By Vern and Lori Gieger
Wildlife Mexico 911
Approx. a month ago we received a call from a local orphanage, “Love in Action.” A staff member had rescued a young cacomistle. Not wanting any harm to come to it she brought it to the orphanage to show the children, and called us to rescue and relocate it, which we were happy to do. The staff members wasted no time, and asked if we would come to the orphanage and give a wildlife educational presentation to children, as there are not many activities for the kids to do. We thought why not that would be great for the kids.
After all it’s summer and most children are having lots of fun enjoying family vacations, etc. However, not so for the children living in local orphanages; they are often forgotten and shunned. We found summer vacation the perfect time for us to visit the local orphanages and do wildlife educational events. It is something special for them to partake in, and extremely rewarding. Not just because the kids were fascinated by the animals, they were very excited to see, hold and touch the animals and learn about them and their habitat. For some it was the first time they ever seen a wild animal up close, with the exception of the young cacomistle; most of the children asked about the cacomistle. Where did we release it? Was it a boy or girl?
Not only did they learn about wildlife and our environment but also, respect and compassion, which unfortunately is something they themselves have sometimes experienced the lack of. It was amazing to see these kids interact with the animals, they were very attentive, listened to the speakers, and asked lots of questions. It was a pleasure to see the appreciation on their faces.
Few of the children had any fear of the animals, but rather curiosity. They were mesmerized by the snakes and their gentleness. The most popular was of course our big boa St. Jude. Everyone was enamored with her, her size, grace and beautiful colors as she glistened in the sun light.
We donated a framed “ATLAS” poster which features members of the soccer team holding our animals, with a caption promoting the protection of wildlife. Naturally all the kids wanted one, so we donated some unframed posters, which the kids can win by writing an essay about the environment, flora and fauna, why it needs to be protected and preserved and how they can help. Several kids scrambled for their notebooks and pencils!
If you enjoy spending time with kids we recommend this orphanage as well as “Hope House” in Ixtlahuacan. The highlight of our presentation at “Hope House” was a little boy and our turtle; both came out of their shells. The little boy was very timid, afraid of almost everything. He now loves turtles. The sub-director was amazed how the little boy responded. We believe the majority of these kids now have a new appreciation for nature—even the scary critters.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
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