Thursday, October 04, 2007


I have just returned home from a day-long induction for the company at Bristol Zoo.
Not much to report really, ice-breaking games, exercises etc...
However, it did give me a chance to have an hours fast walk around Bristol Zoological gardens (free!) just before I caught a train back to Reading.

Bristol Zoo always was a little like London Zoo (Regent's Park), a bygone victorian relic.
I'm told things have changed. Not much, in my eyes.
I last visited Bristol Zoo when I "studied" in the city, in the late 80's- early 90's.
It was a miserable place then. It still is.

I didn't see much pacing of the animals though. (You know, the repetitive pacing up and down of captive animals on exactly the same route, all day, every day - I was horrified to see a beautiful Pine Marten exhibit this terribly distressing behaviour in a New Forest Park once, and a Red Panda at Edinburgh Zoo).

It was also very sad indeed to see a beautiful Agile Gibbon, in a very nice, spacious, (relatively newly built), open enclosure look so miserable. I adore watching gibbons. I would love to see them in the wild. Unfortunately this gibbon was not swinging around (brachiating), whooping and hollering. It was just hanging there, looking folorn. I vowed to return to the gibbon last, before I left, to see if he'd perked up. When I did, he was sitting in his open box, at the top of his 'tree', gazing out sadly. Poor little thing. The sooner they get a mate for him the better. (They are making plans for this).

I guess the highlights of my run around Bristol Zoo were the aquaria, and the "Twilight world" (the world's first in any zoo if I remember correctly, allowing the punters to view nocturnal animals during the day).

I saw a couple of beautiful Sand Cats (pacing a bit) and a Sugar Glider (which I'll post on separately as I have some news about Sugar Gliders).
The photos below are of some fish I snapped.

Left to right, top to bottom: Yellow Tang, Tomato Clownfish, Regal (Blue) Tang, Goldrush.


Blue Spotted Grouper

I should point out here, that whilst at first glance zoos like London and Bristol seems like terrible, terrible places, they have caried out some incredibly important conservation work behind the scenes.

Get rid of them all now?
Maybe, but virtually impossible.
Keep evolving them?

NB. Talking of Bristol. I'd forgotten how much the city REEKS of foxes. I know Stephen Harris and his cronies at the university are constantly studying them. Maybe they're breeding them as well?! I've never smelled anything like it! Clifton stinks so much of fox that you'd do well to wear a face mask walking around!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You will be glad to know the female now has her mate and spends her time singing to him and when the weather is good they swing around looking like they are playing tag

Just a few of the pics I have of them

Small zoos need to recognise their limitations Bristol is getting better and concentrating on the smaller mammals and creatures it can give appropriate space to. One thing they certainly need to sort out now is the pygmy hipos and the conflict between ringtails and red ruffs in monkey jungle meaning that one troupe at a time can be let out so the others have to spend all day inside