Did you come to see me?

San Diego Zoo logo

Yesterday afternoon I decided that I had experienced the joy of unpacking boxes long enough and needed a reward for my diligence.

Quite often when I need a reward I resort to a visit to the San Diego Zoo.

Whenever I make a short trip to the Zoo I usually make it a point to visit Flamingo Lagoon to see my favorite birds and Cat Canyon to see the big kitties.

Sadly, Cat Canyon is no more….

Cat Canyon was the oldest part of the zoo. Many of the cages there were original from 1916 when the Zoo opened; none of them were newer than the mid-1930s.

The San Diego Zoo was the originator of open exhibit areas instead of cages, so it’s nice to see these cages bite the dust. During the next two years, Cat Canyon will be transformed into Africa Rocks.

If you’ve ever experienced the newer exhibits at the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park, such as Elephant Odyssey and Koalafornia, you know that Africa Rocks will be magnificent. After a $10 million renovation, Africa Rocks will include a 65-foot waterfall, the largest manmade water fall in San Diego. Heck, it probably will be the largest waterfall period! We are not known for our waterfalls….

Meanwhile, one has to traipse all around the Zoo—and at 100 acres with hills and canyons that can wear you out quickly—to see all the big kitties.

The Amur Leopard and Snow Leopard are now at the new entrance to Panda Trek, and it is now more of a Trek than it was originally.

The Malayan Tigers are down Hippo Trail, and there is a new trail leading to the back of the area for the tigers, and it’s awesome! It provides a vantage point that allows one to get pictures like these:

img_2208 malayan tiger stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2240 malayan tiger stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2249 malayan tiger stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The expression on the face in the second picture seems to be saying, “Ah, did you come to see me? You’re so sweet. Thank you so much!”

The Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) lives only on the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia and are an endangered species. As of September 2014, an estimated population of about 340 tigers is all that remains outside of the world’s zoos and sanctuaries. Habitat destruction and commercial poaching are the main threats to the Malayan Tiger.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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23 thoughts on “Did you come to see me?

  1. Giovannoni Claudine

    Visiting a zoo (thing I never do) would give me such terrible and horrible feeling… seeing all these animals kept in captivity.
    I know it’s not possible for every one to travel and see them in their freedom… but that one is another type of feeling.
    There are many stories telling that animals live well in zoos, but many studies tell us exactly the opposite. Is better to take a walk in a park or, if the need to see other living creature as tigers, take a National Geographic DVD they are awesome!
    Think about it… have a good sunday


    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I’ll disagree with you till my last dying breath.

      Not only do the animals live well, but the San Diego Zoo and other Zoos are the only reason why some of the animals still exist, like the Northern White Rhino, and without the breeding programs and re-introduction programs started by the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati Zoos, many animals, like the California Condor, would be extinct in the wild.

      If you had bothered to read the whole post, you might have discovered that there are only about 340 Malayan Tigers left in the wild due to habitat destruction by mankind and commercial poaching by mankind. So you would rather these Tigers be out there in the wild? I’d rather them be in the San Diego Zoo where they don’t have to worry about being killed by the worst of humanity, don’t have to worry about not having the best medical care, don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. AND, people get to see them, people who do care, people who just might be the next scientist to help save a species. Think about it….

      I have not read any peer-reviewed research from reputable journals about animals not living well in zoos. Please feel free to share some reputable sources. All I ever read are personal stories about this and that. Doesn’t cut it for this science- and research-minded individual here.

      And these tigers look quite happy, thank you very much. I have a video of them playing. Yes, quite happy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Giovannoni Claudine

        I do consider all what you wrote (and yes, I did bother to read the whole article which is nicely written and very detailed), and I do agree with you about the danger of extinction caused by the greed and stupidity of mankind. Maybe I’m an extremist in this matter, and I didn’t consider the danger perpetrated by humans to the savage animals and their habitat. As for the gorillas and the forests being polluted, or the ourangos from Sumatra’s’ forest burned down… you quite right about the Malayan tiger (or the Amur Siberian as well)…
        I remember I saw a couple of horrible movies telling stories about orcas and other animals being mistreated, but I don’t remember if it was in the San Diegos’ zoo… But we had same problems in our swiss zoos with bears acting paranoiac… last year in Denmark in a zoo they killed a 18 months old giraffe because they didn’t want him to reproduce… and stories like this with several animals, happens in all the zoos…
        But I do respect your feelings.
        This was only my point of view, Ray. We are sentient beings free to choose what to do or not do… I wish I could change the mind of million of humans which aren’t behaving the proper way, but I can’t.
        I guess I hurt your feelings and I’m really sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          No, you didn’t hurt my feelings. Besides, I’m a big boy now at the age of 60.

          There were many problems with Zoos, Aquariums, Circuses, and even so-called sanctuaries from the past. There are still some problems today, especially with those entities which refuse to become members of organizations like the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

          In the case of the Copenhagen Zoo, I don’t think you know the full story. It’s available at Wikipedia, where I am a volunteer editor. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marius_(giraffe).

          Sadly, the bad part of humanity has put us in this situation, and the bad part of humanity still exists, except that there are many more now because of humanity’s overpopulation of the Earth. That means that the good people have to do even more, and sometimes the uninformed or the overly emotional don’t, can’t, or won’t understand the why behind the sound bites and 30-second videos.

          However, we do understand plant and animal genetics quite well, which is what resulted in the death of Marius. “We” doesn’t mean “everyone.” There will be people who are against something simply because they don’t understand that something. That’s been the case throughout history. In the early part of history, humanity worshipped various gods to explain the world around them. Sadly, there are still parts of humanity that worship invisible beings in the sky and have “faith” that such beings will protect them. Science, on the other hand, seeks to actually understand the universe rather than having “faith.”

          Marius was born at the Zoo so it couldn’t be released into the wild, and its genetics would have added nothing to the endangered species breeding program.

          Science and research demand more than sound bites and videos.


  2. T Ibara Photo

    Beautiful photos as always. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the San Diego Zoo & safari park. If I ever have a chance to visit the States, it would be one of the places I’d hope to visit 🙂

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      When you get here, be sure to give me a call because I often have free tickets to the Zoo and Safari Park. They come with my annual membership. I’ve also been known to play docent for a day if I have at least 24 hours notice!



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