Thursday, December 29, 2011

What are they doing right now?!

Ever wondered what the feline residents of IEAS do all day? Well, take a look at your house cat. Is he/she sleeping? Then, it's doing the same thing that the big cats at IEAS do most of the day!

Just like domestic cats, exotic cats sleep up to 18 hours in a day! It must be nice to be able to be that lazy! With all that sleep, you can bet that their waking hours are HIGH ENERGY! When the big cats at the Sanctuary aren't snoozing, they do a whole lot of playing, pouncing, rolling, swimming, running, and jumping!

Even still, we do see them "catching some z's" most often, especially in the daytime!

Here is a look at what some of the cats are doing right NOW!
These pictures were all taken in the last hour!

Khera... ROLLING!
Shauna... LOUNGING!



Come see what they do first hand!
Tours every day at 11 AM (and Saturdays at 3 PM)!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Isn't Over Yet!

That's right! It's still Christmas here at IEAS as we collect as many leftover Christmas trees as we can! These trees, though usually picked to decorate homes, will serve a purpose a little different than most might expect.

In the next few weeks, IEAS staff will be providing these Christmas trees as enrichment for feline and bear residents of the Sanctuary. If their reactions are anything like last year's, we are all in for some excellent entertainment. The biggest cats love to pounce, throw, and destroy these prickly toys, while the smaller cats tend to see these trees as a big, delicious smelling brush that they can rub all over! The bears, on the other hand, prefer to use these piney limbs as bedding in their caves. It's a great something extra to keep them super warm and cozy!

We are particularly excited to see how the IEAS residents who arrived in the past year will react to what will be a first time experience for them! Keep an eye out for pictures and videos of Thor, the newest IEAS cougar, and all of his friends playing with their Christmas trees!

Most importantly, DONATE YOUR TREE!
You can help insure that each resident receive a toy to play with this Christmas! Your tree completed your holiday, now you can complete the animals' holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Cold Won't Stop Us!

The past few days at IEAS have been... well, CHILLY! We've even had the added pleasure of WIND to make being outside even more fun! Even still, we have been getting a whole lot of work done! A little bit of cold won't stop IEAS staff from venturing out and taking care of business. The animals, on the other hand, have been happily watching staff and interns from the luxury and comfort of the warm, insulated houses!

In the past few days, IEAS staff and interns have finished building the second of two bear caves, begun mortaring a waterfall, and renovated several habitats, all while maintaining feeding, pick-up, and house cleaning schedules! The interns have been learning a number of new skills and they all seem eager and happy to take in the new information!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thor Made the Big Move Today!

It didn't take long for us to prepare Thor's new habitat for him. We realized that Thor was ready for his new habitat, and today, transported him to his new home!

He was very nervous to be in his transport cage, as expected, but he really handled the move like a tough little cougar! He was very brave and calm, watching everything he passed by on his way to his habitat. It was clear that his caretakers being present was a comfort to Thor, as he would become visibly more calm and comfortable when he heard their voices. This was evidence to us that that hours of Emotional Enrichment with Thor were definitely paying off!

When he arrived at his new habitat, the transport cage was opened. We expected Thor to go immediately into his new house, which is the most common first "comfort" spot of animals in their new habitats. However, Thor showed us again how brave he was by slowly exiting the cage and then moving along his habitat, sniffing around and taking in his surroundings for a minute. Then, he found a comfortable spot behind his water trough to settle down and relax. He laid down there and that is where left him to explore!

He was even checked out by his neighbor, another cougar named Duchess! He will be making friends in no time!

We will definitely keep you all updated on how Thor does in his new habitat. After some time alone to settle in, Thor will be visited by his caretakers again to continue to use Emotional Enrichment to make Thor as comfortable, secure, and happy as possible! He has a new, natural habitat full of trees, grass, perches, toys, and even a pool! He will be a very happy, growing cougar cub!

Stay tuned! TOMORROW, we will post a video of Thor's first moments in his new home!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Planning Thor's Big Move!

It's almost that time! In the very near future, Thor, the newest and youngest resident of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, will make the big move from his temporary quarantine habitat to his permanent home! Thor will be living in a spacious, natural habitat, full of trees for climbing, perches to lounge on, toys to play with, and even a pool!

This little cougar cub will even have another cougar as a neighbor! Duchess, who arrived at IEAS in March, is living in the habitat right next to Thor's. On his other side, Thor will be able to watch two servals, Luna and Raja, and can even catch a glimpse of Allie and Rasul, two white Bengal tigers!

We are very excited for him to start his life in his new habitat. He is a growing boy and will love the space this home will provide for him. We've been preparing new toys like a mini fire hose ball (about 5" across instead of the usual 12"+) until he has grown enough for a big one, and prepping his habitat for it's new, rambunctious resident!

Keep an eye out for pictures and videos of Thor in his new habitat - they will be coming soon!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Week of Training for New Interns!

Kevin and Whitney are two weeks into their three week training session here at IEAS. They have one more section to spend a week in and then they will be all set! Once they are done training in Upper, Middle, and Lower, the three areas that the Sanctuary is divided into, they will switch sections daily, working alongside other interns and IEAS keepers to help clean and maintain habitats, houses, and animal welfare and safety!

Kevin finishing up providing Akbar, Arusha, and Kumar with fresh water!

The Animal Care internship at IEAS can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in an future animal care professional's life. As evident in our Intern Testimonials, individuals are able to walk away from the Sanctuary after their internship with a solid foundation of the most important knowledge, ideas, skills, and mindset necessary to a successful professional in the animal world.

Safety is of the upmost importance at IEAS and nothing is stressed more. When working around more than 60 dangerous and potentially deadly animals, there is nothing that is a higher priority. At the Sanctuary, interns learn the importance of focus, teamwork, and thoroughness. Every lock is double checked, cats are repeatedly located and diligently observed, and awareness is always at it's highest possible level. Interns are taught that one can never be complacent and never rely on the routine. Working with this many dangerous animals, you must be able to truly work WITH them. You must always be able to adapt to their needs, as at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, the happiness, security, and comfort of each and every animal is never sacrificed to get a job done. Using their ever-improving observation skills and increasing knowledge of animal behavior and emotion, interns learn to work with the cats and bears, on the terms of the animal, with a relationship of mutual trust and comfort!

Whitney helping to mix mortar for a bear cave!

There is a huge amount of information to teach each intern that passes through IEAS. It is an especially large amount when you consider the short time of three or six months that the individual is at the Sanctuary. Even still, IEAS will continue to strive to teach interns as much as possible during their stay!

Check out more information on our Intern Program!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Building Bear Caves!

For the past week, IEAS staff and interns have been working hard to build two new caves for the American black bears living in Bear Orphanage. The bears in this five acre natural habitat already have a two caves and several dens that they dug on their own, but we think they could use a few more!

The process of building these caves was stacking cinderblocks, filling them with cement, mortaring the inside and outside to seal out cold air, then filling them with nice warm hay to keep them toasty in the winter time! One cave has just been finished, filled with hay, and Lucky and Lucy have started to explore! They were poking into the cave, sniffing around, and admiring our handy work. We are sure that soon enough we will find the bears taking turns in the new caves, sleeping away the cold weather!

The interns had one of their first insights into working with cement and mortar and even learned some tricks and tools that could help them in their future careers in the animal world. They were all eager to learn and we're glad they could take part in the project. It is always rewarding to see an animal happy and content because of the work you did! It certainly makes every job well worth the effort!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Visitors from Fort Worth Nature Center!

We were very happy to have visiting staff from the Fort Worth Nature Center, home to an ex-pet, declawed bobcat that could not be released back into the wild. The group came to IEAS for some information and ideas about bobcat care! We were more than willing to show them around, introduce them to the IEAS animals, and help them with taking care of their bobcat resident!

The Nature Center staff left IEAS with new enrichment ideas and habitat plans. Plus, we were even able to direct them as to how to use IEAS' unique Emotional Enrichment program to form a relationship of support, security, and trust between them and the bobcat. We can't wait to hear how the new ideas and the Emotional Enrichment helps this little feline and the staff.

Check out the IEAS bobcats - they are the smallest residents of the Sanctuary and some of the best climbers for sure. Click here to see their adorable, furry faces!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Animal Emotions!

Are you interested in animal emotions? The study of animal behavior and it's relation to animal emotions is becoming more and more popular all the time! It can be an absolutely fascinating subject, especially for animal lovers like you! You don't have to be a scientist to learn about it, all you need to have is the interest!

There are a few great ways to learn about animal emotions. The first is simply by surrounding yourself with animals! You can learn so much about the behaviors and feelings of animals just by observing and interacting with them.

Another way is to read up! We've got a great place for you to start your readings... The Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff is truly a special book, full of real life accounts of animal emotions, both happy and sad. The book is absolutely fascinating, very entertaining, and full of great evidence of animal emotion and feeling that is very much like ours. We recommend it to all that are interested in opening their minds to learning about animal emotion and behavior!

Click HERE to purchase this book through YellowBrickMall
(find Amazon under the "Books" brick)
and they will donate a percentage of what you spend to IEAS!

Finally, ASK QUESTIONS! IEAS Animal Behaviorist, Louis Dorfman, can be a great resource for your animal emotion and behavior questions. Send us a message and we'll get right back to you with Louis' reply. Louis has written a number of articles and papers on his experiences, all of which can be found on the IEAS website, Check them out here!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The First Snow of the Season!

We had our first snowy, white morning here at IEAS! It was a bit of a surprise to wake up to, but the cats and bears seemed well prepared, dry and comfortable in their warm, hay filled houses. Many of the felines were cuddled up together for extra warmth!

We were excited to see how Thor would react to his first experience with snow. He had never seen the fluffy, white, cold stuff before so it was very new to him! It's safe to say, he certainly didn't LOVE it. First thing in the morning, we found Thor relaxing in the warm and dry inside section of his quarantine habitat. After his breakfast, he wandered over to his doorway, sniffed the snow, even licked it a little, but decided against getting his paws wet and cold! Most of the morning, he sat right in his doorway, looking at the white ground, seeming to be just waiting for it all to melt away. As soon as the snow disappeared, he was out and about, playing with his toys and relaxing on his perch. At least he doesn't mind cool weather at all!

We are excited to see if Thor ever warms up to the idea of playing the snow. Many of the other Sanctuary cats love to romp and play in it! Scoundrel, the newest bear cub resident of IEAS and Thor's current neighbor, was much more willing to be out enjoying the precipitation. Maybe Thor will take a hint from Scoundrel and adventure out to play!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rain, rain, go away!

Rainy days usually find most of the Sanctuary's residents warm and dry in their houses. However, there are always a few cats who decide that the rain and mud make the perfect setting for romping, rolling, and playing!

Right now, even with the cold and rain we've been having for the past few days, Kashmere, Big John, Arusha, and several other animals are out and about! Seeing these guys enjoying the cooler, wetter weather, we couldn't help but be reminded of one of our favorite video clips of Arusha, a female white Bengal tiger, enjoying the mud more than most...

Check it out!

Even with the rain, we've had tours, volunteers,
and we've gotten plenty done!
Don't let a little water stop you from
coming out to visit the animals!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Spread the Word!

Hello all! Thanks for checking back to the IEAS Blog for updates!
This is a great way to keep yourself up to date on what's going on here at the Sanctuary.
Another wonderful way to be involved, as many of you know, is our Facebook page!

Click HERE to go to our page!

Facebook allows us to post pictures, videos, stories, and so much more. It helps us to reach out to everyone around the world who is interested in and supports the animals at IEAS. From visiting our Facebook page to learn about contests and other ways to help, you have all come through in the past and rallied together to give the animals who call IEAS home a better life. With so much competition for resources, it is often difficult for IEAS to compete in voting contests and we can't thank those of you who have voted in the past enough. Taking the time out of your day to think about the Sanctuary animals is truly generous and wonderful.

We would like to extend a thank you and one more request - spread the word! By inviting your friends, asking for their help, and showing them what IEAS is all about, we can gain even more Facebook fans. It seems silly to think that the number of Facebook fans we have could affect us that much, but with that much more support and better chances of winning voting contests, reaching out to people who want to help IEAS, and raising awareness of conservation for these wonderful animals! Plus, who doesn't want to see beautiful faces like this when they log onto Facebook every day!?

So, please!
Spread the word!
Just a few clicks and chats
with friends could rally so
much more support for
the animals of IEAS!

Thank you all for your support in the past, present and future!