Days 24 & 25 – February 3 & 4 – Carlsbad, CA – Days 19 & 20
The only thing I like to photograph more than flowers are critters and I had ample time to do that yesterday at the San Diego Zoo. The zoo is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016 and is world famous for it’s breeding and conservation programs; especially China’s severely endangered Giant Panda.
Since I love animals of all kinds we have gone to many zoos and, when on the World Cruise, 7 safari tours in South Africa. San Diego Zoo is a zoo I have heard about since my childhood and have always wanted to visit.
We were about 15 minutes later than planned leaving the condo and we took a wrong turn on our off-freeways route and therefore drove a few miles in the opposite direction from the zoo. Stella, our GPS, got us turned around and we arrived a little after noon. We spent until 5 o’clock closing time wandering the zoo and didn’t see it all.
We drove down the Coast Highway through all the ocean-side communities: Encinitas, Solana Beach, and Del Mar before entering Torrey Pines State Forest (Torrey Pines has a famous golf course for those who care about such things). South of Torrey Pines we headed inland and followed Gennesse Lane right down to within a few miles of the zoo where we did some zigzags through residential areas.
Since we walked non-stop for two afternoons in a row, today is a down day when I have time to go through all my 500+ photos, sort, delete, edit and choose which will go in this blog. We have no plans to do anything else today but read. (Side Note: While we were waiting at the reception area for a staff person to scan a couple of document pages we needed to send home I was perusing the display shelves and saw a 1944 copy of Bambi written in 1929 by Felix Salten. I have never seen this book and so I asked if I could take it to read. Certainly was the reply. The staff here are very courteous, friendly and accomodating.)
Just like at the Botanic Garden you got a blog full of photos of flowers, cacti, etc. today you are getting a blog full of birds and animals.
Australian Kookaburras The Tasmanian Devil is under threat in the wild. There is a contagious cancer that is spreading through them. When we were in Tasmania in 2011 we went to a Devil sanctuary where they are breeding them in the hopes to have a sufficient gene pool to re-introduce disease free Devils back to the wild if the wild stock dies off; which is a very real possibility during the next few years.
The two Grizzlies in the enclosure had each been given a large marrow bone. This fellow was very happily sitting in the water pool working away at it. We watched him for quite awhile. It was amazing how dexterous he was with his long-clawed paws.
I have never heard of a Takin. It is quite a strange looking creature. This next critter is especially for my great nephew Cole who loves snakes and will be working this summer as a research assistant to a biologist studying rattlesnakes.
And here are two of the Zoo’s three Giant Pandas. There are only about 1800 Giant Pandas left in the wild and they are all protected as National Treasures in China. The first Pandas came to San Diego in 1987 for 100 days only. After years of paperwork and lobbying China agreed to send a pair of adult Pandas to San Diego as part of a 12-year research project. At the end of that time the zoo was given a five year extension and in 2003 it was renewed again. Bai Yun – meaning White Cloud – is the female. Pandas are slow reproducers. They only come into season once per year and have a two or three day window for conception. The cub stays with the mom for 18 – 24 months so most female Pandas will only have a cub every two years and thus produce 5 – 8 cubs in her lifetime.
Bai Yun’s first cub was conceived by artificial insemination but she and the male Gao Gao have since had five babies. All the Pandas belong to China and after the cubs are reared each is returned to China where they continue as part of the breeding and research program. Bai Yun turned 24 last September and they think she has reached the end of her reproduction years. Gao Gao is also over 20 years old and has a few health issues so the breeding program at San Diego Zoo may be near an end. My first look at a Giant Panda – broad white butt. Xiao Liwu is the sixth cub born at the zoo. He will be two in July and will soon be sent to China. We did not see Gao Gao. Panda’s only eat bamboo. The San Diego Zoo grows 70 kinds of bamboo and they harvest 700 pounds of bamboo a week for the Panda’s. The San Diego Botanic Garden also provides the Zoo with bamboo for feeding.
This male Gazelle kept twisting its head so the horns were not near the youngster and then it would push it’s nose forward to brush the little one’s nose. Seemed as if it was saying hello and not wanting to frighten the baby. Believe it or not this is a polar bear? Grubby, grubby guy!
He came out of his house a while later with a carrot.And the reason it is such a black polar bear is because there was a pile of nice loose sun-warmed dirt that it liked to lay in.The gal that cares for the leopards was leaving for the day. This leopard, every day, will run across the compound, up onto this branch and lean over while she says good-bye. Baird’s Tapir
Another animal I had never heard of. The tigers, too, were anxious to get back into the other half of their enclosure for dinner.The hippo was sitting on the bottom of the pool resting his heavy head on a rock and having a good snooze.The pretty pink flamingos bade us farewell and we headed back to Carlsbad.
This sign with a quote from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” was hanging on the wall of a library. Quite apt for many of us these days.
We left the zoo about two minutes before five o’clock and missed the rush hour out of town. I was very surprised at the traffic heading INTO San Diego at the end of the day. The south-bound lanes on Gennessee Lane were solid with cars and we were just cruising along.