african park

Photography Lincoln Park Zoo

“lion Sahar”

African lion Sahar runs through his outdoor exhibit in our Photo of the Week. Besides exercise, the 5-year-old big cat can count on a special “hot rock” to stay warm in the snow. (He can always head inside too!)


In anticipation of Rosa Park’s birthday on February 4, we found this copy of Freedom Walkers: The Story of Montgomery Bus Boycott (signed by author and historian Russel Freedman). Don’t let the fact that this book was written for young adults fool you into thinking that it isn’t absolutely packed with valuable history. Pictured above are a childhood photo of Claudette Colvin, the 16-year-old who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott by refusing to give up the seat that was legally hers for white passengers; pedestrians boycotting the bus system; Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta King after he was found guilty for leading an “illegal” boycott; and Rosa Parks riding in a newly integrated bus.

Freedman, R. (2006). Freedom walkers: The story of the Montgomery bus boycott. New York: Holiday House.

From the Hipple Young Adult Collection, University of South Florida Libraries

Semien Mountains - Ethiopia 

Semien Mountains are located in Northern Ethiopia. A world Heritage site, the mountains are a part of the Semien Mountains National Park. The mountains were created from lava outpourings, between 40 and 25 million years ago. The tallest is Ras Dashen. At 4,550m high, Ras Dashen is the highest peak in Ethiopia, and the tenth highest in Africa. Due to the extreme heights, this is one of the few places in Africa where snow can regularly fall. 

The mountains are dotted with small villages, connected by tracks. These villages were first occupied by Ethiopian Jews, who used the cover of the mountains to hide from attack by Christian Emperors.

Queen Elizabeth National Park - Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park occupies the land between Lake George in the north-east, and Lake Edward in the South-west. The national park was founded in 1952, as Kazinga National Park, and was renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. 

Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Chimpanzee’s, Leopards and Elephants are all protected in this park. Especially famous are the parks unique tree climbing lions. 


Elephant silhouetted at sunset in Chobe National Park in Botswana by 一把阳光

Stone Forest - Madagascar

Madagascar is famous for its biodiversity. 90% of the species of flora and fauna found on the island are not found anywhere else in the world. 

The Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park sits on the west coast and and is characterised by its sharp limestone formations that create what is known as the stone forest. These rocks make the forest nearly impenetrable, and are razor sharp, cutting easily through protective clothing and flesh. 


December 1st 1955: Rosa Parks on the bus

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old black seamstress from Alabama, refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white man. A member of the NAACP, Parks was returning home from a long day at work when the bus driver ordered her to give up her seat on the full bus for a white man. No stranger to civil rights activism, she was subsequently arrested for civil disobedience in defying the state’s Jim Crow racial segregation laws. Through this act of defiance, Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, during which time African-Americans - under the leadership of a young, charismatic reverend called Martin Luther King Jr. - refused to use the city buses, arguing that they should be integrated per the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. The boycott was successful in forcing Montgomery to end its discriminatory segregation laws, and marked the beginning of the main phase of what is now known as the Civil Rights Movement. From Montgomery, African-Americans across the United States went on to lead sit-ins, freedom rides, and political marches, in an attempt to bring an end to segregation laws which had oppressed their community for so long. These activists were all indebted to Rosa Parks - known as the ‘mother of the Civil Rights Movement’ - for her simple act of defiance, firmly asserting her humanity and her rights as an American citizen. As the movement grew, Parks remained an influential symbol and leader of the movement, which ultimately brought an end to legal segregation and forced Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights Acts. As for Parks herself, the affair of her arrest and the subsequent boycott caused her to lose her job and made her a victim of harassment and threats. She moved to Detriot and in 1965 began to work in the office of Congressman John Conyers. In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her role in transforming American race relations, and upon her death in 2005 she lay in state at the U.S. Capitol. Today, 60 years on, we remember Rosa Parks’s personal bravery, the successes of the movement she inspired, and the steps yet to be taken as the struggle against systemic racism continues.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day…No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in”

60 years ago today