Forward: This is a long post, but it is my hope that you will make it to the end. Getting the chance to meet someone as inspiring as Jane Goodall is an experience I could not limit to a few hundred words. And although this is a post that may not introduce to you a new species or a conservation crisis, I think that it can introduce you to hope if you will let it.
I arrived exactly one hour early. I stood and watched the meerkats outside of the Woburn Safari Park’s Safari Lodge, biding my time until the doors opened and I could find my seat. Even before seeing Jane Goodall standing a mere 10 feet from me the day was perfect. I had seen my first ever wild pheasant, which could seem silly to many people, but for me it was incredibly exciting. Even the mundane turns magical on the day you get to meet your life-long hero.
Since the early 1200’s the Tower of London has been home to more than monarchs, lords and prisoners. Keeping exotic animals at the tower became a tradition started by King John in 1210. Everything from lions to tigers to bears, oh my, have been kept in and around the tower grounds. Today not much remains of the fantastic menagerie except a few trained crows and metal statues where the real beasts once stood, but the stone walls pulse with the history that they have seen.
Woah, woah, woah! What is this? A hump day post? Well, you see, every day when I go online and check my stats I see that ‘dolphins and rape’ always without fail has seen activity, even though it is one of my older posts. So let’s see if cross dressing animals can catch your attention the way my previous hump day posts have.
As my study abroad plans to spend a semester in Costa Rica fell through I had to begin looking for an apartment back in Dallas. I was not thrilled because, as much as SMU has done for me, for a while it wasn’t my favorite place. I probably shouldn’t have chosen a school known for business and not at all for science, but at the time I was desperate to get away from Florida for a little while. But my plans of transferring were not looking bright and I was hoping to find a ray of sunshine to make my stay in Dallas more appealing. Enter, the Dallas Zoo.
Down in South America lives the maned wolf, and like the last OAP, it’s name is a little deceiving. The maned wolf is related to wolves, but only very distantly, it is actually much more closely related to the fox, even then it is the only animal in its genus. The maned wolf is an odd animal because of its odd appearance of a fox on stilts, and its unique temperament.
Hiding deep in the Andean Cloud Forests of Columbia and Ecuador was the little, brown, arboreal animal that avoided detection until very recently. The olinguito is the first carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years. For quite some time it was mislabeled in zoo’s and museums as an olingo, which looks fairly similar but tends to be about double the weight, but with a similar body structure. People simply believed it was just a small olingo.
Yasuni National Park in Ecuador has been dubbed the most diverse place in the world. The nearly 4,000 square miles are home to 150 species of amphibians, 121 species of reptiles, 382 species of fish, 596 species of birds, over 100,000 species of insects, and a number of un-contacted indigenous tribes. It comprises a mere 0.15% of the Amazon Basin but holds almost 1/3 of its amphibian and reptile species. This area is teeming with life, and yesterday, the government of Ecuador approved a plan to begin drilling for oil inside the boundaries of Yasuni National Park.