web page hit counters
Dell PC

My Life Is A Zoo

This is where I will post interesting (or not so interesting) things that happen in my life. The subject matter will include any random things that I decide to put in (including animals, my work, my hobbies and my family).

Friday, August 31, 2007

The truck...

is no longer mine....As much I liked it, I decided it just wasn't feasible to keep it - especially since it's been over month since I bought my new car and I haven't driven the truck at all. So...I cleaned it out and took it over to CarMax. They gave me $750 for it (which is definitely less than what they'll make when they sell it for parts but is enough to make it worth it for me to not have to deal with selling it privately.) Plus, I'm no longer responsible for keeping it registered, inspected or maintained. And it's no longer on my insurance which drops my monthly insurance payment to about $85 - much better than the $138 I was paying. :) I figure if I really want to get another truck I can buy one, with air conditioning, in the future. They usually run 10-15,000 dollars, new.
So...I am now down to one vehicle and my savings account is looking much happier. :)

Life is Good :)

As many of you noticed, Hurricane Dean did NOT make landfall in Texas for which I will forever be grateful. It meant that I didn't have to worry about the safety of people and animals that I care about and also that I was able to attend my conference. This conference is one that I spent over year helping plan. This conference was the first of its kind. I desperately wanted to be able to attend and, after having gotten full funding from the zoo, would have been most unhappy had a little thing like a hurricane prevented me from going. :)

The conference was, quite simply, amazing. It broke down walls between areas of bear care. There were over 100 delegates that came from all parts of the animal world, as well as from all over the world. We had delegates who work in sanctuaries, who do rehab with bears and who work in zoos. It is very uncommon for all three groups to be in one place...let alone be in one place and having fun! I think we all learned a lot during this conference and I truly hope that it will be put on again. There was, of course, some drama but what conference doesn't have it's share of drama? After all, there were over 100 people in one place...However, in spite of that, I met some wonderful people. - some of whom, I had only talked with via email. It's nice to put faces to names.

Jill Robinson, Founder of Animals Asia, was the keynote speaker. If anyone has the opportunity to hear her speak, TAKE IT! She is an amazing woman and has done so much for the bears in China who are suffering from bear bile farming. I have been donating to her group for a few years now but had never had a chance to hear her speak. I am glad I have now. And not only is she a great speaker, but she is also extremely nice. She stayed around for a day or two and hung out with us. I am glad I got to meet her.

There were, of course, lots and lots of presentations on every facet of bear care - veterinary, enrichment, training, rehabbing, conservation and research. And we spent time at the Los Angeles Zoo and Moonridge Animal Park. Not nearly enough time, of course, but enough to know that I definitely wish to visit again. :) And we even went up to Snow Summit. This was the first time (at least, that I can remember) that I've ridden on a ski lift. It was fun and I was perfectly fine as long as I didn't look down. :) There was even a cougar spotted on the mountain about 30 minutes prior to our going down. Alas, we didn't see him. Maybe next time I will though. :)

Carrie McIntyre (sitting) and Dr. Teresa Morishita (standing) assisting with getting delegates registered for the conference. This was on Friday morning.

Jordan Schaul assisting with registration on Friday. This conference was his idea. I'd say it was good one! A lot of people put in a lot of time and effort to make it a success but we wouldn't have been there if he hadn't thought of it to begine with. :)

A tiger sleeping at the LA Zoo.

An enriched bear at the LA Zoo. :)

The bus trip to Moonridge Animal Park was about 2 1/2 hours. So I had plenty of time to take pictures out of the bus window - which I'm now going to inflict on y'all. :)

Moonridge Animal Park is home to several different species of animals (I want to say 85 with over 100 individuals.) They house both black bears and grizzlies. All of the exhibits had lots of enrichment and were clean. I really enjoyed my visit there and highly recommend others go visit if they ever get the chance. Here's some pictures of their black bears:

One of the bears enjoying the enrichment that the Moonridge Animal Park staff gave to them. :)

The black bear exhibit at Moonridge. The wood carving in front is dedicated to two of their former bears. :)

This guy only has three legs. But you wouldn't know it by the way he acts. He really really liked this cut off barrel that was filled with water. :)

And one of their eagles (and a vulture, I think...)

And here's a couple of pictures from the trip to Snow Summit:

On the way up...

Getting there...

Made it!!! View from the top. :)

And after all that....it was time to come home. I didn't realize until the flight home that I can use my camera on the flight...so I did. :) Here are a couple of pictures from my flight home.

Leaving LAX

Somewhere on the flight home....I think it's still California but can't guarantee it!

Just thought the green and blue of the water made a nice contrast to the land. :)

And lots and lots of clouds...

Friday, August 24, 2007


is now officially a Jacksonville Jaguar. A coworker and I drove him to Baton Rouge Zoo where we met up with the Jacksonville Zoo staff. The transfer went well and he is now hanging out there. I have already received email updates telling me that he is doing well and that the quarantine staff are already enamored with him (which I knew they would be). The only concern he's given them so far is that, apparently, he ate some fire hose before he left Houston and is now returning it to them. What a nice gift...He's eating and drinking fine and is passing food and water fine. He's just upchucking a bunch a fire hose. Cats are amazing creatures...they can hold a foreign object in their stomach for several days, even weeks, before deciding to remove it. We think of these things as odd looking hairballs because we're pretty certain their treated the same way...Alas, this means that Tuco will no longer be getting fire hose...Poor guy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


There are times when I really wish I didn't live along the Gulf Coast. Hurricane season is one of those times. Right now, Houston is being hit by Tropical Storm Erin. She came ashore at Port Aransas earlier this morning. We've got pouring rain and lots of flooding in the Houston area because of her. And by "pouring rain" I mean the rain that is coming down so hard that you can't see anything else. We've gotten 3+ inches of rain in the last hour. I'm supposed to have the back door replaced today but now I'm not 100% sure that's going to happen. I guess I'll find out in the next few hours.

And now there's Hurricane Dean, who is currently still in the Atlantic. However, there is a chance he will enter the Gulf of Mexico and that, of course, means that he could possibly make landfall in the Houston area. If he does enter the Gulf, he will likely make landfall towards the end of last week - of course, that could change depending on how fast or slow he is moving. Unfortunately for me, I'm supposed to be flying out of Houston next Thursday for a conference in Pomona, CA. If it does look like Dean will affect Houston I will not be attending my conference. This will be the second time a hurricane has prevented me from attending a conference. The last one being the National AAZK Conference that was canceled due to Katrina.

Since this is a conference I've been helping plan (and am scheduled to do a presentation at) I've already been in contact with the chairs to make them aware of the possibility that I may not be attending. I've also mailed all the items I was responsible for getting to the conference to a lady in Michigan. She will make sure they get to the conference. I truly hope that all this turns out to not be necessary and that I leave as scheduled, however, those items are necessary part of the conference. It's imperative that they get there (I was in charge of the name badges and a banner for the registration table. I'm also in charge of on site registration but someone else can take that over if I can't get there).

I've also got plans in place in case Dean does make landfall near Houston. One of my friends will evacuate to my house with her animals (she is in an area that floods easily). She has already said that she will take care of my animals for me if I am not there. There is a chance that I will be on the disaster team at the zoo again. If I'm there, we'll just ride out the hurricane together. I'm lucky in that my house is in an area of town that does not flood easily. Hopefully, all of this is just going to turn into an exercise is planning but one never knows. In the meantime, I'm still planning on going to my conference until Dean tells me otherwise!

A New Baby

No, not mine! The zoo just had a new baby giraffe born. She's doing well and is being handraised by her keepers. She weighed just over 100 pounds at birth. Ain't she a cutie? No, I didn't take this picture...and, to be honest, I'm not sure who did.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Minnesota Bridge Collapse

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragedy. I am very lucky - all the people I know in Minneapolis were not on this bridge at the time it collapsed. I am amazed that not more people were killed. Luck, and timely responses by emergency crews, as well as spectators who jumped in to help are responsible for that. We have much to be thankful for.

David Denney - The Star Tribune.