Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Lion One

Finding the lions at the ABQ Zoo was an issue Saturday afternoon. We were given a map at the entrance and when I tried to stop at the flamingos to devise our route, Daniel made fun of me (something along the lines of "Oh, okay Mom!") so I said, "To hell with the map - let's just wing it."

Somehow the map ended up in Micah's hands and we carried on. Gorillas, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, birds, etc.

But where were the lions, right? I mean, how can you go to a zoo and not see the lions?

"If we go through Cottonwood Cave, the lions are just right there," said Micah, our map-man. So we walked to the ends of the zoo but no Cottonwood Cave. And no lions.

We ended up back at the beginning of the zoo. Daniel borrowed the map from Micah and discovered our error.

"We're looking for Cottonwood CAFE, not cave," he said. We'd already walked through Cottonwood Cafe, um, three times and subsequently passed the lions three times.

But we finally made it and when we walked up to the lion exhibit, there was nothing there. People were passing us saying the lions must not be there; they couldn't see them.

The exhibit was the kind where you walked right up to the bushes and looked down, divided by a how-ever-many-foot deep ditch that you can't see but the lions can. Daniel noticed some steps at the far corner and decided that the lion must have taken the steps down to...where ever.

He stood at that corner, leaning over, calling "here, kitty kitty."

That got her attention. She-Lion bolted up the stairs and turned to face Daniel, all the while snarling and batting her paws at him. According to Daniel, she made perfect eye contact with him and he clearly read in her eyes that she wanted him...for lunch. And not to call her Kitty again.

He, of course, jumped back and looked at me.

"Did you, did you get a video of that?"
Of course not.

I turned the video on, though, and caught some of him calling her and her still growling, batting and full open mouth lion growling at him. I've never seen a lion so pissed off in real life. If there had been no barrier, I would have ran and Daniel would probably have been lunch.

As a result of our experience at the lion exhibit, the rest of our zoo conversation involved detailed strategy of what we would do in the case of a lion escape. I'm sure all the children and parents who overheard us (because we're NOT quiet) were actually glad to get some clever ideas.

Daniel said he'd throw Micah into the middle of this pond area and then swim out to rescue him before he drowned. The idea being that lions won't chase you and kill you in water. Elsie and I were not included in that rescue scenario.

I said I'd probably find a hole somewhere and be really still despite my instinct to RUN.

But who knows what you'd really do in a situation like that. I'm going to go with PANIC.

Unfortunately, I did not capture any still photos of the lion arguing with Daniel but I did get this little video. Mostly, you can just hear Daniel but if you listen close enough, you can hear the lion. This was after her major explosion but she was still pissed.

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