Jungle Bells

Reindeer at San Diego Zoo. By M.C.

We lucked out recently at the San Diego Zoo. The threat of rain had many of the animals out and active. Then some visitors were getting a special tour that blessed us with a couple of treats. Plus, the Christmas decorations were the best I’ve seen at the zoo.

We always have to visit the orangutans. I guess it’s their personality I love. They are calm, intelligent and friendly. They have this need to entertain the crowd. A curious baby swung from the ropes from one adult to the other then settled on top of a rock. The baby played with a burlap sack pulling it over its head. Something new about the enclosure, monkeys were added.

We took the Skyfari, which was free for everyone (not sure why), to the west side of the park.

Polar bear. By M.C.

The polar bear played with a big plastic ice cube. He somersaulted bringing his face up close then pressed his big paws against the glass. The Northern Frontier section seemed especially festive with reindeer and bulbed Christmas trees.

We chatted to one of the Wildlife Conservancy representatives. He told us about how we can support San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and help end extinction. He said the conservation organization is using drones to identify giraffes by looking at the unique markings on their necks. (Did you know there may be nine subspecies and the Nubian giraffe may be extinct?) Prompted by a myth, Africans are killing giraffes and eating their bone marrow and brains to protect against HIV/AIDS. Eating any part of giraffe doesn’t guard against the virus or infection. And I had only stopped to ask for directions. I learned so much from the guy and ended up donating. Renaissance Man says it serves me right for asking for directions.

In the Elephant Odyssey we saw a small male lion yawn. Those moments of the animals chilling or playing makes me think they must be happy. Around the corner a female zookeeper was holding a baby sloth! A male zookeeper inside the enclosure was talking to a man and his daughter outside of the enclosure. I thought they were special, but then I found in the brochure under Animals In Action you can take a 1-hour interactive tour with an animal ambassador that gives you a behind the scenes view and feeding opportunity. The baby sloth must have been twelve inches long. The male zookeeper put the baby inside a hole in the tree with the parents. Then the man and his daughter got to see one of the elephants do tricks for food.

Last time I was at the zoo, protestors had signs to free the elephants. This time I read the signs posted around the elephants about how they are old and non-breeding. I get dolphins and whales should be freed from SeaWorld and sent back into the ocean. The sea creatures who have been freed have gone on to reunite with their families. But I wonder if the elephants would be safe. I suppose they could be put into a wildlife sanctuary, but look what happened to Cecil the Lion. He was living in the wild and had walked out of a sanctuary.

In general I don’t recommend zoos. I don’t know where the San Diego Zoo got all of their animals who weren’t born there. The zoo has done a lot of work for the California Condor. Reading ZooNooz some of the animals do come to the zoo in need of help.

San Diego Zoo is one of the few I would recommend. Many zoos do a disservice to animals, such as, Zoo Atlanta, where Chantek the orangutan is kept. He is not allowed to visit with Dr. H. Lyn Miles, his human mother. (Chantek never should have been learning sign language in the first place at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Campus. Hopefully the zoo’s administrator lets Lyn visit again, but also I hope the anthropologist has learned wild animals should be born in the wild and live in the wild. That’s the burning question. Has she learned this lesson? She still is a professor at UTC. There is a fascinating documentary about Chantek and Lyn that sometimes airs on public television. I could go on . . . the stupidity of man.)

Jesus is the reason for the season and some day He will come and rectify the injustice done to His animals and His green earth and His people. We live in His hope. Merry Christmas!

For the holiday season Jungle Bells runs from December 10, 2016 through January 2, 2017.

San Diego Zoo Global, 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego in Balboa Park.