Saturday, August 31

Feeding Practice of Bear Safari Business Sent the Wrong Message

Screen capture of CBC story image on MSNBC story
The story about a safari operator in New Brunswick who is hand-feeding black bear as part of the tours he offers made it around the world before it was reported on CBC that he would stop the practice, after a wildlife biologist described it as "asinine" and dangerous. It is the right thing to do.

We teach our children not to feed wild animals. What message does it send in an age when travellers want to make a difference in their choice of activities during their holidays. What questions do travellers ask themselves? How does this practice benefit the local community? Presumably, this brings revenue for a local entrepreneur and perhaps for those who provide them food and accommodation services for the duration of their stay.

The practice benefits the community economically, but only marginally at a social level.  From a fairly universally agreed upon principle expressing the need to keep wild animals wild because wild animals fear humans -- and animals who are used to humans don't -- this practice sends the wrong message.

Lastly, from an environmental perspective, the practice also sends the wrong message because it ultimately puts the bear's lives at risk. A bear who is used to humans will learn to come to them first in times of need.

People in different places think of bear differently. Some think of them as scavengers who visit the dump to feed and destroy crops in the fall to do the same. It's is true. They can be pests to some, and seem like pets to others. I prefer viewing bear in the wild. I believe that's when they look their best. From a tourism branding perspective, it is also a more attractive product.

Camping in Alberta: Albertans Take Advantage of Summer's Last Long Weekend

Children playing in the public fountain downtown Drumheller

There is a good likelihood that Albertans are taking advantage of summer's last long weekend right now by going camping. The current hot spell takes away from the need to plan for fall, and CBC is reporting that despite the short availability of campsites in the most popular of the province's campgrounds, there are likely quite a few more off-the-beaten path locations where last minute campers might just find an ideal spot for them to enjoy.

So enjoy... This isn't going to last forever... Winter is just around the corner!

Harness Racing Touch of Class: Red Shores Racetrack & Casino in Charlottetown

Difficult to ignore a tradition with such deep roots. Harness racing is a big deal on PEI. Everyone has a relative or friend who is in one way or another associated with the industry.

While few trainers manage to earn a full-time living through harness racing, but it is something horse owners, trainers, grooms and drivers are willing to support, because it is part of who they are.

They have a top notch facility at Red Shores, including some rather significant built heritage works.

But it takes more than tradition to build dreams. Red Shores claims to be the first state-of-the-art entertainment facility in Atlantic Canada which combines Harness Racing, Dining and Gaming all under one roof.

Well, there is a lot of truth that claim: excellent food, great live entertainment and off the track -- the budding cruise ship capacity in town is no stranger to the high dreams of success that are rather contagious around here.

Kudos to Charlottetown and to those business leaders in the city who have figured out that authenticity of experience is what every success is made of in tourism.

Granby Zoo Truly Impresses Returning Visitor After A 40-Year Absence

The zebra section at Granby Zoo never ceases to be a hit with children, young and old
Sad to say but it has been that long since I was at the Granby Zoo last, in the early 70s. Growing-up in Quebec, the Zoo was part of the ethos of a generation of children who believed that it had to be the best zoo in the world. Going to visit the zoo as a family was the next best thing to taking a holiday as a family. It likely would get hot, there would be funny animals to look at, a little bit of stench, it would be great!

Well recently, I did that again with my own family. Le Zoo de Granby did not disappoint. My first impression was that this was a "serious" zoo. I guess the zoo expanded over the years, just as my expectations of what a modern-day zoo should be like today had evolved to be. Great facilities, great programs for children and families, and that Amazoo Waterpark just blew me away.

This was more than I expected. When planning a visit to the zoo next time, I will be sure to schedule in a couple of days for a more complete experience. To be honest, it was nice to discover that even adults who can become jaded about going to the zoo, can still find a little bit of childhood in their heart when they travel to Granby.