Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Break From the Rain!

We are finally getting a much needed break from all of the rain! Now that it is a little warmer and the sun is shining, we are able to do some much needed projects around the Sanctuary.

With all of the rain, the grass was getting a little out of control, but with the help of everyone here at the Sanctuary we are finally able to make everything look nice and clean cut.


With the summer months finally here, the heat has been catching up to everyone. Now that there is no rain, we were able to fix some of the pools for the cats to lounge in.

                  Big John enjoying his pool.

Maintenance is also required for empty habitats.                    

Rain has especially been a helpful friend to all the weeds growing in the habitats. Now that the weather is clear, we have been able to pick those pesky things from the ground never to grow again. (They have been growing a little too tall...)

These weeds are taller than the interns...

Goodbye weeds!

Three white tigers' habitat before weeds are pulled.

Three white tigers' habitat after weeds were pulled.
A project we are currently working on, is a cave for one of our resident bobcats, Pecos. Pecos spends most of the day in his house to avoid the heat, so we are building the cave to help keep him cooler in the summer.

Pecos enjoying his house.

Pecos' future cave!

Come on down to the sanctuary for a tour to see all of our exciting new improvements! (Let's hope the rain holds off until we need it again!)

Friday, June 19, 2015

IEAS Educational Opportunities

Working with the amazing residents of IEAS gives the interns plenty of opportunities to study big cats, but the interns aren't the only ones who can learn from our favorite felines; IEAS has plenty of educational opportunities to participate in.

A tour meets Odin, our male lion.

Tours are the easiest way for adults and children alike to get to know our beloved sanctuary. Tours start every Sunday- Friday at 11 AM and and 11AM and 3PM on Saturdays. Each tour is guided by one of our knowledgeable tour guides who have come to know the residents personally. A two hour walk around the Sanctuary is accompanied by the individual back stories and personalities of each animal as well as fun facts about the species. 

One of our Interns answers questions at an elementary school career day.

The interns of IEAS have also made guest appearances at local schools and career day fairs to teach students what it's like to work in the animal care field. These visits are accompanied by pictures and videos of a few animal residents and their stories. Students have the opportunity to ask questions about the animals and worker's day to day life.

Another exciting event is our Exotic Animal Adventure day camp program taking place this year! For children ages 7 - 12 who are interested in animal care or just enjoyed a recent visit, the chance is here to spend a day learning from fifteen different species of exotic animals! They will participate in different activities from a guided tour to helping make diets for some of our animals. There are still sessions available this summer!

If you haven't been out to visit us recently, take the time to stop by for a chance to learn from some of our best teachers: the cats and bears of the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary!

Looking Forward to Summer!

With summer just around the corner, we have many things to look forward to here at the Sanctuary! Elizabeth, Karli, and Michelle
stayed on as interns from the spring session for an additional three
 months; joining them are the two new interns for the summer
session, Kristin and Rebecca. The new interns arrived last Sunday
 and will be spending three months here at IEAS.

As the days get hotter, we have to ensure our residents are able to
stay cool. The cats always have their pools available, and we have
 begun filling the bear tubs as well. They love soaking and swimming
 in the water to cool off.

Princess Playing in her Pool

Summer also brings new and exciting enrichment for our animals! We will be giving the animals bloodsicles, which are made from blood leftover from preparing the animals diet, and fruitsicles, which is fruit frozen in ice blocks. These summer treats provide something fun for the animals while helping them combat the heat.

Summer also means repairs and maintenance! After the winter and the recent storms, many pools and water troughs need to be fixed to ensure their pools remain cool and filled to the brim so our animals stay cool while the temperature continues to rise.

With the pools filled up and ready to be swam in as well as the bloodsicles and fruitsicles for enrichment, all our animals should be content and happy during the summer heat!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

End of the Spring Intern session at IEAS

As the spring session here at IEAS comes to an end, we say goodbye to two interns, Amy and Kira. At the IEAS, interns have the option to stay for three or six months. Kira and Amy have finished their three months and are now headed back to school and back to Australia, respectively. The three remaining interns Michelle, Karli, and Elizabeth will be staying on to learn more responsibilities and to train the new interns that arrive next week.
The Spring Interns at IEAS
This week we wanted to share with you one of the highlights of our internship: the animals we have had the privilege to connect and bond with through the Emotional Enrichment Program. The Emotional Enrichment Program is unique to IEAS. During this enrichment keepers, interns, and adoptive parents sit outside the animal's habitat and provide positive reinforcement that builds a bond between human caregivers and the animals. Our goal is to give the animals security, comfort, and support.

Kira has worked closely with Big John, one of our Bengal tigers. Big John was confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Brownsville, TX because of violations of the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. He was part of the Spanish Circus that was on its way back to Spain. Big John was cramped in a small trailer along with ponies and camels and kept in deplorable conditions. He was hot, underfed, thirsty and just about lost all will to live. He was transferred to a temporary home near Brownsville until IEAS stepped in to offer him a second chance at a better life. IEAS worked non-stop to get a habitat constructed in order to get Big John out of the conditions he was living in. Big John now lives in a 15,000 square foot habitat with perches and two large pools. 

Big John is one of many animals at IEAS that benefits from the Emotional Enrichment Program. Through Kira's three months here she has worked with Big John at least three times a week. For her first month Kira observed Big John's daily routine which usually includes lots of sleep. She soon realized this particular cat would take patience and commitment to build a bond with. After about a month and a half, Big John showed Kira affection for the first time. He woke up from his nap and came over to the fence where Kira was sitting and rubbed his head against the mesh and vocalized. Another month or so later, Kira made the biggest break though she had experienced with Big John. She approached Big John's habitat while he was waking from a nap under his perch. As Kira took her spot in the grass, Big John decided to come and lay next to the fence where she was sitting. She observed Big John eating grass and grooming. He eventually laid down and even took a short nap! The main goal of the Emotional Enrichment Program is to build a bond between caretakers and the residents at the Sanctuary. The ideal result of the Emotional Enrichment Program is for the animal to see you as a source of security and comfort. After three months, Kira finally got what she was working towards the most. Big John's actions displayed that he was trusting enough in his and Kira's relationship to sleep while she was sitting next to his habitat. 

Amy participated in emotional enrichment with Duke the cougar. Duke came to IEAS after being rescued by the Houston Zoo and SPCA from a property that was also breeding hundreds of puppies in very poor conditions. Dukes favorite spot to sit is up on his highest perch where he likes to keep on eye on everything going on below and sleep a lot! Duke is a very inquisitive cougar and a very interesting cougar to sit with- he was always curious about what his neighbors (including Makeen the tiger, Billy the caracal, and Barbara the serval) where up to. The highlight of Amy's Emotional Enrichment with Duke was when he came up to where she was sitting and sat down and began to groom him self! Grooming is positive sign that Duke was comfortable around Amy.
Duke grooming during Emotional Enrichment.

Amy and Kira would like to thank IEAS for giving them the opportunity to be interns here. It was tough work but very rewarding and educational. We recommend this program for anyone looking to gain exotic animal care experience, but they must be willing to work very hard! If you're interested in the intern program at IEAS read more about it here