London Zoo, September 2019

This will be a very basic post, it’s just a few images I snapped while wandering around London Zoo, that happened to appeal to me. Given this is a wildlife blog, you’ll just have to forgive me for the detour.

I don’t mind a good zoo. I understand the issues many have with them, and there are certainly plenty of bad ones. But given the state of the world, they are a necessary repository of threatened species, and a successful breeding programme could be the difference between survival and extinction.

I used to find the Zoological Society of London‘s home quite depressing, it used to be a very old fashioned zoo, but it’s certainly improving now and there were some very contented animals in good, enriched enclosures. The blue-bellied roller above was noisy, but happy.

I always enjoy seeing primates, and personally find the genetic closeness to ourselves is inescapable (I feel deeply sorry for creationists of all stripes who feel their ego wrapped up in separating us from the other animals).

The squirrel monkeys were in a walk-in enclosure, and they were so fast and active that I triple-checked my bag on the way out for fear of taking one with me.

You can wander in with the lemurs too, and it is great to see these strange and geographically distinct primates up close.

Most zoos have big cats, and both the lions and tigers seem pretty sleepy in these pictures.

But pictures never tell the whole story, and seconds after taking this, the lion snapped into life, roared deeply, and hundreds of human beings felt a primitive fear that rang back through the generations to our evolution in Africa!

I’m a big fan of the African wild dog, though I prefer it’s alternative name of painted dog. There was good and active pack in London, and they were hard to photograph as they were chasing around their enclosure, right by Regent’s Canal. There are walkers, cyclists and barge-users going past all the time, but the dogs don’t seem to mind.

Obviously I tend to talk about birds on this blog, and I do enjoy seeing that most unusual of birds, the penguin. A flightless bid more at home under the waves. Life is wonderful in its diversity.

I also like any zoo that has a big walk-in aviary, and I’ll end on this little orange-headed ground thrush that was in the Blackburn Pavilion, and seemed desperate to have its photo taken. Ignore the colours and you can see how similar it is to our own native thrushes.

This entry was posted in Birds, Evolution, Mammals, Why watch wildlife?, Wildlife stories, Zoology, Zoos and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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