Happy March! Our February donation goes to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Giraffes, as a species, have been listed as 'VULNERABLE' on the list of threatened species (two subspecies, the West African and the Rothschild, are considered 'ENDANGERED'). Numbers of giraffe have plummeted by 40% over the last 30 years, due to habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation together with human population growth and illegal hunting. In some areas traditionally regarded as prime giraffe real estate, numbers have dropped by more than 95%!
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is hard at work to reverse this alarming decline, and we applaud their efforts! Check out their website to learn more about what they do and facts about this amazing animal.
Our January donation is to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (EFRC) in Center Point, Indiana. With about 200 exotic felines, they are one of the largest rescue centers in the United States for abused, unwanted and neglected exotic felines. When you visit you will see lions, tigers, leopards, pumas, bobcats, ocelots, lynxes, and several other lesser-known types.
I visited several years ago... that's one of my photos, above. I'm due for another road trip!
Center Point is about 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis and about 4 hours drive from Chicago; if you're ever in the area, I strongly encourage you to visit. You can even arrange to stay overnight and awaken to the roars of the cats! That is definitely on my bucket list.
Thanks to everyone at EFRC for their dedication to these beautiful animals.
Wishing everyone nothing but blessings throughout the year!
Our December donation goes to the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, or CBCM, an all-volunteer bird conservation project.
This past July, I saw a pigeon crouched on the patio table out on my back deck. It was late afternoon and still quite warm, so I had the back door open, and kept watching through the screen door to see what it would do (my cat kept a keen eye too). After a few hours it still hadn't moved much, and I realized it may be hurt or ill. So I googled around and found the CBCM. They were very helpful and a volunteer told me they were heading out to the western suburbs the next day, to a pigeon sanctuary. She said if I could get the bird in a paper bag and deliver to a drop-off point in the city, they would take it and give it any medical attention it needed.
Sadly, I'm fairly certain that when I gently picked it up off the table it was not alive anymore. But I brought it to the drop point anyway. I'd never experienced anything like that before; I was really sad but touched that it had passed in peace in my little corner of the outside, away from any harm. Anyway, I am grateful for this organization and its dedicated volunteers.
Our November donation goes to Alley Cat Allies. ACA protects and improve cats’ lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. They work toward a world where every cat is valued and protected and every community and shelter has policies and programs to save their lives.
Alley Cat Allies is working in communities to champion low-cost spay and neuter policies and programs, as well as lifesaving Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR). Once viewed as radical new concepts, these humane cat protocols are now mainstream. Plus, they are a resource for tens of thousands of dedicated cat caregivers, advocates, nonprofit groups, and volunteers driving change and accelerating protection for millions of cats worldwide.
**If you have pets and live in a place with cold winters, please read these 5 tips from the Humane Society regarding winter pet care:
1) Keep pets sheltered
Keep your pets inside with you and your family. Under no circumstances should pet cats be left outdoors, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs are happiest when taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time. Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. If your dog is outdoors much of the day for any reason, they must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow them to move comfortably, but small enough to hold in body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
2) Bundle up, wipe down
No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet's life. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater — even during short walks.
Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
3) Remove common poisons
Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep it, like all household chemicals, out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family.
Dogs are at particular risk of salt poisoning in winter due to the rock salt used in many areas — often when licking it from their paws after a walk. Store de-icing salt in a safe place and wipe your dog’s paws, even after short walks. If your dog ingests rock salt, call a veterinarian immediately.
4) Protect outdoor animals
If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. You can make your own cat shelter quickly and easily with a plastic tub. Learn how
Cars are one of many hazards to small animals — warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. Bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
5) Speak out
If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you're concerned. Some people genuinely don’t know the risk that cold weather poses to their pets or livestock, and will be quick to correct any problems you address. If someone you raise these concerns with responds poorly or continues to neglect their animals, follow these steps on reporting wintertime neglect.
October's donation goes to Montana Grizzly Encounter.
MGE provides a spacious and natural home for rescued grizzlies. All of the bears there were born in unfortunate captive situations and could never be released into the wild. MGE provides the bears with the best possible life, at the same time giving people an opportunity to see and understand these awesome creatures safely, up close, with no bars or cages to obstruct the view. Kudos to everyone involved with this vital organization!
First Texas, then Florida, Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean. Certainly our hearts go out to everyone effected by these disasters, but we are especially sensitive to the animals and pets who are in need of assistance. So our September donation goes to Guardians of Rescue, who are working tirelessly to bring aid and relief to our furry friends in these areas.
Guardians of Rescue website
Recent article: Guardians of Rescue Scrambles to Help Animals in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Our hearts go out to everyone effected by Hurricane Harvey. Our donation for August goes to Best Friends Animal Society to help reunite pets with families, help animals turned into shelters find homes, and help the Houston area rescue groups and shelters rebuild and recover.
There are many other organizations working hard for the animals in the wake of Harvey. Won't you help them?
Humane Society of the US
The SCPA of Texas: www.spca.org/hurricane-harvey
Austin Pets Alive!: www.austinpetsalive.org/donate/donate-now/
Each month, Zag will donate a portion of its net profits to charity. Here are some of organizations we've donated to in the past:
Animal Welfare Institute
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Exotic Feline Rescue Center
Humane Society of the US
K-9 Comfort Dogs
Orangutan Appeal UK
Pets for the Elderly
Red Door Shelter
Save the Chimps
Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge