Janiqueel and Mr C introduce their human friends to their animal friends at the Zoo in partnership with Wildlife Reserve Singapore adventure in the wild
I am personally not against keeping animals in zoos, as they serve a huge educational purpose, but treating them well and with respect seems the least we could do, and with ‘we’ I mean not just zoo staff, but most certainly also the public.Frans de Waal
Sporting his new smartwatch, Mr Beardy (Safari Supervisor) had the watch face set to Minnie Mouse mode. He was ready to join the intrepid explorers, Grandma (Trail Guide), Mr C (Wildlife Spotter), and Janiqueel (Queen of the Jungle) on a Sunday afternoon’s journey through the planet’s diverse regions and biomes. “It’s all happening” at the Singapore Zoo. Easily accessible from anywhere in Singapore, the zoo is like a window into the flora and fauna of the whole world.
Laid out so that exploring is convenient – even with a stroller and, sometimes, in the rain. Led by the courageous Queen of the Jungle, the band of explorers followed a route inspired by Mickey and Minnie. One glance at the map included in the Goodie Bag, the weather, and an appraisal of our collective energy and we wisely decided that to do the whole park would be just a bit too much even for explorers as intrepid as ourselves. Thus, we chose to concentrate on some of the highlights in-depth rather than set our sights on covering the whole zoo. After all, Wildlife spotter, Mr C is only three and a half. He’ll have plenty of chances to return when he’s a bit more experienced in the ways of wildlife. For now, though, our somewhat random route proved the perfect introduction to young and not-so-young explorers.
Right out of the main gate, we wandered into the Rainforest Walk ready for the exotic. We were not disappointed as we entered the realm of the Proboscis Monkeys. Distinctive with their large noses and red-blond fur, these primates are charmers from Borneo. While the youngsters (with not-so-large noses) frolic from tree-to-tree limb-to-limb under the watchful eyes of their mothers (trim beauties with medium-sized noses), the older males gaze languidly at the scene comfortable on a branch with a backrest. Their noses are huge, red, and dangly. Their bellies round and prominent. Looking like they would like to have another beer or three, they are the masters of all they survey. All the family members, though, seem happy and hospitable eager to show off for their captivated relatives – we humans. A zoo is a zoo – not a jungle. The environs in this zoo, though, go a long way to replicate the natural habitat of the monkeys and, for that matter, all the animals we saw. This zoo has found a harmonious balance between the natural and the man-made, giving zoo visitors a chance to really see what the animals’ lives are all about.
We soon saw Gibbons with their elegant black and white outfits. Swinging easily from perch to perch, their lovely primates seem cool and calm as they fly through the air with greatest of ease. We explorers all agreed that o be a Gibbon would be a lovely experience if only for a little while. Watching them for a little while, though, is the next best thing.
Not far from these friends, we came to Orangutan Island. These giants have the sweetest, most friendly faces in the animal kingdom, we thought. Even though their motions are slow and deliberate – sometimes they just hang around – Mr C was fascinated by the giants, even more so that he had been by the more active, smaller primates. I think he felt their well-meaning gentle spirits. He, too had a beatific smile on his face as he stood by the big glass partitions just millimetres away from his evolutionary cousins. This was an experience even our youngest safari member ould not soon forget.
Tramping ever onward, we passed and delighted in the Reptopia where, once again, we were centimetres away from some very venomous exhibits. In the Southeast Asian vibe, we met the SUN BEARS (the smallest members of the bear family, we learned; playful OTTERS romping (“romp” is the collective name for a group of otters) near water, of course; KOMODO DRAGONS looking every bit as large and fearsome as they really are; GIANT TORTOISES – anD I mean ‘GIANT’ TORTOISES; a CROCODILE seen through a plexiglass window – so close – so prehistoric, so chill-inducing.
With a goal in mind, Jungle Queen Janiqueel headed us toward the RIVER SAFARI area of the zoo. Perhaps “RiverS” would be a more apt name for this safari. We started at the MISSISSIPPI, ventured on the CONGO, toured the NILE, the GANGES, the MARY, and the MEKONG RIVERS. In each of the biomes, we saw typical flora and fauna of that region of the earth. It’s remarkable how much we learned about each region in a short time.
Our goal was the YANGTZE RIVER area, home to KIA KIA and JIA JIA, the famous pandas. Male Kia Kia was stretched out on a comfy rock unperturbed by the prying eyes of we spectators. Shy and reclusive, female Jis Jia we deep in her shady den out of view of all except the CC TV aimed at her black and white coat. Meeting each other just once a year, the pandas seem content in their hermetic worlds with plenty of tasty bamboos nearby. To see these rare bears was one of the biggest thrills of our day. To celebrate, we happily dined at the self-serve Mama Pandy Restaurant.
Returning to from whence we came, we trekked through the AMAZON and the SPIDER MONKEY FOREST. In the fabulously large FLOODED AMAZON aquarium, we were wowed by the size and shape of MANATEES swimming regally amongst many, many of their riverine counterparts. We relaxed for a few minutes just watching the silent, dance-like procession of hundreds of graceful creatures.
At the taxi stand, we remarked on all that we had seen and all that we would like to return to see next time, notably the Big Cats and Australasia Zones. Mr C would have loved to bound around the unique play area. He’s a bit young to do so now, but just wait until next time!
What Fun! What a day! What we saw and touched and learned!