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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let's Go to the Zoo!

The new baby giraffe patiently awaits her lunchtime. 

In celebration of our upcoming anniversary, my husband and I made use of a free hotel stay and spent some time in the Philadelphia zoo. It's America's first zoo, and parts of it are suffering with age. If you love animals, support this zoo so they can live better!

We went principally to see the two rhinos, to commune with those magnificent and literary beasts. (Ionesco's play --a great piece of theatre -- uses them as negative symbols, but I don't see how they could be considered anything but enchanting, and my stories always feature their good qualities.)

It turns out that the African white rhino is only out until 1 pm, when the zebras take over that enclosure. We were driving down and eating lunch at the café, blissfully unaware that we were missing our chance to see him! I don't care if he was just sleeping in the shade, I wanted to see the rhino! I'm sure that with a lot of funding, the zoo could set up separate full-time areas for everyone. If only I had money, I would be a great philanthropist...

Then the sweet Asian rhino was feeling under the weather. We came by her enclosure and didn't see her, so we went back later to make sure. While we're told she often basks in a nice pool very near the viewing public, that day we only saw her from afar. She was inside her building, looking out  the door and chewing. We called to her and told her how lovely she was, but really we could only see her ears outlined in the light. A zoo volunteer explained that she might have been stung by a wasp on one of her sensitive parts near the nose and mouth. Most of the day, the zookeepers let her choose to stay in or go out but by then it looked like some bars had been lowered to keep her in for the few minutes the zoo was still open. Mostly, she wasn't feeling up to visitors. At least we got to appreciate the beautiful shape of her silhouette.

Although it was too hot for us humans, the rest of the animals were surprisingly active. The rest of the day was great. Support your local zoo!

Another underappreciated animal, the sloth, literally hangs out with the endangered primates.

The zebras during their afternoon shift in the African rhino enclosure.