Top 6 Vacation Spots With Hands-On Animal Conservation ProgramsThese hotels turn well-deserved relaxation into a virtuous endeavor by offering guests the chance to help preserve local wildlife in between dips in the pool.
There are lots of reasons to vacation: stress release, exposure to new foods and cultures, quality time spent with loved ones -- and saving animals.
These hotels -- plus a cruise ship -- turn well-deserved relaxation into a virtuous endeavor through partnerships with science foundations and academic institutions, offering guests the chance to help preserve local wildlife in between dips in the pool.
Le Méridien Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The Animals: Green sea turtles and hawksbill marine turtles
The Place: Le Méridien Bora Bora is a sanctuary that attracts honeymooners and relaxation seekers alike, who can sleep in thatched overwater bungalows and swim with sharks and stingrays in impossibly turquoise waters.
The Program: The resort has been actively involved with marine turtle conservation since 2000 by partnering with Bora Bora's Ministry and the Delegation of the Environment to create a Turtle Observatory and an enclosed Turtle Sanctuary in the resort's private lagoon. Along with more than 100 species of tropical fish, the endangered turtles are bred for three years or rehabilitated and released. Guests can "adopt" turtles and track their progress, and this June, the hotel is unveiling an Ecological Center, complete with on-site biologists and veterinarians, a rehabilitation center and a kids touch pool filled with starfish.
Biras Creek, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
The Animals: Paso fino horses and bay horses
The Place: Compared with other Caribbean islands, Virgin Gorda has seen little development. In fact, the beachfront Biras Creek is one of just two upscale resorts on the island, with 31 suites and 140 acres for guests seeking privacy. (The owners of the property, Pam and David Johnson, have also made conservation efforts a priority at their stateside property in Michigan, Bay Harbor Resort.)
The Program: The resort currently houses five rescue horses who are being nursed back to health, including a 23-year-old former racehorse named Sorbetto (Spanish for "strong"), an 11-year-old former street racer named Fugitive and 7-year-old Kid, who was bred for show but discarded because of an imperfect gait. Guests can visit with the horses and their on-site trainer, as well as help feed and care for the animals.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Peru
The Animals: Spectacled or Andean bears
The Place: Located in the Cusco region of Peru, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is composed of private casitas set on 12 acres of rolling hills, with views of the Vilcanota River.
The Program: Inkaterra just won the 2012 prize for conservation at this year's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which makes sense considering it's been all about sustainability for the past 37 years. Since 1975, the hotel group has worked with notable organizations like the University of Leeds to nurture and preserve orchids, hummingbirds, butterflies and the cloud forest.
In Machu Picchu, their Wildlife Rescue Center focuses on spectacled or Andean bears, which are in danger of extinction. Currently, there are three bears on location, including an 11-month-old cub who was rescued from poachers. Guests can visit and learn about the bears at the rehab center.
pics, advice, info and stories for pet lovers
A recent study shows why
Not many leading ladies have four legs, lots of hair and, well, dog breath. But that hasn’t stopped Chris Naka from posing alongside office pooch Wrigley in a series of pictures recreating iconic scenes from romantic movies. Naka, 30, told Today that the fun began when he and his creative coworkers at the Blue Man Group in Chicago decided to use the last few minutes of their lunch break to pose their boss’ dog with him in a scene from Titanic. And an idea was born. “Someone printed a bunch of our early pictures, posted them in the green room, and folks from all over the theater started sending emails with movie suggestions,” he said. Check out some of their funny (and bizarre) pictures here.
We talked to 122 veterinary professionals and got their take on which canines are the smartest of them all.
This year, Animal Planet is pulling out all the stops for Puppy Bowl X. The tenth-anniversary extravaganza promises penguin cheerleaders, canine first responders singing the National Anthem, and special appearances by Lil Bub and Keyboard Cat, who will be performing a piano-filled rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” during the kitten halftime show. Best of all, continuing the tradition of showcasing adoptable pets, all the puppy players are up for adoption or have already found forever families. We’re hoping that the pups are watching themselves on TV from the comfort of their new homes. The main event starts at 3 p.m. EST on February 2 on Animal Planet. As you wait for the most anticipated event of the season, check out the starting lineup of some of our favorite Puppy Bowl players. And be sure to head to the Animal Planet site later this month to create your own Puppy Bowl fantasy league. Out of 11 all-star puppies, participants will be able to pick a fantasy team of three players.
Walter the otter is settling into his new home
We recently listed the top five smartest dog breeds as chosen by veterinary professionals, and, unsurprisingly, our readers were quick to comment on other breeds that show enormous intelligence. Now we're sharing another result from that survey of 122 veterinary professionals. We aren't going to say "least intelligent" because all dogs have their own kind of genius, right? But we will say that in the opinion of the surveyed veterinary professionals, the breeds named here aren't necessarily known for their cleverness even if they are known for having many wonderful characteristics. Of course, please know that in no way are we saying these dogs aren't smart or aren't trainable. They just might not keep up with the Border Collie in their obedience class. And that's OK — whether our pets sit at the front of the class or flunk out of puppy school, we love them just the same.
Typically, cats don't rush up and bombard you with kisses like some dogs, but many do display genuine friendliness. Happy-to-be-with-you cats range from the demure lap lounger to the chatty feline who escorts you from room to room. Vetstreet shines the spotlight on nine feline breeds with stellar reputations for thoroughly enjoying the company of their favorite people.
Do you find it hard to sit still? Would you rather spend your time running and playing and working outdoors instead of lounging at home on the couch? If so, you may have met your match in these breeds. We polled 122 veterinary experts to get their opinions on which dog breeds are the most energetic. Here are the five that received the most votes!