Keepers at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, near Aviemore in Scotland, celebrated not one, not two, but THREE polar bear birthdays this Christmas with a grand joint birthday celebration on Friday 11 December.
New girl Victoria, who arrived at the Park in March this year, turned 19 years old, whilst males Arktos was eight and Walker, the baby of the bunch, was seven.
The two male polar bears were gifted a huge ‘play ball’ from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Walker and Arktos became firm friends when they moved in together two years ago, with their playful bromance going from strength to strength. The ball is a whopping 70cm in diameter and is specially made for large animals like polar bears. Not to be outdone, the female Victoria was treated to a special frozen birthday cake made from ice and fish.
Vicky Larkin, Head Carnivore Keeper at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said: “Although they often are given a range of polar bear-friendly toys, this is the first time we’ve given Walker and Arktos, our very playful male polar bears, a huge ball specially made for large powerful animals and we were extremely excited to see their reaction. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery who kindly donated the enrichment item, we were able to purchase and import this special toy. Arktos had a wonderful time rolling the ball around their huge six acre enclosure and playing with it in their pond; it was and will continue to be great exercise and help the males to stay fit and healthy.
“All the animals at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park that require it regularly enjoy a programme of ever-evolving enrichment to provide extra stimulation and help facilitate natural, species-typical behaviour, enhancing physical and mental well-being. Our girl Victoria is a much calmer bear and enjoyed eating her cake, although I’m sure the boys won’t mind sharing their nice new toy with her.”
Barbara Smith, Managing Director for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “RZSS has already received £300,000 from players of People’s Postcode Lottery since the beginning of 2014, and is receiving another £200,000 in 2016. The fantastic support from the players not only helps with projects around RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, but also contributes to the charitable work of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland across the world.”
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said “We are delighted to have donated the green enrichment ball to Walker and Arktos, RZSS Highland Wildlife Park’s resident male polar bears. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have so far raised over £500,000 for RZSS, helping support animals in both parks and the charity’s conservation work, both in Scotland and in over 20 countries around the world.”
Polar bears are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and are under increasing threat due to the loss of their natural habitat as a result of climate change. They are the largest land carnivore with adults reaching 2.6m in length and they are found in the very north of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia.
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .