written and © copyright 2003
by Lin Stone
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Have you ever seen those signs along the road, Exotic Wild Life Ahead? I've been fascinated by these places all my life. Many of them are run by licensed rehabbers, working to save injured or endangered animals. They are wonderful places to stop, especially if you have children.
And, rehabbers, when they will let you in close, maintain some great places to visit if you truly love wild animals.
I guess that's because, deep down, a whole bunch of us want to be rehabbers and SAVE injured animals.
Speaking of which, if you are a rehabber in need of a web site, Wildlifer.Com specializes in web site design and hosting for wildlife-oriented businesses and organizations -- at low cost. Write to Bill Standley, Webmaster (firstname.lastname@example.org) Click HERE to visit what I believe is Bill's best sample.
Saving Wildlife is a dangerous enterprise. I speak from personal experience: An angry rabbit can slash your naked arm to pieces with its hind claws. A red fox can rip right through a light jacket and get to your belly. Why, even a furious chicken can get on top of your head and leave some serious wounds behind.
A friend of mine from the East stopped to save a German Shepherd he had struck with his car. "That blamed dog fought me all the way to the vet. I finally had to knock it out and tie its head and feet up with my coat. I was bleeding everywhere."
That's why it is always best to leave the actual saving process to licensed rehabbers whenever possible if you come upon an injured animal -- especially if (like my friend) you can't tell the difference between a German Shepherd and a wild coyote.
Is Your Insurance
|Here is a list of great rehabbers you can talk into letting you
Bertta M. Snell, a Raptor Rehabber in Barltesville Oklahoma, has this to say about her hobby: "People often perceive rehabilitation as fun and exciting, a chance to see and work with some very beautiful birds up close. The reality is quite different. There are moments to feel good when a bird, that would have died, left on it's own, flies away free and strong. There are unpleasant moments, cleaning maggots out of a smelly decaying gunshot wound. And there are moments for anger when you have to kill a cute soft downy baby that's crying out in pain, with bones that have decalcified to the point that they readily bend in your fingers, because someone stole it from the nest and fed it an inadequate diet." Be sure to check out Bertta's links page.
Safari's Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary in Broken Bow Oklahoma offers a mobile petting zoo with Wolf, Zebra, Mini-Donkey, Mini-Horse, Coati Mundi, Lemur, Lynx, Goats, Ducks, Chickens, Geese, Ferrets, Bunnies, and a Llama. Which reminds me of a friend who raises fainting goats and has a Llama in there too. The Llama will regularly sneak up behind one of the goats and give a great WHOOF so as to watch it faint in fright. Then the Llama will frolic around the goat in a victory dance.
Turpentine Creek: The Wildlife Refuge And Foundation. This is the world's largest big cat refuge. It is an Animal Lover's Paradise! Located Seven Miles South Of Eureka Springs On Scenic Highway 23 this is a destination area well worth going 300 miles out of your way to see, especially in the fall. It is open From 9:00 AM until dusk every day except Christmas. Not only can you get close to the cages, you can get INSIDE the cage with the lions and the tigers, but only if you sign a release and have the nerve. The one bad thing about Turpentine Creek is that (given half a chance) these people will put you to work. They kept me there for a whole week, bottle feeding baby tigers! You should be SO lucky, huh? On site lodging is available.
back to southern Oklahoma again,
For just $8 per person (at this time) you can leisurely wander through the main compound at your own speed. Then for an extra fee per person you can go on a private tour through the African walk about and the Asian area which includes the privilege of hand-feeding African deer, cattle, goats, big horn sheep, donkeys, pigs, camels, etc. You may also visit with more than 40 tigers, lions bears, and wolves living in peace under the huge shade trees that you would not see with the normal admission. What I like best about this refuge is the big playground for children that is outside the compound -- because there are some children that just flat don't want in there with these big cats. (Then there's my granddaughter Emily that puts the shoe on the other foot when it comes to cats of any size. We call her the "Cat Chomper.") The staff here is very friendly and quite helpful. The web site has loads of pictures and tons of information.
When people think of wild animals one of the first to cross their minds are the big cats. Click HERE if you'd like to have a free book about cats.
|The Natural Bridge
Wildlife Ranch is a African Safari type ranch in Texas. Hundreds of native,
exotic and endangered species roam freely in a natural environment here. It
is the visitors who stay in the cages. So, grab your pith helmet, strap on
your camera, pile the whole family into the safari wagon and head for the experience
of a lifetime.
The Appalachian Bear Center (ABC) is a one of a kind black bear rehabilitation, research and education facility. Located just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the ABC has been returning black bears back to the wild since 1996.
Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo contains over 300 alligators from 6 inches to 10 feet long. Here you will also find deer, pygmy goats, llamas, lambs and ostriches with a great variety of monkeys, mountain lions and a few giant 100 pound turtles.
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Information directory is an extensive source for further study and offers links to most of the friendly wild animal sites you can visit in person, or on the web.
You'll want to visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service of course. It doesn't load very fast, but then few government web sites do.
Wildlife Rehabber.com is a necessary visit and a powerhouse of information for anyone interested in this subject.
Any time you mention a word or phrase and people say,
"Oh, I want One!"
or words to that effect, you have the subject for a story or article that will
put your name on the map. Miniature horses is a phrase that wrings forth
|Wolf Park is a nonprofit education and research facility which was established in 1972 by Dr. Erich Klinghammer. Along with research and seminars on wolf behavior, particularly reproductive and inter-pack social behavior, Wolf Park provides interpretive programs to school groups throughout the year by prearrangement. "We are also open to the general public from May through November and Saturday evening for Howl Nights. The park is home to several packs of gray wolves, plus foxes, bison and a coyote. We are incorporated under the North American Wildlife Park Foundation, Inc. which is located in the small town of Battle Ground, Indiana."|
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is found in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma, close to
You can have a wildly adventurous experience in the wilds of Texas at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. From the comfort of your own vehicle you can travel through hundreds of acres of picturesque ranchland that is inhabited by FREE ROAMING native, exotic and endangered species. There are 50 species from every continent except Antarctica.
Inland Aquatics serves as a "clearing house" for captive bred fish, corals and invertebrates. Our in house production is augmented with the cultured stock of hobbyists and other mariculturists, allowing us to provide the widest variety of cultured ornamentals in the world.
"Exhibition of the Largest Living Coral Reef Display in the USA...
The River of Rafts: Just mention a vacation with white water rafting and your kids will roar with excitement.
Take a Flurry of Adventure Vacations with Theme Parks all across the United States, listed by state.
warning a zebra stallion attacked a rare baby Sable Antelope an hour
and a half after birth in a woody area of the
Out of Africa Wildlife Park
known as “The Serengeti.” The male calf had only been on his feet
thirty minutes when the curious equine approached the wobbly
youngster, which was being cared for by its mother and one year old
sister. Suddenly, without warning, the zebra’s instinct drove him to
reverse ends and kick full force toward the unsuspecting baby, who
spontaneously dove to a nearby tree shrouded in tall bushes.
The powerful hooves missed their target, but the ruckus brought the baby’s sister and mother to immediate defense. The 300-pound antelope sibling rushed to block, and then charged the 600-pound aggressor. Within moments, the 500 pound, three foot long, curved horned father thundered to the rescue. Four members of the herd, like a well-trained militia, walled off the huddled neonate, who was hugging the ground for its life.
Officials of the park witnessed the incident and immediately rushed in to separate the zebra, which one year ago had become infatuated with the baby antelope’s sister the day she was born. He left his own herd to be with her. Though the sable herd was cautious of him, they all permitted him to follow them, which he has done since December 3, 2004.
Many staff members were called by radio to form a human, mobile fence to push back the attacker. “We were able to move the zebra as far away as a quarter mile, but we couldn’t keep him from slipping through us back to the sable herd,” said park President, Dean Harrison. Finally, park staff built a temporary five-foot-high wire fence around the herd and peace returned to the Serengeti; but it was short-lived.
Just after the park closed at 5:00 pm, the fence was breached by a giraffe, who picked up the scent of the newborn. Curiosity led the stilted giant directly to the infant. Towering above the hornless newborn, he leaned down, bobbing it with a sixty-five pound head. Then he left. But not five minutes later a larger giraffe ventured over and striding atop the youngster proceeded to pound him with an enormous hoof, which struck a glancing blow across his fragile head. But no harm was done, because the giraffe was just “feeling” the newcomer.
Finally, Prayeri Harrison, Vice President of the park, was able to lead the treetop giant to one side and another official charged forward and snatched up the curled youngster like a fumbled football. He was placed in a pre-arranged birthing corral about a third of a mile away. However, no attempt to move mom and the herd in the dark was successful. So the baby was moved again to spend the night in the founders’ home located in the park. In the morning, when the staff was able to move the herd with food to the birthing area, the calf was re-united with his mom and family. In Africa, a sable cow leaves the calf just outside their grazing area for about three weeks, visiting them frequently to nurse.
Separation from the zebra will be four to eight weeks before it will be safe for the baby and zebra to be together. Male zebra attacks on other species’ newborn are known to occur in Africa and are thought to be prompted by several survival instincts, namely protection of food and territory and the vulnerability instinct – to take advantage of another, weaker animal. For the beasts of earth, wild is their nature.
Visitors to the park are able to view the sable herd on the “Serengeti Safari” Wednesday through Sunday 9:30am to 5:00pm. For more information about Out of Africa, please call 928-567-2840 or visit the website www.outofafricapark.com .
Seven Ways To Give Money Away Creatively.
|Victory Ranch Alpacas
has one of the largest herds of Alpacas in the United States. Alpacas come
in 22 varied colors
Skunks need saving too. I've always been partial to skunks. We had seven wild skunks move into our home at one time. They came and went as they pleased. We didn't bother them, and they didn't bother us though we did occasionally hear a warning foot pat the floor sharply if one of them was in danger of being stepped on in the dark. The only mishap we had was when cold weather hit and we lit the gas oven for the first time in months. Some scorched nerves responded with a blast of exotic perfume. There must have been a family meeting later that night for all of them moved out into the cold early the next morning.
Once I was talking with Jerry Legate, a rehabber specializing in snakes and an herpetologist, and I mentioned that frogs are smarter than skunks. He didn't believe it until I related how skunks would run forever right straight ahead of a swather in a hay field, all the way through it, then hurry over to get ahead of the swather in the very next row. "All they have to do is move off to one side and they would be safe. Instead, you can't even beat them out of your way. But frogs? They will AUTOMATICALLY jump out of the way instead of staying right in front of you like skunks do."
Jerry thought back over his lifetime of experience for a long moment, then nodded. "I'd never thought of it before, but you're right. I have seen that happen hundreds of times."
On the other hand, I've seen skunks demonstrate more marital affection than I've seen displayed by any other animals. Once, I turned the water into the flume to irrigate my boss's yard. Out came the mother skunk in the first burst of water. Then out came about 6 babies. The mother gathered her babies around her, and waited. Directly, out came the father skunk. His hind legs were both broken and obviously had been for a long time. Mother skunk, had been feeding him all that time. As he was in danger of drowning, I scooped him up in my shovel and carried him to some nearby bushes where mother skunk and their six little ones joined him at once.
As some of our other first time visitors do, you may think it passing strange that we allowed the skunks to live with us, undisturbed. Remember though that I grew up as a native American who believe even in these (civilized?) days that animals have a right to live. Then too, my wife is a respected wild life naturalist, so we've always had a live and let live policy which extends to visiting bugs, spiders, lizards, and some snakes. Spiders (by the way) will keep visiting scorpions from taking up residence IF you make them spin new webs frequently.
Speaking again from experience, wild King snakes are the best kind to have running loose in the house. Rattlers and I have lived together occasionally, and for brief moments in history, but all too often they forget they are guests and make that strange singing noise with their tail that scares the peewallion out of me, especially in the dark. I've never had a king snake forget he was a guest though, and several times I have seen one pause to apologize for disturbing us on his way in or out of the house.
Which brings us back to Jerry Legate. He and I were building a pole barn for his mother when his wife Sheila came to get him. "Jerry, that last snake got out of the bucket and I don't want him loose in my house. Go catch him."
No matter how he protested how harmless the snake was, Sheila insisted that he take care of the critter. She stayed there with Jerry's mother while he went to remove the snake. We hadn't worked much farther when Sheila was back again. "Jerry, putting that snake loose in the bathtub is NOT a solution. You get him out of there."
No matter how he protested the snake could not get out of the bathtub Sheila insisted that he take care of the mistake. Again, she stayed there while he went to take care of the snake. "I've got it fixed this time," he bragged to me when he returned and Sheila had gone home.
"Where did you put him?" I asked.
"I locked him inside the compartment in the headboard of our bed. He'll never get out!"
I guess even an herpetologist has the right to be wrong occasionally because Sheila is still with him, and that snake didn't stay inside the headboard more than ten minutes after she laid her sweet head down for a long winter's nap.
The next time you see one those signs along the road, Exotic Wild Life Ahead, be sure to stop for a few minutes. You will find they are some exciting breaks along your way and sure to give you memories worth keeping for years.
About the author:
Lin Stone maintains a National Directory of the best
health insurance companies on the web and a National Directory of the best car insurance companies on the web.
Hundreds of his other articles are available for free reading on the Internet. Just Click HERE to see an index to his works.
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For the fortunate few, life isn’t complete without a backpacking trip through Europe. This rite of passage is believed to further the maturation process of college students, according to sociologists. Of course, others have opined that copious amounts of alcohol, sun and Amsterdam have something to do with it. Regardless of your purpose, you still have to figure out what to take.
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