The Alberta Zoo
There is a move these days to get rid of zoos. It comes from good-hearted people who have not thought through the idea. Oh, they FEEL the idea, for sure, but they miss a fundamental concept.
Zoos connect people with animals, many of which are in danger of disappearing.
Now, we’re not talking about zoos that treat animals cruelly, those should be reformed, but zoos like the Calgary Zoo allow people (kids in particular) a chance to see something real. Not something on TV. Not something on YouTube. Not a poster somewhere of something that once existed.
Too often now, we make choices that distance ourselves from the real world. In a sense, we are putting ourselves in a cage.
Think about it.
Ok, ranty-rant over.
Back to our regular programming.
After the pandas, The-oldest joked had an attack of pun-iness. “I was expecting total pandemonium. Or at least a pandemic.”
To be fair, considering his usual puns take 3 mins to set up, (“so if I was a lion and it was telling me a story, and I didn’t believe the story because it wasn’t very truthful, then, you could say it was lion), those panda puns were good puns. As was his remark about Himalayan Deer ‘they must be very valuable because they’re dear.”
His favourite animal, though, was the markhor deer. It had curlie horns and looked like it was about to shed about 40lbs of fluff. I think the Taliban ride them into battle. He tried to talk to it. A lot. But it didn’t respond so we moved on.
The-Youngest hated that all the food stands were closed, and he didn’t get any cotton candy, however, he did get to see the alpaca that looks a lot like our spazadoodle. He, too, tried to talk to it, but it wasn’t in the mood for a conversation and simply pooped.
For The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, her best time was at the panda exhibit. She loved how the pandas snuggled, but I think she enjoyed watching the baby gorilla explore his world, play with his food and look for things to play with.
Me? I liked hearing the lions roar and watching them stalk about the cage. I haven’t seen lions move much (they mostly pull a panda and nap most of the time), but they were magnificent creatures this day, powerful but not as elegant as a leopard.
The highlight for all of us, though, was our time in the lemur cage.
See, this is where my whole zoo-is-good thing comes to fruition.
The zoo had set up an enclosure with nets overhead and Fort-Knox-like gates that allowed people to BE WITH the lemurs, you know, those cute little things that appear in Disney movies.
We were told not to move too fast or touch them or feed them or talk to them about Liszt, but we could watch them as they watched us, get close enough to them to touch them (but not, you know, actually touch them) and have a chance to see real live animals up close, no bars, no windows, no metal mesh separating them from us.
It was fantastic, even if one idiot did try to touch them.
One lemur even took a liking to The-Youngest, and if you want to see how he reacted, check out the video.
But we all loved seeing the animals (though no one seemed to appreciate me singing “Walk with the animals.”)
We scouted out the tigers. We waved at the giraffes. We shook our head at hippos that looked suspiciously like me after a turkey dinner. We watched momma gorilla look after her little one.
And then I think the family pranked me with the idea that porcupines shoot quills. They were so convincing that I had to load up wiki-thing to show them otherwise, and then they all just smiled at me and giggled.
So, go see a zoo some time. Spend time with the animals. Make a conscious decision to experience an amazing part of our world instead of watching a documentary about our friend the lion or leaving it up to Disney to show us what animals are like.
And hey, thanks for reading this!