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Washu's Animal Sanctuary

A lifetime in a bottle!

Some of my favorites

Welcome to my zoo! Ryan's my name, and wildlife's my game! I can't describe in words how strongly I feel about conserving these wonderful creatures. You can see the collage above, highlighting some of my favorites. There's the St. Bernard dog, pink flamingos, my favorite of all time the bottle-nosed dolphin, the barn owl, bullfrog, toad, roadrunner, squash bug, and of course, that big ol' alligator backdropping the whole thing.

This site is a blend of my own photographs, and photos I've gleaned from outside sources. Most of the pictures come from a true relic -- Safari Cards. Released originally in France in the early 1970s by Editions Recontre S.A., Lausanne, they were translated into English and imported to the United States in 1976.Safari Cards Safari Card backMy parents, ever mindful of my education, decided they would be a nice addition to the vast repertoir of educational materials in my possession, which included the Funk & Wagnall's Wildlife Encyclopedia (which mysteriously disappeared at some point). The cards came once a month in a plastic pack, and my job was to rip them open, sort them into the various categories established by the publisher, and place them into the blue plastic holder which came with the starter pack. I looked at all the pretty pictures of animals, some of which I'd never seen before, and marvelled at the diversity of Earth's giant ecosystem. As the years went by, I became more and more amazed, not just at the existence of these wonderful creatures, but at the skill needed to get in that close to capture them on film. My childhood was a blur of mini-safaris. My mother still groans at the memory of the veritable menagerie I brought home for her inspection almost daily: every kind of insect you could imagine; snakes of various descriptions, some even venomous; frogs, turtles, just about anything that moved, I had to have my hands on it.

I also got interested in photography. As time went on and the wildlife I knew and loved began disappearing from the area I grew up, southeastern Pennsylvania, I knew something had to be done. So I decided to combine my natural skill for photography with my deeply-ingrained skill of safari hunting. And this website is the result.

So come with me on a virtual safari, as we encounter some of the most diverse, amazing and beautiful creatures the Earth has to offer. And keep in mind the words of my hero, Steve Irwin:

...this isn't some giant ego trip. Uh-uh. It's just that, I've gotta get the camera, I've gotta be right in there! I have to get right fair smack into the action, because this day has come where the audience -- you -- need to come with me, and be there with that animal. If there's whales dyin' on the beach on the western side of Tasmania, I want to share it with you, because if we can touch people about wildlife, then they want to save it. If you go to SeaWorld and you get to have an encounter with a dolphin, you want to save dolphins. Gone are the days of sittin' back on the long lens, on the tripod, and lookin' at wildlife waaay over there. Uh-uh. Come with me. Share it with me, share my wildlife with me, because humans want to save things that they love. My job, my mission, the reason I've been put onto this planet, is to save wildlife. And I thank you for comin' with me.
I agree with every word. You can turn on any science channel nowadays and see at least one program with people getting in close to animals, putting their hands on them, So why'd it take me 26 years to figure this out and Irwin only nine? Hmmmm....
Click here for taxonomic classification.

Brought to you by:

Physical Fitness Through Education
Or is it education through physical fitness?
You be the judge

Wild Diary

July 29th, 2000
The Safari Cards are like my "x-files." I've found out about so many strange and wild animals from them over the course of years. Lately, they've inspired me to go out and search for them myself, and you wouldn't believe all the people who are doing the same! In fact, you can pick just about any animal that lives in the world right now, and chances are somebody has a program or initiative to conserve that animal.

The wild world will have no privacy now that I've obtained a zoom lens for my Minolta Maxxum 7000. >=D