Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review of the Northern Lights Wolf Center

The Northern Lights Wolf Center is located between Golden, BC, and Revelstoke, being closer to Golden. It is about a 10 minute drive off the highway. 

While driving from Golden to Revelstoke this past summer (July 2012) we saw signs "Wolves", and "Wolf Puppies" and made a plan to stop there on the way home (we were on vacation to Vancouver).
To be honest were expecting something different so were slightly disappointed in the Northern Lights Wolf Center however overall we were still glad we stopped. We expect to see wolves moving around in a more wild setting but it was hot summer day and they were snoozing in cages. The cages themselves were not too bad. 

They did have wolf puppies but the puppies were a few months old when we saw them, actually we only saw one and it was asleep. I would suggest anyone looking to see younger puppies to visit earlier in the year, perhaps May or June.

We were impressed with the interpretive displays, they had lots of information on wolves and other Canadian wildlife. They also had lots of information regarding various petitions supporting protection for wildlife.

Additionally the Northern Lights Wolf Center had information on the Karelian Bear Dogs, and owned a couple of such dogs too. These dogs are used to teach bears to stay away from human areas and as such the goal would be to avoid fewer bear problems which sometimes result in bears being shot and killed. 

Apparently they do also have “walks with wolves” available in which a person could get better pictures than we got. They are open daily, even in the winter, but I would advise you check the weather and road conditions before making a trip in the winter.

As far as roadside zoos and attractions go, I would rate this one as fair. I would say it is worth stopping at if you are driving through the area and like wolves. The enclosures were pretty good, they had trees, shade, shelter, and interesting areas for the wolves. Had I seen any signs of cruelty or suffering I would not encourage any visitors to this wolf center. The people are clearly trying to do what they think is right; offering education, and are not just in it for the money.

I want to add that keeping wolves as pets is not a good idea.  If you are somebody who wants a wolf for this reason you should have a proper facility similar to the one at the Northern Lights Wolf Center, allowing the wolves to live at least somewhat naturally.

Friday, September 7, 2012

White Tigers, Cruel Man Made Mutants

Did you know that there are no wild white tigers?  Although zoos often refer to white tigers as Royal White Bengal Tigers, this is not actually a species of tiger.  The white tigers you see on display in zoos today are not even purebreds, they are crosses between Siberian Tigers and Bengal Tigers.  They are also greatly inbred, the gene for white is recessive so white tigers are often created by breeding father to daughter, mother to son, and brother to sister. 

As with most inbred animals there are always more genetic health problems.  The gene that makes them white is linked to eye problems.  White tigers always have poor vision, making them more dependent on their handler.  In some cases this is easy to see as they may be cross eyed, in other cases the problem is in regards to how their eyes are wired to their brain.   Some tiger trainers prefer white tigers because their poor vision makes them easier to train, they are more dependent on their handler than a tiger with normal health vision.

photo source

White tigers are often born with spinal deformities, cleft pallets (a mouth deformity), and organ problems.  It is not uncommon for them to die shortly after birth.

Although not all zoos in the United States are members of the American Zoological Association (AZA), this group passed a ban in 2011 prohibiting members from breeding white tigers.

Although I realize many of you might want to see these beautiful animals it is best to not support the zoos that have white tigers.  There is no ethical reason for breeding them.  In fact many of the people who try to breed white tigers "dispose" of the tiger cubs born with normal orange colored fur.  The only reason they breed white tigers is for greed, vanity, and profit.  It must be stopped.

If you see white tigers in your local zoo be sure to express your displeasure with the intentional breeding programs that some zoos have adopted to make more of these sickly animals.

Further Reading on White Tigers

Big Cat Rescue - White Tigers

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Released Pet Turtles Living in Stanley Park

Red-Eared Slider Turtles are native to the southern United States, so what are they doing in a pond in Canada?  On a recent trip to Vancouver, we saw several of these turtles swimming and resting on rocks and logs in Vancouver's Stanley Park.  Although they looked quite at home in the Lost Lagoon, they did not belong there.

Red-eared sliders got their name because of the red marking behind their eyes (which can also  be yellow), and the fact that when scared they just “slide” off the rock or log and disappear into the water.

When we were at the Lost Lagoon we saw several, if we had a better camera we could have taken a picture of at several turtles piled up on a log together, but as it happened we were still able to get a few pictures of the turtles closer up. As cold blooded animals, reptiles need to rest in the sun to get warm and to digest their food.

Red-eared slider turtles need water to eat, and are omnivores, often eating more meat as youngsters, and more plant matter as adults.

Red-eared slider turtles are sometimes kept as pets, but it is illegal to catch one in the park and take it home, as it is also against the law to release an unwanted pet turtle into the park. They are considered an invasive species and should never be released anywhere into the wild.  Again these turtles are not native to the area, or Canada in general, so the only reason they are in the Lost Lagoon in Vancouver's Stanley Park is because at one point they would have been introduced, either by pet owners who discarded unwanted animals in the park, or having somehow escaped from captivity.

Discount Reptile Supplies at www.thatpetplace.com

Female red-eared slider turtles grow slightly larger than males, reaching just over one foot in length (30 cm). They can live up to 30 years, a major consideration for anyone thinking of getting one as a pet.

Although often seen for sale it is illegal in the United States to sell a turtle with a shell under 4 inches in length.  If you see somebody with turtles of this size for sale please report them, as most will not survive and we should try to stop people from putting the lives of animals at risk just to make a few dollars.