Tuesday brought a visit to some animals at a more conventional distance in the charming setting of Perth Zoo. This is a lovely zoo split into themed zones covering the African Savannah, Asia and Australia: both the outback and the wetlands all surrounded by a rich botanical landscape. A tour of the zoo is an adventure as dense pathways suddenly reveal another natural animal enclosure containing some fantastic wildlife.
There were gorgeous basking big cats (lions, tigers and a cheetah who only arrived whilst we were there), a pair of rhinos, a male and two female elephants, zebras, lovely giraffes so elegant and languid, otters, bears and lots of kangaroos, wallabies, monkeys and birds. The animals all seemed content and we watched the rhinos enjoying a mud bath with their keepers – rhino spa! The elephants, highly communicative and social animals, also enjoyed their itneractions with their keepers. They play football, musical instruments, lift logs and even paint. You can purchase their art in the zoo shop.
Not everyone may agree with keeping animals out of their natural setting but the hidden ‘c’ in a well managed zoo like this one is not captivity vs wild but conservation. Many of the species in the zoo were endangered and the zoo plays a vital part in protecting them from extinction thanks the the dangers of unstable ecosystems and pooaching, hunting humans. The white rhinos are extremely rare and the zoo plays its part in a breeding programme run by a ‘global species co-ordinator’. There were over 100,000 sumatran tigers at the start of the 20th century and now there are under 5,000. More locally the zoo has a breeding programme for the Numbat and is releasing them backing into the wild and monitoring the population.
Conservation is not just about preservation it is also about education. So many of us live in urban areas we become disconnected from the rich biodiversity of our planet and the complex and delicate balance that maintains it. The knowledgeable keepers, guides and informative displays help spread not just knowledge but a sense of awe and wonder about this amazing planet and everything we share it with. The zoo was full of people from school children to artists sketching able to access this wonder.
At times throughout the afternoon we had caught snatches of a trumpet playing everything from Jerusalem to Living on a Prayer. After a while we realised it must be the Barmy Army and so it proved as we found them in a local park plating a charity match against the Fanatics. Roll on Thursday …!!
The day had a lovely ending with a first taste of that Australian staple (in fact a favourite of sumemrtime everywhere) a beer and a barbie and Jen’s family came to join us. So lovely to sit with a beer under the stars after a good day and some good food. Today’s beer choice: Pure Blonde Naked!