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...
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.
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...