Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center - Close Encounters of the Best Kind

Kathleen and I went on a weekend excursion up to Glen Rose, a small town in north-central Texas. When we got there, the first thing we did was to visit the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, a 1700-acre non-profit preserve that is home to 50 species of exotic and endangered animals.

In our car we followed closely behind one of their customized open-air tour buses as it slowly meandered around the property. People come here to see the animals up close. But Fossil Rim is the opposite of a zoo. Instead of people roaming free to view animals in enclosures, the animals roam free while people watch from enclosures.

They provide bags of special kibble approved for feeding the animals. So the not-so-dumb creatures come up to the vehicles, where people are more than happy to feed them. The technique is to let them snarf a piece of kibble from the palm of your hand. These are very close encounters.

I feed a fallow deer...

I feed an aoudad...
At one stop, an adult giraffe stuck his head in the window for a treat. At another stop, two eager zebras crowded into one window. They're beautiful but demanding, best to throw the feed out the window!

The addax, AKA screwhorn antelope, is a critically endangered species of antelope that normally lives in the Sahara desert. They are usually about three feet tall at the shoulders and weigh about 200 pounds.

I feed an addax...
When you offer these large wild animals kibble, they are as sweet as they can be. The intimacy created by hand-feeding made me conscious of a real affinity. I looked into their eyes and thought, I like it when someone offers me food, too. Since the asteroid strike 65 million years ago, we both made it this far. They say your species is in danger. They say my species is in danger, too. You and me, Bubba.

We spent the night in a tiny tent-like bungalow with A/C and running water. After dinner, we indulged in a glass of wine while sitting in wooden chairs overlooking a large pond where the animals came for their own nightcap. In many ways, this experience is better than an African safari.

We were still sipping wine when it got dark, and we had a good view of the galaxy. No wi-fi, no TV, no phones, no outdoor lights, no nonsense. Just Kathleen, me, the wild animals and the cosmos.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (2011 photos by Kathleen Scott, used with permission)

1 comment:

Courage Crafters (Speakers & Authors) said...

That sounds SO fabulous, what a perfect day, thanks for sharing! ;)