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Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

tigerToday there are believed to be fewer than 2,500 breeding adult Tigers left in the wild, and their numbers are declining. Tigers are listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

A friend of mine is getting ready to do a documentary about these Tigers and made me aware of this horrific practice.

The greatest threats to Tigers are habitat loss, poaching and lack of sufficient prey.

Once found across Asia, from Turkey to eastern Russia, over the past century Tigers have disappeared from south-west and central Asia, from Java and Bali in Indonesia and from large parts of South-east and East Asia.

Tigers have lost 93% of their historic range, and more than 40% of their range in the last decade. Much of the remaining habitat is becoming increasingly fragmented.

Today, Tigers are found only in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and VietNam, and possibly in North Korea.

Tiger poaching

Tigers, and numerous other species of endangered wild life, have to contend with poaching! Regardless of the tigers’ classification as a “Critically Endangered” species, the demand for its parts has drastically increased at an alarming rate since the end of the 20th Century. The tiger is primarily killed to supply underground black markets with its organs, pelts and bones. These items are highly regarded in eastern medicine, claiming to posse’s capabilities to heal all sorts of human illnesses and dysfunctions. In addition, this regal and magnificent symbol of nature’s beauty and power is hunted recreationally for sport/trophies, perceived fear, and just out-rite ignorance! Unfortunately, poaching is not isolated to any one subspecies or population. All tigers, no matter were they live, seem to be under attack!

tiger-penis-formula

The import and exportation of tiger parts is a sizable business.  The penis sells for $6,000 (USD in 2008) which is used in a soup as an aphrodisiac.  Dried white tiger penis is worth even more. It is probably the most expensive piece of animal material in the world and probably the reason for the deaths of many magnificent wild tigers.   A large number of Chinese still believe that the body parts of animals can cure their ailments. And the doctors who practice traditional Chinese medicine haven’t yet decided to do what they do in the west, substitute animal parts for man made ingredients.  Despite the widespread availability of aspirin, a highly effective pain killer and indeed many other pain killers, many Chinese prefer to ingest crushed tiger bone for pain relief.

This practice takes place in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and the other Asian countries.  In 1990, over 4,180 pounds of tiger bones were exported from Taiwan to Japan. Documented records from the Korean government state that over 8700 pounds of tiger bones were imported into South Koreas from Indonesia.  In Hong Kong black markets, venders sell a pound of powdered tiger humorous bone sells for over $1700.

Tiger snow

Other tiger body parts are believed to do the following to the person who consumes them:

  • 1. Heart – gives strength and courage
  • 2. Tail – body rub for skin problems
  • 3. Bones – put in wine for rheumatism
  • 4. Brains – body rub to cure acne
  • 5. Eyes – turned into pills for epilepsy
  • 6. Whiskers – cure for toothache

It is still cheaper to kill and export the body parts of a wild tiger than to farm them.  At this rate how long will it take for their complete extinction in the wild? Keep in mind that all of these so-called treatments are completely unproven by science and have absolutely no real medical value.

How is man considered to be of superior intelligence compared to these animals when this happens?

If man has no respect for such a remarkable animal as the tiger, how can mankind be expected to protect all of the other animals, plants and wild places sharing the planet with us?  One way to help, don’t purchase items made from animal parts or made by animals (elephant paintings).

Many organizations are in need of volunteers to help save these animals and educate the public.  To learn more about the tigers and things you can do,  go to these websites:

Wildlife 1

Traffic

Tiger Homes

I want Friday’s to bring awareness to other organizations that are doing wonderful things for animals. If you have information you want to share, send me a paragraph on the topic with a link to the website, by 11am on Thursday.  I will do this each Friday.  Please pass this link on to bring awareness to these wonderful organizations, thanks!

chickensinbatterycages

veggies

1. Have you ever thought about the food you eat?  How does it affect your body and health?

There is a new movie called Food, Inc.  It educates people about the food they eat. Oprah dedicated one of her shows to this topic.  Alicia Silverstone wrote a book called “The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet”. She also discusses this topic.

When we used to cook quality food at home our health care costs, and medical needs, were much lower.  Our world has changed.  People buy fast food an average of 4 times a week.  With that increase there has been an increase in health issues and health care costs.  Animals are force fed and given all kinds of hormones.  This impacts the animals, as well as the humans that consume them.  A few of the topics discussed in the movie:

  1. Where our food comes from
  2. How it affects our health
  3. How to purchase quality food at the best price
  4. Restaurants that serve high quality food that has been raised caged free

What are your thoughts about this?  You can comment below.

baby bears

2. They say bears hibernate in the winter, right?  Watch the video below to see what they really do in the comfort of their own caves!  This is live video inside a bear’s den!

A team of  biologists go to a black bear den to study a female bear and her two newborn cubs. The group recorded each cub’s weight and gender and examined the mother bear.   Please listen to what they have to say about the bears and humans interacting.  Sound familiar about other animals in the wild?

THESE ARE WILD ANIMALS, PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN!!

Web Kirsten Bole 3. Kirsten Starcher plays bass in a Vancouver-based rock band and while performing in Toronto, Canada in 2006, took a poignant photograph of a homeless man with his dog nestled in his arms.  Her photo has touched many hearts around the world.  Her consent to “Pets of the Homeless” to use her photo set a wave in motion.

“Years later, it still amazes me how this one tiny action, which almost didn’t happen, has had a ripple effect I never would have predicted,” wrote Kirsten for an article in the March 2010, Pets of the Homeless Newsletter.

People started writing to tell Kirsten about how the photo affected them.  More charities asked to use it in their writings; artists asked to paint their own versions of it; a musician wrote a song about it. She received email from a woman in South Africa who found it on a flyer on the beach and was deeply moved. One of the artists planned to give a percentage of his gallery’s earnings – for a month – to a local homelessness charity, by way of appreciation.

This stunning photograph can be seen on the Pets of the Homeless website.

python faceA special hunting season opened in Florida this year, python hunting.

From Monday March 8, 2010 until April 17, anyone with a hunting license, who pays for the $26 permit, can take them on state-managed lands around the Everglades in South Florida.

Florida officials have taken a more aggressive stance against the invasive species in the past year, creating the python hunting season and issuing broader permits to experts to kill as many as possible. The state has even held workshops for those inexperienced with pythons on how to identify, stalk and capture the reptiles.  In addition to Burmese, Indian and African rock pythons, hunters can also take green anacondas and Nile monitor lizards.

In addition to hunting these snakes, the hunters are being attacked by killer bees.  You can learn more about the killer bees, and watch the video, at the end of this post.

python

Africa’s largest snake—the ill-tempered, 20-foot-long (6.1-meter-long) African rock python—is colonizing the U.S. The Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) is native throughout Southeast Asia including Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, southern China, and Indonesia. While Burmese are being captive bred in the U.S. and Europe, native populations are considered to be “threatened” and are listed on Appendix II of Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. All the giant pythons (including the Indian, African Rock and Reticulated pythons) have historically been slaughtered to supply the international fashion industry with exotic skins. The exportation of young snakes for the pet trade and for their blood and gall as used in folk medicine has put additional pressures on the wild populations that cannot be sustained.

python mouth 1More dangerous than even Burmese pythons—which are known to eat alligators —the African pythons are so mean, they are known to come out of the egg striking.  This is just one vicious animal.

Burmese pythons have already eaten thousands of native animals in the Everglades.  With the addition of the rock python, Florida is now an established home-away-from-home for three large alien constricto—including the Burmese species and the boa constrictor.

steve Irwin

Steve Irwin

This brings up the topic of having one of these as a pet. Do you really want a snake that may grow more than 20 feet long or weigh 200 pounds, urinate and defecate like a horse, will live more than 25 years and for whom you will have to kill mice, rats and, eventually, rabbits (no chickens any more due to the ever increasing rate of Salmonella in the food industry)?

Many people think that when they decide they don’t want their Burmese any more–when it gets to be 8 or 10 or 15 feet long–it will be easy to find someone who does. Take a look at the animal classifieds – they always have sale ads for big pythons. The zoo doesn’t want any more – they already have one or more giant snakes from other people. The local herpetology societies and reptile veterinarians always have big pythons for whom they are trying to find homes. Burms are increasingly being abandoned at vets and animal shelters and are being euthanized for lack of proper homes for them. Breeders keep breeding them, however, because so many people are willing to buy these ‘cool’ giants…knowing full well that they will be dumped when ‘too’ big. At 10 feet and 40+ pounds, a 3-year old Burmese is already eating rabbits a couple of times a month and is very difficult to handle alone. You have to interact with them constantly to keep them tame – do you want a hungry, cranky 100 pound, 12 foot snake mistaking your face for prey?  Who is going to help you clean its enclosure?  Take it to the vet when it’s sick? Take care of it when you go away to school or on vacation?  No matter how much they love you, there are some things a mother, and your friends, will not do!

Owning a giant snake is NOT COOL – it is a major, long-term, frequently very expensive responsibility. Not only that, but even the nicest, gentlest of burms can become killers, even when not very large.  To learn more about these snakes, click here.

killer bee

Africanized Honey Bees — also called killer bees — are descendants of southern African bees imported in 1956 by Brazilian scientists attempting to breed a honey bee better adapted to the South American tropics.

When some of these bees escaped quarantine in 1957, they began breeding with local Brazilian honey bees, quickly multiplying and extended their range throughout South and Central America at a rate greater than 200 miles per year. In the past decade, AHB began invading North America.

Africanized bees acquired the name killer bees because they will viciously attack people and animals who unwittingly stray into their territory, often resulting in serious injury or death.

It is not necessary to disturb the hive itself to initiate an AHB attack. In fact, Africanized bees have been know to respond viciously to mundane occurrences, including noises or even vibrations from vehicles, equipment and pedestrians.

Though their venom is no more potent than native honey bees, Africanized bees attack in far greater numbers and pursue perceived enemies for greater distances. Once disturbed, colonies may remain agitated for 24 hours, attacking people and animals within a range of a quarter mile from the hive.

Africanized bees proliferate because they are less discriminating in their choice of nests than native bees, utilizing a variety of natural and man-made objects , including hollow trees, walls, porches, sheds, attics, utility boxes, garbage containers and abandoned vehicles. They also tend to swarm more often than other honey bees.


I want Friday’s to bring awareness to other organizations that are doing wonderful things for animals. If you have information you want to share, send me a paragraph on the topic with a link to the website, by 11am on Thursday.  I will do this each Friday.  Please pass this link on to bring awareness to these wonderful organizations, thanks!

Enjoy the 6 posts below:

Bidr 11.  A Love Story: A) Here, his wife is injured and the condition is fatal.  She was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road.

bird 2

B) Here he brought her food and attended to her with love and compassion.

bird 3

C) He brought her food again but was shocked to find her dead. He tried to move her….a rarely-seen effort for swallows!

bird 4

D) Aware that his sweetheart is dead and will never come back to him again,he cries with adoring love.

bird 5

E) He stands beside her, saddened by her death.

bird 6

F) Finally aware that she would never return to him, he stays beside her body with sadness and sorrow.

Millions of people cried after seeing this picture story in America and Europe and even in India .  It is said that the photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee to the most famous newspaper in France .  All copies of that newspaper were sold out on the day these pictures were published. And many people think birds and animals don’t have a brain or feelings!!

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  1. 2.  On December 15th, 2009 the SPCA of Texas took custody of 26,000 exotic animals from US Global Exotics in the largest animal seizure in US history. USGE was a major distributor of exotic animals from wallabies to hamsters; warehousing them in horrific conditions until they could be brokered to stores, breeders and retailers. Thousands of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, arachnids, and many other animals were cruelly confined in filthy conditions, literally crammed into cattle-feeding troughs, boxes, bags, and even pop bottles. They did not have food, water, or veterinary care. According to reports 500 animals a day were dying at USGE, ending up tossed in their dumpster.

Thanks to an undercover PETA investigation the animals were permanently awarded to the SPCA of Texas on Feb 1, 2010. Love or hate PETA you have to give them credit for this one.  Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary was proud and honored to be selected as one of 30 rescues in the nation to receive some of the rescued animals from the US Global Exotics animal cruelty and neglect
case. Located in Northern Illinois Critter Camp board member Shary Stelter made the trip to Nashville, TN to meet up with the SPCA of TX transport on Superbowl Sunday where she was interviewed by Nashville Television station WSMV.  See the 75 critters from USGE now calling Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary their home, including adorable Texas Spotted Ground Squirrels, short-tailed opossum , Roborovski hamsters and little white mice; and find links to more information on our Global Exotics Rescue Page:
Click Here For More Information.

Critter Camp is the only exotic pet sanctuary of its kind in the U.S. giving a safe, healthy happy home to the elderly, sick, disabled and aggressive un-adoptable exotic pets that have nowhere else to go, currently caring for over 300 animals of 36 different species!  Click Here to go to Their Website

pepsi 3. Pepsi is funding grants in various categories until 2/28. Many Houston dogs are euthanized due to heartworms in a good economy, it is at a horrendous pace currently.

The drug to treat this is very expensive and each bottle only treats 22 lbs. This group is desperate to move up into the funded top ten. More information and pictures of saved dogs are on the site.  This could help dogs at many rescue groups and shelter.  People can vote every day, until the 28th. PLEASE, CLICK HERE to go to this site to vote today, and everyday until the 28th.

elephants

4. TAKE ACTION TODAY!!! 36,000 elephants were killed last year for their ivory. In 16 DAYS 111 tonnes of ivory will be traded at the CITIES* conference if certain countries have their way.

This will pretty much kick-start the ivory trade in a massive way meaning the end for tens or even hundreds of thousands of elephants.

If this bothers you too, please try and stop this happening by signing this petition, CLICK HERE (you’ll need to confirm your signature).

5.   A documentary was just completed.  It’s about No Kill Pet Rescues and Shelters as well as the challenges they face. In November of 2008 a family adopted a new family member from the Animal Welfare Society and learned about the lack of awareness of the No Kill shelters.  They took it upon themselves to finance and create a program about these shelters.   They have pledged 60% of all profits to go to the AWS and if they can get great distribution, will split some for other local shelters in the Detroit area.

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6.   Dachshund Rescue of Bucks County & NJ  have on-line workshops. They are hosted by dachshund experts and are designed to help you have a long and happy relationship with your doxie of any size.  There is a small donation fee charged for attendance with all proceeds donated to DRBC for the high medical fees incurred in the rescue and rehabilitation of our beloved breed.

This Month’s First Topic: Dental Disease and Your Dog
Those amazing toofers. How to keep them clean, bright and where they belong.  Are doxies more prone to dental disease?   How often should I clean my dogs teeth. How often should my vet clean my dogs teeth?   Dental and cardiac disease,yes, they are related.  Did you know there is anew vaccine to eliminate 4 out of 5 of the causes of tartar?   You can find out all about it at this session.

Click Here To Register

I want Friday’s to bring awareness to other organizations that are doing wonderful things for animals. If you have information you want to share, send me a paragraph on the topic with a link to the website, by 11am on Thursday.  I will do this each Friday.

fox in cage1. I did not realize that fox hunting was still alive and well in other parts of the world. I was sent some information about a campaign going on in the UK to repeal the hunting act.  Hunting of foxes, deer, hare and mink by using hounds, has been illegal over there sine 2004.  Now, a guy by the name of David Cameron, who is running in an election, wants to repeal the act.

I wanted to learn more about this type of hunting, since I don’t know much about it.  What I read disturbed me.  A fox will be trapped.  Then, rather than kill it right away, it is let lose so that it can be caught by the hounds and killed later.  This is a sport for the people involved.  The hounds, horses, men and children will chase the fox through the countryside with blasting horns.  The fox is gripped with fear and stressed beyond capacity until finally, with the internal organs failing and exhausted, the fox will be unable to continue.  To read more about this please click here to visit the site where you can learn more, and help.

Fox That Was Caught

Fox That Was Caught

There is a man by the name of Clifford Pellow.  For more than 2 decades he was a professional Huntsman with several packs of Fox hounds in England and Whales.  Because he is a stickler for rules, he became more and more outraged at the abuse the foxes were enduring because the Hunt Master continued to break the hunting code of ethics.    Eventually he could no longer stomach it, he protested and lost his job as a Huntsman.  To read more about Clifford, the cruelty in fox hunting and what Clifford is doing, check out his story here.

Lab picture

Lucy

2. Did you know there is an organization that helps rescued Labradors in need of medical attention? I had no idea until they contacted me.  The organization, Labmed, was founded in 1996 and has funded a total of 1,132 dogs.  These dogs would most likely not be alive if it had not been for this organization.

Here is a photo of one of their newest applicants, Lucy, who needs emergency surgery for internal bleeding in order to save her life.  If you would like to help other dogs and learn more about this organization, click here.

Dr. Greg Martinez

Dr. Greg Martinez

3. After almost 30 years as a veterinarian Dr. Greg Martinez has spent 10 of those years treating his patients, and his own pets, with a combination of medical and nutritional science. He believes that pet owners have it within their power to cure many of their animals’ most common ailments.  He says that healthful eating is critical to human’s well-being and that pet junk food, empty calories and food allergies are making our dogs and cats similarly sick.  He has published a book called, Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet.

He has lots of positive feedback from clients and readers.  He says it amazing that there could be any doubt that food allergies have such a great role in skin, ear, stomach, bowel, anal gland, obesity, and seizure problems. Veterinarians are still taught that the incidence of food allergies are low, even though thirty percent of his patients respond to elimination of allergens and addition of healthy food ingredients.

If people start to pay attention to what they are feeding their animals, maybe they will do the same for their families. He wants to spread the word that successful nutritional management of the above chronic diseases will get educators and researchers to take another look at canine nutrition, and help avoid needless misery, medications, and money for millions of dogs. When you buy the book, Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet, you are helping spread the message.


Become a bird.  World-famous bird photographer and writer, Arthur Morris, takes plenty of pictures of birds.  He recently visited Sarasota.  He came to make a presentation to the Sarasota Audubon Society.

Arthur Morris & Donna Paige

Arthur Morris & Donna Paige

More than 11,000 of Arthur Morris’s photographs have been published in national publications including American Birds, Audubon, Birder’s World, Florida Wildlife and Nature, National Geographic, Natural History, Nature Photographer, Outdoor Photographer, Ranger Rick, Wildbird, and other magazines, as well as in hundreds of books and calendars.

He taught elementary school in New York City for twenty-three years. For eight years he conducted the shorebird survey at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for The International Shorebird Surveys.  Mr. Morris became a Canon contract photographer and has been featured in six episodes of the “Canon Photo Safari” television show.  Two of his images were awarded prizes in the 1997 BG plc Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.  He is also a popular lecturer, having presented more than 250 slide programs during the past 15 years.  Arthur now photographs, travels, speaks, and teaches extensively in North America.

Photo in snow

The Audubon Society, where Arthur Morris made his presentation, is dedicated to the protection, conservation and enjoyment of birds, wildlife and the environment.  I am learning so many things about birds and how important they are to our existence and the world as a whole by being a volunteer.  All of the Audubon Societies need more volunteers.

mom and babiesOne thing I’ve learned has to do with climate change.  The heat-trapping gasses, especially carbon dioxide have been known to cause climate change.  This change includes melting glaciers and polar icecaps, acidifying the oceans, increasing extreme temperatures and desertification in many areas.  This reduces habitats and numbers of numerous species of wildlife. The fifteen hottest years on record since modern global temperatures have been kept, have all occurred since 1991.  We have lost a third of our Arctic sea ice in the past thirty years.

Another subject I was not aware of, several species of birds nest on beaches each year.  The volunteers with the Audubon Societies watch over these nests to be sure they are not disturbed and the birds survive.  Many people visit beaches and don’t realize that the nests need to be left alone.  Motor craft also affect the nests when they come to close to shore.

To learn more about the Audubon Society click here.

They are always looking for volunteers.

dr_dresser_345What do you think about cloning the DNA from an endangered animal to keep it from going extinct?  Dr. Betsy Dresser, senior vice president of research for the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, is doing just that.  She takes the DNA from an endangered animal and uses it with a non-endangered relative.  An example is the typical house cat and the African Wildcat.

She takes the egg of the house cat and sucks out the DNA.  She then takes DNA from the skin cells of the African Wildcat and places it inside the egg.  She uses electrodes to spit the eggs.  If everything goes well she places the egg inside the house cat so it can mature and product a new kitten.  It has been going so well, the cloned cats are mating and giving birth to very healthy kittens on their own.

african wildcat

This procedure might sound easy but it’s not.  There is a lot of scientific research that goes into this.  Take the Woolly Mammoth.  They don’t know the gestation period for an animal like that so they would have guess.  The goal is to keep endangered species from going extinct, not to bring back the Woolly Mammoth.  She would like to do work on the Lynx to keep it from going extinct, or the bongo, cousin to the antelope.

The Audubon Nature Institute is located on 1,200 acres of land.  It seems part Serengeti, part high-tech medical facility.  She knows there is a lot of controversy on this topic.  Her opinion, she doesn’t want our next generation of kids to only know an elephant from a text book.  She wants the kids to be able to see these animals alive, in their own environment.  If she doesn’t do this now, then we will be losing a lot of animals for future generations.

She is known as the lady with the “frozen zoo”.  She collects tiny skin samples from thousands of different animals, representing hundreds of species, and is storing them at 343 degrees below zero in tiny canisters inside tanks filled with liquid nitrogen.  She has samples from tigers, bears, frogs, rhinos and many more animals.  She feels there is no reason not to save DNA from every species since the cells can survive for hundreds, if not thousands of years in these tanks.

Woolly Mammoth

The Woolly Mammoth is her poster animal because the thought of it is inspiring.  Imagine the face of a 9 year old child.  This child sees a picture of the Woolly Mammoth and knows that there might be the possibility of brining that animal back to life.  Talk about inspiring for a kid to want to get involved in science that way.  If not, there is the message to do something to improve our environment NOW so we are not impacting and affecting animals is such a negative way.  We all live on the same planet and are connected to each other.

No one has yet found the intact cell it would take to resurrect that Woolly Mammoth, but in Siberia, two years ago, a reindeer herder discovered a remarkably well-preserved one month old baby mammoth that had lain frozen in permafrost for 40,000 years.

Its DNA was in better shape than any previously found, raising hopes that between new finds and new technology, it may just be a matter of time.

Watch the Frozen Zoo  video



bear 1Polar Bear: ‘I come in Peace “

Norbert Rosing’s striking images of a wild polar bear coming upon tethered sled dogs in the  wilds of Canada ‘s Hudson Bay .



bear 2


The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of his dogs when the polar bear wandered in.


bear 3

bear 5

bear 6

It ‘s hard to believe that this polar bear only needed to hug someone!

wood duckI hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  I spent a couple of days helping the Audubon Society with their Christmas bird count.  I spent one day with the Sarasota Audubon Society and the other with the Manatee Audubon Society.  They are dedicated to the protection, conservation and enjoyment of birds, wildlife and the environment.

When I was asked to help I said, count birds?  How do you count the birds when they are flying all over?  How do you know if you are counting the same bird twice?  My biggest challenge, knowing which bird I saw.  They all look like sparrows, hawks or vultures to me, especially when they fly so fast and high.  We counted about 50 different species of bird in my area of Florida.  The people who have been doing this for years can tell what kind of bird it is based on their sounds, the way they move their tail, flap their wings, etc.  I have a new appreciation for the people who bird watch.  It’s not easy!

painted bunting

I wanted to know why this count is important?  This count has been going on since 1982.  When you look at the numbers over the years you begin to see birds in an area that were never there.  You also notice birds that used to be here, are no longer here.  That data is important for birds but also for humans and other animals.  There can be a lot of reasons for the change in numbers.


wood pecker

They also have a number of Field Trips that you can attend through out the year.  If you have never been aware of birds, join one of these fun events.  You will become aware of your surroundings in a new and different way.

One important thing that did have an impact on me involved feeding of animals.  I love animals so much that I always want to feed them when I can.  These are wild animals and need to stay that way.  When we feed them we are not giving them the type of food they really need AND they become dependant on us.  We are hurting them, not helping them.  I had some squirrels come up to me and stand on my shoes.  They looked right into my eyes asking for food.  They were very overweight and I’m sure not healthy.  It was cute but really affected me.  I have a tendency of feeding birds bread, which is not good for them.

poster-bird17

Someone also took me to visit an organization that I was not aware of.  It’s called Save our Seabirds, Inc.  It is located by the Mote Marine in Sarasota Florida.  It is open from 10am-5pm seven days a week.

They rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of native and migratory birds each year.  When the Tampa Bay channel experienced a devastating 365-barrel oil spill. Lee Fox, the founder, managed more than 3,000 volunteers over a three-month period to minimize the impact of this tragedy on the local seabirds. An unprecedented 85% of the birds affected – a total of 371 were saved! In recognition of her efforts, Lee received eleven separate awards from the U.S. Coast Guard and other environment groups.  Education and outreach has always been a major focus of SOS.  They are run by volunteers and can use more.  If you have interest in volunteering your time, providing materials needed to help the birds or want to donate, contact them.

SOS-birds-Owls

ringling picElephants working in the circus have been a hot topic for quite sometime.  Recently people have been commenting on the footage, and pictures, I took at the Ringling Brother’s Center for Elephant Conservation.    Several months ago I had been invited to go see the Ringling facility, as well as the new born baby that was only one month old at the time.  Obviously they knew I was coming so they were prepared.  I was limited to certain areas of the facility.  They told me it was for my safety as well as the elephants.  The people I met were very nice and knowledgeable.  Many of them had been with Ringling their whole lives and so had their parents.  It seemed like a “family”. You can also read the specific piece I did on the Asian elephant back on December 10, 2009.

cesar

I am not an expert in animal training or behavior.  I have seen dogs being trained by ”experts” and in my opinion it was extreme.  There are a lot of people who criticize Cesar Millan and say he is “abusive” in the way he trains dogs.  In the end, the goal is reached, the behavior is changed and the dog does what Cesar, and the owners, wants them to do.

A few months ago I had been notified of a local dog sanctuary.  They take dogs most people would not want because they are aggressive and untrained.  These dogs might not be alive if it had not been for the man who has the sanctuary.   He seems to be able to bond with these dogs and the dogs listen to him.   They live out in the swamps of Florida and the conditions are brutal.  My heart went out to these dogs because of the environment they were living in.  Then I realized, this guy lives on the property with them.  If he can do it, why can’t the dogs?  I’ve spoken to some dog trainers and behaviorists who have sent dogs there.  They told me that the dogs love this man.  The dogs don’t know how rough the living conditions are.  They are fed, have lots of other dogs for companionship and get love from this man.  That is where the difference between humans and animals can be so different.  Animals seem to want very little but give so much.

elephant kneesI was sent pictures and information from PETA.  Here is an excerpt:  Bound with ropes in the practice area, baby elephants are wrestled by several adult men—some using sharp bull hooks and electric shock prods—slammed to the ground, and aggressively pushed and pulled into positions that will eventually be incorporated into a circus routine. The frightened baby elephants cry out, but according to the whistleblower, Ringling uses loud music to muffle their screams.

The whistleblower is former elephant handler Sam Haddock, who worked at Ringling’s Center for Elephant Conservation, a breeding and training center, in Polk City, Florida, off and on between 1997 and 2005. His late wife had urged him to do the right thing and expose Ringling’s torturous treatment of elephants at its so-called “conservation center.”

elephant legs

The pictures really bothered me and I wished I could take these animals home with me.  I sent the pictures and information to a friend of mine who is in Asia helping the elephants over there.  Here is what she wrote to me regarding the Ringling elephants:

What is this world coming to? My God…it’s heartbreaking!

Actually the sad truth is, what happens in real life is far, far worse than those Ringling pictures. What I saw in Asia, those poor elephants had so many deep cuts and lots of blood from their ears, head, legs, chest and sometimes their eyes are gouged to render them blind (easier to control),  it’s that brutal! The beatings happen round the clock too- they take turns for days and nights in a row until the elephant is dead or almost, no food or water is given to them for a week. If it is unfortunate to survive the torture, the rest of its life will be succumbed to slave-like conditions, daily beatings, poor nourishment, no love and neglect.  And/or they get shipped around the world to zoos and circuses only to endure the same treatment, as you can see. The white man is no better!

The video footage, the pictures and what I saw in person was far more disturbing, which is why I couldn’t turn my back on it, it made my blood boil! But sadly, yes those pictures are very similar to what I saw. I guess it’s standard practice everywhere to torture and abuse the animals into submission. In Thailand this process is called  “the Pajaan”, in India they call it “The Kraal” etc. AKA “Spirit Crusher”…believe me it’s not just the elephant’s spirit that is crushed!! Anyone with any humanity will be crushed seeing that, I don’t understand those “people” who can do it, and have they no ounce of compassion?

So many battles to fight…

elephant side

I don’t have the answers but I do want to put information out there so that people can see what is going on, different points of view and can take action in their own way.

Here you can watch the birth of an elephant.


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