Photojournal review of Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia

Last week I visited the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia with my cousin. I hadn't been there in decades, and was interested to see whether things had changed.

taronga zoo sydney australia lemur photo
taronga zoo sydney australia elephants
taronga zoo sydney australia elephants
taronga zoo sydney australia elephants

While the zoo itself hadn't, my feelings towards seeing incredibly intelligent animals like chimpanzees and the big cats in enclosures had.
As a child, I used to be filled with excitement and awe at being able to be so close to the animals that I had seen so much of on TV and read about in books - but as an adult, there was something poignant about seeing the intelligent, unblinking eyes of a leopard as it paced behind its glass walls, clearly numb to everyone around him and the situation he was in.

taronga zoo sydney australia leopard big cat
taronga zoo sydney australia leopard big cat
taronga zoo sydney australia leopard big cattaronga zoo sydney australia lion lioness big cat
taronga zoo sydney australia lion lioness big cat
taronga zoo sydney australia lion lioness big cat
But that's not to say that the zoo doesn't do great things - it definitely does. One of the best aspects of Taronga Zoo is its education programmes. Despite going to visit on a week day, there were still numerous school tours where children were taught about the difference between various types of elephants and why giraffes have long necks.

taronga zoo sydney australia giraffe harbour bridge
taronga zoo sydney australia giraffe harbour bridge
And more importantly, they were taught about conservation - how greenhouse gases destroy the habitable environment of polar animals, how deforestation is deadly for koalas, and how products with palm oil should be shunned given the wide ranging problems it causes for numerous species of animals. 

taronga zoo sydney australia giraffe mountain goat
taronga zoo sydney australia giraffe mountain goat
taronga zoo sydney australia giraffe mountain goat
taronga zoo sydney australia giraffe mountain goat

On top of that, of course there are the invaluable breeding programmes that help endangered animals keep off the "extinct animals" list.

taronga zoo sydney australia birds chicks baby ducks
This little guys aren't endangered (or even part of the zoo exhibits - they were just free to roam around), but they sure are cute!
taronga zoo sydney australia birds chicks baby ducks
taronga zoo sydney australia birds chicks baby ducks

What do you guys think about keeping animals in captivity? Are we really superior creatures that have the right to lock up other animals just because we can? Or are we being noble by saving all these other creatures (from ourselves by the way, given that humans are the ones destroying the earth)? And in that case, are we "playing God" by keeping certain species alive when in the "real world" they would be dead?

taronga zoo sydney australia orangutans chimpanzees apes monkeys
taronga zoo sydney australia orangutans chimpanzees apes monkeys
taronga zoo sydney australia orangutans chimpanzees apes monkeys
taronga zoo sydney australia orangutans chimpanzees apes monkeys
taronga zoo sydney australia orangutans chimpanzees apes monkeys scary
This was by far the creepiest photo I took all day. Planet of the Apes, anyone?
  1. Go to the zoo early. We got there around 10:30 am on a Friday and there were only a few people there. By around midday, it was starting to get busy and there was a queue at the entrance. Give yourselves at least half a day to explore the entire zoo.
  2. The zoo is divided up into two sections - one side dedicated to Australian animals, and the other dedicated to animals from the rest of the world. If you've never seen a koala, kangaroo, possum etc before, head to the Australian section first. And yes, you can get a picture of yourself holding a koala.
  3. There are shows and feeding sessions at certain times, so ask someone at the beginning for the times, as well as a map (note that the map is confusing - try not to think in terms of uphill and downhill, but rather, across the hill). You can also go walk through the lemur exhibit at certain times and get up close to them.
xx Carmen

taronga zoo sydney australia mountain goat fire hose reel

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