a few weeks ago, my old program roomie, H, and i went to the Bronx Zoo to celebrate her birthday!
here we are together with a mangy sloth friend we picked up..
my favorite part was Jungle World, partly for the monkeys, partly for the beautiful exhibit background murals (i want to do that!), partly for the creative signage:
i liked how the displays employed loose watercolor sketches of the animals to depict their character— much more interesting than a photograph or digital graphic! (no offense to the zoos that do use them)
they livened up the “animal facts” accompanying every species, and made me wish i had brought along my own sketchbook (though i was happy to just stand and gawk)
whoohoo, shout out to zoochory!
these Ebony Langurs were a hoot. they didn’t do much but lounge about like lazy humans, or plot to sneak past each other to reach the top of the fake mangroves, but H and i probably spent the most time getting to know them. the little guy scratching his armpit reminded me of Clint Eastwood with his distinctive squint.
i’ve always felt a little conflicted about going to zoos. on the one hand they can be incredibly depressing when it’s clear they’re catering more towards the human visitors than to the animals barred inside. on the other, they can be sanctuaries for injured or abandoned animals, or a place of study to improve conservation efforts. they can also show us how much is still out in the world (for the time being anyhow), beyond our cities and suburbs, and hopefully inspire us to act.
alls i know is, looking at even the best photographs of animals from the pages of National Geographic, or admiring my beautiful collection of scientific illustrations perfectly pinned to my Pinterest board, severely pales in comparison to standing inches away from the living, breathing thing.
these leopards had a presence i tell ya!
i loved this drawing, it captures their movement
of course we had to check out the African Wild Dogs. i loved their signage too. they were peppered with realistic drawings on toned backgrounds.
Spotted Hyenas, one of my favs. i wish i knew the artists! they receive no credit. from googling, i came across this article by the New York Times on the Bronx Zoo exhibit-makers. what a cool job!
a favorite quote:
"They once fashioned a prosthetic beak for an injured hornbill in Jungle World, using a specimen from the American Museum of Natural History for the mold. Another time, they were asked to craft protective rubber sheaths for the horns of an ibex after it had gored a baboon."
here are some more pictures from the rest of my visit:
turtle breathing, fish says hello