We set off for Busch Gardens and got there shortly after opening. It was a perfect day here in Tampa. Not too hot, not too windy, a lovely bit of sun, some clouds....just right.
The Chimpanzee exhibit was very informative and we spent a lot of time there. We were able to talk to one of the keepers for quite some time, asking one question after another. We asked about the social order of the troupe and all kinds of questions about their daily life and loves were answered.
They were trying to socialize a new pair of chimpanzees to the troupe. It was taking a year of naturalization and desensitizing to do so. The male was already accepted into the group by the male and the other females. The female was having a harder time getting admittance to the social order tho. She was being impeded by the alpha female, named "Patsy" who was older and ....had cataracts. (ahem) It seems that she is not able to see well enough to know that the new female is not a threat, so they had locked Patsy away for a bit. She was agressive and they were monitoring her behavior. She was well taken care of, but in the wild she wouldn't be able to keep up with the troupe. She was taking out her aging and blindness on the others. In particular, she wasn't accepting the new, "huggy" female. Her new behavior wasn't like the troupes familiar order.
It was all very interesting.
The cheerful, knowledgeable keeper went on....
"One of the females was outcast and was now hanging with the new female and they were bonding together very well. The staff was pleased.
The dominant male likes the company of the other male and they seem to be friends. We have more problems with the females getting along, than we do the males..." she said.
As I walked away, full of ape information I commented, "It seems that the psychological wild behavior of apes is not far from the psychological wild behavior of humans."
Harry nodded in agreement.
"I feel sorry for poor old Patsy. I understand her pain. We aren't far from our ape neighbors after all. .I guess I can really understand how the older, blind one would want to bitch slap the younger, huggy one"
I had to laugh. Harry did too
It was at about this time, I got a text from Dre' that their sweet kitty, Radar (whom we'd all petted on the weekend) had bad news at the vet. He had an inoperable tumor discovered at the vet (he'd been sick all weekend with it) and had to be put down. We were all so sad.
"Well, that makes 3" said Harry.
"You know, you are right" I said, as I remembered the horse and premature puppy deaths over the last weekend
"I have just figured out the name of the tour".I declared.
"It's the "Fire and Ice, Circle of Life Tour".which was said as I stood in Africa.
Things go round and round.
Life and Love go round and round too.
The Beginnings of some things are only the Endings of something else.
The Endings of some things are only the Beginnings of something else.
From there we saw Alligators, Turtles, Tigers.
We went on a short train ride to another part of the park and saw Giraffe (who have their babies standing up, BTW...that first step for new baby giraffe is a 6 foot drop...). We saw Rhinos, Ostrich, Zebra...all kinds of tropical animals from Africa right here on our continent!
The Elephants were brought into an area that had been "prepped" for them. The keepers bring them to this area once a day after having "hidden" all kinds of treats within the habitat. They hid grapes, melons, carrots, lettuce and pears all over this area. The elephants came out and found them all within minutes. They are so smart! Every day the keepers hide the treats in different places...and every day the elephants find them. It's like an Easter egg hunt for candy for them.
We went to see a "4-D" short movie. It starred Leslie Nielson (God rest his soul), Eric Idle and we settled down in our seats in the dark theatre with our 3-D glasses on. What a hoot! Evidently there were "special seats" with built in attachements which became apparent when as the movie went on. We were physically splashed with water, bees hummed and buzzed the seats, it felt like the bats on the screen were really in our hair and that crabs were crawling down our legs. We all squealed with delight! It was 15 minutes of FUN!
(Oh and one of the pirates looked like our friend, Jim Greene/Emerys Fleet. At one point the pirate yelled "Hey!" and I immediately had Emerys' shout out in my head, "Come 'mere! I want to show ya somethin!" :)
We watched wild rollercoasters fly overhead while we ate a phenomenal smokehouse BBQ dinner.
Licking our fingers, eating ribs, chicken BBQ and coleslaw and chatting seemed like the perfect accompaniment.
Here's a tip. ALWAYS compliment people on their tattoos and ask to see their "ink". You see soooo much of perfect strangers this way and learn sooo much about them and their Life force :)
I loved watching the birds. We went inside the netted aviary full of feathered delights! It was gorgeous and racous and wild as streaks of red feathers flew past our heads like a blur!
Toucans, snuzzling Spoonbills, striking Parrots, Chatty Lories! (yes, we thought of you Lorie :) How could we not, with a sign like this?? :)