Vanishing Species Wildlife

Volunteering at Vanishing Species Wildlife

This section will basically contain posts relating to my volunteering at Vanishing Species Wildlife in Davie, FL. Photos within the posts are usually posted on that day's photo archive, located here.

I haven't volunteered at VSW in a while; I guess my priorities have shifted. But this section will forever remain as a record of that rather amazing and rewarding period in my life. Thank you Jeff, Barbara, John, Julie, Mel, and everyone else I worked with during my time there. I might be back in the future, but who knows when.

Lynxes! Finally!

So on Saturday I got a call from a friend saying there were lynx cubs coming to Vanishing Species. I nearly fell over right there; afterall, I've loved lynxes for 11 years now and have roleplayed as one online for just as long, yet had never touched one in person. The closest I came to a lynx was a wildlife show at Further Confusion 1999, and California law didn't allow the general public to touch her, so all I could is watch.

Well, apparently dreams come true. Two four-week old lynx cubs, as of yet unnamed, are at VSW! So today I went out there and saw them. It turns out that various things are true afterall. First, They really are the most adorable creatures in the known universe, bar-none. Second, they are even softer than they look. Especially the ears! And they also make the most adorable sounds. Sorta like little chirps; not as cute as cheetah-chirps but close!

It almost felt like a spiritual experience. I am definitely going to be going back every couple of weeks at least, for I must see those adorable sweeties grow up. Plus, the sanctuary needs help because they are currently moving to another facility and still recovering from hurricane damage. So if you care about wild cats in general Vanishing Species could certainly use your donations!

Today's Photos

Short video of the two lynxies being cute

Yours truly, being mauled by two tiger cubs. Okay, not mauled, but close enough. }:)

Some panther cub cuteness

Was looking through one of my external disks and found some raw DV footage from VSW that I hadn't released. So I figured I'd release some of it.

Here's Sierra when she was still a cub on 3/6/2005. (Quicktime 7 plays it best) She's adorable! She's not very playful in this video, sadly, but you can see her sniffing around and trying to eat some plants; it's kind of funny.

I may encode more if I have time. Sadly I didn't take much DV when I was at VSW. Wish I had taken more, especially of Shoshauna and Taj.

More cuteness, courtesy of!

Well, previously I mentioned the plump, well-fed tigers at Vanishing Species. Well, we are boarding the cutie you see at left! Her name is April, and she is from a sanctuary up north. Basically, they don't have the resources to care for a youngster, so VSW will be caring for her (and her sister up in Palmdale) until she is old enough to go back.

It was a great day; I played with April, and also Monty, who has grown considerably since the last time I saw him AND has been placed on the same tether at Sawgrass we use for the adults! It was fun to run up and down the tether and watch him chase and pounce at me.

I trimmed Monty's excessively sharp claws while he was sleepy; what's funny is he was actually better behaved than my own cat, Lynxie, when doing this! I got through all the claws with almost no trouble! Lynxie should take notice. }:)

I took quite a few pictures today; a tiger cub and a panther cub in one day is just too much to resist.

Today's pictures

Finally visited VSW at Palmdale!

Well, I finally got to visit VSW at Palmdale. It looks really nice! They basically have a nice tour set up, which is open to the public. I got to see Cheech and Chong again (Cheech was the first tiger I ever touched; he was a little cub back then and he's getting HUGE now!), the Four Rascals, a couple of adorable bobcats, and a new tiger cub I hadn't met before!

I was busy pretty much through the whole day, and didn't get a chance to take too many photos, but I got some of the cub. She's only four weeks old and was sleepy when I played with her. What a sweetie!

I wish I could volunteer up there more often. The big problem is the two hour drive in each direction! Thirty minutes each way to Davie is long enough; four hours of driving for a day of volunteering is way too much gas money!

Saturday's Pictures

Montana, the bottomless pit of energy

And no, I don't mean Montana Max. This particular Monty is Sierra's brother, a 3 month old bundle of pure energy that did nothing but play almost the entire day today at Sawgrass.

This has been a pretty cool weekend; I spent half of Saturday at Sawgrass, then the rest at the property helping clean and feed, and almost the entire day Sunday at Sawgrass. Being able to get quality time with Montana was great; he was a blast, batting random objects all over the place. He has a bad habit of trying to jump up on your shoulders; although this is cute now, we consider it a bad habit because when he's full grown at 150lbs or more, he can seriously hurt you doing that!

Ann-Marie, Montana's big sister at 13 months, was also at Sawgrass today. She was in a grouchy mood, jealous of her little brother and being a bit anti-social. She kept making this "grouse" sound, sort of a cross between a purr and a growl, which is kind of cute, but it means "Dammit, I'm not in a good mood, stay back unless you want to bleed." I heeded her warnings, of course.

Oh well... back to work tomorrow; looks like we have a failing disk on one of our systems that I'm going to have to replace, bleah.

Saturday Pictures

Sunday Pictures

Dragonflies, parrots, butterflies and more!

Feeling much better, so I went to Sawgrass today. I got to hear La La the parrot sing with Leah, which was quite hilarious. Junior was in a grumpy mood pretty much the whole time, and didn't really want me to get too close, but I managed to get a few pets in when he was sleepy and cheered up some.

I got some neat photos of some dragonflies on the back fence. They're tricky to photograph because they can sense your movement and fly off unless you approach veeeeeery slowly. Dragonflies have huge compound eyes, with hundreds of thousands of facets that let them see in every direction, pretty much; you can see them clearly in the photos.

Yesterday I saw the director's cut of the movie "The Butterfly Effect" on DVD. This movie is absolutely enthralling and thrilling; I highly recommend it to anyone into suspenseful movies. It really keeps you on your toes for most of the film!

Alas, back to work tomorrow. Hopefully the new tape system arrives soon so I can build our new backup server; I'm looking forward to discovering the world of Ultrium LTO2.

Today's Photos


Had a good day today. Went to Sawgrass in the morning, and hung out a bit with Junior. It was kind of hot, so he pretty much wanted to sleep the entire time. The only time he woke up was when someone came in to pet him, and even then he would go back to sleep before the petting session was over! I don't blame him; it was really muggy.

Afterwards I hightailed it to the property to feed the kitties. I got some really awesome photos of Shoshauna and Mystique. I hadn't seen these cats for nearly a month and it was great to hang out with them again.

Tomorrow I gotta do my taxes (bleah) and run a ton of errands (double-bleah). It's just as well; if gas prices keep going up, I'm only going to be able to drive to Davie once a week; if they go up even further, I'll have to start skipping weeks. Darn oil companies!

Anyway, I took lots of pictures today. I didn't use RAW so I could force myself to practice setting white balance manually on the camera. I think I did a pretty good job; sometimes it's hard to judge the color temperature of a scene... For instance, in some cases, there was some sunlight shining in, so even though the subject was in the shade, the sunspots would look way too orange. It'd be nice if there were a way to tweak white balance in the camera after taking the shot, then save it. I should suggest this to Canon.

Note that I'm not posting full size pics on the VSW pictures site anymore. Sorry to anyone who had the password, but they're just taking way too much space on Sarabi and very few people were looking at them. If you want a full size version of a pic, just drop me a note and we'll talk.

Feel free to check out the photos and leave comments below. }:)

VSW at Dade County Fair

So, yesterday I was at the Dade County Fair at the Vanishing Species Exhibit. We currently have a couple of year-old lion cubs, an eight year old tigress named Darlene (whom I've talked about before), a six-month old leopard cub, and the cougar cubs Sierra and Montana. There's also a wide variety of other animals, so if you're in the Miami area and want to see what this is all about, stop on by!

Sierra's getting big!

So I spent the day at Sawgrass today. Sierra was there, and wow, she's growing fast! I think her ears are growing fastest of all, as they used to be tiny little flaps on her head, and now they're big huge kitty ears!

She was extremely curious and kept trying to pad into places she wasn't supposed to go. We kept her on a leash and she was the hit of the day; nearly everyone who saw her commented on how adorable she is.

Junior was there too, and felt a bit left out due to all the attention Sierra was getting. He was actually grumpy at one point, hissing at a couple volunteers, including myself. Luckily we made peace by the end of the day, so all's well!

Anyway, click here for today's pictures. I also have some video of Sierra that I may post soon, once I cut it down some as it's much too long!

(Heh, every time I hear the name Sierra, I think of two things... The video game company, and the character Sierra from that spiffy 3D animated comedy NBC had last season, "Father of the Pride". Dangit, that was a fun show. I miss it.)

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