Wednesday, November 05, 2014

At The Zoo

Tonight I am very tired and achy so there won't be a lot of script with the post but I thought you all might enjoy the photos I took during a recent trip to the zoo with my Mom.  She had been wanting to go for some time, as she had never been to a large city zoo, and I was determined to take her once the weather cooled off some.  Turns out we had a beautiful day; just warm enough and not too many folks there since it was a Tuesday.  If you are in the area, the Birmingham Zoo is pretty nice.  Not huge but they still have some nice exhibits, many of which have recently been remodeled to give the animals much more room.  The elephants were one such exhibit.  The keepers were feeding them apples at the time we were there and the elephants apparently really like apples!  They were scooping them up quickly.

Birmingham was once also home to a very famous lowland gorilla, like the one pictured here.  That famous gorilla was Babec, in whom UAB cardiologists implanted a pacemaker after it was discovered he had heart disease.  It was the first surgery of that type in a gorilla and made him something of a celebrity in the zoo world.  He lived for many years with the pacemaker but finally passed away in his 30s, I think.

Mama especially enjoyed the birds and you could walk right up to these flamingos.

One thing that was pretty cool was that many of the animals would come right up to the fence or glass when Mama approached them.  My luck has never been that good!  I guess they know she loves animals.

Wildlife authorities have been spotting increased numbers of black bears in north Alabama in recent months.  This does not make me happy.  I mean, I'm happy the bears are doing well but ya'll know those things scare the living hell out of me.  NOT what I would want to run into one night while I'm locking the chickens up!

The big cats were a bit lethargic the day we were there.

It was good napping weather though, I have to admit.

The animals were all enjoying their food but I would not recommend the humans to eat at the cafe.  The ingredients were good and fresh but they somehow still managed to make the sandwiches cold, hard and completely void of condiments.  I actually had to ask for mayo and some dressing.

Even hunched over this African vulture was huge!

At least one flock of these guineas just ran around free, as they pleased.  They were taking a little breather over by the sea lions' pool.

These guys were quite funny.  They really liked having their picture made.  I was focusing on the two on the right and when this other one on the left saw that, he scooted down the limb real quick so he could get in the shot too!  That was cool though!  I thought it came out well.


pamit said...

Nice pix Annie. I'm not a fan of elephants in zoos - in fact, Birmingham (city of my birth!) has a poor record there. Take a look at the Wikipedia page on Mona, an elephant kept in a 1000 SF enclosure for decades at Birmingham. When Mona's companion elephant died, a sanctuary in Tennessee offered to take her for free but was turned down by the zoo. Mona's end is a sad story, as she died of diseases related to her poor care. Take away: few zoos are equipped to care for elephants. IMO zoos should stick to animals (such as birds and reptiles) whose basic needs can be met.

edifice rex said...

Hey Pam! Yes, I remember Mona and I remember going there as a teenager and thinking how horrible it was at how little room they had. Them and the rhinos.
I agree; I have mixed feelings about zoos and I refuse to support places like SeaWorld altogether. One thing I did notice on this trip was that Birmingham had pared down the number of animals they have in order to significantly enlarge exhibits for the ones they kept. For instance, the polar bears and brown bears were gone. (Their space was pitifully small also) This and some other space was taken in and added to the elephants so now they have about 2 acres to roam in. It's not enough sure, but they have made a big effort to improve things for the animals they have kept. The rhinos and hippos area was much enlarged also. Sadly, zoos are getting to be the only safe place for such animals because of the scum-sucking poachers.

pamit said...

We have a great sanctuary for carnivores (bears, lions, tigers and many other animals) nearby on the plains of eastern Colorado (Keenesburg - the Wild Animal Sanctuary). It's a remarkable model for keeping rescued animals on a spacious amount of land, while allowing the public to visit (for a hefty price of course). WalMart donates out-of-date meat to them. A great alternative to zoos! Plus each animal has an interesting backstory :-) A great place for kids to visit and learn compassion. Anyway, don't mean take away from your interesting post - sounds like you and your mom had a great day there!

JO said...

What a great treat for your mom. It will give her great memories for a long time.

Most Zoo's have made great strides to improve the care and space for their animals. but I agree they should be able to roam free where they come from.

edifice rex said...

Hey Pam! Oh, you didn't take anything away! For a long time I have been conflicted about zoos and Mama actually was after seeing it all, even the animals that had a good amount of space. I just wanted her to be able to see those animals in real life.

Hey Jo! Yeah, we had a nice day! Zoos are something of a quandary. Some animals need the protection and help and they are good for education, but then you hate to see them kept up in the enclosures too.

Sissy said...

Cherish the memories with your beautiful mother, Annie.

I'm of two strong conflicting minds about zoos. My second and last visit to Knoxville zoo convinced me that I could never ever go again. I became traumatized; yet avoiding a zoo hasn't helped my conflict either.

I'm happy your mother DID get the opportunity to visit though. Everyone should have the chance to visit our non-human companions of this planet, at least one time. It sure gives one a different perspective of life.

Ed said...

We just got back from a zoo while on vacation. Like most northern zoos, the animals are pretty scarce this time of year. Since I never see a big enough building to store all those animals during the winter, I've wondered if they ship them south to other zoos for the winter. Some day I hope to find an answer to this puzzle.

edifice rex said...

Hey Sissy! well, I'm glad I was able to take Mama, since she had always wanted to go. I think our next trip will be to the Botanical Gardens though!

Hey Ed! well, when you find out let me know! I've never really thought about that but it is an interesting question. I was glad to see Birmingham had moved their polar bears away.. it is just to hot for them to keep them here. I just hope they went to a very northern zoo!

pamit said...

I think northern zoos just confine their animals inside when the weather is bad. More stress for them. I can understand why someone might think they ship the animals away but the truth is the buildings they "live" in during bad weather are most likely more inadequate than their outdoor enclosures. Sigh.