The Hoosierist: Fur and Away

An illustration of an orangutan touching hands with a girl through the glass at a zoo.
So close, yet so far away.

Illustration by Ryan Johnson

Q: Last spring, some zoos reported that their animals “missed” having visitors. Which Indianapolis Zoo tenants seemed to suffer most?
A: Since most of the zoo’s critters have spent their entire lives on lockdown, weathering a pandemic doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. And indeed it wasn’t, according to Melanie Laurendine, the Indianapolis Zoo’s conservation public relations specialist. The staff amused its charges with “daily enrichment activities to keep the animals physically as well as mentally challenged.” Not that some of the animals didn’t miss the crowds. Not surprisingly, the primates seemed
to pine for their hairless, sunburned, stroller-pushing relations the most. “The macaques come to the front of their habitat when people are walking by,” Laurendine says. “And Rocky, one of the orangutans, has always enjoyed interacting with people. Since we reopened, he has been coming over
to the glass to see visitors.”

Q: The Indy area has a lot of police departments: Speedway, Lawrence, Carmel. Can the IMPD operate in those areas, or does their jurisdiction end at the city line?
A: In theory, the authority of the IMPD evaporates at the city’s borders. But there are all sorts of exceptions allowing those officers to briefly intercede outside their domain—and for other agencies to do the same. During natural disasters and “hot pursuit” situations, the IMPD and other departments sometimes unavoidably stray into each other’s areas. According to the city’s rule book, when this happens, “the responding officer will make every attempt to resolve the matter in the most professional manner possible.” Failing that, the issue gets kicked upstairs to the chief, who no doubt bawls out the rogue cop for being a “loose cannon” and puts him on desk duty to “cool off.” No, wait, that’s how they do it in the Lethal Weapon movies.

Q: What’s the most valuable piece of art that calls Indianapolis home?
A: For reasons outlined in such heist films as The Thomas Crown Affair and How to Steal a Million, both Newfields and the Indiana State Museum politely declined to discuss (and call unwanted attention to) Indy’s top-dollar art holdings. However, Brady Dreasher, president of the appraisal company Art of Estates, elected to take a stab. All three of his nominees reside at Newfields: Landscape at Saint-Remy by Vincent Van Gogh (worth $60 million to $80 million); Jimson Weed by Georgia O’Keeffe ($50 million to $60 million); and Channel  of Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe by Georges Seurat ($35 million to $40 million). Good luck seeing any of these works, though. Curiously, none of them are currently on display.

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