Bear Habitat


If you haven't been to Woodland Park Zoo lately, I'd recommend taking the time to see it. The zoo didn't resemble the zoo I had visited as a child. All of the animals are now in enclosures that resemble their natural habitat, and rarely do you see any vehicles or buildings that look out of place. We spent about 4 hours in the zoo last Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The area that impressed me the most was the bear habitat. Two brown bears are enclosed in an area that is a little less than an acre. The area is manucured to look like an area in the Cascade mountains where a bear might live. Trees, fallen logs, bushes, running water, and even a rocky outcropping over a pond filled with salmon. The habitat was well designed and believable. However, the area that stuck in my imagination was a covered viewing area that was slightly below the ground next to the pond. A huge plate glass window separated the people from the bears and the pond water came up about three feet on the window. We had a great view of the salmon swimming in the murky green water, and an even better view of the bears above us. It looked like the bears could just reach down and scoop out a salmon if they felt like it. Every time one of the bears would walk out onto the rocky ledge, the humans in the observation area would get very excited and move to the window. But, while we were there, we never saw the bears spear a fish and eat it.

We sat in the observation area for probably 15 minutes. And I started to think that it would be really cool to live there. Or more exactly, it would be cool to build a house with an adjoining bear habitat. Of course, I would need to be a zillionaire, but I think building and maintaining a small, private zoo with a couple bears would definitely be workable. The bears would be well-fed and would be given good vet care. They wouldn't be treated as pets, they would be left as wild as possible.

The whole thing seemed like a really good idea, until an un-named someone started bringing up the whole moral issue of basically caging wild animals just to entertain me for a few minutes a day. Which, although the point is valid... it would still be real cool.

1 comment:

Uberlander said...

The habitats at the zoo have actually been like that for over 10 years. But being a Wenatchee boy, I guess you haven't ventured out much. You waited until you had kids. :-) I love the african safari section and the Nocturnal House. Truly a great place to see wildlife.