Monday, March 03, 2008

Palm Beach Zoo

I took these photos a few weeks ago when I spent a beautifully sunny Sunday morning visiting the Palm Beach Zoo here in Florida. The zoo is a gorgeous park where the enclosures are mostly very large outdoor natural settings, with plenty of space, foliage and water sources for the animals to roam. I am sure that a large Siberian Tiger still feels trapped no matter how large the enclosure is but it sure beats most zoos that I have visited in recent years - and I love zoos. There are no steel bars in any of the pens but simple wire mesh giving a very open feel for the spectators. You can stare at a stunning spotted leopard from a few feet away, almost too close for comfort. The animals at this zoo were all bred in captivity and are often traded with other zoos when they come of age so to avoid inbreeding. One of the most unusual animals I saw there was a white alligator - a real freak of nature - that was set in a temporary indoor exhibition to avoid the caustic Florida sun on it's delicate hide. The keeper told me that he is one of about 1o survivors from a nest found 20 odd years ago somewhere in the American South. She said that they all would have perished in the wild because of it's lack of skin pigment had they not been rescued. If the sun didn't kill them first other alligators would have finished them off because of their white appearance. Note: they are not Albino alligators by the way. They are actually just white skinned - with blue eyes (!) - whether an Albino's eye color is pink.

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