A Zoo in the wilderness

Today, June 30, is Donna’s birthday. For the past many years, we’ve been on a family vacation for her and Matt’s birthdays (his is tomorrow) and it’s been a tradition to visit the local zoo wherever we are.

The Anchorage Zoo is small and intimate with only 77 animals on display. Although there were no traditional reptile or insect houses, the zoo was laid out in a very nice walking tour and the animal enclosures were very close and accessible – making for fine viewing.

The only wild animals we’d seen so far were Dall sheep high on the cliffs and the bears were hiding from us at the Wildlife Conservation Center so we wanted to make sure we saw some at the zoo. We were not disappointed!

Saw a dozen or so of these small black bears on the Alaska Hwy - why so many warnings? He doesn't look so tough...

Oh...

 

He's a big 'un

 

Dall Sheep

 

Missing a horn

The two males are brothers. They used to playfully butt heads but, about four years ago, this one somehow leaped into the air after butting heads, caught the horn in the chainlink fence, then its body weight snapped the horn off as it came down.

 

Go away....it's feeding time.

There was a mountain goat in the higher spaces. Although they generally get along, the zoo is afraid that the Dall males will try to butt heads with him and his pointy horns could do some serious damage to the Dalls.

 

Mountain Goat

 

Hey! What's going on down there??? I can't see!!

 

One of the best things was the brown bears or Grizzlies. There was an orphan youngster placed in the adjacent area to these two and they were REALLY interested in him:

 

New guy

They said the female was just interested in where he came from since she knew he wasn’t hers. The male, on the other hand, had some more serious interest – forcing them to keep them separated.

 

Hey! Who's your mama??

 

GRRR! Lemme at 'em!!

They spent the entire time we were watching pacing the fence line and taking time out to stand like this to check out the little guy. With bears leading naturally solitary lives, I’m sure the close proximity of a strange bear was tremendously fascinating for them. (And what else do they have to do?)

Although the bears were a great highlight to the visit, there were other interesting animals as well:

 

Snow Leopard

 

I'm bored with you people...

 

Red Fox

What the hell is this??

Nice zoo. Nice visit. ‘Cept for that last weird creature…

 

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