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The Big Cats

Rajah 2.
Rajah

This morning’s email briefing from the New York Times included an item on the now-airing and hugely popular Netflix documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” The NYT describes the program as centering on “a roadside zookeeper and his plot to kill an animal activist.”

The show reminded me of a podcast from my own On the Road with Mac and Molly show about the Carolina Tiger Rescue and my conversation with Kathryn Bertok, Curator of Animals.

Sheltered at the 55-acre Pittsboro, North Carolina facility, at the time of the interview, were more than 70 animals including tigers, binturongs, lions, cougars, bobcats, caracals, kinkajous, ocelots and servals. The organization is working toward the day when wildcats are not owned by individuals as pets; wildcats are not used for entertainment purposes; no trade exists for wildcats or their parts; and all wildcats prosper in sustainable, native habitats.

In the program, Kathryn and I center on all things tiger from chuffling (tiger speak) to mother-cub interactions to the tiger’s affinity for water (not only for drinking but for bathing). We hear how tigers are faring in the wild and in captivity. Kathryn shares some of the most heartbreaking truths of the $15 billion exotic pet trade that is devastating not only for the animals and their habitats, but for humans as well who are placed at risk when dangerous creatures are made “pets.” The show concludes with the story of Aria, a tiger confiscated from her “owner” that was brought back to health by the Carolina Tiger Rescue.

If you love animals, and especially is you love the big cats, I think you’ll enjoy this episode.

Here’s the link:
https://www.petliferadio.com/ontheroadep28.html

[Featured Photo: Mark Zeringue feeding Roman at the Carolina Tiger Rescue. DFGH]

Mark feeding Roman
An adult male lion can measure more than ten feet from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. Mark Zeringue feeding Roman.

 

Wildlife, Wild Places, Kitsch and Sundry: DFG Hailson Photography

 

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American Alligator, Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee, Florida. Image: DFG Hailson.

I have spent delight-filled days recording, through my camera’s lens, glorious natural wonders from the majestic Grand Canyon to the hoodoo-filled Bryce Amphitheater, from the lush and soul-soothing Everglades to the barren salt flats of Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, from the sanderling-bedecked white sand beaches of Topsail Island to the other-worldly cinder gardens and lava fields of the Craters of the Moon.

Along the way, my love of wildlife and wild places has deepened into a more fervent advocacy and my love of photography has developed into a deep passion. I am currently exploring and photographing the North Carolina coast. I invite you to visit my photography website–DFG Hailson Photography–and pray the images of and words about wild places, wildlife, roadscapes, waterscapes, kitsch and sundry–will speak to your heart and mind and lift your spirit.

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Paul Howard Manship was commissioned to make the sundial, Time and the Fates of Man, for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. The Three Fates, sitting under the tree that holds up the sundial’s pointer, are characters from Greek mythology. Taken at Brookgreen Gardens with the park’s Christmas Tree alongside. Image: DFG Hailson.

Sickened, Enraged and Heartbroken

800px-African_Bush_Elephant_MikumiOne of the most moving moments in my life came on an evening in Zimbabwe. I was in the country covering a conference and had taken some time away to visit Hwange National Park with two friends. After a meal of traditional African fare at the Hwange Safari Lodge, we made our way – at sundown – toward a waterhole. There, we spied – silhouetted in the half-light glow – a herd of more than 40 elephants coming in to take an end of the day drink. The adults strode in slowly and their young clung close to their sides. I couldn’t hold back the tears and found myself weeping and weeping, overcome by so many emotions. I felt so privileged to be in their presence. But there was even more to the moment, for behind them – in the distance – I could see herds of impala, zebra and wildebeest racing across the savanna. The images from that night are indelibly stamped on my heart and memory and I find I am – even now – near to tears as I place myself again in that space, in that magical moment, at Hwange.

Trophy hunting is a thoroughly disgusting and evil practice, and I am sickened, furious and heartbroken that the ban on elephant trophies would be reversed by the current US administration!!!!!!

This reversal makes no sense whatsoever when elephant populations are decreasing. It’s far more than a stretch to call this a “conservation” move when Zimbabwe is in the midst of an apparent coup and is seen as so riddled with corruption and so lacking in transparency.

Accompanying image of an African elephant by Oliver Wright.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-admin-reverse-ban-elephant-trophies-africa/story?id=51178663