Good Friday afternoon from T.I.G.E.R.S. and Preservation Station in Myrtle Beach.
Some think it's too risky to get close to wild animals, but the handlers at T.I.G.E.R.S. have been with these animals since they were cubs and have developed a special friendship based on love and respect. Dr. Antle and his staff have actually helped the mothers deliver many of the cubs at the Preserve. T.I.G.E.R.S. has a proven method of training these animals: Never treat them as pets, lots of tender loving care, and thousands of hours of one-on-one handling; we even live with the animals 24 hours a day.
What's the fastest animal on earth? The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal— as fast as 65 mph. Did you know their ability to accelerate from 0 to 6 mph is five seconds. Enjoy this tidbit I discovered this morning:
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)–a conservation nonprofit based in Namibia–is trying to stop the cheetahs’ path to extinction using innovative conservation methods that don’t just focus on bleeding heart ideas of saving the cheetah. Instead, it’s finding methods that are good for cheetahs, good for the farmers, good for the communities, and good for the economy.
The CCF has started a model farm program, to teach farmers how to operate in coexistence with predators. It’s also breeding and placing dogs with farmers, to helps protect their flocks from being eaten by wild animals. Through CCF’s program, the livestock survival rate–from all predators like hyenas, leopards, and jackals—has risen to 80%.
Second, the CCF rehabilitates the cheetah’s habitat. The bush has started to encroach on the open fields on which cheetahs like to hunt. The overgrowth is also a problem for Namibian farmers. So CCF has invented what it calls BushBlok–essentially a Duraflame log made from cleared brush–which it gives to farmers as a clean energy source (the project has received attention from the Clinton Global Initiative). The country has over 100 million tons of bush that needs to be cleared, and CCF hopes a wider roll out of the Bushblok initiative will help that problem, as well as create jobs for locals and more habitat for cheetahs.
By reintroducing the cats into the wild, CCF takes them back to their rightful homes. While CCF does have resident cheetahs who will be cared for their entire adult lives, these cheetahs become education ambassadors for tourists and serve to help study cheetah behavior and genetics.
The CCF’s goal is to rehabilitate the cheetah so that it’s no longer in danger of extinction, though it’s going to need much more awareness and government support before that happens.
Go online and visit www.myrtlebeachsafari.com for more information about the Rare Species Fund, the tour and Tigers Preserve. All proceeds from the tour go to The Rare Species Fund and The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species.