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Showdown at the National Zoo

November 9, 2009
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One of the best attributes of Washington, D.C. is the integration of legit woods into some parts of the city. Rock Creek Park is long, narrow, and twice the area of New York’s Central Park. It stretches across a large part of northwest D.C.

The National Zoo is surrounded by Rock Creek Park.  The usual implication of this fact is that people can take long strolls in the woods, then go look at an octopus.  Yesterday, the  park’s proximity to the Gnartional Zoo led to something less benign.

The predatory cat enclosure at the zoo consists of an island, divided into a few discrete sections for lions and tigers, surrounded by a moat.  Visitors walk around the circumference of the moat, looking down at the beasts.  Yesterday, a deer from Rock Creek Park made its way onto the zoo’s grounds.  Specifically, it made its way to the predatory cat exhibit.  More specifically, it made its way into the predatory cat exhibit.

For the sake of our more sensitive readers, I am happy to report that in the following video, the deer escapes the lioness’s grasp and finds refuge in the moat. For the readers looking for action-packed blogging, I can assure you that the deer died shortly thereafter. Readers primarily interested in veterinary euthanasia will note with glee that the deer was put to sleep.

One thing that strikes me as odd about the video is the cheering when the deer escapes. The crowd was there to see lions doing lion stuff, but when push came to shove, they rooted against the lion. How and why did the deer – an obvious trespasser! – become the “good guy” in the spectators’ mental narratives? What’s more leonine than a lion ripping a deer’s face off?

Also note the trees with bark strapped to their bark. Prosthetic bark. Bark.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. McDonough permalink
    November 9, 2009 10:26 am

    I agree, I wish I was there I would have been all over those lions for letting the deer get away. They have obviously gotten fat and happy and lost some of their edge being handfed steaks. I think the tourist there were rooting for the deer because it was a baby and they are at a zoo to see cute baby pandas and stuff. I think it may have been a different story if it was a full grown 12-point whitetail buck. I would have love to seen some antler vs. claw action.

    • Barry permalink*
      November 9, 2009 10:31 am

      Is it too much to ask for a few thousand piranhas in the moat?

  2. JoJo permalink
    November 9, 2009 12:40 pm

    not everyone was on the deer’s side; i’m sure the yankees fans in attendance rooted for the lion after they bought it a jet pack, an adamantium skeleton, and all the other vicious lions from africa that were in the final years of their contracts.

    • Barry permalink*
      November 9, 2009 12:52 pm

      Jojo (if that is your real name),

      Your ability to moralize about Major League Baseball and its reigning champions’ fans in response to a post about a deer and a cat is admirable, but it also makes me fear for you. And fear you.

  3. dkapson@gmail.com permalink
    November 9, 2009 4:01 pm

    Jojo’s still got it.

  4. Korbie permalink
    November 9, 2009 10:00 pm

    I’m sure people rooted for it due to its cuteness and the apparent “weakling versus strong” mentality. The former due to evolution and the latter just plain old fun and heartfelt glee at the idea of a weak little thing being able to beat something stronger than it.

  5. Aaron permalink
    November 9, 2009 11:58 pm

    What’s more leonine than a lion ripping a deer’s face off? How bout Leon Haywood singing “I Wanna Do Something Freaky to You” after eating his weight in gazelle meat?… For starters.

  6. Dan permalink
    November 10, 2009 11:05 pm

    That lion needs to get its head in the fucking game. If water was too much of an obstacle after lazily trotting after the deer. Seriously other lions do not have meals like this handed to them. They need to work for their dinners.

    • Barry permalink*
      November 10, 2009 11:14 pm

      I agree. I think zoo life makes lions lazy and weak.

  7. jen permalink
    November 11, 2009 3:32 pm

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