Lions and Tigers and Bears...oh my
In spite of cooler weather and overcast skies, we headed to the Oregon Zoo this morning. Our/my assumption was that since it was 1) a school day, and 2) cool with possible showers that it would not be crowded or crazy. We/I could have not been more wrong! It seems that every school in the Greater Portland Area was hosting Field Trips for small, over-sugared, screaming kids. Seriously, there were hundreds of small , amped-up humans wearing "Field Trip" name tags, accompanied by frazzled chaperones. The noise level was unbelievable. And navigating through hoards of small humans was like an Army obstacle course.
In spite of it all, we had a good time and I had fun photographing zoo animals which are significantly easier than wild ones to photograph. I chose this cropped Masai Giraffe that had been eating some moss off a rock (apparently favoring it over the well-balanced giraffe food provided by the zoo). If you look closely at it's tongue, you'll see bits of moss still stuck to it.
My other two favorite shots of the day are of a Lesser Flamingo and the endangered California Condor. The Oregon Zoo has played a key role in the recovery of the California Condor, a species that was nearly extinct by 1982 with only 23 birds remaining in the wild. All wild birds were captured and placed in captive breeding programs by 1987, beginning the long journey of recovery. In 2008, there were more of these huge birds flying free than in captivity, a major milestone. As of the end of 2017, there were 463 California Condors alive with 290 living in the wild. They are far from over the recovery hurdle, but with diligence, it may be possible for future generations of Americans in the western US to see the 10-foot wingspan of a wild condor passing overhead on a sunny day...
One more day before we head back east...