Friday, September 25, 2009


I went to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa yesterday with my mom. She'd never been, and I hadn't been for more than 10 years, so we thought we'd check it out. I spent some time watching these two elephants -- the baby walked up to the adult and nudged her, and they spent several minutes wrapping their trunks around each other and nuzzling. It was really amazing -- probably the closest thing I've ever seen to a hug in the animal kingdom!

The zoo is nice -- much better than it was when I was a child going there on field trips from elementary school. Back then, the animals were in small cages and displays weren't nearly as "natural" in appearance as they are now.

Most of the animals seemed pretty content -- sound asleep in the afternoon heat. But of course, who knows. Maybe they all have inner dreams of being off in the wild somewhere.


Barbara said...

Zoos make me incredibly sad. I can only imagine those animals running in the wild instead of nuzzling each other on concrete. I have come to believe that penning up wild animals is almost as bad as shooting birds instead of viewing them through binoculars. How's that for a morbid reaction to your trip to the zoo with your mom? At least the mother-child bonding was a good thing in both species!

Steve Reed said...

It's hard to know what the animals think. For all we know, they may appreciate the security of the routine in the zoo, the guaranteed food supply and the protection from predators. Or they may want their freedom. Who knows?

Barbara said...

Yeah, at least in a zoo an animal is not a target for poachers as so many in the wilds of Africa are. But if I were an animal, I would probably prefer a natural habitat for some part of my life over the security of concrete walls and fences. But then, I'm not a wild animal (any more :)), so what do I know?

I used to love taking my kids to the zoo. Back then the artificiality of it didn't strike me so much. And zoos have actually made great strides in the past few decades. But nothing can compare to the African veldt.