This is my continuation post about the San Diego Zoo which you are welcome to skip or just peruse the photos or call again another day. Some discussion about the Zoo was featured in this post and hopefully I won’t repeat myself too much.

The koala exhibit is extensive, with the largest exhibit outside of Australia. As they are nocturnal, sleeping 18 hours a day, it is unusual to see one so active. Koala means “no drink” as they receive hydration from the eucalyptus leaves.

The $34 entry fee to the zoo entitles you to ride as often as you wish on their guided open double-decked bus tours as well as the gondola lift which crosses the zoo. So the bus tour was the first thing we did in order to get an overview of the zoo. It seemed we arrived at a very busy time for we had to wait in line for a while. Since the bus has access to about 75 percent of the zoo we enjoyed a very good orientation to what there was to see with lots of information delivered by the guide/driver of the bus.

Su Lin, a female Giant Panda, was born in the Zoo in August 2005, the third of four cubs born in their Giant Panda Research Station.
The Zoo covers 100 acres and is home to over 4000 animals of more than 800 species. It is a non profit organization which is heavily into conservation and species-preservation efforts maintaining a very active research division, the Center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES) . The habitats of the animals are very natural and the grounds are maintained as an arboretum. Another interesting venture is the growth of some rare animal foods. For example, the Zoo raises 40 varieties of bamboo for the pandas which are on long-term loan from China, and it maintains 18 varieties of eucalyptus trees to feed its koalas. In addition it sells some of this harvest to other zoos.

There are half a dozen or so gorillas in the wonderful habitat with its natural landscape of cascading waterfalls, open meadow, and climbing areas. The big silverback male was behind glass and the photo not suitable for use.
One of the interesting exhibits at the zoo is the Sun Bear Forest, home to the smallest of all the bear species and an endangered species in their native area in the tropical rain forest regions of Asia. They are only half the size of the American black bear.

Nocturnal and tree dwelling this Sun Bear snoozes the day away
stretched out in the sun on the branches in its habitat.

Domestic Bactrian Camels have existed for thousands of years in Asia where they are used to pull wagons loaded with supplies. Bactrians have two humps where they store fat for use as nourishment when food and water is scarce.

This was one of three Domestic Bactrians at the zoo. Look at the huge feet which prevent the animal sinking into the sand or snow.

The San Diego Zoo has three elephants, two Asian which are smaller and have smaller ears than the one larger African elephant with large ears which you see below. They constantly flap their ears to keep cool. An elephant’s trunk is both an upper lip and a nose. The trunk has more than 40,000 muscles in it which is more than a person has in his or her whole body. An elephant’s trunk is so strong and agile, it can push down trees, or pick up a single piece of straw.

The double-decked open bus can be seen behind this African elephant.

Orangutans spend most of their lives in trees and travel by swinging from branch to branch with their long arms. Yes their arms are longer than their bodies, stretching seven feet from fingertip to fingertip. They tend to be more solitary than the other great apes. Being loners they therefore spend a longer childhood period with their mothers since they have to learn everything they need to know to survive on their own.

This Orangutan was clutching a lettuce in one hand while scratching his chin and
pondering his next move.
One of the first things you see on entering the Zoo is the lovely pond habitat for this very gorgeous flock of Caribbean flamingos. Being very social animals they were busy interacting which of course also includes pushing and shoving and pecking at each other. Flocks over a million are known in the wild. At the Zoo the flamingos are fed special pellets which contain all the nutrients they need plus whatever is needed to keep their beautiful colour.

The colour is quite varied in this flock and they share the habitat with a variety of ducks and scarlet ibis.

These two are demonstrating their “knee” joint operation
plus the very different colour amongst the flock.

The Skyfari aerial tram provides an airborne shortcut over the treetops from near the entrance to the other end of the Zoo and shows spectacular views of the Zoo, its animals and plant collections, and nearby Balboa Park where the Zoo is situated. It was a popular ride as we had to wait there too.

The Treehouse Café offers a spectacular dining experience with its multileveled decks

I think this post is long enough, although I can tell you there was a lot of material left on the cutting room floor. We spent a wonderful day at the San Diego Zoo and left many areas unvisited. I know most people think of zoos as an outing to be taken with children but I’m up for a visit to a zoo anywhere at any time. Perhaps I would have been a animal behaviour scientist in another life, for I surely have the interest. If you ever go to San Diego make sure you visit this incredible zoo, with or without children.