Good Monday afternoon to all from T.I.G.E.R.S. Preserve in Myrtle Beach!
If you've kept up with the local news this past week, you know that the theme for the 16th Annual BI-LO Myrtle Beach Marathon was "RUN WILD!" This year some four-legged friends were added to the three day event through a partnership with the Rare Species Fund for International Wildlife Conservation. Funding for the group is derived from The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.). T.I.G.E.R.S. houses a stunning group of the world's most rare and endangered species, some of which were present at the HTC Runners' Expo and the Start Line.
The idea to bring animals to this event was hatched by Marathon Committee members. Organizers teamed up with T.I.G.E.R.S. founder and director, Dr. Bhagavan (D0c) Antle to bring an orangutan, a gibbon, baby tigers, and other exotic animals. According to some sources, Bubbles, the African elephant stole the show.
Bubbles, who served as the official guest race stater, lifted her huge trunk, and a trumpeted loudly to the runners off on their 13.1- or 26.2-mile races.
The Rare Species Fund was established to provide funding to critical on the ground international wildlife conservation programs, thereby complimenting the educational messages and field research of T.I.G.E.R.S The Fund receives it financing base through a percentage of revenues taken in by T.I.G.E.R.S, the generosity of donations form exhibit guests, and the general public and now the Myrtle Beach Marathon..
The Rare Species Fund actively supports the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZAB) in its efforts to improve African zoo collection management, captive animal husbandry, and public educational messages. On a Continent where millions of wildebeest make an annual migration of several hundred miles, covering a huge swath of two countries, accompanied by zebra and other plains game, as well as many rare and endangered predators, almost 99 per cent of all African youth will never see any of these animals in their natural habitat.
Through the RSF, the FCF (Feline Conservation Federation) is doing its part to help educate the citizens of this continent to appreciate the wealth of their wildlife diversity and the threats to its continued existence in Africa.
According to The Sun News, Race Director Shawn Walsh said he hopes to be able to bring the animals back for a future marathon. “We’re definitely going to sit down and talk,” he said. “I’d like to be able to incorporate them again.”
Want to meet the apes and Bubbles the elephant for yourself? You can at T.I.G.E.R.S. (The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species); this is a one of kind Myrtle Beach Attraction. On this tour, you will also see amazing animals at one of the most exciting animal adventures ever. All proceeds from the tour go to The Rare Species Fund and The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species. For reservations, go to www.myrtlebeachsafari.com.