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Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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…it’s all happening at the zoo….

los angeles zoo

This meerkat would not cooperate and turn around for his portrait. But he does have a pretty back side!

My friend KL recently became a member of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. When she mentioned it, I realized I have not visited the LA Zoo since the mid 1980s. As I was overdue for a visit we set a date to meet.

los angeles zoo

The first time I ever remember seeing a real live flamingo was when I lived in Florida as a teenager. I still have a hard time believing they are “real.”

I have mixed feelings about zoos in general. Animals being held captive, etc. (But they at least they don’t live the wretched lives of food animals.) Some species would become extinct if not for zoos and some can no longer live in the wild. So, I decided to put all that aside and enjoy the day.

los angeles zoo

This turtle seemed to be using his wings to fly through the water.

I tried to work out a way of getting to Griffith Park, where the zoo is located, by public transportation. But as the parking is “free” in an ample sized parking lot, I didn’t try very hard. Besides, Cinnamon Girl has to get out of the garage and go for a spin once in a while.

los angeles zoo

The detail on this Silverback Mountain Gorilla sculpture made it look almost lifelike.

Early on a Saturday morning, the 15-mile trip on surface streets took me about 45 minutes. I avoid taking the freeways whenever possible as I prefer to drive through neighborhoods rather than drive past them, seeing nothing but other cars speeding by at 70 mph.

los angeles zoo

I felt really sorry for this red tailed hawk. I often see these magnificent birds enjoying thermals way way up above my deck. I don’t know this guy’s story so maybe he was injured and can no longer fly (and that is why he is at the zoo) or he was born into captivity and doesn’t know any better.

Going home in the late afternoon the trip took me over two hours but I was in no hurry so I just went with the flow. I was amused to see some impatient drivers attempting to cut in and out of lanes but staying in one lane and waiting for traffic to move, I soon caught up with them.

los angeles zoo

I understand the LA Zoo is hoping for some baby zebras sooner than later. But this one just wanted to hang out.

Of course I took a billion photos but a lot of the exhibits are behind protective metal fences or glass so it was quite difficult to get a clear shot. And some inhabitants insisted on showing us their backsides or were hiding partially behind trees… okay, we get the message. So, sad to say, most of my photos are pretty much useless. I’m sure if I practiced taking photos under these conditions over a period of time I would figure out how to do it… but not on this day

los angeles zoo

I arrived at the zoo twenty minutes before opening time. I was surprised to see long lines of visitors ahead of me. I don’t know why I was surprised as anywhere you go in LA there are herds of people, especially at the weekends. My friend assured me that if I came back during the week it would be more comfortable people-wise.

los angeles zoo

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to see so many people, and families, enjoying outdoor activities. And learning about animals. Certainly beats sitting in front of the TV or game console. But in terms of trying to take the perfect photo, it is hard when there are so many heads and shoulders in the way. At least the animals seemed oblivious to all the attention for the most part.

los angeles zoo

However, this guy seemed to revel in the attention, gladly posing for his portrait. He looks suspiciously like the sculpture we saw earlier!

los angeles zoo

Pronghorn Antelope?

I am as good at identifying different species of animals as I am at identifying trees and plants… which is not at all. I believe this may be a pronghorn antelope… I know the zoo has a program for rearing pronghorns, but not sure if this is one of them… sorry for my ignorance.

los angeles zoo

Not totally stupid, I certainly know these guys and girls are kangaroos… er, I mean giraffes. They were craning their necks looking very intently at something going on behind the trees so they would not look our way. Pretty soon we saw what all the excitement was about. The keepers came out with some munchies in the way of branches and leaves. Yummy.

los angeles zoo

I so wanted to get some good photos of the lions. Welllll, didn’t quite happen. Very disappointing as this is a scene I see all the time at home… cats snoring.

los angeles zoo

Kikuyu Colobus Monkey

No napping for this playful fellow. He and his compadres were all having a great time swinging and swaying among the hammocks and tree branches provided.

los angeles zoo

Capra falconeri heptneri

I would not want to meet this handsome gentleman in a dark alley! But he did seem very proud of his family as he was strutting around. According to the LA Zoo website, those horns serve a purpose as the gnarliest male winds up with the affections of the appreciative females. To each their own.

los angeles zoo

A least this tiger was cooperating even if the lions weren’t. So I got my feline photo of the day after all. I’m not sure if he was catching flies or coughing up a furball. This posture reminds me of Frankie in the kitchen before breakfast reminding me that he hasn’t been fed yet. Domesticated cats have remained very close to their wild ancestors.

los angeles zoo

A very sweet scene. The photo was take through glass so I couldn’t get too much detail and the original image showed nothing but a black blob. The second tail belongs to the baby that she was grooming.

los angeles zoo

When we arrived at the elephant enclosure there seemed to be a lot of activity. On closer inspection we saw it was two keepers cleaning and preparing the area. No elephants in sight. It was rather humorous as instead of watching zoo specimens, people were lined up at the fence watching the humans go about their jobs… just another species of animal in their natural habitat as zoo keepers!

los angeles zoo

We waited half an hour for the pachyderms to come out but it was good to rest for a while. Seeing them up close it isn’t hard to understand that they are the world’s largest living land mammal.

In the top photo, the elephant is sticking his trunk through a hole in the wall to feed on chopped veggies, sight unseen. The tire next to him is filled with grass and buried carrots that he has to hunt for.

In the second photo you see an orange ball to the lower right. The elephant has to roll the ball around until the carrot treasures fall out of the small holes one by one. This way the animals have to work to find food instead of having it handed to them on a plate! Sounds like a good idea for the kids, no?

los angeles zoo

Hope I am not mis-identifying this cutie as a Tapir.

Last, but certainly not least, what I believe to be a Tapir had quite a large area to wander around in (given his small size) but he was certainly getting his exercise running around looking here, there and everywhere as if in search of something.

It would be nice to talk to the animals and find out how they feel about living in captivity. I’m sure some of them don’t mind as they are safe from predators and don’t have to worry about finding dinner. But I am sure they lose something too.

My apologies to all the other beautiful creatures who did not make it into this post for no rhyme or reason. But all in all it was a lovely day. And now I have been to the zoo after all these decades, I think I want to return on my own… and on a weekday… with the idea of spending the time to capture some better images rather than merely snapshots. Practice makes perfect indeed.

Sorry to be so predictable (well, not sorry really) but to put a song in your heart for the day here is Simon and Garfunkle singing “At the Zoo.”

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

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