Traveler’s Aid Volunteer Coordinator Megan Chapman (left) says it’s seniors like Paul and Kim Sanders who help travelers coming in and out of Will Rogers World Airport every day.

Volunteers help travelers on their way

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

When Paul and Kim Sanders retired they wanted to volunteer.
The first assignment they found was stuffing envelopes for an upcoming local fundraiser.
It wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.
“The majority of my life I’ve been an outside salesperson,” Paul Sanders explained. “Sitting in an office just wasn’t my cup of tea.”
But while he was volunteering he did strike up a conversation with someone who volunteered at Will Rogers World Airport.
An invitation was extended and he decided to give it a try.
It’s been eight years now since Sanders – and eventually wife Kim – began manning the Traveler’s Aid welcome centers at Will Rogers World Airport.
And for both of them it’s one of the highlights of their week.
“It’s a lot of fun. We have a good time,” Kim Sanders said. “We meet different people. Everyone who comes through with questions is always friendly.”
The Sanders’ and around 70 others volunteer their time each week to man one of the welcome center booths – one on the main terminal level and the other by baggage claim.
Will Rogers World Airport sees around four million passengers annually.
That’s a lot of coming and going and volunteers like Paul and Kim are in the thick of it.
NBA stars, mayors from other cities and TV personalities – are just a few of the people that have come to Paul over the years looking for help.
“It’s a fun experience and it’s only four hours a day so you’re not tied down,” Paul said. “It’s a four-hour shift so if you’ve got to be gone or going on a trip … we’ve got people who can come in.”
Upward Transitions (formerly Traveler’s Aid) runs the visitor’s center at Will Rogers World Airport. For more than 90 years, Upward Transitions has touched the lives of Oklahomans, elevating those in need, stranded or homeless to a position of self-sufficiency.
Upward Transitions was founded in 1925 as Travelers Aid and was one of the first agencies to become a member of the United Way of Central Oklahoma. The group receives support from a diverse set of funding sources including the United Way, private foundations, federal, county and city grants.
Megan Chapman serves as the Traveler’s Aid Volunteer Coordinator.
“One of the things that we have the opportunity to do that not a lot of agencies can do is we can provide financial assistance for stranded travelers,” Chapman said. “It could be anything from you getting pickpocketed on your way here and you can’t pay for a taxi. We do help stranded traveler’s get home. That’s our mission of our agency both here and downtown – to bring people home.”
Chapman said her organization has been called on to help victims of domestic violence often find their way to the airport. Those stranded at the airport overnight or facing personal emergencies can also turn to the group.
And they’re greeted largely by senior volunteers trained to make things a littler easier.
“I’m always looking for people who are friendly,” Chapman said. “This is an interactive position. It’s not sitting in an office stuffing envelopes and doing mailings. The needs are greater. People are looking for lost baggage or a place to eat.”
“Often our volunteers are the first face people see or the first person someone talks to when they arrive in Oklahoma. We’re kind of looking for people who want to be ambassadors of Oklahoma City and the airport.”
Chapman was a Will Rogers airport volunteer after six years in the Navy. She loved the experience and a year into her service the position of director came open.
“The reason I love airports isn’t the airplanes – don’t get me wrong, I still have a heart for aviation – but it’s because of the people,” Chapman said. “You meet so many people. Everyone in here has a story whether they’re traveling through on vacation or grieving the loss of a loved one. We like to find out what their stories are.”
That’s the hook for Kim, whose smile automatically lights up a room.
“It gets us out and it helps other people,” Kim said. “When you get done at night you’ve done something. And here it’s something different every time. It’s not like an office. You never know what’s going to happen.”
For more information on how to volunteer you can contact Chapman at 405-232-5507, extension 107.

Mark Macklin, RN, BSN and AllianceHealth Midwest cath lab staff are on the cutting edge of cardiac care in Oklahoma.

AllianceHealth outcomes change lives

by Bobby Anderson,
Staff Writer

The message sent to the Midwest City community a few months back was resounding.
More than two years of work and planning by multiple AllianceHealth Midwest departments culminated in a prestigious accolade that will benefit patients throughout the metro.
For the first time, the hospital received full Chest Pain Center with PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.
“Essentially what it did was validated to our community we were serious about our cardiology program and our treatment and our evaluation of chest pain patients,” said Mark Macklin, RN, BSN, cardiology director and chest pain coordinator. “This has always been a community-based hospital and it was important for us to relay that to the community that we had committed ourselves to improving in those particular areas.”
To receive accreditation, AllianceHealth Midwest demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and completing on-site evaluation by a SCPC review team.
AllianceHealth Midwest is the only hospital in the state of Oklahoma to receive this level of accreditation.
“This accreditation is another large step in our commitment to providing superior emergency and cardiac care to the residents of Midwest City and Eastern Oklahoma County” said Damon Brown, CEO, AllianceHealth Midwest. “This accreditation was made possible because of the dedicated work and commitment of a multi-disciplinary team that included employees, physicians and paramedics.”
Macklin has spent the last 12 of 22 years in nursing in cardiac care after an emergency medicine and trauma background.
And he’s seen cardiac care come to the forefront.
“Any community in Oklahoma, cardiovascular disease is going to be a primary focus,” Macklin said. “Particularly for the process of chest pain accreditation it was important for us because of our volume throughputs, lengths of stay and those issues that we standardized the process so patients are treated not exactly the same but at least within the same guidelines and standards … so we don’t miss small things along the way.”
Macklin stressed that the purpose of obtaining chest pain accreditation wasn’t to just put the emblem on the paperwork. The process was one the entire AllianceHealth system has committed to in order to improve its processes and insure better outcomes.
“What it tells (the community) is that along with the accreditation process is the process of ongoing performance improvement and what might be standard of care today is fluid and those standards change annually, even more often than not based on evidence-based practice and clinical research.
“We have cardiologists that embrace the recommendations that come out of the American College of Cardiology and published literature.”
Macklin likes to use the phrase “parking lot to parking lot” to describe the program.
The program simply doesn’t work if all departments don’t work together.
“It’s not just an emergency process, it’s not just a cath lab process and it’s not just an inpatient observation process,” Macklin said.
That became obvious during the entire accreditation process.
“What we identified early on in the process was we were already pretty good at the acute MI,” Macklin said. “What we identified through the process and our surveyor’s neutral eyes was that our biggest opportunity was our EMS arrivals and starting to take those EMS patients who were acutely myocardial infarcting … straight to the cath labs, shaving 20 sometimes 30-times off our perfusion times.
“That’s been our biggest improvement you can see on a daily basis. We’ve empowered EMS … that if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck call it a duck and we’ll take them to the lab.”
The process is ongoing.
Macklin knows time is muscle and staff are always up against the clock.
The pride comes through the continual refinement of the process.
Representatives from every department met regularly through the accreditation process and still are called back in to maintain improvement.
“This is a group of people who aren’t afraid to call s omebody out and it’s a group that isn’t afraid to tell you what they need,” Macklin said. “This is a team sport.”
Certification lasts for two years but statistics are monitored monthly by the accreditation agency.
Ongoing employee education and community education are tenets of maintaining certifications.
And the process for recertification has already begun.
And everyone is involved.

Floyd Cross cancer survivor.

The seventh annual Cross Family Benefit for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will be held on May 7 in Kingfisher. Cowboys from across the country will saddle up to raise money for cancer research and also to honor the life of Floyd Cross.
Cross battled – and defeated – recurring bouts of colon and liver cancer for 12 years before passing away in 2016. The Cross family continues to fight the disease in his honor by raising funds to support cancer research at OMRF.
“The Cross family is a great example of how Oklahomans can do something meaningful to help combat diseases like cancer,” said OMRF Vice President of Development Penny Voss. “Grassroots efforts like this one make a big difference in giving momentum to the world-class research happening right here in Oklahoma City.” In addition to the steer wrestling competition and t-shirt sales, raffle tickets will be sold for $1 or six for $5 for a wide variety of prizes. A weekend getaway to Red River, New Mexico, will be up for auction. The event will be held at 1 p.m. at the Kingfisher Rodeo Roundup Club Arena. To enter or for more information, call Sherrie Cross at (405) 375-4872 or (405) 313-1776. The books are open from 10 a.m. until noon on May 7. Admission is free.

Oklahoma’s seniors are the perfect target for con artists. Many of them have a “nest egg,” own their own home and have excellent credit. This summer the Oklahoma Insurance Department is arming seniors with the tools they need to protect themselves from fraud.
“Scam artists exploit the very traits in our older citizens that we love so much,” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said. “Seniors were taught to be polite and trusting. But we’re teaching them techniques and giving real-life examples to help them be mindful of the risks involving insurance and many other interactions and decisions.”
A panel of experts will fan out across the state to share information and advice in seven different cities in June and July. These Senior Fraud Conferences include topics on insurance fraud, Medicare fraud, investment fraud, banking fraud and current senior scams.
Some red flags that attendees will learn about include:
· Unrequested calls from Medicare or Social Security. Fraudsters claim to be with these offices asking for financial or other personal information to get beneficiaries a new card or better benefits. These are almost always a scam.
· Pressure to act quickly. If an offer is legitimate, it will still be there tomorrow.
· Unsolicited offers for free money or fast cash. A promise of lottery winnings and guaranteed returns from an unknown inheritance are likely scams.
· If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scam artists have a knack for making people believe they’ll be better off if they take the deal.
Each seminar is free for seniors and includes breakfast. Insurance professionals can attend a conference for four hours of Continuing Education (CE) credit. The cost for CE credit is $30.
The conferences are partially funded by the Administration on Community Living’s Senior Medicare Patrol grant. To attend, please RSVP by registering online at map.oid.ok.gov or by calling 800-763-2828.

June 1 – Pauls Valley
Donald W. Reynolds Recreation Center
1005 N. Willow
Pauls Valley, OK 73075

June 6 – Altus
Privett Event Center
1320 North Forrest
Altus, OK 73521

June 15 – Oklahoma City
Tower Hotel
3233 N.W. Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

June 27 – Tulsa
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E. 71st St.
Tulsa, OK 74136
June 28 – Grove
Grand Lake Event Center
26301 S. 655 Rd.
Grove, OK 74344
(Next to Grand Lake Casino Lodge and 1.5 miles south of Grand Lake Casino on Highway 10)

July 20 – Elk City
Western Technology Center
301 Western Dr., Rooms 103 & 104
Elk City, OK 73644

July 26 – Tahlequah
Go Ye Village
1201 W. 4th St.
Tahlequah, OK 74464

Can I Inherit My Parent’s Debt?

Dear Savvy Senior,

What happens to a person’s debt after they die? My mother has taken on a lot of medical and credit card over the past few years and I’m worried that my brother and I will be responsible for it when she dies. What can you tell me?

Worried Daughter

Dear Worried,
In most cases when a person with debt dies, it’s their estate, not their kids, that is legally responsible. Here’s how it works.
When your mom dies, her estate – which consists of the stuff she owns while she’s alive (home, car, cash, etc.) – will be responsible for paying her debts. If she doesn’t have enough cash to pay her debts, you’ll have to sell her assets and pay off her creditors with the proceeds.
Whatever is left over is passed along to her heirs as dictated by the terms of her will, if she has one. If she doesn’t have a will, the intestacy laws of the state she resides in will determine how her estate will be distributed.
If, however, she dies broke, or there isn’t enough money left over to pay her “unsecured debts” – credit cards, medical bills, personal loans – then her estate is declared insolvent, and her creditors will have to eat the loss.
“Secured debts” – loans attached to an asset such as a house or a car – are a different story. If she has a mortgage or car loan when she dies, those monthly payments will need to be made by her estate or heirs, or the lender can seize the property.
There are, however, a couple of exceptions that would make you legally responsible for her debt after she passes away. One is if you are a joint holder on a credit card account that she owes on. And the other is if you co-signed a loan with her.
NOTE TO SPOUSES: These same debt inheritance rules apply to surviving spouses too, unless you live in a community property state – Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin. In these states, any debts that one spouse acquires after the start of a marriage belongs to the other spouse too. Therefore, spouses in community property states are usually responsible for their deceased spouses debts.
Protected Assets
If your mom has any IRAs, 401(k)s, brokerage accounts, life insurance policies or employer-based pension plans, these are assets that creditors usually cannot get access to. That’s because these accounts typically have designated beneficiaries, and the money goes directly to those people without passing through the estate.
Settling Her Estate
You also need to be aware that if your mom dies with debt, and she has no assets, settling her estate should be fairly simple. Her executor will need to send out letters to her creditors explaining the situation, including a copy of her death certificate, and that will probably take care of it. But, you and your brother may still have to deal with aggressive debt collectors who try to guilt you into paying.
If your mom has some assets, but not enough to pay all her debts, her state’s probate court has a distinct list of what bills get priority. The details vary by state, but generally estate administrating fees, funeral expenses, taxes and last illness medical bills get paid first, followed by secured debts and lastly, credit card debts.
Need Help?
If you have questions regarding your situation, you should consult with a consumer law attorney or probate attorney. Or, if you just need a question or two answered, call your state’s legal hotline if available (see LegalHotlines.org), or legal services provider.

Dear Savvy Senior,

What types of products can you recommend to help people with hearing problems? My 65-year-old husband has some hearing issues, but doesn’t think he needs a hearing aid, so I’m looking for some alternative devices that can help.

Loud Talker

Dear Loud,
If your husband feels he’s not ready for a hearing aid but needs some hearing help, there are dozens of “assistive listening devices” on the market today that can make a big difference.
Assistive listening devices are over-the-counter electronic products (they are not FDA approved hearing aid devices) that can amplify and improve sound to help your husband in different listening situations. It’s also important to know that these products are best suited for people with mild to moderate hearing impairment, and they usually aren’t covered by insurance or Medicare.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the different devices that can help.
Personal amplifiers: For better hearing, especially in noisy environments, there are personal sound amplification products that can be worn in the ear like a hearing aid, and are designed to amplify sound while reducing background noise. Two top rated products to consider that were recently recommended by Consumer Reports are the SoundWorld Solutions CS50+ and the Etymotic Bean.
The CS50+, which costs $350, looks like a Bluetooth cell phone headset, and has customizable settings that can be programed with a smartphone. The Etymotic Bean, which costs $399 a pair or $214 for one, is ready to use right out of the box and is best suited for those with high-frequency hearing loss.
If these are too pricy, there are also a number of small hand-held or body-worn amplifiers – like the Williams Sound Pocketalker ($139) and Bellman & Symfon Mino Personal Amplifier ($188) – that have a microphone and headphones or earbuds that are very effective too.
TV amplifiers: To hear the television better, there are TV listening devices that will let your husband increase the volume and adjust the tone to meet his needs, without blasting you out of the room.
Some of the best options include wireless infrared, radio frequency or Bluetooth devices that come with standard or stethoscope headphones. Sennheiser makes a variety of quality products with prices running between $130 and $450. Or, for a more affordable solution, consider the Serene Innovations TV Sound Box for $120. This is a wireless amplified TV speaker that would sit near your husband, and provide clear stereo sound from the TV without the need for headsets.
Amplified telephones: To have clearer phone conversations, there are a wide variety of amplified telephones that offer enhanced volume and tone adjustments, and they usually come with extra loud ringers and flashing ring indicators to alert him when a call is coming in.
Some top makers of these products are Clarity, ClearSounds and Serene Innovations, and a top seller today is the Clarity XLC2+ Amplified Phone ($144), which is a cordless phone that provides three tone settings and 50 decibels of amplification.
Alerting devices: There are also a variety of alerting devices that can help people who have trouble hearing the doorbell, phone, alarm clock, smoke detector or even weather radio. These products use flashing lights, multi-tone ringers or vibrating devices as a means to alert you.
Some popular products in this category include: The Bellman & Symfon Care Home Alerting Solution that provides door and phone notification with a flashing alert ($198); the Silent Call Weather Alert Radio with strobe and bed shaker ($165); and the all-in-one Serene Innovations CentralAlert CA-360 Clock/Receiver Notification System, which provides alarm clock, doorbell, phone, motion and storm warning alerts ($180).
To locate these and any other hearing loss products visit Harris Communications (HarrisComm.com, or call 866-476-9579), which offers more than 2,000 assistive devices and provides customer support services to assist you.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn  t4z@aol.com

Miami Florida is known for many attractions, and it may be difficult which to put on your tourist schedule. Some may be within walking distance of your hotel, especially if you stay in South Beach, and some may be more conveniently visited by taking a package bus tour. And if you find you have half a day free before your flight back home, a half day bus tour is the best use of your time. Bus tours are always
the best and most conveniently way to get a sampling of an area. Of course the bus has a schedule to keep and you may find that you would like to spend more time in one place than another.
One such bus tour can pick you up at your Miami cruise dock and then drop you off at the airport, once the tour is over.
The bus can take you through South Beach, and a glimpse of the art décor architecture, which you may be more than familiar with if you have stayed there. And while in South Beach you could take a walking tour with a guide describing the building styles, by signing up at the Art Deco Museum, there in south beach. I found this humorous as I was staying in one of the Art Deco Hotels, and one day the tour came into my lobby. If you are not a walker and one that does not like to stand, a walking tour may not suit your physical preferences.
Within an easy stroll from South Beach is the Wolfsonian museum, which is a treasure trove of near lost American art and culture. The collection has about 180,000 objects from 1850 – 1950 in a variety of media and its impact can be best expressed by the Wolfsonian mission statement.
“The Wolfsonian uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern, and to tell the story of social, political, and technological changes that have transformed our world. It encourages people to see the world in new ways, and to learn from the past as they shape the present and influence the future.”
Also the Wolfsonian hosts a coffee shop and book shop for a pleasant oasis and recuperative space. The Coffee table books and beverages are a tour with in itself. A few doors down is a bake shop where you might get a snack and return with it to the Wolfsonian coffee/gift shop, surrounded in a quiet and congenial atmosphere. http://www.wolfsonian.org/
A bus tour, may take you to Little Havana, a Miami hot spot during the days when Cuba was a closed society. Most famous is the domino park in Little Havana, where still today you can see locals and expatriate Cubans playing dominos and socializing. Also in the area are small cafes where you are encouraged to have your lunch break. This allows you to taste authentic cultural foods as well as a chance to chat and get to know your fellow bus tour travelers. Also nearby is a fast food outlet, if the familiar choices are your preference.
Little Havana is replete with many bright colored wall paintings and murals. In fact one stop might be a park and museum replete with a plethora of examples of outdoor indigenous art, and a good restroom stop, at Wynwood Doors.
Away in the Coconut Grove area of South Florida is the Vizcaya mansion, museum and gardens. The house is a example of another more luxurious times when tycoons lived in palaces. The interior is filled with authentic furniture and antiques and the gardens inspirie days gone by. There are bus tours that offer an extended visit or you may book some of their additional experiences. Always improving with preservation upgrades, a repeat visit is always new. http://vizcaya.org/
And of course you have to eat an upscale meal. The restaurant at the Versace Mansion is not to be missed, and talked about in previous issues. A Fish Called Avalon, in the South Beach Avalon Hotel does not disappoint with an upscale menu. As with so many South Beach eateries they have an outdoor as well as indoor dining area. You might enjoy the grouper, octopus, snapper, tuna, lobster or wild salmon and if you are inclined, top notch steaks. If this sounds too heavy for you, their salads are mountains of deliciousness. With a common name of Chopped Salad you will be surprised at the over the top presentation. And of course ask about their daily specials. https://www.afishcalledavalon.com/
If the weather is clear and the ocean calm, you should indulge in a tourist cruise in the Miami bay, sightsee lux backyard of celebrities, and a panoramic view of Miami Beach. There are many more treasures you may explore in South Florida beyond the potpourri listed here. Explore !

Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association

By John D. Doak, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner

Retirement can be a new beginning for us, but planning for your golden years can be daunting. This week is National Retirement Planning Week© (NRPW). The goal of NRPW is to promote the importance of comprehensive retirement planning.
While retirement planning was once thought of as an issue for older people, the truth is that you must start preparing for a secure future as soon as you enter the work force.
Check out this retirement checklist to help you plan for a comfortable and secure retirement.
Review Your Finances
If your workplace offers a 401(k), 403(b), ESOP, profit sharing plan, IRA or Roth IRA, you should take advantage of their plan. Many employers will match contributions up to a certain amount. The sooner you start saving, the more money you’ll have for retirement. Consider at least contributing the amount needed to obtain the employer match.
Review your finances to see how financially prepared you are for retirement. Track down and value your assets including cash, investments and anything else you can exchange for cash such as your house, savings bonds and even fine jewelry. Find the retirement accounts you have put money into throughout your career. You might want to think about consolidating some accounts so your money is easier to manage. If you decide to consolidate retirement accounts, seek advice on how to implement a rollover to avoid immediate taxation of your funds.
Assess Your Life Situation
Life insurance, like retirement, is something to consider at the beginning of your working years. Life insurance policies can provide benefits throughout life including whole life policies that build cash value. Whole life policies also allow you to take a loan, or borrow from them, but doing so does reduce the amount your beneficiaries will receive if you haven’t repaid the loan. Please note: you will pay interest on the amount you borrow. Do your research carefully to determine if such a policy is right for you at your current life stage.
Also, review your specific needs for health insurance and long-term care insurance. Your need for various coverages will change throughout your life. Insurance can help provide financial security in your retirement years if a catastrophe happens.
An annuity is a contract or policy between you, the policyholder, and an insurance company. An annuity pays a periodic (monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual) income benefit for the life of a person (known as the annuitant). Annuities can also be purchased for a specified time period. Annuities can play an integral role in a financially secure retirement. There are four main types of annuities:
*Variable annuities with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits: Long-term, tax-deferred insurance products that contain investment and insurance components with optional guaranteed withdrawal benefits.
*Fixed and fixed-indexed annuities: Long-term, tax-deferred insurance vehicles which offer a guaranteed minimum interest rate.
*Single premium immediate annuities products: Provide a guaranteed income for life or a specified period in exchange for a one-time lump sum payment.
*Deferred income annuities: Provide for guaranteed income but don’t begin until a specified age, such as 80 or 85.
Please note that annuities are not for everyone. Research your options thoroughly before purchasing one. Also, consider the costs associated with the annuity, such as the broker commissions.
Grow Your Nest Egg
Having a clear financial plan is important. A rule of thumb: 80 percent of your current annual income is a good amount to save up for retirement. Consider if you’ll receive a pension and Social Security and subtract that amount from your annual income. Use that number to calculate a financial plan running out to age 100 for how much you’ll need every year based on the year you retire.
Learn about investing and consider paying a certified financial planner for help. You might be keeping your money in accounts that have low rates of return and could earn more simply by moving the money.
A professional can help you invest your money for the best rate of return.
It is possible to retire on your own terms if comprehensive retirement plans are properly developed and managed. Visit www.RetireOnYourTerms.org for retirement resources such as a retirement calculator, basics on investing and information on how to find the right financial advisor.
For insurance information, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.

Outpouring of Care and Support Brings Endangered Porpoise Closer to Safe Waters

When just 30 animals of a specific species are left in the world, the zoo and aquarium communities accredited through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are compelled to act. The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has partnered with over 100 other AZA-accredited institutions to help save the vaquita (Vah-KEE-tah) porpoise from extinction. Vaquitas, or “little cows” in Spanish, are the smallest and most endangered cetacean in the world.
To date, AZA organizations have contributed over $1 million toward the emergency rescue of the Vaquita. AZA and its members are joining the Mexican government, which today announced that it is pledging up to $3 million to support the VaquitaCPR emergency rescue plan. VaquitaCPR (Conservation, Protection and Recovery) is an emergency action plan led by the Mexican government, with the input of an expert group of conservation scientists and marine mammal veterinarians. The Zoo has pledged $5,000 from its Round Up for Conservation emergency intervention funds, collected from Zoo guests who volunteer to “round up” to the next dollar amount on purchases made at the Zoo.
“Without these combined rescue efforts, the vaquita will soon be extinct,” said Dr. Rebecca Snyder, Zoo curator of conservation and science. “We are fortunate to have these funds from our home-base conservation fundraising effort for emergencies such as the VaquitaCPR emergency rescue plan.”
Vaquita can easily become entangled and subsequently drown in gill nets used to illegally catch other species, including the endangered totoaba fish, found off the coasts of the northwestern corner of the Gulf of California, Mexico. The fish’s swim bladder is used in traditional Chinese medicine. In addition to securing funds, AZA is teaming up with other conservation organizations to capture the remaining vaquita and place them in sea pens to try to establish a protected assurance colony.
The Zoo is a founding member of the AZA’s Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program and the vaquita is one of the 10 signature SAFE species. AZA institutions have played a key role in bringing back other species from the verge of extinction by establishing protective housing and breeding programs, such as for the California condor, Arabian oryx, golden lion tamarin and American bison. This expertise provided by AZA members is very valuable to the Vaquita Rescue Effort. The Zoo has other SAFE species in its animal collection, including the Asian elephant, gorilla, cheetah and shark.
Donations to the VaquitaCPR emergency rescue plan can be made through the Zoo by calling the ZOOfriends’ office at (405) 425-0611 or can be made online at www.VaquitaCPR.org.. A complete list of the AZA-accredited facilities that have contributed to the AZA SAFE Vaquita Rescue Plan can be found online at https://www.aza.org/donors-to-the-aza-safe-vaquita-rescue-project. To review the AZA SAFE Vaquita Conservation Action Plan, visit https://www.aza.org/safe-vaquita-conservation-projects.
Show your support for all the little and large animals of the world. Round Up for Conservation with every purchase at the Zoo!