animals

SeaWorld’s Tilikum: Should Keeping Captive Orcas Be Banned?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | February 14th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: animal ambassadors, animals, Blackfish, captive wildlife, cetaceans, conservation, Dawn Brancheau, dolphins, endangered-species, environment, health, killer whales, marine creatures, marine environment, nature, ocean, orca, orcas, SeaWorld, Tilikum, travel, whales, wild, wildlife

orca in the wild

Last October, when CNN broadcast the documentary Blackfish, a film that tells the story of the 2010 killing of a SeaWorld trainer by an orca named Tilikum, there was a public outcry against marine parks — such as SeaWorld — that keep cetaceans in captivity. After the movie aired, several veterinarians and the director of the Dolphin Project at the Earth Island Institute in Berkeley, California, Ric O’Barry, stepped forward to state their professional opinions that confining orcas can make them psychotic.

SeaWorld, however, countered that marine parks such as theirs have done great works in conservation and that hundreds of millions of people have come to love and learn about orcas and other marine animals because of their popular shows and exhibits.

But given what we now know about how confinement can influence an animal’s behavior, should cetaceans ever be kept in a captive environment?

Should Animals on the Brink of Extinction Be Used to Promote Tourism?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 25th, 2013 | 9 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African elephants, animals, Antarctica, at-risk species, Belize, Canada, Churchill, climate change, Eco Travel, ecotourism, Egypt, endangered-species, environment, extinction, extinction tourism, Galápagos Islands, glaciers, global-warming, habitat destruction, Madagascar, Manitoba, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, poaching, polar-bears, rainforest, Tanzania, tourism, tourists, travel, travelers, UNESCO, wildlife, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Greenland big ice

I have to admit it: last year, my traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears in the wild was motivated not only by a 10-year anniversary but by a fear that soon the animals could be gone. I go to see glaciers because I’m afraid we’re losing them. And this coming January, I’m returning to Yellowstone National Park to try to photograph our nation’s wolves before they almost completely disappear in the Lower 48 — again.

You could call me an “extinction tourist.”

I’m far from unique. In fact, today people are traveling in ever-greater numbers to see what they think could quickly vanish from the Earth. While just a few years ago travelers might have endeavored to tick off all seven continents or Africa’s Big Five wildlife species, today there’s a certain “cred” given to those who see the landscapes, animals and plants that are just managing to hang on. And tour providers are tapping into that desire with their marketing messages. “See [fill in your favorite endangered animals] before they’re gone!”

But should tourism companies use threatened species as marketing tools? Given our ability to tune out ads, does that minimize the dire circumstances that these animals and environments are now in and dilute the attention that conservation messages might have been able to muster?

The Power of Motherly Love

Cynthia James by Cynthia James | May 8th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Personal Growth, Relationships | tags: affirmation, animals, Candice Lightner, children, creation, healing, HOPE, humans, intuition, justice, love, MADD, mothers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, mothers-day, pain, parenting, persistence, reconciliation, Relationships, separation, trust

Mother and her young son

During the month of May we celebrate Mother’s Day. It is a time when we honor our biological, adopted and surrogate mothers. It is a time when we remember the incredible and awesome nature of the “mother spirit.” Whether it is in the animal kingdom or the family of human beings, most mothers are fierce protectors of their young. They intuitively know when something is happening with their child. I was always amazed when my mother tuned right into me. This wasn’t always good news for me, but it most certainly reminded me that we were connected in an extraordinary way.

Should Radio-Collared Animals Be Legally Protected?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | January 21st, 2013 | 14 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: animals, bear, bears, biologists, buffer zones, deer, Eco Travel, elk, environment, GPS, gray wolves, hunters, hunting, legal protection, Minnesota, Montana, nature, New York Times, park boundaries, predators, radio collaring, radio collars, radio telemetry, research data, scientists, Shoshone National Forest, travel, wild animals, wildlife, wolf, Wolf 754, wolves, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Single wolf

Despite your stance on the ethics of radio-collaring wild animals, it can’t be denied that such endeavors provide scientists with reams of valuable data, such as information on where and how animals move and migrate, the nuisance activity they engage in, their reproduction and mortality rates, and how to establish wise management practices regarding them.

That’s why when a collared research animal is lost, it’s not just a detriment to that animal’s social group or species but to our understanding of nature, as well.

Usually, the death of a collared animal goes unnoticed, except within a few scientific circles. But when Wolf No. 754, a popular Yellowstone National Park research animal, was recently shot by a hunter in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest, a few miles outside the national park boundary, reverberations and outrage were felt around the world.

It’s causing some to ask: Should research animals be given full, legal protection?

Recipe for a Grounded Holiday

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | November 20th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Home, Personal Growth | tags: animals, books, Brain function, detox, diet, food, Green Living, Grounded, health, healthy-eating, holiday season, love, meditate, nature, nutrition, read, reading, self-love, sleep, soul, thanksgiving, toxic, toxic environment, walk, Yoga, You are what you eat

The holiday season is upon us, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on their brain function and overall health.

Just as our eating style reflects and affects who we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment — in any sense, physical or emotional — also impacts our health in a negative way. Luckily, the opposite is also true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, health and happiness, our bodies and minds will respond in positive ways.

The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and temptations to overindulge). To balance that, choose an ingredient (or two, or three!) from my “healthy-self’ holiday recipe below, and treat yourself to a generous helping of grounding — whatever that means to you.

Are the Dubai Penguins Ambassadors of the Wild, or Agents of Profit?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | June 18th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: animal ambassadors, animals, Antarctica, big cats, birds, captive, captive wildlife, captivity, conservation, Dubai, Eco Travel, ecosystems, environment, Middle East, natural habitats, nature, penguins, pets, photography, threatened, threatened species, Tigers, travel, wild, wildlife

Penguin in Antarctica

In the hot, desert climate of Dubai on the Arabian Peninsula, 20 penguins are living in comfort, say the managers of Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. The birds reside in a climate-controlled environment, receive the best veterinary care, and never have to worry about lurking predators.

When you visit Ski Dubai, you can pay to have a “penguin encounter,” where you’ll be able to play with and touch the penguins. Representatives of the resort say that these animals are “ambassadors,” teaching patrons about their wild counterparts and the need to conserve their threatened natural habitat, Antarctica.

But can animals that have been born and raised in captivity and habituated to humans in unnatural ways ever be true ambassadors for the natural world? Can they teach us anything about the wild or move us to care for the environments from which they are so distantly removed?

Links That Lift You: A Waving Bear, a 91-Year-Young Yogi and a Recycled Playground

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | December 16th, 2011 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Gaiam Happenings, Green Living, Yoga | tags: 91-Year-Old Yogi, animals, Bernice Bates, dogs, Guinness World Record, Kathryn Budig, Learning Landscape Network, link roundup, links that lift you, MindBodyGreen, msnbc.com, pets, recycled playground, The Christian Science Monitor, Uganda, Wari Om, waving bear video, Women’s Health, yoga in New York, yoga in prison, yoga teachers, Yoganonamous, YouTube

From time to time, we highlight the best articles, blogs, news, videos and interesting Web tidbits to help you live fit, live healthy, live green and live happy. Here are this week’s finds.

Friday Fun Video

(YouTube)

Would You Live Next Door to a (Non-Human) Predator?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | September 16th, 2011 | 54 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: alaska, animals, bear attacks, biodiversity, bison, bison attack, coast, coastal habitats, Eco Travel, ecosystems, elk, encroach, encroachment, endangered-species, environment, food chain, forests, grizzly bears, habitat destruction, humans, Montana, mountains, National Science Foundation, nature, Nebraska, Northwoods, population, predators, sea otters, sea urchins, sharks, shellfish, terriroty, threatened species, travel, trophic cascade, wild, wild animals, wilderness, wildlife, wildlife corridors, wolf, wolf attack, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bears

This summer — like almost every summer for the past decade or so — was rife with headlines about people being assaulted by wild animals. “Seven teens attacked by grizzly in Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains,” read a headline in the Anchorage Daily News on July 25, 2011. And, “Two teenagers have life-threatening injuries after being mauled by a grizzly bear while on a survival skills course in the Alaskan wilderness,” the first line of a Guardian feature informed us.

The italics on the words “mountains” and “wilderness” above, however, are mine. I think it noteworthy where these events took place. Against our ever-increasing penchant for developing remote areas and fragmenting wildlife corridors, the world’s largest predators have been squeezed onto smaller and smaller pockets, with nowhere to go but the mountains and the wilderness. Today, grizzlies, wolves, tigers and lions are having trouble finding room to be grizzlies, wolves, tigers and lions. And, without them, our planet is in big trouble.

Miracles and Meows

Colleen Saidman by Colleen Saidman | March 25th, 2011 | 7 Comments
topic: Fitness, Personal Growth, Relationships, Yoga | tags: aging, animals, bond, cats, colleen saidman, crying, death, father, HOPE, humans, illness, life, love, miracles, pets, Relationships, resilience, story, tears

Miracles and Meows“Your mother has been telling me for 65 years that miracles happen. I am now 84 years old, and I believe.” This is what my father said to me yesterday.

My father has been ill for several years. He spent most of the last year bedridden. One day a beautiful calico cat showed up. It was a wild cat. My dad fell in love immediately. It put a light in his eyes that had been dulled by the enormous amount of pain he has been in for years.

Should Human and Veterinary Medicine Be Combined Into One Field of Study?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | March 18th, 2011 | 5 Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: air pollution, air quality, airports, animals, bedbugs, biomonitors, birds, blood samples, canary in the coal mine, carbon emissions, carbon monoxide, contaminants, doctors, dogs, environment, German honey bees, health care, heavy metals, honey, human health, infestation, Massachusetts, medical schools, methane, miners, monkeys, One Health Initiative, pharmaceuticals, Salem, science, species, toxic gases, toxins, veterinarians, veterniary medicine, West Nile virus, zoonotic diseases

Honey bee on a flower

The fictional Ace Ventura may be tops when it comes to pet detectives, but the real animal gumshoes may be of the nonhuman sort — at least when it comes to environmental issues. More and more, we are recognizing the incredible powers of observation and deduction our fellow creatures possess, and we are using them to help us uncover the “bad guys” in our air, homes and workplaces.