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Here you will find information, musings, and pictures about life, the natural world and writing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wildlife on The Las Vegas Strip: Part 3

I'll wrap up my New Year's wildlife tour of The Strip with a just a few more observations. We visited maybe six of the major casinos, maybe a few more. They fall into a pattern: glitzy exterior with some feature to draw attention (the Bellagio's dancing fountain is wonderful), reception, restaurants, shopping, and gaming on the ground floor and hotel rooms above. The gaming areas seemed identical and interchangeable. The shopping surprised me, lots of high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc. Our native guide explained that the stores inside the resorts pay rock-bottom rent. The idea is that they class up the joint. One of them had a different affect on me.

Yup. Apparently-genuine carved elephant tusks, a big pair. Nothing like picturing a huge rotting bull elephant with his face hacked off to brighten up your vacation. And that carved ship behind them looked like ivory also. I found the store clerk, an elegantly dressed young woman with a European accent, and indicated how uncool this was. She started in with the "but if we didn't kill animals, we wouldn't have meat or leather" argument. I did her no bodily harm, but did indicate that this was horse puckey and that the company she worked for was promoting an anti-conservation message. The phrase "will rot in hell" did not cross my lips, but I think she understood. She said they were legal and I'd bet that she was correct. So what? The point is glamorizing a wildlife product that has contributed to the enormous declines in elephant populations. Bah.

Somehow my companions hustled me off to the Bellagio's Christmas display. I noted that it included natural antlers on Santa's reindeer. No problemo--deer drop those annually and grow a new pair (but you knew that...).

Our time in Las Vegas was up and I didn't make it to the MGM Grand to see lions and the shark reef. If you go, drop me a note. On the flight home, the airline magazine had an ad for a guy named Rick Thomas, a magic-and-white-tiger show at the Sahara. That one blew right by me, never saw an ad for it. (He's recommended by Millionaire Magazine, so there.) And--who knew?--Las Vegas has a zoo! Here's the website of the Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park.

My spouse and I now joke about keeping each other in line: "Behave yourself or our next vacation will be back in Las Vegas." It's not our kind of place, but I got some mileage out of the visit, as well as a great visit with some fine friends.

Adios, Sin City! From the Bellagio's Christmas display:

Visit my website for more animal pictures, etc.


Anonymous said...

Good series! You could have a future on cable as an off-the-usual-path travel guide, 'Michael Palin of the Animals' sort of thing. I'd watch!

And what was the shop with the (really rather vulgarly showy) exhibit with ivory and tusks? I bet they have those boots I've been looking for, made out of the skins of endangered Nile crocodiles.

Ann Littlewood said...

Y'know, my record keeping wasn't good enough for me to say for sure which outfit was peddling ivory, and I don't want to make trouble for some innocent resort. I imagine they would be happy to source some boots for you. Sigh.

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