This afternoon, San Geraldo and I went to Bioparc Fuengirola, the Fuengirola Zoo. I love zoos. Not the old-fashioned kind with the cages and the unhappy animals. I like the new zoos. The zoos with natural environments. The zoos that save and protect. The Fuengirola Zoo used to be an old-fashioned, depressing, zoo. It’s now an amazing “Bioparc,” with large, natural environments (with different animals sharing spaces) and vast conservation and education projects. It’s not huge and it’s right in the center of town. But when you walk through the front gate, you enter a different world. As they say on their website: “There is today no ethical sense in keeping wild animals in captivity unless this helps to preserve their species in the natural world.”
Several exhibits were being spruced up or renovated in preparation for “season.” But there was still plenty to see. And, since we bought annual passes, we can go back whenever we want. I thought I might have to go to the zoo alone today. But I was very fortunate to have company. Otherwise, I never would have seen the very rare, Gray-Tufted Gruñon in such a natural environment. Standing over 6 feet tall, the Gruñon is hardly ever seen in public.
|NOT THE GRAY-TUFTED GRUÑON.
THERE IS ONLY ONE LEFT IN THE WORLD.
|ALSO NOT A GRAY-TUFTED GRUÑON.|
Gruñon means “grumpy” and it’s the name given for Grumpy in the Spanish version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Gruñon has also become, in the past year and a half, another name for San Geraldo. Yes, he can be “gruñon” and, yes, he is one-of-a-kind. Oh, and yes, sometimes when he’s being “gruñon,” he is on my endangered list.
|THE GRAY-TUFTED GRUÑON IN HIS NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.|
Today, however, the Gray-Tufted Gruñon was the perfect companion. Well, to be honest, the Gray-Tufted Gruñon is always the perfect companion, gruñon or not. We had a great time at the zoo and walked home through town and along the beach, stopping for lunch at the waterfront. Once we got home, he even filed away at one of the lobby door keys and got it to work! Back to calling him San Geraldo.
|SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO KEEP SOME DISTANCE.|
|SCRATCH-N-SNIFF. UNBELIEVABLY SWEET.|