Monday, May 28, 2012

IEAS Thanks Our Troops!

Happy Memorial Day to all and
especially those who have served 
or are currently serving to 
protect our freedom!

Last year on Memorial Day, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary decided to do what we could to show the American troops just how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice. As a result, we collected items to fill as many care packages as possible to send to troops risking their lives to protect ours. It was such a success last year that we want to do it again! 

Between now, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July, we will collect as many items as possible to send as parts of care packages to troops who are currently overseas. We hope that, like last year, our wonderful supporters - like you! - will want to be a part of this project and will help us reach our goal of collecting these items! 

Like last year, we have some ideas of the things we'd like to collect and have listed some below, but if you think of any more, we are definitely open to ideas and suggestions, so send/bring in anything that YOU think would be great to have.
IDEAS: Candy (we've heard they get junk food cravings!), phone cards, magazines, books, movies, hand warmers, foot warmers, tooth brushes, mouthwash, febreeze, body wash, body spray, pringles, crackers, cookies, beef jerky, comic books, travel size games, decks of cards, memory cards, suntan lotion, non-carbonated drinks, uniform t-shirts (which can be ordered online from AAFES), hard candy, blue and black pens, notebooks, envelopes, fly paper, a multi tool or good folding knife, travel size toiletries, powdered drinks (gatorade), blank writable cd's, crossword puzzles, etc...
We have a few ideas of specific troops, platoons, and areas to send these packages to but if you have a soldier in mind, send in the address and (depending on how much we collect) we will send a package their way!

We received this wonderful "thank you" from the troops who received our gift last year, and we hope to make some of those amazingly braves soldiers just as happy this year! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How are Mork and Mindy Doing?!!

Here it is - an update about just how wonderful the new coati residents of IEAS are doing! These two have been a major hit on tours and with Sanctuary supporters on our social media sites, not to mention everywhere else!

Mork and Mindy have made some huge strides since our last big update. Mindy has been friendly from the onset, but she has really begun to seek out affection and attention from her caregivers. She has very evidently bonded with a number of her human friends and truly enjoys their company. Mork has very closely followed suit. He was the shyer of the two when they arrived, and this remains true. However, Mork has begun to trust his new human companions quite a bit and loves visits! We have even found new favorite foods for both of them: Mindy LOVES watermelon, while Mork favors cranberries! Wonderful treats!

When they arrived at the Sanctuary, we were unsure of whether or not these two would be able to climb trees, as they would naturally, because they had been previously declawed. For the first several weeks, they stuck to their ramps and the fencing to get to the highest areas of their habitat. However, in the past few weeks, we have seen both Mork and Mindy climbing straight up the trees in their habitat! It seems that have absolutely no difficulty bouncing and pulling them selves right up! We were really excited to see this, as we can add "tree climbing" to the list of the many natural behaviors that they have begun to exhibit now that their home is outdoors and is bringing out their instincts!

Mindy has been pulling at tree bark and foraging in the grass for grubs, while Mork prefers to spend his time attempting to pounce on unsuspecting beetles and butterflies that happen by him. He has been successful on a number of occasions so the instincts of these two coatis are definitely being exhibited and it such a wonder to see. This just goes to show that even after so many years of living in an unnatural indoor home, they are still wild animals, and we couldn't be happier to be giving them the life they deserve!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seasonal Changes for the Bears

Now that winter is over and the warm weather has arrived, the bears of IEAS are transitioning between their winter coats and their summer ones. Right now, they look a little less groomed than normal, but they are working on getting rid of the thick winter stuff, leaving their coats a bit patchy.


The change takes different amounts of time for each bear. In Bear Orphanage, the brush and limbs help pull the old thick fur off of the bear, so the more they walk around or the bigger the are, the faster the fur will be pulled out. Often, the smaller bears, whose bodies rub the trees and greenery less, hold onto their winter coats a bit longer. Additionally, in order to help the process along, we put Salmon Oil in the bears' diets every day. This oil aids in coat shedding, growth, and quality! Dakar, who is the biggest of the bears in the Orphanage, is looking absolutely magnificent at this point in the season. He has lost all of his winter fur and is a beautiful, dark chocolate brown. Soon enough, they'll all be sleek and a little less multicolored! What beautiful bears there are living here at IEAS!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mornings of Meat!

IEAS start their mornings with something a little... messier than most others. When they arrive at the Nutritional Center at about 6:00 AM, 350 pounds of raw meat await them. This is the amount of meat that is used EACH and EVERY day at IEAS, and this is the meat that the IEAS staff will be heading outside to feed to the animals at about 7:00.

In the hour between the interns arrival and feeding, a big mess is made! The interns work as efficiently as possible to divide the meat, which is a specially formulated ground beef for big cats and contains 1/3 bone, 1/3 organ, and 1/3 muscle, into the accurate amounts for each resident of IEAS. These amounts range from 0.25 pounds to about 15 pounds. These numbers are constantly fluctuating with the felines' seasonal activity levels, weights, and appetites, so it takes a great deal of care and attention to make sure everyone gets exactly what they need!

Once the meat is divided up, medications and supplements are added. These range from chondroflex (for achy joints) to calcium (for bone strength). Missing Link is also added, which contains vitamins and other supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps.

Then, we head out to feed! Feeding time with big cats involves several important things: awareness, focus, teamwork, and above all, SAFETY! Cats are locked out of their houses before the house door is opened to place the food in. The door is locked, the lock is always double checked, and the cat's gate is raised to allow them inside to eat. Some of the felines eat right out of their feeding pans. Some, however, like to use the feeding pans as a post-breakfast toy, so they don't get a pan. Their food is placed directly onto the floor of their houses. This is what happens if one of these "no pan" cats gets a pan...

Immediately after diets preparation is complete, the Nutritional Center, which now inevitably has some blood on the tables and floor, is meticulously cleaned and sanitized to ensure health and safety. Morning food prep may be messy, but the mess doesn't last long and soon after feeding, you could walk in and never know that there had been such a morning!

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

...and Arusha doesn't mind one bit! Neither does her brother, Akbar. These two white Bengals are out in the rain enjoying the cool precipitation. Akbar even came over for a "hello!" Tigers aren't like your domestic cats in that they actually LOVE water. All of the tigers living here at IEAS have pools in their habitats that they are often found lounging or playing in. However, not all of them enjoy rain as much as these two! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coati Update!

Mork and Mindy are doing amazingly well! It seems that they have both completely accepted their new caregivers as part of their little family. Mindy had warmed up to her new friends relatively quickly, but now, even Mork is coming around! The curious nature of these coatimundis took over and he just had to see what we were all about! We've found some new favorite foods for these guys, including apricots, watermelon, and blueberries, and we're happy to report that their appetites are in full swing!

These two rambunctious new residents have drawn quite a bit of attention from our loyal supporters and new visitors on tours! It's a sight to see when you are glancing around their habitat for them and suddenly, their two little heads pop up from their fire hose hammock! They have been doing lots of getting to know their new home and even have new favorite toys! Every day, we find something moved around, from their hanging buoys to their rope toys. It's clear that these two love to have fun and are taking full advantage of the new opportunities that their new home provides them with!

Be sure to head out to IEAS to visit these two new residents! You won't be disappointed! How could you be when they have faces like this!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Summer Spots!

Well, we just had our first day above 90 degrees and boy, did we feel it! Several of our interns, who normally live up north, were not loving the weather. However, it did seem that the animals didn't mind the heat at all.

We found many of the animals in their favorite summer spots. Allie and Rasul were under their perches in the shade, Newt and Nala were lounging right in front of their misters. They all have great ways of keeping cool. Lots of people ask us about Katrina, the only snow leopard living at IEAS, and how the Texas summers affect her. Well, being a snow leopard, she's not made for 100+ degrees. However, Katrina has a waterfall with cool running water 24 hours a day. Beneath that waterfall is a shaded cave that, due to the waterfall, is roughly 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. That is where Katrina spends a lot of her time in the hot afternoons!

We hope that this summer you will make your way out to the Sanctuary to visit all of the animals you have come to know and love! You can bet they will appreciate your visit!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Exotic Animals and Kids!

Exotic animals and kids don't necessarily seem like a good mix, but when you do it right, it can be awesome! Here at IEAS, it's a great fit, as the end of the school year means that it's time for field trips and career days! For us, this brings lots of school tours and school visits for our interns and Education Coordinator. So far, we have had a number of school tours and have plenty more lined up for the weeks ahead. In fact, this friday, over 100 students will make their way to the Sanctuary to learn about conservation, the animals at IEAS, and how they can help or have a future working with animals!

These are the same things we teach when we go to Career Days at local schools, focusing on how to reach the goal of working with animals. It's always an amazing experience to show students what it takes to work in this field and how incredibly rewarding it can be! With the three scheduled Career Days in the next two weeks, we're excited to see how many future Conservationists, Animal Rescuers, Animal Caretakers, and Zookeepers were have in our midst!