We. Are. BACK.
Whangarei was incredibly beautiful, but I just can’t escape my love affair with Auckland.
We’re not doing any climbing today though — the above picture is from next post’s adventure. Instead, we’re going to the zoo!
Side note on zoos: I have mixed feelings about them. I definitely appreciate that the Auckland Zoo does a great job focusing on conservation and working hard to give the animals a varied and interesting life. I also appreciate the open spaces many of the animals have available. The origin of zoos and animal exhibits is a troubling one, but well-run modern zoos enable us to have a deeper understanding of the world we live in and even to make a difference by preserving endangered species.
The Auckland Zoo boasts a number of diverse exhibits, but I decided to start with the Pridelands section, dedicated to the animals of the African savanna.
A few years ago when I was in South Africa, I had the opportunity to spend two nights in Kruger National Park on a driving safari. This was a really cool experience, and I came away with both a deep respect for and even a love of the African animals. I deeply appreciate areas like Kruger dedicated to preserving animals in their natural habitats, something no zoo can come close to. But let’s take a look at what the Auckland Zoo has available.
I love giraffes. I don’t know why. Maybe because they’re tall, like me. Or maybe because they’re just so different. It’s a little hard to tell, but there’s actually a mother and her calf on the other side of that fence. I believe the calf was just recently born, which is why they’re sequestered.
This is the rebellious teenage giraffe standing apart from his tragically uncool parents.
Also some zebras…
And some ostriches!
The rhino in the upper left-hand corner is the best photo I got of it. I don’t know if it was MIA by the time I made it around there or if I was just too lazy to snap a photo. My adventures as the world’s worst tourist continue!
These lions are all lounging around on this rock. The one on the left is on her back with her back legs up in the air. Giant kitties.
They apparently enjoy giving themselves dust baths, which is why they’re covered in dirt. I saw the younger one throwing dust up in the air with her trunk!
At this point I took a break for lunch, where I was joined by a chicken. I’m not sure why the zoo has random chickens wandering around, but OK.
Did you think that the zoo was all hot and dry and dusty? No, just the part trying to simulate the African savanna. The rest of it looks like this.
I even found some mysterious stairs in a fenced-off area, leading to who-knows-where! I resisted the urge to sneak over and explore.
Proving that even I with my mediocre phone camera can produce a reasonable shot of some birds when they’re in captivity and reasonably accustomed to humans.
It’s time to face the facts: I do better with scenery than wildlife. It’s blatantly obvious that I was photographing the stream, and the birds just happened to be there.
There’s probably a bird in there somewhere.
Now I’m not even trying!
OK, on to the more mammalian wildlife. Here’s a red panda. I love these little guys!
I politely asked this lemur if he could maybe move it move it into some better lighting conditions, but he didn’t listen.
These are rainbow lorikeets, a name I totally remembered in my brain and didn’t have to look up on Google just now (as far as you know).
Now there’s a bird even I can photograph properly. There was a sign up saying that it’s Emu mating season and to stay on the path. But I feel like that pitiful little railing is not going to stop an amorous emu if it takes a fancy. Fortunately this one was content to just pose.
The real amorous animals here were the wallabies. This one wants me to draw her like one of my French girls. (Spoiler alert: I have no French girls).
And my zoo tour ends with a row o’ wallabies.
So yep, that’s the zoo. I wanted to do it all in one post, so sorry for the length. And thanks as always for putting up with my abject photographic incompetence. If all poachers were as bad a shot with their rifles as I am with my camera, the world would be a safer place for these animals.
Now go search the web for pictures of baby cheetahs, since they’re pretty much the cutest things ever. And come back next time for some more photos of Auckland!