Twycross Zoo - Too Much Monkey Business
w/e 9 July 2006
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
I wouldn't normally go out of my way to visit a zoo
but as it was my youngest grandson's fourth birthday, I obviously
didn't want to miss joining the extended family when they went
to see the animals at Twycross.
Having said I wouldn't go out of my way, I have to admit that
whilst on holiday in Devon about this time last year we did spend
a most enjoyable day at the award winning Paignton Zoo. And that's
where the lion on the left in the picture above will soon be
heading. Now that he has almost reached maturity he has had to
be separated from his parents (also seen above) and is currently
pacing backwards and forwards in a small enclosure with a very
sad look on his face. I am sure he will find much more room at
Paignton and also that the grills and cages so necessary for
public safety and so obvious in the images above, are nowhere
near as intrusive.
Creatures from all the continents may be seen at Twycross but
these two strange bedfellows from South America, a mara and an
alpaca put me in mind of that old joke about crossing a kangaroo
with a sheep to get woolly jumpers. Mara are large rodents related
to the guinea pig family and because their rear legs are slightly
longer than their forelegs resemble kangaroos or wallabies.
In the wild, giraffes are normally found in Africa but here at
Twycross they exist in a small concrete and tarmac compound and
whilst we were there spent most of their time wandering in and
out of the building that is their shelter. A leafless tree trunk
with various rubber and plastic objects hanging from it seems
a poor substitute for the savannah and grassland of central and
Wild bactrian camels inhabit semi-desert areas in Asia so these
two must think they are in absolute luxury with grass under their
feet. Bactrians of course have two humps and it is the dromedary
that has only one. The standing one at Twycross looks as though
it cannot make its mid up which variety it is.
Asia is also represented at Twycross by elephants, easily distinguishable
from their African cousins by their smaller ears. All elephants
are very social animals and this family group trundled around
their compound mirroring our own family as we walked around the
Twycross of course is famous for its conservation work particularly
with primates and large sections of the zoo are taken up with
cages and compounds occupied by gorillas, oran-utans, monkeys
and chimpanzees to name but a few. It was chimpanzees from Twycross
that appeared in the PG Tips tea commercials but their television
stardom is now over. This one sat slumped in a corner behind
a glass panel looking very miserable. In fact the majority of
Twycross' animals wore bored expressions and had very sad eyes.
It is perhaps unfair to compare Twycross with Paignton as both
perform valuable conservation and educational work but having
visited both in less than a year, I'm afraid that Twycross -
for the human visitor - came in a poor second. Maybe, as Chuck
Berry sang, at Twycross there's "too much monkey business".
Perhaps I was spoiled by Paignton but both zoos have their own
excellent websites and are full of information.
Visit them by following these links.
website ------- Paignton Zoo website