Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Birds of Spray

Where there's people there's vendors. The sell all kinds of foods or products you can think of. And some you hadn't thought of. Last week I joined a school outing* with my oldest son to Manila Zoo. Outside the zoo there was a man selling - I shit you not - tree sparrows that had been spray painted red or green, in a vain attempt to make them appear more exotic**.


*I find school outings very educational. A month ago it was Sports day, which meant a 7am Saturday morning assembly to have the four-year-olds:
- go marching up and down the square
- pray
- sing the national anthem and
- take an oath of sportsmanship
before starting with the sports, which included things like peeling quail eggs and tossing water balloons to each other. This time it was the Zoo and a stage production of Aladdin. Mostly, though, it was waiting. Out of a 10-hour trip, 7,5 were spent on the bus or in a queue. The Aladdin show was great. The kids loved it. Manila Zoo, not so great. But of course, the kids loved it (and the outing was for them, not for me). I just have hard time looking at animal confined in a space so small they can hardly move - like a 3-foot Rufous Hornbill confined in a 1 m3 cage.

** Really, selling birds in the street is bad for a number of reasons (especially if you are the bird). On the flip side of this though, trade with endemic and/or rare species is a problem in the Philippines and elsewhere, so, given a choice, I'd rather see the introduced (as often regarded as pest) tree sparrows being fenced than a Philippine Cockatoo or Luzon Bleeding Heart

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