There’s just that “something” about looking a tortoise in the eye. I’ve never met one I didn’t like. Yesterday, that record continued. I can’t remember his name, but he was a tortoise of considerable dimensions. Of course, I had to ask him what he weighed. “Eighty pounds and counting,” he said slowly.
This wasn’t just some chance encounter at Kroger’s in the Produce Department. No, we took a visit to Wild Hearts African Farm, right here in Preble County. Lewisburg, Ohio, to be exact. Yet. It was like we stepped out a Preble County for a couple of hours. Mary, her grandsons, and I, were treated to a guided tour in the morning. It was an amazing place.
We met an African Hornbill right off that bat. She’s a bird, not a bat. And her name is Bebe. She had quite the personality. And one heck of a bill. From there we were pleasantly pricked by a Hedgehog, wowed by Bald Eagles and Red Tailed Hawks. We fed the worlds largest rodents. Patagonian Cavies. They looked like 50 pound mice-bunnies. There were owls with big old feathers for heads, tortoises, goats, a very big pig who suffered from fat blindness. And then, so much more. Oh, the porcupine. I can’t forget the porcupine. I fed her bananas and petted her quills.
A magical visit from start to finish.
Yet. The most incredible thing, were the people. Wild Hearts African Farm and Petting Zoo is operated by Amanda and Brian Badger. Brian is the Director of Conservation and Outreach for the Cheetah Conservation Fund. And, of course, the Founder and President of Wild Hearts Zoological Society, Amazing Amanda. Both are wildly knowledgeable on Conservation, and the world of African animals.
There were also a host of young, bright-eyed interns, who showed great poise, capability, and knowledge.
All of them truly have a passion for their work, and it shows. The grounds, and the conditions of the animals were meticulous. This is another one of Preble County’s Gems, that I simply cannot believe is actually right here, in our small rural community. It is completely rocking.
So mostly, I write in thanks. I am grateful that we have such an incredible learning tool in our community. I hope through their work, they are able to broaden the awareness of the great need to care for these animals, ALL animals, and our planet.
It should be the responsibility of all thinking people. To care for ourselves and our fellow inhabitants. There is a lot of greed in the world, and individuals seeking personal gain. Their practices seem to be getting in the way of conservation and preservation. We continue on a path which is destroying the earth’s irreplaceable resources. I wish they would understand that everything is connected, and we need to care for the well-being of the earth as a whole. All life has just one home. That’s our planet earth. We humans must hold it in our hands with care.
So. A big, big thanks to Wild Hearts, for doing what they do. And bringing more light into this world.
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
― Gary Snyder
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.”
― Kurt Vonnegut