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Nine-Year Old Warrior Champions the Cause of the Critically Endangered Wild Bactrian Camel

Brad and the Wild Camels Share a Common Bond, Surviving to tell their Story Against All Odds.

Delta, Canada, Benenden, England, April 19, 2004 - I Sea Horses, www.ISeaHorses.com, a new children’s brand of toys and books produced by Wild Heart Ranch, Inc. is pleased to support The Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF) in it’s conservation efforts and campaign to bring awareness to the fate of critically endangered species in the Gobi Desert.

Wild Heart Ranch, Inc. is honored to be the conduit for two champions, nine-year old Brad Lawless and John Hare (WCPF Founder), who are determined to prevent the extinction of the last remaining herds of true wild camels, which date back thousands of years. The worthy and noble cause of the threatened animals united the two, through a unique set of circumstances and relationships, which are truly inspiring.

Brad Lawless, a young boy battling Ewings Sarcoma in British Columbia, Canada, has sent his dream on a journey to the wilds of the Gobi desert to find and befriend the real life explorer, John Hare, founder of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation. The complete strangers, connected only by an interest in the unique endangered wild camels, have united to send a message of hope and courage, as strong as the winds of the Gobi. Brad and the wild camels share a common bond, as they have survived to tell their story against all odds.

“ On a visit to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice http://www.canuckplace.com a few months ago, Brad and I discussed the magic and excitement of creating stories and toys for children and he was kind enough to review the new I Sea Horses! and Lucky Stars Collection original samples for me. Of course he negotiated a few samples to keep ” tells Dawn Van Zant, Wild Heart Ranch founder. “ He told me he liked my horse and seahorse toys with lights, but he had a few ideas of his own. We started to brainstorm and came up with a new story idea based on his interest and love of camels, entitled, Bradford and the Journey to the Desert of Lop.

"When I asked him what he liked about camels, he said ” Just about everything.”

Continued Van Zant “ I went home that night and researched wild camels online, to understand and learn about the animals in their purest state in the wild. That research sent me on a magical journey, directed by Brad’s energy, to find about the endangered wild camels being saved by John Hare and to contact him."

“It is a worthy cause to save an endangered species that dates back that far in time. I would have never otherwise known about it, if not brought to my awareness by Brad. The rare wild camels are fighting a battle for survival, facing odds that defy their existence. It is fate, that their story was brought to me by the most formidable warrior I have ever known; Bradford Lawless.”

Upon learning about Brad’s interest in the endangered animals, John Hare has been generous enough to send Brad books, post cards and information about the wild camels. In return, a wild camel is being sponsored on behalf of Brad Lawless by Dawn.

Brad’s Photo: http://www.iseahorses.com/PhotosStories.htm - Brad Lawless and the very first original Bubbles seahorse toy. We believe that they are working their magic on each other! Brad loves camels and turtles, with his mom, dad, sister Danielle and his dog Sugar.

He is wearing a "Warrior" shirt; "a man noted for his valor and prowess- a champion". He is a noble warrior that has been battling Ewing's Sarcoma for three years. Brad makes us believe we have the strength to overcome anything in life and the world is truly full of miracles - including the best one of all - him!

Ewing's Sarcoma Support Group Resources Page: http://www.cureourchildren.org

The Wild Bactrian Camel – a Critically Endangered Species http://wildcamels.com

There are approximately 350 wild Bactrian camels in the Mongolian Great Gobi Reserve, south of Bayan Toroi and approximately 650 additional camels further south in Xinjiang province, China, living in three isolated and separated pockets. The wild Bactrian camel is an amazing creature that lives in one of the World’s harshest environments and in some areas in the absence of fresh water, has adapted to drinking salt-water slush which no other mammal can tolerate.

In the Mongolian Gobi, its main enemy is the wolf. Further south in China it is the threat from hunters and illegal miners. In the Chinese Gashun Gobi there is no fresh water and this former nuclear test site holds herds of wild camels that have not only adapted to drinking salt water slush, but have also survived over 43 atmospheric nuclear tests.

Samples of skin taken from the remains of dead Bactrian camels have been sent to scientists for genetic DNA testing and in every case, the results have been remarkable. Each skin sample has shown two or three distinct genetic differences to the domestic Bactrian camel and a base variation of three per cent.

This answers the charge that the wild camel is a domestic runaway and points to the fact that the wild camel herds are relicts of an original wild stock that man first domesticated thousands of years ago. Only the wild camels, in the Gashun Gobi in Xinjiang, are completely isolated from domestic camels. This lack of an opportunity to hybridize is what makes their survival so vital. It is these remnant herds that the Wild Camel Protection Foundation is striving to save, by establishing the Lop Nur Wild Camel Nature Reserve.

WILD CAMEL PROTECTION FOUNDATION

The Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF), a UK based charitable foundation with Jane Goodall as its patron, was established in 1997 specifically to protect the critically endangered wild Bactrian camel in its pristine desert environment in the Gobi deserts of China and Mongolia.

Its outstanding achievement is to have raised finances and persuaded the Chinese government to establish a 150,000 square kilometer national Nature Reserve to protect the wild Bactrian camel in Lop Nur, the former nuclear test area of China. The wild Bactrian camel survives in this harsh environment on a salt-water slush that no other mammal can tolerate. In addition, the wild Bactrian camel has survived over 40 atmospheric nuclear tests and current scientific research is showing that it has a base genetic make-up which varies from the domestic Bactrian camel by as much as 3 per cent.

Other achievements of the WCPF have been the organizing of a meeting between the Vice-Ministers of the Environment of the Governments of China and Mongolia, which resulted in the signing of an agreement by both countries to cooperate in wild Bactrian camel protection. In addition, the WCPF is currently involved in establishing a captive wild Bactrian camel breeding program near the Great Gobi Reserve A, a protected area in Mongolia. This program had the full backing of the Mongolian government. It is vital as there are only 15 wild Bactrian camels in captivity out of as total of under 800 in the wild.

The WCPF has raised over $250,000 from international trusts and companies and is constantly striving to raise additional finance. In 1999, the National Geographic Society and the Royal Geographical Society financed a WCPF expedition into the Chinese Gobi to survey the wild Bactrian camel population. This resulted in a sighting of 169 wild camels, an enormous achievement.

An environmental, awareness-raising educational program linked to the new Reserve and Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots scheme in China and Mongolia has produced awareness-raising booklets both in local languages for schools and adults in both countries and this program is constantly expanding.

Further details of the work of the WCPF, contact:

John Hare, Founder

The Wild Camel Protection Foundation
School Farm, Benenden, Kent, TN17 4EU England
Tel: 44 (0) 1580 241 132 Fax: 44 (0)1580 240 960
E-mail: harecamel@aol.com http://wildcamels.com 

By Jennifer Lee, Staff Writer

About Wild Heart Ranch: www.WildHeartRanch.com, www.ISeaHorses.com, www.PlushCollectible.com www.CollectiblePlush.com

Wild Heart Ranch, Inc. is a publishing, entertainment and toy company that creates and licenses non-violent toys and products based on original ideas, stories and characters. The 'Lucky Stars Collection', 'No More Night Mares', 'Armadillo Cowboy Club' & 'I Sea Horses' brands, characters, logos, stories, web sites, video games, patents and trademarks, are all properties of Wild Heart Ranch, Inc.

For more information contact

Toll Free: 1.888.889.9213

Kim Baker
kim@wildheartranch.com
or
Dawn Van Zant
dawn@wildheartranch.com

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