Accustomed to accolades and adoration, new age composer and performer Yanni was presented the most extraordinary gift of a panda, given to him in gratitude by the country of China. The honor of performing in the Forbidden City required first meeting personally with the Chinese Minister of Culture; which evidently went smoothly as the show indeed went on and the Chinese now teach their children Yanni’s music. Although Yanni promptly named the animal Santorini, after the “most beautiful island in Greece” (his native homeland), Yanni explains that the female panda is not kept at his home but at an exclusive reserve in China, for she is an endangered animal.
In 2011 a golden retriever named Yogi was awarded Valor Dog of the Year by the United States Humane Society for saving his owner Paul Horton’s life after a mountain bike accident. Regaining consciousness but immobile, Horton talked a reluctant Yogi into leaving his side to go for help, which the outstanding dog did; resulting in his Horton’s subsequent rescue.
Established as the world’s first national park in 1872 (although the National Park Service (NPS) wasn’t created until 1916), Yellowstone National Park remains a treasured sanctuary of ancient richness in both nature and cultural diversity through careful planning and thoughtful management, unforeseen disasters notwithstanding. After a geological survey in 1871, Ferdinand Hayden expressed the importance of allowing the area to remain “as free as the air or water” offering little thought to the welfare of the prolific wildlife population, a subject which would come to an alarming forefront when elk were being poached out of existence and hungry bears turned their attention to park visitors. Once the NPS had that under control it wasn’t until the ‘Summer of Fire’ in 1988; when over 780 thousand acres burned with hundreds of wildlife killed and all but a few displaced, that the NPS once again had their hands full.
Meanwhile, due to practiced Predator Control both in and outside the park, the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves had been virtually eradicated within the boundaries of Yellowstone. 1995 saw the beginning of the wolf restoration project when initially fourteen were reintroduced, inciting the onset of exciting ecological changes such as increases in beaver colonies and elk populations. Additionally, as the elk are once again on the move without as much time for browsing (thanks to the wolves), the Willows along the streams are faring much better and the entire ecosystem is once again flourishing.
Are you a fan of Yanni? How about that Valor dog? Had you heard about the Yellowstone wolves?