Today, after a five-month hiatus, I visited the San Diego Zoo. As promised, I apologized to my orangutan friends (primates are only one group among many that are deserving of such an apology, but let's face it—I’m a biased ape-man) for all the suffering humanity has caused them. In response, they ignored me completely. I took this response as an expression of some sort of metaphysical irony (Orangutans being famous for their love of obscure philosophical jokes and all). No doubt their failure to acknowledge my attempted mea culpa was meant as a stark reminder of the plain fact that humanity has failed to fully acknowledge and atone for the destructive excesses of its power. Damn smart—but still very dirty—apes!
In all seriousness, I was almost moved to tears today while watching the orangutans. To me, they, along with the other apes, are more precious than just about anything else in this world (excluding my family and other loved ones, of course). The thought that these smart, fascinating and beautiful creatures might be gone—or nearly so—in just a few short years saddens me more than I can express in words. The more I think about it, the more I come to believe that working in the field of endangered species conservation is what I want to do with my life. I'm not particularly confident that the attempt to stem the tide of human-caused extinction will be any less futile than trying to plug a leaky dam with duct tape, but, hopeless or not, it's a fight I want to be a part of, even if only in some small way.
On a happier note, I can now confidently say that the San Diego Zoo is my favorite place on earth. Literally every single time I go—especially those days when I really have to debate about whether or not the trip will be worth the time and hassle—I leave feeling happy, rejuvenated, and extremely glad I got my lazy butt off the couch and did something worthwhile with my day. You can keep your Six Flags and your
p.s. I've added some conservation-related links to the sidebar. Please check them out.
p.p.s. Today, I watched while two apes—in the midst of their peers and a group of mildly scandalized zoo-goers—had passionate, unabashed sex. Did you witness anything that fascinating and amusing today? I didn’t think so. See what you’re missing?