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The Wild with Chris Morgan

"THE WILD with Chris Morgan" explores how nature survives and thrives alongside (and often despite) humans. Taking listeners across the Pacific Northwest and around the world, host Chris Morgan explores wildlife and the complex web of ecosystems they inhabit. He also tells the stories of people working in and protecting the wild around us.

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"THE WILD with Chris Morgan" explores how nature survives and thrives alongside (and often despite) humans. Taking listeners across the Pacific Northwest and around the world, host Chris Morgan explores wildlife and the complex web of ecosystems they inhabit. He also tells the stories of people working in and protecting the wild around us.

The fiery spell of Desolation

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One recent September I stopped at the side of highway 20 that crosses Washington state’s North Cascade Mountains. At the side of the road was a sign that grabbed my attention. About a storied fire lookout cabin on top of Desolation Peak in the distance, where author Jack Kerouac spent some time in the 50s. The irony was that I couldn’t see the peak because of the forest fire smoke in the air that day. But it fired my imagination….the mountain was calling me. This episode of THE WILD is the result.

The American west is a fire landscape. Since 1983, there’s been an average of 70,000 wildfires every year in the United States. And the wildfire season is getting longer. Warmer springs and long dry summers are the cause.

Things are changing fast in this ancient landscape…So how have wildfires and our philosophy of fighting them changed over the decades?

To answer that, I’ve climbed to the top of this mountain, to the famed fire lookout at Desolation Peak, to speak to Jim Henterly. He is the fire watchman who’s stationed at the lookout. Desolation Peak has long been a place to look for answers. I’m hoping to find a new perspective through him.

The job of a fire lookout is to be a step ahead, ever watchful - observe all around you - and warn of danger. But maybe also to remind us of our role in the ever evolving ecology of fire.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife 

Jul 01 2022

33mins

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Make it like it was: Clean, cold and flowing Gold Creek of Snoqualmie Pass

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Join me as I squeeze on a dry suit, don a snorkel, and jump into an icy mountain river.

“That's what I'm amazed by, that a little tiny stream, not even knee deep, is a whole world if you get under there with it.,” that’s what CWU professor Paul James told me as we snorkeled our way through the fast moving current.

Dr. James is surveying the number of fish in the river after a recent restoration project. Gold Creek is an important tributary to the Yakima River and serves as a breeding ground for many fish that are important to the Yakama Nation.

Joe Blodgett learned how to fish from his father. He mastered the technique of dipnetting a fish out of the Yakima River, the traditional kind of fishing for the Yakama Nation.

“We were directed by our leadership to make it like it was before we started destroying their habitat and before we started destroying the flows,” Joe told me. “Make it like it was as a directive from our tribal council years ago.”

Easier said than done when you are facing a generation of infrastructure changes to the landscape and waterways. But this story is about just that, the mission to restore a watershed -  starting with a single river - to truly ‘make it like it was.’

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife 

Jun 21 2022

26mins

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Etuaptmumk: Two Eyed Seeing

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I was trained as a traditional scientist, to look at the world through that perspective. Analytical, and clinical. In this “western science” you have to toe the line and keep personal experience and emotions out of it. Science is run as a pretty tight ship. There's a good reason for that, of course.

But for indigenous people, there’s something that comes with spending time in nature that helps to understand it in a different way. Often it’s knowledge from generation after generation of experience. Knowledge of creatures and habitats.

There’s a way to understand nature through both these perspectives alongside each other….indigenous knowledge, and western science. It’s a concept known as two eyed seeing.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

Jun 07 2022

32mins

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Coral reefs: a biological symphony being silenced

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To most of us, coral reefs conjure up magical places full of colorful species and life. They are unknown and otherworldly. Their beauty is perhaps a reason why coral reefs have become one of the more famous victims of climate change, warming oceans. Most people have heard that the future for coral reefs is in total jeopardy. 

And this is a problem, because about 25% of the ocean’s fish depend on healthy coral reefs. Scientists are now warning that the Great Barrier Reef could be gone by the year 2050 if nothing is done to help it.

And it turns out….. Reefs are noisy places. Fish, shrimp, all the little creatures that call a reef home add to the sonic palette of the place.

But as reefs become more unhealthy…life on them is becoming harder for Tim to hear.

The sounds of these watery ecosystems are becoming a very important tool for researchers like Tim. And he has an idea that might be key to helping these struggling coral reef ecosystems rebound. Armed with a microphone and an underwater speaker….can the power of audio help save coral reefs?

Hiro’a is part of a multimedia art project called Small Island Big Song. It is a grassroots musical movement from 16 island nations across the Pacific and Indian Oceans focusing on environmental and climate awareness and cultural preservation.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

May 23 2022

30mins

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Hard Knocks: Lessons from the woodpecker

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I’ve thought about this stuff a lot as I listen to the northern flicker woodpecker tapping noisily away on the rain gutter outside my bedroom window. And not just rain gutters of course. 

Woodpeckers will peck at a tree up to 12,000 times a day and just one woodpecker peck produces about 15 times the force needed to give a human a concussion. So, how do woodpeckers bang their heads so much, and so hard and not come away with brain damage? 

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife 

May 10 2022

13mins

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Nuclear sea otters: A wildlife refugee story

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Join me among the crashing waves of the Pacific Northwest coast in Washington State.

This unique wildlife story starts, not there, but with a nuclear explosion, literally. During the late 60s and early 70s, three atomic weapons were tested on Amchitka Island in a remote part of Alaska. The blast registered a 7.0 on the Richter scale. over 10,000 fish were killed in the island’s lakes, streams and ponds.

But thanks to a little imagination, right before the nuclear test, a last minute program was deployed to capture and save some of the sea otters. Several hundred of the sea otters were quickly relocated out of harm’s way to the north pacific coast of Washington State and Oregon.

Now, over 50 years later, biologists are trying to figure out what is the fallout from this storied otter translocation . Has the nuclear otter evacuation from 50 years ago been a success? And what are the ecological ripple effects?

This is a story of second chances for an impossibly adorable sea creature, and how their mere presence can support countless other species, and even help save us from climate change. 

Links to films I’ve hosted if you’d like to learn more:

The Kelp Highway

The Blue Forest

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife 

Apr 26 2022

33mins

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Happy 46th Birthday! An Earth Day message from Chris

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Happy Earth Day to you all. For a while now I've wanted to share a short piece like this, and Earth Day seems like the right time! I hope you can kick back and listen to a relaxing 10 minute journey all about our precious home. If you enjoy it, please share it with others. After all, we're all in this together.

Thank you for the inspiration to:

Conservationists everywhere.

Everyone working on ‘30x30’ - protecting 30% of the planet by the year 2030.

The team at ‘Earth Emergency’ - check out their fascinating documentary.

Greenpeace, for the poster I saw all those years ago.

Thanks to the wild team Tatiana Latreille, Matt Martin, Jim gates, and Brendan Sweeney. And thank you Gordon Hempton and Quiet Parks International for the beautiful audio

Apr 22 2022

12mins

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The Cougar Conundrum

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One thing that I love about my work is that I get the opportunity to talk to so many interesting people working with wildlife around the world. For today’s episode I wanted to share with you one of those conversations.

Some of you might remember our episodes on “how to catch a cougar” back in season 2. If you do, the name Dr. Mark Elbroch will probably sound familiar.

Mark is a good friend of mine and a cougar biologist with Panthera - he took us out into the forests of WA State to radio collar and track a cougar for those episodes. It was an incredible experience.

Well, I also had the honor of interviewing him on stage at Town Hall in Seattle recently - about the fascinating lives of cougars - mountain lions - he’s on the cutting edge of some leading research about their behavior, their ecology, and how we can protect and appreciate these beautiful big cats. Mark’s just written a book called The Cougar Conundrum: Sharing the World with a Successful Predator and we’ll talk about that too.

I hope you enjoy our conversation

Apr 12 2022

37mins

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True grit: the wild wolverine

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In this episode you may notice a lot of heavy breathing - because I’m on the trail of a wolverine high up in the mountains. Here’s the story….

In the summer of 2020, there was some big news for wildlife in the pacific northwest. In the wild spaces of Mount Rainier National Park, a female wolverine was discovered along with two babies. The wolverines were back. It is believed that these tenacious predators haven't been in the park for over a century.

Dr. Jocelyn Akins is a wolverine biologist and founder of the Cascade Carnivore Project. She has slogged and toiled through some of the most rugged terrain on earth, setting up wildlife cameras all over the high country in the hopes of proving that wolverines had returned. Eventually, after years of searching, Jocelyn was rewarded with the first images of a mother and her young inside the park.

For 15 years now, Jocelyn has been on a quest to witness and document the return of wolverines to the mountains of the south cascades after a long absence. But the fact a female with youngsters is expanding into new territory could be a sign that the population is making a comeback. And it seems like there’s no creature more determined.

This is a story about toughness, tenacity, and resilience, not just of the wolverines, but of the woman determined to study them.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

Correction, 9:36 a.m., 3/31/2022: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of Dr. Jocelyn Akins.

Mar 29 2022

33mins

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The Comeback Cat: Spain’s Iberian lynx

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Like so many carnivores around the world, through history the Iberian lynx was persecuted as a menace or a threat to livestock and lifestyle: they were shot, poisoned, trapped, hunted. And misunderstood.

The cats have those really characteristic long tufted ears, black spots dappled across their tawny coat and an old fashioned beard that can stretch down in two long triangles each side of their chin.

But despite it’s regal flare, it’s still endangered, and a real focus of attention. But things are turning around, there used to be only around 100 lynx in Spain but now there are nearly 1000.

That’s why I’ve come to Spain - to figure out what is behind that success story - just how did what used to be the rarest cat on earth leap a staggering 1000% in number in just 20 years?

Learn more about efforts to save the Iberian Lynx with CBD Habitat.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

Mar 15 2022

38mins

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How to love a shark

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Shark reputations have never quite been the same since the movie Jaws came out nearly 50 years ago.

Sharks face some very direct threats. They are killed for their prized fins and caught in fishing nets all over the world. 99% of some populations have already been wiped out.

So how do you change hearts and minds about these feared but endangered creatures nearly half a century after the movie Jaws that got us all riled up? The answer seems to be one shark, and one person at a time.

Rachel Graham, Founder and Executive Director of MarAlliance, works to help others understand sharks, engage local fishing communities in central America, and even instill empathy for them. She hopes this will have us all think about sharks in a whole new way.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife 

Mar 01 2022

30mins

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The secret lives of giraffes and the woman who studied them

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Anne Innis Dagg is a tough, straight-talking, trailblazing woman, dedicated to science and social justice. In 1956, she went to South Africa to study giraffes. She wrote a book after her time in Africa that is still considered to be the giraffe bible by many in the field.

But there’s a good chance you don’t know her. She was actually in Africa observing wildlife before Jane Goodall. So why has she been forgotten? What is the story of Anne Innis Dagg?

She is the revolutionary biologist and women's rights advocate you’ve most likely never heard of. 

You can learn even more about her story by watching this documentary film.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

Feb 15 2022

24mins

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Goodbye chemical weapons, hello burrowing owls

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“So there are two important days in your life, the day that you're born, and the day you find out why. I know why I was born, for the owls. So I'm going to work with owls until my very last breath.” - David Johnson

David is founder of the Global Owl Project to protect endangered owl species all over the world. And one lucky owl species that’s been David’s main focus for these past 12 years is the little burrowing owl. 

A burrowing owl reaches only six inches in height and weighs less than half a pound. And as you might guess, these tiny owls live underground. But a curious domino effect has caused a worrying and widespread loss of their subterranean homes. So David is on a rescue mission to save the burrowing owl.

This rescue mission involves some chemical weapons, an old military base, and a very large plunger.

It’s a story about one man’s love affair with a mysterious little creature, and the things they’ve taught him about what they need to survive.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife 

Feb 01 2022

35mins

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Portugal’s ecological utopia

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I do love a good border crossing, so join me as I travel to Northeast Portugal, into the Coa River Valley, to witness a really interesting story that is unfolding there.

The dense old forests that were there are now mostly gone. Cut down and replaced with pastures for sheep and olive groves generations ago. And now the shepherds and other farmers are abandoning this region in droves. This checkered history has led to a poor economy, brush instead of trees and an explosion of wildfires.

Join me as I meet passionate, young biologists who are bringing back the forest, ecosystems and wild animals, and creating a new, healthy space for all. To create an ecological utopia in the Coa Valley of Portugal.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon. Thank you!

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

Jan 18 2022

41mins

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THE WILD: Season 4 Trailer

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We’re back! I am so excited to share our new season with all of you.

New episodes of THE WILD begin on Tuesday, January 18th.

My team and I have been hard at work finding stories and interviewing passionate people who are making a difference for nature….and our planet.

We’ve traveled the world this season to bring you stories about lynx in Spain, Caribbean sharks, owls that live underground and even how a nuclear explosion in Alaska led to sea otters returning to the west coast of America.

Get your headphones ready and come along on an adventure with me into the wild spaces that inspire us all.

The WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through small monthly contributions to my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon.

Jan 04 2022

3mins

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Living Planet (special episode)

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I hope you are having a lovely summer so far. Or winter if you’re south of the equator. THE WILD team is busy working on episodes for the next season. But I wanted to share something special with you that I think you’ll like. This is an episode from the podcast Living Planet from Deutsche Welle. They tell environment stories from around the world. In this episode they explore efforts to bring life back to seabeds off the coast of Scotland. They also look at an app that can tell what species a frog is by its song. A sort of Shazam for amphibians.

You can learn more about the Living Planet podcast here.

THE WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon.

Follow THE WILD with Chris Morgan on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

Aug 17 2021

21mins

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Message from Chris: Season 4

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Hey everybody….. I just wanted to say thanks for tuning into our third season of THE WILD. It’s been such a pleasure to share these stories and hear your reactions. 

We’ve already started working on season 4. I am really  excited to bring you even more wonder from the natural world. It’s very rewarding tracking down interesting species, human characters and amazing places and turning them into stories for you. This planet we live on seems to have a limitless pool of them. 

But now is your chance to let us know what you want to hear. We are doing a season 3 survey. Let us know what you liked, didn’t like, and help shape season 4. 

You can take our survey here. If you take the survey, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a prize from the show. We can't wait to hear from you. 

We’ll be back with new episodes in the fall. Until then, I really hope you are able to get out and enjoy the rest of the summer if you’re here in the pacific NW, or whichever season you might be in wherever you are in the world. 

Take care. 

Jul 20 2021

1min

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Sitting on a den of rattlesnakes

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Rattlesnakes have long been persecuted, even killed for sport or having their entire dens burned. I head out with two wildlife biologists to look for rattlesnakes as they emerge from hibernation and learn about the important role these snakes play in our ecosystem.

Take our listener survey by clicking the link here. You could be selected to get a WILD sticker.

THE WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon.

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife

Jul 13 2021

34mins

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The rise and fall…and rise...of the island fox

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For an ecologist like me, Santa Cruz island is a bit of a dream. It is home to a quite famous fox. It is like no “apex predator” I’ve ever seen before. These aren’t the type of foxes you might see on the mainland. These island foxes are small, very small. 

These foxes are endemic to the Channel Islands, meaning they are found here and nowhere else in the world. But about 20 years ago, people on these islands started noticing fewer and fewer foxes on the landscape. Their numbers were crashing dramatically….on Santa Cruz island they dropped to around one hundred animals. But nobody was sure why.

It was an ecological whodunnit that needed to be solved before the foxes disappeared forever. The clock was ticking. What scientists discovered was a cascade of curiously connected events involving toxic waste, feral pigs, and a couple of New Zealanders jumping out of a helicopter.

Take our listener survey by clicking the link here. You could be selected to get a WILD sticker.

THE WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon.

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife.

Jul 06 2021

29mins

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California’s condor: the dinosaur bird

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Hundreds, maybe even thousands of people have been involved in saving the California condor. We meet some of them in this episode, including a former gang member who has made it his life’s mission to help the birds he loves.

California condors are so iconic that when I finally saw one in person, it felt a bit like meeting a movie star. Condors were one of 78 species listed on the original endangered species list in 1967. And they are still on it. That's 54 years of living on the edge.

Condors are huge. They have a 9 foot wingspan and a bald, orange pumpkin like head. They are North America's biggest bird.

But today, they face a hidden threat….lead. And it is poisoning them. But these birds have brought together a curious team of people who love them, and are doing everything they can to make sure they are around for not just another 54 years, but well beyond all of us.

THE WILD is a joint production of myself and KUOW Public Radio. One way to support this vital work and become part of THE WILD community is through my wildlife organization, Chris Morgan Wildlife. You can find more information at Patreon.

Follow us on Instagram @thewildpod and @chrismorganwildlife.

Jun 29 2021

39mins

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iTunes Ratings

1701 Ratings
Average Ratings
1457
99
60
34
51

Awesome and I mean it

By nooooooo mommy - May 13 2020
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Just by listening to it for a little you fall in and lose yourself and time 🙂

The best

By San in Seattle - May 04 2020
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I absolutely love The Wild. I learn, smile, laught, cry and connect. I just love it.