I have such mixed feelings about animals in zoo, but realise that in the world of today, it's a necessary institution to save many species.
It felt very strange to be seeing African animals, for example, here in the Waikato of New Zealand. As well, I frequently wondered how these animals coped with our damp and cold winters. Obviously we don't get as cold as some places, but the long periods of dull and wet days, can drive me crazy so I wonder about the animals.
Having this zoo in our region gives us all, and especially children, the chance to view and think about the plight of foreign animals, such as the tiger and lions etc.
So I find myself writing here about Hamilton Zoo, located on the edge of Hamilton city, Waikato region, North Island, New Zealand, South Pacific, that is next to Antarctica :-))
Hamilton Zoo 2
"The King of Cats in my opinion"
This was the animal I had come to see. A favourite and one I am in total awe of. THE AFRICAN CHEETAH. These two cats were separated, however I am sure there is a reason for that. They look skinny but that is likely normal, being the animals of speed that they are. The enclosure is nice and large and free, so they have plenty of room to stretch those powerhouse legs, and show their speed. However it's not large enough for them to explore new areas and maybe they need that.
One of the features of the Cheetah that I adore is their facial markings and although I didn't get very close to them, I was not disappointed, and could see the markings clearly.
Hamilton Zoo is part of the worldwide breeding stock, and assists in efforts to keep the cheetah in existence. Estimated figures show maybe less than 12000 left in the wild. Having animals situated around the globe ensures breeding animals remain should there be a continental disaster anywhere to wipe out one area.
I read that there is no dna distinction between cheetahs, due to inbreeding. You could say they are all "twins" as a result. But this also leaves them somewhat vulnerable to exctinction and also to the environment.
Less than maybe 500 Sumatran Tigers remain surviving in the wild, on Sumatra, Indonesia. Not only being killed by humans, the Tigers are losing their habitat rapidly. These animals are bred in zoos, and Hamilton is part of a global programme to ensure their survival.
Another animal with amazing markings, I really love the tiger's face and mane around his face. If only he could have just moved a few feet forward into the sun, I would really have enjoyed that!
It was a bit surreal to see this grassless enclosure, looking more like Africa than New Zealand. Then with the Rhinos there, it really was another world. I expected two animals but there were 5 or 6 and this seemed a bit too many, but I'm sure there is a reason. I wonder how they enjoy the cold damp winters of the Waikato, but they looked pretty happy this day.