Whole Life Magazine

June/July 2014

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59 Number of national parks in the U.S. 12 Number of national parks where oil and gas drilling are currently happening 360,000 National park acres degraded by fracking since 2005 1M Number of visitors to Yosemite National Park in 1954 4M Number of visitors to Yosemite National Park in 2012 13.2M Acres in our largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska .02 Acres in our smallest national park, Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pa. 67 Years since Smokey Bear fi rst informed children that "only you" can prevent forest fi res 12 Number of U.S. forest fi res currently burning as WLT goes to press Sources: National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, SmokyBear.com, The Wilderness Society and American Hiking Society W H AT C O U N T S : NATIONAL PARKS On a smoggy day in Southern California, many forget that the third largest state houses some of the most magnifi cent national parks. But hikers need not travel far to adequately stretch their legs on something besides sidewalks and asphalt; and the number of hikers has continued to climb past 32 million participants yearly. When you consider your weekend plans, don't forget the na- tional parks and all the other places a car can't reach. A n encounter with a starving dog while on vacation in Mexico was so painful to L.A. resident Diana Webster that it inspired her to found the Humane Advisor campaign in 2011. She wasn't able to help that particular dog, but she was determined to help others. And as a 20-year veteran of the travel industry, she knew how: by showing the economic cost of animal mistreatment. "Travel businesses need to know that their customers care about animals at tourist destinations," she said. A survey she conducted in 2013 showed that 41 percent of tourists surveyed said they were less likely to return to destinations with strays. Webster is asking travel companies to sign a letter to tourism offi ces at destinations where strays are common, requesting they partner with local animal welfare groups to fund sterilization, rescue, rehabilitation and education programs. "Not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it affects tourism's bottom line," she said. The response to Webster's campaign has been promising. She's networked with grassroots animal welfare organizations and concerned individuals around the world. The tour operator Adventure Women now takes groups to visit animal welfare organizations in Tanzania, Uganda and Bhutan, and other travel companies may follow suit. Webster emphasizes that human and animal health are intertwined. At spay/neuter clinics in Mexico, people from desperately poor neighborhoods wait in line for hours with pets. "It's obvious they want their animals to be cared for, along with their families," she said. "They love their pets." Furthermore, she adds, "Strays present health and safety issues for communities in developing countries. Helping animals helps people." To this end, Webster offers some suggestions: • Email your travel providers asking that they support the humane treatment of animals at destinations they serve. • Support a local animal welfare group at an international destination. • Include comments on animal welfare in your Trip Advisor and other online travel reviews • Share videos of your encounters with strays on Facebook and Humane Advisor • Visit Webster's website for more ideas: www.humaneadvisor.com/ city of angels Your vacation currency can be kind to animals By Teresa Bergen STRAY DOGS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES 10 wholelifetimesmagazine.com WLT-JUN-JULY-26.indd 10 5/26/14 2:09 PM

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