Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Another Night Safari

With friends in town at a loose end, we went to the Night Safari. Second time around, some things are more fun, some things are pallid reminders of how things used to be.

The flying squirrel refused to fly; it sat on its perch and stared at us. The pelicans crouched in darkness and looked at us with suspicion. The terrible music show at the front entrance ... Well, that was being honoured more in the breach than the observance tonight, which was a Good Thing.

On the positive side, we saw more tapirs, and more cats, and the commentary on the tramride through the park was (un?)intentionally hilarious - "over on the left you see the hyena, and on the right, its natural prey, the waterbock". I think there could be an entire show where a man declaims facts about bearded pigs being sexually attractive and then having to clarify that he means to other bearded pigs, not to himself. Although maybe a man who loves animals that much shouldn't be working at a zoo after all.

Some animals seem content (how do you assess the emotional states of a turtle?). The fishing cats were fishing, the otters were a-swimming, the elephants ... The elephants were lurching back and forth in a perpetual two-step, dancing to the music of neurosis and loneliness, I think. Large animals don't often look happy in zoos, but the elephants seemed especially gloomy to me.

It's difficult; do you defend zoos for keeping animals safe, or attack them for enclosing animals? I'm too tired, far too tired, to make reasoned judgments at this point, but perhaps next time I see the elephants I'll have refined my stance some more. Or I'll be off my face on Bongo Burgers and caffeinated beverages. Speaking of which, an awful lot of civets out tonight, but none of them seemed to be eating coffee...


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