Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Day 4: Tianjin Zoo
The zoo made me sad, a lot of us sad. At first it appeared a little dilapidated and I questioned where the animals even were. Oliver gave us our tickets and on the back was a map...all in Mandarin with nooo picture heads...
A few of us bought ice cream cones. I bought a strawberry fruit bar. It was delicious. I was dehydrated but did not feel like buying water at the moment, wish I had brought my bottles with me...
We split up at the stairs for this peddle coaster thing where you peddle yourself above everyone around the zoo. Lou and I just walked away because we only had an hourish. We could smell animal and found emus. Then white peacocks, then other peacocks. We continued around and wandered to the left and found the monkey "cage." The lady at the door, who appeared to be living in her 5x5 cubicle with clothes hanging outside of it, ripped our ticket (I still do not know the purpose of it because they did it at every spot we entered). Hau and Michael were passing us as we came in. They warned that "Monkeys roamed free." I was slightly excited, but it turned into a feeling of sadness and awe. It was true. They came right up to you and scrambled after one another when orange peels and crackers? were thrown at them. They grabbed some people's pant legs and stood on their hind legs. Some of them had fur missing and lumps that I assumed were tumors? We left slightly confused, which turned eventually into a feelings of despair and almost anger.
There were empty cages with raw meat in them. We then found the tigers, and one white tiger, in class cases with two way glass. There were plastic bottles and some trash in there. The lion's fur was matted. We met up with Hau and Mike and discussed the differences between American zoos we've attended, as well as this one. Although American zoos also have irresponsible visitors and caged animals, there usually seems to be more regulation and supervision and caring for the animals. We then brought up the circus and how there is a lot of shady dealings and treatment with the animals as well, trying to keep it all in an objective perspective, or at least one that didn't try to glorify the US and downgrade China.
We were running out of time and Hau was STILL on her quest to see pandas. We went into a building with crocodiles/alligators, seals, turtles etc. The seal was in a tank far too small and dirty. Its eyes appear sad in my photo, at least to me. The sea turtle tank had paper money floating in it, which made us sad because it looked so dirty and unkept. We were growing more and more upset, but calm. The bears' were also in a cage and some people threw things at them, which they proceeded to eat. Their fur was also matted. I left. We met up with a good number of us at the panda cage, one panda eating bamboo. Hau was happy. I was not but at the same time it was cool to see the animals that close, it's a double edged sword with any captured animal. We decided to leave for lunch by then because it was getting late.