Save the ‘Nix… Save the Cheetahs… It’s all about saving things at the moment.

#SaveTheNix

Anybody who has known me for some time, probably knows that I’m a big fan of the Beautiful Game (football). I’ve always loved having a kick-about, and going to matches when there’s been the chance.

So it makes sense, that along with playing 5-aside every week (when I can) I’d want to try to catch a ‘local’ match… which is pretty difficult when not only is it not that popular of a sport over in New Zealand, but the Kiwis also call it soccer… From a Kiwi perspective (genuine quotes not just my thoughts) it’s not that popular over here because on a world scale, they’re not that good at it – and people prefer to watch the All Blacks, Silver Ferns or Black Caps (rugby, netball and cricket respectively) where they’re more likely to win… Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to watch their team win!

Anyhow, the ‘Nix is Wellington’s football team, aka the Wellington Phoenix – and the ‘best’ New Zealand team. Although they’re the top team in NZ, the ‘Nix are still having some troubles – mainly with funding, as they struggle to fill seats – and now with the FFA (Football Federation Australia) declining their license extension. This means that after the 2015–16 season, the Phoenix can no longer compete in the Hyundai A-League.

As part of the fundraising effort, a campaign was started on Twitter with the hashtag #SaveTheNix

One of the key efforts was the recent match between the Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United, where they aimed to draw a crowd of over 10,000 at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington in support.

As a footy-fan, and willing to support a good cause – and a sport I’ve loved for most of my life – I figured that paying $22 (about £10) for a ticket wasn’t a bad deal. So that Friday, Jen and I headed along, to sit in stand 29, with a great view just off the half-way line. We’d purposely booked tickets to avoid the Yellow Fever stand, as we’d been pre-warned this was the ‘die-hard’ ‘Nix fans area, which means they tend to strip off their yellow jerseys whenever the ‘Nix score.

It wasn’t the best start for the ‘Nix when Adelaide went ahead after just 3 minutes – but the ‘Nix came back strong, amazingly equalising a minute later, then went on to win 4-2.

A great result, and brilliant news that they also drew a crowd of over 13,500!

Sadly this doesn’t look like it’ll change the FFA decision (at this point) so the ‘Nix celebrations were bitter sweet… But bring on Sydney FC at the next home match!

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Pictures – Game play at various points during the match (Wellington Phoenix playing in black, Adelaide in red)

Save the Cheetahs

Thanks to the keepers at Wellington Zoo, you have an awesome job and were great sources of information, plus got us some awesome photos 😀
Also, cheers Jen for providing me with most of the photos in this post!

This year, just like last year, I’m away from home around my birthday – not a bad habit to get into in my opinion! And just like last year, I decided to do something a bit different, this time to go and meet the Cheetahs at Wellington Zoo.

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Picture – view of the chimpanzees, and across Wellington in the background

So the weekend after my birthday, Jen and I headed to the zoo for our mid-morning experience. We had a bit of time to wander the zoo before we went to meet the cheetahs. So we took a walk and checked in with the other animals.

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Pictures:
Tiger prowling his enclosure
Sunbears – wandering towards the keepers in search of food and looking out over the rest of the zoo
Chimpanzees resting and playing in the sun, and catching the fruit thrown in from the keepers
Male lions, just after feeding time
Red Panda exploring the tree-tops
Meerkats keeping a good look out
The Blue Penguins queuing for their food

At 11 – we went in with the 3 keepers (which is really well thought out by the zoo as it means one for each of the cheetahs and one to take photos), and another girl to meet the cheetahs – Canjo and Kunjuka, who were brothers. Cheetahs are known to be the most social of big cats, although this seems to only apply to the males, which is how Canjo and Kunjuka are able to living together long-term.

It was really interesting, and I learned a couple of cool things about the cheetahs that I should probably already have known after watching plenty of David Attenborough documentaries…

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Who knew that the black ‘tear-marks’ around the cheetahs eyes actually reflect the sun glare, as well as working like sights on a rifle to help the cats ‘aim’? Definitely useful, with them being one of the only big cats that hunts during the day.

I think the most stunning thing was when I sat beside Canjo, and stroked his back – and you could not only hear the deep rumble of his purr, but then also to feel it reverberating through his body and along my arm – they have such a power purr, a bit like a soft jackhammer!

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Pictures – Jen and I with Canjo and Kunjuka, the cheetah brothers. It looks like we really shocked him at one point… he’s actually just spotted a bird in the trees!

While we were in with the cheetahs, the keepers also told us about not only how they care for the cats at the zoo, but the efforts they make to support cheetahs in the wild.

One of the programs that they support is the Livestock Guarding Dog program. This program works to reduce the number of cheetahs that are killed by humans – in particular farmers who are trying to protect their livestock from the predatory cheetahs. The Livestock Guarding Dogs are there to protect the animals from the cheetahs, working mainly as a deterrent to scare them off – and in turn, the dogs protect the cheetahs from being shot by the farmers. So far, the scheme has had great success, placing over 450 dogs through Namibia and neighbouring countries in Africa since 1994.

It was great to hear that some of the proceeds from our ‘encounter’ go towards helping cheetahs in the wild through the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund – and also the little things we can look for day-to-day to support endangered species around the world, like supporting the WWF (World Wildlife Fund/World Wide Fund for Nature), buying wood products with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo on them, items such as:
– building materials
– stationery
– toilet paper

Both the WWF and FSC work to manage the environment including the world’s forests and protect the eco-system – by reducing things like deforestation, this protect the natural habitats for animals in the wild.

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Brilliant to know how we can help in such small ways – especially with cheetahs being the most endangered big cat in Africa, with less than 10,000 remaining in the wild!

I’ll definitely be looking out for things that can help in future. And overall, this is a day I won’t be forgetting – and I can’t wait for my visit with the Red Pandas in the New Year!

Brilliant to know how we can help in such small ways – especially with cheetahs being the most endangered big cat in Africa, with less than 10,000 remaining in the wild!

I’ll definitely be looking out for things that can help in future. And overall, this is a day I won’t be forgetting – and I can’t wait for my visit with the Red Pandas in the New Year!

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Picture – Red Panda high-five!