Those who know me might be a little surprised by my choice of destination for this last day of February 2018.
Once more, like last month, my plan to be out for a whole day was foiled due to healthcare scheduling. No need to go into the details, just know that I had only two hours to spare, which forced me to find somewhere ‘on the way’ and of easy access to explore.
I went to the Peter and Paul wilderness park…
Wherever I saw it mentioned online, it was hailed as a wonderful place to go for an afternoon, to enjoy the sights, the peace, and the well taken care of animals. It is open all year, free of charge, easy to get to by public transport, has (free) parking, and many complimented it as an excellent dog walking destination.
It was a 10 minute drive from my morning appointment and wouldn’t push me that far off the rest of my scheduled journey.
With a deep blue sky above my head and a fresh -9°C, I cracked my mind open and smiled my way through the parking lot. It is a sanctuary, after all, and, as such, a place of welfare, right?
Once I hit the park itself, the hopeful mood I had managed to muster up was replaced by an uncomfortably familiar form of anger.
There is something viscerally wrong with keeping animals locked up even if they are able to "enjoy living under the stars." There was nothing wild about the park, except the dog owners who were doing their best to get their dogs interested in the penned up animals.
For all the widespread talk of eating local and organic, and general animal welfare concerns, it exasperates me that the conversation hasn’t yet seriously shifted towards animals imprisoned for life for sheer human entertainment. When this park was opened its goals were noble: help keep these carefully selected (i.e. manageable) endangered animals alive by encouraging reproduction and general public interest in their well-being. That was in 1892.
Now we have endless information at the tip of our fingertips, beautiful images, and even 4K video of incredibly hard to spot wild creatures living freely in their (endangered) natural habitats. Why do we need to keep any animals locked up - besides, perhaps, to protect those who are being actively hunted by mentalists who want to snort their horns to get a hard on?
This park has outlived its purpose and has been transformed into a magnet for those who seek to enrich the lives of their favoured animals with the misery of others.
Those who have donated to keep this place open for the past century ought better put their money into preserving the natural - i.e. non-fenced - environment these beautiful beings would live in were it not for the environmental destruction we, cruel bipods, actively impose upon them.
Or maybe, for the sake of balance, we should also evict all the human beings who happen to inhabit swathes of lands which would better serve this (pen)ultimate god of ours, The Global Economy... oh, wait... yeah, we do that already .
Part II: Free forms
The following photographs are some calming sights captured in between oppressive bouts of anger.
Browse the Wildpark Peter und Paul website here.