Next to the great apes, I think bears are probably my next most favorite animal to watch at the zoo. On this particular day, Hudson the Polar bear was taking a dip in the pool. And what better way to dry off afterwards than a luxurious roll in the grass.
Meanwhile, over in the next enclosure, a grizzly bear was homing in on some lettuce that had been thrown over the wall, while another was diving for carrots in the pool. I was impressed by it’s swimming skills, rather like an underwater ballet, and the ability to hold its breath for quite long periods of time while foraging for these tasty snacks. To conclude, just let me say, “Go Bears!” both Brookfield and Chicago.
This week, Patti has chosen water as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, but more specifically, as she implies in the title, she is looking for us to make a bit of a splash, maybe like these sparrows taking a bath in the fountain at the Chicago Botanic Garden or koi fish threshing about in a feeding frenzy at the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford.
For the Polar bear it was not so much about making a splash as blowing bubbles, but you can always be sure of seeing lots of splashing at the Dolphin Show at Brookfield Zoo.
For larger birds, it isn’t always easy to perform a graceful takeoff or landing on water but they do their best. A cormorant takes of from the pond at Clearwater Park in Mount Prospect and a pelican settles down after making a splashdown on the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.
For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #21 Splash!
I’m always in two minds about visiting the zoo. While I’m not thrilled about seeing such noble creatures so limited by their captivity, still I can appreciate the fact that, with many of the earth’s species rapidly racing down the road to extinction, such institutions may be their last hope for survival.
With dedicated research, successful breeding programs and fearless conservation efforts, what goes on behind the scenes is perhaps far more important than putting on a good show for the paying public.
I don’t consider myself naïve enough to believe that there aren’t some unscrupulous places that, under the thin guise of caring for the welfare of endangered wildlife, merely exhibit animals for the sake of making a tidy profit, but I hope I’m not so cynical that I can’t acknowledge the important work being done by the many genuine organizations that exist, for the most part, for the purpose of ensuring a better chance of survival for all life on this planet in the future.