Australian Animals In The Spotlight At CVH Foundation Fundraiser
To heighten public awareness about the plight of Australian animals amid the perils of drought and wildfires, and also to raise funds toward those animals’ preservation, the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation (CVHF) on January 19 held a fundraising program at which both some indigenous and invasive species of that continent were on display.
The program was titled “Tell Australia That We Are Kind.” The approximately $2,000 raised in donations at the event will be sent to WIRES, which is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization, according to CVHF. The program, which was held at Newtown Community Center, attracted about 125 people, many of them children.
Naturalist Chris Evers, who heads Animal Embassy, a Stamford-based group that educates the public about animal life, presented the event in the center’s spacious multipurpose room.
Animal Embassy specializes in hands-on, educational, and interactive experiences for students of all ages, varying needs, and special abilities, according to the group. Animal Embassy has rescued or adopted more than 500 exotic animals over the years and currently maintains over 100 non-releasable animals in educational exhibits, including small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, arachnids, and insects.
From covered containers, Mr Evers removed a series of exotic animals, which he then displayed while walking around the room, allowing volunteers to hold the animals under discussion. The strobes on many cameras flashed as several photographers captured still images of the docile creatures. Many people also used smartphones to record video clips of the unusual critters being shown.
Mr Evers quipped that there were no kangaroos or koala bears available for display, so spectators would have to make do with some less exotic species.
Among the animals shown was Sydney, a bright green parrot with striking vocal abilities. Although the bird has never been to Australia, he is similar to parrots who live there, Mr Evers said. “Sydney likes people who are calm,” Mr Evers said, as he allowed the bird to perch on the hands of volunteers Lyle, Luke, and Tess.
He next displayed a cane toad, a type of large toad which was introduced into Australia and is considered an invasive species. The cane toad was brought to Australia in the 1930s to be a predator of the beetles that infest sugar cane.
The naturalist also displayed a tree frog, an incredibly adhesive species that he placed on a wall, where it stuck to the vertical surface.
Mr Evers then displayed a Flemish giant rabbit, another species which was introduced to Australia. Such rabbits can weigh more than 20 pounds.
Also shown were a variety of python snakes, one of which was so bulky that it took three people to hold it up for display.