Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Updates on the Two New Cubs!

We've had a few posts about how Thor and Scoundrel are doing here at IEAS, but we wanted to give you all a thorough update! Both of these two cubs have made huge leaps and bounds in the past few weeks.

When Thor first arrived, he was very nervous and very unsure of the intentions of his human caretakers. Now, a little over a month later, Thor is a confident and brave little cougar! Though he is certainly still a cub, with traces of his baby spots still visible, Thor has more than doubled in size since his arrival! He spends the majority of his time in the outdoor portion of his habitat at quarantine and loves to watch us all working. He has even come to really enjoy visits from those caretakers he trusts!

Scoundrel took a little longer to warm up to us initially but has come such a long way. We have found out so much about his personality, his likes (grapes) and dislikes (oranges), and because he has been spending so much extra time outside of his house lately, we have really gotten to see what an adorable little bear he is! He, like Thor, is gaining so much confidence and will even approach a visitor to say hello!

We are so glad to have these two handsome boys living at IEAS and we are so happy that they have come such a long way! We are excited to see them grow up at the Sanctuary!

If you would like to help support Thor and Scoundrel, visit our DONATE page!
You can also ADOPT Thor or Scoundrel and visit them when they move to their permanent habitats!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Getting Ready for New Interns!

We can't believe it but it's that time again! In just a few days, two more interns will be arriving at IEAS, ready to learn! Kevin and Whitney will be the only two additions to the IEAS interns, as the six interns from fall session (Betsy, Amber, Tara, Jennifer, Megan, and Alex) will ALL be staying to learn even more! During their second session, they will have the opportunity to learn more "keeper" aspects of animal care, and they all seem excited to start!

Winter session is always a challenging session for interns, as the cold makes a great deal of our
daily tasks significantly more difficult. Instead of just cleaning and filling waters, an extra step of breaking the ice that may have formed on the water is necessary during the coldest parts of winter. This can be a very strenuous task when it's cold enough! Then, if the houses are too frozen to work, water has to be transported from the Nutrition Center in buckets to each water trough at
every habitat. Also, morning feeding can be more challenging if snow stops us from using the vehicles that transport the food the animals. Instead, we walk the food from the Nutrition Center, one stack at a time! Once at the houses, locks usually need to be torched, as many of them freeze shut overnight. It slows us down a bit but the extra steps are well worth it when we see all of the animals full, warm, and happy in their cozy hay-filled houses after breakfast!

Well, we hope that doesn't scare any new interns too much! Like we said, every bit of work done at IEAS is well worth the effort when we see how it benefits the animals! We're excited for the new interns to arrive and we'll keep you all posted on their progress! We hope you will all be a part of welcoming Kevin and Whitney to the IEAS team!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What We Are Thankful For

We are thankful to have the ability
to provide a true sanctuary for animals
that need a safe, caring home.
We are thankful that every day,
with your help, we gain more and
more support worldwide.
We are thankful that we have the chance
to teach people about the worth and
importance of the amazing beings living at the Sanctuary
and the protection of their wild cousins.
We are thankful for the dedicated volunteers
who visit the Sanctuary to sacrifice their
time and hard work to making the lives
of the resident animals even better.
We are thankful to have so many amazing
supporters that make everything we do possible
with unwavering support and generous donations.
We are thankful to have the opportunity to
know and love the amazing animals that call IEAS home.
They change our lives as much as we hope to change theirs.
Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Black Friday Deals at IEAS!

Looking for a Black Friday without all the crowds and chaos? Visit IEAS or www.bigcat.org to get some WILD presents for the ones you love! By purchasing a gift from IEAS, you will help ensure that the animals who get a second chance at life at the Sanctuary, have a wonderful Christmas too! On Black Friday ONLY we will be having a few special deals on some of our best gift ideas…

If you would like to adopt a feline or bear for yourself or a loved one for 6 months, you’ll only pay for 5! You get the 6th month free! For more about animal adoptions, visit http://www.bigcat.org/Adopt-An-Animal

Also, our Friend of a Feline and Buddy of a Bear packets have been a big hit so far! These packets give you or your gift recipient the chance to have a one on one visit with one of the Sanctuary residents (from outside the fence, of course). With the purchase of one of these packets, in addition to the 8 x 10 photo, animal story, certificate, and free visit pass, you will receive one free pass to tour the entire Sanctuary!

And REMEMBER, these deals are on Black Friday ONLY!

Hope you can all be a part of it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

AZA Certification!

Did you know that the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary is one of the few sanctuaries in the country that is certified by the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums)?! As a "Related Facility," not a zoo or an aquarium, IEAS had to meet the strict standards of the AZA to be certified. This was a major goal of IEAS Director Richard Gilbreth when he first took the reigns in directing the Sanctuary. It took a lot of hard work, but he made it happen! The Sanctuary has been AZA certified for almost 10 years.

"Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet tough Association of Zoos and Aquariums standards," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "The leadership and staff of the International Exotic Feline [Animal] Sanctuary are to be congratulated for the hard work and commitment that they put into the process to become certified."

To be certified as a related facility, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary underwent a thorough investigation to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, and safety. AZA requires zoos, aquariums, and related facilities to successfully complete this rigorous process in order to be members of the association and are required to resubmit to this process every five years.

"Not only does International Exotic Feline [Animal] Sanctuary meet or exceed AZA's high standards, but it provides every visitor with a chance to connect to global wildlife conservation," Maddy added. "Related facility members share the same strong commitment to animal care, professionalism, ethics, and conservation that AZA accredited institutions hold. In turn, they enrich the lives of their communities by developing significant wildlife conservation programs."
IEAS is so proud to be a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and will always continue to meet the high standards that the AZA sets. We look forward to our future with the AZA and other facilities that are both certified and accredited by the association!

Pumpkin Time!

Fall means that pumpkin season is here! Those same orange pumpkins that you decorate with on Halloween serve an entirely different purpose once the holiday is over! If they are lucky enough to make their way to the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, they become enrichment for some of the most amazing and magnificent animals you could ever see!

This year, we were lucky enough to receive more pumpkins than ever

before and just a few days ago, we begun handing out the pumpkins to some very eager cats and bears. The bears use those amazing noses to smell what’s inside and as soon as they do, it’s time to tear them open. Claws and teeth work together to get to the juicy insides of the big pumpkins!

The Grizzly bears have been particularly fond of the pumpkins, each enjoying a daily pumpkin to devour. It is always the first thing they go to when they are fed in the morning! The American black bears

living at IEAS also got their first round of pumpkins this year. They dug in faster than even we thought they would! It only took a few seconds for their strong claws to take a chunk of pumpkin off. Then it was “noses in!” They each stuck their snouts straight in and enjoyed a gooey feast! Scamp, in particular, enjoyed the pumpkins. He couldn’t decide which one he liked the best, switching between all three of the pumpkins provided to him, Scooter, and Greta. He even laid on the ground with all of two of them on his belly, trying to decide which one was best!

The first cats to get their pumpkins did not disappoint! We were very excited about giving Danvir and Sajani their first pumpkins ever at IEAS. Danvir took a few minutes to warm up to the idea but Sajani dove right in! That pumpkin never stood a chance. It was thrown up in the air, chewed to bits, and smashed all around until all that was left was specks of orange all over the habitat! And all that took about 45 seconds! Isabella enjoyed her pumpkin just as much. She picked it right up and marched straight to the pool where she hopped in and attempted to drown her new toy. It was almost like she was bobbing for pumpkins! She had a great time splashing around with the enrichment and there wasn’t much left of that pumpkin the next day. While many of them don’t mind onlookers during their pumpkin romps, there are a few cats that would rather devour their prey in private. Barnum grabbed his huge pumpkin and ran right to his house, where we found a pile of orange in the morning!

We are so excited that so many of the IEAS animals loved their enrichment items. These pumpkins provide the felines perfect behavioral enrichment, allowing the cats to pounce, play, hunt, and sink their teeth into something fun! The bears get to mimic their habits that would take place in wild environments, finding food and digging in, making the pumpkins perfect environmental enrichment for them! Keep an eye out for videos throughout the week!

We want to send a HUGE thanks to RAINBOW PLANT SALES in Saginaw, Texas for donating all of their leftover pumpkins to IEAS and to everyone who donated their leftover pumpkins from home! You provided every animal at IEAS with an exciting, joyful, and truly happy time! They loved the pumpkins and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Year Ago!

A year ago today, IEAS staff and resident bears were in the process of a few big moves! It was at this time in 2010 that Pixie, Rowdy, and Rascal made the trek to the "adult" side of the 10 acre Bear Orphanage. Here they joined Dakar, Meyote, Lucky and Lucy. They've come so far since that day. Lucky has truly bonded with every other bear in the Orphanage and in truth, all of the bears get along amazingly well!

The second big move going on one year ago was Scooter and Greta letting go of their quarantine habitat to join Scamp on their five acre side of Bear Orphanage. Talk about bears getting along amazingly! These three are inseparable. You would be hard pressed to find a happier bear trio than this set of American black bears living at IEAS. With such distinct personalities, Scooter, Greta, and Scamp fit each other perfectly!

An aerial view of the ten acre Bear Orphanage! Thanks Google Maps!

It's so great for us to see how far these special animals can come in just one year. Soon enough, Scoundrel will join the group in Bear Orphanage and we look so forward to seeing his progress in one year, seeing how far he has already come!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Signs of Winter at IEAS

Well, one of our biggest signs of winter has started to show itself here at IEAS. The American black bears and Grizzly bears who call IEAS home have begun showing us that it's almost "hibernation time." All of the bears are slowing down significantly in terms of their eating habits and activity levels. They still enjoy a breezy day on their perches or in their trees, but playtime has gotten shorter and shorter.

In the mornings, the Grizzly bears are very hesitant to be woken up - especially Wendy! It always takes them a few minutes to open their eyes, stretch their legs, and come over for breakfast. Sometimes, when they are much to content sleeping to be roused, they are given some extra time for beauty sleep, and when they are ready, we feed them and pick up their habitat! Last winter, the Grizzlies slept for about a month and half, so we are interested to see them all pile into one of their several caves and cuddle up for the long sleep!

The black bears, similarly, have been eating much less and much less eagerly! We see them all in caves and brush piles, napping the day away most often. Even the three most playful and rambunctious of the black bears, Scooter, Scamp, and Greta, play less than usual, but I don't think any winter will ever take the play completely out of them!

Now, bears are not true hibernators. They sleep for a significant amount of time during the winter and slow down quite a bit, but they will wake up occasionally during what appears to be their hibernation period. The bears at IEAS, especially black bears, are awake more often than their wild cousins would be as their true reason for "hibernating" is lack of food. Because we will continue to present them with food, they will continue to wake up, so you will likely still see them wandering on tours!

Be sure to make a trip out to IEAS before it gets too cold!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Scoundrel is Making Big Strides!

The newest black bear resident at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, Scoundrel, has been making big strides in his comfort levels. Over the past few days, Scoundrel has been out of his house exploring his habitat more than ever. He climbs his big branches, relaxes on his perches, and even has a new favorite food - grapes! He will fit in very well with all of the other IEAS bears, who seem to tell us that grapes are a favorite amongst most all bears!

It addition to feeling more comfortable with his surroundings, Scoundrel is feeling much more confident around his caretakers. Now, when this little bear gets fed, he almost immediately approaches the bowl
s. He has even allowed several of the staff to sit just a few feet away while he rummaged through the bowl for grapes, then fig newtons!

We are very happy to see this little bear settling in. Every day we see less nervousness and more personality! He is proving to be a very adventurous and active bear and we can't wait until he meets his friends and roommates in Bear Orphanage! Scooter, Greta, and Scamp will be more than happy to have another playmate!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Look Who Is Outside! And Getting BIG!

Our little man is growing up so fast! Thor, the cougar cub who arrived at IEAS about three weeks ago has already gotten so much bigger! We decided he was finally big enough that he could go outside and enjoy the outdoor portion of his quarantine habitat. As you would imagine, he loves it out there! He has been climbing up on to his new favorite perch, watching us work and learning what all of the new sights and sounds around him are.

We are definitely in love with this face!

We can't believe how much bigger and braver this little guy is getting. He's growing up and settling in! We can't wait to continue to watch him grow and we hope you will too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Foxy Friend for the Black Bears!

Well, we have a new resident in Bear Orphanage, but not an intentional one! We always tell people how natural a habitat the Orphanage is for the bears of IEAS. So natural, in fact, that small wild animals wander in and out of the 10 acre enclosure through the fences. Recently, a fox has taken up residence in, of all places, a TREE in Bear Orphanage. At first, we were under the impression that the little guy was stuck in the tree, but after managing to get him down, we found him perched up in the branches again! He seems to come and go as he pleases.

The arrival of this little resident
just confirms to us that
Bear Orphanage can help
make our bears live
as they would in the wild,
because wild animals feel that way!