Balto

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Balto
Gunnar Kaasen with Balto.jpg
Balto with Gunnar Kaasen
Species Dog
Breed Siberian Husky
SexMale
Born1919
Nome, Territory of Alaska
DiedMarch 14, 1933 (aged 14)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Resting place Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Occupation Sled dog
Known for 1925 serum run to Nome
AppearanceBlack with white "socks", "bib", and partial white markings on belly and tip of the muzzle, which advanced with age (including white markings around the eyes when he was old). Eyes were dark brown.
Named after Samuel Balto
Statue of Balto in Central Park (New York City) Balto.jpg
Statue of Balto in Central Park (New York City)

Balto (1919 March 14, 1933) was a Siberian husky and sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nenana, Alaska, by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease. [1] Balto was named after the Sami explorer Samuel Balto. Balto rested at the Cleveland Zoo until his death on March 14, 1933, at the age of 14. After he died, his body was stuffed and kept in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where it remains today.

1925 serum run to Nome sled dog relay bringing antitoxin to Nome, Alaska

The 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy and the Serum Run, was a transport of diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled relay across the U.S. territory of Alaska by 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs 674 miles (1,085 km) in five and a half days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic.

Diphtheria Infectious disease

Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Signs and symptoms may vary from mild to severe. They usually start two to five days after exposure. Symptoms often come on fairly gradually, beginning with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, a grey or white patch develops in the throat. This can block the airway and create a barking cough as in croup. The neck may swell in part due to enlarged lymph nodes. A form of diphtheria that involves the skin, eyes, or genitals also exists. Complications may include myocarditis, inflammation of nerves, kidney problems, and bleeding problems due to low levels of platelets. Myocarditis may result in an abnormal heart rate and inflammation of the nerves may result in paralysis.

Antitoxin

An antitoxin is an antibody with the ability to neutralize a specific toxin. Antitoxins are produced by certain animals, plants, and bacteria in response to toxin exposure. Although they are most effective in neutralizing toxins, they can also kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Antitoxins are made within organisms, and can be injected into other organisms, including humans, to treat an infectious disease. This procedure involves injecting an animal with a safe amount of a particular toxin. The animal's body then makes the antitoxin needed to neutralize the toxin. Later, blood is withdrawn from the animal. When the antitoxin is obtained from the blood, it is purified and injected into a human or other animal, inducing temporary passive immunity. To prevent serum sickness, it is often best to use an antitoxin obtained from the same species.

Contents

1925 serum run

In January 1925 doctors realized that a potentially deadly diphtheria epidemic was poised to sweep through Nome's young people. The only serum that could stop the outbreak was in Anchorage, Alaska. The engine of the only aircraft that could quickly deliver the medicine was frozen and would not start. After considering all of the alternatives, officials decided to move the medicine via multiple dog sled teams. The serum was transported by train from Anchorage to Nenana, where the first musher embarked as part of a relay aimed at delivering the serum to Nome. More than 20 mushers took part, facing a blizzard with -23 °F (31 °C) temperatures and strong winds. News coverage of the event was worldwide.

Epidemic rapid spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time

An epidemic is the rapid spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less. For example, in meningococcal infections, an attack rate in excess of 15 cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks is considered an epidemic.

Dog sled sled pulled by one or more sled dogs

A dog sled or dog sleigh is a sled pulled by one or more sled dogs used to travel over ice and through snow. Numerous types of sleds are used, depending on their function. They can be used for dog sled racing. In Greenland the dogs pull in a fan shape in front of the sled, while in other regions, such as Alaska and Canada the dogs pull side by side in pairs.

Nenana, Alaska City in Alaska, United States

Nenana is a Home Rule City in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of the Unorganized Borough in the Interior of the U.S. state of Alaska. Nenana developed as a Lower Tanana community at the confluence where the tributary Nenana River enters the Tanana. The population was 378 at the 2010 census, down from 402 in 2000.

On February 2, 1925, the Norwegian Gunnar Kaasen drove his team, led by Balto, into Nome. The longest and most hazardous stretch of the run was actually covered by another Norwegian, Leonhard Seppala, and his dog team, led by Togo. They came from Nome towards the end of the run and picked up the serum from musher Henry Ivanoff. The serum was later passed to Kaasen.

Norway constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

Gunnar Kaasen musher

Gunnar Kaasen was a Norwegian-born musher who delivered a cylinder containing 300,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska, in 1925, as the last leg of a dog sled relay that saved the U.S. city from an epidemic.

Leonhard Seppala musher

Leonhard "Sepp" Seppala was a Norwegian Sled dog musher who played a pivotal role in the 1925 serum run to Nome and participated in the 1932 Winter Olympics. Seppala introduced the work dogs used by Native Siberians at the time to the American public; the breed came to be known as the Siberian Husky in the English-speaking world. The Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award, which honors excellence in sled dog care is named in honour of him.

Balto proved himself on the Iditarod trail, saving his team in the Topkok River. Balto was also able to stay on the trail in near whiteout conditions; Kaasen stated he could barely see his hand in front of his face. Balto's team did their leg of the run almost entirely in the dark. The final team and its sledder were asleep when Balto and Kaasen made it to the final stop, so Kaasen decided to continue on. At Nome, everybody wanted to thank Kaasen at first, but he suggested giving fame to Balto as well.[ citation needed ]

Whiteout (weather)

Whiteout is a weather condition in which visibility and contrast are severely reduced by snow, fog, or sand. The horizon disappears from view while the sky and landscape appear featureless, leaving no points of visual reference by which to navigate. Whiteout has been defined as: "A condition of diffuse light when no shadows are cast, due to a continuous white cloud layer appearing to merge with the white snow surface. No surface irregularities of the snow are visible, but a dark object may be clearly seen. There is no visible horizon."

Togo was the star dog for Leonhard Seppala even before the great 1925 Serum Run. Instead of celebrating the triumph together as one huge team, many became jealous of the publicity Balto received, especially from President Calvin Coolidge and the press. Seppala favored Togo, but the general public loved the story behind Balto, and so they would take a far different path after the celebrations were over. Balto was not welcomed at the ceremony in New York in which Seppala and Togo received awards from the explorer Roald Amundsen.

Calvin Coolidge 30th president of the United States

John Calvin Coolidge Jr. was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929. A Republican lawyer from New England, born in Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. The next year, he was elected vice president of the United States, and he succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small government conservative and also as a man who said very little and had a rather dry sense of humor.

Roald Amundsen Norwegian polar researcher, who was the first to reach the South Pole

Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions and a key figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. He led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in 1906, the first expedition to the South Pole in 1911, and flew over the North Pole in 1926. He disappeared while taking part in a rescue mission for the airship Italia in 1928.

Aftermath

Balto's remains at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Balto CLE.JPG
Balto's remains at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

After the mission's success, Balto and Kaasen became celebrities. A statue of Balto, sculpted by Frederick Roth, was erected in New York City's Central Park on December 17, 1925, just 10 months after Balto's arrival in Nome. Balto himself was present for the monument's unveiling. [2] The statue is located on the main path leading north from the Tisch Children's Zoo. [3] In front of the statue a low-relief slate plaque depicts Balto's sled team, and bears the following inscription:

Frederick Roth American sculptor

Frederick George Richard Roth was an American sculptor and animalier, well known for portraying living animals. The statue of the sled dog Balto in New York City's Central Park is perhaps his most famous piece.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Central Park Public park at the center of Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States

Central Park is an urban park in Manhattan, New York City. It is located between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, roughly bounded by Fifth Avenue on the east, Central Park West on the west, Central Park South on the south, and Central Park North on the north. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with 40 million visitors in 2013, and one of the most filmed locations in the world. In terms of area, Central Park is the fifth largest park in New York City, covering 843 acres (341 ha).

Balto was not destined to be a star in the breeding shed since he was neutered at a young age, hence he was relegated to being neglected on the vaudeville circuit with his team. When Kaasen wished to return home to Alaska, his dogs were sold to the highest bidder by the company who sponsored his tour. The dogs ended up chained in a small area in a novelty museum and freak show in Los Angeles.

While visiting Los Angeles, George Kimble, a former prize fighter turned businessman from Cleveland, was shocked to discover the dogs were unhealthy and badly treated. Mr. Kimble worked together with the newspaper The Plain Dealer to bring Balto and his team to Cleveland, Ohio. On March 19, 1927, Balto and six companions were brought to Cleveland and given a hero's welcome in a triumphant parade. The dogs were then taken to the Brookside Zoo (now the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo).

After Balto died in 1933, his remains were mounted by a taxidermist, and donated to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. [5] In 1965 Carl Barks introduced a hero dog named "Barko" as a character in an Uncle Scrooge comic book, North of the Yukon , as an homage to Balto. In 1998 the Alaska Legislature passed HJR 62- 'Bring Back Balto' resolution. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History declined to return Balto; however, in October 1998, Balto left for a five-month stay at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art which drew record crowds. Balto was part of another exhibit at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art in 2017. [6]

The 1995 animated film of the same name was also made, loosely depicting Balto's famous journey. This film portrayed him as a wolf-dog hybrid and is voiced by Kevin Bacon.

See also

Related Research Articles

Siberian Husky Dog breed

The Siberian Husky is a medium size working dog breed that originated in Northeast Asia. The breed belongs to the Spitz genetic family. With proper training, they make great sled dogs. It is recognizable by its thickly furred double coat, erect triangular ears, and distinctive markings, and is smaller than a very similar-looking dog, the Alaskan Malamute.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome, entirely within the US state of Alaska. Mushers and a team of 14 dogs, of which at least 5 must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 8–15 days or more.[1] The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams but evolved into today's highly competitive race. Then a record, the second fastest winning time was recorded in 2016 by Dallas Seavey with a time of 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes, and 16 seconds. As of 2012, Dallas Seavey was also the youngest musher to win the race at the age of 25. In 2017, at the age of 57, Dallas's father, Mitch Seavey, is the oldest and fastest person ever to win the race, crossing the line in Nome in 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds. Dallas finished second, two hours and 44 minutes behind.

Sled dog working dog

Sled dogs were important for transportation in arctic areas, hauling supplies in areas that were inaccessible by other methods. They were used with varying success in the explorations of both poles, as well as during the Alaskan gold rush. Sled dog teams delivered mail to rural communities in Alaska and northern Canada. Sled dogs today are still used by some rural communities, especially in areas of Alaska and Canada and throughout Greenland. They are used for recreational purposes and racing events, such as the Iditarod Trail and the Yukon Quest.

Mushing sport or dog powered transport method

Mushing is a sport or transport method powered by dogs. It includes carting, pulka, dog scootering, sled dog racing, skijoring, freighting, and weight pulling. More specifically, it implies the use of one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow or a rig on dry land.

Iditarod Trail

The Iditarod Trail, also known historically as the Seward-to-Nome Trail, refers to a thousand-plus mile (1,600 km) historic and contemporary trail system in the US state of Alaska. The trail began as a composite of trails established by Alaskan native peoples. Its route crossed several mountain ranges and valleys and passed through numerous historical settlements en route to Nome. The discovery of gold brought thousands of people over this route beginning in 1910. Roadhouses for people and dog barns sprang up every 20 or so miles. By 1918 World War I and the lack of 'gold fever' resulted in far less travel. The trail might have been forgotten except for the 1925 diphtheria outbreak in Nome. In one of the final great feats of dog sleds, twenty drivers and teams carried the life-saving serum 674 miles (1,085 km) in 127 hours. Today, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race serves to commemorate the part the trail and its dog sleds played in the development of Alaska.

Samuel Balto Norwegian explorer

Samuel Johannesen Balto was a Norwegian–Sami explorer and adventurer. Balto skied with Fridtjof Nansen across Greenland in 1888–89.

<i>Balto</i> (film) 1995 American film directed by Simon Wells

Balto is a 1995 American live-action/animated epic drama adventure film directed by Simon Wells, produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is loosely based on a true story about the dog of the same name who helped save children from the diphtheria epidemic in the 1925 serum run to Nome. The film stars Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda, Jim Cummings, Phil Collins and Bob Hoskins, with Miriam Margoyles in the live-action sequences. The live-action portions of the film were shot in New York City's Central Park. The film was the third and final animated feature produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio. Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Bonne Radford acted as executive producers on the film. Although the film's theatrical run was overshadowed by the success of the competing Disney•Pixar film Toy Story, its subsequent strong sales on home video led to two direct-to-video sequels: Balto II: Wolf Quest (2002) and Balto III: Wings of Change (2005), though none of the voice cast reprised their roles. Unlike the film, the sequels were entirely animated and contain no live action scenes.

Togo (dog) sled dog

Togo was the lead sled dog of Leonhard Seppala and his dog sled team in the 1925 serum run to Nome across central and northern Alaska.

Joe Redington, Senior was an American dog musher and kennel owner, who is best known as the "Father of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race", a long distance sled dog race run annually from the Anchorage area to Nome, Alaska.

Dorothy G. Page was best known as "Mother of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race", the 1,049-mile dog sled race across the U.S. state of Alaska.

The Junior Iditarod Sled Dog Race, or Jr. Iditarod, is a 148- to 158-mile sled dog race for mushers between the ages of 14 through 17, which is patterned after the 1,150-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that is said to be 1,049 miles. The race is held outside Anchorage in the U.S. state of Alaska, and was the first long-distance race for juvenile mushers.

Colonel Norman Dane Vaughan was an American dogsled driver and explorer whose first claim to fame was participating in Admiral Byrd's first expedition to the South Pole. He also ran dog teams in a professional capacity as part of a search and rescue unit in World War II, in sporting events like the Olympics and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and in three Presidential Inauguration ceremonies.

The Alpirod is a defunct 1,000 kilometres (621 mi) sled dog stage race in Southern Europe. Its name comes from a combination of the Alps, where the race took place, and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, upon which the race was based. The competition consisted of a 14-day stage race in 11 cities in four countries: Italy, Germany, Austria and France. The competition consisted of multiple short races separated by evening breaks, similar to cycling's Tour de France. At the time, it was the largest sled dog race outside North America. The race was organized by Armen Khatchikian, an Italian Iditarod competitor who hoped to bring a form of that race to Europe. It first took place in 1988, and the inaugural race was won by Alaska racer Joe Runyan. In 1989, the race was won by Kathy Swenson. She was the first woman to win the race. In 1990, Alaskan Roxy Wright Champaine won the race, becoming the third American winner. In 1992, the race was won by Nenana, Alaska musher Jacques Philip, who went on to win the race three times.

Aliy Zirkle musher

Aliy Zirkle is a champion of sled dog racing.

Brent Sass musher

Brent Sass is an American dog musher who won the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest international sled dog race from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska in 2015. He is well known for rescuing other mushers along the Yukon Quest trail throughout his dogsled racing career. In 2011, the rescue efforts of Sass and his then-lead dog Silver at American Summit in blizzard conditions led to the introduction of the Yukon Quest's Silver Award that recognizes sled dogs that have performed acts of heroism on the trail.

Togo is an upcoming American film directed by Ericson Core and starring Willem Dafoe that is set to debut on Disney+.

References

  1. Salisbury, Gay; Laney Salisbury (2003). The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race against an Epidemic. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 187. ISBN   0-393-01962-4.
  2. "Central Park Monuments - Balto". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  3. 1 2 "Balto". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  4. "Balto, (sculpture)". Save Outdoor Sculpture, New York New York survey. June 1993. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  5. "Balto". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. March 27, 1998. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
  6. DeMarco, Laura (February 13, 2017). "Cleveland's most famous canine, Balto, to visit Alaska". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland, Ohio. Retrieved February 20, 2017.