On The Red List

I wrote this post earlier this week because of an image I saw on Facebook.  It was the photo of a sad baby rhino who according to the article was scared to sleep alone.  That story inspired this post but then after reading it, I thought no, I won’t publish it because the world doesn’t need another whiny post from another animal-lover and passionate conservationist.  But then … an egomaniac decided he and his estimated 20 000 guests would feast on elephant and buffalo meat at his 91st birthday celebration and that dear readers and friends is why you get to read my post.

From Grade 1 to 3 our school would take us on ‘field trips’ to the zoo.  Even then, as a curious and fierce animal lover I did not like zoos and dreaded those trips.   Something –  I knew not what – was wrong with the Polar Bear and something was definitely wrong with the Siberian Tiger.  It wasn’t until I went on my first safari that I realized what that ‘something’ was and why their lacklustre coats and sad eyes filled me with horror.  Lost to those animals behind thick iron bars and high walls is the life coded into their DNA.  These animals have been abducted and abused for profit and yet …in some cases – and this is increasingly becoming the case – animals are being saved by zoos.

Do you visit zoos and aquariums?  Do you feel we need them? 

To save animals from human beings you have to capture them and imprison them, because demarcating swathes of land with walls or barbed wire and declaring them ‘wildlife preserves’ do not stop poachers.

Here’s some quick rhino related facts: the Western Black Rhino has been wiped out by poachers; there are only five Northern White Rhinos left in the world, all in captivity and all unable to breed.

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Image from discoverwildlife.com

Beautiful, shaggy orangutans (above) are on the endangered list (Borneo).  These gardeners of the forest are responsible for ‘seed dispersal’ but human encroachment has impacted negatively on their population.  Snow leopards, sea lions, Green Turtles, Fin Whales, African Wild Dogs, Black Footed Ferrets…if you have not yet heard of these wonderful creatures or had the privilege to see them in their natural habitats, familiarize yourself with them today because soon they will join a chorus of Dodos and Passenger Pigeons.

So today I encourage you to visit a wildlife refuge or zoo if it means you get to see and fall in love with ‘exotic’ species or something within you wakes up to the realization that we’re not as ‘superior’ or as special as we like to think we are, because of our Big Brains and Big Plans for more, more and more until nothing is left, just a list of names in the interverse.

The Best Of Times…

It’s been the best of times, it’s been the …well, interesting.

So if you read my last post you will remember we had plans.  Real plans.  We were going camping.  Somewhere in the interior of beautiful British Columbia.  We were going to barbecue, bake on a rock, read books on a boat, drink lake-chilled beer, play with water guns….

Then my husband got promoted.  Very unexpectedly.  Twice.  In the space of two weeks in the middle of the best Summer in recent memory.

Getting promoted is really good news.  But.

No Summer road trip.  No getaway for the four of us.

So I’ve been working (and sulking just a little because I’m a child) and reading (I am determined to get through my Summer reading list no matter what).

Maybe, the Mr. tells me, later this year.  In the Fall.  When the bears are their hungriest.  The wolverines their feistiest.  We will lie on a carpet of molten gold and copper and shiver in our blankets as we watch the Harvest Moon rise.

I think not. I tell the Mr (with a stomping of feet).  No camping in the Fall.  I demand a hotel room, room service, warm towels, chocolates on pillows.  But I’m bluffing and he knows it.

We both want the bush.  Wild, untamed, gnat-infested bush.

For now I am home with my boys who in a desperate attempt to salvage what is left of Summer have the tent up in our backyard and the barbecue going.

What are you up to? 

Here’s a pic of a local rascal in our plum tree yesterday morning.

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