New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bronx Zoo


Zoos have gone through numerous incarnations, a mirror of society's relationships with and views of animals. From the early menageries in Europe, we have moved away from cages and entertainment to habitats and education. There was no hiding from the populace that the conditions in most zoos at one time was deplorable. Eventually, the cages themselves became more difficult to justify. The emphasis today is the conservation message - the graphic for the Wildlife Conservation Society gets equal time with the Bronx Zoo on all of the literature, merchandise, and entrance gates.

The Bronx Zoo was founded in 1899 as the New York Zoological Park, with 843 animals in 22 exhibits. A group of beautiful Beaux-Arts buildings designed by Heins & LaFarge surround a sea lion pool (seen in the photo) at the main entrance, which also features beautiful gardens. This is the largest zoo in the United States, covering 265 acres with more than 4,000 animals, many of them endangered species.

The transformation can be seen at locations such as the Lion House, one of the original Beaux-Arts buildings, which no longer houses the big cats. All have been moved to larger areas. Some exhibits, such as the World of Darkness, have closed due to budget cuts.

Efforts have been made to place animals in as natural an environment as possible. Ultimately, however, the overriding feeling I have in any zoo is still one of exhibits of animals in confined spaces. Some argue that if conservation is the motive, money would be better spent in open wildlife sanctuaries and contributions made towards the animals' native environments in their home countries.

At one time, when the Bronx Zoo made the transition to habitats, everything seemed to be so dramatically large and the animals so free. As I have visited the zoos since that time, the habitats feel smaller. I can't help but compare these environments to the areas which the same animals must inhabit in the wild.

Many of the inhabitants of the zoo are rescued animals whose fate would likely have been grim had not the zoo adopted them. Endangered species are protected, bred, and some even reintroduced to the wild. And I am sure that the place is staffed with dedicated animal lovers who cannot be expected to argue for their own demise. But when I peer into the eyes of those gorillas, I always wonder how happy they are and what they are thinking...

Related Posts: Feeding at the Zoo, Rain Forest, Red Panda

9 comments:

Phrank said...

I just wanted to say that I stumbled upson your blog about a week ago and it's now one of my daily "stops". Thanks for the great photos and the intriguing posts!

Michelle Johnson said...

Sanctuaries would be a great idea if people would get together and execute it. Love you photos especially the giraffe. At the Cincinnati Zoo we were able to feed them. It's a humbling experience to stand in such greatness.

b13 said...

Great series and a great venue. I've been meaning to get back there for a day of shooting.

Adir said...

Bronx zoo is the best one in new York. Really a good photos and please update more of the photos!! By the way, have you heard of MiNeeds.com? It really simplifies finding affordable photographers. I used it to find a photographer for my wedding. Essentially, after I described what I needed on this site, I received several competitive bids from local photographers. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to call around and negotiate with each, and that photographers actually came to me.


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dell notebook battery said...

Great series and a great venue. I've been meaning to get back there for a day of shooting.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

Zoos help conservation in a couple of ways. First, they make the animals real to visitors, so that they actually care about conservation. It's one thing to think about helping animals you will never see in countries far away. It's quite another when you see their beauty or gaze into their thoughtful eyes in a zoo. Second, breeding programs for rare and endangered species help keep them alive. The Arabian Oryx was successfully reintroduced to Saudi Arabia, for instance, some 40 years after this beautiful antelope was hunted to extinction in the wild. A great post as usual, Brian.

Americas Best Zoos author said...

Great photos! Despite its recent financial problems, this is still a great zoo -- one of the very best in the nation! New York area residents need to be sure to get out and support this great zoo.

Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America's Best Zoos

Lessie said...

Love this collage of photos! How do you do it? Would love to do some of my own. :)

Brian Dubé said...

Lessie,
I use photoshop: create a blank file and crop and paste the individual photos. I then resize and shuffle the photos for the finished collage. Some trimming of images is necessary - for this I use a selection marquee tool. Photoshop is a must skill for photography. The whole process can be done by eye and using ruler/grid lines for alignment of photos.