Friday, October 28, 2016

Sedona pt 2 Wild Animal Park

As noted in last week's posting, my recent Sedona trip yielded three very distinct day trips. Last week I shared photos of a walk in Oak Creek Canyon. This week it was our day at the nearby wild animal park called Out of Africa. There were two areas. The first, only accessible by the park's buses, went into the spacious open area. Here there were giraffes, antelope, water buffalo, longhorn cattle, ostriches and more, all in one big open area. The first photos are from that area. My friend and I then took a separate bus around the perimeter for a meet and greet with animals that had their own (spacious) enclosures. Lots of tigers, lions, hyenas, Lemurs and more. Our driver/guide had food treats that coaxed many of the animals over to the fence, meaning we were only 20 feet from them. Amazing. The day ended with an experience of Tiger Splash. Here was a spontaneous interplay between humans and tigers that was engaging, real and extraordinary. The guide, who's written a book on wild animal psychology, kept up a running play by play, explaining the fine line between tiger instinct (hunting) and learned behavior (trusting their human friends).
Okay, here are the photos.

"You looking at me? You looking at me?" Wasn't that DeNiro? Ostriches are perhaps the oddest birds on the planet. That said, don't piss 'em off cause one good kick could knock you out.

Sable antelope. Just hanging out but I love those horns. Guide said that unlike some other horned animals, if their horn is lost it doesn't grow back.

Texas Hold 'Em? Nope, pardner. These are African Ankole longhorns. Those are some serious horns ...

Who knew giraffes loved celery but that's what the guide gave us to feed them and they gobbled the treats faster than you can say "How long IS that tongue exactly?"  That would be an amazing 20 inches.

Though this shot is a bit dark, this guy is an African gray parrot. He's an extremely smart bird, probably a few points higher on the IQ scale than certain GOP presidential candidates.

Not sure what this floriferous bush is but they were all over the park (and elsewhere in this part of AZ). Beautiful.

White bengal tiger. Just magnificently beautiful creatures!

Here he is doing the 'stretch,' a new perspective of just how lean and muscled they are.

Hyenas get a bad rap for being scavengers. They're actually very bright animals and tender with their family. But they're fearless and will often hunt much larger and more dangerous game, including lions!

Ringtail lemurs are always a favorite and it's easy to see why. First, those amazing tails, which are much larger than their bodies. Then those cute faces, like adorable bandits. And of course the antics and the amazing acrobatic moves while in the canopy.

Here are two photos from the Tiger Splash event. Above, the white bengal has been lured into jumping into the pool (tigers are excellent swimmers and don't hesitate in getting in the water). Then below he's used those powerful hind legs to vault out of the water at a moving target (hunting mode).

Pythons. Sleeping of course. Two very different species.

Finally, two regrettably poor shots (through the wire cage of course) of one of my favorite smaller wild cats, the Serval. They are found throughout Africa, in the savanna regions. A few interesting facts. They weigh 30-40# yet have the longest legs relative to their size of any cat. They can jump an amazing 10' in the air. They can live 20 years in captivity. It is the only species in the Leptailurus genus. Servals are amazing acrobats and are comfortable in trees.

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