Edmonton's top animal stories of 2015

It was a big year for animals in Edmonton, from coyote controversies to heart-warming stories of limb-heavy cats and leading geese to water.

CBC Edmonton takes paws to remember the critter tales that caught our attention

From furry frights to training magpies, CBC Edmonton covered a menagerie of animal stories in 2015. (CBC)

It was a big year for animals in Edmonton, from controversy over culling coyotes to heart-warming stories of limb-heavy cats and leading geese to water.

Here are some of the most popular animal stories CBC Edmonton covered in 2015.

Quarrel over coyotes

Farmers, ranchers, hunters, ecologists and advocates found themselves at odds over a planned coyote-killing tournament held in January 2015. (Associated Press)

The year in animals started out with controversy as the organizer behind a coyote-killing tournament reported receiving death threats over his involvement in the event.

"People are saying that I should be shot, that anybody who supports this should be dead," he told CBC News. 

In the end, 11 teams signed up for the hunt, taking down 34 animals. Critics, meanwhile, called the competition and its like "reckless" and ineffective as a cull.

Coyotes then made the headlines once more in September after three dead cats were found in St. Albert. RCMP later ruled the deaths to be the result of coyotes training their pups to hunt.

Cougar encounters

Fish and Wildlife officers shot and killed a cougar after it hid in a backyard in west Edmonton. (Lydia Neufeld/CBC)

"I was just having a smoke this morning in front of my garage and I heard him coming, heavy breathing like something you'd hear at the zoo. Next thing you know I just looked like this and he's like five feet away."

That's what Robert Stebbings told CBC News after he had a close early-morning encounter with a cougar in his west Edmonton yard.

An Edmonton police member later shot and killed the animal after it charged at officers attempting to sedate it.

Just weeks earlier, two Australians shared their own hair-raising tale after fighting off a cougar in Jasper National Park.

Feline fancy

It was also a big year for famous felines in the CBC Edmonton newsroom.

Pudge the Cat is a four-year-old exotic shorthair. Today, she lives in Minneapolis, Minn., but her face is known far beyond her hometown. (Caitlin Hanson/CBC)

In May, Edmonton AM was visited by a celebrity cat with more than 500,000 followers on Instagram. From humble beginnings, Pudge the Cat came to town to headline Edmonton's International Cat Festival in May.

'The Warrior Kitten'

Henry became a social media star after the story of his rescue and rehabilitation hit the news. (Edmonton Humane Society)

His name is Henry. He lost a leg, but won hundreds of hearts last summer after the story of his rescue and subsequent rehabilitation went public.

Nine lives and any number of legs

Pauly the now four-legged cat was successfully adopted after life-saving surgery to remove two extra legs growing from his chest. (Kim Nakrieko/CBC)

Just a week after Henry went down a leg, Edmonton AM learned of another cat with the opposite problem.

Pauly the street cat was born with six legs — four normal ones and two underdeveloped limbs that jutted out from his sternum. Every step was painful for the cat, who somehow managed on his own on the streets of southwest Edmonton until he was rescued by the Little Cats Lost Society.

After a successful surgery, Pauly himself — minus two limbs — came in to the studio to say hello.

"He should live a happy, healthy life," his rescuer said.

A 'squishable' star

At only four months old, Tonkey had amassed nearly 200,000 followers on Instagram. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

It was quite literally the dog days of summer when we were introduced to Tonkey, a four-month-old bear coat sharpei who went viral after his owner posted a video of him with the hiccups.

As cute as Tonkey is, her owner told CBC News bear coat sharpeis are not welcome in the dog show world, but for her and her husband, it was love at first sight.

Man's best friend in a time of need

"I don't know, but he will seem to seek out the person who just needs it, who needs that smile, who needs just a comforting furball to pet," says owner Jason Wombold of Morris, the Polish lowland sheepdog. (CBC)

In May, CBC News learned about Morris, a sheepdog with an almost preternatural ability to detect people in need of a little extra comfort — a skill which makes him an invaluable addition to the Baker Funeral Chapel where he works and lives.

Then there were the geese

It wouldn't be springtime in Edmonton without at least a couple of territorial mother geese complicating matters for homeowners and construction workers alike.

"When the eggs are coming, the eggs are coming and she just had them right on the deck," recounts carpenter Ryan Blacklaws. (Ryan Blacklaws)

In Eaux Claires, a goose chose to feather her nest on the balcony of a fourth-floor condo unit under construction. When she made it clear she had no plans to move any time soon, several of the workers took to supplying her with fresh food and water.

"I was just out on my balcony and there was a goose there, staring at me," Ben Lavin told CBC News. (Benjamin Lavin)

In Oliver, Ben Lavin set up a webcam to act as a baby monitor after a goose laid her eggs in a tomato planter on his 10th-floor balcony.

A few weeks later, the goslings left the nest, bound for the Edmonton river valley.

Fly away home

Andre Bachman filmed from his truck as this Canada goose flew alongside his truck for 10 kilometres to a nearby lake. (Andre Bachman/YouTube)

In August, an Alberta man captured his own private Fly Away Home experience when he used his truck to lead a lost Canada goose to water.

And don't forget ...

Here are a couple of our other favourite furry stories covered this year:

Magpie whisperer remembers childhood raising 'Canadian parrots'

'Magpie after bathtime,' taken by Lawrence Jansen. (Lawrence Jansen)

Trio of red panda cubs make their debut at Edmonton Valley Zoo

Three newborn red pandas made their debut at the Edmonton Valley Zoo in December. Here, two of the newborns are seen with their mother. (Peter Evans/CBC)

Flying squirrels, porcupines and others take refuge in Windsor Park yard

A flying squirrel sits on top of one of the many birdhouses scattered throughout a backyard in Windsor Park. (Jim Butler)

Eli the pot-bellied pig being moved to home in Ontario

After a year of fighting, a Sherwood Park family was forced to give up their house pig. (Travis McEwan/CBC)


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