Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Imperial Lion Zoo

In the late morning, I was really getting cabin fever. Paula and I decided we would take a little field trip to the Imperial Lion Zoo, where many of the old Imperial lions and their descendents live. It was built in 1948 by Emperor Haile Selassie and currently has 16 adult lions and five cubs. The small concrete cages are quite sad and if you are an animal lover, I wouldn't recommend going there. That said, I took the trip as another cultural experience in Addis, and hope that our small donation at least helps to support the lions.

It was adorable to see the busloads of school children coming on their field trip to the Zoo- staying in their long lines while waving to us:).

Why are there so many photos!? Because we met a friendly employee/photographer-for-hire who intercepted my camera and snapped more shots than the paparazzi of us walking around, looking at the lions, sitting by the lions, standing my the lions, etc, etc. Engida was very interested in the animals (until one of them roared, which I'm hoping did not traumatize him long-term!). Our favorite taxista came along and helped to talk to Engida, although I am not sure how much of the Amharic explanation he understood.

The gazelles are roaming around the small park in the center of the zoo, and of course our friendly photographer caught my ever move. Engida watched cautiously, making sure the gazelle did not devour me.

I had more pictures on my camera from this outing, than the rest of this ET trip (seriously). I could have made a flip book of us walking around the zoo!

Here is a bit of an article I found on-line from Animal People, Oct 2006: "The black-maned Atlas lion, Barbary lion, or Lion of Judah, hauled to Imperial Rome by the thousands for use and slaughter in Colossium spectacles, was extirpated from Libya by 1700, from Egypt by 1800, from Tunisia in 1891, from Algeria in 1912, and from Morocco in 1921. This was a year after the lion was deleted from the World Encyclopedia of Animals as already extinct. Unknown to science, those in the Ethiopian palace menagerie lived on. After Selassie was overthrown in 1974, the menagerie was opened to the pubic, but is rarely visited by non-Ethiopians. Some lions were sold from time to time. A few descendants, hybridized with common lions, reached the U.S. and Europe through circuses." It goes on to talk about the not-so-ideal quality of animal care, such as lack of stimulation and room to roam, and the difficulty the Ethiopians had trying to raise funds in the US and Europe.
In the evening, we had a marvelous dinner at the house of Stephanie's friend, an American whose husband works in public health and was transferred here to Addis. Stephanie and Leo had their 2 beautiful daughters and newest son, I had Engida, and the couple living here had their 2 children. Great conversation, new toys to play with, delicious food- we all had fun!

1 comment:

Viv and Pete said...

Yes, less than ideal conditions for the lions but you are so correct in recognizing this as another opportunity to experience Addis and Ethiopia! Loved all the pictures and continue to love reading your amazing blog!