The Wildlife Park
This past Sunday, which was Mother’s Day, we decided to head off to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. We hadn’t been there previously, but people we’d spoken to had good things to say about it. First off, the many animals that are kept at the park are unable, for a variety of reasons, to be released into the wild, so this way they have a safe home. The animals are either permanently injured, or were previously kept as illegal pets(who wants to keep a cougar, a wolf, or a lynx as a pet is completely beyond me. It’s not like they’re going to come and curl up on the couch next to you while you’re watching a movie).
Aside from the park policy regarding their procurement of animals, the cost of admission is beyond reasonable, costing only $11 for six of us to get in. The only downside to venturing to the park on this particular day was that there was a bike race in town, and I was now out of town. It’s fine, I don’t mind…much. It was Mother’s Day, and Mama would rather have gone to look at animals than cyclists(I don’t see why I had to go, she’s not MY mother)
When we arrived at the cougar enclosure, two things happened: The first one is that I realized that these poor animals would probably like significantly more room than the 100m x 10m enclosure than they were allotted. The second thing to happen was that Miss Saarah was trying to coax them out of their house. Saarah figured that since they were big cats, the best way to encourage them was to “meow” at them. We thought it was cute, hilarious, and would most likely be horribly ineffectual. Obviously I was wrong, because a moment or two later, out strolled two giant cougars. Saarah continued to meow at them.
When we arrived at the Arctic Foxes, again I was disappointed by the tiny size of the enclosure. Seriously, this isn’t acceptable in 2012. I know that animals in captivity need significantly less room than they do in the wild, simply because they don’t need to hunt for food, but my pain-in-the-pants cats have more room than this arctic fox, and by a fair amount.
There was another family looking at the foxes while we were standing there, and the mother asked her young child(probably three or four) if they thought the fox would like some of their candy. I assumed that she was just being silly, but again, I was wrong. Once all members of the family agreed that these animals would indeed enjoy a sampling of their treats, the parents threw some into the cage. What?! Seriously? I have no idea if the fox would even touch the stuff, but come on people!
By the time we arrived at the wolves, I came to the conclusion that the size of the enclosures wasn’t going to get any better. The size of their pen, while larger than those of a lot of the animals, was no larger than our small piece of property. I’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone that our yard is an appropriate place to keep two wolves.
It was interesting to see the ravens hanging out in the trees above the wolves, just as they would if they were in the wild(ravens and wolves have a natural symbiotic relationship. Ravens will follow wolves, eating their leftovers, and in return, warn the wolves of approaching danger or threats. Neat, eh?).
While we had a nice walk, and enjoyed being outside in the warm weather, the park was a big disappointment. In 2012, and especially in a place where we’re supposed to know better, there is absolutely no excuse for wild animals kept in tiny cages.