Friday, March 29, 2013

Vulnerable to Extinction: Tigers

The colors, those eyes, the prowl. The majestic tiger mesmerizes wildlife park goers like few else. Perhaps because the majority of people have seen a tiger in front of them, or knowing of their strength in hunting, there is a misconception that they rule the jungle. But they are threatened, in fact, as little as 3,200 wild tigers are left.

Every species of tiger is endangered. Until the 20th century there were nine tiger species. Three are extinct - the Caspian, Balinise and Javan tigers. In one century, 97% of the tiger population was hunted and killed. Today we see their habitat being destroyed for agriculture, timber and construction of roads and cities. Poaching these animals for illegal trade of parts is at an all time high.

Help these tigers before they become just a memory of what once was.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Luray Zoo: A Rescue Facility

The Luray Zoo in Luray, Virginia is home to over 250 animals and is the only rescue zoo in Virginia. The zoo takes in retired zoo animals, unwanted pets, confiscations and abused pets.  The zoo has one of the largest venomous snake collections on the east coast, as well as a petting zoo.

The animals are looked after and cared for by Mark and Christine Kilby. Mark's mother, a long time pet handler, kept everything from birds, snakes and bears as pets. She taught Mark proper training and handling of animals at a young age. She was an expert endangered snake breeder and National Zoo keepers would visit the home often to look at her collection.

Mark has been handling exotic animals since 1962 and is also a Master Falconer, training in Falconry since 1968. It was only a natural progression for Mark to take over the zoo in 1996 from friends of his mother, who were ready to retire.

The intimate setting allows for more up close and personal viewing of the animals. You can find Mark and Christine out and about in the park, interacting with the animals and answering any questions you may have. The zoo is privately owned and receives no funding from the government. The zoo runs on admission, gift shop sales and donations, so if you're in Virginia, visit Luray Zoo and say hi to the magnificent animals and owners. You can donate here.

Opening Day is Monday March, 25. The zoo will be open daily from 10AM to 5PM. Summer shows run from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend and are included in the price of admission.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Earth Hour 2013

Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. People congregated on the harbor while homes and businesses turned off all of their lights. The city was dark, people were united and inspired.

Since then, Earth Hour has become the largest voluntary action for the environment, spanning 7000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories on all 7 continents. On Saturday March 23, from 8:30-9:30 PM, you are encouraged to turn off your lights to conserve energy, and be part of a global effort for good.

Earth Hour was created to unite and empower people regardless of where in the world they live. It was created back in 2006 when sustainability was merely a blimp in our vocabulary radar, and definitely not affecting our every day lives. But as the world progressed towards deforestation, overpopulation, and exploitation of resources, we find ourselves in the middle of oil crises, superstorms, floods and the like.

Another goal of Earth Hour is to challenge people to change the world. Pledge what they can do to help save the planet we live on. Beyond the Hour and the 'I Will if You Will' campaign were launched in 2011 to continue the people's efforts throughout the year. The Girl Scouts of America changed over 130,000 light bulbs in community centers and homes in the US (equivalent to planting 7,000 acres of woodland every year!), in Russia after using Earth Hour efforts to get over 100,000 signatures, marine legislation was passed in Parliament. In France, legislation was passed that businesses turn lights off after 1 AM, saving both business money and emissions effecting the environment. But the ultimate goal of Earth Hour is to create a catalyst for sustainability efforts, and that 100% of power will be generated by renewable resources.

View the official Earth Hour video.

To find or create a local event, go here. Visit to see how you can make a difference all year or click here to make a pledge of what you would do to save the Earth.

Snow Day for Xiao Liwu at San Diego Zoo

Today may be the first day of Spring, but yesterday March 19, Panda cub Xiao Liwu and mom Bai Yun ran around, played and enjoyed the snow provided by the San Diego Zoo, through the help of generous donors. It was Xiao Liwu's first time seeing the snow, and after a little hesitation he stepped onto the cold surface and began to enjoy play time with his mother. As is snows in China, the Pandas are a bit spoiled with the nice Southern California weather. It is a real treat for the Pandas to play in an inherently familiar setting.

Xiao Liwu was born in July of 2012, the 6th Panda cub to be born at the San Diego Zoo, thanks to a 12-year research loan from China.

You can see Xiao Liwu, Ban Yun and the other Pandas live through San Diego Zoo Panda Cam.  Become a member of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Conservancy here.