Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A HUGE victory for the Wild Ones...

We heard that our presence is requested at the State Capitol Please see the following Media Advisory:
Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and supporters will Celebrate with Horses & Flags at State Capitol celebrating the bill to protect the Salt River Wild Horses
Phoenix, AZ (May 10, 2016) …. Dozens of Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) members and supporters, including riders on horseback waving flags , will be on 17th avenue in front of the State Capitol in celebration of HB 2340, the bill to protect the Salt River wild horses. The street will be closed to regular traffic.
The advocates will gather in anticipation of a 10:30 am press conference with Rep. Kelly Townsend, the sponsor of the bill, and Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, as well as other very important officials. The bill cleared its final hurdle in the legislature with a 53-3 passage in the House last week. 
What: Celebration for Salt River Wild Horses proceeding press conference. 
When: Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 10 a.m. to Noon
Where: 17th Avenue, which will be closed off to all other traffic.
AZ State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 
HB 2340 criminalizes the harassment or killing of a Salt River wild horse, clarifies that they are not stray livestock, and establishes a process for implementing a humane management program in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies and a private entity.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, with 100 active volunteers on the river, has confidence that all parties will work together to implement an effective and humane management protocol to permanently protect the horses that mean so much to the people of Arizona. 
We did NOT let them become History!

# # # # # # # 

Today I was proud to sign ‪#‎HB2340‬, which will protect Arizona's majestic Salt River horses and their ability to roam free. Thanks to Rep. Kelly Townsend and the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group for championing this effort -- and for the beautiful painting!

The fight isn't completely over, though.  They still need to come to a management process with the forestry service, who also needs to sign off on the bill, but at least the horses are no longer considered 'stray livestock' and it's illegal to harass them.  I hope the bozos I've seen get too close to them see that.

This is such a great day for the Salt River Wild Horses and if I could, I would hug Governor Ducey.  I didn't vote for him, but right now he's my hero.  Thank you, Representative Townsend for sponsoring the bill and Governor Ducey for signing the bill into law.  And a great big thank you to Simone Netherlands and the dozens of SRWHMG volunteers who worked tirelessly to protect our horses.  If I had known this was going to happen today I would have gone down to the Capitol Building to show my support.  I think it's great they shut down the road in front of it for the celebration.

Friday, May 6, 2016

I'm no horse expert...

Certainly not when it comes to colors and genetics, but how can someone say this horse...
is the same breed as this one?
Now, let me start by saying, it's a shame the first horse is missing and I hope he's recovered soon.  Too many horses are disappearing these days and some have been found after it's too late.  I don't want his disappearance to get overshadowed by the fact that I'm questioning how they can say he is an Akhal Teke.  He is built wrong.  Akhal Tekes are known for their slenderness.  Some are just down-right skinny
but that's how the breed is.  I believe the KHP does have one, but I believe he lives on-sight and I get the impression the missing one is from a private farm.  So tell me, people.  Can the missing horse be an Akhal Teke?  Is it just a more stockier example of the breed?  If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say he was a stock horse of some sort.  Or a cross of something.  He just seems to be too square to be an Akhal Teke.  His head is proportionate to the rest of his body.  He has a thick neck.  Two things not characteristic of the AT.    Not to mention Akhal Tekes don't seem to come in Tobiano.    Sabino and Rabicano markings have been seen in some, but not anything flashy like the horse in the flyer.

At any rate, I really hope they find this guy soon.  I'm sure his people are worried about his welfare.

Speaking of welfare...yesterday some wild animals celebrated two victories.  The State Senate past SB2340, which helps protect the Salt River Wild Horses and it now goes to the governor to be signed into law.  This law would help protect the herd and develop a management program to reduce the breeding of them.  Right now they breed whenever they want and however often they want so any time of year you might see a foal or two.  It's not something that will protect them 100% yet, but it's pretty darn close.  Yesterday was also the day the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to grant the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center a Special Use permit that would allow them to continue to give public tours.  A few months ago, a man who moved into the neighborhood in 2012 filed a lawsuit against the facility stating they were operating a zoo illegally and he wanted them to stop giving tours or the county needed to PAVE the dirt road that leads to his house.  ALL of the roads out there are dirt.  He also wanted the facility to get rid of the coyotes and wolves they have because they howled and disturbed his peace and quiet.  He doesn't even live there full time!  Anyway, SWCC is an official part of the Grey Wolf reintroduction program and they have a fairly decent number of wolves on-site that are valuable to the population.  Fortunately, he was just one person against the center AND the other neighbors.  It was actually one of their neighbors that started the petition to get the special use permit.  The center has been there for more than 20 years and should not be forced out because of one person.  But apparently he dropped his lawsuit against the facility and, as I mentioned earlier, the Board of Supervisors voted to give them the permit.  The guy, who is a dentist or doctor or something, now has 15 days to appeal this decision, but he dropped the lawsuit so why would he file an appeal?  Hopefully he saw he was up against  a whole bunch of support for the facility and knew he couldn't win.  I don't know.  But for now, much of Arizona (and beyond since this reached all around the world) is rejoicing that SWCC can continue doing what they do best and that is to rescue injured or orphaned animals, nurse them back to health then release them back into the wild.  HURRAY!

Well, that's it for now.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

So much cuteness!

It's hard not to go into sugar shock.  Hahahaha.  Recently, I saw a message on a co-worker/friend's Facebook page about a whole mess of Cheetah kittens at Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia.  On March 21st, Milani gave birth to 2 males and a female.  On April 1st (perfect day to have Cheetahs born <grin> ), Vaila gave birth to 7 kittens.  7!!!!  That only happens 1% of the time.  Most litters are around 4 or 5 and even 5 is getting a bit unusual.  Unfortunately, 2 did not survive, but the remaining 5 are thriving.  But they weren't done yet.  On April 2nd, Wiay gave birth to 6 cubs, which only happens 8% of the time.  Only 5 of those survived.     There must be something in that Virginia air, though, that is causing these larger litter.  The National Zoo in Washington DC has a breeding program for Cheetahs and the facility is in Virginia and they've been having larger than average litters, too.

Breeding Cheetahs in captivity is a difficult task.  In the wild, it's the females who decide which males they are going to mate with and they can be fairly picky with who they want to spend some quality time with.   Only about 18% of cheetahs in captivity breed successfully.  When I worked as a volunteer at the Phoenix Zoo in the early 90s, they were trying to get theirs to breed, but were unsuccessful so they had a program called Cheetah Watch where basically you'd sit on the hill overlooking their exhibit and watch them and take notes on their behavior and such.  It was a popular program so I never got a chance to participate.  Eventually, though, their Cheetahs did produce some babies.  So anyway, because the females decide who they're going to mate with, zoos have to have a number of males for her to choose from and most facilities don't have the room to do that.  At the time, the Phoenix Zoo had two adjoining exhibit spaces where they kept them.  The female was in one yard and the males were in the other.  There are 3 facilities that have had huge successes in breeding them, but they have a separate location from the main zoo for their breeding program and the public is not allowed there, which is a real shame, but I guess I can understand the reasoning behind it.  Cheetahs are shy and somewhat timid animals and by having too many people around it stresses them out and it might affect the breeding program.

So, anyway, the Metro Richmond Zoo has some webcams set up in the dens of their female Cheetahs and I had forgotten about it until I saw it on my friend's Facebook wall so I had to check it out, of course.  Man, what a time sucker!  hahaha.  I could watch them all day because they're so cute!  And, well, I really like Cheetahs and even if there weren't any babies I'd still watch it.  But I'd like to share some screen captures I got.  Just so you can share in the cuteness.

First we have Milani and her 3...

And then we have Vaila's litter.  I don't know where in the den area this is and I don't know where Vaila is, but her kittens area all dog-piled together.
So cute!    I just checked the cam again and there was Vaila and her kittens are more spread out
The Phoenix Zoo currently has 3 male Cheetahs that are brothers.  In the wild, the females are solitary unless they have babies, but the males form groups called Coalitions.  Usually they're brothers, but occasionally they will accept a non-related male into their group.  Unfortunately, these ones are not part of any breeding program, which is a bummer.  Our last two, also brothers, weren't in the program either.  There's one other facility in Arizona, Wildlife World Zoo, which is in West Phoenix, also has an unrelated male and female pair that they imported from a facility in South Africa.  Since they're housed together, only time will tell if they end up producing any babies.  WWZ doesn't participate in the Species Survival Program, but they don't do anything to prevent breeding.  Those 2 have been at the zoo for a couple of years now, I think, and I have yet to go out and see them.  I just don't really like that place.  It's dirty and they don't enforce the No Smoking law so you see people walking around with cigarettes.  One of these days, though, I'll go see them.

Well, we have officially had our first triple digit temperature.  Yesterday the official high at Sky Harbor Airport was 101.  Yikes!  It's "only" supposed to reach 98 today, but something tells me it's going to be above that.  It's too soon!  It's supposed to cool down for a couple of days this weekend, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Until next time...