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Jun 5

A cage for MacAleese?

Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 in Family, Rantings

We went to Dublin Zoo yesterday.  Like a wee child was I in my anticipation of the trip, but on arrival, somehow the same thing always happens.

I thought it would be different this time, small toddler in tow.  Ríanna is in the process of learning the names of zoo creatures, knows ‘monkey’, ‘jowaffe’, and even ‘elenafant’, and I knew she’d be bowled over by the sight of these creatures.  Indeed she was, as we arrived at the chimp enclosure and gazed in the dark windowed room and found one hanging upside-down scratching his scrote.  ‘ISSA MON-KEE!!!  HIYA MON-KEE!!!” she exclaimed repetitively.  Unfortunately her enthusiasm burned out, or perhaps was more washed away by the constant drizzle that fell on our trip.  She wasn’t so impressed with the tiger, even though he was, for a change completely visible, lying right beside the glass of his viewing booth.  She probably thought he was stuffed.

Since watching ‘Instinct’, with Anthony Hopkins (not that I have the pleasure of watching many films with Anthony Hopkins… maybe I should’ve said ‘starring’ or ‘featuring’ Anthony Hopkins…) I’ve never been able to pass the Gorilla enclosure without tearing up.  If you’ve never suffered from depression, and find it hard to understand, all you need to do is look into the eyes of a daddy Gorilla in Dublin Zoo.  He too would appear stuffed if it wasn’t for the occasional deep sigh he emits from time to time.  You’d want to climb in there and give him a big hug.

Somehow the spice always gets stolen from a trip to the zoo when you see similar looks of depression on the animal’s faces.  They all have the same symptoms… lethargy, lack of interest, and constant sleepiness.  ‘Oh look, here’s another sleeping animal!  Isn’t he majestic, children?…. No, you can’t see him because he’s in disguise… look, just trust me.. he’s there, ok?’

At lunchtime, we got an insider’s look on the zoo.  Our group was crammed inside a glass walled area, evading the rain, munching tiredly on our picnics.  Occasionally we’d get a glance from a passer-by, who probably noted how depressed we looked.

We didn’t get to see all the animals, as toddler tension reached it’s max half-way around the park… the kind of sleepy tension that no amount of M&Ms can fix.  I’ve never yet seen the reptile house… it holds some fascination for me, like a mystical path in a forest that you never get to explore, and probably never will for fear of ruining the hope that it leads to a fairy village or something.

I always wonder why the powers that be don’t enlarge the area of the Zoo, to give it’s residents more room to breathe.  The zoo takes up about maybe 4 acres, in a park of a 15 acre area.  There is a large expantion of grassy land around the zoo’s territory, and even a few unncessesary buildings.  The polo grounds for example could be sacrificed, and I definately think that a few gorillas deserve the turf more than the president does…  if it was up to me I’d put her up in a council house in Stoneybatter.


Addendum:  Seriously, what was I thinking?!?!  I would like to correct my mathematical boo-boo here and mention that Phoenix Park is not actually 15 acres, but is instead 1,760 acres.  The zoo itself is 35 acres in area as opposed to my guestimate of 4.  What a bimbo am I.  My underlying point still remains, however, if not drastically re-inforced.

Bring on the comments

  1. Grannymar says:

    K8 Phoenix Park is the largest urban enclosed park in Europe, with a Circumference of 11km (7m) and a total area of 712 hectares (1,760 acres).

    The ‘powers that be’ should put the people in the enclosure and let the animals roam the park lands. They could always be tied to the Wellington Monument to avoid escape.

    It must be 25 years since I was there.

  2. K8 says:

    1,760 acres?! I knew there was something strange afoot there. So why do they call it 15 acres on the map?

    That’s an excellent idea about enclosing the people for a change :)

  3. There is an opern grass section in the middle called – The 15 Acres. Papa gave a gig there in 1979!

    We couldn’t have El Presidente in a council house in Stoney Batter! Could we?

    Nice piece of writing by the way!

  4. Brianf says:

    I never went to a zoo until I was in my mid20’s and it was one of the modern type with large open spaces for the animals. I was well into my 30’s when I took my son to the Philly Zoo. It was one of the most depressing places I have ever been. The monkey house there was just as you described.

  5. baino says:

    You should have grabbed some zoo poo for Grandad’s practice game . . .

  6. K8 says:

    Thanks John :) I was but a few weeks old when Il Pope came to visit. I still got on my bike but didn’t get very far becuase I couldn’t reach the pedals.

    Brian, you should see Fota Island in Cork. Because it’s an island, the only animals that are caged are the dangerous ones. Their compounds are pretty generous at that. At least they roar at you a bit. The ones in Dublin Zoo seem like they’re on Prozac.

    Baino, stop talking shite.

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