Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Even chimps love playing with kitties!

I was sent an email today with the most adorable pictures of a chimpanzee looking after two white tiger cubs. Taking everything that I am sent with a pinch of salt, I looked up the story to check if this was a hoax, and yay, it's not! Here is the link to the story in the UK Daily Mail online.

The chimp's name is Anjana, and she belongs to infant animal care giver China York who works at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) in South Carolina.

"Mitra and Shiva, were born during Hurricane Hannah," said Dr Bhagavan, founder of TIGERS. "During that time everything flooded in the sanctuary and they had to be moved into the house as their mother became stressed."
Dr Bhagavan added: "China's role means that she is care giver to hundreds of animals when they are born. Anjana has been with China, side by side, ever since she was born and has joined her in caring and raising baby animals. So she helped her and acted as a surrogate mother to these animals and she has done these same with these baby white tigers."

More pictures are at the end of this post... keep reading!

The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species is a wildlife education organisation, dedicated to promoting global conservation with informative, educational and entertaining interactive programs.

Dr. Bhagavan "Doc" Antle is the founder and director of T.I.G.E.R.S., The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species and the R.S.F., The Rare Species Fund. He grew up on a vast cattle ranch in Arizona, where his great love for wild and exotic animals began and from a very young age he began raising and caring for every amazing animal he could get his hands on.

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.. They have some awesome projects, and some are in South Africa, which I really love! Here are some from a list from Doc's bio:

1. We have helped fund the Matabeleland Leopard and Cheetah project in Zimbabwe that uses radio-collars to track problem animals that had been trans-located. Established GPS locations of animals home range movements are created for establishing lower hunting quotas.

2. The Rare Species Fund supplies funding to the Raptor Research Program of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa.

3. Our staff works closely with the Savannah Cheetah Foundation in South Africa preparing captive bred cheetahs for wildlife education programs. The staff of T.I.G.E.R.S created a cheetah run program establishing a much more thrilling and unique program for the guests who see the cheetah running at full speed right in front of their eyes. This up-close uncaged experience gives them a deeper appreciation and better understanding of the real beauty, power and grace of the amazing cheetah. It is hoped this lure chasing program along with other unique projects will start the cheetah on the long road back to eventual release into the wild.

4. We hand delivered seven tigers and oversaw the creation of their habitat in the Samutprakam Wildlife Park in Thailand. This group of trained and uniquely colored tigers is the first of its kind to be established anywhere in Asia. These tigers are used to draw attention to issues of international conservation while stressing the importance of saving wild tigers in a part of the world where tigers still live naturally but are highly endangered.

5. T.I.G.E.R.S. helped The Smithsonian Institute to take battery operated televisions into the South American rainforest to show remote villages and rural populations a short film of the beauty of jaguars and other South American mega fauna. This film was part of a widely heralded project to enlighten the native people about this magnificent cat. Due to habitat destruction, millions of children and adults who inhabit this region will never see these animals in the wild. The film was shot using Inca, an adult male jaguar raised at T.I.G.E.R.S.. He has such a close bond with his trainers that he was allowed to swim and play freely along rivers in South Carolina for the production of this beautiful film.

More pictures of Anjana and the white tigers:

A great quote from the T.I.G.E.R.S website:

The great naturalist Didium said,

"In the end we will conserve only what we love.

We will love only what we understand.

We will understand only what we are taught."