Category Archives: Fauna

Plastic bags banned (mostly) in California effective 7-1-15

Did you know?

California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation today that makes California the first state in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags. Interestingly, the news about the legislation says that it will prohibit “large stores” from using the sacks beginning in July 2015. I could find no definition of “large stores,” but the news article states, “The law applies to stores that sell groceries and pharmacies— think Safeway, Target, Walmart, Rite Aid— but not stores that don’t sell those items, like Macy’s.” Hmmm. I think Macy’s qualifies as a “large store.” I’m confused, but government often confuses me, so no big deal there.

Over 120 local California cities and counties currently ban plastic bags. I know the bags are dangerous to our wildlife, but so are the plastic rings that occupy the top of your six packs of canned beer and sodas…. and string…. and rubber bands…. and fishing line…. I don’t see anyone rushing to ban those. Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat had an incident that frightened her, as well as Jim and me. I found a sack stuffed in a cupboard so I put it on the bed for Zoey the Cool Cat to enjoy:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Does she not look happy and satisfied, probably having pleasant dreams of finally catching the mourning doves outside our office window.

I mention the plastic bags because wildlife often get tangled up in them and die. Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat got tangled up in that sack. See the two handles? She got her head through one and couldn’t get out. She took off through the house, trying to get rid of the thing around her neck, frightened and howling. She finally got stuck in a corner where I was able to reach her and get the sack off her neck. It took about 30 minutes of me holding her and talking to her before she calmed down, though. Poor kitty….

I can only imagine what the wildlife outside goes through when they get their necks, feet, and wings caught up in plastic bags, plastic ring tops, fishing line, and string.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The work of Ricardo Breceda of Borrego Springs CA

Out & About

When I went to Palm Springs in mid-August, one of my goals was to see the statues of prehistoric wildlife in Borrego Springs (see A short visit to Galleta Meadows).

Little did I know then that the guy who created the statues, Ricardo Breceda, lives in Borrego Springs and sells much smaller statues to common people like me.

Following are some of the smaller statues that I found exhibited on properties throughout the area, and some for sale at a business.

Longhorn cow Mountain lion Desert buffalo Desert bighorn sheep Porker grill

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Breceda’s work celebrates the history and culture of Southern California, the desert environment, and pure fantasy.

Breceda originally is from Durango, Mexico. One day he made a dinosaur statue for his daughter, and the rest, as they say, is history. Breceda eventually met Dennis Avery, owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs.  Avery had the vision of using his land as an enormous outdoor art gallery, and it became home to Breceda’s artwork featuring prehistoric and fantasy creatures.

I now know that there are over 150 of the larger statues scattered throughout the Anza-Borrego desert. I only saw 27 of them. I am trying to find a complete list, and a map of their locations, and when I do…………. ROAD TRIP!

The chase

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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It might be the most beautiful of all time

Picture of the Moment

When I visited La Quinta back on August 12, it was my first time. I drove down two main thoroughfares for many miles, and all I saw were golf resorts, condominium resorts, and monster homes behind huge fences and gates.

They also had the most beautiful and immaculately maintained medians and road sides.

I would not mind being a homeless person over there, although come to think of it, I didn’t see a single homeless person on a street corner asking for food and money. Hmmm. Maybe being homeless is against the city code….

Well, anyway, this was the most beautiful gate I saw, and it might rank as the most beautiful gate I’ve ever seen in my life:

Horsey gate

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Zoey the Cool Cat’s birthday presents

Cats

Zoey the Cool Cat has been celebrating her birthday today. We adopted her from the El Cajon Animal Shelter on September 21, 2007, and the vet said she was about a year old, so we use September 21, 2006, as her birthday.

We couldn’t celebrate September 21 because I was feeling really bad. When I can’t even listen to The Beatles, you know I’m sick….

For her birthday she got a new sack….

Zoey the Cool Cat in her new sack

She was so happy, for an hour or so….

That was when she discovered that I also had a new box for her….

Zoey the Cool Cat in her new box

The little queen loves her sacks and boxes, especially if they are placed on the bed. Here are some pictures of past sacks and boxes:

Zoey the Cool Cat in her new sack

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat, Olympic boxing champion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat, Olympic boxing champion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

 I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Should we not release our dogs and cats back into the wild?

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I freely admit that I support zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and even SeaWorld to the max, 100%.

I even support circuses when it is done right, and I’ll define “done right” as using positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement.

To me, it’s pretty obvious when animals in our care have been trained with positive reinforcement.

It’s no different from you teaching a dog to roll over, sit, play dead, shake.

It’s done with treats, not whippings.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t like horse racing. I have been to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Races twice with a Photographer All Access pass. A total of twenty hours on two different occasions two years apart. I have yet to see anyone give a horse a treat. Rather, they prod them, poke them, whip them…….. Why are people not protesting that instead of SeaWorld? I don’t understand.

Do animals in our loving care remember those who care for them? I submit that they do:

Here’s another one:

Did zoos, aquariums, SeaWorld, and circuses abuse animals in the past? I believe they did. I believe taking animals out of the wild can, in many circumstances, be considered abuse.

However, I would rather have some of these animals in Zoos to save them than in the wild where they get slaughtered by poachers:

100,000 elephants killed by poachers in 3 years

I would also submit that in today’s world, if you were able to ask these animals if they would prefer to be in the wild struggling to find food each day, fighting for their lives each day…. or in a zoo or aquarium where they get love, attention, food, and medical care…. I believe I know the answer.

Without the leadership of the San Diego Zoo in getting other zoos and sanctuaries to sign on to its California Condor Conservation program, the California Condor would now be extinct. It actually was extinct in the wild as recently as 1987. Through the successful breeding programs of the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos, the California Condor was re-introduced to the wild beginning in 1991 in southern Utah, northern Arizona, central and southern California, and northern Baja California, Mexico. Here are a few of the California Condors at the San Diego Zoo:

Andean condor at the San Diego Zoo

California Condor at the San Diego Zoo

California Condor at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a northern white rhino as a resident. Northern white rhinos are functionally extinct, which means that the seven rhinos that exist in zoos throughout the world are beyond breeding age and that none exist in the wild. When these seven remaining rhinos die, there will be no more unless we can figure out cloning.

Northern white rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Many times each year the Zoo and Safari Park announce the arrival of big babies: orangutans, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, and gorillas. If not for the Zoo, I would never have had the opportunity to see orangutans, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, and gorillas. And my annual membership supports the Zoo’s conservation and breeding programs, to ensure that the California Condor continues to exist in the wild.

The Zoo also re-introduces wildlife to other parts of the world when possible. Unfortunately, people in other countries don’t have the economy that we have in the United States, so they don’t mind slaughtering animals for food and other products.

I try to go once a week to SeaWorld, the Zoo, and Safari Park because one never knows what’s going on each week and which animals will be photogenic for me.

Without Zoos, many millions of people, including me, would never have had the opportunity to see these beautiful creatures:

Mom and baby gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sumatran tiger at Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Himalayan Monal at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Burmese Python at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Black mangabey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camel at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Elephant at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giant Panda at the San Diego Zoo May 2013

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Male lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mama koala and her joey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Forest buffalo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Caracal at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Desert bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Johnston's crocodiles at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fishing cat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zebra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Secretary Bird at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cheetah at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar Bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Knobbed Hornbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red kangaroo at the San Diego Zoo

(Got the kangaroo in there for you, Laurie!)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingos at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I can cite no research to support me, I firmly believe that people who have visited a zoo, sanctuary, or aquarium are more likely to contribute to conservation efforts to save these beautiful creatures from extinction in the wild.

For those who want to release all of these creatures back into the wild, that cannot be done with many of them because they are injured and would not be able to survive. The two bald eagles at Safari Park come to mind, both injured in the wild and rescued, and both unable to fly.

Bald eagles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If we take this to its logical conclusion, then all dogs and cats should be released back into the wild. After all, both species adapt quite quickly to life in the wild, so why are we keeping them penned up in our homes and teaching them tricks? For our entertainment, pleasure, and companionship….

Spoiled dog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Yep…. going on the Internet

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Several months ago I discovered a sanctuary for small birds. Somehow the pictures got cataloged in the wrong file folder, so I found them just this morning. There are some good ones, too.

Here is one of my favorites:

Are you going to put us on the Internet?

The sanctuary was not open when I found it, but the manager saw me peeking through the windows and screens and let me in…. FREE!

For the life of me right now, I cannot remember where this sanctuary was, but I think I’ll be able to track it down based on the date I took the pictures.

I’ll have more about it, and lots more pictures, as soon as I discover its name and location.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Some might consider having their nails done

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And I thought my toenails looked bad….

Picture 1Foot fetish

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Picture 2Foot fetish

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Picture 3Foot fetish

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Picture 4Foot fetish

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Picture 5Foot fetish

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Picture 6Foot fetish

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Picture 7Foot fetish

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Picture 8Foot fetish

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Picture 9Foot fetish

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Picture 10Foot fetish

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 11Foot fetish

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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