Friday, February 3, 2012

Week in Review at In-Sync Exotics!

We've been busy, busy, busy this week!  It's time to catch you up for the week and give you updates on animals.

We started the week by giving our readers a behind the scenes look at how our staff and volunteers prepares meals for our wild ones.  Preparing healthy meals for our animals is a very important job and we truly appreciate our volunteers that come out and work in the commissary each day!  Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice!!

On Tuesday, we thought we’d lighten up the blog with some humor as we contemplated cats and boxes!  No matter the size of the cat, boxes will always hold a special fascination for those crazy cats!  Watch Tyjar as he plays with his first box at In-Sync Exotics!

Wednesday we presented Amol and his very funny nocturnal activities!  If you missed this posting, you just have to click here to see what this tiger likes to do when the sun goes down.

And of course, yesterday, we provided our readers some information about our lions' majestic manes.  Do you know why lions have more “mane” than others?  And why does Sabu have no mane at all?  To learn the answers to these questions, you'll just have to read “Going Mane-less is Cool!”

For those following Katy’s convalesce progress, we have good news to report.  Katy went to her vet this week so he could check on her progress.  Her x-rays revealed that the leg is healing nicely—the joint has closed up partially and we are hoping that in about 3-6 weeks, our Katy girl will no longer be on “house arrest.”  So, in three weeks, Katy will go back to the vet for another appointment to check on her healing progress.  

Vicky will be very relieved once she receives the go-ahead from the vet to allow Katy the run of the sanctuary.  During Katy’s convalesce; Vicky has spent a lot of time chasing after the dog because Katy implores volunteers and visitors, with her puppy dog eyes, to let her out of the office despite her mandatory confinement order.  A stubborn Katy keeps Vicky very active as she is often seen chasing after dog! 

On Monday, Keenan was spotted napping on his favorite 15’ off-the-ground perch.  Keenan is the only cougar who has the courage to climb the 12’ spiral platform, jumping 6’ horizontally and then 3’ vertically to reach this perch!  Not bad, Keenan—not bad at all!  We plan to draw some more blood from Keenan in about three weeks to see how he is doing.  In the meantime, if anyone knows a cardiologist willing to conduct tests on Keenan without anesthesia (due to his heart condition); please contact Vicky Keahey at In-Sync Exotics.
As you may recall, we held our first Spirit Bowling event at Strikz Bowling last Thursday night.  We met a lot of wonderful people at the event, interested in learning more about In-Sync Exotics.  We had a great time explaining our mission to everyone who visited our table and loved showing off pictures of our animals to the amazement of folks who never even heard of In-Sync Exotics.  We are pleased to report that we raised about $167 from the event and we sold several of our beautiful calendars to boot!  Thank you Strikz Bowling for allowing us to have in information table at the event--we had a great time!

There was one particular visitor to the In-Sync Exotics information table that touched Jodi Payson’s heart.  A young boy, about 10 years of age, came over to the table and asked what In-Sync Exotics was all about.  He asked a lot of questions before approaching Jodi to ask her how much one of our calendars cost.  After looking over the calendar, the boy returned to his mother.  A few minutes later, he came back to the table so he could buy the calendar. Bless his heart—as he was paying for it he asked Jodi what his money would go towards and she told him that he was helping to feed a BIG tiger!  Shortly after the boy left our table, his mother came up to Jodi and told her that her son, after learning about In-Sync Exotics, asked if he could use his allowance to by a calendar to help the animals.  It just amazes us how much our animals touch the lives of the young and young at heart! 
~ Important Dates to Remember ~

Today is Raja and Jasmine’s 20th birthday.  Sadly, Raja passed away last year, but Jasmine is still living life to the fullest with her handsome neighbor Okemo.  Happy Birthday, Jasmine!

On February 4th it will be the one year anniversary of Brooks passing.  Brokks was a very special tiger who gave us six wonderful offspring who call In-Sync Exotics' home:  Kiro, Tacoma, Stryker, Abrams, Kazuri, and Harley. 

~ We miss you Raja and Brooks ~

Did you hear?  We are listed as #2 for the Great Nonprofits Top Rated Animal Welfare 2012 Nonprofits!  Big high-five tiger paws and mighty lion roars to everyone who wrote a review about In-Sync Exotics last month!!  Even though the annual challenge is over for now, please do not stop writing your reviews of our organization!  Your reviews matter as contributors often refer to your comments to see how their donations can best support our sanctuary.  So keep ‘em coming, please!

Our Latest Razoo Project -- Big Cats Need Vaccinations!  We'd like to thank everyone who has donated thus far towards this very important health care maintenance program for our animals.  If you wish to donate towards this most worth cause, please visit our Razoo project site!  Thank you!

And finally, Valentine’s Day is in just ten days!  Have you selected your Valentine card and gift for the special people in your life—your sweetie, mother, father, sister, brother, friends, co-workers, and boss (yes, boss—you cannot forget to send a special Aasha or Issac card to the boss, right?)!

Since it takes about 5-7 mail days to receive these beautiful gifts, you'll want to purchase your special cards and gifts today!  We were told by satified shoppers that the cats’ Valentine cards are absolutely adorable!  Visit our on-line Gift Shop today!  

PS.  Proceeds of all gifts goes towards the care and feeding of our beautiful animals.  Thank you! 

All of us at In-Sync Exotics hope you have a roaring great weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Going Mane-less is Cool!

Our lions, Jazz and Shazam often receive awes and compliments on their beautiful flowing manes.  While our standard colored lions, Aramis and  Kahn’s manes are not as full and majestic as our White Boys, researchers believe they know why some lions have more “mane” than others.  Do you know why some lions have full manes while others do not?

Then of course, there’s our mane-less Sabu, who sports no mane on his head, neck, or chest.  Why is Sabu mane-less while the other male lions sport full manes?

All great questions!  Let’s take a look at the lion’s mane.

We’ve all been told that the lions with the biggest “mane” gets the girls.  But researchers learned several years ago that temperature may actually have an impact on the majestic lion mane.  An American zoo study revealed that it’s cold temperatures that actually promotes the lion’s long and think mane, which of course is more appealing to the ladies.

In the April 2006 Journal of Mammalogy, the study showed that up to one-half of the length and fullness of the lion’s mane was attributed to temperature, rather than nutrition, social conditions, individual life history, or genes!

So, lions living in colder climates tend to have denser manes that help retard heat loss, while lions living in hot climates adapt by developing smaller, thinner manes.  The mane-climate conditions are not a result of natural selection, but rather they are a sign of a flexible trait that can be matched to their local conditions.

Okay, that makes sense as our Texas climates tend to be rather warm for our big cats, so they probably would like having less mane.  But there are also other advantages for lions to have less or no manes:  keeping a full mane groomed takes a lot of energy; wild lions with a full mane can easily be seen by prey (which probably explains why the lioness do all the hunting—just kidding!); moving through dense plant growth can be difficult and finally dense full manes can harbor parasites. Believe it or not, there are wild lions living in Tsavo, Kenya that are mane-less!

Did you know that lions have 11 mane fields?  They are:  forehead, throat, upper neck, sideburns, shoulders, sternum, chest, ribs, belly, dorsal crest, and elbows.  Have you ever noticed how much hair grows on these parts of the lion’s body before?  Normally, the development of the lion’s mane begins at the onset of puberty.  Cubs are born without manes as they normally develop around their 18th month or so and continue to grow until he reaches about five years of age. 

If you’d like to read the American Zoo study, you can find the article from the April 2006 Journal of Mammalogy here.

Lions once roamed over most of the world but are now limited to small parts of Africa and India. Only about 22,000-23,000 lions live in the wild today, down from more than 100,000 only 30 years ago. Their numbers have been decimated by human encroachment on their habitats and by conflicts with people.

Lions are currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species; and in West and Central Africa, the species is now classified as “Endangered.”

Lions have vanished from over 80 percent of their historic range and currently exist in 28 countries in Africa and one country in Asia (India). They are extinct in 26 countries. Only 7 countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are believed to each contain more than 1,000 lions.

Now, to answer the question, why doesn’t’ Sabu have a mane?  When Sabu first arrive at his former home, the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO), Sabu did indeed sport a beautiful mane.  The WAO elected to have Sabu neutered in case he was placed in an enclosure with a lioness.  All of the WAO lions were mane-less because they were neutered which resulted in a severe drop to their testosterone level.  Testosterone happens to be the key hormone that promotes lion body hair and mane growth.  So, our handsome Sabu will always remain mane-less.  Out of all the lions, Sabu is the coolest lion during the hot summer months!

We hope you enjoyed this blog posting on our lions’ manes and we look forward to your visit so you can see our lions for yourself!  Mane-less or not, they are all majestic in their own ways! 

Did you find this posting "funny, interesting, or cool?" If yes, please let us know by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below!

Oh, and as a reminder, don't forget to vote for us today in the Green Source DFW Environmental Awards! Amol and all of us from In-Sync Exotics says "Thank You!"

Later in the morning:

Great news!  We are listed as #2 for the Great Nonprofits Top Rated  Animal Welfare 2012 Nonprofits!  Big high-five tiger paws and mighty lion roars to everyone who wrote a review about In-Sync Exotics last month!! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Amol's Nocturnal Habit

Shortly after feeding, just when all the cats begin to settle down for the evening, a large banging sound can be heard coming from Main Street.  First it’s a bang.  Then it’s a thud.  And finally a loud splash emanates from Amol’s quarters.

For the next several hours joyful sounds can be heard from Amol as he engages in his nightly habit of playing with his favorite blue barrel in the tub!

Amol’s evening ritual began shortly after he arrived at In-Sync Exotics on March 22, 2009.  We soon discovered our 12-year old tiger liked to sleep during the day and stay up all night playing around with his favorite toy.  He would wake up right before dinner and explore his quarters, checking out any new “stuff” added to his home while he slept.  Buckets are always interesting diversions, but it’s after dinner when the fun begins…

It's almost dinner time, time to wake up!

"I still have some more explore time before food arrives."

"Gotta look great for the guests!"

"I didn't think they would ever leave!  Now, it's YOU and ME time."

"I've missed you my favorite blue friend..."

"It's time for your bath, you say?  Yep, time to bathe my buddy..."

"Gotta get you nice and clean."

"I can't let you have all the fun my blue friend."

"Life is good when you can spend quality time with your best friend!"

"Hey!  Where's my blue barrel?  Who took away my blue buddy??"

(We are sad to report the demise of Amol's blue barrel)

"Hello, my new best name is Amol.  What's yours?

Amol, like all our cats have unique quirks that make them very special animals.  We hope you can visit Amol on a Night Tour as he often sleeps through the day visits!

Did you find this posting "funny, interesting, or cool?"  If yes, please let us know by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below! 

Oh, and as a reminder, don't forget to vote for us today in the Green Source DFW Environmental Awards!  Amol and all of us from In-Sync Exotics says "Thank You!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Is It About Cats And Boxes?

Where do cats get their fascination with destroying boxes?  It really doesn't matter if they are domestic cats or wild cats, boxes are excellent sources of "fun" for the animals!  We hope you enjoy this week's laugh about how cats interact with their cardboard boxes!

And now a demonstration by Tyjar and he destroys his first box!

We Have a New Intern!

Please welcome our new Intern, Beth Cinadr, as she joins us from Lewisville, Texas!  Beth obtained her degree in Biology and is interning at In-Sync Exotics so she can learn more about exotic wild cats.  She says she has a passion for the cats and hopes to some day work as an exotic wild cat keeper or curator.

Beth is already working hard in the kitchen preparing meals for our wild one--what a great way for an Intern to get to know our cats' daily needs!

Saturday was her first official day with In-Sync Exotics, so please extend a warm welcome to our new intern when you see her working for the animals at In-Sync Exotics...

We hope you enjoyed today's comic relief.  Let us know what you thought of this posting by clicking on one of the "reaction" buttons below!

By the way, today is the last day of the Great Nonprofit Animal Welfare Campaign 2012.  Have you written your review of In-Sync Exotics yet?  No?  Well, you still have some time left!  Please write your review today.

Thank you for your continued support!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Our Wild Cats' Cuisine!

One of the most important duties at In-Sync Exotics is food preparation in the commissary.  We have a lot of hungry mouths to feed and so we have to start preparing their meals earlier in the day so we can start serving them shortly after the sun goes down.  A lot of steps goes into food preparation.  After all, we don’t have the luxury of popping a can top or tugging at string affixed to the feed bag--quite the opposite goes on behind the scenes! So, let’s take a look at what really happens shortly before sundown!

First off, we should mention, that to prepare meals for the animals, one must be able to follow feed instructions to the "letter."  Not all our cats receive the same type or amount of food.  Some cats require special diets and some cats require medication along with their food.  So everyone must be familiar with the feed board.  The feed board lists every animal at In-Sync Exotics along with his or her special dietary needs.  You can see portions of the board in the background of this picture.  Another important skill for our staff  and volunteers is a familiarization with kitchen measurements. 

We have to make sure our animals receive the right amount of food in order to prevent over or under feeding.  So meats are weighed before placed in the feed bowls. In this job, one cannot be squeamish when it comes to handling different types of meats!

At In-Sync Exotics, we make sure our animals receive a variety of meats. 

As the counter fills up with bowls, volunteers move the meals to the "meat mobiles" where the they are loaded up and delivered to cats.  Each animal has his/her own name written on the bowl, so meals do not get mixed up.  

So when the meat mobiles are fully loaded with lots of tasty meals, everyone is off to help feed the animals!  It takes about 2 hours to feed and collect their empty bowls.  It's a lot of hard work for the everyone involved, but the efforts are worth it when you see the excited animals lining up for their dinner.

The animals are usually very excited to receive their feed bowls.  Some cat get a little too excited that they become "bowl possessive," refusing to return their empty feed bowls, so we have to give them their food on cardboard box tops.  Sabu, Sheila, Shazam, Jazz, and Harley love their bowls just a little too much, so they receive their meals on cardboard!



Since it doesn't take the cats long to empty their dishes, the feeders remain with them until they finish and collect their dishes before moving onto the next group of cats.

Nothing makes us happier than to see empty dishes...


...and a satisfied animals.

If preparing meals for big cats sounds like something you might be interested in doing, then join Team In-Sync!  For information, click here.  If you are in the area and would like to watch the exotic cats dine on their pre-dinner bones, then click here for information about our "Night Tour."

Oh, and don't forget!  Our wild ones not only require quality food, but they also require vaccinations!  We are off to a great start with our vaccination drive and we hope you can help us reach our goal before the end of February! 

Thank you very much for helping us keep our animals well fed and healthy! 

PS...if you liked this story, please let us know by clicking one of the "What's Your Reaction" buttons below.  Thanks!

Later in the day:

I'd like to thank Karin Saucedo for submitting these great photos (see below) of food preparation! In a comment posting below, we were asked where the big cats' meals come from.  Well, we purchase meat from Colorado (Triple A), Nebraska, and New Jersey formulated specially for exotic cats  plus we also receive meat from the Wal-mart meat program. 

Great meat for great cats!

Quality Triple A meat ready to be dispersed into cats' feed dishes

Meats are weighed to ensure every cat receives the right amount of food

Some of our senior and geriatric animals require
medicine to keep them in tip top shape 

Visual aid for our staff and volunteers!

Bowls waiting to be washed so as to start the whole process
over again the next day!