Please feel free to comment, correct me if I am wrong, or provide helpful tips of any kind

Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Oct 12, 2012

A trip to the Calgary Zoo and a personal discovery


Near the end of September my wonderful daughter arranged a trip to the Calgary Zoo for me. I was very excited and feeling very much like a kid.  You see, this was to be only my second visit to a zoo in my life time and I have heard a lot of good things about that particular Zoo. Including the fact that the animals there are very well cared for, unlike the last Zoo that I visited.  So I couldn't wait to go.

We left at dawn, in order to arrive in time for the zoo to open.

The road to Calgary
The sunrise was absolutely gorgeous.  Unfortunately it was on the wrong side of the vehicle.  Still, there was a lot of other things to see. There are many prairie potholes, ponds, and other, larger bodies of water which were still very much occupied by a surprising number of ducks and geese.  There were cows and horses in the fields and some gorgeous scenery that included low lying fog in valleys with trees in fall colors all around it.

Horse in the field

There was a coyote running in a field alongside the road and I saw an Eagle way off in the distance.  Best of all, about a half hour after sunrise I spotted a huge bull Moose running through another field.

Bull Moose
The drive to Calgary went without a hitch and was very enjoyable.  When we arrived, the zoo had just opened it's doors. The zoo itself is divided into sections and themes based on the country or continent that the animals came from.  There is a Canadian exhibit, an African exhibit and so on.  Since the main part of my excitement about the trip was seeing the Bald Eagle in residence, we went to see the birds first.  Here are just some of the photos that I took.

Megallanic Penguins
Snowy Owl
Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk
Barred Owl
Grey Crowned Crane
The birds are beautiful as you can see.   They were either tearing down the Eagle exhibit for good or performing some sort of maintenance, so I didn't see it, but I'm sure I will see an  Eagle close up sometime soon.  Besides, at this point of my visit my mind was beginning to protest the cages.  Bird should fly free.

Mountain Goat

Next was the Canadian wildlife exhibit.   Here were Mountain Goats, Big Horned Sheep and a Cougar, Black bears and Grizzlies.

Black Bear
These next photos are from the African exhibit.


Since I don't have room here to show you everything that I saw.  The next photos will just show a few more of the highlights.
Tiger cubs
Sandhill Cranes

Lemur in a very unnatural setting
Although I was both delighted so see all the beautiful wildlife and grateful, on the way home I was struck by how much I disliked the fact that the birds and animals I saw were behind fences, bars and glass.  When I looked at my photos, I realized that I had been making every effort to take photos that didn't include the different enclosures.  As you can see, this wasn't always possible.

I couldn't forget how the Gorilla above looked directly at me as if to say, why wont you let me out.  I know that the animals at the Calgary zoo are treated well.  They are healthy and have a reasonable amount of space to roam.  I witnessed an interaction between the Giraffe and an employee at the zoo, and the employee was very patient with the Giraffe who was being very stubborn about going inside for a show.
I also know that many zoo's are doing conservation work.  The Calgary zoo has a breeding program for Whooping Cranes for example.  Zoos also provide an educational service.

Whooping Crane
However, animals do not belong in cages.  This is especially true for animals that typically migrate or stake out large territories, like the Buffalo.  Animals that are very social like the Elephant, should never be forced into isolation, and I firmly believe that the more intelligent species of wildlife such as the wolf, Gorilla and Elephant will suffer the most psychologically from their captivity. 

Canadian winters must be especially difficult for animals like the Elephant, Ostrich and Giraffe, who would be forced into smaller enclosures during that season, since they come from a part of the world that is warmest year round, and I wondered what the zoo did with the Flamingos in winter.

For me the most enjoyable part of the Calgary zoo was the Botanical exhibit, which included a large variety of Butterflies sailing around amongst gorgeous tropical flowers and plants. 

Orange beauty
Giant Hibiscus
Black Beauty
Another Black beauty
But even this exhibit had it's dark side.  These butterflies can never be released into the wild because many of them would perish or become an invasive species.  I learned a lot about wildlife on this trip and I also learned a lot about myself and what I believe.  As much as I loved seeing all the wildlife, I prefer to see it in natural settings and free.  I doubt that I will visit another zoo.



No comments:

Post a Comment