Jungle Jack Hanna says, “Touch the mind, teach the heart.”

****I don’t really agree with Jack’s philosophy which is one reason why I wanted to meet him. His passion for animals is real and I admire him for that, but his ardent defense of SeaWorld is something he and I disagree about.***


A couple weeks ago, I was savoring a cup of perfectly brewed French Roast while watching Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, on Saturday morning television. (As an aside, his ability to connect with dogs seems truly amazing.)

I forgot the TV was on, scrolling through my Facebook feed, when I heard an advertisement about Jungle Jack Hanna coming to the San Diego area. In a sparkle of synchronicity, when I looked up, there was an episode of Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown. You know who he is, right? He’s been around forever on all the late night talk shows. Often with his wife by his side, attired in his khaki uniform, he’s a virtual fountain of animal knowledge.

John Bushnell “Jack” Hanna is an American zookeeper, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He was director of the zoo from 1978 to 1992, and is viewed as largely responsible for elevating its quality and reputation. He’s the host of TV’sEmmy award winning Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild and Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown.

We have a bit of a difference of opinion about Seaworld and zoos in general, and while he concedes that certain things about Blackfish were a real portrayal of what happened with the whales, he’s a staunch and passionate supporter of their rescue skills and education programs.

Some of the conversation I jotted down as we were talking, with his approval:

He is involved as a person who supported Seaworld since the beginning.
Blackfish is trash.
Very big proponent of Seaworld’s conservation efforts.
Manatees were going extinct –and Seaworld saved them.
Disappointed with people who hate Seaworld.

He asked me a rhetorical (in my opinion) question, ‘How do we learn about the animals?”
He doesn’t agree with anything that might harm the animal.

He made a point I have to agree with. There are no real completely wild places left in this world. When he’s filming, his guidelines are to respect the animals, don’t teach them to do anything unnatural. Back off, or don’t interfere or interrupt the kill.

I know that he works with the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda and they hold a special place in his heart. I was recently at the zoo in Seattle and took my grandson to see the gorillas (a favorite animal), and it was heartbreaking to see them. They looked completely depressed to me, and desperately need their habitat improved. There were blankets strewn about on the dirt ground and it looked as sad as a homeless encampment.

I had plans to ask him more questions, but there wasn’t time as he had to prepare for his flight to San Diego.

Here are the topics I didn’t get to broach with him:
What do you think about the current admin’s decision to reduce the size of our national parks?
*Ditto: Killing of hibernating bears
*Ditto: Drilling for oil
*Ditto: Delisting wolves

The show started at 6pm and I made sure I was there in plenty of time to get a little backstage time, if possible. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a packed house with so many people interested in learning about animals.

Jack was very hospitable- a complete gentleman- and made time to take a selfie with me:

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Unfortunately, something went wrong with my Canon Rebel T3i , so all I have are the pics I took with my iPhone.

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***These were all rescued animals, none were taken from their native habitat.***

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It was pretty funny when the kangaroo got to run around the room but it happened so fast, I didn’t get any video.

While we don’t completely agree on several issues, I have mad respect for Jungle Jack Hanna’s passion for wildlife conservation, as well as his very obvious love for his wife of 47 years, his children and grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Full Moon and a Lost Whale

The Full Sturgeon Moon rises tonight. A perfect time to set intentions and believe in magic!

I wonder if these intense lunar energies had anything to do with a baby gray whale who lost his way in our little beach town entering Agua Hedionda Lagoon from the ocean.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time with my lovely Canon and a decent lens and was lucky enough to snap these photos.

SeaWorld came to assess the situation and told me that he didn’t seem to be in distress; he was spouting every couple of minutes or so, which is completely normal, and he was rubbing his body against the rocks to try and dislodge all of the barnacles.

I did a little research and learned this about barnacles…
from https://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/gwhale/Hitchhikers.html:

Gray whales are more heavily infested with a greater variety of parasites and hitchhikers than any other cetacean. Imagine carrying a load of hitchhikers on your back that can weigh several hundred pounds! Gray whales do this all their lives. Who’s riding, and why?

Big Batches of Barnacles
Those patchy white spots you see on gray whales are barnacles. Grays carry heavy loads of these freeloaders. The barnacles are just along for the ride. They don’t harm the whales or feed on the whales, like true parasites do. Barnacles don’t serve any obvious advantage to the whales, but they give helpful lice a place to hang onto the whale without getting washed away by water. Barnacles find the slow-swimming gray whale a good ride through nutrient-rich ocean waters.

As larvae, the whale barnacles swim freely in the ocean. But they time their reproduction so the larvae are swimming in the water of the nursery lagoons when the baby whales are born. Then the larvae jump aboard the whales arriving in the lagoons–as well as the newborn calves—to start their lives as hitchhikers. The most common barnacles on gray whales are host-specific, which means they occur on no other whales. One type of barnacle, Cryptolepas rhachianecti, attaches only to gray whales. Once this type of small crustacean has settled on “its own” gray, the barnacle spends its whole life hanging onto that whale.

Life is good if you’re a barnacle. Snug inside their hard limestone shells, the barnacles stick out feather feet to comb the sea and capture plankton and other food for themselves as the whales swim slowly along. As the young whales grow, the barnacle clusters grow too. Gradually the barnacles form large, solid white colonies. The colonies appear as whitish patches, especially on the whale’s head, flippers, back and tail flukes.

Whale biologists look at the pattern of barnacle clusters in order to tell individual grays apart. This is possible because no two barnacle clusters, like no two human’s fingerprints, are alike!

When the tide changed, he finally made it out beyond the jetty waves; hopefully he finds his mom and doesn’t wander into shallow water again!

Just another amazing day in paradise. So much magic and beauty to be grateful for!

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Whale or SHARK?

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My own little embellished-with-sparkles-gray whale rock is much happier barnacle-free, don’t you think?

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Of Circuses and Condoms: The Slave Trade is Alive and Well in 2015

Circus TextThis might come as a shock to you.

I don’t spend ALL of my time shopping. Seriously, is that what you thought?

It’s true that I devote a great deal of my waking hours in a search for treasures old and new, but once in a while, I aspire to a higher calling.

circus5On Sunday and Monday, I hung out with an amazing and dedicated group who were protesting Ramos Brothers Circus in San Marcos, California.

Shame on San Marcos for supporting the mistreatment of animals.


What’s my story?
 I’ve never been to a circus because my mom felt strongly that animals should not do tricks and that there is something so very wrong in forcing animals to become entertainment for human profit.

If you were wondering where all my animal activist genes came from, I’d have to thank my mom. (Also thanks to her for the fashionista gene.)

I stopped eating meat in 1970 when I was a senior in high school. My surfer boyfriend (yes, I have a type haha) at the time wanted to try to eat healthier so I went along with his experiment. We eventually broke up but I never did eat meat again.

circus1Thank you to everyone who drove by, honked, and gave a thumbs up in support of our efforts.circus4

I have a request to make of you…the next time you see a group of people protesting animal abuse, STOP. Get out of your car. JOIN US. Take an hour out of your busy day just like we did to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Bring your children. Show them that you don’t just talk about caring for animals…you are agents of change. circus2

Then, hopefully, we CAN make the world a better place.

No matter what you think about PETA, they’re right about this:

“Animals aren’t actors, spectacles to imprison and gawk at, or circus clowns. Yet thousands of these animals are forced to perform silly, confusing tricks under the threat of physical punishment; are carted across the country in cramped and stuffy boxcars or semi-truck trailers; are kept chained or caged in barren, boring, and filthy enclosures; and are separated from their families and friends—all for the sake of human “entertainment.” Many of these animals even pay with their lives.”

Animals have RIGHTS.

Did you grow up eating meat, wearing leather, going to circuses, zoos, and the bathtub that is SeaWorld?

Do you wear wool and silk?

Are you now considering the impact of your actions on the animals?

If you haven’t, maybe you SHOULD.

Animals are NOT a requirement for a circus-type entertainment to be prosperous.

The overwhelming success of Cirque du Soleil is proof that you don’t need to have animals of any kind to have a circus.

Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, said people have turned against animal acts as they learn more about the animals and how they are treated. “These are complex, intelligent animals, and this is a lousy, lousy, dirty, cruel business, and people see that,” she said. “This was purely a business decision.”

Isn’t it wrong that these animals don’t get to see this glorious sky, bask in the breeze, and feel rain on their fur? Their lives are dismal, traveling from one city to another in dark, smelly, cramped trailers.
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I’m not going to share the sad, tragic, horrific, heartbreaking pictures and videos of abused animals. If you need proof, you are more than welcome to Google and compile your own documentation.

I KNOW all I need to know.

A couple years ago, I spoke (along with PETA) against elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair and almost got into an altercation with one of the few supporters of this barbaric form of entertainment. I don’t understand how seemingly intelligent and civilized humans could allow this kind of abuse in 2015 when we’ve seen the videos, when we know what hell an animal endures to become “entertainment”.

Aren’t we better than this?

Haven’t we evolved at all in the last one hundred years?

Do you really need all that bacon-wrapped crap when you know what hellish existence pigs endure in factory farms?

Really?

Compassion
Let’s teach our children, the next generation, that not only do animals have feelings, animals have the right not to be exploited, mistreated, abused, and enslaved.

For more information, visit circusprotest.com
I hope to see you in San Diego at the next protest!

As we walked our way over to the sidewalk with our signs, look what we had to step over.

Gross, huh?circus11

However, in some way, it’s a perfect albeit disgusting metaphor for the way too many people think about animals; that their lives have as much value as a discarded condom. Or something like that.

How about a little inspiration from Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young?

Teach Your Children

The Art and Practice of Compassion in Action

On February 20, more than one thousand bloggers are speaking with one voice about compassion — to share our belief that together we CAN rid the world of brutality, cruelty, hatred,, indifference, meanness, tyranny, animosity — the opposite of compassion. 

calendulacompassion“…sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.”

You know what I think?

Being compassionate should not end there.

It’s not good enough to simply FEEL pity and concern, but we need to DO something about the suffering in this world.

  • Take ACTION to PREVENT brutality.
  • Take ACTION to STOP abuse and pain.
  • Take ACTION by educating our children.
  • TEACH kindness for all creatures.
  • Become better stewards of our planet.

That means NO puppy mills, no circuses with animals as entertainment, no SeaWorld, no elephant rides, no camel rides, no dolphin slaughter, no factory farm hell, no running of the bulls, no bullfighting, no cat and dog ritual torture and eating, no dogfighting,

And especially NO wolf killing and NO coyote or bobcat or mountain lion killing contests.
We are better than this.
I hope…

I’m sick of hearing about babies killed and tossed in dumpsters, children who are abused and starved, football players who beat their wives, their children, their dogs — I’m sick of it all.

Practice cruelty-free living.

I have much admiration for Jen at Driftwood Gardens, who, as a fresh convert to veganism, is a shining light educating the world about the merits of living cruelty-free.

My story is that I’ve been meat-free since 1970, but only recently learned about the horrors of dairy, and now I’m practicing being successfully dairy and egg-free.

If you want to start your own practice of compassion in action, watch Eathlings, a film with Joaquin Phoenix, at http://earthlings.com

In fact, STOP all killing of animals. How’s that?World ME

That’s MY perfect world.

That’s the legacy I’d be honored to leave for my son.

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