Comments : Comments Off
Categories : Week 5
I decided, with the help of Sarah Williams to go back to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium to touch back on the reason I chose to study the San Diego Zoo. And man what a difference. Being at the San Diego Zoo, due to the geographic location gives you the sense that you are in another part of the world, visiting these wild animals in their natural habitat. Always beautiful and serene, with there ambient noises and lush vegetation from all over the world. You really feel as if you are part of the animals world. On the other hand, when visiting Point Defiance you don’t feel like you are connected to that natural world. Instead you feel bad for the animals, because they are in an environment that doesn’t inspire natural behavior, and in the small time that I spent studying zoo’s, I have learned that natural behavior is the sign of happiness in captive animals. Witnessing a lot of this playful behavior in San Diego, it proved disheartening to see the same animals at Point Defiance looking less than positive and showing no signals of activity. Except for the Polor Bear that swam around a little and played with a ball, but I imagine that they were more lively than last, because of the weather being freezing. The weather is a huge factor, being much easier in San Diego to enjoy the animals, plants, and life pretty much all year round. Where the Point Defiance Zoo is cold eight months out of the year, so the animals are less likely to be active and happy. It kinda sucks. But the Point offers something that San Diego doesn’t, their aquarium is host to hundreds of beautiful specimens that are native to our coastal waters. Including a shark tank that always captures my imagination. I’m glad to know that we have an aquarium in our humble Washington zoo. We are a coastal state, and being so have obligations to our oceans. I say more Aquariums to help with the oceans! More to this post later…
Comments : Comments Off
Categories : Week 8
Doing my quantitative analysis proved harder than I first imagined. First off, thinking that it would be in my best interest to go introduce myself to the operations manager of the zoo, to give him the skinny. He informed me that it wasn’t realistic to think that I would be able to record all the people coming through an exhibit, but offered me the option of talking to the exit gate keeper at the end of the day to get the daily tally of numbers. He even gave me the zoo’s operations and events calender for February and suggested that I visit the Panda exhibit, saying that it was one of the only exhibits that was limited and counted its guests. At the time I didn’t realize, I was just puzzled on why they would count that one animal. I later found that this animal in the zoological world is known as “Charismatic Magaphona,” loosely translated means big ticket animal. These “Charismatic Magaphona,”animals provide large ticket sales that help pay for everything else in the park. Including other animals.
As an artist myself, I can see that every museum needs a Picasso or Rembrandt to help with the restoration of the truly great works of art, that are perhaps overshadowed by the work of another great. I know that great works inspire more of the public eye, and no doubt the same would be of the great animals of our world. I was expecting to see a lot traffic around the Panda exhibit and wasn’t disappointed. When I finally found the exhibit I saw that it came with a line. I immediately knew that it would be much harder to get the information that I needed. When I finally reached the front where there were two young ladies. One of them offered her help and took me to the side to speak. I told her my situation saying the operations manager had sent me, she stated that it was no problem and gave me the first weeks numbers for the panda exhibit. She said that I would need to continue coming to get the numbers. I learned that the exhibit was a staggered and had limited admittance, due to the sensitive nature of the animal. They want to allow it to have a most pleasurable experience while in San Diego. I think that is so great, I really do. But, began to see that it was mostly because of children that went to see the panda that they thought was from “Kung Fu Panda,” all of them constantly screaming “Poe turn around!” It got so bad that the zoo employees had to tell them to stop yelling at the Panda’s. The media driven child of today is going to the zoo to see their favorite cartoon characters, not be educated on the fact that there is only around one hundred or so left. They just really like this animal, it makes them think of something funny and cute. They love it so much that more than two thirds of the total admittance visited the panda exhibit. Thats huge.
Without these charismatic magaphonic animals, the goal of the zoo cease to exist, they would have no way to support their staff or animals. I feel bad for the animals and having to endure the weight of so many eyes day in day out, the screams and yells. This is what it takes to keep a zoological garden alive.
Comments : Comments Off
Categories : Week 7
Week seven is my last week in San Diego, I left on twenty third, but not before saying goodbye to all my new friends in San Diego, and witnessing Presidents day at the Zoo. Insane amount of people came out for the zoo, and the zoo had all their staff out in full alert for the masses. It was truly amazing to see all the different animals that were brought out to educate and create awareness, I was weirded out by the fact that the animals did so well around large groups of humans. I would think that they would be terrified. Later, I found that over twenty thousand people came to the San Diego Zoo that day and I was one of them.
The next day I visited the zoo again to have one more walk through, to see all the different species without photos or plan. Just to witness the beauty of the wildness in our world. After that, I hopped on the train to meet up with Sarah Williams at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown San Diego. We went to see Phenomenal, California light, space, and surface. It was a limited show that had works from Ai Weiwei, Doug Wheeler, and my personal favorite James Turrell, who created an exhibit that completely engulfs you in darkness, and then reveals the soft pink glow of his piece “Wedgework V,” which at first, looked almost as if the room itself was breathing. The soft hays of the neon light only allowed so much light to come into your eyes, gradually it became much brighter and more awesome. I really enjoyed this Museum and the lights. Being able to share this experience with Sarah and her friend was a good way to bring realization on the importance of communication, and how it can the factor in your success in life. By the time that when we finally went our separate ways, I was feeling pretty inspired with life.
The next day, on a plane back to Washington, very happy to be home. My next goal is to head back to where it all started, the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma to see how they differ in their approach on conservation and commercialism.