Monday, May 11, 2009

My World: Como Zoo

When I was a child, back in the sixties and early seventies, my family used to go to the Como Zoo each year for my dad's company picnic. Now I work a few blocks away from the zoo and it is a nice place to get away if I actually take a break for lunch.
Back in the past Como Zoo was not a very good home for many of the animals. This building, now a zoo administration building, is a grim reminder of the past. The small cages on the side had an opening to small cages inside and this is how many of the larger animals were housed.
For a big cat, like a tiger, the space was way too small and very inhumane.
Fortunately times have changed for the better. The tiger, the zoo currently only has one, has a large natural area complete with trees and a water feature.
In the past the only contact the lions could have with other lions was through the bars with a lion in the next cage. Now the lions enclosure is large enough to give multiple lions plenty of space to roam about.
Gorilla's were a big deal for the zoo in the past but even though they helped bring people out to the zoo they still were housed in the same way as the big cats.
Now the zoo has a wonderful area where several gorillas can play and interact with each other. They also hope to expand and improve this area in the future.
The new buildings at the zoo are state of the art and are designed to provide the best experience for both animals and people. This is the latest building and it houses a small tropics area.
The tropics area has many different types of free flying birds as well as fish, reptiles and a sloth.
I have mixed feelings about zoos. I do not like seeing wild animals kept in captivity but zoos have gotten better over time at providing the animals with a better more natural habitat. Many zoos, like the Minnesota Zoo which was built when I was in high school, also have breeding programs to help make sure that some species that are endangered in the wild do not disappear completely. So as long as they are responsible and humane and try and keep the best interest of the animal in mind I think that a zoo can be a good place for people to learn more about wildlife around the world and how we affect it.

16 comments:

kbguy (福生) said...

This is the first time I came over your blog and I just love them. I enjoy watching your photos and I wonder how you did it so perfectly clear and interesting. I like photography too but I am using cheaper range of camera and lenses. Hope I can learn something from you too. For the time being, best Wishes and regards.

Just Roaming The Cities said...

Hey there! We must be both channeling the Como Zoo these days :) I posted a few about Como this last week, and it was my first time there in awhile. I am amazed by the old cages myself, and the zoo has improved but still could get better if it got more money :) Have a great day!

Gaelyn said...

I too remember the small caged zoo from youth, Brookfield outside of Chicago. I also have conflicts with zoos where the animals shall never roam free. Yet I realize that much has been learned for both science and the general public by these facilities. That's how I justify them any way. And I do support breeding to save and increase wild populations in trouble. After working at an animal facility in Bakersfield I felt honored to get close to wildlife.
Great post.

JoAnn's-D-Eyes said...

Very Nice,
I love seeing this animals being happy and playing in a great zoo.

Come see my blog:) JoAnn

SandyCarlson said...

Interesting. I think zoos are important because they teach us the important of open space and freedom and how important these are to animals.

ewok1993 said...

What is that animal on the last pic?

I echo Sandy's feelings towards the necessity of zoos.

Guy D said...

I too love to visit zoo's, that one looks like a great one, nice pics.

Have a great week
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Mary Elizabeth said...

Beautiful photos. This zoo is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Mary Elizabeth @ Now and Then

Arija said...

I'll grant that zoos have a pursos, especially with endangered breeding programmes which also provide the stimulus for the animals of family interaction. What troubles me most is the keeping of a single animal of its species in this unnatural prison for the rest of its life. It is a life sentence no one should have to endure, especially for the entertainment of a more cunning species.
Nice post.

Pam said...

Your photos are wonderful. I'm glad that this facility has gotten better over the years.

Lawstude said...

the tiger looks fierce.

hip chick said...

I feel the same way about zoo's. It can be a great learning experience but I've come away feeling sad and depressed. I do think that a lot of zoo's are trying to improve.

Jenn said...

I too have mixed feelings about zoos. On one hand, it is a great place to learn while on the other hand, it unsettling to see them in captivity, although hopefully properly taken cared of. Oh well... I love going to zoos, by the way.

And what IS that animal on you last pic??

equidae said...

After seeing the animals in the wild, I feel really sad going in a zoo....if you look in their eyes you can see and feel the sadness of the animals. However as some mentioned, zoos are also good to teach and show people the importance of caring for the natural world. They sometimes do good research as well. Although a lot's been done to ensure a more natural state for them to live in, I still feel my heart breaking if I go there.

LivingLifeToTheFullest404 said...

It's nice to see all those majestic animals up close for free but seriously going to that zoo makes me want to cry... as soon as I see the lions, seals, polar bears, and zebras.... all animals meant to have HUUUUUUGE areas to roam in a cage the size of my room is absolutely ludicrous... It is really cool to be able to interact with the gorillas sometimes though.

Still I am super pissed about the zebras habitat too, they don't even get grass they are just in a cement room...

Anonymous said...

Most animals in zoos these days are captive bred and not taken from the wild at all, so try not to feel too bad about keeping these animals contained. They have never known anything different. And if a few hundred animals must be contained in order to expose them to the public so they care enough to maintain wild populations, it is worth it. And yes, zoos spend a lot of time, money, and effort trying to ensure their animals have the best life possible. Also try to remember many of the animals that look "lonely" are kept singly because they are a generally solitary species. This is coming from a keeper at Como, so I know exactly what goes into a normal day. Nice post, too.