少年派的奇幻漂流 Chapter 9
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Chapter 9
Getting animals used to the presence of humans is at the heart of the art and science of zookeeping. The key aim is to diminish an animal's flight distance, which is the minimum distance at which an animal wants to keep a perceived enemy. A flamingo1 in the wild won't mind you if you stay more than three hundred yards away. Cross that limit and it becomes tense. Get even closer and you trigger a flight reaction from which the bird will not cease until the three-hundred-yard limit is set again, or until heart and lungs fail. Different animals have different flight distances and they gauge2 them in different ways. Cats look, deer listen, bears smell. Giraffes will allow you to come to within thirty yards of them if you are in a motor car, but will run if you are 150 yards away on foot. Fiddler crabs3 scurry4 when you're ten yards away; howler monkeys stir in their branches when you're at twenty; African buffaloes5 react at seventy-five.
Our tools for diminishing flight distance are the knowledge we have of an animal, the food and shelter we provide, the protection we afford. When it works, the result is an emotionally stable, stress-free wild animal that not only stays put, but is healthy, lives a very long time, eats without fuss, behaves and socializes in natural ways and - the best sign - reproduces. I won't say that our zoo compared to the zoos of San Diego or Toronto or Berlin or Singapore, but you can't keep a good zookeeper down. Father was a natural. He made up for a lack of formal training with an intuitive gift and a keen eye. He had a knack6 for looking at an animal and guessing what was on its mind. He was attentive7 to his charges, and they, in return, multiplied, some to excess.

    让动物适应人的存在是动物园管理艺术和管理科学的核心。关键目的在于缩短动物的安全距离,也就是动物希望它所察觉到的敌人与之保持的最短距离。在野生环境 中,如果你在距离红鹳300码以外的地方,它便不会在意你。如果你跨过了那道界限,它便变得紧张起来。如果再靠近些,你便会引起鸟儿的逃跑反应,除非重新 确定了300码的界限,或者它的心肺功能不允许它再跑下去了,否则它是不会停下来的。不同的动物有不同的安全砸离,并且通过不同的方式来判断这一距离。猫 科动物用眼睛看,鹿用耳朵昕,熊用鼻子嗅。如果你在汽车里,长颈鹿可以允许你到离它30码远的地方,但是如果你是徒步,那么在你离它还有150码的时候它 便会跑开了。招潮在你距它10码的时候会急忙走开;吼猴在你距它20码的时候会在树枝上警觉起来;非洲水牛在你距它75码时便有反应。
    缩小安全距离的工具是我们对动物的了解,我们提供的食物和栖息处,和我们给予的保护。当这一切起作用的时候,野生动物便会情绪稳定,不感到紧张,不仅待在 动物园里,而且健康,长寿,安心进食,行为自然,合群,还有——最好的标志是——能够繁殖后代。我不会说我们的动物园能与圣地亚哥或多伦多或柏林或新加坡 的动物园相比,但是你无法阻止一位优秀的动物园管理员发挥自己的天分。父亲是个天才。他的直觉天赋和敏锐目光弥补了正规训练的不足。他有一种本领,可以看 着一只动物,猜出它有什么心事。他对自己照管的动物非常关心,作为回报,它们繁殖起来,有些繁殖得太多了。


1 flamingo nsWzxe     
  • This is the only species of flamingo in the region,easily recognized by its pink plumage.这是那个地区唯一一种火烈鸟,很容易凭粉红色的羽毛辨认出来。
  • In my family,I am flamingo in the flock of pigeons.在家里,我就像一只被困在鸽笼里的火烈鸟。
2 gauge 2gMxz     
  • Can you gauge what her reaction is likely to be?你能揣测她的反应可能是什么吗?
  • It's difficult to gauge one's character.要判断一个人的品格是很困难的。
3 crabs a26cc3db05581d7cfc36d59943c77523     
n.蟹( crab的名词复数 );阴虱寄生病;蟹肉v.捕蟹( crab的第三人称单数 )
  • As we walked along the seashore we saw lots of tiny crabs. 我们在海岸上散步时看到很多小蟹。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The fish and crabs scavenge for decaying tissue. 鱼和蟹搜寻腐烂的组织为食。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 scurry kDkz1     
  • I jumped on the sofa after I saw a mouse scurry by.看到一只老鼠匆匆路过,我从沙发上跳了起来。
  • There was a great scurry for bargains.大家急忙着去抢购特价品。
5 buffaloes 8b8e10891f373d8a329c9bd0a66d9514     
n.水牛(分非洲水牛和亚洲水牛两种)( buffalo的名词复数 );(南非或北美的)野牛;威胁;恐吓
  • Some medieval towns raced donkeys or buffaloes. 有些中世纪的城市用驴子或水牛竞赛。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Water buffaloes supply Egypt with more meat than any other domestic animal. 水牛提供给埃及的肉比任何其它动物都要多。 来自辞典例句
6 knack Jx9y4     
  • He has a knack of teaching arithmetic.他教算术有诀窍。
  • Making omelettes isn't difficult,but there's a knack to it.做煎蛋饼并不难,但有窍门。
7 attentive pOKyB     
  • She was very attentive to her guests.她对客人招待得十分周到。
  • The speaker likes to have an attentive audience.演讲者喜欢注意力集中的听众。
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