Animal Kingdom (Part 2)

{Bloemfontein Zoo, Bloemfontein, South Africa}

Recently, I decided to add a "what I am currently reading" aspect to this blog because I am always one to take up a friend on a good book recommendation. There are an infinite number of books out there and unfortunately, there is not enough time to read them all. I have found that my closest friends and I have pretty similar interests in our books: ones with substance. Perhaps that is silly to say, but I love reading books that stump me, ones that take time to digest and absorb. Essentially, a good book makes you take a second look at the way you live your life. (I can't help but admit, though, that I like to slip in a book here and there that offers me the chance to use my imagination).

As I was reading

Water for Elephants

, by Sara Gruen, I recalled the thrill of going to the circus as a kid with the smell of cotton candy and popcorn lingering in the air. I, too, remember the stench of animals that would linger in air pockets as you walked around the tent making the experience more real. After reading about Jacob Jankowski's adventures in The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, I thought a lot about the way animals are treated in circuses and zoos. Thinking back to my time in South Africa, walking through the Bloemfontein Zoo, the animals appeared majestic yet disenchanted. Luckily, I was also able to see animals roaming the wild in Kruger National Park, where they belong. I remember noting in my journal how differently these groups of animals live their lives and how similar they are to humans when put in immobilizing situations.

As you can see in this

video

, an undergraduate student from Boulder, Colorado (wahoo!), unmasks the unnatural lives to which animals are subjected in zoos. If you really think about it, a zoo is such an anomalous concept. Parents bring their children to the zoo for a day of educational, quality time, while simultaneously, the animals are living in the confines of walls/fences or swimming in filthy, stagnant water. It is important, however, to recognize that some zoos are adamant about promoting biodiversity, protecting endangered species and rescuing exotic animals from international trade. There are two sides to every story.

{Sapa, Vietnam}

{Tryon Palace, New Bern, North Carolina}

Wild horses!

{Brown Island, New Bern, North Carolina}

Take a picture, it lasts longer, Mister.

{Sapa, Vietnam}

Hi my name is Courtney McNamara, and I have abnormally long appendages.

{Kruger National Park, South Africa}

Paulina and Travis soaking in the scenery.

{Chiang Mai, Thailand}

This bull elephant almost stampeded the red hot, bite-size car I was in.

Fortunately, he quickly lost interest.

{Kruger National Park, South Africa}

This here is a stunning kudu. Their corkscrew horns are mesmerizing.

{Kruger National Park, South Africa}

Hello Africa, tell me how ya doin'.

{Kruger National Park, South Africa}

Hakuna Matata, Pumbaa.

{Kruger National Park, South Africa}

Go whale-watching at least once before you die, it's unreal.

{Cape Cod, Massachusetts} 

If Beetle Juice was an animal, he'd look like this.

{Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, South Africa}

DR's most wanted...for stealing my lunch.

{Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic}

Post-tick bath/pre-cattle sale.

{Bedford, South Africa}

Crush, is that you, dude?

{Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic}

Without our skilled and wise safari guide, Barbara,

we would've been toast when the male rhino charged our land rover.

{Schotia Safaris Private Game Reserve, South Africa}

There's something regal about this picture, wouldn't you say?

{Ubud Monkey Forest, Bali, Indonesia}

Can I get a piece of that?

{Bloemfontein Zoo, Bloemfontein, South Africa}

I would have Kevin from The Office be the voice of this guy if he became an animated star.

{Bloemfontein Zoo, Bloemfontein, South Africa}

Do. Not. Blink.

{Bloemfontein Zoo, Bloemfontein, South Africa}

I can't even look at this picture. I apologize to anyone with as severe arachnophobia as mine. It's not even on my screen as I write this caption, but supposedly it's a cool lookin' thang.

Not for me, no thanks.

{Monteverde, Costa Rica}

Too much sugar water, man, it's making you jittery.

{Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica}

Did anyone collect

Beanie Babies

when they were little?

Tell me this guy doesn't remind you of Iggy the Iguana.

{San Salvador, El Salvador}

Nothing like a little bit of luck on a beautiful day filled with sipping wine with friends in paradise.

{Solms Delta Wine Estate, Franschhoek, South Africa}

You're a hoot, man.

{Spier Winery and Garden, Stellenbosch, South Africa}

Nomadic race to the water. I've got money on Tuxedo Number Two.

{Simons Town, South Africa}

Even cows need some lovin'.

{Chiang Mai, Thailand}

I won't be around to notify you all about Friday's post on Facebook, but feel free to come check it out anyways. Monday is going to be a greaaaat one, get ready.

Love and Laughter, Kelsey :)