01 November 2012

Farewell to the ZOO

Earlier this week, I had to say goodbye to my work at the zoo. I was leaving voluntarily, because I have a lot of other more urgent activities to perform (such as finally finishing uni etc.) and I desire to have a cozy and warm indoor winter rather than freezing my body parts somewhere out there, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness off me. I had one great summer over there and I finished as I started- in temperatures under ten degrees, on an ugly dark day, wrapped up in about ten layers of sweaters, jackets, scarves and hats.
I took photos all the time that I worked there and I feel that right now is the right time to share. Hopefully I will be seen there again next year. If they will want me ;-)
 Pink flamingos and their not-so-colourful babies.
Ducks. Abundant and everpresent. They are not kept at the ZOO, but fly in and out from the river as they please. There are more males than females and they form bachelor raping groups and will not leave the Mums alone even when they already have babies. Females make nests in the exhibits and then walk around with their ducklings and happily swim in the water barriers.
 
 
 Goats. Oh, how much trouble and fun I had with these!!



Guinea pigs of all colours. Pear-shaped mothers who can hardly get into the guinea pig house with their big bellies give birth to much admired little piggies.

 
A happy hippo family that very rarely showed me their fronts, resting in their old exhibit. The baby hippo boy celebrated his first birthday in summer and all of them are now happily moved and getting used to their new home in the upper part of the zoo.
Pigeons. Rooftop-walking and fence-sitting are their favourite activities.
An old sloth lady. She enjoys sleeping and when she moves around and eats, she makes people say "awww". She also enjoys sunbathing under a light bulb and doesn't mind serving as a very slow taxi for tamarins.
 
One thing that the "Madagascar" movie was good for is that every child, even the smallest one, knows that lemurs are from Madagascar, even though they will not be able to tell you where it is if you ask. One thing the movie was NOT good for is "king Julian" and "I like to move it move it". Mentioned four hundred times a day, it wears off even the roughest personalities.

During all this time that I worked at the zoo, I have met many people and seen many attitudes towards animals and I came to a conclusion that most people who come to the zoo are not animal lovers. They come to have a look at how “funny” the animals are and to take some cool photos for their Facebook profile. Most people also still have a problem to see zoos as educational institutions and a places to learn. Sure, there were a few people who told their kids to behave nicely when contact between the humans and animals is allowed, to approach it from the front, not to feed it because the sign says so, not pull its tail and so on…
But I have also witnessed cases when people fed the goats with fries, then accused me of forbidding them to do so because we want to earn money on the goat food from vending machine, then purchasing the goat food and putting it into a transparent plastic bag and after being warned that those are not allowed because the goats might accidentaly eat them and even die, saying that if they are so stupid that they would actually eat them, they deserve to die. I also feel that a true animal lover will never hit a goat into the head because it punched him with its horns and so “it needs to know what it feels like”, will not try to put his/her four years old child onto the goat’s back to ride it, will not argue about taking a dog where dogs are not allowed and will not lock their dog in the car at the car park after realising that the dog admission fee has gone up. Also blowing a massive flash out of your camera in the dark part of the “Indonesian jungle” directly into the face of a nocturnal slow loris doesn’t seem like a bad idea to many people, just because “well, if you are so clever, tell me how am I supposed to get a good picture from here without a flash?!” I also understand that kids do not read the signs, but a parent must be totally ignorant to allow his child to throw rocks at animals, because "they are boring when they don't move" and then look surprised or yell at you when you tell them that this is not how you should treat animals.
Being in touch with people is hard work for both employees and animals. I swear, I could see the animals be fed up with people as the evening approached. Many people think that animals at the zoos are poor because they are “caged up”. Trust me, they are well taken care of. If they are poor, it’s only because they experience a bunch of STUPID people coming in day after day after day, workdays and holidays, all year long.

3 comments:

  1. Great pictures and really interesting writing about people's attitudes in the zoo. It sounds like some people are infuriatingly ignorant...

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  2. stupid people!!! lol, I love that line. I love going to the zoo, and the museum, and to the plays, but stupid people and their spoiled kids make my very unhappy. ;0)
    maybe we should have a zoo and put the stupid people in there and let the animals poke them for a while. Oh, and while I'm on my soapbox, arm the deer with their own automatic rifles, put out blow up dolls instead of salt licks, and see how the "social" hunters like it. hahaha
    Debbi
    -yankeeburrowcreations

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  3. The hardest thing for me is that you cannot really be impolite to people once you are employed there and also you cannot try to "bring up" their kids in front of them, so you have to be nice and polite even though you are already bubbling inside :)Then you come home and dont want to see people EVERRR!!! :DDD

    ReplyDelete

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