First of all, Merry Christmas! One of my gifts from my husband was a visit to the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary ( IEAS) on December 23rd. We both gave a donation for our tour.
What a fun day it was to take a guided tour with Christina, the intern! Despite the cold rainy weather, most of the animals came out to say hi. I just love getting to spend time next to such magnificent creatures. This exotic's home is the only AZA accredited sanctuary in the United States. That says a lot! It is quite hard to get and hold AZA accreditation (which you should always look for, especially when taking a child to an establishment homing wild animals).
We started the tour with Popeye, this very rambunctious and friendly ring-tailed lemur. Oh, I loved him and gave him plenty of camera time. Look how pretty he posed for me!
Next, we saw the white tigers. For those of you who are not already aware, white tigers have a very sad and desperate story. I won't go into too much detail on this post. It is important to know that the white tigers are terribly inbred between mothers, sisters brothers, fathers, children, etc. They are product of human desire, and thus they should not be displayed proudly as wildlife. These tigers are lucky to find such a great home at IEAS, but unfortunately most others are paraded around in deplorable conditions so that humans can "ohhh" and "ahhhh" at their coat. Even here in Houston the Downtown Aquarium has a white tiger! The cage is small and indoors without enrichment. I refuse to support them!
The white tigers at IEAS looks very healthy and well taken care of. I am happy to report this!
Yes, they are beautiful and yes, they are gorgeous. Join me and remembering what the white tiger actually means about some of humanity.
Now on to the other big cats and bears!
Lion, tigers, and bears - oh my!
My favorite experience was totally unexpected! Hope you aren't eating right now :-p
I have a huge amount of respect for lions. I feel like I can relate to them. Their "feline-ness", their mane and the role of the females in the pride.
Now, of course I wish all of these wildlife animals could be living in the wild. If that were an option for these animals then I would fully support it. Unfortunately, most of these animals came from the circus or pet trade. Cubs are often times taken from their mothers to be used for photo opportunities, then shot dead at 6 months old when they are "too old to be safe". Whatever that means to those idiots! Jeesh. The adults that do survive that phase, cannot survive in the wild and are destined for the best life they can within human care. What that may be is, of course, questioned by many people.
What needs to stop is the demand for these animals in those industries. When there is no money left to be had for the humans, then maybe these animals stand a chance at being kept in the wild.
For now, sanctuaries like IEAS are the last stop for many. I'm thankful that they exist.
What can one person do to make a difference?
1. Donate through Amazon Smile to IEAS.
2. Volunteer time with organizations working to protect wildlife.
3. Do not buy exotic animals as pets. (Caveat, I do think some exotic pets such as small snakes that are indigenous to where you live are okay to house if you are rescuing them and you will be keeping them for their entire life. I prefer them to not be labeled as "pets")
4. Do not support organizations that have animals that were stolen from the wild or bred solely for the purpose of human entertainment.
5. Do not take photos with baby wild animals if the handler is profiting from it.
Lastly, here is a super cute photo of a hibernating bear's paw :-)
Much love to you my friends! Merry Christmas!