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Courtesy Jeff Jacobsen and Jeri Fahrni
Courtesy Jeff Jacobsen and Jeri Fahrni

Tootsie, the Singing Coyote

Courtesy Jeff Jacobsen and Jeri Fahrni
Courtesy Jeff Jacobsen and Jeri Fahrni

In the late 1940s, Fred Borsch found himself the owner of a rather unlikely pet after he volunteered to raise a stray.

Deadwood native Ollie Wiswell found a coyote pup at Custer Peak in 1947. Although there was a bounty on coyotes at the time, Wiswell couldn’t bring himself to kill the young animal, so he collected the baby coyote and brought her to his home. Borsch—who lived in Galena but owned a liquor store in Deadwood—and his wife Esther took in the pup, deeming her "Tootsie."

Courtesy of Jeff Jacobsen and Jeri Fahrni

Like most coyotes, Tootsie had a penchant for howling—but when she started in, Borsch would join her, eventually training her to “sing” by changing the pitch of her howl as he did. Word of Tootsie's operatic stylings grew quickly, and the once-abandoned coyote found herself with quite the fan base. Borsch began to tour the state with her, riding in parades and making personal appearances. She even cut a record with Borsch called South Dakota Tootsie and helped Western Airlines launch a new route from Spearfish to Rapid City.

Tootsie was so popular that Governor George T. Mickelson proclaimed the coyote the state animal in 1949, and also considered her for the state license plate. (She lost to Mount Rushmore.) But the crooning coyote’s fame wasn’t contained to South Dakota. Tootsie’s talents were so well-known that Borsch took her on a 10-state tour, including a stop at the White House, where it’s said she charmed President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon.

Sadly, Tootsie passed away in 1959 following surgery to remove a tumor, but she still lives on in Deadwood—if you know where to look. The first place is a neon sign downtown that pays tribute to both Tootsie and her owner. Though the sign itself depicts the singing coyote, its placement is a nod to Fred Borsch, whose liquor store once stood on that very location.

And to hear Tootsie in action, you need only stop by the Adams Museum to listen to a recording of her "songs" and see photos of the pup during her heyday.

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Martin Wittfooth
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Art
The Cat Art Show Is Coming Back to Los Angeles in June
Martin Wittfooth
Martin Wittfooth

After dazzling cat and art lovers alike in 2014 and again in 2016, the Cat Art Show is ready to land in Los Angeles for a third time. The June exhibition, dubbed Cat Art Show 3: The Sequel Returns Again, will feature feline-centric works from such artists as Mark Ryden, Ellen von Unwerth, and Marion Peck.

Like past shows, this one will explore cats through a variety of themes and media. “The enigmatic feline has been a source of artistic inspiration for thousands of years,” the show's creator and curator Susan Michals said in a press release. “One moment they can be a best friend, the next, an antagonist. They are the perfect subject matter, and works of art, all by themselves.”

While some artists have chosen straightforward interpretations of the starring subject, others are using cats as a springboard into topics like gender, politics, and social media. The sculpture, paintings, and photographs on display will be available to purchase, with prices ranging from $300 to $150,000.

Over 9000 visitors are expected to stop into the Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles during the show's run from June 14 to June 24. Tickets to the show normally cost $5, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a cat charity, and admission will be free for everyone on Wednesday, June 20. Check out a few of the works below.

Man in Garfield mask holding cat.
Tiffany Sage

Painting of kitten.
Brandi Milne

Art work of cat in tree.
Kathy Taselitz

Painting of white cat.
Rose Freymuth-Frazier

A cat with no eyes.
Rich Hardcastle

Painting of a cat on a stool.
Vanessa Stockard

Sculpture of pink cat.
Scott Hove

Painting of cat.
Yael Hoenig
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Tony Karumba, AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
How a Pregnant Rhino Named Victoria Could Save an Entire Subspecies
Sudan, the last male member of the northern white rhino subspecies, while being shipped to Kenya in 2009
Sudan, the last male member of the northern white rhino subspecies, while being shipped to Kenya in 2009
Tony Karumba, AFP/Getty Images

The last male northern white rhino died at a conservancy in Kenya earlier this year, prompting fears that the subspecies was finally done for after decades of heavy poaching. Scientists say there's still hope, though, and they're banking on a pregnant rhino named Victoria at the San Diego Zoo, according to the Associated Press.

Victoria is actually a southern white rhino, but the two subspecies are related. Only two northern white rhinos survive, but neither of the females in Kenya are able to reproduce. Victoria was successfully impregnated through artificial insemination, and if she successfully carries her calf to term in 16 to 18 months, scientists say she might be able to serve as a surrogate mother and propagate the northern white rhino species.

But how would that work if no male northern rhinos survive? As the AP explains, scientists are working to recreate northern white rhino embryos using genetic technology. The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research has the frozen cell lines of 12 different northern white rhinos, which can be transformed into stem cells—and ultimately, sperm and eggs. The sperm of the last northern white male rhino, Sudan, was also saved before he died.

Scientists have been monitoring six female southern white rhinos at the San Diego Zoo to see if any emerge as likely candidates for surrogacy. However, it's not easy to artificially inseminate a rhino, and there have been few successful births in the past. There's still a fighting chance, though, and scientists ultimately hope they'll be able to build up a herd of five to 15 northern white rhinos over the next few decades.

[h/t Time Magazine]

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