Good day all!
Hope you are all well as per.
I have been travelling to this week, to the mountains to give the lungs a well earned rest, and even dipped a toe (and only a toe) into überlevel-headed liberal North Korea… But more on that another time, as I have to wait for a few photos etc.
This week, therefore, we are going to the zoo! A spare afternoon and 3 pounds was all it cost to see some of the rarer species that the world has to offer, so it seemed and unlikely opportunity to pass up, considering the temperature was touching the high 20s.
As a bit of marketing, I’ll just quickly explain that a full set of photos and videos will be available for this and my other adventurers if you add Crashing A Bike on Facebook. Anyone will be accepted, as it is not my personal account, so get clicking to see some of the delights thus far!
After taking some of the keepers’ best pieces of advice such as:
We made our way around the exotic enclosures, encountering everything from Toucans to Kangaroos, with seemingly some swans making the trip over too. Although Changchun is lovely at this time of the year, in fairness.
It can be said that this fellow has taken a leaf from the Chinese in terms of sleeping where he pleases…
Although the zoo is considered to be one of the bettER for animal treatment, disappointingly some of the conditions in the enclosures were pitiful. The polar bear had perhaps less than 20m squared in which to pace up and down and swim, and we are fairly sure that there was a dead seal in on of the tanks- tanks being an accurate description. Chinese attitudes to them are no better, seeing the animals as a form of entertainment and in one disgusting case a target for stones. In places it would make a compelling argument for zoos as animal prison.
However, there were some excellently-kept beasts too, particularly the deer, of which yours truly and this young Chinese boy got to feed in person! I think its name was Bambi II.
The highlight was without a doubt the Siberian tigers which roamed around as freely as they chose, in conditions which would rival any zoo worldwide. These and bears are native to Jilin province and the surrounding forests and mountains, inspiring an intense pride for these endangered creatures. There was a video of its roar, but it has been roared over. One thousand apologies.
I understand that everyone enjoys a near tear-jerking story, and I haven’t let you down. Once upon a time, in this very enclosure that you see below, lived a monkey which we will call Harold.
Harold had fallen down the wall and past the electric fences which stands between monkey and sheer wall up to the paying public. Scared and injured from the fall, Harold stumbled around looking to see how he could get back up to safety.
After 10 minutes of agonising wait, numerous failed attempts and the zoo keeper throwing a bottle of ice tea for it to drink (really… I don’t know why.), Harold plucked up the courage to take the leap. The large crowd that had gathered drew a breath simultaneously. Some took photos.
Harold leapt. For what seemed like an eternity he stayed in limbo between alien turf and freedom, his ice tea-stained forehead glistening in the sunlight.**
**Nb. Monkeys have not mastered sports caps on plastic bottles.
The crowd gasped… The gasp turned into horror as Harold descended towards the electric fence, which inexplicably was still live. Many had seen where his testicles were about to land, and buried their heads or shielded their eyes behind loved ones. Yet he made it, the crowd erupting with joy and applauding with heart-felt happiness. Some called their mothers.
Harold then swiftly disappeared into the sunset and everyone went away feeling richer for the experience.
I’ll leave you all staring at the empty box tissues for now, but I’ll be back next time!
Until then, take care and feel free to add me to see the rest of the Zoo pictures, and many, many more!