Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Watch for Wish Lists

Keep an out for Wish Lists on charities' websites.

Many animal charities have Wish Lists which give you an idea of the items they need.  Sometimes these items can be quite odd, and you wonder what on earth they need them for.  Well, charities have to be very inventive and ingenious, so they can make use of all sorts of things.

Examples of the things often appearing on wish lists are:
  • Sat Nav or GPS systems to help them locate rescue sites more easily
  • Binoculars
  • Old Lap Tops and computers
  • Medical/surgical/veterinary supplies
  • Old stationery you no longer need
  • Toilet rolls (for guinea pigs to play with)
  • Newspapers (for use as bedding)
  • Blankets, towels, duvet covers, sheets

Examples are:

Born Free Foundation - looking at their list, they currently need laptop computers, lightweight camping gear, second hand waterproof boots and waterproof digital cameras.   However, this list is by no means exclusive so click here to see what else is needed.

Many Tears Animal Rescue in South Wales have a wish list for the animals coming into their care which include rolls of cotton wool, fleece and thick blankets, shredded paper, envelopes, A4 paper, strong string mop heads and dog shampoo and conditioner.  Their full list is here.

Animal Care in Egypt need old towels or sheets of any size, dog collars of all sizes, head collars for foals and ponies, second hand pony size brushing bots, natural cotton triangular bandages and more.  They are based in Luxor.  Find out more here

So if your office is undergoing a re-haul or you're revamping any area of your home, consider what you could pass on to charities before you chuck it out.  

Additionally, many charities have Wish Lists through Amazon - you visit Amazon from the charities website, and see what they need and buy it for them.  

You never know what can be re-used!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Will you take up the Plastic Challenge?

The month of June (and yes, I know I'm late doing this) is the month when the Marine Conservation Society has its Plastic Challenge.

The idea is that we all try to reduce our plastic footprint as much as we can.

Plastic ends up in all sorts of places, but that includes our marine life and wildlife, who either think it's some sort of food or who can't help but swallow the tiny, tiny pieces of plastic which have broken town very considerably.   The result?  We can end up eating plastic ourselves. So it doesn't do us any favours and it's in all our interests to reduce the amount of plastic we use as much as we can.

The Marine Conservation Society admits that it will be virtually impossible to get rid of all the plastic we use - the stuff is everywhere and in everything, it seems.  But that's not to say we can't each take a look at the plastic we use once only and see if we can replace it with something that's kinder to animals on this planet and ourselves as well.

I'm conscious that I could certainly do better, so I'm resolving to take these steps and try to change my habits.

Plastic water bottles
A few months ago, I got a travel water bottle and stopped using plastic water bottles.  Unfortunately, I dropped it on the floor and it cracked, so I shall get another one of those and stop using plastic bottles.  I've read somewhere that water out of plastic bottles has been known to be very bad for our health anyway if it's been in a warm temperature.

I was in the habit of re-filling a plastic water bottle again and again over the course of a week before chucking it out and starting a new one;  but if I get another travel bottle, that's 52 less plastic water bottles that will be out of the ecosystem.

Plastic bags
I shall get more jute bags of different sizes and put them everywhere I might need them;  in the car rather than in the boot, for those small "I just need to pop in to get a few bits" moments;  one by the front door so I can grab it when I go out.   I'll buy biodegradable dog poo bags from Amazon for the dog.  And I'll make sure any other time I need a plastic bag I try to think of an alternative.   Rubbish bags, for instance - biodegradable black bin bags from Amazon. They need to go on my shopping list. Why haven't I thought of them before?

Fruit in plastic containers
Shopping in the supermarket often means coming home with fruit in plastic containers or bags.  So I've decided that rather than buy blueberries from Sainsbury's, I'm going to grow my own.   Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries should see me through quite a bit of the year, especially if I freeze them.  You can get dwarf varieties these days, so even if you have a tiny patio, there should be room for a couple of fruit plants.

Think about daily skin care
Green People produce organic beauty products.  They've been working with the Marine Conservation Society to create products which avoid the use of chemicals which can harm the marine environment.  Three in four exfoliating scrubs and peels found on the high street have tiny plastic particles called microbeads or microplastics - which end up in the seas and oceans of the world. So check out Green People's Fruit Scrub Exfoliator and their sun lotion products.  I use their products regularly now - I like the fact they're working with the Marine Conservation Society, and they've supported the Woodland Trust, Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife as well :-)

Daily Living
Finally, I'm going to monitor all the plastic I use in one day and write it down.  I'm then going to have a look at why I need it and how I can replace it.  I know I can't take out all the plastic in my life - but I'm going to have a really good go.

Marine life need all our help so do please find out more about Plastic Challenge here.  You don't have to do it for the entire month, and let's be honest, if you're reading this blog for the first time and find out about it in December, you could start your own Plastic Challenge then.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Collect old used stamps for the tiniest animals - Buglife

Love them or loathe them, we all need the tiniest animals on the planet.  They are essential to all our well-being.   We all depend on them.

And there's a charity working to conserve all our bugs, from bees to beetles, worms to woodlice and jumping spiders to jellyfish.  It's called Buglife.

Invertebrates, say Buglife, underpin life on earth.  Every species has its place in the eco-system.  Without invertebrates, the world's ecosystems would collapse.   But invertebrates - like so many species - are facing an extinction crisis.   Around the world, 150,000 species could vanish by 2050 unless something is done to stop the rot.

Like so many species, once a species is extinct, that's that.  You can't bring them back.   Buglife are working to halt the extinction of so many invertebrate species  by promoting awareness of their environmental importance and raising awareness of the challenges these species face. The charity is also helping develop legislation and policy to ensure their conservation.  They spread knowledge about how to conserve them, and support and encourage conservation initiatives in the UK and elsewhere   They also run projects to help contribute towards stopping the extinction of so many species.

So your stamps can help Buglife do all these things.    Cut the stamp from the used envelope (don't damage the stamp in the process).  When you've got a good number of them, pop them in an envelope to:

PO Box 16992
Sutton Coldfield

Please ensure you put enough postage on your parcel or envelope of stamps  

One other thought - which Buglife ask us to do - is to change our view of invertebrates.   They are a vital part of the food chain, being food for other animals.   So unless they cause damage, Buglife ask that we let them be.

You can also help at home, by gardening to help invertebrates.   Find out more here

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

6 reasons to sign petitions to help animals

Petitions - are they worth it?

Some people dispute whether they do actually contribute towards making a change, but I would argue that surely it's better to sign something and follow its progress, sharing the word about it and raising people's knowledge of it, rather than to sit back and do nothing.

And there are a number of petition websites giving people all over the world a chance to get involved and make a difference by signing a petition which can be very local to you.

I often find myself having a browse around one petition website and discovering more and more petitions I care about and want to sign, and then share.

And that thought got me to thinking....there are reasons to sign and share, rather than not.

6 reasons to sign petitions...

1.   You can be a voice for those who have no voice

You can represent those who are powerless and relying on you to be their voice, to do something for their plight.   They are outside any system which gives them a voice.  But you can be their voice instead.  Act for them.

2.   You can go on a journey of discovery

Petitions and petition websites can be amazingly educational.  

You can find out more about an issue.  Sometimes you may not even know about it.   Rainforest Rescue has a petition at the moment to the management of Nestle, Nespresso and other coffee producers.   It says, "The production of coffee pods wastes thousands of tons of aluminium.   Take them off the market now."  You can read about the impact these pods are having on the Brazilian rainforest here.  It's a chance to explore the issues and challenges.

3.   You can spread the word

You can then raise awareness of the issue - the more people who now about it, the better.  Petitions need numbers.  And at least then people will be aware of it, even if they choose not to sign.

4.   Stop, look and think about what you're doing

Petitions give you a chance to stop, take a look at your own habit and behaviours, and to think, well, what am I doing that doesn't help wildlife, domestic animals, working animals, marine life?  The immediate example that springs to mind is the Yulin Dog Festival in China.   It may make you very angry that people are eating dogs and particularly for treating and killing them in such a cruel way - but how often do the meat eaters among us consider how the animals we eat are killed?   What can we do to reduce or exclude meat from our diets?

5.   Petitions can be very effective

The purpose of any petition is to make a change happen.   And if it's successful, a change will result.  The petition will achieve the change it's after.   Lots of petitions do have an impact and are successful.  At worst, you may have done the four things above.   Sign, and you can often be updated by a petition's progress by its organisers.

6.   Signing can strengthen your resolve

Signing a petition may strengthen your determination to make the world a better place for animals.  Taking one action is better than doing none at all.   One step can lead to another.  And signing a petition and seeing what others are doing may inspire you to start a petition of your own.  Lots of petition websites give you the facility to do just that, and also provide lots of helpful guidance and tips along the way.

So please, sign petitions and keep signing.  Here are some petition websites you can take a look at which have a range of petitions to take a look at.

Here's to making the world a better place.   There's no time like now for starting!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Vote for World Horse Welfare at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show has a garden this year for World Horse Welfare, which has been kindly funded by a private donor.

I'm really pleased to report that the garden has been awarded a gold medal :-)  

It was designed by Jonathan Smith and Adam Woolcott to celebrate the charity's 90th anniversary, and to celebrate all the support everyone has given the charity during that time.   The designers have over 35 years' experience and 3 Chelsea Flower Show gold medals

The garden brings the story of Clippy the pony to life.   He was rescued and brought back to health by World Horse Welfare.   Clippy was in a small derelict stable that was surrounded by weeds, undergrowth and plants which are poisonous to horses.   Clippy's rescue went along a pathway of rehabilitation, leading to a bright open meadow full of wildflowers, soothing herbs and beautiful wild grasses.   Clippy is in a life sized sculpture made up of horseshoes from nearly 40 celebrity horses and ponies, so the whole garden has been very cleverly thought through.  You can leave a message for Clippy here

This is a really great chance to raise awareness of the work that World Horse Welfare does.

Vote now for the World Horse Welfare Garden in the Artisan Garden section

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The power of giving

Buying a gift isn't easy.   What do you want the person you love to feel when you give them a gift?   What would they like to experience?

Last Christmas, my lovely hubby asked me if there was anything I'd like as a gift.   I didn't want any material goods - clothes, perfume etc etc.   I wanted a gift that would last, something that would give me joy every time I thought about it.

And so when my hubby asked what I'd like, it was easy to tell him.

SPANA work around the world to help working animals - horses, donkeys, camels, mules - and elephants.   And they'd launched an appeal for money they needed to buy a mobile unit.   The mobile unit was to be a veterinary clinic to help care for logging elephants in Myanmar, in South East Asia.

The elephants there work very hard.   They are involved in logging, not something I agree with, but that's not the elephants' fault.   They suffer from harness sores, and SPANA are involved in producing a new harness for the elephants to prevent rubbing and wounds.  Infectious viral diseases are also a problem, so SPANA are doing research to manage these and control them.

So my husband donated to the SPANA appeal for my Christmas present.  He made a donation towards SPANA and their appeal towards a veterinary clinic.  And I can't tell you what that meant to me.

Every time I think of this gift, I get a warm glow inside.

And that's 5 months after receiving the gift and the knowledge of the donation.

I feel good knowing this gift is helping elephants.  It's helping SPANA care for them.

There's nothing like the gift of giving.   Many animal charities have virtual gifts - yes, they've a range of material stuff as well.   But they also have virtual gifts to actively help animals so it's always worth a look to see what they have.

For instance, SPANA have Gifts for Health and Happiness at their Happy Hooves website.  You can treat animals to a range of gifts from medicine to water, dental checks, veterinary care, and training for owners so that they can take better care of them.   One of the things I love about SPANA is that they show owners how to take better care of their animals.  They show them how to look after them.  These animals NEED these - they are essential to their own wellbeing and happiness.

What animal lover could not love a gift which helps animals?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month

So today is International Nurses Day.   

A very big thank you to all the nurses in the world who give and do so much for all of us to help us along the path of injury and illness, whether it be taken as a patient or someone whose loved one is going through injury and illness.   I've always been very touched by the kindness and warmth nurses have given me.

As well as thinking about those who tender to people, I found myself thinking, well is there a day dedicated to veterinary nurses?

Having a rummage online (and it's a very brief rummage at the moment), I discovered that in the UK, May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month.  It started as a single day, spread to a week, and now runs over a month.

Veterinary practices and colleges around the UK are promoting the veterinary nursing role through a range of activities, and there's a free pack you can download to raise awareness of the event.

There's also a Facebook page you can visit and like 

Plus there's a video from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to give people a better insight into the role of veterinary nurses:

I think veterinary nurses are amazing people - the way you all care for our pets, and owners;  you must see so many difficult things, and encounter situations where people are in such emotional pain because of what their pets are going through, and for all those things you do to keep our pets well and help them to better wellbeing, a heartfelt thank you.   Sending you all big hugs and love.  

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Help snow leopards and people live together

The Snow Leopard Trust really does take animal and human and well-being and needs into account in its work.

The Trust works in 5 of the 12 countries where snow leopards are found:  China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Pakistan.   Roughly 75% of the world's snow leopards live here.  They also live in Russia, Afghanistan, Butan and Nepal.

A wild snow leopard family in China
Video from the Snow Leopard Trust, April 2017

The US based organisation aims to better understand snow leopards and to protect them by partnering with the communities which share their habitat.  Partner organisations carry out research, lead community conservation programmes and negotiate policy decisions with local authorities.

Snow leopards are threatened by poaching, mining and a changing climate.   It is estimated that their are between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards in the wild.

But one snow leopard needs a lot of space to roam.  They are solitary and elusive animals.   They have been known to use up to 1,000 square kilometres.  Mapping technology used by the Snow Leopard Trust in its research has shown one snow leopard to travel an incredible 27 miles across open desert in one night.

And of course many people living in the same area as snow leopards are herders.  They live on about $2 a day, dependent on their livestock for both food and income.   Hungry snow leopards can attack and kill these livestock, which leads to retaliation killings by locals, and to poaching, as locals try to protect their livestock and earn extra money.

The Snow Leopard Trust works to break this cycle.  They create incentives for herders to protect local wildlife and ecosystems.

Ways they are holding snow leopards and locals include:

  • Creating sustainable economic opportunities for local people so that they don't need to turn to poaching for extra money
  • Providing children and adults with environmental education
  • Creating incentives for more careful herding practices and building corrals that are predator-proof to protect livestock
  • Working on better training for law enforcement officials and protecting rangers and locals as they fight poachers
  • Livestock insurance programmes to reduce the financial impact of snow leopard killings - locals can receive compensation

The Snow Leopard Trust is currently campaigning to raise $60,000 to expand its anti-poaching and community conservation programmes.

You can help the Trust in its work by:

Send an e-card for free!

  1. Donating to support the Snow Leopard Trust's work and even pick a project to support
  2. Sending a free e-card to spread the word about it
  3. Adopting a snow leopard - you could do this as a gift - and you can do an e-adoption.  Purrfect for the big cat lover!

Give to the Big Give on Wednesday 10 May 2017 for Snow Leopards
and a donor will match the amounts raised to $2,500

On Wednesday 10 May 2017, 
The Seattle Foundation is running its Big Give.   A kind donor has challenged the Trust to raise at least $2,500 on that day.  If they reach the goal, the generous donor will match that amount, dollar for dollar!  Donations will help efforts to enable people and snow leopards co-exist.  You can donate at the Big Give's website here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Enjoy art at with the David Shepherd Wildlife Trust's Week of Wildlife Art

If you love wildlife art, you may be interested in going to the Wildlife Artist of the Year event at the Mall Galleries , The Mall, London SW1 .

The event celebrates the world's wildlife through art, and the exhibition includes for the £10,000 Wildlife Artist of the Year award.

Public openings for the event are:

Tuesday 28 June - Saturday 2 July
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm
Sat 10am-4pm

Sales help endangered wildlife, and wildlife conservation through the The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which funds projects in Africa and Asia establishing nature reserves and combating the illegal trade in animals.   Pre-selling is open but please make sure you read the Terms and Conditions before buying.

Recent achievements of The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation include:

  • training and equipping every forest officer in India's Gir National Park
  • establishing an Elephant Orphanage in Zambia for the victims of ivory poaching
  • raising awareness of illegal wildlife crime among the Asian population 
  • launching the TigerTime campaign to save the tiger in the wild and bring an end to the illegal trade in tiger parts from all sources
And the Foundation works with communities close to national parks to provide alternatives to poaching and hunting.   For instance, around the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, weaving is a sustainable alternative income for poor communities. 

Find out more about David Shepherd here

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Help orangutans with your used stamps

Did you know that you can help orangutans by collecting used postage stamps and sending them off to the Orangutan Foundation?

About the Orangutan Foundation

The Foundation's mission is "to save orangutans by protecting their tropical forest habitat, working with local communities and promoting research and education."   It has worked in Indonesia for over 20 years so it has a great deal of experience and understanding of the area.

Priority is given to long-term programmes which combine conservation activities with community development.   Many local people live nearby the areas of orangutan habitat so they need to be involved in conservation efforts if they are to be effective in the long term.

According to the Orangutan Foundation's website, its challenges for the future are to
  1. Ensure protected areas remain protected
  2. Create new conservation areas to protect all critical wild orangutan populations
  3. Help mitigate climate change by preventing deforestation
  4. Secure long-term funding for valuable orangutan habitat

How to help...

There are a number of ways you can help the Foundation achieve its mission and meet its challenges.

Volunteer, become a member, send a donation, adopt an orangutan, buy something from the gift shop - and send your stamps in!

You can send your stamps to:

The Orangutan Foundation
7 Kent Terrace

Head to the Orangutan Foundation's website for more information here

Friday, 15 May 2015

Nepal earthquake - helping animals in Nepal

If you've been watching the awful events in Nepal after the two earthquakes and you're wondering what you can do to help the animals out there, please take a moment to visit Animals Charities, one of my websites.   It has a page listing animal charities working to help the animals in Nepal.  

Animals affected include livestock, companion animals, street dogs, horses and donkeys and it is difficult to know how wildlife will have been affected.

There are animal organisations working on the ground in Nepal to help the animals there so please take a moment to have a look at them and see if you can help.   Click here for info

Monday, 27 April 2015

Great news from Animals Asia about the Halong Bears

Sometimes when you sign a petition, you wonder what will happen and whether you're signature will make any difference.

I signed Animals Asia's campaign to make a difference to the Halong Bears and rescue them.  Over 115,000 people around the world have signed it as well.  Celebrities such as Judi Dench, Oliva Newton John, Stephen Fry and Ali MacGraw joined the campaign, and a letter from 12 Embassies also put the pressure on. 

And the good news for Bears from these collective efforts...

The local authorities of Vietnam's Quang Ninh government have agreed to END bear bile farming.  They are going to transfer all remaining 38 bears to Animal Asia's Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre

The government has agreed to reward each farmer who complies with the transfer.  From May 4, they will begin reaching agreements with the 17 bear farms to secure their agreement to the immediate transfer of the bears. 

Animals Asia is going to cover the cost of the bear rescues, housing, rehabilitation and subsequent care. The transfer of all the 38 bears should be complete in June.  The first two bears are coming from a remote island in Animals Asia's first sea rescue. 

Click here to visit Animals Asia to find out more (and to sign up to the campaign if you haven't yet done so!)

Donate to ZSL and Google.org will match your donation

The 22nd April was Earth Day.

To celebrate Earth Day, there's good news from Google.org.  They will match online donations made to ZSL (the Zoological Society of London) up to $20,000 until 30th April. 

Earth has lost half the populations of wild animals in the last 40 years.   Illegal crime is one of the threats animals face;  destruction of habitat another.  Make a donation, and ZSL will be better able to help tackle illegal wildlife crime.   If you donate £1, Google will also donate £1.