Motivational Monday – Zoos

 

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Zoos can be a controversial topic, especially depending on what zoo you’re talking about. Personally, I love the Adelaide and Monarto Zoos, I’ve been to two others overseas but they were the kind of zoos that drug animals for photos and I can’t get on board with that sort of practise.

Some people or groups (hello, PETA) believe animals, especially wild animals like lions, shouldn’t be held in captivity. But what happens when a species are dying out, say they’re critically endangered and in the next 10 years will be extinct in the wild. What do you do then? You bring that species into captivity and breed them with the aim of releasing a population of them into the wild.

Or do you think that we should just let these animals go extinct? Maybe there is an argument for that, maybe it’s the natural order of things. But what about when it’s not? Take the black rhino for example, it’s critically endangered in Africa and although in many areas it’s illegal to hunt them, it still happens. So sitting on your hands and thinking enacting laws is enough is equivalent to sticking your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away. And it will go away because there won’t be any rhino left, but is that the outcome we want?

And so we come back to zoos, and the purpose of many zoos is not just to exhibit animals for the public to see, but to educate them on each animals’ plight. To conserve species using sometimes even a genetic based breeding program that incorporate zoos not just in one country but internationally as well.

I know there are zoos where the focus is on people being able to pet animals like tigers, or ride elephants. Those zoos, I have a problem with. They drug the tigers for a photo, they beat the elephants into submission, and that is just awful. Don’t support those zoos.

Zoos like Adelaide and Monarto Zoo, they are conservation focussed, they want to save species and educate the public and engage them in helping save the animals as well.

So I challenge you, go to your local zoo, not just to see the animals, but if the zookeepers do any talks, go to a couple of those, find out what the focus of the zoo is and how they achieve it. You will be amazed at what they are trying to achieve.

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Travel Diary – Kangaroo Island – Day 2, Saturday 26th March

The second day of my holiday was pretty jam packed and included a lot of driving. Because everything is so spread out on Kangaroo Island, this is kind of unavoidable but is definitely worth the trip! You can do bus charters and such if you don’t want to drive but the cost of those is quite expensive so I would choose driving my own car over doing that.

The first stop for the day was at Seal Bay Conservation Park, we opted to do the guided tour down onto the beach as well as go up on the boardwalk. The type of seals they get down on the beach are Australian Sea Lions, they call it home and like to breed there and will actually come up to about 1km inland to use the shelter of the scrub when it’s cold and rainy, which is pretty unusual.

While we were on the beach it started pouring down with rain and we got completely saturated. It didn’t feel like a heavy rain but there was lots of it! Fortunately it wasn’t too cold but it wasn’t pleasant being all wet!

The boardwalk was a nice walk as well, there were some amazing views, plus a skeleton of a humpback whale just chilling on the beach. It was basically like playing a game of spot the Sea Lion because they were hidden all over in cracks and crevices and in the sand dunes which was pretty cool.

We packed lunch with us so we had a bite to eat in between the Sea Lions and the next stop which was Raptor Domain. Oh yes, lots and lots of raptors. We got there in time to see the last half hour of the Raptor show, and there were a few cool birds there, hawks, eagles and even a couple of cute little kookaburras which made me want to cuddle them and take them home!

We also sat in on the “Fang-tastic” show which is one where you get to have a cuddle with all the animals, even the snakes… just not the baby crocodile because you’d probably end up missing a finger! That was really cool but man it did not make me want to have children. So many parents were just letting their kids run around, trying to grab snakes off each other, rather than sitting patiently in their chairs and waiting their turn for a hold. Ugh, honestly people teach your kids some manners! Anyway, despite all that I did still manage to get a cuddle with all the animals which was cool.

Kelly Hill Caves was the next stop. Caves are pretty cool, if you’ve never been inside a cave before that has stalactites and stalagmites then I’d definitely recommend giving it a go just for the experience. We had done a trip last year to Mount Gambier and trekked around all the caves up there so Kelly Hill Caves were just a reminder of some of those caves and to be honest once you’ve seen a cave like that they all start to look the same anyway. But it was still a nice place to park up and have a nosey around.

After that we stopped back in at the holiday house to have a bit of a rest and then headed out for dinner at one of the local pubs which was a nice way to end the day.

Take care,

Jas

Uni ecology field trip

I missed doing the Motivational Monday post yesterday, oh no! I have been at, and am still at actually, a university field trip for the ecology topic I’m doing at the moment, and it has just been full on. Good fun, but just so jam packed. I left home at 7:30am and wasn’t back till just after 9:00pm and was just too tired to do anything but shower and head to bed.

Yesterday we went looking for lizards and lizard scat, basically we wanted to see whether we could find any evidence to support the hypothesis that as lizards get older, the composition of their diet changes to be primarily herbivorous, rather than primarily insectivorous. So off we trundled down to a beach which was all rocks, and I’m not talking little rocks, I’m talking big massive ones that you had to climb over, and rock faces that you literally had to climb up about 3 metres to get to the top and then smooth rock on the other side with just jagged rock poking out, so you had to be careful trying to shimmy down. It was intimidating and exciting. Then of course onto the shitty business…all very scientific using GPS points and measuring from the points, lots of labelling and sketching. Then hauling arse back over rocks to get back to the camp to measure and weight the scat and then leave it to soak for a while so we could pull it apart and tell what they’d been eating. It was stinky business, but in the end we found that there wasn’t really much difference between what adults and juveniles were eating.

But wait…there’s more! We also had to put together a presentation for the group…and we were told to have fun with it. So we did a bit of a narrative and role play, did some scatting – not shitting on the floor, but the musical version of scatting, just thought I should clear that up there! We had the group stand, sit, kneel to represent a “people” histogram, or pistogram as we called it. And just added in puns about poo basically. It was quite funny, we had people, including us, rolling around in fits of laughter.

Today was a bit more relaxed because I was bird catching. Well, not me per se, I couldn’t just snatch them out of the air, but we set up mist nets to catch the birds in, and then the demonstrators would get the birds out and band and measure them and all that. So today was a lot of trekking around in scrubland, setting up mist nets and walking around to periodically check them and help with the banding and data collection. We did get to hold them and release them though so that was pretty cool. The purpose of this study was to check the birds over for ticks, the hypothesis being that birds in a smaller conservation park will have more ticks that contain more bacteria harbouring pathogens that can kill birds and/or humans. We didn’t find any ticks though, but the conservation park we were in was relatively large so I don’t think anyone was too surprised by that.

And just like yesterday we had to do a presentation to the group. Whereas last night the groups were quite different in terms of presentation, today, three of the groups did quizzes! The other group did well I guess a normal presentation of reading boring information to cards, it wasn’t very “fun”. Our group, I wrote a short story to talk about how a Honeyeater we caught was crying to its neighbouring birds for help, regardless of species and they responded to the call, having recognised it. So the short story was about that from a birds perspective. Then we also did a haiku and added in a couple of serious questions and observations in between chapters of story. The story we did was a funny one so again we had the group laughing which is always good.

Hope you guys have been having an enjoyable week so far!

Take care,

Jas