I had the chance to spend a couple of hours at the @OKCZoo recently, and managed to come away with a couple of decent shots. Among the better ones were these -- one of the orangutans, a male and female lion, a gorilla, and a tiger cub. The orangutan must be as old as me, or close. He just sat there, munching on something, and looking very pensive.
Many people decry the keeping of animals in zoos, but I fear that it won’t be too much longer and that will be the only place we’ll be able to find them. Between their loss of natural habitat, and hunters and poachers, many of the species that live in the wild are very endangered. What really makes it sad is that this guy is obviously quite intelligent, but he’s been reduced to living in a cage. Granted, the “cage” is very open, and the people in charge of the zoo have done a wonderful job of designing it to resemble his natural habitat as much as possible, but it’s still a cage.
Which begs the question — since we can’t seem to stop their deaths in the wild, is this better? I don’t know. But I do know that sooner or later, this will be all that’s left of such amazing, expressive creatures. I can only hope that someday we’ll all wake up to what an incredible gift they are to us.