Friday, July 14, 2006

Have no fear little flower, this is not a picture of some hideously deformed THING, but rather, just a cute bunny yawning...this page is full of yawning bunny pix...
thanks Jo David!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bamboo Makes The Front Page of The Times
Today's Seattle Times has a front page article about the Bamboo brouhaha...while a pretty good article, it contains classic gems of zoo administration rediculousness such as:
"Everyday is like a spa for these elephants"
Yeah- a teeny dirt and cement spa you can never leave.

"Zoo officials describe her as healthy and "sweet" and say relocating her to a different climate, with animals and people she doesn't know, could be harmful."
Uh...didn't they JUST DO THAT?

"Ultimately they want all elephants out of zoos and ultimately they want to close zoos," he [zoo director Bruce Bromike] said."
Not one person has in any way suggested that. Way to overreact and flail when confronted about the care of one animal there, guy.

Link to Free Bamboo
More about zoos
Despite my strong convictions about Bamboo and her being sent to an elephant sanctuary, I have conflicting feelings about zoos. I want to like them. I'm grateful for the chance to see animals that I never would have been able to before. I volunteered at the Woodland Park Zoo around 2002 in the Nocturnal House, and though parts of it were really fun the whole thing was tinged with sadness. Many of the animals in the nocturnal house were taken from the black market, and had had thier teeth pulled out so they couldn't bit thier owners. Sick, eh? So they could never survive in the wild, and I think we did the right thing by caring for them. Also- zoos do offer a chance for species to continue even at the point of extinction. A few species have come back due to breeding and wild release programs. Frogs are in a terrible place right now, and zoos might be their only salvation as they are deccimated by fungal infections in the wild. But at the same time, I saw and heard a few things that would make your hair stand up. Despite all the claims that zoo administrators make, that zoos are "about education", and that the animals are ambassadors for their species, away from the public no one is under any belief that zoo's public function is anything other than soley entertainment. Zoos are to make money. To make money they provide entertainment. If an animal must suffer so that the public can see it and will keep buying tickets, then so be it. Zoo keepers themselves often HATE zoos, and do thier job because they love animals and want to be sure of thier care. In fact I think there are often great schisms between zoo administration(money) and Keepers(care). But even the nicest, most "natural" looking habitat is still a cage. It may look like a beautiful giant gnarled tree to US, but it's still just actually cement. Did you know the large bats in the nocturnal house here can't fly? Thier wings are atrophied. Did you know that in the work area of the nocturnal house there is a closet that contains cages of Pygmy Slow Lorises? There is no place to display them up top, so they live in a darkened room in metal mesh cages. The keepers feed and water them, and give them treats, and fresh greenery to crawl on,and are very fond of them, but none of these creatures get fresh air or can ever see the sky. These exotic, wonderful creatures live in a closet in the basement of the nocturnal house (at least did when I was there). I sort of can't wrap my head around see these exquisite teeny knobby hands made for crawling through tropical jungles and catching moths under the moon, wrapped instead around metal bars. The vampire bats essentially live in an aquarium...they are tiny creatures so shy that when moved from thier enclosure they sometimes die from fright. They spend thier whole lives in a small glass and cement cage in which they can barely fly. What kind of life is that? So that whole troops of school kids can shriek at them and scream "yuck!"
The bigger animals have bigger enclosures, places to lay low, food and water, and "enrichment" items (like food in logs they have to "hunt" for). They can smell the air and see the sky. Is that enough? Are animals content that they are free from predators? Zoo animals often die from yucky things like cancerous tumors, but that's often because they live so dang long in a zoo- much longer than in the wild. I don't know what the answer is. I wish we didn't have to have zoos, but I'm not convinced we DON'T need zoos. One thing for sure, they must be held accountable for the highest care of their charges.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I COVET the work of Dr. Lakra

Crazy monsters in fine art didn't start with the Pop Surrealist/'s a fine seamonster courtesy Wassily Kandisky circa 1907. This piece is entitled 'Moonlit Night".

Reknowned Symbolist painter Arnold Bocklin painted this famous painting "Isle Of The Dead" in 1880. Apparently it was painted as a tranquil meditation piece for a young widow. But it's pretty creepy. This is another famous painting that warped me when I was younger...for its fantastic beauty and melancholy, and I feel a vague menace lurking in it as well. H.R. Giger upped the creep factor in his tribute painting called "Bocklin".

For his upcoming October show at the Roq, artist Pooch has painted his own version. can't wait to see it!

Soon I'll post pix from the fantastic opening last Friday at the Roq...artists Audrey Kawasaki, Myna Sonou, and Scott Altmann all showed up for thier show and fun was had by all.
Rally For Bamboo the Elephant
This Friday 4:30-6:30 is the rally for Bamboo the elephant (this is during the zoo's big fundraiser-that's why the time is strange) at the North entrance of the Woodland Park Zoo... Lately there's been a flurry of press about the shameful saga of Bamboo, how she arrived at the Woodland park Zoo in 1968 as a baby, spent her whole life there in one acre of land, and was unceremoniously tossed out last year when she showed signs of neurotic behavior and aggression to the baby elephant also in the acre enclosure with her and two more Asian elephants and an African elephant. At this time, the award winning Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, a 2200 acre facility that has phenomenal successes with often formerly abused ex-zoo and circus elephants, offered to take Bamboo on their own dime, providing her with care and loving attention for the rest of her life. The WPZ said no. Citing reasons such as "Elephants don't need space to walk around", to claiming sanctuaries aren't held to rigorous standards like zoos are (by the way- this is untrue), in this case this appears to be purely B.S. politics.

In the meantime Bamboo got shipped off the the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, where she was expected to suddenly bond with two other elephants (also in one crummy little acre). Despite zoo administration saying everything was going great, Bamboo had to be returned to the WPZ because of mounting stress induced behavioral problems. So now this once happy, clever creature has her future hanging in the balance- to be shipped around, unwanted by her home, forced to endure night chaining and forced isolation from other elephants, rather than being allowed to go to the Sanctuary, where she will never be hit, never be "punished", never be chained, free to roam over 2200 acres with a whole herd of elephants.
To keep her from this opportunity is wrong, and it's shameful. So while the city sits on its hands or their fingers jammed in their ears, it's up to the public to make a stink about it. We feel a HUGE rally could really and truly help tip the scales in Bamboo's favor. So please come. Half an hour of standing around eating free donuts at the rally could actually make a big difference! Bring the kids. Bring everyone.

If our zoo really wants to practice compassionate conservation they would allow Bamboo to go live out the end of her days at the Sanctuary. To do so would make them heros. To not would make them villains of the greediest sort in the eyes of the public.

Links: Responses to the Zoos "explanation" of why they won't let Bamboo go
The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


What the hell am I talking about? Visit

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cool pictures of underwater weirdies here..

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Don't get into a mantis' face when she is protecting her egg sac. She will unleash her powerful kung fu upon you.
Via Neatorama