Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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Utama, 27, The Oldest Rhino at  San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Taken 1.26.22)

I woke up all sparkly and perky today, so after getting some work done and having some tacos from Pancho Villa for lunch, Darren and I headed back to San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I was a little bummed on my Sunday trip, surprised at how crowded it was and didn't get my usual rhino time at Kilima Point because all the juveniles were frolicking in the mud stream in the valley of their habitat, so I wanted to go back when it wasn't so busy. 

And let me tell you, we picked the perfect day. The weather was amazing, the crowd wasn't too bad, the tigers were more active than I've seen them in ages, and we got to ride the tram with no wait and we got to sit alone in the front car, so no screaming and coughing children or old ladies wearing too much perfume, both situations which made us disembark in previous attempts to ride before the tram even got moving. After the tram, I closed out the afternoon waiting for rhinos, and while 5 month old Kamaria and her mom, Kianga, stayed down in the valley once again, I was the only one up top when Utama came by. The animal specialist was driving the truck around -- she was the one who told me the rhinos name and age -- and then asked if I wanted her closer and thus gave her the "yummy treat" hay right in front so I could spend some time with her. It was pretty magical, there is something about being so close to the big animals -- the rhinos, hippos, elephants--that just kinda make you forget about all the other shit in the world, even if for just a moment as the hill gets quiet and you hear the rhinoceros snarfing up their food, making a noise somewhere between a cow, a hog, and a big sweet puppy. 

And then we got this amazing sunset on the way home. 

Stay safe out there. 

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