Sunday, January 31, 2010

Z - Zoos

Today's photos were taken in Shubeneacadie Wildife Park, Nova Scotia in 2008. Years ago I refused to photograph animals that were locked in cages, however, these days most zoos have enclosures which are much bigger than the cages of the early 70s. When animals are close to the fences that keep them in (and keep visitors safe) the wire cannot be avoided. This was the first time I intentionally photographed animals so close to the fences.

The wolf shown in the first photo was walking around the enclosure close to the wire mesh. Even though I was making photos just a few feet away, it didn't acknowledge my presence. It was not a bit curious about me; probably because it sees so many people every day. The raccoon was staring at something and it also ignored me. The large black bear looked directly at me as I took this photo.

To be honest, I still hate to see animals "locked up", but I realize that these animals are there because they may have been injured in the wild and brought there to be saved. They cannot be released back to the wild for a number of reasons, one of which is that they now have no fear of humans.

We have no wolves or raccoons on the island of Newfoundland. We do have black bears and I have come close to one while hiking which made me very nervous. As much as I love photographing wildlife, I didn't want to get any closer to a wild black bear than I was. Zoos provide opportunities to get close to animals that most people would never see (or want to see) in the wild.

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