Bearizona Take Two

Continuing this week’s trend of deja vu photography . . . went back to Bearizona with some lovely friends last week. (Did I mention I got an annual carload pass??) This time, got there just as the park was opening, so almost all the animals that were snoozing last time were wide awake. Almost all. (Looking at you, bobcat.)

Had a close encounter with a wolf who stopped in front of my car, then walked around to my side and peeked in the window at me before walking on.

But it’s not so easy to get pictures of animals while driving and through closed windows (and if you know me, you know those windows were just filthy). Thankfully, most were still up when we took the official Bearizona bus through, including this handsome guy.


And the driver was kind enough to help out by tossing food to the animals, at least the vegetarians. That’s what brought these white buffalo over.


It’s also, a bit sadly, what separated this mama bighorn and her two-day-old baby. At first, they were an emblem of the indissoluble bond between mother and child.


Then the driver threw out some corn or hay or other official Bearizona animal food, and mama was like, “See ya” and left junior looking quite forlorn.


Got pictures of some critters I missed last time, like this badger, who wanted to go all Sean Penn on our asses.


And and and: We. Saw. The. Jaguar. In. Action.

When we got to the jaguar enclosure, there were people inside and at first we were like, “Run!” but then we saw that they were wearing official Bearizona clothing and looked like they knew what they were doing, and anyway the jaguar was nowhere in sight.  More importantly, the official Bearizona people were on their way out, and that meant the jaguar was on its way in. Then a door opened, and in he came.

One of the most magnificent creatures I’ve ever seen, but also one of the most terrifying. Look what big eyes he has


and what gigantic paws,


all the better to eat me with.

I’m not sure if you can see in this picture, but though he looks black, he actually has spots that you can only really see in the light.


The other big thrill? The raptor show. First, we saw some magnificent owls.

(I would have had a close encounter with that one except some eleven-year-old upstart named Lily stole what was clearly MY opportunity to volunteer. Hate you, Lily.)

Then we met an “imprint” named Olive who acted like a child even though she was an adult, all because she was raised by humans who are, let’s face it, far less mature than owls.


Then we saw a kestrel that looked like a Porg,


and I started panicking because I remembered that we had also seen a critter that looked an awful lot like a crystal fox,



and I thought, “Holy shit, I’m in a bad Star Wars movie.” But then I reminded myself that the bird show was actually well-scripted and didn’t go off on unnecessary plot tangents, so I was probably safe.

Then the Harris hawk flew right at my head before I could focus.


The End.




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