Posted by: sea2stars | June 7, 2010

Taipei Zoo

It’s seems that no matter how old I get I’m still fascinated by zoos. Although I have now gained the composure from running up to in-closers yelling “mommy mommy look,” I still feel that sense of excitement when I go up to see a wild animal in such close proximity. All zoos offer something different, they have different animals, different exhibits but I have discovered that no matter what language or culture the kids are always the same, either completely elated to see a new animal or scared to death of them. I also love this part of zoo. As much fun as it is to see the wild animals it’s also fun to watch the kids. This time it had an added bonus for me as some kids and I exchanged languages and they told me how to say the animals in chinese and I told them how to say it in English.

I had perfect weather for the zoo, it was a cool gray overcast day with a few brief sprinkles in between and it wasn’t too hot for the animals and they were surprisingly active all day. I find that many zoos offer the same array of animals, but their are always a few things that are different. This is the first zoo that I’ve gone to in another country and had a lot of animals I’ve never seen before. Hippos, baboons, wolves, koala bears, lemur monkeys, and panda bears just to name a few.

The panda bears were amazing. I think all zoos should have pandas, not because I think they need saving, but because they highly entertaining. Pandas have to eat for roughly 10-16 hours a day. This means they are active most of the day and they are far more interesting to watch than the sleeping bears that I’m use to seeing at zoos. Also because of Pandas ‘thumbs’, which allows them to hold thing in their front paws, they have a rather humanistic quality about them and as I watched them I found it rather easy to anthropomorphize them. It makes it easier to understand why they invade so many stories and why people want to save them.

The zoo also contained some oddly familiar animals to me. I was quite surprised in the nocturnal house when I came upon a raccoon. I’ve always considered these animals more of a pest than a zoo animal. In another part of the zoo they also had a pond full of painted turtles. I found the seen rather odd in a zoo because it just looked like an ordinary fishing pond to me with turtles sunbathing on a log. They also had animals like buffalo, american bullfrogs, and Przewalski wild horses. I had to read the sign about the horses to understand what made them zoo worthy. They looked like normal horses to me but they have a short mane and actually come from Mangolia.

Seeing these seemingly wild animals in the zoo started me thinking. What sort of animals are in African zoos? They surely don’t have an African section with giraffes, elephants, zebras, etc., etc. All my friends from Africa have always seemed rather blase about these animals that I find so fascinating. They are just much more realistic about them. One of my friends had a picture of a sleeping lion in her locker in high school and I commented about how cute it was and she very simply responded by saying ‘Yah, until he wakes up.’ The African animals that I love to see at zoos are not so adorable in Africa, they are just apart of life. So what animals do they have in African zoos, Australian zoos, or Indian zoos? Maybe some more American bull frogs or white tail deers. I guess I’ll just have to go see for myself.

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