Let’s go to the zoo! Wanna see some animals? Smell some animals? Hear some animals? Enjoy a leisurely walk through a park-like setting? Come along! Taipei zoo is located in the south of the city in a beautiful natural setting near Maokong Gondola and hikes in the mountains – I recommend a visit if you are in Taipei. The day is overcast with rain in the forecast, maybe not the best conditions, but hey, can’t let a little sprinkle stop you. I get there taking a Youbike along the winding route of the river – takes about 30 minutes. And halfway there, it starts raining… hmm, I didn’t bring an umbrella. Oh well… just water…
It’s been a long time since I’ve visited a zoo. I think San Diego in 1997 or so was the last time and this is more than 20 years ago! I admit, I have conflicting feelings when it comes to zoos… on the one hand I enjoy seeing, and of course photographing animals I will likely never meet in the wild; on the other hand, I feel heartbroken to see them caged or in enclosures just too small for their needs… especially large predators and African Savannah animals. There is the educational component and breeding in captivity to help sustain a species which – after all – we are responsible for bringing to the edge of extinction. And there is of course the suffering I imagine into the scene in front of me… What to do?! If I had a magic wand… well, I kinda do… And that wand is love. Just love nature and all beings in it, no matter the circumstances. Right action will follow…
The Taipei Zoo does a pretty good job – given the tropical climate, most of the animals get to be in outside enclosures. The landscaping is beautiful, the paths meander through tropical vegetation – blooms, variety, art, beauty.
I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with the birds and butterflies. Have fun watching the monkeys and primates. And my heart brakes when I catch the eyes of primates and large cats. The Panda steals my heart, the look in the Koala’s face makes me laugh, as do the Maquacs and Cotton Top Tamarins.
The world of birds is ever amazing – the colours and shapes, sizes and calls. Guess which one is the Southern Cassowary, the Nicobar Pigeon, the Crowned Pigeon, Toucan, Great Argus, Kookaburra, Scarlet Ibis, Spoonbill, Flamingo (is a give-away) ?
Check out these Cotton Top Tamarins – so much fun to watch!
At times, I wonder – who is watching who? Ever since my visit to the Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary on Borneo I feel a special love and connection with “the man of the forest” and other brothers and sisters. I think of my quarantine hotel room, limited in my ability to move about for a couple of weeks, but well-fed and otherwise comfortable. What is it like for them? The Silverback Gorilla is waiting by the door to be let in (it’s the end of the day and feeding time). I’m intrigued by the way the female hides and looks at him – or is it another male? Maybe I’ll go again another day and spend more time with them. Most affordable zoo I’ve been to at TWD 60 a visit – that’s CAD 2.75! Can’t beat the price/entertainment value!
Elephants, African and Asian, are just hanging out, as do the Hippos and White Rhinos – and boy, do they all stink! Giraffes are so graceful and gentle looking – or is this just my projection having studied Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-violent communication many years ago? Are you listening with Giraffe ears or Jackal ears today? Here’s a 6-minute talk of Marshall explaining the “ear thing” on Youtube … (note to self, need to get a good close-up photo of Giraffe ears and where them a lot.)
Did I mention the smells? Yep! Something so easily forgotten when just looking at images… And the winner in the worst smell contest is… Hippo! Or wait, was it Rhino? Dromedary? Camel? Elephant? Okay, Hippo and Rhino share the prize. Giraffe is way to elegant to compete in this category. 🙂
There were so many more creatures, tiny and large, slithering, flying, crawling, climbing, jumping, running, swinging, lounging, sleeping, munching, hanging out, suspended in transformative states, watching, floating, croaking, chirping, preening, fluttering, very slowly moving… one of the weirdest and creepiest was the whatshallwecallit – ah, Aye Aye – who was moving to quickly to get a good photo in the “red light” district. Here you go. I bet you’re not getting the same “cuddly” feelings you might with the Panda?!
Okay, enough… I’ve had my fill, and I bet you did too. So much to catch up on (besides sleep). Write about Maokong hikes, Yangmingshan, Tamsui; and we’re off to Alishan soon.