Africa

Maasai Mara

At the end of August, I was fortunate enough to be welcomed on a trip to the Masaai Mara in Kenya through Langara International Service Trips (LIST). This trip was special for a variety of reasons. We were the first students from Langara to make the trip, as well as the first college or university from Canada to go on a Me to We service trip. On a more personal note, Kenya has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and I had been looking for ways to give back after completing my diploma at Langara.

This trip changed the way I want to travel. While I still think I’ll go on fun trips with friends who want to live the tourist life, I can’t see myself enjoying them as much as I did when I was immersing myself in a new culture and learning about the lives of people there.

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Superb Starling, August 2019

Zebras in the Mara, August 2019

Tree in the Mara, August 2019

Elephant Male, August 2019

Lioness with a Kill, August 2019

Hyrax, August 2019

Young Giraffe, August 2019

Giraffes, August 2019

Young Male Lion, August 2019

Thomson’s Gazelle, August 2019

Cape Buffalo, August 2019

Thomson’s Gazelle, August 2019

Thoughtful Lioness

Woodland Park Zoo

I know a lot of people are against zoos. I also know that a lot of photographers are against photographing animals in zoos.

I’m not particularly opposed to either.

That doesn’t mean that I support all zoos. There are some plain awful ones out there. But zoos that do more work for conservation and restoration than charities are out there. Zoos that fiercely love their animals. Zoos that know that the animals they keep are ambassadors for their species and that if people can’t see how wonderful these animals are, they might not be as inclined to protect them.

I’m not opposed to photographing them because it also allows me to share these animals with people, and I get a chance to take photos of animals I may never get to photograph in the wild, whether that’s because I won’t be able to visit their homelands or they won’t be around when I do is still to be determined.

The Woodland Park Zoo meets all my criteria for a good zoo. Nothing I saw there suggested mistreatment of the animals in any way. The habitats were beautiful and large. And the animals seemed so happy — particularly the otters, who were having a grand time chasing each other in a circle around the habitat.

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Taveta Golden-Weaver, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Taveta Golden-Weaver, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Jaguar, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Jaguar, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Jaguar, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Jaguar, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Chilean Flamingo, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2021

Chilean Flamingo, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2021

Leucistic Cockatiel at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Leucistic Cockatiel at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Lola the Aplomado Falcon at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Lola the Aplomado Falcon at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Kea at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Kea at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Male African Lion at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Male African Lion at the Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017

Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Woodland Park Zoo, July 16, 2017