Truth & Love Blog
Nature’s Beauty – Wild & Wonderful Yet Captive & Stressed
The Mini-Guru’s class took a field trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo recently.
The trip was fast and action-packed. With limited time and lots to see, we only stayed at each exhibit for only a few moments before rushing off to the next. Luckily, I was able to capture some great photos and quick videos before we had to move on.
These below are my favorites. I replaced the children’s background chatter with music on the videos. YOU can see these and more great nature videos on my YOUTube page!
Like this friendly flamingo stretching out its wings which I captured on video, as well.
It’s hard emotionally to feel such an appreciation for getting to view these animals up close and personal, yet, to witness effects their captivity seems to have on them.
I was able to capture many great photos and videos of their personalities and behavior in the few seconds I was able to observe them.
It was almost as if they were showing off the main points of this post, their magnificence and the behavior they’ve adopted from their location to give us the full picture.
I did note that the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium was home to several animals with injuries that may have caused them difficulty surviving in the wild. And, when the kids attended a class to learn about polar animals, the staff was adamant about the environment being as unstressful for the animals as possible. The kids remained quiet, kept their hands in their laps as instructed and only pet a few strokes of fur or feathers with two fingers as the instructor indicated when she displayed the animals.
I couldn’t help but compare these circumstances to that of the “rat park” study about addiction. They observed rats in ordinary cages choose drugs over boredom and stress, while those in a park-like setting with friends and all the trappings of life a rat could enjoy display healthier behavior.
The zoo animals definitely had a park environment, but, for some of them at least, it wasn’t enough.
Humans are also animals with a wild nature at heart, born into a world we are free to roam, yet are held captive in many ways, sometimes physically and often emotionally. The behaviors PETA describes as “zoochosis” seem eerily similar to those of people who are unable to cope with their environment, as well. According to PETA.org, the animals “often rock, sway, or pace endlessly, and some even resort to hurting themselves by chewing on their own fingers or limbs or pulling out their fur or feathers.”
These elephants were communicating strongly with each other over something.
Since nature is one of our greatest teachers in that, like kids, it, thankfully, responds openly and freely to its environment without pretense and can, thereby, help us look honestly at the effects of the way we live our daily lives.
We need to feel free to roam, even if we can’t physically.
The snow leopard in the main post photo was captivating as he stretched and scratched his post before walking up the limb towards me. Unfortunately, I stopped the video just as he leaped from that position onto an even higher branch, displaying his remarkable power and graceful movement. A zebra seemed to know who was boss in this video with his giraffe enclosure mate.
Luckily, as humans, we can use our imagination to create worlds outside of the physical one we live in. Art does that; music, painting, dance, and cinema. We use those things to escape our everyday ordinary world and create something fantastical.
These jellyfish and snuggling seahorses appear magical just as they are.
Even sleep is an escape into dreamland and our inner world, and why we daydream when we need a break from reality. A connection to the Divine through faith, prayer, and a deep, personal relationship is your instinctual portal to the natural mystical experiences that take you beyond ordinary physical sense perception. It’s more fun and life-giving than you would likely imagine.
I captured the perfect final video of Siamang Gibbons in full swing as we hustled past to catch the bus home.
Love is certainly the ideal and most natural transporter to freedom. It’s why we chase it in all its forms. Luckily, we can create the essence within ourselves, regardless of our surroundings. Romance, passion projects, entertainment, fun, ease, and finding that home base of love within our own hearts. Loving these animals and appreciating their beauty is enough for this moment.
They are divine!
*Note: Passing by the exhibits so quickly with a school class, I was unable to capture the specific name of each species. I researched on the web and even tried to contact the zoo to determine the correct names with no luck. Luckily, names are not required to enjoy the view! If YOU happen to know, please feel free to leave a note in the comments!