The heat hasn’t let up, but that hasn’t stopped me from checking out a few of the sites around town. (Mostly around where I’m staying, really.) It was already in the low 90s with the heat index in the mid 100s by 9am in the morning. Still, I headed out to the Barranquilla Zoo. It was a three-mile walk there… And a three mile walk back.
Anyway, there was an enormous line when I got to the zoo. Most of the people in line were children. They were there with a school or a camp or something. There were dozens of them, all excited to see animals. A man walked from kid to kid, handing out small binoculars. I thought he was with them, but, no, he was selling the binoculars for about $2 each. Once in the kid’s hands, the parents couldn’t deny them the binoculars.
Once I paid the 10,500 Colombian pesos (about $3.80), I squeezed through one of the very small turnstiles. (They were small, okay?) I then started walking around the zoo complex. It’s about the size of a city block, not very big. But the animals seemed to be in good condition and well cared for. There were plenty of “auxiliary police” officers around, watching everyone.
There were a lot of families and the groups of children that I mentioned earlier. The heat subsided under all those trees in there, but it was still warm enough for me to keep having to drink water. Still, I just kept shooting pictures.
There’s something sad about zoos, in my opinion. On the one hand, these animals need to be rescued and protected from harms. On the other, they were meant to be free out in their own habitats. Then again, zoos help us come closer to nature and admire it without destroying it. So I don’t know… I’m conflicted about their existence.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
About History of Vaccines: I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please read the About page on the site for more information.
About Epidemiological: I am the sole contributor to Epidemiological, my personal blog to discuss all sorts of issues. It also has an About page you should check out.