Pentecost 9 – Genesis 15:1-6
Pentecost 9 – Genesis 15:1-6
Pentecost 8 – Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, 12-14, 2:19-26
Pentecost 7 – St. Luke 11:1-13
Pentecost 6 – St. Luke 10:38-42
Pentecost 5 – Leviticus 19:9-18
Any trip home to New York features three things: family, food and the Bronx Zoo. The first two are obvious; seeing family takes precedence, and a get together of the extended family is always scheduled. Food is also obvious, as there are just certain New York delicacies that one cannot find anywhere else.
The Bronx Zoo might seem strange, after all, there are zoo’s nationwide, and after so many trips, how could one possibly still find joy and excitement in a zoo?
And yet, the Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the nation; and along with the San Diego Zoo, possibly the most famous. The Bronx Zoo is a massive sprawling zoo, nestled in the middle of the Bronx, one can literally walk around the zoo, this picturesque place, surrounded by trees and plants, and glance over and see high-rise apartment complexes just on the other side of the fence. As we left the Zoo, we mused as to whether or not those near the top could look in and see the animals from their windows.
And yet, zoos are in danger. While engaging in another New York specialty – two daily newspapers, my eye caught an editorial, in which the author was calling on the Bronx Zoo to transfer its elephant to a wildlife refuge in Tennessee. The elephant, named Happy, was not happy in the Bronx, and the cure-all was to move the elephant to a more expansive place, where she would be with other elephants.
To its credit, the Bronx Zoo has dismissed this idea, saying the elephant is fine, just temperamental, much like humans, and would not prosper elsewhere.
Again to the Zoo’s credit, whatever one may think of Happy’s current habitat, it is infinitely better than the old one. I remember as a child seeing the elephants, presumably including Happy who is 48, in a much smaller area, even inside a building in a small area during the winter. Happy now is in a much more spacious area, more suitable for an elephant; although not as conducive to being seen by visitors.
But what happens when Happy dies? Will there be a new elephant to replace her? It is interesting that the zoo’s polar bear died and has yet to be replaced; the reason? The habitat is no longer considered suitable for the animal.
I am by no means advocating for the animals to be mistreated, or even housed in less than ideal conditions; but one should also remember what zoos are. Most of us will never go on an African safari and see elephants in their natural habitat; nor will we be able to go to the North Pole and see a polar bear in the wild. Zoo’s show us these animals, live, in person, that we had previously only seen on television and in picture books.
What happens when Happy dies and the Bronx Zoo never gets another elephant? What happens if the polar bear is never replaced? What happens when the brown bears, or the sea lions, or the rhinoceros, or the tiger die, and they are not replaced?
Will people still come to the zoo to see pictures of animals that used to be there?
It is interesting that less than a year after announcing elephants would no longer be a part of the circus, the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Baily Circus folded.
Oh, the most popular attraction on a Monday in late June at the zoo? An exhibit featuring animatronic dinosaurs.
Go to the zoo now; they might not be worth going to in another generation as they are just a picture book of animals that used to be there.