If you've ever been to Ho Chi Minh City's zoo you'll probably never want to visit another zoo again and become an animal activist. Most of the animals live in areas which are barren, not of adequate size and the animals look depressed. However, Singapore zoo has restored my faith in zoo and our ability to look after, help save endangered species and display animals in a relatively humane environment. Welcome, to Singapore Zoo.
Singapore zoo is famous for being named the sister of Australia Zoo by the legend Steve Irwin. Noteworthy praise indeed. I didn't get the chance to go to the Night Safari, but seeing the zoo is certainly the highlight of my trip to Singapore. The animals you can see are monkeys, zebras, elephants, giraffes (all of the favourites) along with polar bears, kangaroos and (my favourite) a pygmy hippo. So let's see some of the habits and other animals on show.
Please bare in mind that I'm not giving you a tour of the zoo. For that you can visit the zoo's website http://www.zoo.com.sg/ . I just want to give you a little flavour of what I saw there and why I think it's definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in Singapore. Also, I can't do the zoo justice as I can't remember exactly what I saw and couldn't take manys photographs as my camera ran out of battery shortly after we arrived.
Of course the first thing we wanted to see were the tigers. They are majestic, muscular and the king of the cats in my eyes. Sure they're not lions, but they don't need a mane to be the greatest feline. Here you can see the greenery and habit built for them. It's quite something. They seemed happy, with freedom to move and do as they please. This is far from the 10 by 10 cage you see in HCMC's zoo. A home fitting for this amazing predator.
Next, some wild boars. I must admit to having a soft spot for them as the Lion King was one of my favourite films as a child. Unfortunately this picture doesn't show you much but you can see it looks fantastically strong and healthy and it again has a large habitat to roam around in and enjoy. This pretty much typifies my opinion of the zoo as all the animals looked healthy and strong with plenty of space to play in with companions to share their time with.
And I've included this picture because they're cute. Please forgive my ignorance but I have no idea what they are!
Unfortunately on the day we rained we were hampered by a pretty heavy shower, and I couldn't walk around easily because of my sprained ankle. In addition we only had 4 hours to go around the zoo as we had a plane to catch in the evening. However, the tram made it very easy to go around the zoo (for those less mobile) so we got to see pretty much everything (albeit only briefly). You need a full day to see everything and enjoy the experience fully. As comes with the territory in this part of the world, the climate is hot and sticky, but once you get over that, you'll thoroughly enjoy all their is to see. Besides the animals, you can also learn a lot about them from the feeders and trainers during feeding times (which happen twice a day per animal), there are plenty of information boards about conservation and finally there are some live some shows.
The show pictured above is about a businessman who has come to the forest to create more space for land. Throughout the show he comes face to face with various animals and conservationists who drive him out of the forest. Apparently the show has the largest animal cast of any show and it's impressive the way they've been trained. Granted, the show is a little on the corny side but it's pretty funny, well scripted and it gets the message across that we should be doing more to protect what we've got.
So, I hope I've wet your appetite enough, and get to Singapore Zoo when/if you get an opportunity. It's well worth it!