The Multi-Hued Bunnies of Tempe
These creatures may well have escaped long ago from Jackrabbit Pass, Yuma County’s protected wildlife area, but they now call a watering hole in the heart of developed Tempe, AZ their permanent home.
These are Antelope Jackrabbit, known for the bounding leaps enabled by their long and strong rear legs. Their similarly long and broad ears give them not only prompt advance warning of predators, but also fleshy radiators that cool internal blood flow through the long hot days of the desert plains and arroyos of their Southwestern habitat. Native to Arizona as well as a number of the northwestern states of Mexico, Lepus alleni may be the only native mammalian (other than the occasional ASU coed) ever encountered throughout this growing city.
Travel to the urbanized center of Tempe, Arizona — in metropolitan Phoenix’s East Valley section, where the Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad crosses the Salt River. Look for Tempe Town Lake (a relatively recently constructed reservoir that provides a scenic reflective foreground to Tempe’s burgeoning skyline) and find your way to Mill Street. Mill Street can be readily recognized by the masses of students, professionals, and not a few locals bustling along past pubs, restaurants and increasingly trendy shops, all sporting neon or blade signs or vibrant streetside presentation.
As you wend your way from Mill to West 7th Street, you will encounter Centerpoint, a cluster of new mid-rise mixed-use structures arrayed about a sinuous pedestrian plaza, spiced with winding brick lanes, palms, shade trees, stone benches, a fountain, and a ringing sculpture garden. Standing like sentries about the fountain are these creatures, rendered in cast bronze at well over life size.
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