The Newsletter staff would like to extend a thank you to all of those who participated in the Creative Writing Contest. Unfortunately we only received a small number of submissions and thought to make it fair, we would extend the contest for an additional month. The new deadline will be April 20th, for contest details please refer to the link at the upper right hand corner.
Sincerely, Orbis Staff


     Pet sitters International (PSI) unveiled a new vehicle window cling that alerts rescuers to your pets at home which need tending to. This red and white decal is very similar to the rescue decals used in the home to alert fire fighters that there are pets inside. Below the decal is a contact box where you can place a persons name, number, and pets medical information.
     This three square inch reusable vinyl sticker is easy to place and remove from your window, and helps to ensure your animal’s health and first aid. To purchase this decal, pet owners can send $1 US dollar and a stamped self-addressed envelope to, Pet Sitters International, 201 East King St., King, NC 27021.

     In March to celebrate St. Patricks day, Orbis Newsletter staff created two quizzes based on Irish dog and horse breeds. The winners of the quizzes were to have their names posted in the newsletter, and be awarded with a special graphic for their main game page. However it's been a month now and we haven't had any winners! I'm begining to think that we made this to hard. Here's a helpful little suggestion, go through the quiz and copy down the questions. Look them up online, or discuss them in the forums amongst friends. We will extend this another month for your convenience. So far the top scores are as follows:

Xtraordinary of VP with 90%
Horse-Frog-Pickle of VP with 85%
Moonlight of VP wiht 85%
Nickelback_Luver of VP with 80%
Sarah Johnson of VP with 75%
Whisper of VP with 75%
DottieDottie of VHR with 70%
Meganmalilvy of VP with 70%

RoseDawson of VHR with 89%
Twit of VHR with 84%
Xtraordinary of VP with 84%
Bezzella of VHR with 79%
EvelynRose of VHR with 78%
DottieDottie of VHR with 73%
Tanteo of VHR with 73%
Cha-Nilla of VHR with 73%
October of VHR with 73%

JNFerrigno - Cheif
Kholran - Editor/Writer
Alias  - Editor/Writer
Dragon - Writer

Freelance Writers
The 2nd Cavalry

Writing Contest Update...PAGE 1
The April Bunny Challenge...PAGE 1
March Quiz Challenge Update...PAGE 1
Pet Owners Should Plan Ahead...PAGE 1
Earth Hour...PAGE 1
The Fertile Mule...PAGE 1
What Makes a Champion Race Horse...PAGE 2
The Rabbit Care Guide...PAGE 2
Guide to VP...PAGE 2
Breeding Guide to VP...PAGE 2
Pantie Snatchers from Outterspace...PAGE 2
The Presidential Canine Candidate...PAGE 2
Riding Aids...PAGE 3
The Smieling Dutchman...PAGE 3

     Last Saturday found many Orbis Games members turning their lights off for one hour in order to vote Earth. Popular artist Hazel-rah had this to say, “I did it last year. It was pretty fun spending a bit of time reading by the fireplace, the house candlelit and all. It really felt like we had a power outage, and we didn't feel like putting the lights back on when it was over. It was really nice.”
     On March 28 at 8:30pm, the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) urged people of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds to cast their votes on global warming. If you shut your lights off for one hour you were voting yes to save the earth, and if you didn’t you were voting for global warming. The goal was to obtain 1 billion votes, and these would then be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. The meeting this year will determine the official government policies needed in order to take action against global warming.
     Earth Hour started in 2007, where 2.2 million residents of Sydney Australia turned their lights off for one hour. In 2008, the message had globally grown to reach over 50 million people. Last year global land marks across the world like the grand architectural designs of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, New York Times Square, and even the great colosseum of Rome, all rest in darkness for one hour.
     In 2009 more than 996 global landmarks, 3929 cities, towns and municipalities in 88 countries across 25 time zones have pledged their allegiance to promoting Earth Hour, which is evident in their large media campaign.
     This year’s earth hour was started off by residents of the Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand. According to 3News television in New Zealand, a couple celebrated their first dance in the dark as a newly married couple in honor of Earth Hour.
     The entire Fijian island of Taunovo went completely black this year, and in the center square they held a traditional island-style celebration to honor this moment. Many Pacific Island nations are strong campaigners for environmental awareness, which I feel mainly results from their close knit ties to their land and sea; something that many take advantage of.
     All across Australia over 309 places participated in Earth Hour, from over 46 cities to small outback communities. In Sydney, the home of Earth Hour, the Ausies did the earth proud once again. In Melbourne, the Federation Square landmark turned off its lights and hosted a pedal-powered concert. In the national capital of Canberra, government monuments and buildings like the High Court, National Library, and War Memorial turned off all their lights except for security lighting. As many have heard who frequent the VHR forums, or even watch the news, Australia is constantly havocked by severe water restrictions and devastating brush fires. It’s expected to get drastically worse if nothing is done about the climate changing.
     A few hours after Australia picked up the call for Earth Hour, the Middle East chimes in. Kuwait held day long activities that led up to Earth Hour, including an Environmental Fair, and a Global Warming Seminar held

by experts from the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Researches. The Burj Dubai, which once completed will be the worlds tallest building, and the Burj Al Arab which is the world’s tallest hotel, can both be found in Dubai and at the time of Earth Hour were completely black. The 5000 year old Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx were the oldest monuments to turn off their lights for Earth Hour.
     In Europe all 65 European Union buildings were covered in darkness. In Germany over 500,000 houses turned off their lights; that an estimated 1 out of every 3 homes. A WWF spokesperson from France stated that over 8 million people participated in Earth Hour. Lights were turned off in the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre. In Italy, the dome of St. Peters church, the Rialto Bridge, and the leaning Tower of Pisa all went dark. An estimated 8 million people in Spain turned off their lights for an hour, and the church bells rag across Sweden as the lights turned off.
     Toronto’s electricity usage dropped to record lows during earth hour, going frm an average 3,000 megawatts to 2,545 by the time it was over. In North America, the city of Atlanta powered down completely. More then 90,000 letters have been sent out to state and local governments on behalf of Earth Hour supporters, in hopes of becoming heard. Almost every state in North America officially registered with the Earth hour Website and participated in global darkness. Over 250 cities from the Atlantic to Pacific coast have participated. Los Angeles counted down to earth hour before the entire city shut off in darkness as the last time zone.

     In recent news, VirtualHorseRanch now allows the public to breed the common Mule. Prior to this, the only breeding mules were the custom private breeds like the Spotted Mules (owned by Bara) and later the Gaited Mules (owned by Sick). For awhile now, there had been much demand to make mules fertile in the game. Mainly because there was no way to improve upon their stats, no matter what horses and donkeys were used to cross-breed. The recent discussion resulted in the game creator Shannon Cussick, requesting that her Moderators make a Poll to gauge the public’s interest.
     The public won, and we got our fertile mules!
     One of the reoccurring discussions during the Poll was that mules are not fertile, this however is not true. History shows a number of documented cases dating back to Aristotle where a female Mule (Molly) has given birth to a foal. Other historical evidence comes from the Romans, who had an old saying, “cum mula peperit,” which is the equivalent of “once in a blue moon,” but when translated actually means “when a mule foals.”
     Cases of mules giving birth have been recorded around the world, most cases occurring in China (with the highest population of mules) and Africa. It was only since 1527 that records began to be kept on the issue, and since then over 60 reported cases have been documented. However the occurrence of mules foaling in the last decade seems to suggest that it’s not as rare as once thought. In fact recent evidence suggests it’s actually about 1 in ever 10,000 mules or less.
     Colorado saw a mule giving birth in 2007, prior to this Nebraska had a mule foal in 1984, and Texas in 1920. Months after the Colorado foal, a South Asian country known as Bhutan had a mule foal as well. In 2002 Africa had its third case of a mule giving birth (first case in 1924, and again in 1984). When a mule gave birth in Albania in 1994, it was thought to have unleashed the spawn of the devil. Also in the 1920’s there was a mule that gave birth in Brazil (unconfirmed). In the 80’s, China had their fist mule foal that was supported by genetic research, however this was not the first occurrence.
     In all actuality, Molly Mules are fertile and will go into regular heats; some times they may need hormone injections if this becomes too regular. Where the problem occurs is in the chromosomes (a structure of DNA). All horses have 32 pairs of 64 chromosomes, while Donkeys have 31 pairs of 62 chromosomes. When you breed a horse and a donkey, the offspring is inheriting 32 chromosomes form the horse parent, and 31 chromosomes from the donkey parent. Naturally these chromosomes would pair up and begin to split and exchange information; however Mules have one extra chromosome which can not be paired. It is this extra chromosome that makes it harder for a Molly mule to carry to term. The unique thing here, is that the Molly carries a complete set of chromosomes from the horse parent as well as mule parent, and depending on the inheritability of said chromosomes, depends on if a foal is born or not. When a fertile Molly is bred with a horse, the resulting offspring almost always inherits the Molly’s horse chromosomes; as a result the offspring does not look like a mule at all, and is genetically identical to a horse. If the fertile Molly is crossed with a donkey, the offspring will inherit the Molly’s donkey chromosomes, and the foal will genetically and physically look like a donkey. In the rare occurrences, foals will be a combination of both, like in the Chinese mule foal named Dragon Foal.
     The fact still remains that fertile mules are a rare find, and there have been no cases of male mules being fertile. Most males are actually castrated to help with their temperament; because of this common practice not enough study has been done as to whether or not there are any fertile males. But when a man owns a champion race horse that’s been gelded, what does he do?
     The man to ask is Donald Jacklin, the president of the American Mule racing Association. Jacklin is the owner of a champion racing mule named Taz, who was the model for the first 3 cloned mules. It took Gordon Woods and his team of researchers at the University of Idaho, millions of dollars, 307 tries, and 5 years later to successfully clone and foal a mule.
     Idaho Gem, along with his brother Idaho Star, went on to competitively race but only Idaho Gem had any success. Their other cloned brother, named Utah Pioneer went on to be displayed at UI’s Moscow campus. Gem could never beat the best of the competition on the track, but he came pretty close. He won 6 of his 22 races, and finished in the money 16 times. In 2008 Gem retired as California’s 3rd fastest racing mule to start a career in gymkhana. His brother Star who is owned by Earl Lunceford will be making a trail mule out of him. It appears that middle brother, Utah Pioneer, is the only one to live up to this new scientific development, filling the roll as an educational model for children and scientists alike.