Taking advantage of another nice, somewhat sunny day, I went off to visit Animal Kingdom in Bordentown, NJ. They have a lot of different kinds of monkeys there, and of course, the main attraction for me – the giraffes.
Back when I was younger, I was really into animal rights. PETA was fairly new then, and not as well-known (or as insanely insane) as it is now. I would order their pamphlets, check out their books, write letters, get involved with whatever I could. At the time, I was against zoo and aquariums, believing that animals shouldn’t be caged up and should be allowed to live free.
Today, I realize that it’s quite more complicated than that. Many zoo host endangered and rare species, some of whom wouldn’t survive if it weren’t for breeding programs in zoos to keep the species going. Plus, many zoos have great environments for the animals to be in. (Of course it’s no comparison to being in the wild, but still.)
Sometimes, though, I have flashbacks of those moments and those feelings when I was younger and today was such a day. The zoo at Animal Kingdom is pretty small, with many of the animals in small enclosures and what seems to be not too much stimuli, etc. So I don’t know how I feel about these animals being there. Here is what the website says:
Animal Kingdom boasts one of the most extensive wild animal collections in New Jersey. Many of our Animals are endangered species, which is why the zoo is so important. Our mission is to educate visitors about the importance of preserving the environment and, as a result, the animals that live here.
Another thing really got to me as well. The zoo allows you to feed some animals, such as some of the monkeys. Other exhibits, such as the giraffes, have clear signs that say not to feed the animals because they have special diets. Yet, you will see a bunch of people – adults chief among them – carelessly feeding them popcorn or whatever else because, ooo it’s so fun and cool and freaky! The giraffe’s tongue feels so slimy! The signs could not be bigger or more obvious yet people remain oblivious. I even saw a guy read the sign and feed the giraffe anyway! What the hell, that kind of stuff just really pisses me off.
I tried to enjoy my time there even after all that. Here are some of the photos I captured:
The baby giraffe, Rocket, was so cute! He was running around all over the place. He was actually born at the zoo in July 2008.
Another one of Rocket, the cutie!
Giraffes have long tongues.
They had hyenas! In pretty small enclosures…
White peacock. That’s the unscientific name.
Camel (with one hump, in case you were wondering).
Odd how there are always peacocks just running around in zoos.
The emperor needs his groove back! 😀 I love llamas. I’m not sure why.
I looked around everywhere to figure out what this was but couldn’t find a sign. After examining the photos I came to the conclusion it is a tapir and my zoology professor mom-in-law confirmed. Then we Googled it – South American Tapir! Do I know my animals or what!
Kind of ending on a sad note, but the monkeys in cages killed me. This one looks like some kind of lemur, based on the eyes.