We recently saw Disney Nature’s newest documentary titled Monkey Kingdom, and it was pretty good. What I loved about this film that was different than previous Disney Nature pics was that they showed the interaction between the monkeys and their human neighbors. As humans develop more and more into previously wild areas, there will inevitably be some overlap. You get to see the difference in how they live between their wild home, and the one in the big city. Their sleeping habits are affected, their diets, and even their social structure. Narrated by Tina Fey, it had the typical style of other Disney Nature documentaries where the subjects are named, and the events take place from a particular animal’s perspective, in this case, an adult female monkey low in the social order. It follows the amazing journey of these monkeys from their home territory, to the big city, and back, and the female monkeys journey from the bottom to the top of the social hierarchy. I recommend this movie to both adults and children looking to learn more about nature and get a good story at the same time.
As wild areas become more and more developed, roads and other structures fragment wildlife populations. Animals find it harder and harder to come across new mates that will keep genetic diversity high. Recently it has been found that bear populations, at least, are using wildlife crossings like underpasses to find new mates. Montana State University researchers compared genetics of bear populations in the Canadian Rockies. Their study resulted in the first proof that these crossings can maintain the genetic diversity. This is excellent news for wildlife and the humans that love them!
I’ve always been into wilderness adventure books, but what I loved about this one was the raw detail that the author uses to describe her journey. Wild is a true story, more of a memoir, written by Cheryl Strayed about her summer hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in an effort to rediscover herself and come back from a dark place in her life.
Following the early death of her mother and the subsequent dissolve of her family, Cheryl’s life went into a downward spiral of drugs and devious sexual behavior. Then she found a guide book about the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that started the snowball affect towards her healing.
She spares no dirty detail of her trip hiking the trail alone, though she meets some nice people along the way. You feel as though you are right there with her on the trail. You cry with her, you laugh at the funny anecdotes, and you feel like maybe you are growing and changing too. This books is inspirational to those who may have hit rockbottom and need to find a way out. It’s an inspiration to people like me who have an adventuresome spirit but may chicken out of some of the big challenges.
I read the first half of this book before hitting the road to California and listened to the rest as an audio book while driving. I definitely couldn’t put it down or stop listening. It’s so well written. I have deep respect for Cheryl doing what she did and then having the guts to write all about it without sugar coating. I definitely recommend this book.
Check out Cheryl’s site for more information: http://www.cherylstrayed.com/wild_108676.htm[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ks_QnNQ__OM]
We managed to arrive in Sunnyvale yesterday before the leasing office closed so we could stay in our own apartment last night. Nebraska was the windiest and most boring state to drive through ever. Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada were much prettier and scenic, though the stopping points were few and far between. I had hoped to find things like “the world’s largest…” but there were none. There were barely towns with hotels to stay in at night. We stayed the first night of the drive at our friends house in Kansas City, KS, the second night in Cheyenne, WY, and the last night in Elko, NV.
When we passed through Salt Lake City, Utah and saw the Great Salt Lake, we were both shocked. I’d never seen a lake that big! It looked like an ocean! And of course in my amazement, I missed the scenic view turnoff so the best I could get was a picture through the window of my moving car.
After that, there was miles and miles of open desolate salty looking desert. It looked as though a lot of people had stopped along the road at some point to make notes with stones on the white dry ground.
I love Wyoming, I knew it would be lovely. I went to Yellowstone and Grand Teton last summer with my family and didn’t want to leave. Nevada was also a good scenic drive with rolling hills and some mountains in the distance.
When we crossed into California, that was the most beautiful part of the drive going through the mountains. There were some flurries falling against our windshields at the higher elevations (6,000 feet at one point) but as we descended the flurries turned to rain. We both were in love with the breathtaking views. I can’t believe this is the state we live in now. Gorgeous. I can’t wait to explore all of the wilderness this state has to offer.
I got pictures of most of the state line signs for the states we went through between Missouri and California. I also took some pictures of some of the scenery. Pretty much all of my pictures are taken on my phone from my moving car.
This morning I read an article on CNN Heroes about a woman named Mona Rutger. It is people like her that inspire me to want to work in wildlife rehabilitation. It is by no means a career that is going to bring you wealth and fame, but it is a career so rewarding that you will feel like the wealthiest person in the world.
Licensed wildlife rehabilitators, especially those not working in a larger established facility, give up all of their time, money, sweat, and tears to try and heal wounded wildlife and return them to their rightful home in the wild. Rutger is quoted in the article saying “Everyone says, ‘Let nature take its course,’ but 90% of these animals’ injuries are human-related. That’s not nature. It’s us.”
That is how I originally became interested in wildlife rehab back when I did my first rehabilitation internship at the Missouri Wildlife Rescue Center. I noticed so many animals coming in with human caused injuries. Hit by a car, attacked by a dog, hit with a lawn mower, and firework injuries around the Fourth of July. Humans need to be more careful in their interactions with nature and realize that these animals are living breathing souls as well. I can’t tell you how many opossums, for example, came in during my internship dead from being hit by a car but with live babies still in their pouch. Because the human may not have seen the mother, those joeys are now orphans.
Mona Rutger and others like her are truly inspirational for people like me who hope to enter the rehabilitation field. I can only hope that people appreciate what people like that do. Rehabilitation facilities usually rely entirely on donations and volunteer help so I encourage anyone interested to donate to your local center and even volunteer to help out if you have time.