Posts Tagged ‘endangered species’

Lion’s Gate Portal – Volunteering With Lions


Today, August 8 is 8/8, an auspicious day on many calendars, in metaphysical communities, and for astrology buffs. Called the Lion’s Gate Portal, this day has been celebrated since the time of the Mayan empire with ceremonies and rituals. In numerology, the number 8 represents power, prosperity, sovereignty, and the flow of energy.

In a lovely convergence of themes, today is also International Cat Day.


In the spirit of the King of the Forest (and the much harder-working, more bad-ass female lioness, the Queen of the forest), here are a few volunteer opportunities around the world where you can work with lions!


LEO Africa has a Big 5 Wildlife Monitoring and Conservation volunteer program in South Africa’s Marakele National Park. You’ll monitor predator numbers and behaviors and get deeply involved in conservation policies and practices of South Africa. Volunteers are a vital part of ongoing research.

Wildlife ACT’s Fair Trade Tourism-certified wildlife volunteering includes an opportunity in Zululand, South Africa. Conservation volunteers work across five unique national parks and reserves where you’ll monitor lions and other endangered species, mapping their movement behaviors in morning and evening observational game tracking drives. Some programs also include darting and trapping animals for radio collaring to help with protection research.

Go ECO has volunteer programs at a Big Cat Refuge in South Africa as well as a Lion and Wildlife Conservation program in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. You’ll be deeply embedded in local cultures and help bridge understanding and protection of species in conflict with humans based on diminishing habitats.


Priderock Wildlife Refuge in Terrell, Texas needs volunteers to help provide an ideal enviroenment for their big cats. Groundskeeping, maintenance & repair, food prep as well as fundraising and development work are some areas you can work supporting and caring for confiscated and surrendered exotic cats.

Conservation Africa has a Lion Conservation Experience in Kruger National Park in South Africa, working to reverse human injustices like captivity, canned lion hunts, cub cuddling for tourists, and farming lions for the bone trade. Discover more at

World Turtle Day – You Can Help

pexels-photo-38452Today, May 23, is World Turtle Day, so give some love to the shelled wonders of the world. More than one species of sea turtle is endangered, and all of them need us to be caretakers of the seas to better protect the environment they share with so many species. Saving the integrity of oceans saves land masses as well.

As a kid, visiting touristy places with my family, I had an unshakable fascination with the tiny box turtles with shells painted with pictures of attractions as living souvenirs (Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, etc–better to buy a postcard or shot glass or thimble or license plate with your name on it). It was undoubtedly an unhappy, and unnaturally short life for the turtles as they scrambled over one another in plastic tanks outside a shop, next to the wind chimes and seashell picture frames. My own reaction shifted to revulsion and my activist blood began to boil when my folks told me that the paint would cause harm and probably kill the turtles. From that point forward, I would refuse to even cross the threshold of any store selling them (care of the tiny turtles is also a fair bit trickier than the tourists of the 1970s likely realized, also guaranteeing an unnecessarily short life for most).

Toward a much better life for turtles, and trying to improve aqua environments, Clean Ocean Access is championing work for cleaner oceans and marine debris solutions. Consider volunteering with their Rhode Island-based projects, not just on World Turtle Day, but any day.

On the opposite coast, in California, Heal the Bay works tirelessly to protect and improve the Pacific oceanscape, and their work has been accomplished with the help of over 100,000 volunteers just like you. Check out opportunities.

Before you book your next volunteering gig with these turtle champions or one of so very many others near you (an internet search for “Turtle Volunteer” yields loads of results), surf over to the website for Greenpeace and send an S.O.S. to world leaders on behalf of turtles everywhere, and all their aquatic neighbors, to protect their homes…and lives.

I’ve been blessed enough to snorkel among honu (the Hawaiian for green sea turtle) and it is simply magical and meditative to glide in the water with them. Making sure next generations can also see them (from a safe and unobtrusive distance, of course) is so important.


Today is National Bird Day…Volunteer!

close up of green parrot headGrowing up I wanted a parrot so badly, but my mother had this irrational fear of birds, so it was a non-starter (not to mention the life-span requiring loving care for many decades). I don’t know how, if it ever were an option, how I would have obtained a companion bird so very long ago, but I do know that today, exotic birds are traded illegally in astonishing numbers. Couple that with the loss of habitat and disease, and you’ve got a recipe for avian disaster.

Today, January 5, is National Bird Day, set aside to celebrate the winged ones and call attention to conservation measures that we need to implement sooner rather than later. Born Free USA and the Avian Welfare Coalition have lots of suggestions and inspiring games and interactive web features to get folks talking about species protection and the quality of life for captive birds.

In addition to finding new ways to become a feathered-friend activist, here are just a few volunteer gigs that are bird-focused, to stimulate your responsible travel planning and dreaming:

International Bird Rescue to help care for injured and oiled wildlife.

Free Flight Birds exotic bird sanctuary.

Bird Studies Canada to be a citizen scientist.

Earthwatch expeditions to the Galapagos to help research Darwin’s Finches, or to South Africa to help in understanding the African Penguins.

Connecting Wild Places 50 Years Later

close-up shot of endangered Bald Eagle head

endangered Bald Eagle

The Wilderness Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago, to officially set aside and protect federal lands for conservation and preservation. From much smaller beginnings, there are now more than 100 million acres that are protected wilderness lands.

The next step is to try and connect some of these isolated islands of wilderness land, so species can move in natural patterns since we’ve built and developed so much space, encroaching on and often destroying such large areas. Wilderness Corridors will create a “Wildlife Refugia” protecting many millions of plants and animals, many of them endangered. We often think of endangered species as those in Africa or various global rain forests, but the issue of extinction is close to home, as well. As example, well over half of California’s fish, amphibians, and mammals and nearly half of all birds and reptiles are “at-risk.”

We’ve all been overloaded in our inboxes with year-end appeals for money for the causes and charities we support, and I know it is exhausting and just makes you want to hit the “DELETE” button…but leave your well-worn wallet in your pocket for the moment, and just commit to finding out more, and letting your elected officials know this is a priority. Half of the species endangered (and California is not an anomaly–so many species face next-to-impossible odds for survival)–can you imagine if tomorrow you woke up to only 50% of America’s birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish still with us?

Thats is NOT how we are going to do 2015!

Find out more here:

What Price Fashion–Rainforest Wreckage for Style

1168175_87597514Fashion Week just started in New York–the Mercedes Benz-sponsored high holy days for many, when it is impossible to get a cab or a table at hip eateries (ironic since so many at the forefront of fashion are known for eating so little). In addition to the swirling, whirling, paparazzi flashing chaos of couture celebrations, there is, as with most industries, an underbelly that is less appealing.

Clothing today, its manufacture and materials, is, in many instances, decimating our environment. To make the popular fabrics that drape beautifully and flow effortlessly, including rayon and viscose, is a pretty rough-on-the-world process. Rainforests in Indonesia, Canada, Brazil, and more, are clear cut to make way for “monocrop” plantations. The new monocrop trees are then cut down and their material put through a labor-intensive and highly toxic chemical bath process to create “dissolving pulp” that can then be spun out and woven into cloth. The chemicals used are brutal and high impact, and the destruction of the rainforest ecosphere adds to the loss of endangered species, like threatened orangutans, rhinoceros, and others. 

The fabric created is used by global brands like Gap, Forever 21, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and legions of others. Of course there are plenty of responsible, sustainable replacement options.

The Rainforest Action Network is calling upon the fashion industry, especially now during high profile fashion celebrations and showcases for designers, to find environment-sparing alternatives. They’ve got a petition going to bring attention to the cause and state that “there’s nothing fashionable about rainforest destruction.” Sign here and leaner more about awareness events happening this month with which you may want to participate. Sources report that an average of 137 species of rainforest life form go extinct EVERY DAY! Help curb those numbers with how you spend your clothing dollars, and volunteer to spread the word.


TOMS Animal Initiative – Shoe Company Focuses on Wildlife

455040_33055654You probably already know about TOMS, the shoe company that was one of the early standouts in the each-one-reach-one movement, donating a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair purchased by consumers. Perhaps you even own a pair or three of the casual shoes. Now, TOMS is partnering with animal conservation organizations around the world to donate a portion of proceeds to protection of endangered species.

The philanthropically-focused company hopes to drive attention and fundraising energy toward several non-profit agencies, the first being The Virunga National Park to help support Silverback mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo that are targeted by poachers and are victims of habitat destruction.  There are only about 900 of these majestic creatures left in the wild. A new limited edition shoe has been launched for the program, vegan Earthwise classics with the park’s logo embroidered on the side.

Other Virunga National Park projects include an elephant program, a bloodhound initiative training highly skilled dogs to help discover poachers in the wild, a fallen ranger program to help the families of the surprisingly high number of park rangers killed, and region-specific conservation efforts. Find out more, and consider making a donation via your hip footwear or directly.

Welcome to World Turtle Day

117368_4372Today, May 23, is World Turtle Day, so give some love to the shelled wonders of the world. More than one species of sea turtle is endangered, and all of them need us to be caretakers of the seas to better protect the environment they share with so many species. Saving the integrity of oceans saves land masses as well.

Toward that end, and trying to better aqua environments, Greenpeace is championing a proposal for a Global Network of Marine Preserves. These preserves would be protected ocean regions, more than 40 percent of international waters, beyond control of individual governments, but critical for the health and vitality of sea life. The global sanctuary network can prohibit overfishing, mining, and drilling as well as begin to heal regions and populations from climate change and pollution.

As you head into a holiday weekend, send an S.O.S. to world leaders on behalf of turtles everywhere, and all their aquatic neighbors, to protect their homes…and lives.


Rhino Rescue With Prince William, David Beckham, and Yao Ming

It is atrocious how staggeringly low the numbers of remaining wild rhinos are on this planet. Poaching to fuel the false medical industry in China that has duped me into thinking powdered rhino horn will make them virile. Can we just ship them some damn Viagra and have them not screw up the entire balance of the planet just to feel macho? C’mon people!

Watch the video above. Sign the pledge at Wild Aid. Get active. Don’t let their extinction happen on our watch.

Is It a Dinosaur? Celebrate Australia Day by Helping Save Exotic Species

770003_61668665This Sunday, January 26, is Australia Day. It’s also known as National Day, and there are events around the entire country.

In honor of Australia Day, I want to bring attention to the plight of the Cassowary and efforts to try and save this prehistoric-looking giant bird from extinction. The vivid blue hue of its face, the ridged crown, the extremely powerful (and dangerous) clawed feet, are iconic in the nation. I’ve only ever seen them in captivity and they are outstanding and fascinating. Part ostrich or emu, part Jurassic Park escapee, they are only native to the wet tropics of Queensland, and the Daintree Rainforest, a truly stunning region that is being gobbled up by developers. Who wouldn’t want to live here with the lush rainforest and easy access to the beach and Great Barrier Reef all in one spot? Of course, to build homes, as is happening too quickly, you decimate the very things that make the area so appealing. This Rainforest Rescue project is buying back parcels of land and planting tens of thousands of  trees to restore the threatened bird’s habitat. There is also a rehab center that rescues, rehabilitates, and releases back to the wild, injured cassowaries. Estimates are that there are only about 1,000 of these astounding avians remaining in the wild, and their loss, like the extinction of any species, throws the entire bio balance off kilter. Help stop this particular expression of the march of progress. Progressing into a stripped planet is no way to go forward.

Call to Crafters: Knit Sweaters for Penguins

flippenUPDATE: Yep, folks, the comment in the discussion section is correct. The need for penguin sweaters was met. You may put down your needles…or, a quick Google search for “Knit for charity” yields tons of resources, from making blankets for newborns with HIV/AIDS to helping the homeless and comforting wounded veterans. If you’re a knitter and have already sweatered and scarved your family and friends, don’t give up the hobby…extend your reach. Here is a link to just one of many lists of organizations and initiatives looking for volunteer knitters:


OK, it seems like a cute overload meme to brighten your first day back at work…or an Etsy promo…but this adorable call for volunteers is no joke. While the crisis has passed, awareness and action (as well as vigilance) are still, and always, required.

Skeinz yarn shop in New Zealand is hoping knitters from far and wide will keep clicking those needles to make tiny sweaters for penguins who were endangered by a devastating oil spill. Not so much to keep the little birds warm, but to help keep them from poisoning themselves when they preen and groom naturally, until they can be cleaned and rid of the oil sticking to their feathers. It’s like penguins-sweatersyour dog’s veterinary “cone of shame” (Elizabethan collar) to keep it from licking injuries–but a heck of a lot more fun. There are very specific directions for knitting the sweaters: size, number of rows and stitches, finishing off the collar, etc. on their website.  If there is an overflow of goodwill knit goods, they will be used as a fundraising tool (with stuffed animal mascot penguins) to support the Penguin Rescue Fund.