2016 Feb 3 & 4 – Days 24 & 25 – California and Beyond

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.

IMG_5684 IMG_5692 IMG_5693 IMG_5695 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.

IMG_5696 IMG_5702 IMG_5704 IMG_5713 Australian KookaburrasIMG_5716 IMG_5715IMG_5717The 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.IMG_5726 IMG_5720 IMG_5756IMG_5727IMG_5732 IMG_5733

IMG_5735IMG_5737The 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.

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.IMG_5773 IMG_5771 IMG_5777 IMG_5781 I loved this Red Panda. Could it possibly look more comfortable?   IMG_5784 IMG_5793

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I have never heard of a Takin.  It is quite a strange looking creature.IMG_5812 IMG_5813This 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.IMG_5807

IMG_5817 IMG_5819 IMG_5822 IMG_5827And 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.IMG_5838 IMG_5839 IMG_5834 My first look at a Giant Panda – broad white butt.IMG_5836 IMG_5847 IMG_5849 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.IMG_5856 IMG_5857 IMG_5851 IMG_5854Panda’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.

IMG_5868 IMG_5871 IMG_5870 IMG_5874 IMG_5877 IMG_5875 IMG_5881 IMG_5883

IMG_5891 IMG_5897 IMG_5907 IMG_5905IMG_5906 IMG_5930 IMG_5932 IMG_5934 IMG_5947 IMG_5940 IMG_5946 IMG_5911 IMG_5917 IMG_5926IMG_5948IMG_5951IMG_5960IMG_5953IMG_5964IMG_5970IMG_5967IMG_6045IMG_5971IMG_6039IMG_6041IMG_6073IMG_6072IMG_6060IMG_6061This 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.  IMG_6063IMG_6064IMG_6058IMG_6014IMG_6006IMG_6004IMG_5975Believe it or not this is a polar bear?  Grubby, grubby guy!  IMG_5986



He came out of his house a while later with a carrot.IMG_5987IMG_5985IMG_5995And 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.IMG_5998IMG_6029IMG_6032IMG_6076IMG_6074IMG_6075IMG_6078IMG_6080IMG_6082IMG_6098IMG_6101IMG_6103IMG_6106IMG_6111IMG_6113The 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.IMG_6114IMG_6115IMG_6116IMG_6129IMG_6124IMG_6131IMG_6117 IMG_6135                                                              Baird’s Tapir

IMG_6198IMG_6199IMG_6200IMG_6203IMG_6206IMG_6140IMG_6138IMG_6141The Elephant enclosure was being cleaned and food put out.  These two were anxious to get back in and have dinner.IMG_6146IMG_6148IMG_6157IMG_6158IMG_6159IMG_6160IMG_6163IMG_6164IMG_6165IMG_6150IMG_6152Secretary Bird

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Another animal I had never heard of.IMG_6184IMG_6187 IMG_6189IMG_6238IMG_6235IMG_6239IMG_6191IMG_6194IMG_6208IMG_6207IMG_6211IMG_6212The tigers, too, were anxious to get back into the other half of their enclosure for dinner.IMG_6218IMG_6219IMG_6221IMG_6223IMG_6228The hippo was sitting on the bottom of the pool resting his heavy head on a rock and having a good snooze.IMG_6229IMG_6231IMG_6245IMG_6249IMG_6250The pretty pink flamingos bade us farewell and we headed back to Carlsbad.

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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.

IMG_6260 IMG_6263 IMG_6269We caught up with a traffic snarl for a short while north of Del Mar.IMG_6283


A bit of a glare from the car behind us but this is the line up behind ours.IMG_6280 IMG_6284

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