Saturday, June 10, 2023

As Wide as the World: Cultivating Wisdom and Compassion in the face of Violence and Coercion

When we lived in Cambodia, one of our favorite places to visit was  the Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Center. And although people sometimes called it the zoo, its mission focuses on addressing the illegal hunting and wildlife trade in Southeast Asia. Phnom Tamao is something more like a hospital and rehabilitation center, caring for injured, orphaned, or ill wild animals that were often rescued from wildlife trafficking. (As you might guess, many of these animals are critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species.) Animals that can be fully rehabilitated are released back into their natural habitat (more than 8,000 animals were released from 2013 to 2018). Those that are no longer able to survive in the wild and need continued care remain at the Rescue Center.  We had the good luck to know one of the folks who coordinated the Free the Bears program there, a program that not only works to rescue and care for endangered sun bears, but also to transform cultural attitudes about sun bears, giving the bears, and their ecosystems, the best chance to thrive.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

“Nothing Humane”: A Lament and Plea for Rights-Respecting Border Policies

Ángel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza traveled to the United States earlier this year. He was 17 years old; he was a dedicated athlete who had dreams of being a soccer player. But he was from Honduras, and he wanted better medical care than he could access in his home country. A cousin in Tampa, Florida, agreed to be his sponsor in the United States, and everything was in order when he left Honduras on April 25. He even made sure to pack enough medication to last three months, just in case. Ángel entered the US on May 3 at the Reynosa, Mexico crossing, and Immigration and Customs officials placed him on a plane to Florida on May 5. His next stop was the Gulf Coast shelter, operated by Jewish Family and Children Services.  But on the morning of May 10, 2023, staff found that Ángel had died in his sleep, evidently from a seizure.