UnNews:Strange looking animal found in Chico, California backyard
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6 August 2008
CHICO, California -- In this small, quiet college town, citizens find themselves shaking their heads in disbelief as they line the fence of a local man's yard and stare at the creatures corraled inside. "I have absolutely NO idea what the hell that thing is.", "It's a llama.", "It could be a llama or it could be an emu.". and "No, no,no, and Emu is a bird. This thing's a dog or a South American cow-like thing. Some mountain-y region animal." are just some of the guesses offered by a class of students from Cal State Chico's Agriculture Program.
The fervor continued on and even escalated as a schoolbus full of Manzanita Elementary School Students pulled up to the gate. "WOOOW!!!" Screamed little Raquel Short as she pointed excitedly at the creatures. "It's so neat-o!!!" Teachers were at a loss for answers and could only respond to their students many, many questions and concerns about the beasts with "I have no idea." and "No, seriously, I have NO idea.". The lack of answers had little if any effect on taking the wind out of the sails of these youngsters as they excitedly hung on the fence, jumped up and down, pointed, or sat on the grass eating their boxed lunches and watched their new four-footed friends munch on grass and hay.
edit The Backstory
Brett and Gregg McGee were raised in Chico California after their parents moved there from Peru when the boys were 2 and 4. They'd always had pets: Cows, horses, chickens and roosters, and some small Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs briefly. Their parents owned a bookkeeping business. When they were old enough, Brett and Gregg went away to the dorms when they attend the Ag program at CSU Chico, Brett taking one semester to travel to South America to study fields and growth maximization techniques for mountainous regions in Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala, and Gregg taking a Summer course in Ecuador in animal husbandry. The two returned, graduated, and began paying off their student loans, jumpstarting their home farm for extra cash. That's when it all started.
edit The Interview
"Me and Gregg were hanging out at a local pub called 'The Bear' and we were in the middle of trying to figure out a way to pay, or to delay payment, on our student loans. We both owe about $40,000, and at the rate we were paying them back, we'd have 'em paid off in 20 years or so." Gregg picked it up from there; "Which would have put us at oh, 45 and 47, still broke, and trying to raise a family if things with our girlfriends work out the way they outta." "Yup." "Bored and stuck with the formidable repayment timeline ahead of us, Brett laid down on his bench and stared up at the ceiling. 'Look at that big stupid bear they've got hanging from the rafters. He's even shaved and looks like a giant poodle! A giant 'Bear-poodle'."
"I glanced up and from my angle I could see that it was an animal, but I was unable to identify that it was a bear. Brett knew because we were in 'The Bear', but I'd worked all nite the nite before, had little sleep that day, and was just zoning out. I said 'What the heck IS that?'." "It's a bear-we're IN 'The Bear'!". "How long's it been up there?". "As long as we've been coming here." "I've never noticed it before. It's sure odd looking. They should just charge people at the door to take a look at the thing!".
"And that's when it hit us-both of us, at the same time too." Continued Gregg. "We looked at each other and I said 'You're not thinking what I'M thinking are you?!'". "And then he's all 'Only if you're thinking about shaving one of the animals and charging people to see it I am!'".
"That's pretty much how it went."
edit The Quest
"So we raced home, jumped on the web, and began researching the animals we had seen in our travels. Gregg showed me the animals he'd seen and I showed him all the animals I remember seeing. From there we took two paths...". "Brett dove into the basement and began to pile thru our old animal breeding textbooks and animal husbandry textbooks, and I began calling our field labs and our Veterinarian buddies. At school we had a gene matching program on our departments computer, and early the next morning we were standing at the front door to the lab when it opened, with what few samples would could amass on short notice." "Gregg e-mailed everyone we met and asked for samples to be immediately sent to us. We were looking for eggs, blood, and sperm from domesticated farm animals. Our contacts fired 'em off and withing the week they began showing up. As they came in, we processed the blood, thawed the eggs and sperm, and began the compatiblity search."
"It hit us like a bucket of bricks. All this time we never knew, and it was right in front of our noses." "Combining species could yield dramatic results with fantastic entertainment opportunities and benefits.". "Yup. We came up with a everything one could think of: Spiny Haired Cats, The Blue Poodle, and the Pogo Snake.".
"Think about it-would you pay $40 to go to San Diego's Sea World, or $12 to go to Gregg and Brett's Unusual and Odd Animal Farm?" "We made $900 last month on tours and souveniers." "You should see our Flying Rhino's. Just don't sit in the front row."
|This article features first-hand journalism by an UnNews correspondent.|