The San Diego Zoo
Most impressive is the Gorilla Tropics, exhibit, a 2.5-acre African rain forest habitat for six gorillas and over 200 birds.
This stoic orangutan is one of the numerous endangered species at the zoo, with farming, logging and other human activity posing as threats to the animals.
I can relate to these animals, as they are described as solitary and well thought out beings. The zoo website describes their thought process with this nugget:
If a chimp is given an oddly shaped peg and several different holes to try to put it in, the chimp will immediately try shoving the peg in various holes until it finds the hole that the peg fits in. But an orang will approach the challenge quite differently. It will stare off into space, or even scratch itself with the peg. Then, after a while, it will offhandedly stick the peg into the correct hole while looking at something else that has caught its interest!
I stare into space all the time. This is my kind of guy.
The Western Gorilla was popular, and is another endangered species. An adult male will eat up to 40 pounds of plants a day to keep healthy. That's one big vegetarian. The zoo website provides a tip I've never heard before. Here's one way you can help gorillas:
Logging companies destroy gorilla habitat. Africa may seem far away, but there is something you can do to help! When you buy wood or furniture, ask if the wood has been certified. This means the wood was taken in a way approved by forestry experts. Buying certified wood will encourage logging companies in Africa to follow wildlife laws that will help protect gorillas and other African animals.It's a great exhibit, with one exception: humans. We humans screw everything up, and there were far too many of us crowding around the apes. It's a popular zoo though, what can you do?
One of the more interesting things I learned was that most of the trees in the gorilla exhibit are fakes. Real trees would never survive the pulling, tugging, and eating that the apes would give it on a daily basis.
Botany, uh real plants, are a big part of the zoo. They are there for more than just decoration. Some of the signs are really interesting, like this one on ferns (yes, I know, this is a new level of dorkiness -- even for this blog). Ferns have sex, and may have been one of Earth's first life forms to do so. Fern fossils date back to the times of the dinosaurs. Yeah, more historical geology...
Speaking of sex, here are two of Allen's Swamp Monkeys making out...just kidding. They are giving each other food, I think. The Allen's Swamp Moneys are one of many kinds of these animals, and they are all fun.
This area of the zoo was a little less congested and just as much fun.
The big draw of the zoo are the pandas. I had to wait on line to see this sleeping Chinese panda. It is another endangered species of our planet, with only 1,600 are known to exist right now. This is due to their low reproductive rates, bamboo (their food) shortages, and humans.
Also on display at the panda exhibit are stupid human beings. This mullet-wearing kid with a Soviet Union hat on was behind me during the display. He didn't do or say anything stupid -- except wearing a Soviet Union hat. That's the dumbest fashion choice I've ever seen. Get a haircut and a job kid.
Also on display were the spineless male human. This dude was talking to his girl/date/friend/whatever saying "I understand why you feel that you might not like this person, but I feel that..." I wanted to act like Vito Corleone in the Godfather and slap the kid while yelling "YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN". Just say what's on your mind.
The zoo was packed with whipped men. Guys with their wives, kids, and girlfriends, all of which that had that vacant look in their eyes as their companions bitched and moaned about various things. This pretty much was the standard almost everywhere I went.
The theory of natural selection must be wrong...there's no way we got to the top of the food chain this way.
I bet elephants do not take crap from their dates. Here's an odd fact about the animals: their ears are shaped like Africa, the continent of their origin. I'm glad my ears are not shaped like Greece and Ireland.
The world's tallest land animal is the girraffe, which has a six foot neck. These animals eat 75 pounds of tree leaves a day, which much require a lot of walking and stretching. Guess what, they are not endangered! Woo hoo! This means if you want to kill something without feeling bad, a giraffe might be it.
Giraffes chew their cut, regurgitate it, and then chew again. Bad dinner manners. They also shift their weight to each side when they walk. In other words, they move both of their left feet and then both of their right feet when they move. It's an odd sight to see.
I spent quite a bit of time in the rainforest area. In our guided tour, we learned that the rainforest is disappearing at a rate of 50 acres per second. I've seen other statistics, including one per second, and 2.4 acres (a football field) per second.
It's a fantastic zoo and worthy of its reputation. Check it out if you get in town.
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