Guest Blogger: Carolyn Jess Talks About Her Time at Camp

We have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2013 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 12 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. We first met Carolyn in October 2011 when she came out to the Zoo to meet our special guest Jack Hannah. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org.

I just finished my Keeper Training Camp at the Houston Zoo.  If you have not taken one of the Camp Zoofari sessions before, you should try one.  My class went to a lot of the keeper talks and heard about animal diets, how they animals are trained, and what a day for an animal keeper is like.  One of the most interesting things I got to watch was the kookaburras eat. If you aren’t familiar with how this species feeds, you should definitely try to find some videos online.

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While I was at camp, I noticed a sign up about palm oil.  I had not heard much about palm oil before and looked it up this weekend.  Palm oil is in about 50% of items sold in grocery stores.  It is used in chocolate candy, many snack foods, and ice cream.  Basically, huge amounts of rainforests are being cut down and replaced with palm plantations.  That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Wrong!  The animals that are used to living in the rainforest can’t survive on palm plantations.  These animals are losing their homes and starving when their rainforest home is taken away.  This sounds similar to our ocelot and blind salamander.  These animals are losing their homes because of humans.

The first thing you can do to help the rainforest animals is to be aware of this problem and tell your friends.  Write to your favorite snack food company and ask them to not use palm oil from destructed forests.  If they get enough letters, they may listen.  You want to buy from companies who are in the RSPO – Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

This is a problem that has some very bad consequences.  If we work together, animals and our environment will be better off.  We can’t wait until it is too late.



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