Thursday, December 15, 2011

All This and a Baby Giraffe

You wouldn't think two people who live in the Phoenix area would need any additional exposure to desert flora and fauna, but today my sister and I went to see the Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Garden in Palm Desert.  The Living Desert is a linked series of gardens and habitats for plants and animals from the deserts of North America and Africa.  Their animal hospital (which we got to tour) also does animal rescue and rehabilitation, and several groups of school children joined us in the amphitheater for a show by some of the resident birds and beasts.  A tram is available for those who don't feel up to the walk, and food is available at three cafes on site.  Unfortunately, the cold weather and the time of day meant that quite a few of the animals were taking naps in various caves and burrows, but here is some of what we did see (straight from the camera):

Cool place. We just missed the jaguar's annual physical in the hospital - and the cheetah had its root canal last month - but the goats in the petting zoo were happy to see us.

It really is "all happening at the zoo."

“Despite all their flaws, zoos wake us up. They invite us to step outside our most basic assumptions. Offered for our contemplation, the animals remind us of nature’s impossibly varied schemes for survival, all the strategies that species rely upon for courtship and mating and protecting the young and establishing dominance and hunting for something to eat and avoiding being eaten. On a good day, zoos shake people into recognizing the manifold possibilities of existence, what it’s like to walk across the Earth, or swim in its oceans of fly above its forests—even though most animals on display will never have the chance to do any of those things again, at least not in the wild.”~ Thomas French, Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives

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