PUHSAN WILDLIFE REFUGE FAQ
by John DeLaughter
Welcome to the Puhsan Wildlife
Refuge! As a visitor to this special place,
you will be able to observe the Puhsan in their native habitat as they
sleep, engage in courtship rituals, mate, and (if you are very lucky)
even as they give birth and raise their children. Scientists have been
this species for more than one hundred of their generations and have
a lot from this amazing animal.
Unfortunately, past over-harvesting
nearly caused the extinction of the
vibrant, endlessly entertaining creatures you will see today. Some
generations ago, more than a third of the breeding population was
less than one of their generations leading many to ask if the species
ever recover. Tragically, most of the harvest was for what we would
be trivial reasons today. Puhsan meat was ground up into pet food,
were turned into hats and coats, and their young were used for medical
experimentation. But thanks to new regulations and the establishment of
preserves, such as this one, across the globe, the species is off the
endangered list and more plentiful than ever!
Thanks to that recovery, a small
number of Puhsan are taken every
generation as part of a sustainable harvesting program. Some are used
scientific research, often as part of a catch-and-release program.
selected for the commercial trade based on a variety of factors, such
health, age, and number of offspring. They are caught and killed as
as possible with their meat and pelts sold at government auctions; the
raised from this program helps fund the wildlife refuge, reducing your
While we know you are eager to see
the refuge and interact with the Puhsan
and many other species in it, we ask that you familiarize yourself with
park FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) first. Doing so will increase
enjoyment of the refuge and help us keep you and the animals that live
What does ‘Puhsan’ mean?
To be honest, we don’t know. Some
of our early explorers heard a breeding
pair calling it out to each other and the name stuck. It is probably a
territorial call meaning something like “this is my tree”.
Can Puhsan speak?
No. Though there have been claims
by some fringe elements that Puhsan can
be taught to use language, such as in the case of Klaatu, no reputable
scientist agrees. Instead, they say the Puhsan is simply mimicking the
behavior in hopes of earning a treat. Independent researchers have
tapes of Klaatu’s paw movements and definitively state that the
formed were pure gibberish (e.g., “Hurt cold me hot house hot me”).
How many Puhsan live here?
This refuge is the tenth-largest
concentration of Puhsan on the globe!
More than eight million breeding pairs of Puhsan call this home.
their offspring, that is more than twenty-one million individuals, all
Why do Puhsan live so closely
To be honest, we don’t know. Not
all Puhsan live in large colonies like
this one; many live in smaller groups of fewer than a thousand breeding
However, the number living in large colonies has increased dramatically
the past few generations which may be a result of some thus-far
Do Puhsan mate for life?
We used to think that they did.
However, modern research provides a much
more nuanced view. Though a few Puhsan do mate for life, it is far more
for them to form multiple temporary breeding pairs over a lifetime.
How are Puhsan young raised?
Strangely, child-rearing duties are
mainly left to Puhsan females, with
the males frequently being responsible for little more than food or
Scientists think this is due to the male being more fragile than the
less capable of providing the attention needed to ensure the young make
adulthood successfully. Interestingly, the males of some breeding pairs
been observed becoming exceedingly protective of the young that were
during their pairing, but only after their former partner has found a
Scientists believe that this may be an attempt to keep the new male
the young from previous matings.
Do Puhsan actually make buildings?
While they aren’t buildings the way
that we think of them, Puhsan ‘cities’
such as this one often include impressive, multi-story edifices. As is
with many of the lower animals, the ‘buildings’ are frequently grouped
for example, the food will be stored in several structures that are
next to each other, while nests will be grouped together in another set
structures. Primitive visual clues often allow the Puhsan to
set of structures from another, reinforcing scientists’ low opinion of
Why do Puhsan carry trash
Scientists think that Puhsan carry
elaborately decorated packets of trash
as part of their mating rituals. They exchange these packets many times
often swapping small packets for larger ones. Both males and females
observed to exchange packets. Younger Puhsan are given packets several
year in order to train them in the ritual; as the Puhsan get older,
more experience by exchanging smaller packets with each other and their
Do Puhsan use tools?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes.
Not too many years ago, it was thought
that animals were incapable of using tools. However, close observation
Puhsan and other species have shown conclusively that they are capable
making crude tools and using them to get food or make carrying it
Are Puhsan safe to pet?
Puhsan are wild animals. As such,
they are unpredictable and unsafe to approach.
Even experienced ‘Puhsan wranglers’ have been seriously hurt or killed
animals. Do not get close to Puhsan, as they can and will knock you
trample over you. Do not try to take their packets as this can enrage
Puhsan. Do not try to pet or ride the Puhsan.
Now that you are familiar with the
Puhsan, we hope you enjoy your visit to
the Puhsan Wildlife Refuge. Please remember to turn your holographic
on before entering the refuge as Puhsan are easily startled and look
different than we do, with adults having just one nose and two eyes.
remember that the entrance and exit are camouflaged in order to keep
disturbing the Puhsan, or “Yumans” as some call them, while they are
observed. If you
get lost, just set your
map to find “New York City Grand Central Station”.
© 2022 John DeLaughter
Bio: John E. DeLaughter is a
geophysicist, paranomasiac, and world-famous bad sailor. His work has
taken him to all seven continents where he always meets the nicest
people. Currently retired, he lives on a sailboat with Missy the cat.
Among the stories he's had published are "A Fluke So Rare" (October
2018, Aphelion Webzine), "The Terran Game" (December 2021, Aphelion
Webzine), and "The Day the Rockets Flew" (Strange Wars, 2022).
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