Okay, here we go with more zoo pictures. First, let's return to the Primate order with two ring-tailed lemurs. Like all lemurs, these two (Lemur catta) hail from the island of Madagascar. Along with galagos and lorises, lemurs are part of a group of primates--the Strepsirrhini suborder--that are more distantly related to humans than monkeys and apes are. Nevertheless, humans and lemurs share many characteristic features, including opposable thumbs, finger/toenails, and stereoscopic vision. Ring-tailed lemurs are considered by the World Conservation Union to be "vulnerable" to extinction, though not yet technically endangered. Sadly, I'd be surprised--albeit pleasantly so--if they aren't moved to the endangered list within the next decade or two.
Switching kingdoms for the moment, I've long been a fan of strolling through the Wild Animal Park's conifer forest; it's pretty much a short nature hike (though an expensive one for non Zoo-members), and these impressive Mediterranean Cypress trees are by far my favorite sight:
Ever the botanical philistine, I'm always forgetting the names of trees, so I took a picture and now won't have to try to remember what type these are!
Incidentally, if anyone is looking for a Christmas tree to seriously impressive your relatives, I'd be happy to hook you up if the price is right (I kid, I kid!).
Finally, let's end this post with a second helping of primates. I'm not sure what this gorilla is looking at, but I like her (his?) eyes. Perhaps I'm over-anthropomorphizing, but I can't look at those eyes and that expression without seeing a sense of of intelligence and self-awareness.