I do believe it’s true! (Thank you, Paul Simon). My friend Julie Koch, of Elegant Additions, is an avid and active supporter of the Houston Zoo. So when she "strong arms" you to come to an event at the zoo, as a good friend, you follow along! And boy am I glad I did! The zoo sits on 55 acres right in the middle of Houston. It’s this great, little oasis that is accessible to everyone. I’ve always enjoyed going to the zoo, with or without my kids. It’s a pleasure to stroll the grounds, enjoy the animals and the shade, and get a little closer to nature. After the event I decided to join their Asante Society.
"The Asante Society is a group of individuals who help ensure the vitality and excellence of the Zoo while learning more about wildlife and wild places. Annual memberships more directly support the Zoo’s core programs: animal care, education, and conservation."
As a member, some of the many benefits are to go behind the scene, meet the trainers, learn more about their educational programs here and abroad, and most importantly to me, to get up close with the animals.
I picked the Cheetahs as my behind the scene moment. Sarah Atwood of the zoo was our guide. She told us so many great things that the zoo is doing to prolong the life of different species. We zipped around on a golf cart and got taken to see two brother cheetahs, Kito and Kiburi. They are so beautiful. They are ambassadors for the zoo. Their trainers can actually walk the Cheetahs on leashes (don't try that at home!). They have a companion dog, an Anatolian shepherd, that keeps them calm and pretty laid back. These two cheetahs have been raised in the zoo so it gives their handlers a unique advantage in working with them. While they live in a large enclosed area, occasionally they are taken to the Dynamo stadium to run. (How cool is that! It’s nice to know they get to go out!) While their trainer Michelle was hand feeding them meatballs, they were purring away! Just a larger version of my cats at home, oh yea, except they are wild animals and can run faster!
If you are interested in playing an active part in the survival of wild animals please check out the Houston Zoo’s Asante society. Here are a few pictures we took.
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF, Master Artisan firstname.lastname@example.org