Saturday, September 13, 2008

And Then Sometimes Life Gives You Snow Leopards

I got a very special treat today. One of my pet-sitting clients works at the San Francisco Zoo, so she offered to show me and a friend (Terri was not feeling well enough to come, to her extreme distress) around 'backstage' with the big cats.

We saw the tigers who were currently off limits to the public (complete with in-depth Q&A session which was fascinating) and then off to the other big cats, also currently off-limits to the public.

I have a thing for snow leopards, and the "smaller big-cats" keeper was there and offered to give "Ming" a special treat so we could get an up-close view of her. This was kind of unbelievably cool and special. We were only about 6 feet away from her and she was soooo beautiful and majestic.

Delicately taking the treat from the zoo guy.

Eagerly watching to see if she'll get more treats...

Sitting down like the gorgeous princess she is.

I got to learn a lot from the zoo guy (keeper? handler?) as well. This was a pretty big treat for a die-hard animal lover like me! She put on a wonderful show of 'stalking' the man with the treats, which was also fun to watch. I know zoos can be controversial, but I do appreciate the conservation aspect and I saw how much love and attention these big cats were getting. I know it's not the same as being out in the wild, but I'm glad I got to see them. I'll remain somewhat conflicted, but appreciative of the opportunity I had today.

Here are some other cuties from the zoo.

Mr. Meerkat, taking a load off. These guys are so cute.

Richard, the 50-year-old Great Horned Owl.

Long-haired piggies. I just thought they were so cute like this.

(you know I'm at the San Francisco Zoo when I'm bundled up in two layers of sweaters and a scarf in early September) I liked the goats.

Lemur pile! We loved the lemurs best of all, after the snow leopard. I could have watched them all day.

Yep. Pretty much perfect day at the zoo.


Eva said...

Awwwwww: that snow tiger is awesome!! One of my best friends is going into zookeeping, specifically big cat handling. She interned at Disney World for a year with the zoo section!

Nymeth said...

oh wow, Ming really is gorgeous!