Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When is a Date Palm not a Date Palm?


When it’s a cell tower. Can you tell which is which? The answer appears at the bottom of the page. (Actually, it’s easier to distinguish them in this photo than in real life.)

We visited the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, which is really a very large zoo, with fewer cages than the other zoo. DSC_0087 The most unique thing about the Wild Animal Park is it’s flock of rare California Condors. As has been reported over the years, the California Condors were on the brink of extinction a few years ago when an intense effort, including the capture of a couple of the remaining wild birds and a breeding program, has brought them back from the brink. I think the total number of California Condors, in captivity and in the wild, is now 350. The Wild Animal Park is heavily involved in breeding and releasing the birds in the wild, but they do have DSC_0099 about half a dozen on exhibit, and you can get quite close to them. It’s difficult to judge the size of these birds in the photos, but they are probably 2 or 3 times the size of the  turkey buzzards common in most of the country. I’d say they’re also about twice the size of a bald eagle or maybe even bigger.


The park also has a great variety of other animals. One of the keepers mentioned that the zoo and park are home to over 9000 specimens. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, which may explain why the two places are so expensive. Another reason may be the Disney influence – after all, Disneyland is just up the road. I hate to be critical of such well-run places, but everything in the two parks, from admission to cheeseburgers, is really expensive. In addition, the admission ticket to the Wild Animal Park just gets you in the door. DSC_0103 The place is huge, so if you want to ride to see the animals, you need to buy expensive tour tickets, and you would need more than one tour to see everything. Fortunately, the zoo does provide transportation with the price of certain tickets, but the animal park is much, much bigger. Even though it was expensive, the Animal Park is worth seeing. Visiting the Condors was special.

The date palm on the right is a cell tower. Tomorrow, we leave for that big unnatural wonder of the world –Las Vegas.


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