Monday, September 29, 2008

Afternoon at the Zoo

It was one of those weekends that happen every now and again, where you say “We should do something…but what?”
On such occasions I like to play tourist, grab the camera, and explore Cleveland by the guide book. There are so many interesting things to do in this city.
“How about the zoo?” Tom offered.
“Wow, I haven’t been there for a long time. When was the last time you went to the zoo?” I asked.
He rubbed the goatee on his chin and thoughtfully answered, “I think it’s been about thirty years.”
It was a perfect zoo day. A mid-morning drizzle insured light attendance for this early autumn Sunday. The sky was a little overcast, and the cooler temperatures meant the animals would be a bit more active than they are on hot, sunny afternoons. Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo is truly a beautiful place to wander. The landscaping is lovely, and the exhibits are well planned, and quite informative.
Young parents pushed strollers and herded children along the pathways, stopping at each pen to roar, squeal, or whistle relentlessly, trying to get the creature to pay attention. Usually the animals ignored the obnoxious humans, some hiding in the corners of their enclaves, noses to the wall.
Zoos always make me a little sad.

I know, I know… many of the animals are endangered, and their chances for survival and procreation in the wild are shaky in this day and age of climate change, environmental poisoning, and the encroachment of man. But to see these noble beasts confined to such tight quarters, pacing back and forth, like frustrated claustrophobics; it tore at my sympathetic soul.

The silverback gorillas were the most heart-breaking of all. Their faces, so close to human, looked almost annoyed as they stared through the thick partition at the visitors who pressed their noses to the super strong Plexiglas. Innocent prisoners, on display for our entertainment, they sit hour after hour on concrete ledges designed to simulate the rocky terrain of a mountain habitat.
I wondered if they ever dream of freedom.


Kathy G said...

Your zoo pictures are lovely!

DH and I went to our local zoo last year. It had been quite some time since we'd been there. They had built several major houses/areas while we were away, so it's now a combination of very old buildings (circa 1920s-30s) and state-of-the art habitats.

Sammy said...

I wonder if the zoo stil hasthe green plastic elephant keys that were used to activate a recording about a particular exhibit? I've always thought that a similar device could be adapted for the sight-impaired population for use in the city..
With regards to the great apes - a lot of zoos have taken an approach that confines the viewing public to a "cage", while allowing the magnificent primates a more natural setting. By using one-way observation glass, the impact of intrusion is minimized.
It's no wonder that we humans often treat each other so poorly, given that we treat "lesser" beings with such disregard!!