What a bunch of animals!!

Trip Start Mar 25, 2011
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Trip End Dec 01, 2011


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Friday, September 23, 2011

Morning all from a very hot and humid Singapore....

Today it's an early start ready for the full on day that awaits... a visit to the Singapore Zoo, an award-winning zoo set in a tropical rainforest!

The Singapore Zoo formerly known as the Singapore Zoological Gardens and commonly known locally as the Mandai Zoo, occupies 28 hectares of land. The zoo was built at a cost of $9m granted by the government of Singapore (not cheap!) and opened on 27 June 1973.  There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16% are considered threatened species. The zoo attracts about 1.6 million visitors each year and today I am one of them!  From the beginning, Singapore Zoo followed the modern trend of displaying animals in naturalistic, 'open' exhibits with hidden barriers, moats, and glass between the animals and visitors. It houses the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world and I was lucky enough to see them being fed and have my picture with them.  In 1977, primatologist Dr Francine Neago lived inside a cage with eighteen orangutans for six months to study their behavior and communication... hmmm bet that was interesting!

Its so nice to see all the animals kept in spacious, landscaped enclosures separated from the visitors by either dry or wet  moats. The moats are concealed with vegetation or dropped below the line of vision. Dangerous animals that can climb well are housed in landscaped glass-fronted enclosures. The zoo has not expanded beyond the original 28 hectares. However, 40 hectares of secondary forest were later developed into a night safari. The remaining undeveloped land has been kept as wooded land.  Although they are adding a river safari and more animals for 2012.

It's nice to look around or above you and see an animal moving freely around... sometimes a surprise!!

I think I timed my visit just right and walked the right way as I was lucky enough to see firstly lots of birds perching... the keeper says its my lucky day as normally these birds are not shown together and its normally just 4 of them.... they look so pretty... the colours against the white.

Onwards and the walk way is lovely and the surroundings stunning...  I was able to see the orangutans as mentioned... then white rhinos being fed... wow they are big and I timed it where two of them were having a little fight.... apparently mother and son!!!!

The white rhino is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species. Big guys.... you could feed them too although I think the keeper made the visitors somewhat wary of doing this!

No zoo visit would be complete without the splash safari...which showcases the zoo's aquatic mammals and birds. Seals and sealions perform tricks and pelicans demonstrate how they catch fish in their beaks, while manatees swim in the pond below. ...and getting everyone wet!  I've seen so many of these and it still makes me smile. 

I walked to the Elephants at work and play show...which demonstrates how elephants are used as beasts of burden in south-east Asian countries. The animal caretakers are referred to as mahouts, and the show simulates how a mahout would instruct an elephant to transport logs or kneel down so that they can be mounted.  I still don't know why but since riding an elephant in Bali... I battle with my conscience... these animals are beautiful.. but..... you could argue both ways that they are fed and watered and looked after...... its just all the games they play, painting, balancing, basketball and letting us humans ride on their backs that I feel weird about....  I mean how are they trained??!!  Anyway moving on....

There are a number of monkey's here and one that I don't think I've seen before! The Proboscis Monkey which is a long-nosed monkey, known as the bekantan in Malay. The nose on the male, which can exceed 10cm in length (that#s a big nose!) , dwarfing that of the female, and hangs lower than the mouth. Nevertheless, the nose of the female is still fairly large for a primate!!!! A strange looking monkey!

There are also numerous other types of monkeys... including the lovable chimpanzee! Again timed to perfection these were being fed... they are so human like... standing tall and using the hands to signal more food!! So funny to see. The hamadryas baboon was also being fed...with his bright coloured face.

Other feeds included the giraffe, Hippos, otters (not one I watched!), Cheetahs, African lions, kangaroos and the White tigers.  The white tigers looked ready for action... and are separated by a small moat I wonder if they have ever escaped?!  One in particular was pacing up and down and getting angry with another which I happened to picture at the right time.

OK Time for the restroom... and the only reason I mention it.. you have a choice.... the traditional western toilet... or the squat... which I'm happy to save until later on in my travels!!!

The zoo is set is lush grounds and is a very nice zoo... comparing it to San Diego or even Sydney... it sits high on one of the best zoo's I've visited. Even Steve Irwin who's zoo isn't as great (sorry sad but true!) had visited Singapore zoo.

Overall an enjoyable day out... if not a hot one... I might as well go out in wet clothes... you get that sweaty!!

Back at the resort timed perfectly for evening number 2 with the gorgeous Mr Cowell.... I have no energy to do anything else... shame ;)
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