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 interview 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.

I surfed over to his website and emailed the contact person about scheduling an interview while he was in town at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. They were kind enough not only to provide press credentials, but set up a telephone interview with Jack a few days prior to his appearance.

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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Exploring Carlsbad, Part Two: Wildlife vs Development

When we first moved here in 1985, our street was a dead end (literally).

My son and I would walk our dogs to where the pavement ended and there we abruptly entered a wonderland of nature: along narrow paths with overhanging vegetation;  sage, coyote bush, sumac — and wildlife; coyotes, bobcats, deer– even a mountain lion was spotted now and again.

In other words…heaven.

It was a sad day when the bulldozers appeared and in a matter of minutes completely raped the hills, scraping the native flora down to bare earth, uprooting mature trees, and displacing dozens, if not hundreds, of animals.

It’s unrecognizable now–if you hadn’t lived here as long as we have, you’d never know the rich beauty that once existed.

It’s regretful that the city leaders didn’t and don’t seem to care about respecting, protecting, and preserving native flora and fauna.

Instead of conserving and sustaining our unique beauty, they’ve allowed Carlsbad to become an Orange County clone — heavy on the ubiquitous business parks and subdivisions totally disconnected to the land.

They’ve mostly destroyed the unique personality and beauty of our little coastal town.

In my opinion.

Historically, Carlsbad/Agua Hedionda Lagoon was the former home to two Native American groups, the Luiseños and the Diegueños or Kumeyaay.

Did you know that Agua Hedionda means “stinking waters”?

(It does and it does.)

Although the Spaniards (and other settlers) decimated the Native American connection to this area, over the years I’ve heard about nearby sacred burial grounds that might still be intact, and that’s a good thing.

In spite of the destruction of habitat, there are still a few surviving animals attempting to coexist.

In the evening, we hear the song of the coyote, not as often as we used to, but it makes us happy. Check out this audio. So close!

I’ve seen fresh bobcat tracks, too, but no actual visual sighting.

On a recent walk, I stepped out of my front door, walked across the street, and was immediately greeted by this amazing sight, a Great Blue Heron nearly as tall as me.
GreatBlueHeron1 greatblueheron2 After I snapped a dozen photos, I continued walking, and spotted a White Egret.egret2015It was a day for wildlife; these are not good pics for some reason, but a couple of different rabbits made an appearance.

On a front lawn.
aprilwalk5 Overlooking Agua Hedionda. aprilwalk4

I believe this is a Cooper’s Hawk; don’t think it’s a Red Tailed Hawk.CooperHawk1If I ruled the world (or at least my little part of it), I’d make sure that any planned development would respect all wildlife and make appropriate plans to not only preserve habitat, but encourage MORE animals to coexist with us.

Especially predators. We need predators. We need coyotes and bobcats and mountain lions and hawks and falcons for balance. Without them, we’re inundated with their food source; rabbits, rats, and squirrels.

Can’t we all just get along?

Read Exploring Carlsbad, Part One: Signs
https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/05/01/exploring-carlsbad-part-one-signs/

Yummy Hummy Mummy

Anyone participating in World Naked Gardening Day?

No?

Well, I’m not either, that’s for sure.

I’m moving furniture, shampooing carpets, channeling Cinderella, and obsessing over the only full nest at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

My little yummy hummy mummy is doing what most animals do naturally — be an attentive and protective mother.

enchantedseashells.com

enchantedseashells.com

In the late afternoon sunlight, I removed the screen in the dining room window and leaned all the way out to capture the iridescence.

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enchantedseashells.com

Have you ever seen a hummingbird stay almost perfectly still for more than two minutes?

I set up the tripod and took some video of her nest sitting, blinking her little eyes, and swaying in the breeze.

There’s a bit of shake (sorry) but the tripod was in a precarious position on top of a bench in order to get the best angle.

When she first started building the nest, I waited until she flew away in order to reinforce the chimes with twine to make sure they’d support the extra weight and not fall down,

YouTube video:

(And congrats to Princess Kate for giving birth to a royal little girl! )

When a Zygocactus Blooms, It’s a Sure Sign the Holidays are Coming!

Whether you call it Christmas Cactus or Zygocactus, it’s really a Schlumbergera hybrid.

Christmas Cactus1Today at Casa de Enchanted Seashells, we’re packing up to drive the eight hours it takes to get to Sacramento so I can testify at the Fish and Wildlife hearing  on Friday to protest the delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species List.

I’m so happy (and relieved) that my tugboat man is going to be able to attend the hearing with me and I’m sure that he’s REALLY looking forward to keeping me out of jail.

FYI — Princess Rosebud and hunters do not mix. It’s a recipe for disaster. Cue the tugboat man, a voice of reason versus my ghetto mouth that has no impulse control!!

However and whatever…

I’ve got a new black suit, AMAZING heels, and a speech that I hope will make a difference, ‘cos that’s what it’s really all about.

While we’ve been getting ready, I noticed a magnificent plant blooming and crying out for attention.

My bright little pot loves to sit in our kitchen window for most of the year; when I see the red buds at the tips of the leaves, I know it won’t be long before the massive butterfly blooms emerge. 

(There’s an x-rated overt clitoral resemblance when the buds start to swell…just saying’.)

I love to say “zygocactus” like ten times in a row cos it feels so good as it rolls off the tongue, plus it’s really easy to grow!

You try it. It’s neat, huh?

zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus

Schlumbergera truncatus blooms closer to Thanksgiving while Schlumbergera bridgesii blooms closer to Christmas, but through hybridization there is a certain overlapping of blooming times.

This is the most intense pink; the flowers feel kind of waxy or fleshy.
Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera are epiphytes (tree-dwelling) originating in the mountainous rainforests of Brazil.

It’s excellent as hanging basket plant on a sheltered patio, or can be brought indoors in a bright area with excellent airflow.

Think about how lovely a blooming plant will be as a gift to bring joy for many years.

I’ve had pretty good success propagating these beauties by snipping a cutting at the natural “joint”, letting it dry out for a couple days, and then planting in sandy soil, keeping it only slightly moist until roots appear.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did by letting it get too wet or it’ll rot and die.

The next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Sacramento, meeting other wolf advocates and giving my two cents worth to a panel of Fish and Wildlife members who have blood on their hands from the senseless deaths of hundreds of beautiful wolves.

However, they have yet to hear from Princess Rosebud.