Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meet Mork and Mindy!

Yup, that's right! IEAS is expanding it's horizons and is now home to more than just big cats and bears. On Friday, the Sanctuary became home to two coatimundis named Mork and Mindy! These two little residents came from a caring couple who, after having the coatis for nine months, realized that they needed and deserved a better life. 

Mork and Mindy have been settling in amazingly well! Mindy is particularly curious and affectionate, and she is very interested in every new smell that the Sanctuary has to offer! Mork is definitely exploring his new surroundings but is taking a bit longer to warm up to his new caretakers. So far, their fire hose hammock has proven to be a favorite spot and their new toys have been endlessly entertaining!

Keep an eye out for a video of the coatis first few minutes in their new home! We will be posting updates on these two so be sure to like our Facebook page!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tragedies of Cub Exploitation

All too often, we walk into a shopping mall, vacation spot, or other public arena and encounter something we absolutely should not - a lion or tiger cub. The majority of us are unaware that the opportunity to pet or take a picture with one of these adorable animals is, in its entirety, tragically carried out at the expense of the cubs.

As cubs, these felines require huge amounts of sleep, and given their age, they naturally have extremely weak immune systems. This fact, coupled with forced fatigue brought on by being constantly woken up and handled all day, leave them unable to fend off the inevitable germs, bacteria, and infections that will come from being touched and held by countless adults and children. As a result, many of the exploited cubs are sick, but illness does not excuse them from being forced to be awake all day and handled over and over.

Additionally, cubs at these "attractions" are always kept hungry to make picture taking easy. When a paying customer approaches for their snapshot, a cub is picked up, has a bottle put in it's mouth so it will sit calm and still on the stranger's lap, the picture is taken, and the bottle is immediately taken away, regardless of the poor cub's hunger or nutritional needs.

Many times, the money one spends to have their picture taken with one of these cubs or to feed them one of the many bottles they will be given that day, is claimed to be destined for paying for care for the cubs or even for donation to wildlife groups or conservation efforts. Sadly, this is most often not the case. This money may go directly into the pockets of those exploiting the cub or may be used to purchase more cubs from (potentially illegal) breeders to exploit in the future.

Simba III when he first
arrived at IEAS. 
Some of you may already know the story of Simba III, a Bengal tiger now living here at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary. Simba lived the first portion of his life at a roadside petting zoo where people could pay money to have their pictures taken with him. His life there was less than ideal, to say the least. When he arrived at IEAS, he was extremely malnourished and severely underweight. It is a conservative estimate to say that Simba weighed 150 pounds less than he should have. It took some time for Simba to regain his weight and health. Sadly, in conditions like Simba's are how many of the tigers in these situations live.

These endangered species, who should be protected, are being used for unnecessary entertainment.  Now, with new laws inching their way into the regulations in place for these animals, people who exploit them are moving on to different species. In fact, finding the opportunity to pet or feed baby bears is becoming more and more common across the United States. Greta, an American black bear now living at IEAS, was used as a cub specifically for that purpose. She was was exploited daily to make money via photo ops, and when she was too big to make a profit, she was essentially discarded.

Greta, an American black bear, now living at IEAS after having been originally bred and
used to make money from photo opportunities. When she was too old to be useful,
she was essentially discarded. 

It is a tragedy that these noble creatures who deserve our respect and admiration as we help them survive in their WILD and NATURAL environments are passed around with little regard for their health and happiness for our pleasure. Please remember how sad and dangerous a situation this all too common scenario can be for these young animals. While you may feel like you are missing a "once in a lifetime opportunity," your refusal to take part is one step toward a better future for these cubs worldwide.
Simba III, now grown and living both happily
and healthily at IEAS.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day!

Domino: Male Jaguar at IEAS
Earth Day is here! Even though it is only officially one day a year, remember that it is important to protect and take care of our Earth all year round! Here at IEAS, we do everything in our power to conserve each and every facet of our world. From protecting and caring for those animals that we all know and love, to recycling, to conserving as much energy as possible, we strive to do our part! How do YOU help?!

Mia: Female Amur Leopard at IEAS
Amur Leopards are the most endangered
species of big cat on the planet.

Always remember that every little bit counts. Picking up a bit of trash you find in the road, turning those lights off when you leave the room, or drinking from a reusable water bottle are all easy ways to make an impact. Wouldn't you rather go outside and see a beautiful, clean world than a mess? We are all a part of making that happen! 

Noel: Male Siberian Tiger at IEAS
Siberian Tigers are one of the most endangered species of big cat
on the planet.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don't forget that this is not only OUR Earth. Countless species rely on the delicate ecosystems and surroundings that this world naturally provides them. So, if you won't preserve it for you, preserve it for them! The amazing animals that call IEAS home and their wild cousins need YOUR help to ensure their futures. Don't do more damage than good! Keep our Earth natural and beautiful! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meet Roy: The Fix-it Man at IEAS!

Often, when Roy Marley arrives at work, the first thing he hears is "Roy! Can you come help us?" or "Roy, can you fix this for me?" As IEAS' Maintenance Supervisor, Roy is the go-to guy for any of our repair and maintenance needs. He plays an integral role in ensuring the safety and sturdiness of IEAS habitats. Plus, he can build just about anything we could ever need! He dabbles his hands in a bit of everything, from carpentry to plumbing to electric work to welding, and we don't know what we'd do without him!

Roy began working at IEAS in January of 2005. With his expertise in plumbing, he was able to help with many important jobs such as building the Meadows Dormitory for interns and installing pumps for animal pools. Since then, Roy has spent countless hours at the Sanctuary, working with Richard and expanding his skill set.

Not a day goes by the he doesn't hear, "Roy, can you come over here?" Whether it's a flat tire, a stubborn weed-eater, a leaky pipe, or a broken pump, we know Roy can fix it! There aren't very many people who have the patience and demeanor to help and help and help again, but Roy is definitely one of those people! He even has the enough patience to help teach interns and keepers to fix the problem for next time!

We are so grateful to have Roy at IEAS
and thankful to him for all of
his hard work and dedication!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Toy Time!

One of the most commonly asked questions we hear on tours is "what do the big cats do all day?" Well, for the most part, this can be answered with one word - SLEEP! The big cats living here at IEAS are just like your domestic house cats (who we're sure you often find snoozing on a sunny windowsill or tucked up in a small, cozy spot fast asleep), and they sleep up to 18 hours a day! That is a whole lot of sleeping, but you can bet that those waking hours, however brief they may be, are spent having FUN!

At IEAS, we provide lots of behavioral enrichment items, or toys, to the big cats. These toys allow them to practice their natural behaviors such as stalking, pouncing, hunting, and much more! From giant boomer balls, to fire hose balls, to tires, to spools, to giant pickles (yup, that's right - pickles), the IEAS residents have plenty to keep them occupied when they want to play! Here are some of our favorite pictures of the felines (and a few bears!) enjoying their toys!

Then, of course, we provide SEASONAL enrichment items, such as pumpkins, Christmas trees, and fruit-filled ice blocks. Keep an eye out for more about this type of enrichment!

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Measures of Protection for the Amur Leopard

Amur leopards are the most endangered species of feline that there is. Less than 35 individuals exist in the wild as their habitat diminishes and they are constantly poached for their fur. There are a number of conservation efforts being made to help revive the species and a few days ago, the Amur leopards were given another measure of protection.

On April 9, Russia declared a 1011 square mile are to be "Land of the Leopard" National Park. This huge area will be a protected region, allowing the native big cats, including both the Amur (or Siberian) leopard and the Siberian tiger, to live without fear of habitat loss. The park was created through the combination of three existing protected areas known as Kedrovya Pad Reserve, Barsovy Federal Wildlife Refuge, and Borisovkoe Plateau Regional Wildlife Refuge. Additionally, some previously unprotected lands were added to the new National Park. Click here to read the article and find out more about the new "Land of the Leopard" National Park.

We hope that Mia, the Amur leopard living at IEAS, can be an ambassador for her wild cousins, impressing upon visitors the importance of protecting her species!

Monday, April 9, 2012

2nd Annual "Quench Our Thirst" Weekend!

Looking for a reason to come out to IEAS?
Well, if the amazing animals and the chance for a
once in a lifetime experience aren't enough,
we are having our 2nd Annual "Quench Our Thirst" Weekend soon!

In a few weeks, on April 27, 28, and 29 (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), you can tour IEAS for the small donation of a CASE OF WATER! With summer on its way, the Sanctuary needs to prepare for all the thirsty supporters that will be headed to IEAS. Having lots of water on hand is key to a great tour experience in the middle of these hot, Texas summers, and YOU can help us get ready.

The normal suggested donation of $20 per adult and $10 per child will be waived if each member of your group brings one case of water bottles (at least a 12 pack)! JUST REMEMBER: children must be at least 7 YEARS OLD to tour IEAS. So, those cases of water may be heavy but they're a great, inexpensive way to help IEAS and see the amazing animals living at the Sanctuary!

We hope to see you lugging
those cases of water into
the Sanctuary on WATER WEEKEND!
Of course, other donations are always welcome!
Remember, this is for April 27, 28, and 29!
Call 940-433-5091 for more information!

Friday, April 6, 2012


"Safety first!" That's something that we ALWAYS remember here at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary. Every day, we work with and around more than 60 dangerous and deadly animals. It shouldn't be hard to figure out exactly WHY safety is so important to us! For this reason, we always work in teams, are 100% focused 100% of the time, and double check EVERYTHING - no exceptions!

While we come to love each and every animal at IEAS over time, they give us little reminders every day that they are wild and dangerous animals, no matter how beautiful they are. This could be anything from a sneaky and silent approach to a yawn, exposing 2-3 inch canines. From morning feeding to afternoon chores, staff and interns work together to be sure that everything is done correctly, efficiently, and SAFELY. Every lock, gate, pin, and animal location is double checked. We even have signs all over the Sanctuary reminding us about the importance of being focused and safety conscientious.

Though our strict safety measures prevent any emergencies, we must always be prepared. As such, each and every person working at the Sanctuary is equipped with a portable radio, allowing a constantly open line of communication to each individual on the grounds. This allows for everyone to be easily reachable in the event of an emergency. Additionally, there is a fire extinguisher within 50 feet of every habitat at the Sanctuary. These extinguishers are an additional line of defense for deterring an animal attack in the event of an emergency.

All of these safety procedures and protocols are not only for the safety of the people at IEAS. These measures keep the animals safe, comfortable, and happy in the habitats that they call home. It is win-win for us all!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Amazing Donation!

Last week, we received such a wonderful donation from Daniel Staples, a supporter of the animals at IEAS. Mr. Staples was so generous as to donate a CAR (Ford Probe) to the Intern Program at the Sanctuary, providing IEAS' Animal Care Interns with a vehicle to use for daily chores. This is such an amazing show of thought, care, and support and we can't thank Mr. Staples enough!

Remember, donations are 100% tax deductible as IEAS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Go out and check your shed or barn. If you have an old riding lawnmower, tractor, skid loader (bobcat), etc. that works but is just collecting dust, we'll take it and you'll get a break on your taxes! Call 940-433-5091 for more info!