides, most animals wouldn’t care about a teeny, tiny little camera, right?
Wrong. (At least when it comes to this smart little fox.)
While filming sea lions in Round Island, Alaska, a group of researchers noticed a fox approaching them in the distance.
Although his pricey camera was shredded, Jonathan was a good sport about it, adding that he’s “glad the fox didn’t get hurt or swallow anything that could have harmed it.” All we can say is that we hope this fox found the lunch he was obviously hungry enough to eat a camera for. Otherwise, we’re leaving ours at home next time we’re out in the wild.
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E.T. the walrus was a famous resident at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. During his life, E.T. (who got his name because of his resemblance to the alien from the 1982 movie) was a celebrity for being one of only 17 walruses living in U.S. zoos and aquariums.
Sadly, E.T. passed away during surgery last summer. However, this lovable, giant walrus will live on through the many terrifying videos of him practicing his vocalizations that are floating around online.
That is just incredibly freaky. I wonder if all walruses sound like that in the wild, or if E.T. was just a special kind of guy.