Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kansas Zoo and Tall Grass Prarie

Let’s finally catch up with November! Life’s been so crazy! I’m going to India and I have a book coming out…but more on that later!

Oklahoma abounds in gorgeous scenery. During Thanksgiving Break, Mom and I visited the tall grass prairie and buffalo preserve near Pawhuska, about one hour and fifteen minutes northwest of Owasso. The huge herd of buffalo was corralled for the winter, but we still saw some of the males fighting, preparing for mating season. (No fighting in the picture, though.)



Around them the sea of golden grass came as high as my stomach, rippling in the wind like waves on the ocean, stretching farther than we could see:



The same day, we drove a bit further to Caney, Kansas, to the Safari Zoological Park, about an hour and a half due north of Owasso. We took their “creation tour,” which explained the science of Biblical creationism. Even though I’ve studied the subject extensively, I still found the information interesting and thought provoking. Here’s us with one of the owners, Tom:



This privately owned zoo was famous about two years ago for its “tiger pups,” three white tiger cubs that were abandoned by their mother and nursed by the family dog! Owners Tom and Allie Harvey appeared on many news and talk shows, including Oprah and Animal Planet.

Here’s the dog:



And here are some pictures of the grown tigers:





They’re not so little anymore! Can you believe one of them actually sprayed Mom and me? Gross!

Some other pictures. Feeding a ring-tailed lemur:



Barbary lion making a funny face:



One of the volunteers petting an old mountain lion:



Kissing a bear (bear gets a cookie after):



Same bear at feeding time:



Little alligator. The volunteer giving us the tour said that he was an adult, but alligators only grow to the size of their cage. At another zoo, I saw one kept in a fish tank and it was only as long as my arm. Others have told me they're only that little because the zoos starve them and they NEED a bigger cage. I don't know. Whatever the reason, he was pretty small:



Tom said they always have babies on display. Here’s a tiger cub and black panther cub.




Of course we wanted to touch them, but because a girl was mauled and killed by a tiger somewhere in Kansas, state laws have changed. Now we have to be at least five feet away from the cage at all times.

By far my favorite thing was the hyenas. Tom got right inside the cage with them:



Then he fed them chicken. Those hyenas must have thought their food was pretty hilarious! They sounded like humans laughing, but that’s just the noise they make when they get excited.

video

That was worth the price of admission right there! They also have the strongest jaw power of any mammal, 1,000 pounds per square inch. That’s a lot of bite! Some trainers say they'd rather be in a lion or tiger cage any day than in with those!

Despite all the wonderful things they have there, few people came to the zoo during this past record hot summer, so Tom and Allie are afraid they might have to close for good. That would be a shame, because they offer many things you can’t see at regular city owned zoos, such as trainers in the cages interacting with the animals. They also do school tours, events and camps. They’re trusting God for another miracle, like the tiger pups. Otherwise they won’t be able to reopen in the spring. To contact them, you can call (620) 515-2885 or visit their website at http://www.safaripark.org.

That same month, my little niece Selene, Tony and Emily's daughter, was born! Here I am holding her at the hospital:



And here's me holding her big brother Hayden and Mom holding Selene:



Well that's all for November! Now I got to catch up on the rest of the year...

Prayer Requests: Please pray that business will pick up for Safari Zoological Park so Tom and Allie can continue their education and conservation efforts. Also pray for my little niece and nephew, that they will grow up healthy with strong faith!

Until next time, keep praying and loving,
L.J.Popp

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