Friday, March 23, 2007

North America's Wolves on the chopping block!

This is one of those really timely topics that always has me on edge. We have until the end of March to help put an end to aerial gunning in Alaska, as well as some Northwestern states plans to immediately eradicate wolves as soon as the government lifts the protections that have allowed wolf recovery to take place in the Rocky Mountains.
After the government and charitable organizations have spent years and uncountable (I'm sure SOMEONE is counting, but it isn't me) amounts of money attempting to insure that one of America's keystone species survives, it is completely amazing that they would then allow local government officials to expend enormous amounts of money to turn around and simply KILL the animals that others have worked so hard to save. And for absolutely, positively, No Good Reason. Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is even offering a 150 dollar bounty for wolves killed within designated 'management' zones, and also left open the possibility of allowing hunters to use not only fixed-wing aircraft but helicopters to gun the animals down, despite the fact that Alaskan voters have twice voted to restrict aerial gunning of wolves! We aren't alone in this cause, however. One of Defenders of Wildlife's generous donors has agreed to double all contributions made before 5 pm on Monday (up to 24,000 dollars.) To help halt this travesty go to Defenders' Action page and make your contribution now!

Meanwhile in the lower 48, Idaho and Wyoming are gearing up to kill 2/3 of their state's wolf populations if the government decides to reduce or remove protections placed on the animals. This means that any wolf who sets paw outside a wildlife refuge or national park in these states could be shot on sight. This is not people killing wolves in protection of themselves or even livestock. This is people killing wolves because wolves somehow offend them, and they just want them gone. Personally I equate the situation to this: the president of a home owners association spends a lot of money to advertise the benefits of living in her neighborhood, thereby attracting new home owners. Then she decides she doesn't like these new people in her neighborhood. Now these people haven't bothered her. They're just living where they should, minding their own business. But Madame President doesn't want them so much as LOOKING toward her perfectly manicured front lawn. So if one of them pokes their head out the door she shoots them! Thats exacally how insane Idaho and Wyoming's so-called wolf 'management' plans are. Not to mention that these states are also considering aerial gunning. Please continue to show your support for the Rocky Mountain grey wolf, America's iconic predator and one of the main attractions at our largest National Park, Yellowstone.

Another beauty from DCR Images. Don't let these magnificent animals be hunted and harrassed to the brink of extinction!

More beautiful artwork by Shevin. The Wolf and the Bald Eagle are icons of America.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Adorable! Baby Orangs and Tigers best friends!

This may well be the cutest thing I've ever seen. At the Taman Safari Zoo in Indonesia, two rare Sumatran Tiger cubs and two baby Orangutans were rejected by their respective mothers. Zoo workers caring for the infants kept them in the same nursery and amazingly all four of the babies have bonded. Full grown a Sumatran Tiger may well consider an Orangutan a tasty snack, but for now all these cute babies want to do is play! In this picture of Dema the tiger cub (26 days) and Irma the orang (5 months) you can actually see that they are looking into each other's eyes. It's like Koko and her kitten, only in reverse! Someday these tiger cubs will be much larger than their primate playmates. The Sumatran Tiger is the smallest tiger subspecies, only weighing in at 200-300 pounds, and living in an increasingly smaller population in only one place in the world: the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is believed that there are fewer than 700 Sumatran Tigers in the world, only 500 or less in the wild. On Sumatra and Borneo, where Orangutans live up to 90% of the islands forests have been logged, even some areas supposedly set aside as National Parks. Sumatran Tigers are listed as a CRITICALLY endangered species. Orangutans are listed as ENDANGERED, with likely less than 60,000 in the wild in Borneo and less than 10,000 in the wild in Sumatra. It has been suggested that Sumatran Orangutans be listed seperately as Critically Endangered.

Dave's Photo Gifts has many wonderful photographs of animals and nature, including this adorable art tile! Baby Orangutan gives daddy a kiss!

Absolutely gorgeous! Sumatran Tiger with kaleidoscope eyes from Ann's Sketchbook. Beautiful rendering by a talented artist.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The year in recap, Earth Day, Climate Crisis Action Day

If any of you have ever happened to stumble over to my other blog at Unwholy Babble-On you'll see that life around here has kinda gone to the fiery pit of Hades in a hand basket in the last week or so. But we're recovering. However, I've hardly had time to even think about this weeks Living Gaia post, or find submissions for specific issues, so this week we're going to have to let the little furry creatures fend for themselves a bit. First I want to make a list. These are all the charities and organizations I personally support:

World Wildlife Fund
Defenders of Wildlife
Front Range Equine Rescue
Beyond Pesticides

Those are just the ones I tune in to on a regular basis. As a full time supporter of WWF and Defenders I receive regular email and snailmail updates and action alerts, a great way to keep on top of issues that can develop quickly. Not only do these organizations help wildlife in need, they help to protect our own natural resources, and the integrity of our natural history. Imagine where America would be today if we'd let our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, go extinct? It would be a disgrace.

Speaking of symbolic animals...I said the furry critturs were on their own, but I didn't say anything about reptiles! As a Marylander I have to help spread the word and save Maryland's diamondback terrapins from overfishing! Here in the states we don't even EAT turtles (for the most part) so why are we destroying our national natural resources to export a food product that is nothing more than a delicacy? We're not saving any starving chinese children with diamondback terrapin export, folks. And everyone knows that the Terp is a nationally known symbol for Maryland! What will we call our University of Maryland teams if the diamondback terrapin disappears? The Maryland Common Box Turtles just doesn't have the same ring. If you are a Marylander, Gov. O'Malley is listening, so start talking! Give his office a call and explain to him why there needs to be a LEGAL BAN on terrapin fishing, not just a bunch of loophole filled DNF guidelines.

In other news: Don't forget about Climate Crisis Action Day in Washington, D.C. on March 20th! For the sake of wildlife and ourselves we need to tell Congress to step up and start making some real change, if we want to keep living on this planet.

The TeeShirtShoppe knows what they're talking about, man. I mean, do you really think they have Chocolate on Mars? Not to mention they don't have trees, or oceans or, I don't know, the proper amount of OXYGEN!

Also coming up, the Spring Equinox and Earth Day! Stay tuned for more information on what you can do to make this Earth Day a success. With pressing social and environmental issues as well as elections on the horizon we have a real opportunity to create change this year.

Wildlife Action Update: Defenders of Wildlife has collected almost 90 thousand of the 100 thousand 'actions' required to halt aerial gunning in Alaska. All you have to do is help is add your own thoughts to a form letter, sign and hit send. Its as simple as signing a petition, but it has that extra added individuality that helps make our voices really heard. We still need lots of Action to save our Rocky Mountain wolves, though! Jaguars and Polar Bears still need our help as well. There is also a boycott of ExxonMobile that you can sign and send, telling them you will not support them until they stop lobbying to open up some of our most precious wildlife refuges to drilling, invest in alternate energies, and take responsibility for the damage caused by the Exxon Valdez disaster. You can find all these 'Actions' at the Defenders Action Center.

As a final word I'd just like to say "welcome to spring!" I know we still have a week to go officially, but as today was the first day warm enough to open all the windows and air out the house, thats good enough for me!To me, Spring is when the new year REALLY begins. Lets make it a good one, helping wildlife, helping our planet, and helping each other :)

This classic design from Melhi Ink really says it all! A peace ribbon that says it the way YOU mean it! This unique marriage of peace sign and ribbon symbol lets you speak volumes without saying a word.