Build-A-Bear and Educating Children About Endangered Animals

I discovered a few interesting facts involving endangered animals that I wanted to share.  I’ve had endangered animals on my mind since the boys and I visited our zoo last weekend.  We never miss an opportunity to discuss animal issues, especially when we say hi to the tigers that Francesco believed he’s rescued from extinction from his birthday party donations.  The boys mentioned at the zoo that perhaps it would be nice to save a different animal species at his birthday party next year.  The impact and dialogue that resulted from Francesco requesting donations in lieu of gifts, just continues to build.  Every hawk/eagle that circles the sky, one of my boys always comments that we’ll have to save them next.  I love that they are thinking of helping animals above the fun of receiving presents. I’m still receiving positive comments and feedback from parents about this idea.

The highlight of our zoo visit is the miniature train you can ride that tours the entire zoo.  The part that I enjoy the most is the train conductor who gives interesting and adorable animal facts over their loud speaker while driving the train.  They are such cute bits of information for the kids – here are a few:

♦  All zebras have the same number of stripes…they are just organized in a different pattern on each zebra.

◊  If you shaved all the fur off a tiger, the stripe pattern would still be visible on their skin.

♦  Flamingos are not naturally pink.  The alpha and beta-carotene in their diet makes them this color…without it they would be gray.

◊  A giraffe’s heart weighs 25 lbs.  Also, a  giraffe only sleeps for 1/2 hour per day (24 hour period).  If a giraffe naps for 1 minute…that is considered a deep sleep.  (Yikes!!)

♦  And lastly, what started me on this topic – the Siberian Tigers at our zoo, will likely be extinct in the wild by the year 2010.  Right now they are considered extremely endangered.

Francesco has always loved those tigers at the Vancouver Zoo and it makes us so sad to think about how endangered their species is.  It got me thinking that a ‘softer’ way to introduce a younger child to the plight of endangered animals is to engage them in a really fun activity.  Take them to Build-A-Bear!  This may sound like a contradiction to most Eco activities, but we are talking about a great way to provide information and education without the child even realizing it.  Build-A-Bear makes it easy by featuring World Wildlife Fun Friends.  For every animal purchased in their WWF Collection, Build-A-Bear will donate $1 to the World Wildlife Fund.  What a great idea! 

hmmmm ..can you imagine if Webkinz did the same thing?  With how many Webkinz creatures they sell…the dollar amount would be incredible!  I’m just thinking out loud, but I might need to send off an email.  <smile>

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