Zoo Run Run - Sunday April 14, 2024

Rebekah Tanner

Rebekah Tanner

I am running for the Zoo!

Hello Friends,

I am going to pay the full entry fee for the 2024 Zoo Run Run, plus tee-shirt, etc. myself, so I am NOT actively fundraising. However, if my local zoo is a cause you can get behind with a few of your dollars, please do!  I dislike asking folks about their money in any type of situation, how you use yours is up to you.

Nevertheless -- I am going to ask you to think about something:

The plight of the North American Red Wolf.

Maybe take a minute to learn something new (see links to a few resources at the end of this message).

Here's why:

Some years ago I volunteered at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo as a Zoo Educator. I did that about 50 hours a year for several years, around 2010 to 2015. Then, for several reasons that kind of all came together at the same time, I took a break. Before I got back to giving tours of the zoo, we all found ourselves "on pause" due to a pandemic. In the meanwhile, I have (like everyone else, I guess) grown a bit older. I now have some health-related reasons for not wanting to be with crowds of folks I don't know. So, when I was finally ready to resume as a zoo volunteer, I selected office tasks, instead. Beyond my current volunteerism, I am participating in the Rosamond Gifford Zoo's "Zoo Run Run" this year.

Well, that 's all good, except I am a natural born storyteller / educator and so I am going to use the


to educate about the highly endangered Red Wolves -- Currently, there are only about a total of 250 of them still alive at any known location on Planet Earth. Waya and Evie are the pair at RGZ.

Folks, humans have intervened upon the natural environment in ways that are speeding up changes which might have occurred over vastly longer time frames.... And I am of the opinion that Red Wolves are the "canary in the coal mine" for mammalian species.

Can we conserve, reverse, slow down climate change, desertification, deforestation? I pray so, as I operated from (if I am really going to be honest here) an anthropocentric perspective (https://www.britannica.com/topic/anthropocentrism).

... Oh yes! Back to telling you about my time as a Zoo Educator:

I would sometimes get asked, especially by school children, what is my favorite animal. Like you, that may change depending on any number of factors. Take that quiet, often lazy, Andean Spectacled Bear, Bjorn... I could love him most, very easily! Or how about Abe, the Siamang? He can use his long arms to fly like a trapeze artist high up in the Primate Pavilion. There are the mysteriously glamorous Himalayan Snow Leopards, the Sandhill Cranes with those cool blue-grey colored feathers, and the ever-smiling Red Pandas who share their exhibit space with the tiny Muntjac Deer. I am always eager to visit the area of rocky cliffs and craigs where majestic Markhors reside, carrying their sacred shofar-horns pointing upward toward the heavens....  and more. But the ones who just totally, always, and unchangingly have my heart are the illusive Red Wolves who live in between Tigers and Elephants, as you circle the zoo grounds. Once in a while I have been fortunate enough to capture Waya's image with my Leica V-Lux 5 camera, but usually, they are animals you feel more than see. They are the shy, powerful canines at greatest risk of extinction, and they deserve our attention!

So, here are just a few links. Enjoy encountering some new understandings about these rare and remarkable fellow citizen who live precariously, upon Planet Earth, with us.






Rebekah Tanner,

Syracuse, New York

Rebekah Tanner


On an autumn day in 2023.

Rebekah Tanner