The closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus signals the end of an era. Many of us have happy childhood memories of the circus, with its elephants and big cats, aerialists and, especially, the clowns. That was before attitudes against animal acts began to harden. The elephants were phased out last year, and ticket sales have slumped.
After standing the test of 146 years, the circus has succumbed to the new reality. With its final appearance in New York City from Feb. 23 to March 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Greatest Show on Earth will be no more.
On a lighter animal note, the cute male ocelot kitten born Nov. 17 at the Buffalo Zoo needs a name. For now, he looks for all the world like a large house cat with big ears and big eyes. That will change as he grows into his body. The name choices – Javiar, Nico, Pablo and Tacito – apparently reflect its natural range in Latin America. You can cast your ballot on Twitter (@buffalozoo), Facebook and Instagram.
And still on the animal kingdom, there are two ways to encounter wildlife: the charming way and the terrifying way.
Off Newport Beach, Calif., last Saturday, a juvenile sea lion had become entangled in fishing gear and needed help. Coast Guard to the rescue. A crew was able to free the pup from its entanglements and, after a little coaxing, got it to jump aboard their boat. It consented to some pictures and was then transferred to an outfit that will rehabilitate it and then return it to the sea.
It was an undoubtedly better experience than having an alligator leap into your boat. That was the plight of a vacationing Missouri couple who engaged an airboat while visiting in Florida. Their boat got stuck as it approached the reptile which, instead of swimming away, opted to jump in. It got jammed in the boat’s railing, but soon slid out into the water with no injuries except possibly to one couple’s sleep patterns.