Sunday, 23 August 2015

lunchtime safari oder it takes a village

Just south of the looming skyline of Frankfurt am Main in the foothills of the Taunus lies the Opel Zoo, founded by automotive magnate, benefactor and animal-lover Georg von Opel near the brand’s first factory complex in Rüsselsheim in the early 1950s as originally a research facility and preserve that grew around Opel’s own country villa. The word village, incidentally, is derivative (and not the other, self-sufficient way around) as the community of logistic-support for whatsoever great house. The inability of the municipality to care adequately for a trio of adopted circus elephants began the whole enterprise, which would evolve to save some species, like the Mesopotamian fallow-deer from extinction—though no longer extant in the wild.
I told H that I was happy to have the chance to see my people again so soon and we trekked through scores of installations, all expertly maintained and strikingly spacious and appropriately interactive, with swarms of hungry, tame goats to navigate through. Mostly we tried to pose with the inmates to our mutual success but the habitats constructed and selection in this Tiergarten was quite impressive, the whole menagerie seemingly at home and adapted to German climate—not because it’s gotten hotter and more sultry here but rather as a model of sustainability and accommodation, which is no small feat, especially for a small, private endowment.
There were parallel ranges for familiar creatures, like foxes, elk and deer with giraffes, camels and bison. Raccoons, mongooses, pythons and company, too. We had a bite to eat that surveyed the whole park below at the end of our little safari. The zoo was certainly worth the visit and I hope there’s more places like this—independent and impassioned because the difference is telling and appreciable, to discover and explore.