Friday, 6 March 2015

Edinburgh Zoo || Lion, Tigers and Bears! (Oh my! :P)





February 27th 2015 was an amazing day. For the first time since being a young child I got to visit Edinburgh Zoo and Jake got to visit for the very first time. Not only that but I had the privilege of getting to see some completely astounding animals, including the beautiful Giant Pandas!

The male, Yang Guang (meaning: Sunlight ) and the female, Tian Tian (meaning: Sweetie) are the only Pandas in the whole of the UK and will be living at the Scotland zoo until, at latest, 2021 as part of the breeding program. They are on loan from Bifengxia Breeding Centre in China.

This time of year is coming up to breeding season and so the female has access to her off show 'den' kind of area where she happened to be when it was our time slot to see them. However, we were very lucky to see the male who was sat on his swing munching bamboo as we entered. I cried at the sight of him. It was such a privilege after all and I think a lot of people took that for granted.





As for the big cats, the Asian golden cats are no longer at Edinburgh, we couldn't seen any sign of the pair of Margays in their enclosure nor the four Scottish wildcats in theirs, which was a little bit of a shame but to be honest the worst moment of the whole day and one of the only downsides I could find to an otherwise lovely Zoo was that they only have one Asian Lion. 

This isn't a bad thing for me but for the male himself. Jayendra came from Bristol Zoo in 2012 and for the 10 or so minutes that we stood there he just paced back and forward not looking very happy at all. I'm no expert but surely Lions are pride animals and he'd be a lot happier with some more females to keep him company.

We only got a quick glance of the Sumatran Tigers, the female Baginda and male, Tibor have been together since 2011 and everyone is hoping that they will eventually become a breeding pair as obviously the breed is critically endangered. 
According to the sign at the enclosure Tibor had an issue with his right eye upon arrival though after an operation the sight couldn't be restored and the eye has been removed. If you look closely on the first photo of him you can just see it.





Another species that it was a big treat to see was the Koalas!! Like the Pandas they are the only 4 in the UK and are part of the European Breeding Programme as well as being in a 'holding' place for those males who are yet to reach sexual maturity or those who are too old to breed.
The two adult males are Goonaroo (meaning: wood duck) and Yabbra (meaning: the fugitive. Due to his habit of popping out of his Mams pouch as a young joey) and the female is Alinga (meaning: sun).
Alinga arrived from a German Zoo in 2013, was introduced to Goonaroo and very excitedly gave birth to a male joey named Yooranah (meaning: loving) at the end of 2013! We didn't see him anywhere but the above photos are all 3 of the adults.






Unexpectedly, one of the highlights of our day was without doubt the Malayan Sun Bears who were so interesting. We at first were just watching them in their indoor enclosure, where they were swing around sticks and anxiously awaiting being let out into their outdoor area. There were a couple (of people not bears) who were doing the Zoo Keeper experience (which I'd love to do for anyone who fancies treating me to an expensive but worthwhile gift ;P) and they had prepared Kongs to hide for them.

It was awesome to see the 6 year old guys, Somnang (meaning: lucky) and Rotana searching, clmibing and devouring their snacks. Despite them being good friends we also witnessed a little tiff when one who had finished his Kong wandered past the other still eating. 
What slightly confused me though was that according to online news articles from the pairs arrival they were apparently taken from a private owner who had kept them in a tiny cage, but a member of staff in a Monkey Enclosure near by told us they were brothers who had been rescued from the bear bile trade. 
Obviously, wherever they have come from, they are a lot better off now but it'd be nice to know the real story haha.



Well I think that's enough waffling on now, I hope you've enjoyed my photos and look out for my Brilliant Birds post in the next week or so!!
Have you been to Edinburgh Zoo? Or have you ever seen any of the animals above at another Zoo?






35 comments:

  1. The sun bears were my favourite! :)

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  2. omg wow your photographs are incredible! I went for my 22nd birthday last year and I didn't get to see much of the tigers, pandas or bears which is a shame. I remember seeing the lion and there was crowds of people and a camera flash went off n the lion jumped up at the glass!

    VioletDaffodils
    xx

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    1. Thank you :) I cant wait to go back with my new camera when I get as this one is broken and Im not happy with the photos haha
      Oh that is so sad! They tell you not to use flash photography as it upsets the animals...plus it would of just glared on the glass and ruined the photo anyway. Silly people!

      xo

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  3. Gorgeous photos, Awww the big squishy noses on those koalas! Too cute!

    I've been wanting to go to Edinburgh Zoo for ages and this hasn't helped! It looks amazing and full of unique animals I've not seen!

    Chloe x
    newgirlintoon.co.uk

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    1. Thank you. Theyre lovely arent they?! So sleepy and sweet.

      Next time you guys rent a car, you should go. Really is a nice day out.

      xo

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  4. Awww those Sun Bears are so cute! I love Sun Bears :) That last photo of them is awesome!!

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    1. I dont think Ive ever seen them in person before and they were so much fun and so cute. Real highlight of the day.

      xo

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  5. Beautiful pictures! I've never in my life heard of a Sun Bear! So interesting!

    Renee
    www.losetheroad.blogspot.ca

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    1. Thank you! Really?? The name comes from the crescent shape on their chest. I love them! :)

      xo

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  6. Love this post so much! Your photos are amazing, you must have an awesome camera!
    I didn't get to see the sun bears as they were sleeping the whole time I was there...I was disappointed at the time, but they look funny looking actually! haha, bless them. We also got the story of they were saved from a private owner so it's a bit weird they're telling multiple stories.

    I hardly got to see the Lion either, he walked in for a split second but I only saw him from far away so I was disappointed with that too - I'm a cat person so any kind of cat are my favourites.

    The pandas were definitely my highlights. I found it interesting to learn about their mating habits, the fact they can only mate one day a year, no wonder they're extinct! Apparently Tian Tian faked a pregnancy too - since they can't really do ultrasounds on them they guess by other things and she discovered she got more food if they suspected she was pregnant and faked it. That's the story we got! haha.

    (Wow, I can talk a lot about animals, sorrryyy!)

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    1. Haha! Talk all you want my lovely - I love a good long comment.
      And thank you! But actually my camera is over 4 years old now and broken :( so the photos could of been a lot better.

      xo

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  7. Oh wow, absolutely stunning photos - I especially love the Koala and the pandas! :)

    I would LOVE to visit Edinburgh zoo, my sister has been once before and raved about it - Bristol & Paignton Zoo are tiny by comparison! Looks like you had an amazing day!

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    1. Thank you!
      Are they?! Id thought theyd of been bigger! Have you been to Longleat? Id be interested in seeing what its like there.

      xo

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  8. Oh my god Danielle, these photos are incredible. I NEED to go to that zoo. I've never seen a panda bear up close, I probably would have teared up too, but for different reasons. I feel sorry that the lion is there alone :/ but my god that zoo looks outstanding! If I ever go to Edinburgh, it will definitely be on my go to list! :)

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  9. I love posts like this! And those Sun Bears, what magnificent creatures they are! I've never seen them before. This post reminds me that I collected a good selection of animal photos for the continuation of my animal talk series! I think I will get started on that next month!

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    1. YES, get them on the go again! My fav posts of yours :D

      xo

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  10. Oh my goodness they have pandas??? I need to go! How amazing! And those photos of the bears are just incredible! Xx

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    1. Yes!! Didn't you know?? I'm sure it was all over the news when they arrived. They actually have a webcam where you can watch them live at home!! Thank you so much lovely.

      xo

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  11. Your photos are amazing :)! I haven't been to Edinburgh Zoo in years, we were going to go a couple of years ago but it was chucking it down with rain so we went to Deep Sea World and then IKEA instead, not quite the same!! I'd love to go and see the Pandas as I've never seen one in real life. Poor lion that is so sad, last time I was there I'm sure their were others. They used to have elephants there until about 20 odd years ago but they were pacing too and were moved to a bigger Zoo.

    I think we will go there when we are off on holiday next :) xx

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    1. Ah thank you! No, not quite the same but Deep Sea World and Ikea sounds like a pretty nice day out too!! haha
      I hope you do make it to go and see the Pandas, they really are quite breathtaking!

      When I was young (and last visited) there were definitely a whole pride of Lions! I'm glad the elephants have gone, they are far too big..however there are two Rhinos which Im in two minds about. They seem to have a lot of enrichment in their enclosure which is good though.

      xo

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  12. I have seen a lot of zoo posts recently and I feel that it is a shame that bloggers are brainwashing their readers into thinking that these animals are actually happy. Obviously it is not the writers fault either because nobody seems to know the true extent of cruelty that goes on behind closed doors. Yes it's lovely that people can see animals they have never got the chance to see before- but sometimes I think it would be worth just knowing they are safe in the wild even if I never got to see them personally.

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    1. I'm not trying to brainwash anyone. And I haven't actually seen any other Zoo posts lately...
      If you knew me, like most of my readers do, you'd know my feelings towards animals an cruelty etc. I am cruelty free, have done countless fundraising events for animal charities and always promote, petition and sign everything I can to make sure all animals are getting the best life.
      HOWEVER, Edinburgh Zoo is actually commended for its research and conservation/breeding programmes.
      Sir David Attenborough was even quoted as saying, "The Royal Zoological Society has shown not what zoos can be, but what they should be".
      I would never lie about anything as serious as this, which is evident by what I said about the lion. OBVIOUSLY all animals would be better off in their natural habitat, but that isnt always the best option and these guys have great facilities and are doing a great task for their species by working towards building the numbers of those who are endangered.
      I know what goes on 'behind closed doors' at a lot of places but have done ample researching into this Zoo before paying to go and visit. I would never support anywhere that I had the tiniest suspicion about.

      Im very sorry that you feel this way.

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    2. This was not by the way an intentional swipe at you or your blog, which I am an avid reader of. But yes in fact there have been a few zoo posts floating around my bloggers feeds recently and I just wanted to know your opinion on this matter as obviously captive animals in zoos is a big debate topic. I just don't feel that people know that much about zoos before visiting them and sometimes 'research' is not quite enough. It's intresting to here your views though. I am simply trying to spread a message that many have done before me.

      Zoos are not and will never be acceptable in my eyes. These animal can never never be released back into the wild because they have had their wild nature sucked out of their souls. How can this be conservation when it is not contributing to wild numbers? How can this be educational for a child to see an animal stuck behind bars and have camera constantly pointed at their faces? It isn't. We should be spending money of wildlife charities that would actually do some good in th world.

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    3. I don't usually give my opinion on things that people have strong views on but as this is an important topic I feel like I should this time. Zoos are actually incredibly helpful things. I studied zoos at length in my undergraduate degree and they do a lot more good than bad. Most of the animals in zoos aren't taken from the wild and are actually born in captivity in other zoos around the world. They are only taken from the wild when there is almost a guarantee that they will become extinct if left in the wild. Those born in captivity have never seen the wild and would not survive there, which is why they are kept in zoos. When there are only a few individuals of a species left it is in their best interest to be protected as poachers would kill them due to them being so rare.

      Zoos and aquariums are very closely monitored and there are rules and regulations they have to follow. They have to prove that they are helping to educate people about protecting animals that are still in the wild, and there are laws about cage sizes and habitats (at least in the UK). By seeing the animals in the zoo it inspires many people to further research the animals and help protect the wild populations. The research these places do is incredibly important and without zoos and safaris even more species would have gone instinct.

      Zoos aren't what they used to be, and haven't been about sticking an animal behind bars for years. Conservation research is actually making a difference in the world and it is because of zoos that this is possible. I'm currently studying for my masters degree in an environmental science faculty and I work alongside conservationists everyday, and I don't think you could ever say that the work these people do is bad. Yes some zoos are bad, and thats why zoos like edinburgh are setting an example and the WAZA (world association of zoos and aquariums) is working hard to find these places and make them into what they should be.

      Sorry that this was a bit long but I find it upsetting when people say that the research these people do, and the importance of zoos is not a good thing. They are doing so much good in the world and I think if you looked into it enough, you'd find out that they are actually wonderful places.

      (But back to the comment I was originally going to post before reading the comments) I love your photos, they are so beautiful! I love edinburgh zoo but it's been years since i've visited and I really want to go and see the pandas! :) xx

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    4. I was going to spend a couple hours finding loads of links and quotes, figures etc to back up my point, but I think Amylou has said it all.

      One thing I will say is though, that one of the birds they have at Edinburgh Zoo had only 6 left in the wild in the late 90s and if there wasn't a captive population that species would be extinct now. Would you rather there be a select portion of animals in zoo breeding programs or would you prefer the species to die out completely?

      If there weren't bad people - poachers, hunters etc in the world then maybe the zoos wouldn't have to do what they do and pick up the pieces for those animals subjected to such things in the wild.
      I KNOW, that it's sad that they can't roam free but it is necessary. Surely you can appreciate that and the work that these people are doing??

      Oh and to address the photography point, I actually have a 70-300mm lens and stand well back from enclosures with NO flash. I witnessed staff reiterating to visitors to be quiet, not touch the glass and not to use flash.

      I have a friend who studied Zoology in University and agrees with me. We all love animals as do the people who work in zoos, sanctuary's etc. If you truly cared for the future of animals you would understand where we are coming from.

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  13. Of course I understand what you are both saying. I myself have visited many zoos in the past including Edinburgh Zoo. But as a child I just remember see this one elephant walk about its tiny grass enclosure, at the same speed, treading in the same places as it lumbered around the circle, for hours on end. The poor thing was bored out of its mind- I could care less whether it was captive born or not. That elephant broke my heart!

    There are actually many other ways of protecting these animals from dangers that they may face in the wild, such as National Parks and sanctuaries. These places can give animals not only freedom and open plains to roam but a safety net. The problem is that not many of these wonderful places are around due to limitted funding but they are growing bigger and better each day.

    Ultimately I just want these animals to be safe and happy. Elephant have a similar life span to humans and I just couldn't imagine living in a zoo for all that time. However if they are recieving the correct care, then I shall just have to grit my teeth and bear it.

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    1. I personally haven't seen an animal as large as an Elephant in a Zoo since the 90s. Edinburgh does have 2 Rhinos but they have a lot of enrichment in their enclosure.
      I am an avid supporter of sanctuaries etc and actually raised a lot of money completing a Skydive for one. One of my best friends is currently in Ecuador on her second 3 month voluntary experience, after having been in South Africa last year and if it wasn't for the fact that I have a home and family to look after - I'd be there too!!
      No one is saying they aren't amazing options for conservation but they aren't the ONLY ones.

      I don't know what else to say because to be honest this post is already ruined for me. I am very sorry you have been so upset by my choices in life and I hope that instead of reading the following ones you will just unfollow.
      Thank you for your input.

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    2. These comments have angered me tonight. ANYONE who knows Danielle well enough would know the care and love she has for all animals, domesticated or wild. For anyone to dare question and challenge Danielle's beliefs is completely unreasonable. She has in no way brainwashed her readers into thinking that everything is rosy in zoos, she has simply shared with her readers a passion that she has for photography and animals.

      As for saying animals are unhappy in zoos, I cannot possibly comment on their feelings and neither can you particularly. Yes, there are some zoos who do not have the welfare of their animals at heart. But I have seen a lot that genuinely care for their animals. There's something you have to consider...zoos sometimes take rare animals from the wild and keep them in captivity with the potential of breeding them. In my opinion I would rather they do this and save them from hunters and things then have a species wiped out without being given a chance to survive.

      Sometimes, people need to think before commenting on a blog post. I wouldn't really define your posts Bethany as being very kind to Danielle. So think next time before posting something...Danielle is a genuinely lovely individual who always considers others...animals included.

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    3. You must understand that this was never intended to hurt anyone. I have been a reader of your blog for many months now and thoroughly enjoy what you write. I mean who didn't want to be Ariel when they were younger? I simply wanted to hear your opinion of this matter as it was something I had been discussing with a friend recently. We all have our opinions and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. If you are interested you may want to take a look at this blog post I wrote a few weeks ago about aqariums like SeaWorld in America and I'd be interested to know you view: http://in-x-clouds.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-fun-family-outing-think-again.html

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    4. Sea World is a completely different ball game than Edinburgh Zoo. I know how disgraceful it is there and would never dream of going/promoting anything to do with the place. It is completely irrelevant to my post and my point about why THIS zoo inparticular is good.

      Best wishes.
      Danielle.

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  14. Haven't even heard of Sunbears but they look lovely :)

    I agree about the lion, seems rather unusual for him to be on his own...I know I'm OK with my own company but I do get to leave my enclosure!

    Beautiful photos, but you knew that already :) xox

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    1. Aren't they just fantastic?! Definitely a highlight of my day.

      Thank you Lisa!
      xo

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  15. Hi! Absolutely beautiful pictures of my favourite little lads which brought me to this page! The story behind Sommie and Tannie is that they were kept as pets as young cubs by a private owner - their Mum was murdered when they were tiny so that they could be captured. Kept in tiny cages little bigger than the length of their bodies, Free the Bears Fund (an Australian charity) found out about them and rescued them in their native Cambodia. You can see that Som has three large callouses on his little teddy bear ass that will never go away because of the abrasion of being kept in such a tiny cage. He also paces a lot more than Tan, who has settled relatively better. Free the Bears is involved with the rescue of bears from quite a few different places - some from bile farms (not the majority) - mostly from the restaurant trade where they would be slaughtered for bear paw soup, some as pets from private owners who haven't got a clue what to do with them so keep them locked up and feed them inappropriate diets, and others from hotels / bars / nightclubs where they are caged for the entertainment of visitors. Because of the mental trauma that these animals have been through, they demonstrate a lot of bad behaviours, swaying, pacing and so on, and would not survive back in the wild. Many have major physical injuries as well as psychological, missing limbs and vision loss and so on due to their ill treatment. Most of these bears would have died without this charity. Edinburgh Zoo looks after Sommie and Tannie so that there is more space in the sanctuary for more arrivals who need their care. There is no way they could ever go back to the wild. Som especially is way too nervous. Tan is a lot better and more confident, but neither would be safe. They should never have been poached in the first place and in an ideal world there would be no need for sanctuaries or zoos, people would respect these creatures and leave them be. But what has happened has happened and I am confident that these boys have the best care they could ever possibly have right now. I am very pleased with all they have in Edinburgh. Also, as sun bears are now so endangered in the wild due to habitat loss amongst all their other threats, these two lads are very valuable for the captive population as they are wild born and bring a fresh bloodline to the European population of sun bears. Maybe they will find themselves wives and have families in the future, but for now they seem happy enough being bachelor bears in their £150K home together. Yes, they are twin brothers, and they'll celebrate their 12th birthday on 1st June this year!

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    1. Thank you so very much for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave this comment. I must apologise for taking so long to respond!!

      What a fabulous story these boys have, thank goodness with a happy ending. Free the Bears is an amazing charity that I've heard many great things about in the past. I look forward to visiting these two guys again and maybe even celebrating them becoming fathers in the future!!

      Thanks again for stopping by, I really appreciate you commenting that information.

      xo

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