Monday, 31 December 2012

Natural fireworks

#newyearseve and I spend it once more looking out for animals. Like so many who care about them, we worry about the impact fireworks have on their specialised hearing.

So I sit and contemplate. Why? I get that it is a celebration and am all for celebrating. Do we really have to satisfy that instant gratification requirement so spectacularly? Is there no better way? Is it about having a bigger blast or louder bang in some sort of competitive adversarial conflict? Is it a sign of our fast paced attention deficit times that these minor frivolities take on such importance? Why?
Here's hoping for a year where a sunset will once again be sufficient to thrill us. Where we will find the time to enjoy the magnificent beauty all around us at every chance we are afforded the honour!!
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Have a quiet peaceful New Years party! Please

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Beam me up Scotty. I want to go home!!

I am a vegetarian.  My brother is a hunter.  Our whole family gets together at Christmas.  Imagine the debates over the Christmas dinner.

 

Our family would all call ourselves conservationists.  According to any activists, we would be judged differently.  I work with captive marine animals.  My brother promotes killing animals for a living.

During our Christmas gathering this year, my brother and I had an earnest debate.  He spoke of how he had been caught up in a rhino hunting debate where he had defended the action.  I was appalled at the thought.  He defended his position saying that the amount of money achieved in this type of activity goes directly towards conservation.  Money that is seriously required.  He mentioned that the deaths of these hunted animals were ethically achieved.  He then showed me a picture of an ex Ms Mississippi standing over a Zebra corpse, rifle on hand.  Her trophy picture of her hunt in Africa.  I was totally overwhelmed at the image.  Wondered how anyone could pose next to an animal they had killed and feel any sense of pride.  Once again, my brother defended the gun-happy beauty queen, mentioning that single-handedly, through her hunting in South Africa she has contributed significantly to conservation activities. 

Sadly, on some level, he is right.  We no longer live in a perfect world. 

What a sad day this is where we have to look at the financial implications of any actions in order to make a judgement call.  Acceptable losses – a term that was coined when governments and kings sent young men to fight a war.  When did we get to the point where we were able to make compromises based on taking lives.

 

I sometimes feel like I don’t belong on this planet.  There is not a bone in my body that has the capacity to look an animal in the eye and pull the trigger.  Let alone an animal that is endangered.  I always assumed that we all felt this way at an essential level.  Perhaps not.  This thought makes me even sadder.

 

And the realistic side of me tells me to wake up.  Who am I to point fingers.  I have chosen to work in a captive scenario when I don’t really believe this should exist either.  This is my “modern day imperfect world” compromise.  Because I know how we manage to change the attitudes of people out there through our exhibitions.  I am fortunate to love the animals in my care and interact with them daily.  Many wish they had my job. 

 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Pig under the fan

It is officially the middle of summer. And Cleopatra the pig in our family confirms this. Trespassing in the lounge to be cooled by the ceiling fan. Got to love this clever girl!!
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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Memories being recorded

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Cell phone memories.

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Surrounded by elephants

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Unconditional wonder!

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Elephants and Rhino

So fortunate. Within an hour. An elephant first. We were on a game drive and he walked passed the back of the open back safari vehicle. He stopped next to me. His eye level with mine and took a good sniff with his trunk then ambled on. Wow!! Then moments later a rhino walked passed our vehicle. Tears fell. For the people who are unable to appreciate the total splendour of these animals because they are blinded by financial greed and desperation. I am so grateful I have the honour and capacity to love them simply for what they are. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Memory of a lifetime. I feel totally blessed.
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Friday, 14 December 2012

Everyone's a miracle

This is Dee. She is over 30 years old which is old for a penguin. She has outlived a mates and had an affair with a couple of toy boys. She is Mrs Personality. Seems able to work out who is confident and who is scared around her. She takes no nonsense from people. And yet when you treat her right she is very loving. She is a persuader. Has that little look in the tilt of her head that gets people to fall in love with her.
Every animal I have ever met has a personality. A different character from everyone else. Even snakes and fish and insects. Even cows and chickens. Imagine if everyone took time to reflect on this. There would be a lot more respect for roadkill, "pests", and in the meat and hunting and even conservation of parks.
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

HERO FOR PENGUIN PROMISES

I love it when people do something amazing. Pushing their own physical
boundaries as well as doing this to improve something on our planet. I have
a hero in mind as I write this blog...

To raise awareness for Penguin Promises, one of the Oceanographic Research
Institute's staff members, Desmond Hayes has just cycled from Port Elizabeth
to Cape Town. The distance is a total of 760 kilometres and he did it over
7 days. He noted that it was 56 hours of actual riding time in the saddle.
What makes this feat even more remarkable is that Desmond had a serious
mountain bike accident in March 2012. He broke the ball off the top of his
femur, and this had to be pinned and plated back into place. Desmond is 59
years in age, but the doctor says the youngest 25 year old he ever met. In
spite of his recent injury, he donned the Penguin Promises flag and set off
to spread awareness for the penguins.

He mentions - "I was amazed at the awareness people have of the penguin
plight. The kids naturally all received a Penguin Promise bangle after
telling me anything they know about a Penguin. Just wish I had more of them.
Unfortunately I do not take too kindly to pics of myself but the last pic is
taken at where I finished. (Please note the admiration from the girls.....)
Glad I did it other than for myself.

Whooop whoop Desmond!!! You rock and we are so proud. The penguins thank
you!!!!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Right and wrong



Is there such a thing. Activists campaign against animals in captivity. Noble. Except in more and more cases those same animals are pretty much extinct in the wild. Less than 500 tigers out there. Probably more in zoos. And this alone cannot be justification for zoos to exist. Standards for keeping animals.  Did you know there are no Internationally accepted standards. Different cultures have different belief systems around animals and their influence on their governments works to define the standards.  Also, sometimes efforts to look after animals, in rehabilitaion and for education, are so desperate that third world zoos exist to try and make that difference.  A first world judge will arrive and campaign against the bad conditions and neglect to look at the context. Standards for one are not the same as standards for another. Should they be? Can they be? Who is the expert? The natural world is so messed up. Can we afford to be purists. Will rules and regulations work or will they cripple efforts and overwhelm our natural ability to see right from wrong.  We can all feel that if we let ourselves.
I am a mother of two teenage sons.  They are working hard at asserting their independence. They push their boundaries and want to be responsible for their own actions.  The more I try and control them the less productive the situation.  Is this what legislation is doing?  If we had faith in all humanity is it possible that things would be better in our world.  Because people would take personal responsibility rather than be victims waiting for the 'government' to fix it.  Right from wrong.  The more we try and enforce and define it, the more lost we become in our personal power.


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