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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seeking the wild

I love wildlife and animals. When I was younger I wanted to be a Veterinarian or zoo keeper. During my late teens and early twenties I worked as a vet assistant/kennel worker and realized I would never have the heart to deal with seeing injured or sick pets on a daily basis. Having to put Rover to sleep because he was hit by a car, neglected by his owner or has made it to the end of a long and great life was just to much for this girl to bear.

Later life took over and the thought of starting college and studying biology, zoology and what not was not a viable option at that point.

As it turns out life has a funny way of always bringing you back to your passions.

As a writer/photographer for the Coastal Courier newspaper in Hinesville, Georgia I've gotten the opportunity to work closely with our local animal shelter writing stories on their behalf, creating adoption videos and even adopting two of their shelter pets.

Last year and just this past Monday I also got the opportunity to travel by boat to St. Catherines Island.

It's a privately owned island off our county's (Liberty County) coast. It is managed by a foundation exclusively for archeological studies, historic preservation and a wildlife survival center for endangered exotic animals.

During my visit last year I learned about the archeological digs conducted in the ealry 1980s which led to the discovery of a Spanish mission dating back to the early 1500s. I also learned about the current studies on the Native American shell mounds and the early days when the slaves from Africa worked the land yet continued to cultivate and live by their Gullah/Geechee ways.

Last year and on Monday I interacted with Ring-tailed lemurs brought from Madagascar. Last year I was introduced to the majestic Asian hornbills and returned on Monday to see a newly hatched chick.

I stood inside a pen which housed a Southern helmeted currasow from Central America and another which housed the most unique Palm Cockatoo I've ever seen.

Deer roamed freely throughout the island and animal curator Von Kment gave me a tour of the hartebeest, zebras and lesser kudus at the center.

It was just amazing. I traveled all over the world visiting exotic animals of all species-all in one boat ride-awesome.

Here are a few pictures from last year: http://www.facebook.com/patty.leon#!/album.php?aid=25195&id=1431821683

Here is a link to see my recent trip on Monday: http://community.coastalcourier.com/gallery/detail/899/
If you want to see the videos from last year check out my you tube page at:
http://www.youtube.com/user/devo2u
Scroll down the list of my vidoes and you'll find the ones from St. Catherines Island.

Here is a link to the story about my recent trip. The story is posted on our Coastal Courier web-site along with three new videos. There are a few more stories to go but I wanted to share the experience.
http://www.coastalcourier.com/news/article/23400/

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