Thursday, March 13, 2008
We Stole a Day
Nothing like a lazy Grizzly.
This White-throated Bee-eater is one such bird. I’m still using the same little 3x zoom I’ve had for a couple of years, so I’m actually only about eight feet from this bird.
White-naped Crane was free to come and go as he pleased. Most of the outdoor bird exhibits seemed to consist of an offering of excellent habitat that would encourage wild birds to stop by and exhibited birds to stay. It’s possible (and I suppose likely) these cranes were somehow wing-clipped and unable to fly out, but there was no netting enclosing their habitat, just fencing.
It was an uppity sea lion and her screechy bark. Up close, it was obviously a loud sea lion noise, but filtered through trees and over a hill, it was much harder to place. She hooted and hollered incessantly pretty much the entire time we were at the zoo.
Although this tree kangaroo could easily have been stuffed for all the moving it didn’t do. I don’t think I could ever be that limply comfortable on a branch, but he was pretty blissful in this pose.
I have some mixed feelings about zoos. On the one hand, I love being able to see these animals up close. I’ve always been enamored of even fleeting glimpses of the varied and beautiful life around me, so being able to pore over the crisply delineated colors of an Aztec Tern from only a few feet away is eminently gratifying. On the other hand, there is something inherently unwild and perhaps even unethical about containing an animal for the purpose of spectating, particularly when that animal’s natural urge is to roam and migrate. I know Golden Retrievers gain weight, become depressed and anxious, and live shorter lives when they’re cooped up too much, so I wonder how a Snow Leopard understands his one or two acres or how Tern feels in even the grandest cage. I think it’s terribly important for people to see the variation and beauty offered outside of human artifice and entertainment, and that a zoo probably contributes immensely both to people’s lives and to their sense of the importance of conservation.
But maybe I just tell myself that so I can feel OK about financially supporting a zoo with my $10 admission.