Friday, January 23, 2009

Melbourne Zoo, Australia

29th Dec
Because Chris' car was on its last legs he decided to hire a car for going to Sydney which meant that people could use his Delorean for running around Melbourne if they wished.

So on the 29th Jamie, Ailish and myself decided to use it to go to the zoo zoo zoo how about you you you (etc etc)

We had a fair idea of where to go to find it. A fair idea however was not good enough and before we knew it we were lost and the car started to smell of smoke which turned out to be from the engine.

On opening the bonnet we discovered that oil was leaking out of the dipstick hole and burning on the engine. We did our best to shore up the leak then filled it up with more oil before continuing on our way. After asking for directions and a couple of wrong turns we finally made it to the entrance (well back entrance).

Jamie at the zoos back entrance.

The first enclosure we came to was the collared peccary - thats a type of pig.

'Who you calling a pig ye big jessie!'

Then it was on to the lemurs who were on a small island in a lake full of turtles and ducks.

'I like to Move it! I like to Move it, Move it!'

'SHUT UP! We're bloody sick of you lemurs since you seen Madagascar!'

Then past the Maned wolf to the big cat enclosures.

None of us thought much of the cat enclosures. They had a persian leopard, some snow leopards and a puma but all the animals were still in large cages rather than proper enclosures. It just did not look right.

'I'm Snow Bored!'

The european brown bear enclosure next to the cats at least could be classed as a proper enclosure but again it just did not look all that great. They did have some useful info about moon bear rescues in china where bears are 'farmed' for their bile.

'What the hell do you mean you buried a tractor underneath there!'

After a quick detour back to all the enclosures we had seen (Ailish lost her camera lens cap which we couldn't find) we went to the lions enclosure.

'Oi! you forgot about me!'

Sorry - After the Porcupine we went to the Lions enclosure.

To be fair the lions enclosure was big but yet again you had to peer through wire to see which did not give a good view of them.

'Now everyone hold still - this is going to confuse the shit out of the crosseyed keeper!'

Beside the lion was a very bad wild dog enclosure where you could only see them from above.

'Hey it's worse for us! I've got a bleeding creak in me neck from looking up at you lot!'

Then it was on to the Meercats where we spent ages looking at the wee critters.

'For my next impression I shall do Tommy Cooper'.

'Hey! hurry up with that fez will ya!'

After the meercats we had a well earned break for snacks:

Jamie and Ailish getting their teeth into great big meaty wraps

Then Ailish and Jamie sat down on the grass to have a smoke - which prompted another couple to sit down beside us, light up and complain about the woos of being a smoker. Apparently the whole zoo was to go smoke free after the new year so this sort of practise would soon be non existant anywhere on the grounds. Being a non smoker I couldn't give a toss but the others seemed to take it very personally as another piece of their liberty goes up in smoke (pardon the pun!)

Back to the animals and the reptile house which was pretty cool with a good number of snakes and lizards. They even had some Fijian crested iguanas and Phillipine crocodiles both of which are very endangered and which the zoo is helping to conserve.

'I'm more endangered than you - rasssp!'

'If I get in there you'll be extinct!'

They also had a small frogs enclosure which unusually AIlish thought was brilliant (she thinks frogs are cute!)

'Loooook into my eyes, not around my eyes but into my eyes. After you awake you will think I am gorgeous!'

There was some flowers beside the reptile house which sent Ailish and Jamie into a macro camera shot frenzy - I joined in for the hell of it.

'Look this is all I do OK! Now bog off! I'm trying to attract a bee!'

Next stop was the elephants but on the way way we passed some pelicans. I distinctly remember Ailish saying she didn't want to look at any pelicans but when we got there she was in awe of them and proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes taking photos from all different angles of the birds. I just stuck my nose up and said 'oh I've already taken shots of pelicans in Perth AND Tasmania'. I do admit that they are a great animal to take pics of (but I didn't!)

On to the elephants - another animal I have problems with being kept in zoos. Once again I was pleasantly surprised by a zoos elephant enclosure. It was not just one enclosure but 3 with walkways in between. The set up looked quite good.

'Bugger I've forgotten where I put the car keys again - are you sure I'm an Elephant?'

On to the tiger.

'98, 99, 100'

'Here I come - see if your hiding in the otter enclosure again - I'll kill ya!'

'Oh yeah thats a good scratch, hey hang on - hey Gupta Bengali! get out of our pond!'

Jamie - always putting his head into predators mouths.

Time was starting to get on by this stage and we still had a lot of animals to see. so it was on to the next section - the apes and monkeys.

Spot the ape!

'I don't like to be called an ape - My name is Reginald'

The Gorilla enclosure was large but some of the monkey enclosures were little more than high cages. I felt really sorry for them.

'You feel sorry! How the hell do you think I feel with this haircut!'

'I used to be friends with David Attenbourgh You know - I even picked some fleas of him!'

'Yeah right! and I was in Braveheart!'

The rest of the zoo trip was a bit of a rush job. We just about got to see the giraffes before we had to leave. We did not even see any of the Oz wildlife (our attempt at seeing the platapus resulted in a dark room with nothing in it)

All joking aside I found Melbourne Zoo to have too many old type cages and had too much area set aside for people rather than animals. That said they do do some good conservation work and the kids seemed to love it so it has a good education value. It could do a lot better though.

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