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Feb-16-2019 01:46printcomments

Oregon Wildlife Center Makes National News With Unusual Gift Idea

"Ex's" find their names assigned to salmon and eaten by bears.

wildlife images
NOTE: Due to overwhelming response, Wildlife Images can no longer honor the Catch and Release certificate/photo option.

(SALEM, Ore.) - Valentine’s Day is done and dusted for another year. Whether you spent it with someone special or spent it alone, we hope you had a wonderful day.

We can almost guarantee that you had a better day than the ex-partners of all the people who took advantage of a unique gift idea from Oregon’s ‘Wildlife Images’ Rehabilitation Center for animals, which is currently counting the profits of its latest publicity stunt.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Wildlife Images came up with a highly original idea to get some extra donation money from the public, and have some fun doing it.

Specifically, they invited spurned, jilted or otherwise unlucky-in-love individuals to have salmon named after their ex-partners, and then fed to the Center’s two brown bears, Kodi and Yak.

Bears hunt fish in the wild, and will go to great lengths to secure their prey and enjoy their fishy dinner. Having salmon hand-fed to them is a real treat, and so they'll understandably devour any fish fed to them directly with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Those who took advantage of the offer were rewarded not only with the knowledge that a fish bearing their former lover's name was eaten, but also a special certificate and a photo of the fish being consumed, to commemorate the special moment.

We imagine that the photos were quite the sight to behold. Because brown bears have fluffy fur and are the least likely to attack humans, the general public has a preconception that they’re cute and cuddly - especially when compared to the more aggressive grizzly bear or black bear.

With their soft eyes and fur, they look like they could join the gang of animals who star in the Fluffy Favorites slot, all of whom are adorable stuffed toys of the kind you’d happily take to bed and snuggle up to.

The Fluffy Favorites gang are friendly creatures whose only interest is in helping you win money on the reels. A brown bear, despite its appearance, would tear the reels to shreds in the search for foods. It may look lovable, but you should never approach one for a hug and a selfie. The photos would show them at their most savage, tearing the salmon apart without mercy.

That sentiment was echoed in the text that appeared on the Wildlife Images Facebook page, which invited users to ‘let our 1000 pound brown bears tear into your ex'. While there's probably a school of thought that says naming a living creature after your ex-partner for the sole purpose of having it savagely killed isn't healthy, there was no shortage of people taking them up on the offer at $20 a time.

It turned out to be so popular that the center eventually stopped accepting new donations for the ‘service.'

That didn't mean that the bears went without their meals, though. For the same price, the center also offered a ‘catch' service, where salmon was named ‘in honor' of your current partner, and the same offer involving the photograph and the certificate was made.

To the cynical eye, unless the bears made a conscious effort to eat the ‘catch' salmon in a more tender and sympathetic manner, both options amounted to the same thing. That, too, eventually stopped taking new submissions due to popular demand.

(Photo: Steshka Willems)

The ex-partners whose names appeared on the salmon aren't involved in the process in any way; they weren't contacted as part of the offer, and will never know that they were turned into a fishy effigy and eaten unless their ex decides to be mean-spirited enough to tell them.

Some animal lovers may be concerned about the prospect of the bears being gorged on fish at too heavy a rate while Wildlife Images looks to fulfill all the orders, but they need have no such concern.

The center has already requested that buyers be patient, as fulfilling all the orders may take up to two weeks. That's good news for Kodi and Yak, who can look forward to a steady stream of their favorite food in the days to come.

Given the unusual nature of the promotion, it made the news far outside of the Oregon area. Fox News was one of several large national media companies to pick up and report on the story. Wildlife Images is probably delighted by that, as it raises awareness of both their existence and their cause, as well as potentially opening the door for them to receive further donations and financial support.

The Wildlife Images Rehabilitation Center receives no state or federal support, and so is entirely dependent on charity to continue both its existence and its work.

They say that they deal with more than one thousand injured or sick animals who are brought to their center for help every year, and with an ever-increasing number of patients to rehabilitate and treat, they need increasingly substantial amounts of money in order to keep going.

As well as donations, the center is interested in hearing from people who have time to donate to them; they have a team of over one hundred ‘animal ambassadors’ who perform a range of functions for the center, and would be appreciative of your support if you wanted to assist.

As well as tending for the sick, they also run education programs in the local community, aimed at both informing people of the world around them, and what they can do to help the environment.

While it's probably true to say that whoever came up with the two identical Valentine's Day offers at Wildlife Images was guilty of ‘bear faced cheek,' even they have probably been surprised by the success of the offer, and the level of interest that it received.

It should be safe to assume that they'll be looking to repeat the offer again next year. That's an incentive to those in the Oregon area and further afield to stay faithful to their partners over the coming twelve months, lest they too find their names assigned to some salmon, and eaten by bears.

Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.

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