Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Philadelphia Zoo--America's First Zoo

Greg Goldman, Vice President of Development of the Philadelphia Zoo invited TOMA and I for a tour of the Zoo this afternoon. Mr. Goldman and Vikram Dewan (President and CEO of the Zoo) visited PAFA one day to have lunch with my boss. I commented that I was not sure I like zoos, keeping animals in captivity seemed unfair and possibly cruel, so both Mr. Dewan and Mr. Goldman said that I would have to come for a visit so I could see that although the animals are in captivity the Zoo is always trying to improve their quality of life. So now I have mixed feelings.

I do not like seeing a wild animal in captivity, although my cats are definitely in captivity as I do not allow them outside. The animals in the Zoo for the most part know no other life--just like 2 of my 3 cats. At the zoo the animals' habitats are pretty spacious and there are new ways in which they can go outside and come back indoors through tunnels that are suspended in the tops of trees. The Zoo is making lots of improvements with a new children's zoo and more of these contraptions that allow the animals to go out and come back in. (I believe the Philadelphia Zoo is the only zoo that has this option for some of the primates.)

We had a really enjoyable day and I became a member. My favorite area was the McNeil Aviary Center where there was a section where the birds were close enough to touch (but touching is not allowed). So I will be visiting again and concentrating on one area per visit, waiting for the animals to be in the perfect position for photographs and even sit on my portable stool and draw from life. So in the end there were a couple of sad moments knowing the animals are trapped in a room and pointed at all day, but for the most part they were busy eating or sleeping (like my cats do all day) and are safer at the Zoo than most of their natural habitats. I think the zookeepers are attentive and give the animals a decent life. Mr. Goldman gave us a great tour and spent a good part of his Saturday with us and we really appreciated it.

If you live in the area, please support the Philadelphia Zoo. Your admission helps support these animals and the improvements that make their lives better. Here is some of what we saw. I did not take the time to write down the name of each species, sorry--next time...













Now, a little art...

Baci e abbracci...