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You are UNIQUE! This means YOU have special gifts to help change the world. Talk to your parents about ways in which you can recycle or conserve at home. Ask the wonderful folk at zoos and conservations close to you how you can get involved in all kinds of fun and educational activities. Get your friends and neighbours involved. Look up websites for zoos and wildlife conservations, and check out what’s going on around the world!

NEWSFLASH - Click here to read it!
In alphabetical order by first name
Thank you for taking the time to write to me - Amelia

Poem inspired by the book Peacock Feathers by Amelia Lionheart

School is out, but we are not in a pout, at home, but we're getting about
Poachers are low, but we're not going to slow,
we were careful and we got real low
As we hid in a cave, we really felt brave
Hunter was guard, he was smart, and sometimes they got split apart
Anu and Gina, they loved the arts, we all played our parts
The helicopter flew up but they sent it down,
then they went to the jail in town.
From: Alexa - Age 10, Canada

Dear Ms. Lionheart, Your book was very good and really interesting. I liked the
adventure in it, and how the children planned and caught the poachers. I was sorry
for the peacocks when they were caught and left to die, so I was really glad when
they got saved. I would like to read another book about the same children solving
another animal mystery.
From: Alina - Age 9, France

Dear Amelia, I enjoy reading your books and going on the adventures with your
characters. I can't wait for the next book to come out.
From: Alix - Age 18,Canada

Dear Ms. Lionheart, I loved your book, Peacock Feathers, because it includes my
two favourite subjects: animals and mystery. I found the story so exciting I did not
want to put it down. My favourite character was the dog Hunter, because he
played a key part in stopping the poachers. I am looking forward to reading your
next book.
From: Alya - Age 12, France

Dear Ms. Lionheart, My name is Amanda. I am nine years old. I liked your book
because it was about saving animals. I especially liked Gina because she wrote
good poems. She helped solve the mystery. It was an exciting mystery book. I
hope you write another animal book soon.
From: Amanda - Age 9, Canada

As an adult, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Amelia's books. From the
beginning to the end of each book the suspense and adventures of the JEACs is
incredibly eventful. I had a hard time putting each book down until I was finished
reading. I'm looking forward to her next book. I would highly recommend reading
these stories.
From: Annley W., Canada

Dear Ms. Lionheart, I think your book is amazing because it was awesome that
those kids could solve and figure out the mystery of the Peacock Feathers. Every
time we stopped reading I was always on the edge about what comes next! I can't
wait to read the next book! It won't surprise me if the next book is as
OUTSTANDING as this one!
From: Brayden - Age 14, Canada

I really like the JEACs books because they are filled with adventure and
conservation approaches. I care about animals and our environment and the books
focus on those important topics. The characters in the books are very committed to
saving animals and I especially like Nimal because he is smart but he has
From: Corben - Co-Leader, JEACs-CAC-No.3 - Age 10, Canada

I like how Hunter became part of the JEACs and helped them rescue animals.
From: Elsa - Age 5, Canada

Dear Amelia, I love your first book! I surely am going to buy your next book. I
love it too much to choose a part because I love every part, but if I had to I would
choose the end when the thieves are captured because then the peacocks were
From: Eve - Age 7, Canada

Dear Ms. Lionheart, I like this book because it is fun and exciting. You always
want to know what happens next. I'm excited to know what the next book is going
to be about.
From: Joshua - Age 11, Canada

My children really enjoyed the series. They learned more about various
endangered animals and different cultures. On a recent trip abroad to Sri Lanka,
my children happily used the new Sinhala word, 'Ayubowan', that they learned
while reading An Elephant Never Forgets.
From: Joyce V. - Mother of Elsa and Vareed, Canada

Dear Amelia, We like your books. We really like Hunter because he is funny.
From: Kailah and Ashlee - Ages 7 and 5, Canada
I like the books because they teach me about the importance of protecting animals.
In Peacock Feathers, I found the part with the wimpy crook funny. I am glad the
JEACs capture the bad guys.
From: Kathleen - Age 10, Canada

I love Ms. Lionheart's book series. It is about all my favorite things: adventure,
beautiful animals, faraway places and kids making a difference in the world! After
the first book I was inspired to create a real life JEACs group at my school.
From:Maddison - Age 10, Canada

I love animals. I love the books because of the different age groups and how they
grow, and the various countries and the differences in life.
From: Mikala - Age11, Canada

Dear Amelia, I have truly enjoyed reading your books. They are very well thought
out and are very easy to follow. You have such wonderful characters with some
very amusing quirks and traits. It is lovely that each book is based in a different
country as it gives children a chance to discover the world without leaving
From: Sheri G. - Mother of Alix, and aunt to Kailah and Ashlee, Canada

I like the JEACs books because they are mysteries and they use a lot of
descriptive language. They take place in different countries, which is interesting. I
love animals, conservation, plants and nature. My favourite character is Anu
because she loves books just like me!
From: Sorena - Co-Leader, JEACs-CAC-No.3 - Age 9, Canada

I like how the JEACs used their karate skills to rescue the animals. The JEACs
have really exciting adventures!
From: Vareed - Age 7, Canada

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand.
We will understand only what we are taught." ~Baba Dioum

Known as the "ghost cats of the Himalayas", snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are among the most beautiful of the big cats with their characteristic thick grey spotted fur and long bushy tails. While
snow leopards can growl, chuff, hiss, mew and wail, unlike other relatives such as lions and tigers, they cannot roar. Their range in the high mountains of central Asia extends across twelve countries,
covering approximately 2 million square kilometres. Unfortunately it is estimated that as few as 3,500 of these magnificent cats remain in the wild. Fragmentation and loss of their habitat, illegal poaching
for their hides or bones, a reduction in their natural prey due to illegal hunting, and killing in retribution for when they prey on domestic livestock, have led to the snow leopard being placed on the endangered species list by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Approximately 1 in 7 species on earth that are threatened with extinction are now protected in zoos and aquariums. In some cases the genetic diversity that exists within these conservation institutions is greater than that which exists in the wild. But protecting them in a captive environment is not enough. Accredited zoos such as the Calgary Zoo extend that protection to the natural homes of these species by contributing to in-situ conservation programs. Canadian accredited zoos participate in approximately 800 conservation science programs locally, nationally, and globally. And their contribution to endangered species breeding and reintroduction programs is significant; black-footed ferrets, swift fox, Vancouver Island marmots, whooping cranes, Puerto Rican crested toads, eastern loggerhead shrikes, and Przewalski's horses have been born in Canadian zoos and released into the wild.

Accredited zoos also play an important role in connecting the public with nature and educating about the importance of global biodiversity, conservation, and environmental sustainability. Through exploration of such issues, people re-examine their lifestyle choices and consumption habits and the impact that these choices and habits may have on their environment. This often inspires them to make better choices in their day-to-day lives.

The survival of snow leopards is dependent on partnerships between conservation organizations such as International Snow Leopard Trust, the Snow Leopard Conservancy, and Panthera, as well as other captive conservation institutions such as accredited zoological facilities. There are approximately 650 snow leopards in accredited zoological institutions around the world. This partnership extends far beyond just maintaining a genetic refuge for the species in zoos; it also serves to partner with local people to protect habitat, protect against poaching, and support researchers who study the species in the wild. In addition, this partnership allows for bridging of knowledge gaps between wild and captive populations of snow leopards.

In her book Can Snow Leopards Roar? Amelia Lionheart introduces her readers to the issues that imperil these magnificent cats. Amelia is passionate about the conservation of wildlife and wild spaces. Even more so, through the creation of the Junior Environmentalists and Conservationists (JEACs), she is impassioned to educate and engage today's youth to develop a better tomorrow for species threatened with extinction. The JEACs continue to expand globally and are a great example of how we as a species will embrace change that we help to create.

Dr. Doug Whiteside
Senior Staff Veterinarian, Calgary Zoo
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Calgary Faculty of
Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Doug Whiteside
"Those who have packed far up into grizzly country know that the presence of even one grizzly on the land elevates the mountains, deepens the canyons, chills the winds, brightens the stars, darkens the forest, and quickens the pulse of all who enter it." John Murray, The Great Bear Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis, which translates to the 'horrible brown bear') are an iconic keystone species in North America. Few species can evoke such a wide range of emotions from wonder and amazement to healthy respect and fear. While this iconic giant is often associated with images of breathtaking and unspoiled wilderness, the sad reality is that human-bear conflicts, and destruction and loss of habitat, are driving populations towards extinction.

Historically, grizzlies ranged from Alaska to Mexico, and as far east as the Mississippi River. Over the past two centuries their population number and range have declined dramatically. In Canada, the remaining population of approximately 20,000 bears is confined to British Columbia, Western Alberta, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. At the southern end of their range which extends into northern Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, grizzlies are in trouble with approximately 1,800 bears left and their habitat reduced to only 2 percent of their historical range.

In her new book The Humming Grizzly Bear Cubs, Amelia Lionheart highlights many of the issues facing grizzly bears today. In order to survive, grizzlies need abundant undisturbed wilderness. Males (boars) can have an average home range up to 2,000 square kilometres, while females (sows) can have ranges up to 500 square kilometres. Loss of habitat to commercial property development, expansion of highways through their natural corridors, oil and gas exploration and development, logging, hunting, illegal poaching, and conflicts with humans in their natural space, have had detrimental consequences to their population. Owing to their slow reproductive rate, any decline in their population size has a negative impact on their long-term recovery. And grizzlies are not alone in this plight. Six of the eight bear species found worldwide are listed as threatened or vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Over the years, many orphaned or problem bears (those that have come into conflict with humans) have ended up in zoological institutions as their last hope for survival. The sad reality is that people are the usual cause of the conflicts. At the Calgary Zoo, our male grizzly, Skoki (formerly Bear #16), was a young male that became a "problem bear" due to human activity. Skoki spent his summers in the Bow Valley eating to gain enough weight to sustain himself for his long winter hibernation. However, people started to stop and get out of their cars to take pictures of him, causing traffic jams known as "bear jams". While conservation officers and researchers tried adversive techniques to try to keep him afraid of humans, over time he was introduced to discarded human food from the thousands of people stopping to see him. He started to associate people with an easy meal, and became bolder and more aggressive towards people when they invaded his personal space. He was relocated by Parks Canada conservation officers; however, owing to the amazing homing instinct in bears, he came back to his territory within a short period of time. When he poked his head into the bakery at Lake Louise, it was decided that he was too dangerous to remain in the wild, and fortunately the Calgary Zoo had the space to take him. While Skoki has adjusted very well to his life at the zoo over the past eighteen years, and is often seen playing in his pool, what is most unfortunate is that he never had a chance to reproduce and now his genetics have been lost to the wild population. His story serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences that can occur due to the careless actions of people.

We can all do our part to keep bears safe in the wild. Become Bear Aware, never feed or approach wild bears, and never leave food or garbage out for them to find. Drive with care through bear habitats such as the National Parks. Finally, support conservation organizations that will help protect their habitats and support research to keep them healthy in the wild. The creation of the Junior Environmentalists and Conservationists (JEACs) by Amelia Lionheart has served to inspire today's youth to become passionate about the conservation of wildlife and wild spaces. I have had the pleasure to interact with Amelia and the Calgary-based JEACs on several occasions, and have witnessed their amazing work and their contributions to save endangered species. Through Amelia's vision and guidance, they are a beautiful example of the ripple effect of conservation education and how powerful it can be for achieving global change one small wave at a time.

Dr. Doug Whiteside
Senior Staff Veterinarian, Calgary Zoo
Clinical Associate Professor,
University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Doug Whiteside