Tag Archives: san antonio zoo

Out & About—Puma concolor

Out & About

I spoke to the Bakersfield Cactus & Succulent Society on February 11, 2020, about nature’s geometry in succulents, and spoke on the same subject at the San Gabriel Valley Cactus & Succulent Society on February 13.

Bakersfield is a 4-hour drive from me, and the Los Angeles County Arboretum where San Gabriel Valley Cactus & Succulent Society meets, is a 3-hour drive, so it’s not like I was going to come home after Bakersfield and then drive back to Los Angeles through all that horrendous traffic.

Thus, I spent Wednesday out and about Bakersfield, exploring trains, zoos, arboretums and gardens, and the campus of California State University-Bakersfield.

Bakersfield has a zoo and arboretum by the name of California Living Museum, or CALM for short. It specializes in California native fauna and flora.

I have been a member of zoos, arboretums, aquariums, and animal sanctuaries since I was 13 when my wise old grandmother got me a membership to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. After that it was the San Antonio Zoo and Houston Zoo.

I came to San Diego, California, in April 1993, and as soon as I decided to stay (took three days!), I immediately joined the San Diego Zoo, and I have been a member ever since.

The California Living Museum is only 14 acres with 250 animals representing 80 species. I could not find any information on the number of plant species.

Compare that to the San Diego Zoo at 99 acres, 3,700 animals, and 650 species. Compare both to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park at 1,800 acres, 3,500+ animals, and 400+ species. Consequently, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I really thought that it would take no more than 90 minutes or so to check out everything.

I was wrong!

It took four hours!

Seeing native California animals was great, especially those that I had not seen before, such as coyotes, various rattlesnakes, coatamundi (still don’t know what that is!), and the beautiful mountain lion (Puma concolor).

Although the San Diego Zoo has a mountain lion, it’s a lazy ass cat and always is sleeping in its cave whenever I go by. The one at CALM was perched on a rock watching the people who were watching it. I got my best picture ever of this beautiful big kitty:

Mountain lion

Would you look at that tail!

I will have more pictures of this beautiful and impressive little zoo in future posts.

As an aside, I know I have readers who despise zoos and aquariums. All of the fauna at CALM are in three categories:

    1. Animals that are injured and unable to hunt or defend themselves, so they cannot be released back into the wild.
    2. Animals that have been rescued from the illegal pet trade. When animals are taken from their territory, returning them to a different territory usually means their death, either from not knowing where to hunt in their territory or being killed by other animals defending that territory. Since it is unknown where their territory was, they can’t be released back into the wild.
    3. Animals that have been imprinted. This sometimes happens when injured animals are rescued and treated for their injuries. One always hopes for their complete recovery and return to the wild, but sometimes the animal becomes too accustomed to humans providing for its food, health, and safety, a condition known as imprinting.

Without zoos, aquariums, and sanctuaries, these animals would probably be euthanized. Instead, they can live out their lives in comfort. There also is quite a lot of research indicating that people won’t (or can’t) spend the money and time to make a trip to the wild to see these animals, but to see them in zoos, aquariums, and sanctuaries often turns people into animal activists and conservationists. I also met one San Diego Zoo employee who told me that she visited the Zoo when she was 8 years old. She decided she wanted to work there one day. She got a degree in biology and has worked at the Zoo for 17 years.

Mountain lion

Penny for your thoughts

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1340 HemisFairI remember the first time I went to a Zoo. It was the San Antonio Zoo, and it was the weekend that my wise old grandmother also took me to HemisFair ’68 in San Antonio.

I had known since my birthday in March that I was going to get to go to HemisFair and to the Zoo. It was a combination birthday present and school’s out celebration.

I loved HemisFair! That’s where I found out via a handwriting analysis that I was a little, hyperactive monster.

I was disappointed with the Zoo because I didn’t get to see the big cats. All of them were in their hideways for the day and would not come out just to see me.

When I moved to San Diego in April 1993, one of the first things I did was get an annual pass to the Zoo. A pass meant that I could go anytime I wanted, ensuring that I would probably see all of the big cats at least once a year.

Most of the big cats are easy to see in their romper rooms. However, one of the larger romper rooms holds the Malayan Tigers (Panthera tigris jacksoni). The mere size of their romper room means that they aren’t always visible from the three viewing areas. When they are out, though, pictures can be quite spectacular.

Following are three pictures of one of the Malayan Tigers that I took on my trip to the San Diego Zoo last Saturday. I’m not sure I like the intense look on its face and in its eyes, but I would give it a penny for its thoughts.

Malayan tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Malayan tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Malayan tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Malayan tiger is an endangered species due to habitat fragmentation from development and agriculture, as well as poaching. An estimated 493 to 1,480 tigers were in the wild as of 2003, and only 54 located in 25 zoos as of 2004. Regretfully, the genetic diversity of the 54 zoo tigers are descended from only 11 mommies and daddies (called founders), creating a lack of the genetic diversity needed to ensure successful breeding programs.

Malayan tigers live about 15-20 years, so with breeding tigers in the wild numbering, at best, about 250 individuals, and unsuccessful zoo breeding programs, there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when these beautiful big cats will be extinct.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

Visit Russel Ray Photos.

Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

The story behind Zoey the Cool Cat

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I grew up in the farming and ranching community of Kingsville, Texas, population 23,000 or so. My family, however, were railroaders with Missouri Pacific Railroad until my third oldest uncle bought a ton of land and created his own ranch.

I’ve had every kind of pet you can possibly imagine — Great Horned Owl, Screech Owl family, snakes, pigs, horses, cattle, fish, dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, even a monkey which I eventually had to give up to the San Antonio Zoo.

My favorite pets were always dogs. My first was Bosco, a mutt. Then I had Bougher, a Welsh corghi. Then it was a pair of purebred beagles, Union and Pacific (named after the Union Pacific Railroad). Then Sugar, a chow/besenji mix, and Penny, a long-haired dachshund.

Penny and Sugar

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sugar rode on the back of my motorcyle with me.

Sugar ready to go biking

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I disappeared from College Station, Texas, on April 15, 1993, letting only one friend know what I was doing. He came down from Waco, Texas, and took the two dogs. I took off in my 1989 Ford Mustang GT for who knows where, eventually winding up in San Diego. I never went back to Texas. Midlife crisis, I am here.

I didn’t have any pets from 1993 to 2006. On Thanksgiving Day 2006, a feral black cat came to visit me. I gave her food and milk; she accepted everything and then took off. Nothing like eating and running.

She returned on Christmas Eve. I guess she understood human holidays. I gave her more food and milk; this time she stayed. Jim named her Sophie.

Sophie on fence

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We tried to make Sophie into an indoor cat. She was happy being inside until the sun went down. Then she would howl and howl until we opened the door to let her out. She’d come back the next morning and scratch on our bedroom window to let us know that she was back and wanted in. Sometimes she’d bring us a gopher, or snake, or rat, or bird………… Typical cat.

On September 19, 2007, in the wee hours of the morning, Sophie was hit and killed by a car. A black cat on a black asphalt road in the black of night. I knew it would happen eventually. A neighborhood lady found her smashed body, removed her nametag, wrapped her in some old towels, and called to tell me what had happened. I went and got Sophie from the side of the road and gave her a proper burial. Unfortunately, I unwrapped the towels to make sure that it was our Sophie. It was, but it was the most gruesome sight I have ever seen. I was devastated.

You can see more pictures of Sophie at her memorial web site.

That afternoon Jim and I went down to the El Cajon Animal Shelter to get a cat……….. an indoor cat. We settled on Zoey, with the name spelled Zoe. We were not able to pick her up until 24 hours later. I added the Y to Zoe to create Zoey, so that it would rhyme in sight and sound with Joey. Makes sense.

Zoey had been with us about three hours when she took this position in the chair in which I sit at this very moment:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“What a cool cat!” I remarked, and after that it was always “Zoey the Cool Cat.”

I am now officially a cat person.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos