Strolling over to a neighboring abandoned barn, I was on a mission to photograph the structure. I began documenting these ruins several years ago, collecting the crumbling history of days gone by.
A tiny, fuzzy body tumbled toward me, unaware of my presence… and then another and another. Six little beasties were playfully pouncing about in the old hay bales like very young kittens. It took a minute for my startled mind to register what they really were… a litter of gray fox pups! I spent more time watching than shooting, and captured this sweet video as I stood stock still.
Having my all-too-short fill, I left so as not to distress the mother. I’m quite sure she kept watch over me as I kept watch over her young. It was time to let the wild get back to being beautifully wild as the animals reclaim discarded sheltering structures that no longer serve a dying way of human life.
Wild Elephants of Mole National Park, Ghana, July 27, 2008 – Photo: Kim Clune
One of my life’s most magical moments was watching a family of four wild African elephants emerge from Mole National Forest for a swim. Mole refuge spans 3000 square miles but, as large and mostly untouched by humans as this special place is, poaching elephants for ivory is still greatly feared. You Can Help These Elephants.
Humane Society International shared a startling fact last week.
Every single day, 100 African elephants are slaughtered for their tusks. If current poaching rates continue, this beloved animal will be gone forever in the next 20 years.
Being born a majestic elephant is an ill fate indeed. Whether captured for carnival cruelty, limited to life in a zoo, or shot dead to make souvenir trinkets, our human impact has made this world a deadly place for these magnificent and emotional beings.
We’re doing this to send a signal to the world that we need to crush the illegal trade in ivory and wildlife products in general.
Weeks later, China, the world’s largest market for elephant products, followed suit by publicly crushing six tons of confiscated ivory, an equivalent to 2,000 poached elephants. While there are plenty of issues still as stake, like China’s still legal ivory trade, this is an important first step.
Keep the Momentum Going in Hong Kong!
Join forces with Humane Society International. Urge the Hong Kong government to destroy the ivory it has confiscated.
It must join the U.S. and China in sending a message to poachers and traffickers that their days of profiting from killing are coming to an end.
Petition Text: African elephant poaching has reached critical levels. With 100 elephants being killed every single day and tons of illegally shipped ivory being seized on an almost monthly basis, urgent action is needed to put an end to this crisis.
Hong Kong needs to join other governments — including those of China, the Philippines, and the United States — in taking meaningful action to protect elephants by destroying its stockpile of confiscated ivory.
This important step would highlight the plight of the tens of thousands of elephants at risk of being wiped out by greed. I urge you to destroy the Hong Kong government’s stockpile to help save these majestic animals before it is too late.
Thank you for caring about wild elephants like the ones I met in Ghana.
Kim Clune with a Park Ranger and Wild Elephants of Mole National Park,
Ghana, July 27, 2008
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A free ticket and a desire to learn about ocean conservation landed me at the Georgia Aquarium a year ago. I was wholly impressed with their tremendous space, engineering, advanced technology, and how much information I absorbed. That was until, ultimately and sadly, I entered the dolphin show to see the equivalent of a circus performance and not the premium educational program I expected. Explosive music hurt my head and flashing lights were nauseating.I couldn’t fathom how this act of fairy-tale fiction was part of GA’s mission for education, research, or conservation. All I could see were 2 kids saying “I want one!” Terrific.
I headed for the door. Watching wildlife enslaved and exploited solely for human delight isn’t my thing.
On my way out, I passed the Beluga whales. As I watched them gracefully glide and float, anger subsided and joy took its place. I can’t help but think that these are one of the most beautiful species on this planet. Taking a seat for what I thought would be just a moment, I couldn’t tear myself away. But my perception changed as I sat watching. Over and over again, these beautiful whales rounded what amounts to a pond, bouncing themselves off of the confines of the glass.
Watch for yourself. This is the video I shot in October of 2012.
These creatures who had so quickly captured my heart were the cause of it breaking as I realized what a very sad and repetitious life they lead. GA boasts of having the largest aquarium habitat in the world, but it’s nothing more than a small prison to these incredibly intelligent whales who naturally explore 100s of miles of ocean out of sheer curiosity.
1.) Say No to New Russian Import Whales
I learned upon my return home that the Georgia Aquarium was asking permission from NMFS (now NOAA) to import 18 more Belugas from Russia for display. Sustainability of the whales in human captivity was of great concern, as was research and conservation – although the GA spends only 3% of their annual funding on conservation efforts. GA’s application, the first of its kind in more than 20 years, was also the first public display permit ever denied by NOAA in August. NOAA’s reasons include all the various ways that removing the whales from their natural habitat would cause considerable damage to the animals’ wild population. Read NOAA’s decision for yourself.
Guess what. GA is appealing the decision. If overturned, Georgia Aquarium will transport the whales under breeding loan agreements to other U.S. partner facilities including Sea World of Florida, Sea World of Texas, Sea World of California, Shedd Aquarium and possibly Mystic Aquarium. (See SeaWorld’s issues below.)
How do these animals come to be captured? Watch if you’re brave enough.
If you agree that public display and hope of successful captive breeding to keep displays full isn’t enough reason to open Russia’s door on cruelly capturing and selling wild marine animals, tell GA!
And now, just in time for Thanksgiving, turkeys aren’t the only ones running for cover. SeaWorld will get promotional glory in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with their own float… unless we decide that it is not acceptable to enslave highly intelligent marine creatures like whales and dolphins. When these animals are confined in a small space, they become bored, angry, and lash out. Their human handlers have died when this happens, but it is humans who are at fault.
According to PETA’s petition, they have made Macy’s well aware of SeaWorld’s cruel treatment of animals, lack of concern for safety, and willful violation of federal law. Macy’s doesn’t seem to care, so let’s tell them how much WE do.
In June, Omni Development Co. announced a plan for a downtown Albany, NY science museum, aquarium and an IMAX-type theater on land originally targeted for an Albany Convention Center. On August 21, they announced hiring a consulting firm to study the feasibility of such a project. ConsultEcon of Cambridge, Mass., described as “the leading consultant to the aquarium and educational attractions industry,” has done numerous aquarium studies for cities in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia … including Atlanta. (Feel like you’re circling the same tank over and over yet?) The first phase of results is expected to be finished by the end of September and the findings shared with the public.
Well, some of the public isn’t waiting to be asked. Thanks to Change.org, a petition exists to express why a new aquarium is a bad idea. Albany may not be your home town, but consider this. The aquatic animals ripped from their natural habitat belong to none other than this Earth. And it’s our collective job to protect them no matter where you live.
So many bad “bare bears” jokes could go with this bad video… but this truly happened one dark and rainy June night at our cabin in the woods.
My neighbor called to say two black bears were lumbering up our road. I grabbed the camera. As I pointed in the anticipated direction of sight, the bears took a detour and marched up to the house. What happened next was truly remarkable. “The he” nearly wined and dined “the she” on our patio furniture and they trotted off into the shadows for some large lovin’.
My husband called the neighbors to take up collection – for a room. We’ll be planning the cub shower next.
Let the jokes begin. So how would you finish this line?
If two black bears fornicate on the front lawn, would anybody…
Why Does the Turtle Cross the Road? WHO CARES? JUST SAVE IT!
I saw a little green guy with cool red markings hanging out by the double yellow line the other day. I pulled over, got out of my car, and helped him to the other side. It was a good thing too. He nearly got squashed by an oncoming car before I reached him.
This little guy was small enough that I could grab him at the sides of his shell and his back legs barely reached my fingers. His head was also tucked deep inside after that car whizzed past within an inch of him. I don’t recommend this for larger turtles.
When picking up a small turtle, grasp it on either side of its shell behind the front legs. The turtle will still be able to kick at you, but many will choose to stay safely tucked in, during the short time you are moving them.
Keep the turtle low to the ground when moving them. Even small turtles have surprising strength. If a turtle pushes free of your grip, you do not want it to fall and injure itself.
If the turtle is large (with a long tail), it may be a snapping turtle, they can be a bit aggressive and you might not want to attempt picking it up, but you can still help it across the road.
NEVER EVER PICK UP ANY TURTLE BY THE TAIL, IT CAN INJURE THEM VERY BADLY.
Save a Snapper: Watch and Learn
This video demonstrates multiple methods you could use to help a large Snapping Turtle across the road. If you can manage this, you can help almost any turtle!
Never Take a Wild Turtle Home
Unless transporting an injured turtle to the nearest vet or wildlife rehabilitation center, leave it in the wild. The world has enough imprisoned animals no longer allowed to lead the life they were meant to. You’ll do more good by respecting those who still have that option.
Move over, Movember. You’ve got nothing on May’s wild mustaches sported by squirrels, phoebes, robins and tree swallows!
But if Movember is when men grow and women support a Mo (moustache) to become walking, talking billboards for prostate and testicular cancer initiatives, what’s the wildlife rallying for? Do we call this Moy or is next month Mune?
We’ve named the magnificent moustachios seen on Curtis Hill. Share your own ideas below!