The Wild Bites food stands were scattered around the zoo. One of the restaurants was serving a salmon dish. They were set up right next to the bear enclosure. The two brown bears in the enclosure seemed to be very interested in the food. The smell of the fish was wafting in their direction and their noses were twitching like crazy. They had been given their own food at the same time but I think that they were a lot more interested in our stuff than theirs. I can’t say I blame them because it did taste great.
Bears are not known as being the most active creatures in zoo environments. They may wander around sniffing for food or take a dip but they are just as likely to be sleeping as anything. Getting some more activity is, therefore, a reason for some celebration. The reason was that the enclosure had two Grizzlies that are brothers. Put two tough brothers together and guess what happens. They start fighting.
Nothing dramatic. None of this was serious. Just the sort of sparring that boys will do if no one stops them. Of course, they do fight behind some branches so you don’t have quite as clear a view as would be ideal. Even so, watching them wrestle and bare their teeth at each other was a lot of fun.
We were talking about baby pandas at home the other day. Apparently, San Diego zoo has a new baby panda. This reminded me about a trip we made to the zoo there in 2002. They had a new panda on display at that time. I got a couple of shots of it on film – hence the fact that there are only a few shots as opposed to a huge bunch of them! Anyway, this young panda was happily playing in its enclosure while large crowds gathered to watch.
I was fascinated by the bear’s interest in trying to hurt itself. It seemed constantly to be hanging from a branch upside down with a very tenuous grip on the wood. It looked like an accident was inevitable – especially since young animals haven’t always learned the extent of their capabilities. Since all pandas are owned by the Chinese government, I was imagining a fall and injury causing a diplomatic incident. Of course, nothing happened. Meanwhile, I dug out the old shots and here they are.
I did something that must have caught Nancy by surprise recently. We were going to take a trip to the zoo to see what was happening since this is a good time of year for the animals to be a bit more active before it gets too cold and they are likely to be kept indoors. The oddity was that I left the cameras at home. We discussed whether this would result in a lot of wildlife in very photogenic situations.
On the whole, I got away with it. There were some shots to be had but it was fun (and a lot easier on the back) to walk around sans gear. However, one resident did perform. One of the polar bears was playing with a ball in the pool which has a glass side to it. A large crowd was having a great time watching this. We were no exception. This was time to grab the phone and get a bit of video. Enjoy a bear enjoying himself!
A sunny winter weekend is often a good chance to check out the zoo. Since a lot of the animals are not fond of winter weather, there are only a few that will be outside at this time of year. Consequently, the zoo doesn’t charge for entry so it is good for those after a cheap day out. We are members anyway so it doesn’t make a difference to us but it is good to go anyway.
During our previous visit the Snow Leopards had been pretty active. We were hoping to see them again – they aren’t too bothered by the cold – but we also wanted to see what else was about. Since you aren’t paying, you can make a short visit without feeling like you should make a full day out of the admission price. As it happened, the Snow Leopards were soundly asleep while we were there but there were other things to see.
The Tiger was showing more action that is normally the case. This is one cat that likes to sleep. However, we timed our arrival well and saw a fair bit of movement. Tigers are also fine with the cold of course. Bears are similar. Both Polar Bears were about and one of the Brown Bears was wandering around its enclosure.
We also saw a few birds wandering around the place. The Pelicans were out near one of the ponds and another group of birds (I am thinking Guinea Fowl but you can correct me if I am wrong) were also strutting around. The light was very nice so not a bad afternoon.
Whether it is the weather or whether it is some subconscious thing, it appears that we get lured to the zoo at Halloween. The weekend weather forecast looked very promising so we thought we pop out to Brookfield to see what the animals were doing. It was only when we got there that we realized that, being Halloween weekend, everyone was there in costumes.
This triggered something from our recollection that we had done the same thing last year. Let’s go to the zoo when everyone else is planning on being there and all dressed up! (I will leave my thoughts on Halloween for another post I suspect.)
As it turned out, the center area of the zoo was very busy but the rest of it was no busier than most weekends. The sun was out and the animal were active so it was a good time to go. We got particularly lucky with a couple of things.
I have never seen the kangaroos move before. They have always been lying down taking a nap when I have been there. Sometimes, this is tucked up against the wall for extra shade. However, this time they got up and fed for a while and even hopped across the enclosure. That was a big plus.
Next we arrived at the brown bear enclosure and the staff were seeding the place with vegetables for the bears to find and feed on. Consequently, we got a couple of grizzlies rummaging around the enclosure for a long time. Given their love for dozing this was a result. I guess the polar bears had already been fed since they were out for the count.
The lions are always a stop for us. The male was lying down and looked like he was falling asleep. A lion roaring has a very small mouth shape which doesn’t look like much. A lion yawning, on the other hand, has a wide mouth and lots of teeth. A good photo opportunity! A little patience and we were rewarded with a big view of fangs! As an aside, lions are not empathetic creatures since we tried yawning a bunch of time to try and induce a yawn but to no effect!
Out last stop was the leopard. Normally another one having a nap when we are there, this time he was also on the prowl. We only had a few minutes before it was time to lie down again but even so, this was better than normal. Not a bad day out!