Monday, May 13, 2013

Singapore Zoo

14 May 2013

It was a loooong schlep, but we went out to the Singapore Zoo.  This zoo is known in international zoo circles as being very innovative – one of the first (maybe THE first) to get rid of cages and have natural enclosures (moats and such) around each animals appropriate environment.  

 They also allow certain animals to run or fly freely through the zoo!  Really, as we walked in and crossed over the river of freshwater crocodiles, a black siamang ran across the bridge, right in front of us!  (They’re a kind of primate, very much like capuchin monkeys but with a big luxuriously furry tail.)

The orangutans also roam freely – except they have a network of vines and ropes connecting trees and platforms, and the orangutans just stay up over everyone’s heads.  They have a few islands where they come down to the ground and rest, play, fight, and where the class clown gets to show off for the visitors.  (Really, he was posing and making faces and blowing kisses – he was quite funny.)  Other, less friendly primates have separate environments and don’t have the chance to move around the zoo – like chimpanzees and baboons, the baboons actually being quite vicious.
This zoo is also known for their breeding programs, and they’ve successfully raised a bunch of animals that rarely breed in captivity.  So they have a nice little herd of five white rhinoceros, who actually aren’t white but kind of mud colored.  Two different kinds of very regal giraffes – and did you know that giraffes sleep standing up, for about 1 minute at a time, and only sleep for a total of maybe 4 hours a day???  (I’m glad I’m not a giraffe!) 

The zoo is divided into sections by both animal and area of origin – so the zebras, rhinos, giraffes, etc. are in the Africa section, which segues into the Big Cats (cheetahs, leopards, and lions) – and that includes pumas or mountain lions – which of course aren’t African at all, but live in North, South, and Central America.  (And the poor male puma was panting in the Singaporean heat – I guess he didn’t come from Florida or Costa Rica.)  But I said hello to all the big cats, who are always so gorgeous and stately.  And just big kitties at heart.  (Or maybe kitties are all lions and tigers and panthers at heart.)

We took the tram around first, to get a sense of where things were, and just because it was fun to ride a tram painted with tiger or zebra stripes, or giraffe spots.  To match the animals.  As well as the trash cans.  Because this is a color-coordinated zoo, you realize.

The penguins are from South 
 Africa, and a few were standing watch over their eggs – this is a penguin rescue project, and they are trying to keep the little guys from extinction.  One more adventurous penguin came over to check out his visitors.

The Australian Outback had a few snakes and lizards behind glass, and then a path through a field of wallabies and wallaroos – I’m not sure of the difference, but there were two differently sized and colored animals, the bigger ones being grey and the smaller ones kind of a fawn color.

Over by the Children’s Zoo I found the carousel – the young lady who sold me the ticket offered to take my photo with the carousel, but I had fun taking photos and riding the orange tiger.  (Not the white tiger, he was closer to the center and it gets a little dizzying to ride there.)  But this was an incredible carousel that was made especially for this zoo – the young lady thought it came from the US.  There was a panda, dugong (like a manatee), otter, seal, eagle, hummingbird, the two tigers, a leopard, camel, lion, giraffe (those last three didn’t go up and down), a zebra (which a little girl nabbed first), a wolf baying at the moon, even a triceratops.  No, they don’t have a triceratops at the zoo, except on the carousel.  No one knows why he’s there, except that no animal is duplicated on this carousel, so maybe they just ran out of animals.  And there aren’t any horses!  So it really is a fabulous little carousel!

Oh, there were also hippos (including pygmy hippos from Liberia, the only place they’re found), otters, Crested Grey cranes in the Africa area who were free to fly around and seemed to all roost in the same tree – on and on!!! 
Anyway, we had a fun time at the zoo, it really is a very special place and the animals seemed very well maintained.

And tonight we’re going to the Night Zoo, which features nocturnal animals!  I’m not sure what to expect, it’s an entirely different setting and features (obviously) animals who will be up and about at night.  I’ll report back.

Just a last note – we both caught colds, mine starting turning into bronchitis, and so we had a brief visit to the Raffles Medical Center.  My doctor looked about 14 years old, but he prescribed antibiotics and such, and I’m doing better.  One of the things I’ve noticed about overseas medical care is that they don’t take your blood pressure each time – that seems to be a US thing.  But that’s why I missed a day of posting, just spent a day taking meds and drinking fluids and staying away from catching/spreading germs.  (All the Raffles stuff is named for the British governor who designed Singapore – he really was assigned to Indonesia or Malaysia, but realized that Singapore was at the cross-roads or cross-routes of India and China, and so he claimed the area for Britain and designed the city-state.  So there are Raffles Park, Raffles Hotel, Raffles Centers, and the Raffles Medical Center.)

And I found a Buddhist Temple with bells out by the street – well, they aren’t bells, really, they’re those spinning things.  Prayer wheels, maybe.  I’m not sure what they’re called exactly – but it was so beautiful and ethereal, the white building with gold ornamentation, and the lovely wheels which a passer-by set spinning as I took the photos.

1 comment:

  1. when I was last in Bellingham and went to Fairhaven I went to the pottery studio where I had once worked and played with clay. There is a potter there who is making prayer wheels - yes that is what they are called. They were exquisite. Check them out if you ever return to the U.S. xooxxxoox stephanie