Sunday, November 11, 2012

Drawn Like a Bear to Peanut Butter?

Mexican Gray Wolf

Today was an experience I will never forget.  I joined my photography group, AZ Photographers Group, on a photo shoot at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.  Now, while the fences made quality photography quite a challenge, the most challenging part of the day was having these animals stories told to us. 

This is Karma, a wolf who's mother was intentionally killed so that a poacher could grab him as a cub.  He was locked in a tiny shack outside with no light, no room to roam, little food, and a captor who kicked his ever-exposing ribs.

Horned Owl

Bobcat eating a mousecicle (ie...frozen mouse)

Spirit and his sister Giselle were left alone after a rancher killed their mother here in Arizona.  They were then separated, each being raised in a home with negligent caregivers. As quoted from the SWCC website: "He [Spirit] had metabolic bone disease, just like his sister, but much worse. Spirit’s bones were so brittle that he had multiple broken bones including a crushed pelvis, three broken legs, a broken tail, and a deformed spine. In addition, Spirit was covered with feces from chronic diarrhea."

This kitty-cat is Spirit's sister, Giselle.  She, too, suffered from metabolic bone disease but you sure couldn't tell by watching her!  She was full of energy...meowing, pacing, and even jumping. 

She had a cat toy that looked just like my cat's toys but larger...made of a feather duster with colorful feathers and ribbons. 

Cinnamon was being fed by humans in Tucson and quickly became quite the troublemaker.  AZ Game and Fish was about to trap and kill her, but Cinnamon got lucky and is now living out her life at SWCC.

Two brother bears who were being raised by humans and fed peanut butter sandwiches.

While their diet has improved since living at SWCC, they are still drawn to the peanut butter!

This quiet kitty is Maya.  Probably one of the saddest stories of the day.  She was purchased over the internet by a single mother of 3 small children who lived in an apartment here in the valley.  What kind of mother buys her kids a COUGAR?!  Maybe she was thinking of her children's safety when she had this beautiful cat declawed at the age of 2 months (shaking my head in utter disbelief).

 Because she was declawed at such a young age, Maya has a difficult time getting around.  She is bunkmates with Giselle, who has enough energy for the both of them.  The happy ending to Maya's story is that the human mother who bought her was put in jail for child endangerment...but not before placing an order for another cougar to replace Maya. 

Mexican Gray Wolf  

And finally, I got just a glimpse of this stunningly beautiful leopard before he had to be moved to a more private enclosure.  You see, he's not very fond of people because people were not very nice to him.  He was part of a performing act in Vegas for a while, and then sold off to a road-show circus where he suffered abuse.

It's a sad thing, to think of these poor, innocent creatures being abused.  Thank you to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, to Arizona Game and Fish, and to all the like-minded organizations who help care for these animals once rescued. 

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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