California Sea Lion Pups Born at WCS’s Bronx Zoo

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Two new pups at the Bronx Zoo! (Photo: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS)

Bronx, NY – August 19, 2016 – The WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo welcomes the addition of two California sea lion pups born in June.

The pup born to mother, Indy, has been identified as a male.  Keepers have not yet been able to determine the gender of the pup born to Margaretta. Both have yet to receive their names.

Clyde is the sire of both pups. He is one of two adult bulls that came to WCS’s Queens Zoo in 2013 from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of a local wildlife management project in Bonneville, Ore. These are his first offspring since arriving in New York.

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Photo by: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

California sea lions are not endangered and live in healthy populations along the west coast of North America from Alaska to Mexico. All marine mammals, including sea lions, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

California sea lions are exhibited at all five WCS facilities: the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo.

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Photo by: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, 5:30 p.m. weekends from April to October; 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.mNovember to March. Adult admission is $19.95, children (3-12 years old) $12.95, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $17.95. Parking is $16 for cars and $20 for buses. TheBronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.

Mi papa, Virgilio Vergel, 73

Desde que tengo uso de razón, a mi padre siempre le gustó hacer sonreír a los demás. Siempre armado con chistes, letras de canciones y bailes de moda, imitaciones de personajes, o saludos jocosos, le gustaba hacer reír a amigos y desconocidos por igual. Me gusta pensar que todavía está haciendo eso. Y, así es con el corazón encogido y una gran sonrisa en su honor que anuncio su muerte:

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Virgilio Vergel always wore a smile.

Virgilio Vergel murió el lunes 8 de agosto, 2016, en Fair Lawn, Nueva Jersey. Tenía 73 años de edad.

Nacido en Ocaña, Colombia , Virgilio, o “Gillo” como era conocido, era el sexto de los nueve hijos de la familia Vergel Cabrales. Se trasladaron a la ciudad portuaria de Barranquilla cuando tenía tres años. Mi papa consideraba “la Arenosa,” como se le conoce, su tierra natal

Cuando era un niño, Virgilio era enérgico con una amplia sonrisa que hoy se puede ver en su nieto, RJ , que tiene un parecido sorprendente. Le encantaba jugar al fútbol con sus hermanos. Cuando era un adolescente mi papa se distinguía por sus chistes, su pasión por el fútbol, y su amor por el baile y la música colombiana.

Cuando joven, trabajó como un cajero de banco, pero continuó con su amor al baile, las películas, y el ciclismo. En 1969, conoció al amor de su vida, María Socorro Díaz , cuando ella se embarco en un autobús de la ciudad y él le ofreció su asiento. Se casarían un año más tarde y se mudaron a Paterson, N. J., donde tendrían tres hijos – Richard, Gina, y David.

Virgilio le inculcó a todos sus hijos su amor por el trabajo, la música latina y americana (animaría a David en sus pasos para convertirse en un DJ), el futbol, ciclismo, vestirse bien, y el buen sentido de humor. También les hablo mucho sobre la importancia de seguir y terminar sus estudios algo que no pudo completar ya que él y su esposa se dedicaban a varios trabajos para darles a sus hijos una vida mejor.

Nunca le importo lo cansado que estaba después de trabajar un día largo. Virgilio hiso todo lo posible para que sus hijos vivieran una juventud “americana,” completa con excursiones en bicicleta a los parques locales, juegos de beisbol y futbol, o excursiones a las playas de Nueva Jersey, entre muchas actividades más. A veces la diversión de fin de semana consistiría en proyectos en la casa seguidos por asados en el patio. Otros fines de semana Virgilio iba a la disco tienda en donde le tarareaba una canción popular a los vendedores y compraba discos para que los niños los tocaran en el tocadiscos. El siempre fue divertido.

Virgilio tuvo una variedad de puestos de trabajo incluyendo como maquinista, personal de mantenimiento, y por último, un conserje en las escuelas y el departamento de policía de Teaneck, NJ, donde se retiró antes de tiempo debido a su diagnóstico de la enfermedad de Parkinson en 1999.

El Parkinson es un trastorno cerebral neurodegenerativo resistente que progresa lentamente en la mayoría de las personas. La mayoría de los síntomas de las personas afectadas tardan años en desarrollarse, y viven mucho tiempo con la enfermedad. Virgilio vivió durante casi 20 años con la enfermedad de Parkinson, y tuvo un hermano, Raúl, que murió debido a complicaciones relacionadas con el mismo mal en el 2011.

Virgilio tenía esperanzas en los avances médicos en el mundo del Parkinson, y se sometió al implante de un estimulador cerebral profundo en la década del 2000, y si bien se llevó los temblores el efecto secundario fue el empeoramiento del habla. Virgilio era un comunicador apasionado y el no poder hablar claramente lo frustró muchísimo.

¿Cosas que echaba de menos? Montar su bicicleta y visitar a su familia en la Florida, Colombia, y otros dispersos por todo el mundo. Habló de ellos muy a menudo y el vive con cariño en sus memorias.

Hay muchas cosas que no dejó de disfrutar hasta que se fracturo la cadera en enero del 2015: Ver partidos de sus equipos de fútbol colombianos favoritos, hacer ejercicio en su bicicleta reclinada, escuchar música (tocando las maracas) , y ver películas . Por encima de todo, Virgilio fue capaz de vivir muchos años felices en su casa con el amor de su vida , María , y visitas frecuentes de su nieto , RJ , y su nieta, Bella.

Le pedimos que recuerden el amor que Virgilio tenía para la vida cada vez que escuchen música colombiana o historias divertidas. Le pedimos que considere hacer una donación a la Fundación de Micheal J. Fox, que está trabajando para encontrar una cura, o la Fundación Nacional de Parkinson, que se esfuerza por mejorar la vida de las personas que viven con esta enfermedad.

Virgilio le sobreviven su esposa, María, sus hijos Richard y David, hija Gina, así como hermanos, hermanas, sobrinos y demás familiares dispersos en la Florida, Canadá, Colombia, Argentina y España.

 

My father, Virgilio Vergel, 73

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Virgilio Vergel always wore a smile.

For as long as I can remember, my father always loved to make others smile. Armed with jokes, song lyrics with dance moves, imitations of characters, or funny greetings, he was fond of bringing a hearty laugh to friends and strangers alike. I like to think he’s still doing that. And, so, it is with a heavy heart *and* a big smile in his honor, that I announce his death:

Virgilio Vergel died on Monday, August 8, 2016, in Fair Lawn, N.J. He was 73.

Born in Ocaña, Colombia, Virgilio, or “Gillo (pronounced: Hee-yo)” as he was called, was the sixth of nine children in the Vergel family. They would move to Colombia’s port city of Barranquilla when he was three. He considered “la arenosa (the sandy city),” as it is known, his home.

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That’s Virgilio on the left. It’s uncanny how his grandson, RJ, has the same smile.

As a boy, Virgilio was an energetic child with a wide smile today can be seen in his grandson, RJ, who bears a striking resemblance. He loved to play soccer with his brothers. As a teen he was known for cracking jokes, playing soccer, and his love of dancing to typical Colombian music. As a young adult, he worked as a bank teller, but still enjoyed going dancing, sneaking into outdoor movie theaters, and riding a 10-speed bicycle.

In 1969, he met the love of his life, Maria Socorro Diaz, when she walked onto a packed city bus and he offered her his seat. They would marry a year later and move to Paterson, N.J., where they would have three children — Richard, Gina, and David.

Virgilio instilled his love of hard work, Latin and contemporary American music (he would encourage David to become a DJ), futbol/soccer, cycling, dressing sharp, and socializing with a sense of humor to all of his children. He also impressed upon them the importance of continuing onto a higher education, something he could not complete as he and his wife worked several blue collar jobs to give them a better life.

No matter how tired he was from a long day’s work, Virgilio would do everything possible for them to have an “American” upbringing, complete with bicycling trips to local parks, pickup softball games, or day trips to New Jersey beaches, baseball stadiums, or amusement parks. Sometimes the weekend fun would consist of projects around the house with cookouts in the backyard, or a trip to the music store, where he would hum the latest popular music to salesmen so that he could buy a 45-inch for the children to play on the record player. No matter what, it was always fun.

Virgilio worked a variety of jobs, as a machinist, maintenance person, and lastly, a custodian in schools and the Teaneck Police Department, where he retired early due to his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease in the late 1990s.

Parkinson’s is a tough neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. Most people’s symptoms take years to develop, and they live for years with the disease. Virgilio lived for nearly 20 years with Parkinson’s, and he was predeceased by his brother, Raul, who died due to complications related to the same disease in 2011.

If we could do one thing over, we would have had him start some type of an exercise regimen earlier, as opposed to telling him to rest more (something people tend to say to those who are ill) when the disease was “new” to us. Exercise has been shown to be very beneficial to those with the disease.

Virgilio was hopeful in medical advancements in the Parkinson’s world, as he underwent deep brain stimulation in the early 2000s, and while it took away the tremors, the one side-effect he had was the worsening of his speech. An ardent communicator (much like his daughter, Gina!), this often frustrated him.

Things he missed doing the most? Riding his bicycle and traveling to visit his family in Florida, Colombia, and others scattered throughout the world. He talked about them very often. He lives fondly in their memories.

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With grandson, RJ.
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With granddaugther, Bella.

There are many things he continued to enjoy up until he broke his hip in January 2015: watching the Colombian soccer teams, riding a recumbent bicycle, listening to music (while playing the maracas), and watching movies. Most of all, he was able to live many happy years in the home with the love of his life, Maria, and frequent visits from his grandson, RJ, and more recently, his granddaughter, Bella.

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Virgilio, in the top row, with the cool, gray hair and mustache!

We ask that you remember Virgilio’s fondness for life and celebration every time you hear Colombian music or funny stories. We ask that you consider making a donation to either the Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Research, which is working to find a cure, or the National Parkinson Foundation, which strives to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease.

Virgilio is survived by his wife, Maria, his sons Richard and David, daughter Gina, as well as brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, and other extended family, in Florida, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, and Spain.

A small service will take place at East Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clifton, N.J., at noon sharp on Saturday, August 13.

Bolivia’s Carnival: An explosion of color

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Photos: Felipe Abreu

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People in the Bolivian city of Oruro are gearing up for carnival.

This year’s celebrations start on 30 January, but the main days will be on 5, 6 and 7 of February when thousands of people will congregate in Oruro.

The carnival dates back more than two centuries and is one of Latin America’s most colourful.

Photojournalist Fellipe Abreu and reporter Luiz Felipe Silva recorded some of its highlights in 2015.

See more via BBC.