My mother always told me I was beautiful! She also told me that I lived in a place called Zoo.
There are a lot of strange creatures around outside. Some of them are other animals similar to me. Each group has its own markings and smell but there are some funny ones that don’t even smell the same from day to day. A most peculiar bunch this lot!
They have green skins with white faces and paws. If anything they look more like the monkeys except for their strange colour and behaviour. When the weather is hot a lot more of them come to look at us through the fences and they really are strange. All sorts of colours and some of the smells have to be experienced to be believed! I’m jolly glad that they are kept on the other side of the fence on those days; they don’t seem to be very nice at all.
Then one day one of the green animals pushed a piece of wood through the bars where I slept. I already knew what this means because it happened to me once or twice before. You get a slight prick and then go to sleep. When you wake up you find the mud had been cleaned from your feet or the pain in your neck might have gone. Any way I know enough not to worry about it as you always wake up feeling better. This time it was different. I woke up feeling very hot and hungry. Fortunately there was some food in the cage so I lay down on my tummy to wait and see what happened next. Then the door opened so I went outside to see mum and ask what on earth was going on.
She wasn’t there! There were a couple of other animals like me but nobody else at all. I walked round the area and soon found we were inside another cage like the ones at Zoo. But the grass and bushes were all different and it smelled strange as well. Just to sort things out in my mind I thought of this place as ‘Hot Zoo.’ It wasn’t as nice as Zoo at home with mum but I supposed I would have to get used to it!
There was one other strange thing although it didn’t make any difference to the days, the green animals were still there but they must have been a different variety. This lot had black faces and paws, there were a pair of white faced ones like those at Zoo and they all seemed to get on together so I didn’t think any more about it.
Every morning we’d go out into the heat and be fed and I’d have a walk round the fences to see if anything was going on outside. I must admit I was missing the animals that used to come and stare at us at home.
Then one day everything changed. A larger section of the fence was missing and if I wanted I could go outside into the open country beyond. Well I didn’t need any further prompting and I ran off a little way to see if anything was happening. My two companions had come with me and we stayed close together while we explored. This place was huge; we couldn’t find any limits at all. The only enclosed space was the one we had just left.
I went back through the open space in the fence that night and its just as well that I did. When I woke up I was alone and went out to look for my companions. It didn’t take me too long before I found their heads and a few scraps of skin and bone lying in the long grass. I made my mind up immediately and turned round running for home as quickly as I could.
The animals that looked after us seemed surprised when they saw me coming.
“I want to go home to Zoo!” I called as soon as they could hear me.
To my great surprise they seemed to understand what I was saying for the first time. Three of them climbed into one of those noisy cages with fat legs that they use to go very fast. They hurried off in the direction I’d come from and were back again in a little while looking very upset.
Then one of them went inside the cage where they lived and came out with the wooden stick that puts you to sleep. Thank goodness for that! I was sure that when I woke up I’d be back home with my mum.
“Well that’s the end of that experiment!” said the chief scientist looking at the remains the truck had brought back. “It appears that we can’t introduce the bird back into the wild using the DNA from museum bone marrow and turkeys as surrogate mothers. I think our specimen is definitely the last living Dodo on the planet!”