Saturday, February 18, 2012

LA Zoo....

This morning we headed off bright and early for the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens...Back in the UK I used to love going to Chester Zoo, or Knowsley Safari Park. Obviously I preferred the safari park as they are much more animal friendly - but there is no Safari Park in LA, just the LA Zoo so off we went. To be honest all I am really bothered about seeing is Elephants....I love Elephants...When I turned 40 one of my presents was to go and be a keeper for a day at Knowsley Safari Park, and before going they asked me which animal was my favourite, so of course I said Elephants...When I arrived at the Safari Park bright and early 2 days after my birthday, they took me over to the Elephant House where the first job of the day was to clean out their house. They had 5 elephants at Knowsley, 4 cows and a great big bull. You can imagine how much poop they create in one night when you know they eat 300lbs of food a day! It was pretty whiffy in there I can tell you, but they are vegetarians, so thankfully their poop had that almost lovely silage smell to it - still with me and the 2 other regular keepers it took us 2 hrs to clean it all up and hose it down ready for the next night. After cleaning the house, I was lucky enough to be taken up to their pasture to give them breakfast - this was magical as I was able to get right up and personal with the elephants as we hand fed them fruit and buns for breakfast. It really was a dream come true to be literally a foot away from these gentle giants. After the elephants were fed and watered I was taken by various other keepers to help out and to see all the other animals in the Safari Park, the Rhino keeper introduced me to one of the Rhino's and I had the pleasure of scratching his side for him - the rhino's that is not the
Weird Hairdo - must take him hours!

Anyway I digress - today we went to the LA Zoo. I was really looking forward to it. It has been a sunny day, so everything was perfect. We arrived 10 minutes before the zoo opened and S went off to queue for the tickets while the boys and I waited for the gates to open. You can see some strange things when waiting in a queue - like these strange characters (oops one of those is my husband, hope you can tell which?)

Yes you guess it - this is the one I married!

The cost to get in was pretty reasonable, it is $16 per adult, $11 per child up to 12, and $13 for OAP's - so for us it was $54 which is a darn sight cheaper than any zoo I have ever been to in the UK.

Because we got there early we were able to avoid the huge crowds, and were able to walk round in relative peace which was lovely. S doesn't do very well in large crowds, so we tend to do stuff earlier rather than later, and I have to say that it is a good thing really, although just occasionally it would be wonderful to laze in bed and read the papers instead of being up and on the go!

The layout of the zoo is really quite lovely. There is no set pattern to the pathways and it sort of meanders around up and down the hillside, and it is all very green and leafy. They also have quite a lot of different species of animals and they are obviously working on some new exhibits, although I am not to sure what they are. The animal cages are in my opinion way way way too small (yes I know it was a lot of way's) and some exhibits have only one animal in them - this can't be good! Monkeys with almost no room to swing and this picture that S took says it all really - it is the hand and arm of a young Orangutan who was desperately trying to reach the lush bamboo leaves that were outside of his cage instead of inside where they belonged - S took the picture but then we had to walk away, it was too sad!

When I visited Chester Zoo in the past, I thought their cages were small for wild animals, but the cages at Chester Zoo were probably at least 5 times bigger than here at LA Zoo. Never have I seen animals that should not be solitary, being solitary.

I didn't take hundreds of photos of my beloved Elephants, or stand and just watch them for endless amounts of time like I have done in the past. The Elephant enclosure is set below the level of the public - Elephants cannot climb and they cannot jump, so please explain to me what the need it for all of this?

Elephants are gentle giants, yet here they are surrounded by miles upon miles of electric fencing. Do they really think the 2 cows and one bull that they have are going to stampede? I don't know, I'm sure they  must have a reason for all of this, but I just don't get it.

Anyway, we spent a couple of hours walking around taking our time and making sure that the boys got to see everything that they wanted to see, but in all honesty, I don't think I will be rushing back there, unless it is in the dead of night to set all the animals free....

I have no doubts that the keepers do a fantastic job of looking after all their animals, and I guess that this is what big city zoo's are like. I even know and accept that animals need to be homed in zoo's to prevent their extinction - I guess that I have just been spoilt by good old Chester Zoo, and the Safari Parks at Knowsley and Longleat.....

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have always had a soft spot for animals, and perhaps that is what makes me more susceptible to noticing small cages and unhappy looking animals. All I can say is that as beautiful as the animals are, and as wonderful as it is to be able to see them - I am going to wait until we go to Africa or India and can see these animals in their natural habitat rather than visit the LA Zoo again, because I never want to see a solitary Rhino looking this alone and sad ever again. Did you know that Rhino's are fantastic family animals, the Mum's all help to look after the young together - this guy had no-one, that's not on....

Enjoy the rest of your weekend- and don't forget to check out clipix - to bookmark your next family outing!

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Thanx for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment. I love reading what you think of my posts.

Lou :-)