The best way to stay cool is to think cool.

Temperatures across the country are HOT.  It has been a tough year for farmers, wildlife, and people in general.  I personally don’t mind the heat but I do mind what it does to the fruits and vegetables I like to eat as well as what it does to the plants and animals I like to catch glimpses of in the wild. 

The animals at the zoo are relatively used to the heat.  The African lions are very playful and people always ask, aren’t they hot?  I respond with, African lions are used to the African heat.  The four lions at the El Paso Zoo were born at the Oklahoma City Zoo but they still have the same genes.  I relate it to myself, my father is from Tunisia in North Africa and I like to say that is why I love the heat, I am half made for it! 

The African lion exhibit allows people to get face to face with the lions.  Kids and adults both love to be awed by how large these animals are.  I am fully captivated by the lions as well.  There are two sets of twins born within three days of each other.   They have different mothers but the same father.  The four resident lions are: Malaika (meaning “Angel”), Zari (meaning “Golden”) and Kalliope (meaning “Beautiful Voice”).  The male cub was named Xerxes, a Persian name meaning “Monarch.” Here is a  quick lion picture:

100 degrees and still looking for some playtime!

There are less than 20,000 African lions in the wild and they currently listed as Vulnerable although their status is in question.  Their numbers are declining due to habitat loss and human conflict. Many farmers use cheap pesticides to poison lions to protect their livestock.  National Geographic Big Cat Initiative works locally to protect lions and solve the human/lion conflicts.  Do you have a house cat?  You can send in your picture of your cat and donate $5 to the Big Cat Inititiave and have your cat’s picture on the National Geographic website!  Make fluffy famous!

I walked by the Andean Bears on Saturday and noticed they found a way to stay cool:

 Can you see the Andean Bear?  I love how I was capturing the sign and perfectly got the Andean Bear as well!  Here is a better look:
 Taken with my old Iphone so a little grainy but at least you get the idea.

A bear in warm weather?  Yup, these bears do not need to hibernate because they live in the rainforest where it stays warm year round.  It is really not the weather that makes bears hibernate but more the availability of food.  In colder climates there is not much food available during winter months so they sleep through till the arrival of Spring.  Because there is year round food in the rain forest these bears do not need to hibernate.  These bears inhabit the mystifying cloud forests. 

Not much is known on their ecology but the Andean Bear Conservation Project is working hard to study these bears.   The more we know about an animal the better we are equipped to be able to protect it.  There are also less than 20,000 Andean Bears in the wild.  An easy way to support them is to “like” their cause on Facebook.  If you don’t have funds or the ability to volunteer a simple “like” can help.  When non profits write for grants and approach companies for financial support it is helpful to show how much support the public has given them.  Simple helps. 

Speaking of help, on July 28th the El Paso Zoological Society held its annual Members Night.  To become a member of the Zoological Society simply stop by their office at the zoo or go online.  With membership you receive free entrance into the zoo any day as well as opportunities such as members night.  Membership shows your support for the El Paso Zoo and its mission to celebrate the value of animals and natural resources and to create opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.  We appreciate all of our members and their support of the El Paso Zoo and worldwide conservation!

Members night was a couple hours after the zoo closed, opened for members only to enjoy activities such as rock climbing, face painting, water games, ice cream, animal encounters, animal presentations, live music, dancing and so much more!  Basically it was a Zoo at the Zoo!  There were about 2500 attendees.  Here is a picture of the popular rock wall:

Rock climbing for Members Night!

Ok I am thinking I will spend the day like an El Paso Zoo Andean Bear and go hang out in the apartment pool for a while!  Oh, and my older neighbor said, “the best way to stay cool is to think cool!”  So think cool while you are sweating out their today and enjoy this day!


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