San Diego wildlife center director helps rhinos in Cuba

San Diego wildlife center director helps rhinos in Cuba

SAN DIEGO — Returning animals to the wild is the greatest part of the occupation for Andy Blue.

He’s the director of Ramona Wildlife Heart, a part of Project Wildlife and San Diego Humane Modern society that normally takes care of sick, hurt and orphaned wildlife. The facility focuses on rehabilitating and releasing indigenous apex predators, which include bobcats, coyotes and bears. It is between the four licensed bear rehabilitation facilities in California.

What You Need To Know

  • Black rhinos are critically endangered due to the fact of the demand for their horns
  • Cuba’s Nationwide Zoo is hoping to reproduce extra in captivity, aiding to preserve the species if it goes extinct in the wild
  • The zoo extended a rare invitation to Andy Blue, a powerhouse in the zoological neighborhood about the environment
  • Blue held workshops on animal welfare and enrichment, and shared his know-how on how to make enclosures far more comfortable for the animals

Blue stated a large portion of the career is assessing regardless of whether an animal is prepared to be returned to the wild, or if they require additional time to recover.

“Not only their size, but also how they act,” he mentioned. “We want to make certain they can hunt and forage on their have.”

Blue’s enthusiasm for assisting wildlife is on exhibit all around his office: a photograph of him main a zebra to a clinical technique, a different of him searching right after a infant rhino with an wounded leg, a plaque commemorating 37 decades of dedication to San Diego Zoo International.

Blue began working at the San Diego Zoo Safari park when he was 16 several years old, performing his way up to a curator. Throughout his extensive career at the zoo, he aided layout quite a few of the animal enclosures although transporting animals internationally amongst zoological facilities. He also played a essential purpose in lots of reintroduction systems amid various organizations all-around the entire world.

Blue is a powerhouse in the zoological community, improving upon animal welfare in Russia, Ukraine, Southeast Asia, Latin The usa and the Middle East.  

“Most of my holidays are put in going to other sites,” he admitted with a chuckle.

Cuba’s countrywide zoo extended a rare invitation to Blue to aid with their black rhino breeding program. Black rhinos are critically endangered since of the demand from customers for their horns. The zoo in Havana is hoping to reproduce extra in captivity, supporting to protect the species if it goes extinct in the wild.

Blue reported the embargo versus Cuba will make it tough for staff members to travel to learn animal welfare understanding at other facilities, so he arrived to them. He funds virtually all of his excursions out of his own pocket, gathering supplies the place he can and accepting any donations. For a the latest vacation, he packed suitcases entire of things like medicines for zoo animals and domestic animals, as properly as nutritional vitamins and in excess of-the-counter medicines for individuals.

Blue mentioned items Us residents get for granted, like heartworm treatment for your pet or ibuprofen, are really hard to come across in Cuba.

“Animal men and women seem out for every single other,” he reported. “Them wondering that I’ll appear all the way there and carry all these supplies. They’re so appreciative. To me, that actually would make it. I just want to get almost everything there. I don’t even care how I get residence. I just want to get my things, get it delivered, assist them as ideal as I can, and then go house.”

Blue held workshops on animal welfare and enrichment, and shared his understanding on how to make enclosures more at ease for the animals and methods to just take treatment of any toddlers that are created as a result of their breeding program.

Alexander Arango, a Cuban zoo expert in exotic wildlife, is familiar with the history of each rhino beneath his treatment.

“He’s very tame, he’s quite meek,” Arango explained of 1 of their male black rhinos. “He’s 14 a long time previous. He’s 1 of two males that came from Namibia. They all arrived from the exact spot.”

Arango hopes Blue’s go to will enable them continue to choose care of their animals and increase their results with saving threatened species.

“At initial they’d combat, but not anymore,” Arango reported, describing some of their challenges to Blue. “But he’s matured. [The rhino] was far more immature, and I have read through that’s a person of the reproductive issues they have in the U.S. way too. Let’s hope that the data you gave us will assistance!”

Blue is now back at get the job done, keeping a watchful eye on the animals less than his care, but he’s previously organizing his upcoming excursion to go someplace else to assist.

“We all just want what is finest for the animals. And Cuba, I would say, is one particular of the most welcoming and most appreciative individuals that I’ve worked with,” he explained. “If I can present the most minimal improvement for an animal in an enclosure, it is worth regardless of what the expense to get there.”

Blue suggests he would adore to go back and enable the Havana zoo once a yr. He is making an attempt to determine out how to ship a lot more provides to them 12 months spherical.