Sunday, June 21, 2009

San Francisco Zoo

For the most part, the San Francisco Zoo is very good about creating environments for the animals that are large and comfortable. The lovebirds, for example, had two large caged areas attached with a tunnel. The birds inside were very happy.

There was one exhibit, however, that was really awful for the birds. The hawks, turkey vultures, and owls were secured to stands by only three feet of rope and positioned in the blinding sun.

The hawks were only a foot away from the turkey vultures and the area was surrounded by people. The birds were clearly uncomfortable. You can see that this isn't their permanent housing, though, because there is only water provided for the birds. Hopefully they're only out for a few hours at a time.

This guy kept straining against the binds. He was so unhappy to be tied to the stand. He kept flapping his wings to take off, but his feet were bound. The restraints must be especially hard for such predatory birds.

Here's another one of him straining.

The turkey vultures felt threatened too and kept posturing for the people. Of course the public was excited to see his gorgeous wingspan, but if only they knew that he was trying to hide his vulnerability.

The section of the zoo with the maguari stork also housed a turkey vulture. It was a large enclosure, so I really hope that they return the other turkey vultures to that area too.

In the section with the owls, who were secured similarly, there were volunteers that explained how they only take in birds that cannot be released into the wild. One of the owls had been raised by humans; another contracted West Nile virus and had some neurological damage as a result. I'm thrilled that they take care of these birds, but I really wish that they would put these birds in a caged structure where they can fly.


  1. I completely agree. I have very mixed feelings about zoos. Seeing birds tethered in the sun would have made me sad. As always, beautiful pictures, though!

  2. I knew that I was going to be conflicted. We've been here for almost two years and only went to the zoo for the first time last weekend.

    I'm told that the San Diego zoo was designed to mimic the animals' natural habitats. I'll have to make it down there sometime.

  3. Fabulous photos, but how sad to see them secured this way. When we go to the Renaissance Festival they no longer treat the birds this way here in GA - what's up with SF Zoo?

    One nice thing - most people think badly of vultures - I like that this zoo is showing them off along with the hawks. Vultures are very interesting birds:

  4. WOW:(! The SD Zoo does not show birds of prey like that - or at least that I've seen. I can't believe it, how strange that set up is, right on the ground??! I'm glad you said something and even though they replied to your concerns, I still think it's not good for the hawk.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.