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Not so wild!

I haven’t been to a zoo since I was a child. It’s not that I am not fond of animals, but I don’t have any particular memories of having visited one, even though I am sure I must have. It’s possible then, that I must have buried those memories under a cerebral rock.

A couple of days ago, when reading a blog which recommended the BA zoo, I decided to head there because 1) I have run out of [places to see now that I’ve been here for over 2 months; and 2) the zoo is a few blocks away from where I live.

A rhino tries to stay cool under a shed

Buenos Aires zoo is like any other I expect. Lots of animals look out of place – not just because they are in S America, but also because they are in the middle of a city! The zoo boasts no less than 45 acres of land right in the centre of Palermo – itself an expensive real estate. Sure there are swathes of fields covered in grass and ponds which might give you the impression at a distance of wild animals roaming freely. But on closer inspection, there are high fences, electric wires, deep ditches. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to come face to face with the only leopard or the solo elephant in the zoo, but I did think they all looked rather sad.

At one end of the zoo, there is the water park which shows half hourly performances by seals. This was evidently popular because the queue was so long, I gave up. Don’t seals get tired jumping through hoops every half an hour?

The other end of the zoo was a large building which has been turned into an indoor rainforest with a walkway created to go up through the obviously false trees and waterfall.

A snake desperately trying to stay submerged in water escaping from the tank

Further along from the seal show is the entrance to the reptiles house. Of all the caged animals, I thought these poor snakes and reptiles were the worst off. The conditions didn’t seem great – lights were off in some tanks which obviously had animals in them, there was water escaping from some of the snake tanks so thew were languishing in a bowlful of water on a hot day.In the centre of the zoo were the showcase animals – a tiger, a panther, a lion, an elephant, a polar bear – all looking miserable in there solitude.

I don’t know what else I should expect of going to a zoo – for all I know, this was probably the best example in the world but I left with a sad feeling and a knot in my throat.

Leaving the zoo, I saw a cat sitting at the entrance eyeing the inside of the zoo. So perhaps I was wrong and animals actually want to get in to the zoo instead of out!

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