Subverting the Zoo

This weekend I went to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco—despite my usual hatred of zoos—because I wanted to see an ocelot and deep down I hoped that maybe I would learn that the zoo is doing good conservation or rehabilitation work (I didn’t see any evidence of the latter… nor did I see an ocelot; they were hiding). What I did see, however, were vultures. They have pretty much made the zoo their home, and they litter almost any exhibit with a water feature—even the black bears’ cell (and I write “cell” because zoos are animal prisons). Oh, and I also saw a raccoon in the trashcan—which prompted a parent to say to their children, “Look, there’s a real live raccoon,” which made me roll my eyes because A. there were real live raccoons in the raccoon cell as well, and B. there are real live raccoons in almost every city alley in Texas—raccoons you can see and study and learn about for the low low price of absolutely free. But with an African tiger in the background, a raccoon jumping out of the brush and rummaging the chili dogs in the trashcan temporarily stole the show. I think I’ll be skipping zoos from here on out, as my long-held disgust with them was more than vindicated (what’s sadder than birds grounded by nets?), but if you do go to this one, make sure you go to the reptile cells and see the gaboon viper, which is an animal with patterns that I did not know nature could produce, albeit an animal completely foreign to this biosphere. Anyway, here are the aforementioned vultures, taking advantage of the hospitality (or indifference?) of flamingos:

vultures

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One thought on “Subverting the Zoo

  1. When a certain city council member voted against banning bullhooks in Austin one of his arguments was a lamentation that as a result our children might never ever get to see an elephant. I can say this: if my son never saw an elephant enslaved I would think that was a good thing. I am much more worried about him never seeing the animals that are supposed to be here. I was playing Skyrim recently and in the game ran into a moose. And I thought: I bet the moose are all gone fom the area where I grew up. My son will never know what a moose is.

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