The Al Ain Zoo
Al Ain Zoo
United Arab Emirates
April 19, 2016
Many, many years ago, my wife at the time, the late Alice Dawn and I took a road trip from New York to San Francisco. We visited her younger sister, the late Carolyn Dawn and her family. On the way, we stopped in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Alice was a proficient horsewoman so we decided to take a two-hour early evening ride into the Grand Tetons. Towards the end of our tour, in the deepening shadows of the majestic and inspiring mountains, I spotted a shy and apprehensive four-legged creature off in the distance.
I proclaimed with excitement, “There’s a deer!” Riding along side of me, our guide, calmly and with the taciturn air of a native of the mountains, responded, “That’s not a deer, son. That’s an elk!”
How in the world was I supposed to know the difference between a deer and an elk? I was a city-boy. The only information I had in that particular area of biology was from the song, “Home on the Range!”
Now here on the Arabian Peninsula, and surely in the deserts and savannah of Africa, the question of “deer” becomes even more complicated.
Can you describe the difference between an Oryx and an Ibex? A Springbok, a Gemsbok and a Gazelle?
Come with me to ever sun-scorched pathways of the Al Ain Zoo. Together, we’ll learn to identify the local “deer.” And also, to be accurate, “goats.”