ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World’s Zoos and Aquariums

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There’s not much that causes more smiles and coos than an adorable baby. And it doesn’t have to be human. Take a peek at the animal babies in ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Kittens and Cubs from the World’s Zoos and ZooBorns: CATS! The Newest, Cutest Kittens and Cubs from the World’s Zoos; you’re sure to be charmed.

These small books contain beautiful photographic studies of baby animals that most of us will never get to see in the wild. That’s especially true because many of the babies featured in ZooBorns books are on the Endangered Species List.

By compiling these collections, authors Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland are raising awareness of how zoos protect and conserve endangered species. In addition, they’re contributing 10% of the revenues from each ZooBorns book to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund….

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Eye of the Whale by Douglas Carlton Abrams

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Intrigue. Romance. Danger. Life. Death. Loyalty. Betrayal. Eye of the Whale has what it takes to get a reader’s pulse racing clear to the last page. But there’s more to this novel than a mystery. After years of thorough research, author Douglas Carlton Abrams has skillfully woven a tale that teaches as much as it entertains. Abrams combines hard scientific facts about the pollution that threatens the world’s sea creatures with a page-turning thrill ride.

Eye of the Whale is an excellent literary vehicle for making the current threat of pollution immediate and real. The author accomplishes this by creating characters — not all of them human — that readers come to know and care about. From a mother whale who begins a new, mysterious song that carries around the world to a ravenous shark whose violent kills are simply a means of survival to a male whale stranded in a California river, the animals have compelling plot lines that draw the reader in.

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Where Not to Take Your Family – A Dolphin Show

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Recently, I saw a video of a dolphin that had thrown itself out of the pool in which it was held captive. This dolphin was trained to do tricks for the pleasure of human visitors. It was held captive, along with several other dolphins, in a small pool….

Dolphins are intelligent animals. Why would one deliberately try — twice — to hurl its body out of the water and over a high wall? Was it searching for food? Was it trying to harm the human on the other side of the wall? Or did it simply want to end its captivity, even if that meant death? I have no idea, but the dolphin did. This was no random accident.

In the video, did you notice how several other dolphins gathered around and watched through the glass as the humans tended to their companion? Did they understand that their fellow dolphin was in mortal danger? I think they did.

Since I was a young girl, I’ve been fascinated by stories of dolphins who have saved humans from certain death. The stories included dolphins protecting swimmers from a shark by forming a barrier between predator and potential prey, rescuing drowning humans by pushing them up to the surface so they could breathe, guiding lost boaters to land, and more. These are intentional acts arising out of what appears to me to be empathy. They are acts of reasoning creatures who understood the dangers awaiting the humans they saved.

So why would a reasoning sea creature deliberately jump out of its tank?…

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Design Student Creates Jewelry to Aid Gulf Wildlife

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Like nearly everyone who sees the damage its caused, Nadilyn Beáto is upset about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But she isn’t just complaining, she’s doing something about it. A junior at Parsons – The New School for Design in Brooklyn, New York, Beáto has recently begun designing, making, and selling fashion jewelry to benefit the wildlife affected by the vast oil leak.

Beáto’s jewelry depicts some of the animals that she wants to save: sea turtles, orcas, dolphins, American oyster catchers, black skimmers, and more. She uses Super Sculpey to create her jewelry pieces, then paints them with nontoxic paints. Her creations include necklaces, charm bracelets, and earrings. Each individual piece of jewelry takes her about an hour and a half to make.

The turtles sell for $15 in Beáto’s Etsy store, with $10 donated to the Gulf Coast Response team at the Environmental Defense Fund. Her goal is to create and sell 150 pieces of jewelry, raising $1,500 for the rescue and rehabilitation of the wildlife in the Gulf.

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Fauna Extreme Coloring Book Inspires Girls

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Fauna Extreme publishes a coloring book targeted to young girls. But it doesn’t have a princess theme or a cute kitty or an adorable pony in it. This is a coloring book about power and strength and athleticism. And I’m going to tell you about it. But first, I want to go back into time and talk a bit about the world I grew up in. Please bear with me.

When I was a little girl (oh, about a million years ago), boys got to do all the cool things. They played with trucks. They played Army. They were daredevils. They even occasionally swore (swear words weren’t as commonplace among kids as they are today). I didn’t want to be a “girly-girl.” I wanted to be tough, too. I had opinions. I liked being physical and running and jumping. But I was frequently told, “You can’t do that; you’re a girl.” It didn’t always stop me, but sometimes it did.

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Rescuing a Young Bird

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Recently, while Joe and I were visiting his brother, Jim, a neighbor rapped insistently on the front door. “Have you got a ladder?” he asked, breathless after hurrying across the road. “There’s a bird hanging by its leg from the eave of my house.”

As it happens, Jim does have a ladder. So he and Joe and the neighbor, Jake, headed over to see what they could do to rescue the poor creature. I grabbed my camera and tagged along.

At Jake’s house, we looked up to see a dark gray bird dangling upside down from the roof. It was held there by a string so thin that the bird appeared to be suspended in a rather crazy-looking, head-down flight. It was struggling to free itself, but there was no hope that it would succeed unaided. And with its wild wing-flapping, the young animal was in danger of having the string cut through its leg….

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Notes from Minnesota: Return of the River Otter

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On a frigid February afternoon, I walked the path around the Mill Pond in downtown Austin, Minnesota. A recreational area with a bike path, skate park, and swimming pool, the Mill Pond was formed by damming the Cedar River in the early years of the city.

As I crossed a bridge spanning the river, movement out on the ice caught my attention. For a moment, it looked like a sheet of black tar paper, waving in a non-existent breeze, but a closer look revealed an otter! A big guy, he was greedily devouring a fish.

I pulled out my camera and began to shoot video as a second otter appeared from under the ice. This was the first pair I’d seen since those I’d observed in Austin’s Sutton Park back in the mid 1970s. After 35 years, the river otters had returned….

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Ecotourists Save the World

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If you could help save wildlife and their habitats from destruction, would you do it? What if it involved traveling to a far-off location to live in relatively primitive conditions, work long hours, and complete difficult, sometimes dangerous, tasks? Oh, and you might have to pay to do it.

Is that your idea of a good time? Then Ecotourists Save the World is a book you’ll want to read.

In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, writer Pamela Brodowsky has compiled an extensive resource of volunteer opportunities to protect wildlife around the world. You’ll find, as the subtitle says, “More Than 300 International Adventures to Conserve, Preserve, and Rehabilitate Wildlife and Habitats.”

In the introduction, Brodowsky writes,

“Did you know … one in three amphibians, nearly half of all turtles and tortoises, one in four mammals, one in five sharks and rays, and one in eight bird species are now considered at risk of extinction? Habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution, and climate change are taking their toll on our world’s species and the places that they inhabit.”

The cool thing is, you can do something about it….

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A Plea to Protect Burns Bog as a UNESCO Site

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Environmentalists tend to be a passionate lot, on fire with conviction about the importance of preservation, conservation, and the well-being of the planet. But, despite our convictions, not all of us are activists. Dana L. Miller of Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.), is an environmentalist who not only espouses her beliefs, she follows through with focused activities that support them. Miller is a vocal and dedicated advocate for protecting British Columbia’s Burns Bog with UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Miller by phone from her B.C. home. We began by asking her to tell us what’s unique about Burns Bog and why UNESCO designation would help protect it….

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Notes from Namibia — Waiting for Elephants

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As a Peace Corps Volunteer working in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention in Namibia, it never occurred to me I would be intimately involved in human-wildlife conflict: I consider having to wait 40 minutes for elephants to cross the road before driving the last hundred yards to our campsite pretty intimate.

But does this really come under the heading of human-wildlife conflict? Not for me anyway! I found it terribly exciting and only lamented the fact that I couldn’t get a really good photo through the windshield of our Land Rover.

It is sobering, though, to realize that year after year, people where I work lose not only crops but sometimes their lives to wildlife. …

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John J. Audubon, Iconic Painter of Birds

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Sometimes, the most extraordinary and singular lives prove to be the most typical. Through a sheer depth and diversity of experience, a person who appears well outside the norm can serve to embody it. If this were ever true of anyone, it was true of John James Audubon.

In the life and work of this failed businessman — turned bird painter — turned environmental icon, one can discern a piece of the fundamental American character. The energy, resourcefulness and enterprising nature of early Americans are bound up in Audubon.

As his biographer, Richard Rhodes, wrote, “No life was at once more unique and more representative of that expansive era when a national character emerged than Audubon’s. Celebrate him for his wonderful birds; but recognize him as well as a characteristic American of the first generation.” And as America made Audubon, so too did Audubon make himself….

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Planet Earth Video Inspires Awe and Action

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“A hundred years ago there were one and a half billion people on earth; now over six billion people crowd our fragile planet. But even so there are still places barely touched by humanity,” says narrator David Attenborough in the opening scene of the 11-part mini-series, Planet Earth. “This series will take you to the last wildernesses and show you the planet and its wildlife as you have never seen them before.”

Four years before audiences around the world saw the wonderment of Planet Earth on television, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) set out to make the most ambitious documentary ever witnessed. Planet Earth captures the full range of experiences in observing wildlife in their natural setting, and arouses emotions in the viewer typically associated with major Hollywood films….

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An Arctic Journey in a Changing World

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“What I have to share with you is more story-telling than science,” says David Thoreson, “but I truly believe I am the canary just back from the coal mine, the ground zero of climate change.”

An Arctic Journey in a Changing World chronicles the adventures of six intrepid sailors on the Cloud Nine, a 57-foot ketch, as it attempts to traverse the Northwest Passage. Produced by Chris Gourley of Iowa Public Television, the film tells the story of the crew’s journey from St. Anthony, Newfoundland, east to west across North America, to dock at last in Dutch Harbor, Alaska…

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Ecotourism – Leave Nothing but Footprints and Goodwill

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Perhaps you’ve dreamed of vacationing at a resort on a tropical island, surrounded by a luxury hotel with every convenience you could desire: Food and drink served in abundance in any number of dining locations. Beach chairs and umbrellas on the pristine sands of an exclusive beach. A swim bar in the middle of a sparkling pool for guests only. Nightclubs with live entertainment right on the property. Sophisticated staff from countries around the world. And a direct shuttle to carry you safely between the airport and the hotel.

Why would you care to venture out and see the island, with everything you need right here? And why would you want to meet the local people, when their extreme poverty would put a damper on your luxury vacation?

Why, indeed?…

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Good-bye, Mr. Rabbit

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Iowa, Leisure, Wildlife

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Time. There never seems to be enough of it. I am always running late. Too many things crammed into too little time.

A few months ago, in a hurried sprint to my car, I noticed a rabbit in my backyard. Nothing unusual about him, he was just one of those run-of-the-mill brown rabbits. He kept a wary eye on me, but he made no effort to run away. He just stood there next to my little trellis garden, peacefully munching on grass. He seemed to be mocking me. I was the one scurrying off to a consulting appointment, all suited and tied, my watch in hand, saying, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”…

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Fishing with Nell

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Sometimes the kid in us gets lost when we grow up and take on the responsibilities of making a living, running a business, caring for a family, or serving a cause. Nell Newman seems to be different. When she talks about her childhood, a tomboy comes to life. It’s easy to picture her pushing open the screen door at sunrise, with a cane pole over her shoulder and a can of worms in one hand, walking down to the river to fish….
In Part 1 of a two-part series, we talk with Nell about her lifelong love for the environment, beginning as a young child. In Part 2, Nell talks about the the logical extension of her environmental activism, Newman’s Own Organics.

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Polar Bear Sculpture Floats Down Thames

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London 26th January 2009:

A stark reminder of the dangers of global warming arrived in London today, as a life-like 16ft high sculpture of an iceberg featuring a stranded polar bear and its cub was floated on the Thames. The sculpture was specially commissioned to mark the launch of the new Natural History Television channel Eden, which starts today and features programming including Planet Earth and Attenborough Explores Our Fragile World at 10pm.

Broadcaster and eminent wildlife conservationist, Sir David Attenborough says: “The melting of the polar bears’ sea ice habitat is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time. I commend Eden for highlighting the issue; we need to do what we can to protect the world’s largest land carnivores from extinction.”

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Seeking Sustainability in a Harsh and Beautiful Land

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Miriam Kashia, a Peace Corps volunteer who returned from Namibia one year ago, recently spoke with Blue Planet Green Living about her experience. What follows is Part 2 of a two-part interview.

BPGL: I’ve heard, over the years, about problems with poaching of African game. Is that an issue in Namibia?

KASHIA: In almost all African countries, there’s been a lot of poaching of wild animals. And most animals now only live in the game parks. There are very few left just roaming wild. There are still many varieties of antelope and, depending on where you are, a few others. But most of the more exotic animals now live in game parks or on game farms, actually. When I say farm, I’m talking about what we would call a ranch. Because it’s a desert, it takes thousands of hectares to support their livestock of goats, sheep, cattle, and wild animals.

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