Friday, September 28, 2007

Congratulations to Satch Krantz!

Palmer "Satch" Krantz is the boss at Riverbanks Zoo, and I just found out he was made the chairman of the whole AZA!!! That's Association of Zoos and Aquariums. All the best zoos and aquariums in the country are members of the AZA. It was founded in 1924. In South Carolina, Riverbanks Zoo is a member. So is the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston.
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Satch gave me a tour of the entire zoo when I was four-- behind the scenes, the vet's offices, the aquarium tanks...

and inside the elephant house. I was the first kid to see Tumpy, the new elephant.
Here is a message I got from Satch the other day to help me celebrate my 50th blog:

Let me first congratulate you on the 50th blog posting on mossyanimals. Believe it or not, we have been following your wonderful blog for the past year or so, since it always contains such interesting and informative postings about Riverbanks Zoo. I am not at all surprised that you have had 40,000 hits.

Riverbanks is proud to be counted among your five favorite zoos. This is particularly noteworthy given your incredible knowledge about zoos and wildlife. The other four zoos on your “top 5” list are wonderful facilities. I am personally fond of the NC State Zoo and the Bronx Zoo.

I am delighted that you are still considering a career in zoos. I know you will find this a highly rewarding experience and look forward to having you join our profession. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in this exciting endeavor.

Again, congratulations. Keep on posting!

Satch Krantz
Executive Director
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Welcome to My 50th Post!

Today I'm celebrating my 50th post with
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one of my favorite subjects: zoos!!!

I've been to some really nice zoos. The first zoo I ever went to was the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. My favorite animals were the elephants and the cheetahs.
Next, I went to a smaller zoo, the Natural Bridge Zoo. They had lots of farm animals and llamas and alpacas roaming around. But truthfully, the habitats could have been better.
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Next, I went to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk Virginia. I remember the elephant demonstration the most.
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Riverbanks Zoo is the zoo I live closest to, and the one I've been to the most. I have some videos of it posted on this blog. I've met the director and top zookeeper, Satch Krantz, who has worked there since the opening in 1974. He's done a great job adding new animals and exhibits. We're lucky to have Riverbanks in South Carolina. Everyone should visit it and join.
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Recently I visited the North Carolina Zoo. It was very huge, and I like the buffalo and the chimps. They are getting ready to open"Watani," a huge new elephant and rhino exhibit.
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And while I was on a trip to New York City, we stopped at the Central Park Zoo. It was small, but it had red pandas, and it was in a really cool setting surrounded by tall buildings.

Zoos are great. They are fun to visit. They teach us about nature and animals and help save endangered animals. Help me celebrate my 50th post by going to the zoo. What zoos have you been to?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Endangered List Gets Longer

Scientists are reporting that life on earth is "disappearing." They say one in four mammals, one in eight birds, and one in three reptiles are in serious trouble.

The decline of the great apes is the worst and they are our closest relatives! The Western Lowland gorilla is close to extinct in the wild, and it is still being hunted for bushmeat!!!
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Orangutans are also critically endangered because their habitats are being wiped out!!
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Stopping the extinctions is important for all animals-- including human beings! Will you do something to help?

First, spread the word that it is a real problem. Next, support good zoos and aquariums in your area that help animals. Send some money to places that help animals, like World Wildlife Fund or others. Don't pollute, and save energy. Make your yard bird and animal friendly. Vote for people who think saving endangered animals is important. Will you do it?!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Benjamin-- The Last Thylacine

Benjamin was the last known thylacine. He died on September 1936 at Hobart Zoo in Tasmania. Have you ever heard of a thylacine?

Thylacines were carnivorous marsupials, also know as Tasmanian tigers-- but they were not real tigers. They were not wolves either. They were most likely related to kangaroos and other marsupials, and found mostly in Australia and Tasmania.

The same year Benjamin died, thylacines became protected species, but it was too late. They are believed to have gone extinct.
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This part is sad. Benjamin died of neglect. It was too hot during the day, and he had no shelter during cold nights. (Hobart's Bengal tiger died the same way, the same year). When Hobart Zoo closed in 1937, no buyers wanted their lions. It was the Great Depression, and there wasn't money for animals. And so, the lions were shot. Very sad, isn't it? That is what I read in a book about Hobart Zoo. That's why I really appreciate the good zoos I've seen-- zoos that do a really good job of caring for their animals.

The thylacine was a beautiful and mysterious animal. And now it's gone forever because of hunting and ignorance. I hope we can do better for today's endangered animals.

Here is a video of Benjamin, the last thylacine.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A New Noah's Ark for Aardvarks to Zorrillas

Scientists in Texas are storing DNA of endangered species to plan for their future if they go extinct. They say they are on a mission to save the world's endangered species from extinction. They are storing frozen eggs and DNA of animals that are dangerously close to disappearing. Years from now scientists could use the DNA to reintroduce the animals. China is also trying to clone Pandas, which are very endangered and could become extinct within 25 years.
And there's this story about the Natural History Museum in London working hard to save upDNA and every single fact about all life on earth.

Even if it's too late for the Dodo Bird, the thylacine and so may other beautiful animals, it's a good idea.But wouldn't it be better if we just took better care of the earth and stopped the extinctions?