Date: April 9th 2018.
Destination: The North Carolina Zoological Park, Asheboro, NC.
Purpose for excursion: To allow Gabriel (that’s the grand-saw) to see that elephants are real life things and not just in movies. Also to prove that giraffes weren’t just something I had made up.
Of course this happy family outing was preceded by horrific nightmares by me. What could be nightmarish about a trip to the zoo? Helloooo… they house a variety of bears there and, as we all know, bears are a chainsaw’s natural enemy! OK maybe not… but bears can kill the hell out of you. After a particularly bad dream, where I tried to hide in a trash can and became the equivalent of a bucket of KFC for a hungry polar bear; I was ready to call the whole thing off. However… sigh… kids.
Putting my fears and apprehension aside, for the sake of a child’s wonderment and potential smiles all around, the zoo trip went on as planned. Early that morning, amidst drizzling rain and frigid temperatures, we entered the zoo on the North America side. From the get-go it was well worth foul weather and the price of admission.
Up till now the largest cat the lil fella had ever seen was our neighbor’s tabbies, so the cougar pen was a bit of a surprise in that kitty-cats came in the super-sized variety. His animal enthusiasm was sparked from there and then set full ablaze when we reached the polar bear enclosure… of course it would be bears. He was enraptured by this massive carnivore moving so gracefully thru the frigid water. This and the underwater sea lion viewing pool could have held his attention for hours, had it not been for the dreaded and loathingly anticipated distraction.
It seems that just about anywhere you go now-a-days there are parents who cannot (or don’t bother) to control their children; especially their manners and volume. It’s rude when they shove their way past, repeatedly saying what their seeing at the top of their lungs. Just because it’s a zoo doesn’t mean you should act like a bunch of…well actually the animals were way more behaved.
Aside from poor manners and bad parenting, the rest of our zoo visit was a resounding success. Gabe finally got to see elephants! And he was thrilled with the trip’s closing act when he got to feed giraffes from a tower structure at their head level. Yes fun for all, smiles all around. There’s just that one nagging question. The Asheboro zoo’s facility and animal populace is commendable but… could it serve as a good refuge during an apocalypse (zombie or just plain variety)?
Just for the record that is not a joke. Much to the intrigue (and annoyance) of those who know me, it has long been a habit and hobby of mine to sum places up for any given end of civilization as we know it scenario. The zoo was no exception.
Upon initial observation it holds a lot of potential. It’s tucked away amidst and within miles of wilderness, filled with a variety of sound structures and numerous lookout vantage points. Plus its low desirability level to those seeking immediate restitution makes it all the more appealing. There’s just one major problem…the animals.
Now at this point we turn our attention to what will hopefully be the more intriguing side of the discussion and encounter a more compelling question. That being, what happens to a zoo at the end of the world? More specifically what happens to its inhabitants? Do zoos have an apocalyptic contingency plan in place? If there is a world-scale war or major world ending disaster, what is the protocol for those zoo personnel who survive? What if none of them do? It seems preposterous, but it has happened. In other countries zoos have been abandoned and left to die due to the onslaught of war. Though I may not think too much of people, I can’t help but to have some empathy for animals, who are reliant on the human element, left to die in a cage.
So what would you do? Would you just hope there are others who would step in and resolve the problem? Would you at least take it upon yourself to go and check? If you did would you assist or just morbidly spectate? Left in your hands, would you walk away or do something? Killing them may seem humane but would it be wrong? They didn’t ask to be stuck in there. You can’t realistically care for all those animals, so would you set them free to at least give them a fighting chance? How could you do it safely considering the number of carnivores that may see your good deed as a free lunch? What is safe? What is realistically possible and morally right or wrong? With so much death all around, any and all life that chooses to and can live is precious, shouldn’t it be given every opportunity to do so… even the bears?
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