It’s a zoo out there


This summer sure hasn’t disappointed this news junkie in the realm of world-wide wacky news.

It always seems that when the temperature rises, the “news of the weird” factor also heats up in and around the globe.

And boy, has been one heck of a summer in terms of wild animal life.

Most recently, a Minnesota dentist is under fire for allegedly slaying the most popular lion of the pride “Cecil” on what was likely an illegal safari hunt in Africa. Unbeknownst to Dr. Warren Palmer D.D.S., who paid $50,000 to participate on the big game hunt, he slayed one of the most beloved lions and the most popular draw to the Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Ouch. That can’t be good for his dental practice.

I’m not sure “wild game hunter” is a trait I’d want to have with the person I’ve entrusted to drill holes in my mouth. News of this alleged poaching has lead to an (pardon the pun) uproar on the Internet and TV media this week.

While Dr. Teeth was allegedly kill a lion across the globe, zoo public relation offices really earned their pay checks this summer.

Earlier this week, Kipenzi, a 3-month-old giraffe, died in a freak accident at the Dallas Zoo. According to reports, the baby giraffe simply ran into its barn, but awkwardly struck the barn’s perimeter, snapping its neck. The baby giraffe instantly died.

Talk about sad news!

Although cute and cuddly isn’t want I would use to describe sting rays, they too, had a rough summer.

At the Chicago-area Brookfield Zoo, a environmental control malfunction caused 54 sting rays to perish after oxygen levels dropped to lethal levels. While zoo workers did everything the could to save the aquatic life, their efforts were in vain.

Now sting rays aren’t as cute as lions or giraffes, but I still felt bad for the poor sea creatures.

These weird stories just emphasize my personal opinion that zoos are sad places in general. And yes, this is coming from a girl who lives on a farm.

These are the many reasons why I’m not a big fan of zoos in general. While Evan has visited a zoo or two in his life, I took him to the Columbus Zoo once as a baby. I don’t really know what compels parents of young, impressible children to take their precious children to places where they can become inches from wild, untamed carnivores and poisonous species. This isn’t the main reason why we’ve never returned to a zoo though, you know, in the name of protecting my child.

I don’t recall any amusing moment at the zoo with my young son.

I just remember the visit to the zoo was hot and crowded. Those two elements are more than enough to keep me far, far away from this rite of passage, which I’m sure will be a topic for Evan’s therapist to discuss at a later date.

I’ve just never really liked the general atmosphere of zoos or aquariums. They smell bad. That, and, I’ve always felt more depressed than educated or uplifted by seeing these wild creatures on display behind panes of glass or watching them pace back and forth in their pits.

Yet, when I feel that slight yearn for observing wild animal behavior through a pane of glass, I simply walk across the room and stare at Troy Daily News sports editor David Fong if I am in need of amusement. A typical observation of a “Fong” at the “News Zoo” consists of him violently hammering at the keyboard, churning out four or five articles in less than an hour. You’ll likely see this intense behavior while “Fong” devours odd-flavored sunflower seeds, also in rapid fashion.

This creature also as the swift ability to steal an IPhone charger in a stealth-like fashion from the News Zoo manager Melody. It is quite amazing.

Sometimes I tap at the glass to get Fong’s attention, but he usually grunts at me to leave him alone. Or, he throws an empty water bottle at me to show his annoyance.

It’s not for the weak stomach, but it is somehow more inspiring than a monkey climbing a tree. At least I walk away wishing I could work as quickly as a “Fong” does.

And if I do get bored, I’ll just go out and observe the intricate habitat of the moles in my front yard or maybe pet the 4-H sheep in my barn if I’m in need of wild life entertainment.

So, for at least the near future, I think I’ll stick to my own human race as entertainment. It’s more amusing.

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“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears on Fridays in the Troy Daily News. If she were a wild animal, she’d probably be a rhino. No one messes with a rhino.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears on Fridays in the Troy Daily News. If she were a wild animal, she’d probably be a rhino. No one messes with a rhino.

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